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Jackie Lane, 1941-2021

Jackie Lane has died aged seventy-nine. She played Dodo Chaplet, travelling companion to William Hartnell's Doctor in Doctor Who, between Bell of Doom, the fourth and final part of the story the scripts and Doctor Who Magazine call The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve but which BBC Studios call The Massacre (26 February 1966) and The War Machines episode 2 (2 July 1966). Her character was created by a producer and story editor - John Wiles and Donald Tosh - who were exiting Doctor Who after their plans for the series were frustrated by the established character of the programme and the expectations of their managers. Dodo was written out as soon as was practical, unceremoniously being dropped by the new producer and story editor - Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis - less than half-way through The War Machines after Dodo was taken over by the supercomputer WOTAN and deprogrammed by the Doctor. Despite ever-shifting ideas about who Dodo was and how she should behave, Jackie Lane invested Dodo with humour, morality and bravery, and while she had little public interaction with Doctor Who fandom, only I think making one convention appearance, her contribution to the programme gained respect over the years as her episodes were released on video, DVD and audio. She was a point of brightness in a difficult time for the programme. Later in her career she was Tom Baker's voice agent, managing his successful career in advertising voiceovers.

Did I like Dodo? It's difficult to say, because I've only known the character as a mystery to be pieced together, not properly introduced in the second edition of The Making of Doctor Who, the first place I met her. Jackie Lane's biography was confused too, as nwhyte explored many years ago now. The character is overshadowed by the drama behind the scenes, at least for me. Yet she successfully renews the Doctor's compassion, damaged by the experience of The Daleks' Master Plan and exposed by his apparent indifference to the fate of the Huguenots of Paris in The Massacre, and renewed the 'space waif' granddaughter model of companion while reaching out to the contemporary model which would be better-realised later in 1966 in Anneke Wills's Polly. Jackie Lane made Dodo enthusiastic and innocent and helped bring back a sense of joy to the series. I wish we could see all her episodes, but we have some record of all her Doctor Who performances and that is very rare for mid-1960s BBC television popular drama. Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2021/06/24/jackie-lane-1941-2021.html.
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The Tides of Time 47 - another shameless advert

I'm no longer the editor of The Tides of Time, magazine of the Oxford (University) Doctor Who Society, having left it to younger hands in the shape of recent graduate [twitter.com profile] jamesashworth98, but have contributed to this latest issue, 104 pages on everything from Revolution of the Daleks to Gangsters via Time Lord Victorious. Details of the issue's contents can be found here. The society is collecting orders through this form - please complete if you are interested. Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2021/06/21/tides-of-time-47-another-shameless-advert.html.
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Tides of Time 45&46 in print - a shameless advert

Back at the end of May, the locked down and locked out Oxford (University) Doctor Who Society published a double issue, 45&46, of our fanzine, The Tides of Time. We didn't expect printing it would be possible, so it was released online as a pdf. With matters being a bit more flexible in the present state of Covid-19 affairs in England, we have now been able to print the issue, with corrections from the pdf, and copies can be ordered on eBay from the page linked below. This is the first issue to be perfect bound, with 172 colour pages including a card cover.

Tides of Time 45&46 on eBay Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/12/03/tides-of-time-4546-in-print-a-shameless-advert.html.
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Lytton #1, by Eric Saward and Barry Renshaw (Cutaway Comics, July 2020)

Thoughts over here on the first issue of Lytton, the limited comic series about the mercenary created by Eric Saward for Doctor Who in the mid-1980s, written by Saward himself and drawn by Barry Renshaw, published by Manchester-based Cutaway Comics. Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/11/12/lytton-1-by-eric-saward-and-barry-renshaw.html.
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The Tides of Time issue 45 & 46

The latest issue of Oxford University's Doctor Who fanzine is a double issue of 172 pages, and I've not told LJ about it yet...

The Tides of Time issues 45 and 46, Trinity 2020, were published together as one omnibus edition by The Oxford Doctor Who Society on 31 May 2020. It was edited by James Ashworth and Matthew Kilburn.

The issue is 172 A5 colour pages, commemorating 30 years of The Tides of Time.  It was initially published online only due to the ongoing coronavirus  pandemic, but is hoped that it will be published in print in due course.

The PDF can be downloaded free of charge here

Articles include:

Series Twelve:

  • The Spyfall Who Loved Me - Sam Sheppard reveals a previously unknown draft of Spyfall
  • The Timeless Chibnall - Victoria Walker looks at the Society's predictions for Series Twelve in hindsight
  • The Twelve Polls of Chibmas - Dahria Kuyser reveals the Society's thoughts on the episodes of Series Twelve
  • The Line to the Boundary - Victoria Walker's reviews of Series Twelve, published in print
  • Spies and Superheroes - Ian Bayley discusses the use of genre bending in Series Twelve
  • The Other, Timeless Child? - Matthew Dovey looks into the links between the New Adventures and the Timeless Child arc
  • Power to the People - Ian Bayley looks at the exploration of character in Series Twelve
  • Maybe just need a moment - Matthew Kilburn gives his thoughts on the latest series

Thirty Years of The Tides of Time:

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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.10 - The Timeless Children

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My review of The Timeless Children, like that of Ascension of the Cybermen, appears at Space-Time Telegraph, the blog which is the successor of its writer-editor John Connors's fanzines, which included Top, Faze and This Way Up. I wrote it having only seen the story once and much of my initial enthusiasm was qualified by other people's reservations. Having rewatched some of the episode since, I was reminded of the focused performances throughout and minimizing of languor. Jodie Whittaker's portrayal of the Doctor's fury and disgust at the Master was electrical, combined with eye-rolling expressions of frustration at just how tedious her old friend can be.


I wrote in the review that there had been no indication in Ascension of the Cybermen that the Doctor was periodically experiencing chapters in the saga of Brendan the Irish policeman - 'Gallykissangel', as I've called it, the term having been suggested by Paul Dumont. Ian Bayley has pointed out that there are odd lines of dialogue in Ascension which might suggest that the Doctor is being surprised by new Brendan scenes, but if so I still find them very understated.


As for the review itself:


So it was about authorship after all. Ascension of the Cybermen turns out to have been undermined throughout by a streaming hacker who couldn’t resist introducing it himself at the end and boasting of his reinterpretation of the ensuing acts, of which the Doctor was both audience and unwitting star. The Timeless Children was visually engaging television and I was surprised by some of the resolution it presented, if only because I was expecting something more complicated. Performances were very strong, and as with Ascension of the Cybermen, I felt an energy in the production which I’ve rarely experienced in the Chibnall era. There were a few moments when it seemed The Timeless Children did not marry so well with Ascension of the Cybermen, however, and in hindsight the episode left lingering doubts about the wisdom of the decisions therein.


Read more...



(Apologies for the large spaces between paragraphs, but this must be what happens when you copy across another site's code.)

Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/03/14/the-timeless-children.html.
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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.9 - Ascension of the Cybermen

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Back to reviewing this week, this time for John Connors's Space Time Telegraph site. Go there to explore the thoughts of John and occasional guests on matters Doctor Who present, past and future, including valuable reminiscences of the early years of British Doctor Who fandom. So what did I think of Ascension of the Cybermen?


Ascension of the Cybermen is ‘about’ narratives and their ownership. It teases with an opening narration through which Ashad, the Lone Cyberman, frames the story which follows as his. The discovery of the title sequence within the eyehole of a detached Cyberman head might suggest the Doctor’s victory over the dead Cyberman, or alternatively that only the Cybermen, in their undeath, survive to tell this tale. As the episode unfolds, this question of ownership of the narrative is raised again and again. Whose story are we watching? Whose story is Brendan’s, from its mythically golden morning to its dully nightmarish twilight? It’s left uncertain where his reality lies. The Doctor and friends arrive specifically as visitors to the end of the Cyber Wars, there to make sure the last humans survive and frustrate the recreation of the Cyber Empire, but are swept forward in a small, final refugee wave as their scheme is frustrated, struggling to retain possession of their destinies. 


Read more...



Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/03/01/ascension-of-the-cybermen.html.
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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.4 - Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror

I didn't manage to review Orphan 55, which I found very variable - a weak set-up, strong but overearnest middle and solid conclusion with a final speech which wasn't quite earned and some odd choices throughout - I did enjoy Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror, and some of what I thought is set out here.

Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/01/20/nikola-teslas-night-of-terror.html.