Sunday, 20 September 2015

Chapter 3: The Doctor & The Queen

Doctor Who returned to our screens last night so this is a nice opportunity to talk about some of the long running show’s trips to the Victorian Period. 

I was born in 1982 and grew up with the final few years of the classic series. While I remember some of the Colin Baker years I really became a fan when Sylvester McCoy took over in 1987 (and he remains my Doctor). One of the stories that stuck with me for the rest of my life was the 1883 based Ghost Light (1989) writen by Marc Platt.

It is an incredibllly complex tale of fear and evolutiuon set in a gothic house under the control of an alien intelligence. The performances are excellent and the sets and costumes are beautiful by the standards of the 1980s. I would say this is one of the stories that people who only know the post 2005 series should check out. 

This was not the Doctor's first trip to the period. Patrick Troughton battled the Victorian inventers of a time machine who had teamed up with his deadliest foes in 1967s (now sadly missing) The Evil of the Daleks. Tom Baker doned Sherlock Holmes' Dearstalker and faced another time traveling threat on the streets of post Jack the Ripper London in 1977's The Talons of Weng-Chiang. An excellent story that introducted the characters of Jago & Litefoot who would go on to have an equeally excellent series of audio plays from Big Finish.

And, of course, the Doctor has met some of the more prominent figers of the age. 

In 1985's Timelash, Colin Baker's version of the Time Lord met a young H.G. Wells (played by David Chandler) taking him into the future and inspiring the writing of The Time Machine.

Picture from the Tardis Data Core

When the series was rebooted in 2005, Christopher Eccleston hunted ghosts with the ade of Charles Dickens (played by the wounderful Simon Callow) in the Mark Gatiss (One of my favourite Writers of Who) penned The Unquiet Dead.

A year later, the then showrunner, Russell T Davies had David Tennent meet Queen Victoria (Pauline Collins) in the Warewolf themed Tooth and Claw, a title that is, of course, taken from Tennyson's 1850 poem In Memoriam A.H.H.

Both Matt Smith and the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, would later go on to have more adventures set in the period with the absolutely wonderful Paternoster Gang. I may return to Doctor Who in the future to fully cover some of these adventures. 

But I hope the tradtion of Victoriana in the series continues because there are many intresting events that the Time Lord could visit and people he could meet.

Ghost Light - Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Evil of the Daleks (Audio) - Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Talons of Weng-Chiang - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Timelash - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Doctor Who Series 1 (2005) - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Doctor Who Series 2 (2006) - Amazon US | Amazon UK  

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