It’s Comical!

It’s kind of flattering, isn’t it?  While the Tour brain trust has been beavering away at the remaining Modern Re-Capitulation stories (hint ..  look at caps for The Fires of PompeiiHuman Nature, and The Family of Blood) word spilled out a few days ago that Titan Comics, which publish several strands of Doctor Whos comics, have out on March 1st part 1 of a Matt Smith comic titled “THE TRAGICAL HISTORY TOUR!”

The cover variants are shown.

It would be nice to think that the editorial team in charge had perused the Tour from time to time, as befitting our standing in the firmament of Doctor Who websites, but we’re just happy for the reflected glory.

  

Xmas Marks the Spot

The long, long tail of Doctor Who and all of the people who have played significant parts in its 53 year history have created a diaspora which have touched nearly every facet of mainstream entertainment.  Going through any of the ‘Who Not Who!’ sections will bear witness to that.  That reach also extends to Christmas Specials, those that is that have nothing to do with Doctor Who.  So if you’re saturated with Cybermen or done with the Daleks you might want to try these ‘Who Not Who’ Christmas niceties.

  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  What’s a Bond movie doing here you might ask…  As it happens crucial periods of the plot occur over Christmas.  If you’re allergic to the ‘forgotten Bond’ then a reappraisal is in order.  The Who hook here is the luminous Diana Rigg from The Crimson Horror as the fated Tracy.  Also appearing are George Baker from Full Circle, Bernard Horsfall from Planet of the Daleks (and several other stories) and James Bree (Full Circle again).  Tonally this Bond movie, probably because it hewed more closely to the source material than any other, stands apart from the others.  Even Telly Savalas strikes a more grounded tone than a viewer might expect.  It’s an underappreciated gem.
  • Just as every Doctor Who fan his or her ‘own Doctor’, or there’s a Sherlock Holmes for every generation (we’re partial to Jeremy Brett ourselves), so to there is an adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for any generation.  Quite apart from the Matt Smith variation, our preference goes to a lavish trans-Altantic 1984 TV version starring George C. Scott as Scrooge and featuring Mark ‘Turlough’ Strickson as a young Scrooge.  David Warner from Cold War and too many Big Finish audios to count was a suitably put-upon Bob Cratchit.  And if you want a truly deep Doctor Who cut, Timothy Bateson who played Mr. Fezziwig had a scene-stealing gem of a time in as Binro the Heretic in The Ribos Operation.  While some might question Scott as Scrooge, there is a wonderful sense of faithfulness to the Dickensian text at work here that makes it re-watchable annually.
  • With the last selection, we here at THT Worldwide confess a bit to our Diana Rigg infatuation.  On the same day, December 25th, 1965, that The Feast of Steven aired over on ITV The Avengers aired a Christmas episode for the ages.  ‘Too Many Christmas Trees’ was at once terrifically Dickensian, even featuring a scary Santa, and had that Avengers dash of panache which set it as required Christmas fare.  Also in the episode were Edwin Richfield from The Sea Devils and The Twin Dilemma and Robert James from The Power of the Daleks and The Masque of Mandragora. It’ll ruin you for other Christmas-themed stories.

WPC SJS

One of the joys of rummaging occasionally through what might for lack of better term be called ‘vintage’ UK television is in seeing actors associated with Doctor Who after, or in this case, just before their appearance in the classic series. We’ve written about this before and, quite recently, had another serendipitous encounter.  ‘Special Branch’ was a UK drama which ran for four series from 1969 to 1974, spanning both black and white, color, and the transition to an all-film format.  The penultimate episode of the third season ‘Hostage’ which ran on June 27, 1973 featured, albeit in a small role as an unnamed WPC (Women’s Police Constable), Elizabeth Sladen.

Although the episode screened in summer, it was obviously shot in the late winter/spring of that year, and it was probably made just before (in relative terms) she was cast as Sarah Jane Smith for Jon Pertwee’s final season.

Sladen was not the only person from ‘Hostage’ to have Doctor Who ties either.  Mark Eden appeared in Marco Polo and An Adventure in Space and Time,  the lead George Sewell appeared in Remembrance of the Daleks, and Michael Gambon appeared in A Christmas Carol.

All in all an unexpected treat!

These are a WHO of my Favorite Things #4

Whilst the Tour is dedicated (even in title) to … the History of Doctor Who in Pictures… (or stills), another of the wonderful discoveries Tour honchos made over the past year is all about Doctor Who art.

Ancient and Forever is a great tumblr blog dedicated to Doctor Who art.  Now Doctor Who tumblrs are a dime a dozen, heck even we do it, but the specialization done by Ancient and Forever is unique as far as we know, and the art presented is as varied as the standard is strong.

Definitely worth a look.

These are a WHO of my Favorite Things #1

It's once again that time of year when the days narrow to the Christmas Special.  As always over the course of a year serendipitous discovery of all things Doctor Who almost never ceases to amaze.  Tour Honchos love the idea of Classic Who wrapped around the RTD 'next time' trailer and have featured a few in years past around the holdiays.  This time our 'next time' is acutally a 'first time.'  You'll see.

But of course there's laways room for a more traditional 'next time'…

Watch out for a few more favorites leading up to Christmas … next time.

 

New Teething … That’s Weird

Transition week here at the Tour.  We upped and moved to a new host, hopefully seamlessly.  But there are inevitably teething problems and this one is a little odd.

The Tour honchos are big fans of RSS (perhaps it’s old-fashioned of us, but RSS are quite my favorite species), and since we can’t get a simpler solution going so we’re bootstrapping another way to go.

Click on ye old fez over yonder for the (perhaps temporary) feed for the site and thanx once again for visiting the Tour.