Archive for January, 2015

The First Romana

Mary Tamm as the First Romana

The incomparable Mary Tamm, as the First Romana.

For the first time since Susan left, there would be a Time Lady on board the Tardis. What was more, she would be aloof, knowledgeable, a Time Lord swot who thought she knew it all and who would challenge the Doctor’s dilettante existence. She would be there for purposeful travel, not aimless wanderings, and she would stand for very little in the way of the Fourth Doctor’s trademark nonsense.

In terms of bold decisions, creating a companion who’s more than the Doctor’s equal was a risky decision in the late 70s. Mary Tamm made it work better than the scripts she was given. Tony celebrates the First Romana.



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The Fourth Doctor on Big Finish

The Fourth Doctor on Big Finish

Tom Baker – The ultimate Doctor?

Tom Baker is, for many people around the world, ‘The Guv’nor’ in terms of being the Doctor. For the longest time, Big Finish didn’t have him in its stable of audio Doctors. But rejoice, all ye Fourth Doctor fans – the audio giant has had him for a few years now, and while audibly sounding sometimes like his 80 years, Tom Baker is still a superb, and relatively definitive Doctor.


Continuing his look at the best jumping-on points in each range, Tony recommended some of the best stories of the Fourth Doctor on Big Finish audio.


Read the piece here.

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The cover of the Underworld DVD

Underworld – what went wrong?

Given that we’ve seen in at least two Eleventh Doctor series finales the consequences for the universe if that chain of events hadn’t taken place [The Doctor leaving Gallifrey] – worlds not saved, dictatorships not overthrown, the universe itself not saved from total heat death and the like, the gift to the canon that Underworld gives should put it beyond the hatred and calumny of fans for all time.

To mark the 37th anniversary of its first airing, Tony looked back at the Tom Baker episode, Underworld.

Read the article here.

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City of Death

Tom Baker and Lalla Ward as the Doctor and Romana, by the Eiffel Tower, Paris, in City of Death

What City of Death has, it has a bouquet.

If you want to make Doctor Who into a heist movie, then this is how you do it. You set it not in a great big outer space bank, but right here on Earth in a recognisable setting, where a suave aristocratic couple are using alien technology to plan the theft of the Mona Lisa.

To mark Tom Baker Month on, Tony took a look at one of the most seminal stories for the reinvention of Doctor who in the 21st century – City of Death.


Read the piece here.

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Coming Online

Pontsticill Reservoir

This is not the photo from the day. Nor does it belong to me. But it is the right wall…

I toyed with a lot of ideas for the second of these ‘Lifeblogs’ but in the end I took inspiration from a classic. I’d originally described the first episode as ‘going David Copperfield’ because people always say Copperfield is the epitome of ‘I am born, I grew up’ storytelling.

As it happens though, I’m actually reading David Copperfield right now, and once he’s born, the next thing he does is ‘observe’ – detailing his first active memories in the world.

Who am I to break with tradition? As it turns out, absolutely nobody. So episode two details my first real ‘observations’ – the moments of my ‘coming online’ as a human being, and as the particular human being I’ve turned out to be.

There’s less sturm and drang in this one than in the first blog, but I should warn you, it does include my circumcision, so if you don’t want to know the result, look away now. Also, if you know me in real life and don’t particularly want to dwell on this moment in my early life – might want to skip this one.

If you’re sure you want to, read the piece here.

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Sophie Aldred's Ace.

Sophie Aldred’s Ace – Wicked!

Ace’s arrival is a serious dividing line in the quality of the storytelling and the arc that’s achieved in the Seventh Doctor’s time.

Tony looked back at the history of one of the longest-serving companions – Ace.

Read the article here.

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