I started delving into the huge history of Doctor Who after getting hooked on the new series during the writers strike here in the U.S. While it really bugs my Uber Geek sensibilities to not be able to claim "there from the beginning" status on the good Doctors adventures, I do realize that would have made me negative 15 years old which is probably an inappropriate age to be watching Daleks and Zarbi frolic about the screen. So I am a new Whovian, a Whooligan if you will. Christopher Eccleston was my first Doctor though David Tennant quickly became my favorite. And now I decided to see what Doctor number one was like.
I grabbed The Beginning collection off of Amazon and settled in for some classic black and white sci fi fun. Sadly my Girlfriend was unable to cope with the 4 and a half decade ago special effects and budgetary constraints and was jettisoned into the temporal void. I however fell even deeper in love.
Hartnell reminds me of Yoda in a lot of ways. Wispy white hair, a mischievous laugh, and a strangely mixed up way of speaking. I grew to love the befuddled old man as I snatched up all the available dvds from his era. I can't wait for other dvds to be released and until the lost episodes are found again I will be picking up the audio reconstructions hopefully at Wondercon next week.
Far from being turned off by the black and white picture and the shaky setts, I felt it gave Doctor who a history and depth that cannot be matched by other sci fi shows. I may have not been there from the beginning but I'll be watching until it or I end.
Funnily enough I've just started watching from the beginning again and forgot how good William Hartnell is in the role. His interaction with Ian especially in the first few episodes is wonderful.
I like the classic series too but there are several stories from the William Harnell and Patrick Troughton that are missing. To fill in the gaps I use the Target novelizations and reconstructed videos to fill in the gap (primarily the novelizaions).
Many of the re-creations were done when the shows were being put on VHS tapes so look there for some.
Another source is the audio re-creations that are available on CDs. I don't have any myself but I understand that many of the missing stories have been done in this manner.
IMOyou are much better off with the reconstructions on videos than with either the audios or the novelizations. The audios don't give the real feel of the story and the novels are ofte shortened or changed in many ways. For example, see the MYTHMAKERS and MARCO POLO two greatstories from Hartnell's erabut you'd nevr know that from the audios or the novels.
I suddenly realized about a month ago although I had watched all the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th doctor stories (and about 3/4 of the 5th) but I have only watched the occasional 1st and 2nd Doctor stories (Although I have read a lot of Target Novelizations).
I decided to start watching from the beginning through at least the end of the second Doctor, if not the Tenth (or Eleventh or Twelfth by the time I finish).
So I have been transferring a few episodes at a time onto my i-pod and watching episodes while I'm working out at the gym. This seems a pretty agreeable way of watching the material and I get through about three episodes per visit (assuming I'm not swimming!!).
The beginning boxset was pretty good although each of the three stories seems a little dragged out (especially the Daleks) - I think my memories of this story must be based either on the David Whitacker novelization or on the Peter Cushing movie.
In Edge of distruction, I had no idea that the "fast return" switch had featured so early on.
I got the Loose Cannon reconstruction for Marco Polo which was excellent. I am hoping that the other re-constructions live up to the excellent quality of this one. I guess I'll find out soon enough when I get to "The Reign of Terror".
I'm currently half way through the "Keys of Marinus" which I am enjoying especially since I have no idea what is going to happen.
The thing I have noticed most though, is that I really don't like the Doctor, he seems to be more of an anti-hero with my empathy siding with Ian and Barbara who seem to be the real heros.
I guess at some point this is going to change, since I bought "The War machines" when it came out a few months ago and didn't really feel this when I watched that (except the rather heartless way the Doctor abandoned Dodo - that being said I didn't really like her much!). Likewise I liked the Doctor well enough when I watch "The Dalek invasion of Earth".
However,in my current watch from the beginning mode, I am not liking the first Doctor much at all. In some respects it is amazing that the show continued long enough to reach the second Doctor.
Am I missing the point? Was it just the Daleks that guaranteed the shows survival past the first 13 episodes?
Some very interesting observations there Doctor Whoovie!
In the early 1st Doctor shows, he is very ambiguous and is really not the hero of the show, despite being the title character. Ian is absolutely the hero, and along with Barbara acts as the audience's POV character. This was intentional, based on scipt notes and other information from the time.
However, this changes with The Sensorites, which is an incredibly important story and - as you shall soon see - is the first time the Doctor stays to help because its the right thing to do rather than through scientific curiousity. And from that point onwards he becomes far more heroic and like the character you saw in The War Machines (and even more so in one of my absolutely favourite 1st Doctor performances (and stories) - The 10th Planet - especially Episode 2. Fantastic stuff!)
So you are not missing the point. While Hartnell eventually became most beloved, early on it would seem that the show continued past Marco Polo due to the daleks capturing the public's imagination. Having said that though I came across somethign quite amazing this past weekend - a clip from a Clive Dunn sktch comedy show dated December 31, 1963 called "I'd rather be square" (I think) and it features a sketch about a rocket scientist who is none other than a (very good) parody of William Hartnell!!!! And this is just 5 weeks after An Unearthly Child so something clicked somewhere very very quickly!
I have to disagree with you on The Daleks though. I don't think it drags at all. Its a very pacey piece with enough changes of scenery and location to fill the 7 episodes. (But, as for the 3 preceding episodes in the stone age - not so much! )The Daleks however - great! As are many of the early Nation scripts. I always enjoy The Keys of Marinus too, and am gald to hear that you are enjoying it!
Well I just finished the Keys of Marinus.
That was different, kind of like a mini-key to time. Each episode a separate story.
The Morphoton segment was pretty good (although the monsters looked like Sponge Bob's pet snail "Gary")
I thought the next two "get the key" episodes were a bit weak, especially when the "knights who say nee!" started chasing our heroes. But I enjoyed the trial segment the most (and the Doctor stepped up to save Ian selflessly - perhaps the change is happening at this point. He appeared genuinely sad when Iain was going to be executed).
What troubled me most was that when they returned with the final key, all of our travellers seemed to have forgotten that Arbitan had black-mailed them into the mission in the first place - and they were all sorry that the nice, good man had been murdered.
Overall pretty good.
So now I need to decide whether I will watch "the Aztecs" again, as I watched about 4 months ago, or just head straight onto "The Sensorites".
I'm tempted to do the watch the whole thing through from the start thing, but recently watched Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Colin Baker from beginning to end, so am considering skipping anything I've watched in the last two years.
It is ironic that this story has the exact opposite problem from the previous ones. It was too short.
With the exception of the trial story (which spanned an episode and a half) the other sub stories felt far to rushed in a single episode. I think overall this would have benefited by being two, or perhaps three episodes longer and fleshing out the first three "key worlds".
The first episode was definately my favorite capturing many elements of an alien world, with alien creatures. The other episodes seemed much more "earth bound", though in different environments.
I found it amusing that aliens on far off worlds basically use cheap office furniture and have wooden doors with Mortis locks on them that you can peer through BUt atleast their telephones are circular rods.
"The Keys of Marinus" is one of my favorite Hartnell stories. But just like Jodalmighty's girlfriend, I have a hard time sitting through many of the Hartnell stories. I really do not like "the Tribes of Gum" or "The Daleks" for that matter. I do like "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" though.
Well, yo've all inspired me. I've been putting it off and putting it off but a voice keeps saying: call yourself a Doctor Who fan? and you've never watched it all from beginning to end. So here goes. I think that later I'll create a new thread for all of those involved in this epic endeavour so we can record our thoughts as we go along. See you on the other side!
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