The 19th Whole

It’s funny the tricks a gap year will pull on a person.  The lack of ‘seeming’ forward momentum can lead to a certain laxity to which we here at the Tour fully confess.  But there are still important dates to be observed and remembered, and foremost amongst them is November 23rd.

53 years.  Even three years after a much more lauded anniversary this should still be remembered as an astounding achievement in concept and inventiveness.

Here at the Tour November 23rd is also an Anniversary for us.  19 years ago we launched with a concept for moving through Doctor Who, season by season, all the while building an image collection which attempts to tell the story of Doctor Who down through the years in pictures.  Eventually we moved to a permanent display format, endured many many growing pains, and extended our reach while maintaining our focus as a pre-eminent Doctor Who resource.  We hope you like the content as much as we like presenting it.  And speaking of which …

  • The turn towards the holiday season unlocks our annual Christmas tradition, the original Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Feast of Steven.
  • Re-started the countdown towards ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio.’
  • Finally, we have HD re-capped the only story in the whole of Doctor Who which could both be considered part of the Classic Series and (if you stretch we understand) the current run with a new set of gorgeous caps for The Enemy Within, the 1996 TVM starring Paul McGann.

19 Years, 264K Images, Many Many Thanks.

‘Kinda’ Thankful

‘Another’ Anniversary, both for Doctor Who and this lil’ol’site, is upon us (okay we know it was a few days ago… accept the premise and enjoy the bit).  18 years for us and 52 for the show. And in something which hasn’t happened since 1989, the show’s anniversary occurs ‘in-season’ which in turn puts the Tour Brain Wizards in a reflective mood.  It’s important to remember what a precious commodity this show is and the vast history and reach which continue to inform us both in the past and we feel sure in the future as well.

As we are in-season and the requisite demands that go along with it, the usual goodies the Tour aims to bestow upon the masses confine themselves to one important aspect of the Tour.

We are pleased to announce the end, save for any missing stories which might be hiding in a disused basement in sub-Saharan Africa, of Classic Capitology with new, improved sets of caps for Kinda and The Mind of Evil,the latter of which is now in glorious ‘color.’

Before the end of Series 9, the Tour will move past 250,000 images in overall content.  It took 5 years just to get to 10,000, another 8 years to surmount 100,000, so being within sight of a quarter-million after another 5 years just marks the exponential growth of the Tour.

Thanx again for your patronage of the Tour. 18 years old is ancient by web standards. We’ll be applying to vote here soon.  We’re still kicking it for content and are glad you here for the ride.

Mud Baths for Everyone

We have an expression that serves us all too well here in the tundra surrounding THT Towers, that being if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.  The Claws of Axos was famously dogged by inclement weather to the extent that extra dialogue had to be added in just to cover the wildly varying filming conditions back in 1971

18 years later The Curse of Fenric had a similar effect befall that production.  It’s funny to watch this otherwise really solid Sylvester McCoy story run from torrential rain for snow flurries to brilliant sun within the space of a few scenes.

Fenric is one of three stories that the Tour is revisiting because we weren’t totally happy for the quality of the caps that existed before.  This has now been rectified.  Another should be winging its way to you soon.

The Tour has been going through a quiet period of late, but as the days narrow before Season 9 drops, the Tour Brain Wizards have been beavering away at something big prior to the 19th.  We think it’ll be worth the wait.

The Caves of Guacamole

This is it.  The much awaited finale for Classic Capitology (though we hasten to add not for the Tour itself).  The last ‘complete’ story in the whole of classic Doctor Who to get the treatment is the Jon Pertwee story (Doctor Who and) The Silurians.  It would be unfair to call The Silurians the first ‘real’ Pertwee story instead of Spearhead From Space, but Spearhead is perhaps, because it was a first story for a Doctor or more importantly as it was the only all-film story in the whole of classic Who–thereby giving it a distinctive look separate from any other story at the time, less indicative than say, Robot would be years later, of the Pertwee era than The Silurians is.

And what a cast The Silurians has.  Aside from the regulars, you have Paul Darrow, Peter Miles, Norman Jones, Geoffrey Palmer, Fulton Mackay all joining in on the action.  There’s also plenty of action to be had with helicopters, Bessie, and the like, but it’s the tonal shift set in The Silurians which would carry through the remainder of Season 7.  The race against the Silurian plague which takes up most of the final three episodes is gripping, not the least because there was an uncommonly dogged scientific bent to the efforts given countering the contagion.

Here at the Tour we’re not so sure that, at seven episodes, we love The Silurians as we love Inferno but we sure respect the heck out of it.  The new caps for The Silurians follow the usual blather about being much improved over what existed previously.  But you knew that already.  Thus endeth Classic Capitology.

But not quite … there are three stories within the Tour that, although ‘fully capped’ by Tour standards, could still use a fresh coat of paint.  Those will be coming along … soonish.

Karn-ivore

The winding road Classic Capitology has been on for quite awhile is about to be come to it’s final destination, in fact this latest entry actually finishes off the Tom Baker Wing of the Tour with a new set of caps for The Brain of Morbius.  The Doctor Who fan whose lens only started in 2005 needs to know that The Brain of Morbius marks the first time the Doctor comes to the planet Karn, which he would revisit quite unexpectedly, and delightfully, in the 2013 Special The Night of the Doctor.

Karn is where the eponymous 8th Doctor met his end, but the 4th Doctor nearly bought it there too, fried after the mental showdown with Morbius but rescued by the ‘exilir of life,’ and wielded as sparingly as possible by the Sisterhood of Karn.  In our previous musings about Morbius we noted it’s really just a ping-pong between Solon’s high castle and the Sisterhood, but Morbius the brain itself is really just a hoot, especially spilled on a laboratory floor.

There’s only one story left for the Classic Capitology lads to wrangle (okay actually more than that but that’s another story).

The thrilling conclusion … next time.

The First Pivot Point

As Classic Capitology winds down, the last Hartnell to get the treatment is one of the most anticipated stories in the whole of Doctor Who history.  When The Daleks hit very late in 1963 the principal question for burgeoning Dalekmania would be if, and how, they would return.

The answer would be to bring the threat home, almost, although viewers would have wait an entire year to find out.  Without putting too fine a point on it, The Dalek Invasion of Earth is an epic story.  Although it was set in 2164, it might as well have been modern London, and so all of the BUS (base-under-siege) characters, from David Campbell (more on him in a moment), Tyler, Jenny, and Dortmun, have more relatable reactions than Thals had.

But bringing the Daleks home, though notable certainly, or the first on screen kiss in Doctor Who (between David and Susan), is not the most important reason to revisit The Dalek Invasion of Earth, rather it’s the last time Doctor Who would exist in it’s original form as Susan leaves at the end of the story.  Unlike a few future companion departures, Susan’s was at least well setup, punctuated by Hartnell’s magnificent speech at the end of episode six.

Doctor Who was now a changed program.  How could it ever be the same again?  The answer is that it couldn’t, and that’s why we’re all still talking about it.

Oh yes, the new caps for The Dalek Invasion of Earth.  They’re pivot-able too.  Next time Classic Capitology goes to the only other planet where the Doctor almost regenerated — twice.