A Deep Dive into Doctor WHO with Milton Lawson

by Daniel A. Kaufman

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Milton Lawson, author of Thompson Heller: Detective Interstellar (Source Point, 2021) and I do a deep dive into all things Doctor WHO.

03:50 Russell T. Davies returns to Doctor Who 10:00 Discontent with New WHO 13:00 How Milton and I got into Doctor WHO 27:50 Classic vs. New WHO 45:30 Favorite Doctors 1:17:00 Favorite Companions 1:25:00 Favorite Episodes

You can get Thompson Heller: Detective Interstellar, here:

The page for Milton’s newest project, Home Planet Advantage, where you can sign up for previews and notifications.

http://homeplanetadvantage.com/

3 comments

  1. A couple corrections first:
    Terrance (never “Terry”) Dicks was a long time story editor on the classic series, who also wrote most of the Target Books novelizations of the series’ stories. Terry Nation invented the Daleks, and indeed copyrighted them, so that any time the BBC wanted to do a Daleks story, they had to send royalties to Nation (and I assume his literary executors as well). (Nation tried to get an independent, non-Doctor Daleks film off the ground, but this never happened; but he was able to have a Daleks comic book published briefly in the ’60s, the heroes of which were, as I remember, a couple of earth teen-agers.)

    Barry Letts began as an actor, moved into production, but he did write a number of Third Doctor stories, using pen-names, since the BBC prohibited producers taking writing credits. He also wrote a couple Doctor radio plays for Pertwee in the early 1990s.

    Although his career has indeed been primarily in television, Russel Davies first submitted a (rejected) script to the classic series in 1987; he did get a Dr. Who novel published in the Virgin New Adventures series in 1996. My point is two fold – first that, unlike Moffatt and Chibnall, Davies had been a part of the Doctor scene for a long time before getting commissioned for the re-boot; second that his concern for the series continuity included not only the classic series but the Virgin NA series as well (which could get very dark and very mature), from whence he borrowed a couple novels as source material. . He also admired the Big Finish audio series (which also linked loosely to the comic books, which could get very strange, especially from the 5th Doctor on), but prospects of using Big Finish into the re-boot ran into difficulties. (But BF’s Nicholas Briggs became the voice of the Daleks in the re-boot for the longest time.

    Possibly the greatest contribution to the classic series by Malcolm Hulke (I don’t know who “Smash” could be) was working with Terrance Dicks to invent the race of Time Lords from the planet Gallifrey, in the epic story The War Games.

    On to comments –
    I stopped watching Who with the arrival of the female Doctor (see my essay https://theelectricagora.com/2017/08/10/doctor-who-and-the-ontology-of-the-fictional-character/); but having read of the horrible damage Chibnall has recently done to the continuity of the character, the history and biography of the character, I can only conclude that the history of the Doctor is done. There is not only no “Thirteenth Doctor,” there is no longer any Doctor at all. How Davies, who certainly knows the continuity of the series as well as anyone, is going to resurrect the character out of the ashes of Chibnall’s retcon I have no idea. There would have to be a complete re-boot, but a re-boot of what?

    I think some audiences, and apparently including Lawson (who is otherwise knowledgeable and interesting), have a difficult time wrapping their minds around a fundamentally asexual character – that is, a character with no interest in shagging the nearest member of a desirable gender. (The semi-pornographic fan-fic concerning Sherlock Holmes or Nero Wolfe is amusing only insofar as it reflects the authors’ obsessions.) But, in any event, I also think imagining the classic Doctors sleeping with female companions young enough to be his great-great-great-great (etc.) granddaughters is a little creepy.

    The PBS channel where I lived, experimented showing the Doctor in the early ’70s, with serial episodes of the Third Doctor; it was indeed something new that hadn’t been seen on American TV; it was witty and kept tongue slightly in cheek while still taking itself entirely seriously. So I have a special place in my heart for Pertwee. So too with Tom Baker, who’s episodes were edited into 90 minute stories broadcast late night Saturdays. So too with Patrick Troughton, Doctor of the War Games which, while unpopular because of its length, complexity, and repetitive episodes, remains a favorite of mine and helped me through a particularly bad moment in life.

    Sarah Jane Smith of course. Jamie and Zoe – what a team (The Mind Robber – beloved). Amy Pond of the re-boot. Villains? Delgado’s Master certainly. Both the Daleks and the Cybermen were scarier in black and white, and just got tiresome in the re-boot; indeed, the re-boot didn’t have any really memorable villains (whereas the classic Who had memorable villains aplenty).

    I also suggest Big Finish audios here, especially since Colin Baker finally realized himself as the Doctor, and Paul McGann

    But now I feel myself getting carried away with nostalgia – tinged with sadness, given that series is probably gone from me for good.

    1. Thanks for the deep engagement with this episode!

      One note I’d add -> the state of the continuity – and the changes suggested by Chibnall’s era – are still an open question. In fact, that is the very question being revisited by this current season. I suspect the status quo will end up a little more “normal” than it currently seems.

      I wouldn’t suggest you have to go through all the new material, but, when the 14th Doctor arrives, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s roughly similar to when the 9th Doctor arrived. There will be an air of mystery, there will be a new Doctor who will be more easily accessible to new audiences, but essentially the same character and backstory – albeit with some new wrinkles.

      It very well could end up being a more drastic change – and I personally might be more open to it than most Whovians – but, for now, I’d take some of the new changes with a grain of salt. All of the new status quo information that the Doctor has is PARTIAL and delivered by antagonists with a clear motive for deception. What she uncovers as the truth might have a significantly different spin to it.

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