Doctor Who TV series The Prologue

Face to Face With a Giant Cat - Doctor Who - Planet of Giants

Dr Who - Planet of Giants;  I tired to pick an unusual story from the original series with William Hartnell as the Dr Who but those first Dr Who stories were all very unusual, unique and many story ideas were never repeated.  The nearest story to this one might be the children's story The Borrowers.  Dr Who was now established a year when this story was broadcast.

In the film "Hell Drivers" 1957 William Hartnell, is the manager and has a small part in this film (2.20 mins in to the clip) interviewing a new driver for the job.  The Foreman with the stopwatch as the new candidate driver is being timed is memorable. This dreadful aspect of work in the haulage business was well corroborated.  This film is full of actors who become well known subsequently such as Sid James, Sean Connery to name two and the star roles were Patrick McGoohan and Stanley Baker.

This film documentary was excellent and typical of the time their were a number of such films for example "Cathy Come Home", "Up the Junction" these films tackled issues such as housing and poverty.  Like the song says, times were a changing, uncaring Victorian ways pushed aside after the second world war the things people had hoped for after the first world war and had been changing since then for the better.

Hell Drivers

Another film was unusual though I do not like, was "I'm Alright Jack".  This film portrays things that were happening in the dock yards using ridicule and exaggeration.  The wealthy twat is all right, the union members in the dock yards are all right and the twat becomes a union member employed on the docks and everyone is all right but little productive work is done.  The clip is the wealthy twat finding all jobs he considers that he can't seem to do them but for the job on the docks. He is initially mistaken for the time and motion man and gets the run-around, at first.  

The actor Ian Carmichael was typecast by this film as an upper class twat.  Peter Sellers exaggerated the shop steward character and the film portrays a black market that was an uncomfortable truth of the time.  An impression at the time was given that people were very comfortable with this and also comfortable subsequently that the Great Train Robbery of 1963 had occurred had beaten the system but overlooked the reality that the train driver was very badly beaten up which severely shortened his life.  The war attitude that we were all in it together was never entirely true.  Not everyone was working to rebuild the country after that war, the amount of black market goods available in London was very well know.  Of cause Royalty and wealthy continued to feather their own nests, even if it was very impolite, then to talk about your own wealth and money but another big change in the culture is that people do talk about the wealth and live as Royals beyond the means of one planet if everyone were to live that way.

Ronnie Biggs the "Great train robber" returned to UK possibly thinking he would be welcomed back as a hero, was interviewed by Radio 4 etc., he got the medical treatment he came for but from prison.  He died in 2013 as the villein he had always been.  Perhaps the myth portrayed persuaded him to return may have also contributed the entrepreneurial culture attributes of taking the money but not providing the goods and services which marks the current era since 1979.

The bad things identified in these films were to going away to some extent until the 1980s when, as if people thought they were idyllic rather than dreadful, have returned.  Model examples of useful efficient work and the best management such as gang working as deployed in British Coal Mining to be closed.  The old bad ways returned but in a different way, for The Docks substitute modern "Greed is good", interpretation of Thatcherism - Financial Services, turning people away from science and reasoning.  I attempt here to track change in the Status Quo with change in the story style of Doctor Who.

Dad's Army "High Finance" An all time most popular TV series from 1968-1977.

Mr Jones, The butcher's cheques can not be honoured there is insufficient funds, The Bank Manager Mr Mannering tells Mr Jones - was broadcast in 1975.  The ambiguity in the Bank Manager's discrete language, just misleads Jones'e who suggests that the bank should get some more money.

Dads Army

Sun Makers - people pushed to suicide by the company running Pluto's crippling Taxes.

In the Doctor Who story, Sun Makers the enemy is the accountant placed by the company but is an intelligent fungus based organism partly beaten when the doctor fixes the companies accounts with excessive interest making the accountant retreat back into his life support system as if he had disappeared up his own bottom.  People blame things on TAXes, which they vote on, partly as a distraction to poor distribution of wealth and inequity in pay to work effort which they may see that they can not address by our voting systems as some would say is not truly democracy.

This is not true. Prim Minsters Ted Heath (Conservative 1970-1974) and Jim Callaghan (Labour 1976-1979) governments of the 1970's did control this by using government contract buying power as well as setting good standards for its own employees And policies of maintaining full employment.

I suspect that very big lenders to countries do not expect repayment of the debt Debt Bombshell (6% of GDP) but do expect to influence policy.  By comparison the then Labour government did complain of undue influence over policy when it had to borrow (2.5% of GDP) from the IMF in 1976.

Male Penguins collect bright pebbles and give them to potential mates - Evidently giving, otherwise valueless tokens, value is not unique to humanity.  But in the Penguin case it is not the same as money - a token as a gift to gain favour as opposed to buying favour in a contractual sense with legal obligation.

The film War Games - Not the last 2nd Dr Who story.  Like many of films ends with a moral point - but evidently adults are not influenced so much as children.

 With the Jon Pertwee (No.3) era came colour TV and the production quality was much better, the series made as a small film.  The B+W era ended with an excellent story The War Games that was the last of the Patrick Troughton (Dr No.2) but for a number of returns to the series.  Time Capsule's we learn deteriorate when driven remotely.  If you believe something is their you can see it past the illusion that is not there, do that and you will see the machine hidden behind the picture on the wall (17 mins into part 2).

Sputnik the first satellite

Soviet Union 1957.

Sputnik II satellite  With the dog named Laika (Soviet Union 1957) then USA subsequently launch there first scientific satellite called Explorer.  But US Rocket launching success was very poor at this time. By comparison Soviet Rockets did not use advance technology were very powerful and went straight up and they launched 10 times more than USA ever did - I believe.

Luna 1, 2 and 3 orbit the moon, crash to the moon and finally orbit and return pictures of the dark side of the moon in 1959.  Then in 1966 Luna 9 lands successfully on the moon and pictures are intercepted by Jodrell Bank and printed in the Daily Mail. Stealing the Russian scientist credit; BBC Radio 4 - Inside science February 2016

The Sputnik satellites were not in geostationary orbit but subsequently;

Telstar (NASA 1962)

First Telecommunications Satellite 1962/3 was put in geostationary orbit,

 initially broadcasted beeps.

Instrumental popular music, Telstar - The Tremiloes (1962)

Geostationary Orbit article by Author C Clark, Wireless World 1945

White Heat of Technology

(Harold Wilson 1963)

Post Office Telecommunications Tower (1964)

In 2014 the International Space Station passed the 14 year record of operation held by the MIR space station.

The last of the Jon Pertwee as Doctor Who No.3 story's was; Planet of the Spiders was a particularly well acted and a strong story,  The Doctor's old teacher can regenerate and teleport without a TARDIS - all Timelords develop more abilities as we see including being able to guide a TARDIS to land precisely at the correct time and place rather than just to the desired corner of the galaxy.  In retrospect Sarah Jane Smith might have been a good Dr Who I have wondered?  I am advised recently that Elizabeth Sladen (who played Sarah Jane Smith) is the definitive Doctor Who companion model (Facebook Companions of the Dr, May 2013).  I think it is difficult to pick out a best companion but in retrospect Ian Chesterton particularly stood out working with Barbara, The Doctor.  In that first group they became a team and they all looked out for Susan then later Vicky.  To introduce a point I make later that distinguished the first Doctor Who, they relied on each other and that was the key.  See Dr Who and the Daleks from the pilot series (a good choice approximately acting the classic four temperaments working to their strengths).

Dr Who - Planet of the spiders - Sarah Jane Smith and the Brigadier at their best.

Implausibility and possibilities of space travel;

Much Science fiction relies on spaceships made of iron and steel with windows and travelling at many times the speed of light.  The reality is that similarly constructed man made space crafts (Voyager's 1 and 2 launched in 1977) have taken 35 years to get to the edge of the solar system that is nearly 15 light minutes away from the sun.  Monty Python's Fly Circus, TV comedy from the 1970's,  gives us some perspective though; Michael Palin - Galexy song Since then when it was thought we nearly knew it all but it has become apparent that 90% of what is in space we cant see.  There is something called Dark matter that seems to  hold the galaxy together and prevent the outer stars flying off although they move at higher velocity than the inner stars (same revolution rate) consequential Dark Matter must exist because of this gravity effect observed.

 I looked at Star Trek by comparison this TV series started in 1966 three years after Doctor Who.  Star Trek portrayed traditional command and control structures,  A truly mixed crew (this was revolutionary), The plots were very good and equal to Doctor Who.

To sum up the stories Captain Kirk always pulled the girl by the end of the episode.  This was not true most of the earlier story's the captain did not use his rank but portrayed a kind, decisive, decision maker.

In the Requiem for Methuselah Kirk does not heed Spock's repeated warnings which leads to a dreadfully regretful and sad outcome all round.  The android's life partner is her human creator doomed to live forever it seems and alone.  The android dies because she observes division and suffers a broken heart, such is the consequences of Kirk's dalliance, the Android's built in, highly refined human nature but total inexperience in love.

But the science and engineering in most Science fiction is implausible.  Probably best described as space fiction.  Having said that show a possibility of how different things could be and also how same-ish they could be in the future or in another situation.

These old TV series can be found on video hosting websites such as which in this case have catalogued the episodes.

Something like the Star Trek communicator has materialised in the form of the mobile phone But the sonic screwdriver would have to touch the object to function; Ultrasonic cleaning and cutting using Magnetostrictive (operating at Radio frequencies) and Piezoelectric (operate at Ultra-sonic frequencies) effect devices had been around before Doctor Who (the effects discovered in the 1840's and 1880's respectively).  The Tablet computer used by Romana in Full Circle was quite quickly developed but in a simpler form. There is a much heavier note pad shown used on 1960s Star Trek.

But a virtual machine like the TARDIS is plausible even if it may never be possible? 

Lunatic is an inhabitant of the moon.  The shock of seeing, firsthand, how insignificant the earth is when observed from the Moon

Click to see film of the first steps on the moon is as we watched it on TV at the time - it really was very poor quality but evidently what NASA has is no better

Jon Pertwee may have been type cast as a comedian from the Navy Lark.  He played Doctor role very straight accordingly - his tinkering with Bessie, Hovercraft etc. was like a modern person playing with stone-age tools, silly, but of cause he was banished to earth what else could he do?  I enjoyed Jon Pertwee stories such as Mutants The Three Doctors  The Claws of Axos  Inferno.  Inferno had monsters that were not relevant to the story and where a distraction and Daemons made the point often made in Doctor Who, that their is a rational answer.  Dr. No.3 was ham-fisted with the TARDIS causing smoke and bangs many times when he touches it.  We already know that the TARDIS uses symbolism to warn or prevent dangerous actions including; electric shock, melted clocks, idyllic scenery that change day night rapidly on the monitor, warning gong.  We also begin to see that the interior changes to match the understanding of the fellow travellers.  Doctor No. 3 acknowledges from the machines intelligent symbolism that it is prevented him from travelling.  Jon Pertwee left the series having contributed to make every story memorable and few forgotten.  

On TV Dick Van Dyke Show 1961-1966

Patrick Troughton (No.2) was the most consistently excellent Dr, he held the series together.  He also brought in the modern style firmly ending the era where the Doctor could be quite an unlikeable person.  By comparison later the companion to Tom Baker (No. 4),  Harry was like Ian but Tom was not like William Hartnell (No. 1) would not take criticism and climb down.  William Hartnell played well the character who would not back down but just had to climb down when he completely lost his argument.  Tom Baker says he does not criticise saying he would not like being criticised

At the end of the next video William Hartnell locks his grand daughter out of the TARDIS while she was distracted hugging a young earth man.  The Doctor makes a speech too her and leaves.  People do those things and it is good that they are portrayed but it was not fitting for the time or the new Dr. Who.  This sort of thing could leave the viewer with his opinion of the Doctor challenged - sadly missing nowadays - the point is The Doctor could not face her directly and speak about his feelings and may have thought he would pull her away from this new love.  The next story Rescue Susan is sadly missed and the doctor is very subdued is pleased to invite, young orphaned Vicki into the TARDIS asking Ian an Barbara if they were happy about it first - we all have second thoughts, and the Dr was trying, even so, to do the best for his granddaughter, again well acted!

A long time later the first Doctor becomes remorseful over many things and is missing his Granddaughter. But he is still a lonely old man hijacking people  At the end of the story Mascara, Steven is angry with the Doctor for leaving someone to the Mascara in Medieval Paris and Steven walks out, cools off returns and is somewhat reconciled when the TARDIS has brought them to a place and time where an ancestor (Dodo) of the person left, walks into the TARDIS. (In a much later story "Planet of the Spiders" Dr No.3 explains that the TARDIS has very superior abilities to find where and when to materialise when that Doctor Who turns down offered co-ordinates and time).

Carry on Sargent

The Film; Carry On Sergeant - The Sergeant who is leaving the Army soon is trying, for a bet, to train a platoon without carrying out any punishment but he has the most hopeless batch of recruits.  William Hartnell is more-or-less playing himself including the army short-back-and-sides hair cut, I think.

William Hartnell usually played character actor roles But this term (Character role) seems to mean anything to anyone but one of the Radio 4 arts programmes said;- The actor you know but don't know his name.  I guess he found the Doctor Who role stretching in that he was not in his normal Sargent major character and therefore interesting. There is an interview with William Hartnell on a BBC programme called Points West from 1966 but it has been taken down from YouTube, sadly these pieces of history appear on the web then are lost again.

I had not seen any of the Silvester McCoy, who I had been told was a good Doctor Who, but I watched what I could find along with the preceding stories during 2012 and 2013 - he is good and he pays attention to getting the regeneration right though he does not have, like most subsequent doctors the discipline that the first two doctors had and overly repeats jokes. Silvester includes some physical unsteadiness which Patrick Troughton acted particularly well in that first regeneration.  In Troughton's regeneration we see more of the Doctor's symbiotic relationship with the TARDIS.  The second Doctor knows the conditions outside without reading the instruments, that being pointed out by Ben and Polly. Another example of the TARDIS protecting the travellers - the story is of bring about good outcome by arriving at a timely moment with no aggression, no weapons, no threats.

[Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 is also made into a film with Peter Cushin as the Doctor.]

Three films I have watched including the one for the millennium.  That last film of 1996 captures a thread that has always been there that the TARDIS distort physics beyond the machines own boundary but otherwise the TARDIS has changed drastically from the original minimal console and strikingly spacious light interior.

This clip "Warriors Gate" is from Dr Who E-space trilogy. "The week enslave themselves" from this Dr Who episode is a good cynical point of view. Tom Baker combines Hartnell's or Troughton's anger and Troughton's very clever subtlety.  Tharil who were once enslavers are now enslaved but it has been too long. They can walk around through space and time where the TARDIS with two time-lords and a mathematician are trapped at zero coordinates - Warriors Gate  The Tharil don't need a machine but as Navigators one of them enters and sets the TARDIS so the Doctor and his companions, who were trapped, can leave later.  The Tharil who would surely sense the fate ask the Doctor not to help them, he could only make this worse, I guess. 

Warriors Gate - The Doctor demonstrates genuine anger and cleverly subtlety 

[I read and agree with a suggestion on Facebook that the Dr. looks grey and tired, in this story. Unsurprisingly they are really trapped at zero coordinate E-Space, this body is tired coming to its end, so his worn-out appearance is fitting. In reality Dr No. 4 the actor Tom Baker is going to leave the TV series after a few more stories]. 

The Doctor is good very serious to match the situation which is very well produced and acted all round. There is nothing to joke about but for the two maintenance men who add a lot of hummer and almost slapstick in their cynical reluctance to work or face danger.  The subsequent two final stories, Keeper of Traken and Logopolis are excellent most tragic and played very seriously without joking (The Doctor, Tom Baker is not rained in but performing to his full potential consequently - a point I will develop a little more later).

The Reunion - Dr Who - Radio 4, 11:15, 7 April 2013

The TV series was originally positively for science and science fiction.  Very much in tune with the first 70 years of the 20th century. The era where steel could be made for trains, gear boxes, tools and everything else consistently strong so that the metal does not crack but in the case of tools and spring bends and springs back instead but much very much better than Victorian tools would have. Very much better steel mass produced now than could possibly be created for legendary swords to have been made for a Kings, Knights, Persian or any Samurai warrior.

How to appreciate the original two Doctor Who's;

There are many things to appreciate in this TV series with the first two Doctors.  The effort the actors put into making the stories work. The stage props and sets were treated as real and the actors took ordinance seriously. The viewer should look past the small screen, fuzzy light grey on dark grey of the earlier B&W TV picture and the mistakes in the lines, which William Hartnell made, this annoyed him.  Do read the background text on the BBC website to understand the story but bare in mind the detail won't all have been written and it is very open to you making your own interpretation.  Enjoy the acting the skills in keeping the show moving and believable, it was a very much a group effort rather than an individual that made the story's work.  These first stories are grounded in science and rational sound engineering - plausible but may be impossible. In the 1960's people were or expected to be practical and a chap would have difficulty if he could not fit a plug or change a fuse in an electrical appliance. There was much more uniformity and prejudiced against the non-conformity other than in the arts world despite the era being known as the swinging 60s.  A woman, on the surface, would not be expected to be practical the roles were very set.

In 1963 the best option was to rent a Television set rather than buy one. A purchased TV was not particularly reliable option but rental TVs were constructed to much better standards. Colour TV was first broadcast during the period 1967-1970 by this time a purchased Black and White TV was now a reasonable option because they were reliable. By 1975 purchasing a Colour Television set was also becoming a good option rather than to rent, even so a rented set of that time more or less would last forever and may use a mixture of Valve and Transistor technology or be fully transistorised. Japanese TV sets were notably very reliable during this era.

Mullard (Philips) continued to manufacture Electronic Thermionic Valves after other manufacturers had ceased production until the 1980's, I recall.

When BBC2 was launched the programmes were more thoughtful rather than populist TV shows. A new natural history programme "The World About Us" was part of a big step change that had already started from what had been before.  It showed us how the nature is as opposed animals in Zoos and animals performing Circus acts. At the beginning BBC2 was directed by David Attenborough.  David himself reaches a climax with the story of natural evolution in the series Life on Earth  The famous Gorilla's and David Attenborough piece which was about 20-30 minutes was nearly not recorded significantly 2 minutes was in the end recorded (see 24 mins into the Life on Earth programme I have linked too). It was Dian Fossey's Gorillas are filmed we are told 25 years later in 2014.  Dian was present at the filming but distraught at the killing of her favourite Gorilla "Digit" by the poachers to get back at her.

David Attenborough said that the Gorillas were wild and dangerous, which at the time was I took as true, so when David Attenborough showed that they would become relaxed and allow him to be with them this was marvellous. Evidently Gorilla's were not as dangerous as the viewers thought but this was a lie in this case  The Reunion in April 2014, Radio 4, David Attenborough tells us that these Gorillas were accustom to people a small Lie perhaps by modern standards but somewhat exceptional for the time when the BBC and government were generally trusted about what was conveyed in such factual programmes prior to this series.

Dian Fossey's films of the Gorillas in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania and broadcast earlier on the World About Us and the film Gorillas in the Mist all contributed positively.  Maybe David Attenborough's Gorilla lie was artistic license and that in truth humans shut out our connected with nature and our humanity but it is still there in all of us. See;


BBC 2 broadcasted trade test transmissions started before going fully on stream on the new PAL, 625 line colour system.  As Colour TV was being introduced BBC 2 broadcast cartoon type explanation of how to set up a colour TV, for TV suppliers and repairers.  During the 1990s Colour Cathode Ray Tubes monitors had improved greatly so that convergence and picture distortion were minimised and colour screen became good enough to carry out Computer Aided Design work with.  But colour TV sets built up to the early 1970s had a large detachable set up panel on a cable at the back of the set.  This panel had a dozen or so adjustment potentiometers and adjustable inductors (coils with movable ferrite slug for adjustment) which worked to minimise distortion and maximise convergence of the three colours.  The difficulty was that each control interacted with the other controls.  There were methods suggested to minimise the time taken in carrying out this commissioning of a TV in the owners home or in a workshop.  A TV technician was likely to visit after the TV had settled two week after the delivery to carry out this commissioning.  Anecdotally it was said of 1960s colour TVs that they barely worked.

David Attenborough was the first controller of BBC2. And would be accustomed to influencing and controlling. Bearing that in mind it can be seen that he not a trusting bit naive animal lover.  But not deceitful, basically, either.

Dr Who followed on from earlier British TV science fiction series like Quatermass in the 1950's which were more traditional story telling in that the enjoyment was in the story telling the build up was as gripping as the punchline. representing perhaps the ambitions of the British space programme as well as the benefits of the British engineering a technology that was on its way.

Captin Pugwash was broadcast for many years around 1960 but I never understood until recently why my dad would watch the TV series and find it funny. That TV cartoon was for small children like me. There was a strange pattern of censoring and approving of scripts.  Later in about 1970 a Clangers script was banned.  What may have been questionable in Captain Pugwash was not scripted and therefore not, apparently challenged.  The words approved count more than actions (other naughty names for characters were spoken but not written in the scripts of Captain Pugwash).

This maybe what is meant by the term post-modernism that everything is language, Strange actions are less significant than words? A lot of things happen in Doctor Who by force of thought and words similarly.  That is not rational but represents a struggle in sciences between Newtonian preciseness, May also be an attempt to considerate British arrogant way of ruling an Empire by shouting at the natives.  Seemingly the observation changes the out come is a scientific way of understanding for argument sake.  This attempt to find a rational precise answer does not work, in my view is not useful, and things turn out to be imprecise, random when you try to make observation to the smallest degree.

The physics, computing and engineer behind one of the reoccurring ideas of things becoming true only after they are observed (quasi state becoming stable real observed state) may have influenced the stories.  Electronic engineers may use superposition to resolve complex resistor networks (Maxwell's circulating currents) for example to solve many currents flowing simultaneously but via different and shared paths this sort of maths can be used to consider multiple possibilities concurrently.  The Time Lord's Time Capsules idea was beyond common language that could be expressed in the TV series but people were already working with many of the ideas. You may remember doing simultaneous equations and vectors (matrices) at school but almost certainly not knowing why? Enjoy the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, who could explain the science and carry off the implausible Plausibly! and the TARDIS's first renewal or regeneration of the Doctor to Patrick Troughton is the definitive one and this second Doctor Who is the definitive Doctor.

Niels Bohr 1885-1962 said if Everything we know as real can't be regraded as real.  If Quantum Mechanics has not profoundly shocked you then you have not understood it yet.  There was a lot going on in science and engineering.  A point of view is that it did apparently contribute to computers but it hasn't changed many people's thinking yet.  We are stuck in Darwinian and Newtonian thinking both of whom knew the limitations of what they became famous for whilst many others used their ideas to keep them fixed in a "reality" if you get the contradiction (use it if you can - Thank you Amanda Holley).

Partick Troughton is the invisible man ‎(1959)‎ but you might have to take my word for it

Just because there may be a very big problem does not mean you can look away and pretend it is not there because that is what everyone else does.  That is not what Quantum in science is about. Running a British Empire regardless and brutally whilst looking the other way is the same issue as the modern misuse of money creation, Ideology and fantasy.  In 1963 when Doctor Who was first broadcast, The British Empire was declining but that in no way ended exploitation but it started to end the rights of the members of the empire to return to their homeland the UK.  By comparison The European Union, gave British people citizenship and many social rights we had never had before and is now very large at 500 million population.  By comparison the British Empire was proportionally much larger with a quarter of the population of the world in 1922 at 458 million.

Facebook; Patrick Troughton page, November 2013

"The meeting between Bill [Hartnell] and Pat was quite extraordinary, really.

When I think about it and I see the two of them meeting each other, it was like two gentlemen

very politely meeting each other. Pat was suitably humble, and it was a very poignant moment, actually.

"I think Bill was actually quite tickled.

I think his ego was quite tickled by the fact that he was being replaced by someone of the calibre of Pat Troughton."

- Anneke Wills (companion Polly with Ben to the first and second Doctors)

The Invisible Man -  I have read and agree that Doctor Who No.2 was the character in many films and TV shows that you don't notice that it happens to be Patrick Troughton.  Before I started this Doctor Who project I did not know the actor had appeared anywhere else though I would have thought I would recognized him. He appears all over the place Jason and the Argonauts - Patrick Troughton appears somewhere in this film Patrick is know for not playing precisely to the script but he plays as the character hence what we see is what was intended however it is scripted but you never recognise the actor, that is why, presumably, he was chosen, that is why he could follow another great actor. Patrick, in turn, set a high standard to follow.


Patrick described himself as a jobbing actor But it is apparent that Patrick is the protector of Doctor Who, good acting and the TV series an obligation inferred to him by William Hartnell perhaps!

Dr Who - The Pilot Series  

  BBC has a very good section on classic Dr Who