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parrot_knight [userpic]

Reporting Colin Baker's sacking

March 29th, 2008 (09:03 pm)

For many Doctor Who fans in the 1980s, the worst crisis the series faced that decade was the eighteen-month suspension announced in February 1985. The second was the dismissal of Colin Baker which broke in December 1986. Reproduced below (it'll take a few clicks to get through to the legible files) are three pages from the Doctor Who Appreciation Society's Celestial Toyroom which express a lot of the astonishment and anger fans felt at the time, as well as general disappointment with much of season 23.









Comments

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: March 30th, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)
Doctor Who

Praise for the production values of the last season, but complaints about a long-running story arc that ended incoherently; support for the main actor, but demands for key production personnel to be replaced... it's like fan reaction to The Last of the Time Lords! The difference being that Doctor Who's future seems assured for the next couple of years, regardless of the internal politics of either the BBC or fandom.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 30th, 2008 11:34 am (UTC)
Argue mainly

There are some general similarities even though, as Viala indicates below, the situations are very different. I think that pre-2005 fandom is stalked by the ghost of this era, though, very much.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: March 30th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
Doctor Who

I think that pre-2005 fandom is stalked by the ghost of this era

Certainly. If the letters page of DWM is to be believed older fans have been frightened that next year's 'year of three specials' is 1985 again, while new fans see it as business as usual. Then there are all the debates about whether criticism of the programme (even the sanitised criticism DWM allows) is somehow damaging the programme for the public.

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: March 30th, 2008 10:48 am (UTC)

Dramatic times indeed - this is fascinating - but it really bears no resemblence to what is happening in the world of Doctor Who now. Indeed the BBC are so keen to hang onto the current incumbent that they seem (we don't know the whole story of course, but it would appear) to have rearranged the entire show to accommodate his theatrical ambitions. And they're so confident of its ratings success that they're putting it on in a less than ideal timeslot, in a gambit to use it to shore up the whole Saturday evening schedule.

I've never seen Trial of a Time Lord - I've read about it, of course - and I wasn't all that keen on Last of the Time Lords, but I don't think there's much comparison!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 30th, 2008 11:52 am (UTC)
Styre

I tend towards the view that the series was always likely to be rested for a year in 2009, so some money could be reallocated to other projects; but its possible that the approach from the RSC to David Tennant helped finalise things.

Thematically, Last of the Time Lords is much more coherent than Trial, which should not really have been made...

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: March 30th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)

the series was always likely to be rested for a year in 2009, so some money could be reallocated to other projects

My understanding is that the 1985 hiatus is now seen as stemming from similar financial reasons.

Trial... should not really have been made...

I disagree. I'm not going to defend Trial as broadcast, but I think the idea was workable, albeit for a time of stability, not crisis (as Gareth Roberts pointed out in a DWM Special many years ago). The problem is that neither the producer nor the script editor put in the necessary effort to make it work. Add the chief writer dying during the scripting process and the result is a disaster with a few good ideas mixed in almost by chance.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 30th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
salmon

My understanding is that the 1985 hiatus is now seen as stemming from similar financial reasons.

I think that there were editorial reasons as well, concerning the direction of BBC 1 and of BBC Drama in the mid-1980s under their new stewards, Powell and Grade. However, it was the lower than hoped for license fee settlement, joined with the commitment to daytime television, which led to the curbing of expensive drama output like Who.

As for Trial, I think it veered away from any workable format very early on in its development...

Posted by: Virgers! How are we doing with those explosives? (tree_and_leaf)
Posted at: April 1st, 2008 10:40 am (UTC)

I didn't realise that the suggestion that Joanna Lumley play the Doctor went back quite that far!

Also, Victoria Wood? Is there an in-joke I'm missing?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: April 1st, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
Troughton

No, seriously, Victoria Wood's name was mentioned in the papers as a possible Doctor at the time. This was I think in the wake of the Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV sketch in which Jim Broadbent played the Doctor wearing a medley of elements of costume, and I think Victoria Wood herself voiced his arch-enemy, Crayola ("It's my old enemy, Crayola. Hayola, Crayola" - much of a piece with Hartnell's Doctor greeting a Dalek as "my tin friend" in The Daleks' Master Plan, really). Broadbent's Doctor was more self-confident than any version seen in the 1980s (subdued Tom Baker of season 18 included) and made me wish that he was playing the part for real.

Odd to think this is all over twenty years ago now...