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Doctor Who I.2-4, The Cave of Skulls, The Forest of Fear, The Firemaker

September 13th, 2013 (12:28 am)

Rewatching these for the first time in some years, for research purposes, I'm struck by how good they are. The Doctor oscillates between coward, inspired speaker, petulant elderly child and thinker; he's deliberately difficult to know, though I think that by the time Barbara expresses her surprise that the Doctor is trying to help her escape, and the Doctor replies that "Fear makes companions of all of us," the audience is meant to have been captivated by him more than Barbara has. While more fragile and perhaps more willing to embrace utilitarian solutions than he would become, the Doctor is less remote than I expected from the humanist celebrated by the writers' guide to the series two years later. It is Barbara's wish to rescue and treat Za after he is mauled by the unseen tiger(?) which sets the most obvious example, compared with the Doctor's depressing and culturally relativist realism. There's an underlying disenchantment with human nature present, which though obviously countered by later stories and eras of the series, will never be entirely extinguished throughout the next fifty years of Doctor Who.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/627588.html.

Comments

Posted by: Susan (lil_shepherd)
Posted at: September 13th, 2013 04:32 am (UTC)
ianandbarbara who

I have always felt that Ian and Barbara are not only the pov characters but the real heroes of the primeval Dr Who - and, though I did not like the series at all when first broadcast, I now love these early episodes.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 13th, 2013 10:17 am (UTC)
Hartnell words

Ian and Barbara are so very much the original heroes; Barbara, especially, is so often the voice of calm, humane reason which is celebrated in the first two years.

Posted by: Susan (lil_shepherd)
Posted at: September 13th, 2013 10:46 am (UTC)
Brig

Indeed.