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     Home »  The William Hartnell Era »  "The Beginning" set is out!
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    "The Beginning" set is out! Views: 3463
     Tuesday, April 11 2006 @ 09:32 AM EDT
    As I got the Region 2 set, I got mine in February and have explored it almost completely; I haven't listened to all of the commentaries.

    I am the Master, and you will obey me. You will obey me.
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     Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 07:19 PM EDT
    I find it ironic (in a good way) that so many Hartnell & Troughton stories are missing from the archives but multiple versions of "An Uneartly Child" and much of the early production paperwork and other behind the scenes items still exist.

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     Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 08:19 PM EDT
    Oh and I forgot to say how much I enjoyed watching "Marco Polo" with the photos. I wish they had done the same thing on the Lost in Time DVD's.

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     Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 08:42 PM EDT
    I'm going to go against the grain here.
    I finally finished watching the Beginning and all of the subsequent documentaries on the last disc, and I have to say that I really feel like William Hartnell is just so/so. These stories are not my first exposure to him, but seeing 13 episodes in a row really opened my eyes to some stuff.
    Hearing those involved behind the scenes discussing Hartnell's lack of ability to memorize lines backed up what I felt after seeing him flub lines in nearly every epsiode.
    His fans are going to say "hey, it was a product of the times, they had 4 days to shoot an episode, they didn't have time for retakes, etc." I know.
    I don't dislike him, I just feel like he didn't really do the part justice. I hear Ken in my head saying that "without him we wouldn't have the Doctor Who stories we have now." but for me I feel like Doctor Who didn't really come into it's own until Troughton brought his intergalactic hobo persona to screens. It also doesn't help to hear people say that Hartnell was impatient and prickly. I always thought he was late in life, but he was only 55! What was his problem? And my feelings aren't based on the show in general. I really enjoyed Susan, Barbara and Ian. Just not the Doctor.
    Just wanted to throw my 2 cents out there and see if anyone agreed with me or wanted to flame me. So what does everyone else think?

    Heath Holland
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     Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 09:19 PM EDT
    Ooh, quick everyone! An invitation to flame.

    (aaah, I can't be bothered Evil )

    But seriously, to be fair to William Hartnell, he had nothing to base the part on. He had nothing in the way of background - no Gallifrey, no Timelords, no regenerations....nothing. He was playing this role of a weird person who may or may not have been alien travelling about in a wooden box with his "grand-daughter" (oh yeah? You and that pretty young thing, eh? We've all heard that excuse before "grandad"! Twisted Evil )

    Compared to all of the other actors, he went into the role with the absolute least out of any of them and there was no guarantee that this show was even going to take off in this time of Quatermass, armchair theatre and Beatlemania. So they had absolutely no reason to go out and think "we'd better get the absolute top-notch actor for this role".

    I agree with you. There are times when Hartnell appears to be either making his lines up or reading them off the wall and - in terms of quality - the early ones really don't compare to the later ones but that's largely because they were ironing out all the kinks and trying new stuff out until they found a formula that worked. You can tell that from the fact that the series wasn't going to feature "bug-eyed monsters" when it was conceived and yet as soon as the Daleks appeared the popularity of the show went mental.

    Hartnell was a man winding down his career and was at that age when he would try stuff out simply because he'd done all the rest and had a successful career. He was already remembered for lots of other stuff so if this new series stank then he had nothing to lose.

    So although sometimes the production values in the early shows were dire, I'm inclined to forgive them for that simply because if it hadn't been for those people (on and off camera) taking all those pioneering steps and trying new stuff out, we wouldn't all be communicating all around the world today saying "Wow! Wasn't that episode of Doctor Who brilliant?"

    (....well, Louis probably would but that's just cos he's a fanatic Wink )


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     Sunday, April 16 2006 @ 11:05 PM EDT
    Abersoch, all of your points are valid.
    I think I can put my finger on why I feel as I do.
    To me, William Hartnell just didn't have the charisma that I feel the role required. I even feel like most of the others in the cast did have good charisma. I would gladly follow the companions from story to story, but I felt nothing for the Doctor.
    I suppose it all comes down to my personal taste.
    Don't flame.

    Heath Holland
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     Monday, April 17 2006 @ 03:17 AM EDT

    I wouldn't judge Hartnell solely on the DVD set, The Beginning because I think he really comes into his own later down the road. As Abersoch mentioned, he was creating the role and character from scratch. His real charm shines through later on as things progress. In these three stories in this box set, he is still very much rough around the edges has hasn't come into his own yet... he later gets more comfortable in the role and indeed has is own charisma, charm, and warmth.


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     Monday, April 17 2006 @ 09:04 AM EDT

    Also, it isn't until after The Edge of Destruction that he starts to trust his new travelling companions, which changed the dynamic of the subsequent narrative.


    Daleks don't accept apologies! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
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     Monday, April 17 2006 @ 11:22 AM EDT
    I found the "Beginning" set to be entertaining in a "where did all this come from" kind of way. The Doctor (at this point) is little more than a fugitive with no control over his conveyance. Ian was "supposed" to be the hero of this serial. So think how important it is to the future twenty-seven and counting seasons of Doctor Who when Ian identifies the Doctor as the leader of the TARDIS "tribe".

    The "About Time" analysis (which again, increased my enjoyment of this set by a factor of about 5) makes a point of analyzing each story as it comes in this way. It's not until the seventh story - "The Sensorites" - that "it's the first time the Doctor saves a planet not simply to get his Ship back but because it's the right thing to do." It's somewhere in Season 2 that the Doctor becomes someone whose job it is to fight evil.

    I do agree with hdutch that Hartnell's performance is not why I'm watching... at least yet. And I don't have much sympathy for any actor, no matter what their culture, who was as anti-semitic and homophobic as Hartnell reportedly was. But as the one fixed member of the show, either in front of the camera or behind it, for its seminal first three years, we do owe him thanks for caring about the show, and its child audience, as much as he did. Hartnell will be far from my "favorite Doctor", but at this point I'm looking more at the stories than at the character. Seems like a fun place for me to be, for someone whose bulk of experience with the show is memories of "teeth and curls".

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     Monday, April 17 2006 @ 01:29 PM EDT
    sfHeath, does your name happen to be Heath?
    if so, I am a Heath also, and Heaths are a rare breed. just wondering.

    Heath Holland
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     Monday, April 17 2006 @ 09:28 PM EDT
    That's right. Are you a child of the early/mid seventies (like the current famous Heath, Ledger?) Apparently 1974 was the spike of babies named Heath.

    I was supposed to be a girl and named after my grandmother Heather. But when I came out a boy after all, they decided to name me after the Lee Majors character on Big Valley. And that's probably why I liked $6M Man so much... or maybe it was just the funky wa-wa guitars...

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     Monday, April 17 2006 @ 11:30 PM EDT
    sfHeath, I am a product of the late seventies, named after the very same Heath from Big Valley. I only know one Heath that wasn't named from that show. The Ladies loooooved Lee Majors back in the day. well, it's a pleasure to meet a fellow Heath. I suppose you probably have to tell people your name 8 times like I do.
    "Keith? oh, Steve. What, Pete? Right, I said Keith. Oh,you are saying Heath!" It gets old. But I sojourn on.

    Heath Holland
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     Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 11:07 AM EST
    I just found this set at a second hand DVD store last week for 14.00 bucks. I think that is a great deal!

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