Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Talk about Doctor Who when Tom played the Doctor (1974 - 1981).

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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on November 24th, 2011, 5:29 pm

End of Tom's fourth season now with The Invasion Of Time. A somewhat messy and confused story with some decidedly shoddy production designs, the story just about hangs together but has a number of problems. The Vardans are probably the worst realised aliens to ever feature in the series. Weird bits of tinfoil hanging in the air or some sorry looking soldiers hardly make for a threatening enemy (if you can, watch the story with the improved CGI effects on the DVD - it makes a huge difference.) The red herring of the story being over half way through and then the Sontarans suddenly materializing gives the story an added boost is very dramatic, but sadly things are then let down when Sontaran commander Stor opens his mouth and speaks with a cockney speech-impeded voice! And he looks cross-eyed! The protracted chase through the TARDIS comes across as silly and a blatant example of padding and the fact the the TARDIS interior looks like some disused hospital dispels any sense of this really being the TARDIS. The repetition of the TARDIS with the Doctor constantly tripping up gets tiresome too.
This is the first story where Tom's overracting too much and taking things less than seriously. We see him talking directly to camera, blowing a duck whistle, playing hopscotch in the citadel corridors and just looking like he's half cut some of the time (which he might have been!) He does, however, give an electrifying performance when assuming the mantel of presidency and shouting at the Castellan early in the story and for once you think the Doctor may really have gone bad.
Leela gets a dreadful goodbye - leaving to marry someone it appears she's said about two words to - totally unbelievable.
Invasion of Time is a bit of a rambling mess but has some enjoyable moments (many unintentional, like the Sonataran who almost trips up when chasing the Doctor), and Tom Baker being very silly - a trend that would continue over the next couple of seasons...
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby tch on November 24th, 2011, 6:32 pm

'Invasion of time' is on my personal classics list, as it's one of the earliest stories I saw back in the day when the only way to watch Doctor Who was at 10pm on PBS on a saturday night.

It is an imperfect collection of interesting ideas and the good outweighs the 'could have been better'.

We got to see the inner workings of Galifry, felt like their was a whole bunch of Sontarions stomping around, Doctor Who was new enough to me that the Doctor going 'bad' was a big deal, K-9 had some good scenes and, I know it's a love or hate it thing, I love the chase through the Tardis interior.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on November 25th, 2011, 1:50 pm

Right, I'm into Tom's 5th season as the Doctor now, Season 16 also known as The Key to Time season. I think the Key to time idea was a good one, the first time a whole season had an overall arc, but it doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the individual stories. Season 15 felt a bit uneven in terms of tone, however with season 16 we get amuch more consistent feel, the witty and sophisticated humour comes to the fore, greatly helped by the arrival of Mary Tamm's Romana who has a great rapport with Tom and their intellectual bickering comes over as very entertaining.
The Ribos Operation is an excellent story with great production design (you can almost feel the cold in some of the scenes), a believable world and culture, great music and some well realised characters. Garron and Unstoffe are a great double act and the Graff is a formiddable villain (a very loud performance from Paul Seed). There are some lovely little moments in this story like when Garron is telling some of his stories to the Doctor, the bit where the Doctor gets slapped in the face by the Graff and then returns the gesture and when the Doctor gets caught in a net. There is also one of my absolute favourite scenes in all of Doctor Who when Unstoffe tells Binro that his beliefs for which he has been made an outcast are in fact true - a really touching little scene superbly played by the actors.
A great start to The Key to Time season and one of Tom's most underrated stories.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby ThetaSigma on November 26th, 2011, 6:27 pm

The Ribos Operation is a good, solid and entertaining serial, but it only gets better from here on out. I too love the moment when the Doctor takes the glove (or whatever it was) and slaps the guy back in the face. The look on Tom's fac during that scene is priceless!
Can't wait to see what you think of The Pirate Planet, one of my favorites.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on November 28th, 2011, 4:46 pm

From this point onwards my reviews are probably going to be influenced by nostalgia as it is from around this time that my earliest memories of Doctor Who start (my very earliest recollection being Tom falling off the end of the Captain's plank in this story). The Pirate Planet is of course written by the late Douglas Adams so it's little wonder that this story contains a lot of scientific gobbledegook, some very clever far-out ideas and alot of humour. It's easily my favourite story of the season, it just feels totally different from anything we've seen before and the concepts in it are hugely imaginative (hollow space jumping planet, people becoming telepathic from the dying energies of planets, planets compressed to husks by gravitational forces...). Then we have the seemingly unlimited amount of mind boggling words that come spewing from the mouths of the Doctor and Romana (gravitic anomalizer, magnifactoid ecentricolometer!). Interestingly Tom seems to have no problem with these words at all!
I find The Pirate Planet a complete joy from start to finish, from the witty banter between the Doctor and Romana, the scene where she steals his jelly babies, the way the Doctor steals the air car (again with his sweets!), the "linear induction corridor" scene, and just about every scene with the Captain and Mr Fibuli (or MR FIBULI!!!! as the Captain repeatedly bellows). Bruce Purchase's Captain is a fantastic creation, yes he's over the top but wonderfully so, his various exclamations like "Moons of madness!!" adding to this larger than life character and his realtionship with Mr Fibuli is given an extra dimension by his grief over his death. The Doctor's confronations with him are by turns humourous and gripping, the scene where the Doctor expresses his fury at the Captain for his destruction of planets is electrifying, more so as Tom has been playing things rather humourously up till that point.
The Mentiads are interesting too, if rather woodenly played I have to say. The scenes of them constantly marching off across hills to get to places always makes me think of a Monty Python sketch for some reason!
It's amazing that this story was even able to be made considering some of the things the script demands but they did a marvellous job of realizing Adams' extraordinary storyline. The twist in the story as to who is really behind things is the icing on the cake of a fantastic Dr Who story, one I never tire of watching and one of Tom's very best stories. Love it!
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 2nd, 2011, 5:03 pm

The 100th Dr Who story The Stones Of Blood is usually regarded as one of the better stories of the Graham Williams era. I find it a very good little encapsualtion of the overall style of Tom's era as you get the gothic horror of the first half and then the more science fictional "spacey stuff" of the second half. The half way point of the Key to Time season sees the viewers being given a little reminder of the importance of the quest and then for the only time this season we have an adventure set on earth. The location filming is excellent on this story, the stone circle and surrounding countryside being very atmospheric looking and the music is quite spooky too. Amelia Rumford is a great character and works well with Tom. In fact Tom seems to have a thing about dotty old ladies and always seems to get on well with them! The back story of Vivien Fay is intriguing and there are a few creepy moments, such as the scene where the two campers wake up to find a huge stone outside their tent.
When the story switches to the spaceship in hyperspace, the story seems to shift tone dramatically to a more light-hearted courtroom drama. There are some witty scenes here (the Doctor just happening to have a barristers wig in his pocket!) but I think things go on a bit too long and the story starts to lose a bit of interest. The Ogri are also not one of the most effective monsters, being little more than polystyrene blocks on casters. Overall, it's a good solid story though, but I've always felt it to be lacking a certain something.
By the way, I'd strongly recommend checking out the recent audio book release of this story as it's a brand new novelization of the story by the author David Fisher and he adds loads of new material and fleshes out the story alot, giving The Stones Of Blood an added dimension and it's very enjoyable.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 5th, 2011, 5:08 pm

The Androids Of Tara borrorws heavily (and I mean heavily)from The Prisoner of Zenda, but as I'm not terribly familiar with that story it doesn't bother me one bit. "Tara" is a lovely story and one of the most overlooked and underrated in the series. I love how Romana finds the 4th segment of the Key within the first few minutes and then the whole Key to Time quest is apparently forgotten for the rest of this adventure. What's most appealing to me about this story is how there's no real big threats to the Universe or alien invasions, the Doctor is just up against one scheming villain trying to steal the throne of a small little kingdom on a planet no-one's probably even heard of. There's such a light hearted relaxed feel to this story, especially at the beginning with the Doctor deciding to do a spot of fishing. The gorgeous location and lovely sunny weather during the filming of this story certainly help contribute to the charming feel of this adventure, along with some splendid dialogue (the Doctor gets some of his best lines ever, such as "Do you mind not standing on my chest, my hat's on fire" and "a hamster with a blunt penknife could do it quicker!"), the wonderful costumes (Mary Tamm's outfit is particularly striking), and the double crossings and swashbuckling duels - the final fight between the Doctor and Grendel being sublime, ending in Grendel's wonderful parting riposte:"Next time I shall not be so lenient!" Grendel is a fantastic villain, played with relish by Peter Jeffrey, in fact he's so enjoyably villainous you almost want him to win.
The Androids of Tara is a wonderful piece of swashbuckling, romantic escapism worked into the Dr Who format, with Tom at his absolute peak and a gorgeously charming, summery feel. This story always cheers me up. Probably the most underrated story of Tom's era.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Graceful Leonard on December 5th, 2011, 11:27 pm

Toothy Grin wrote:The 100th Dr Who story The Stones Of Blood is usually regarded as one of the better stories of the Graham Williams era.


I absolutely love anything sci-fi-ish involving stone circles (Children of the Stones, Quatermass etc), so this is one I like. I'm not sure how good it is really because I'm biased towards the subject matter.

Keep going, TG, you're doing a sterling job!
"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 5th, 2011, 11:32 pm

Graceful Leonard wrote:Keep going, TG, you're doing a sterling job!

Thanks GL! Really enjoying rewatching all these stories in order, my only worry is when I get to the end :?
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby ThetaSigma on December 6th, 2011, 2:02 am

Well that surely depends on how far you plan on going. I assume you will stop with the ending of Logopolis? :?


But yeah your doing a FANTASTIC job. Keep up the EXCELLENT work, mate. 8-)
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