Dr Who Classic TV Series Estb. 1963
Doctor Who - An Unearthly Child - Cave of Sculls
One day in 1963 mum told me that there was a new science fiction TV series starting that Saturday which we watched together, I was just five. The story was "The Cave of Sculls" (episode 2 of An Unearthly Child). I continued to watch every episode till after Tom Baker (No.4) era as the Doctor. Watching TV from time to time then I got rid of TV at home in 1988 (during the 6th Doctor's time).
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William Hartnell, played the the first Doctor Who, distinctly as genuinely angry when there was cause. That makes these first Dr Who stories unique. The science in these story's were the most adventurous of any science fiction with an answer to travelling in space - that is no idea but not by any mode similar to what we do now. But Doctor Who become quite tame later but the influence of the first two doctors has guided all Dr Who. It should be said of the First Doctor Who era that it is said by Vicky (Maureen O'Brien) and others that their was a good friendly team working relationship.
After 21 years the TV series was not bad but tired. The replacement of a new style of Doctor every few years or so had made the stories different and largely overcame the criticism that current Doctor not being as good as the one before but anyway viewers get over it. Stories could be told again but in a different way and by another Doctor. For example the story classic Quatamass and the Pit (1958 was made into a film in 1967) retold in different way but in a few Doctor Who stories the best were; Dr. No.3 The Daemons No.4 Image of the Fendahl and Dr. No. 5, The Awakening are excellent stories that are enjoyable to re-watch. The TARDIS is now in a very bad state of maintenance and 6th Doctor (with the moral support of his companions such as Mel offering the Doctor glasses of carrot juice) does do the necessary repairs to the TARDIS as if the machine has regenerated this timelord with the temperament to get on and do what the machine requires, the Doctor having stated in past lives that maintenance must be done. The fifth Doctor had died saying it was different this time The regenerated Doctor is quite aggressive towards Peri. A suggestion has been made that the physical mind of The Doctor regenerated is just one aspect and personality of a vastly bigger mind, perhaps held within the TARDIS it is not stated. But it is suggested that the life memory and DNA of all time lords is uploaded from the time-capsules held at Galifreyan within The matrix which runs a little ahead of Galifreyan present time so that Timelords can predict there future. Time Lords, it seems, are not permitted to travel in to their own future, because it is harmful to the universe but a time capsule is not limited by these rules.
Many fictional stories are based on a single hero surrounded by fools and the helpless or easily lead but Dr Who had not been a story like that. It can appear that Doctor Who arrives like a knight and saves people but that is not so. The Doctor comes to help people, old friends, to help themselves. This was the message of the 1960's people inspired to make things better together by there own hands. The second doctor paid particular attention to not miss that, friendship, detail in these stories able to cut to the chase but without missing the prior friendships and ending good byes. The story was the star and the actors included the Doctor.
By comparison films such as; A Wonderful Life and Lost Horizon (Shangri La), by the film director Frank Capra who has been said to be fascist. You will notice that those films portray a view that the masses need an inspired leader to the such as a superman, monarchy or dictator and that is the only way that works. In a dictatorship their is a line of command to the top, whereas in democracy ultimate responsibility lies with the people. In reality and in all systems there is collective responsibility but I think what is significant in all cases are those who influence or mislead rather than those who inspire.
One of the many tributes paid by Dr Who fans. This tribute is to William Hartnell
Lost-Horizon-Movie-Clip-Shangri-La It was rather disappointing when I heard the interpretation on one of the BBC Radio 4 Arts programmes in about 2008, that Frank Capra's films portrayed fascism as an ideal because the label fascist is damming. Conversely many people living in India would have said in the past that they miss the British Empire - perhaps it was the best or a bad situation, perhaps that is only said to white people as a survival strategy?
I went on holiday on a curse ship in the 1970's as a teenager this was twice and was with P+O. What was dreadful, on one of those two holidays, was seeing how the White uniformed crew treated the Oriental crew. We observed a Goanese beg in one case on his knees not to have his name written down in the book for dropping a spoon. Our waiter, used to drink understandably, I guess so that he could face work. There was a lot of deference shown to all white people it seemed to all down to fears about job security or culture based on that survival strategy.
My objective is to cover Doctor Who, the changes in culture, politics, science and engineering over the time that the TV show spans.
- He is called The Doctor, Doctor, Or Doctor Who but the first Doctor made it clear that he was not Doc or anything other. That sharpness of tong was a distinctive characteristic of William Hartnell.
- The TARDIS materialised previously as a Sedan chair Susan who coined the term TARDIS, for Time And Relative Dimension in Space, told us that the TARDIS had also materialised as an Ionic Column, she says in the first story second episode 'The Cave of Skulls'.
Perhaps Susan could come back as regeneration of the Doctor. One prepared earlier, (like the Abbot's regeneration in the last Doctor Who No. 3 story "Planet of Spiders"). Just a new twist Aliens reproducing and also living virtually forever could be unsustainable? Susan being the Doctor's granddaughter would be a reasonable white lie told to humans?
Another tribute this one is to Patrick Troughten
The swinging 1960's was a time of engineering and science. In 1967 or 1968 Kent school's stopped teaching imperial measurements. I was pleased to be told that a year earlier because I did not like learning the inconvenient rules rhymes and the complicated maths that went with them. Imperial units, odd quantities metric or imperial of cause make it unclear what you are purchasing if you wish to compare. Some might have us believe that it is about patriotism and empire I expect but the symbol for the British pound £ is an L that is inherited from Lira and double entry book keeping and much of banking comes from Lombardy, Italy.
I stopped trying to learn the silly imperial stuff age 9 or 10. Then looked forward to all the rest of it disappearing in 1980-ish when the metrication board would have completed its task and been disbanded. Unfortunately the Metrication board was disbanded before it completed it's task in an act of, I guess, blind idealism. United States of America's Imperial is different again as is American English.
Apollo 11's computer overload lie;- The computer on the moon lander craft was not overloaded at a critical stage during the landing. It was disappointing to read decades later that those stalwarts of good Journalism Raymond Baxter, James Burke etc. spread a spun media story. The truth is that the first manned moon landing had to be and was carried out as a man / computer symbiotic relationship, the computer was never overloaded and turned off. But I think it is true that an input was left switch on causing a higher computer load unexpectedly which triggering an investigation subsequently. May be the truth of journalism is that like you and me a journalist can not tell which of the information given to them is made up either?
I am attempting to interpret the period 1963 to 2013 in Science and Engineering, Culture and political perspective. Story telling of cause always conveys messages but I could sum up the eras politically in three steps;
Three basic motives as attributed to politics; but they are so in work and most things;
1) Look after the little people because the big people can look after themselves
2) Look after the big people they vote for you.
3) Break government leave everything to the lawyers and big business. Don't try to manage anything.
Animal Magic (BBC1 1962-1983) presented by Johnny Morris
1) Is Michael Foot - but there are elements of it in the all political party’s.
2) Is Thatcherism and some interpretation of New Labour defers to Royalty and satisfaction in getting crumbs or gifts from the tables of the wealthy.
3) The selfish power freaks who would break things to create an outcome where they are in control even though it is now something broken.
Lobster pot mentality appears to be true;- if one lobster tries to climb out the pot others drag it back down back inside the pot. A friend told me that one.
Johnny Morris was very likeable and Animal Magic on BBCTV was greatly enjoyed portraying animals with human attributes but like circus and very conventional and typical of the 1960's. At the same time Zoo Time on ITV attempted to shows children how animals are but still a bit Zoo based even so this show probably was quite pioneering in 1960 in that attempt.
In "Dominator" Quarks, which are robots with laser tools for mining are knocked out when Jamie lobs and rolls rocks and boulders at them. Each time this happens another little robot symbol in the spaceship goes out. Enjoy the acting it is good. Appreciate the get on and do portrayed in the TV series as in real life then. The TV show as well as people have moved far since that time but not necessarily forward.
Doctor Who followed excellent 1950's short series of Quatemass story's. Those story's were told slowly and compellingly building up and drawing you into a fiction and a horror. The common idea sometimes was that supernatural things can be explained by science is said often in Doctor Who. It is probably the case that the definition of Magic is something that the viewer can not explain specifically a trick, con or illusion in the case of magic. Of cause but for the Manned space Rockets in Quatemass, Mobile Phone in Star Trek, an IPOD used by Romana in Doctor Who it is mostly scientific non-sense but very enjoyable non-sense. Virtual reality created by a machine is as much as you are going to get I can not foresee a TARDIS like virtual machine creating real substance ever being possible however hard particle physicists work on something like that.
Up Pompeii - The Prolog
The Prologue is the piece of computer code (script) that starts other things after the user has logged in. Like a story the ending script would be the Epilogue.
Up Pompeii was broadcast 1969 to 1970 and always started with Lurkio (pictured) "And now The Prologue". Frankie Howard's humour was typical of the time and of an earlier era, uses clever innuendo as opposed to modern cut to the point, course vulgarity. The point was the cleverness in the creation of the innuendo, that you work out for yourself, rather than just the vulgarity.
Brian Cox in this programme explained more clearly than many others time and relativity, Black holes and the event horizon. In this case the TV show matched what Professor Eric Laithwaite used to do three decades ago in the Royal Society Christmas Lectures but for adults more than children. This is refreshing to see the BBC which uses high technology and used to be technically far ahead but has always been technophobic cover science a little more.