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 December 9th, 2011, 5:00 pm

The Power Of Kroll is often cited as a below par Robert Holmes offering. While I agree it's probably not his finest hour I think it's far from his worst, (The Krotons, The Two Doctors anyone?). The storyline isn't the most gripping but it has alot of other things in it's favour. The excellent location filming is one of them, the marshlands of East Anglia looking convincingly alien and the soggy/rain-drenched atmosphere of Delta Magna comes across well on screen. I remember finding this story pretty scary as a youngster, the whole isolated refinery setting with a huge tentacled monster attacking it and our heroes trapped within was gripping stuff for a 5 year old. The model work for these scenes is actually really good and the Kroll monster very well realised. The only thing that lets it down is the blue screen/CSO work where you can see an obvious line between the monster and the horizon, but the creature itself is an excellent creation. The Swampies are an interesting race and the conflict between them and the Earth Men and Thawn's (racial) hatred of them is well portrayed. Thawn is a decent villain, played by the menacing looking Neil McCarthy, although it's a shame that Philip Madoc is wasted in a characterless role. Rhom Dutt is a good character but played so extremely laid backly by an actor who seems half cut most of the time (had he been spending some time in the pub with Tom?) Tom himself seems a little careless in this story, wandering through events taking everything less than seriously (at one point when someone offers him a cup of some drink he casually drops it into his pocket!)
This story does however feature one really clever scene where Romana is being menaced by what looks like a typically bad Dr Who man-in-rubber-suit monster that actually turns out to be a bad man-in-rubber-suit monster! A very clever in-joke?
A shame K9 couldn't take part in this story due to the boggy location, but overall The Power Of Kroll is actually a pretty entertaining if a sometimes rather silly for the wrong reasons story (check out the Swampie praying to a limp floppy tentacle in a pipe!) And anyway, how can you not love a story that features 20 odd half naked extras painted bright green dancing around in a marsh in East Anglia?
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Graceful Leonard on December 11th, 2011, 3:26 pm

Toothy Grin wrote:The Power Of Kroll is often cited as a below par Robert Holmes offering. While I agree it's probably not his finest hour I think it's far from his worst, (The Krotons, The Two Doctors anyone?).


I like The Two Doctors. It's too long, but I think Colin Baker was vastly underrated, and this was a great chance to see Patrick Troughton again. In a way, the fact that Colin Baker isn't lumbered with the clown jacket makes it easier to focus on his character. That jacket was a huge mistake.
"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 12th, 2011, 4:57 pm

Toothy Grin wrote:That jacket was a huge mistake.

It's never really bothered me to be honest. I far prefer it to David Tennant's self-conciously "trendy and modern" look.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Graceful Leonard on December 12th, 2011, 5:07 pm

Toothy Grin wrote:
Toothy Grin wrote:That jacket was a huge mistake.

It's never really bothered me to be honest. I far prefer it to David Tennant's self-conciously "trendy and modern" look.


It would be like forcing Tom to wear a red clown's nose throughout his tenure.

They have Colin Baker, whose doctor is arrogant, cynical, and a stronger character than any since the first four, and the morons dress him in a joke costume. It was completely out of keeping with C.Baker's doctor and symptomatic of the problems that lead to the show becoming a joke.
"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 tch on December 13th, 2011, 4:07 am

I kind of liked Colin's outfit in that, like several Doctors( Pertwee, Tom, Matt Smith come to mind) he just sort of grabbed things and threw them on, after regenerating, but Colin's Doctor, picked things when he was highly mentally unbalanced, and then arrogant as he was, was never going to admit he might have made a less than stellar choice or just never gave it a second thought as he had more important things to worry about.

I do wish Colin had stayed longer, because then then could have played around and tweaked his look.
I think with a less patch work pattern to the coat the outfit would have been fine. Garish, but fine.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 13th, 2011, 5:50 pm

Enough talk of that other Baker, I've another story to get through and it's a 6 parter! The conclusion of the quest for the Key to Time is a somewhat dour and grim story for the otherwise fantastical and witty season 16. It does, however, boast a great opening line: "Men out there - young men - are dying for it!" Indeed. Coming at the end of the season, The Armageddon Factor unfortunately has the look of a show desperatley running out of money. Entirely studio-bound with bland grey featureless sets and lacklustre performances, this is easily the weakest story of the season although it's no-where near as bad as Underworld (that would be quite a feat!). We see Lalla Ward make her first appearance, not as Romana but as the rather wet Princess Astra. Ward gives little indication here of how engaging an actress she can be. The very wet Princess Astra is paired here with the even wetter Merak who seems to spend the entire story stumbling around pathetically calling "Astra! Astra!" Then we've got the bumbling Shapp who seems to play everything for comedic effect, the irritating cockney Time Lord Drax, and the Marshall, who spends most of the story staring at himself ina mirror. Behind this mirror we have the very sinister Shadow, possibly the best aspect of this story, a very memorable villain. And finally we get to see what the Black Guardian looks like - a nice bit of deception at the end as he pretends to be the White Guardian. The story feels far too long and padded out with ridiculous stuff like the Doctor being shrunk, the whole Drax subplot is unneccessary, but the main problem with this story is that it's supposed to be about two planets at war with each other, but from all the viewer gets to see it may as well be two small rooms at war with each other - there's just no sense of scale.
The conclusion to the story is also somewhat frustrating as the key to time gets scattered through time - so what was the point of the Doctor going about collecting them all? It seems nothing was achieved.

Ah, well, no more story arcs for a while now, back to good old stand alone stories and it's the Daleks back again next!
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 14th, 2011, 3:19 pm

Entering into Tom's penultimate season now, Season 17 having a somewhat mixed reception with fans. Destiny of the Daleks sees the Doctor's greatest foes make a comeback for the first time in over 4 years and it's a story that doesn't have the highest reputation but is one I find it hard to hate as I have such fond memories of it as a child. Visually the story is quite appealing thanks to the first ever use of a steadicam on the series which gives the picture a smooth gliding movement. Also notable is the fact that there doesn't appear to be any incidental music in this story, rather just stock sound effects and background noises. Thhis especially benefits the first episode which has a somewhat spooky atmosphere as the Doctor and Romana are exploring the planet. Yes, it appears they are in another quarry, but the sandy areas in particular still have an otherworldly atmosphere. The effect of the spaceship landing and burying itself on impact is effective too. The Movellans are in interesting race, but somewhat ineffectual as they can be easily disabled by removing those tubes from their belts, and their appearance is VERY 1979 - all white jumpsuits and silver dreadlocks like something from Boney M or Earth Wind & Fire!
Davros is resurrected for this story, unfortunately he isn't played by Michael Wisher. The costume is the same, the actor isn't so subequently we have an actor wearing a costume that doesn't fit him properly. It also appears that the costume has not been looked after very well, seeming very tatty and worn. The same applies to the Daleks who look like they're falling to bits. It's in this story that we get the Doctor joking about the Daleks not being able to follow him as they can't climb - a reputation that would blight the creatures for years to come.
This was the season that had Douglas Adams as script editor and his brand of humour is littered throughout the season, here in scenes like the one where the Doctor is reading a book called "Origins of the Universe" by Ooolon Caluphid. and having K9 contract laryngitis!
A major problem with this story is a lack of urgency and danger - witness the escape of the Doctor and party from the Daleks in part 3 which looks like a leisurely stroll while the Daleks are in hot pursuit! However the cliffhanger where Romana is trapped in the tube and the Doctor is frantically trying to free her before the bomb goes off is quite tense. The performances in this story are all very wooden (apart from Tom and Lalla) and admittedly this is not the Daleks' finest hour, but Destiny of the Daleks was a favourite of mine as a kid so it will always hold a special place in my affections.
Next up: off to Paris for my all time favourite story!!
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Graceful Leonard on December 14th, 2011, 8:19 pm

Toothy Grin wrote:The Movellans are in interesting race, but somewhat ineffectual as they can be easily disabled by removing those tubes from their belts, and their appearance is VERY 1979 - all white jumpsuits and silver dreadlocks like something from Boney M or Earth Wind & Fire!


I couldn't recall this one until you mentioned that!
"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 tch on December 15th, 2011, 4:40 pm

The Movelions are another race that had potential, but that we never see again.
They can fight the Daleks to a standstill, but only ever get a ten second mention in a later episode...?

That seems like a waste, since being robots that look like people they'd be cheaper to use in other stories than a lot of aliens.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 19th, 2011, 5:30 pm

City Of Death sees Dr Who venturing overseas for the first time ever to Paris and the result is, in my opinion, the best Dr Who story of all time. Everything is just perfect about this story - the wonderfully witty and clever script, the gorgeous location which the story makes full use of, the brilliant dialogue, the set design and model work, the best musical score for any story ever, and Tom and Lalla clearly having a wonderful time.
This is probably one of the most humorous stories ever, but thankfully the humour doesn't ruin the drama but instead compliments it, like the Doctor's confrontations with Count Scarlioni. The Doctor's first meeting with him is probably the wittiest scene in all of Dr Who, and there's a genuine element of intrigue and excitement that is sustained throughout the story.
I love all the running scenes too, even if they are merely there to show off the Paris location. It gives the story an added degree of realism, and almost feels like a movie.
The cliffhanger to part one is also a classic and one of the first things that had me hiding behing the sofa. The model work of Scaroth's ship taking off is superbly done, and the fact that John Cleese has a cameo is the icing on the cake.
I could sing this story's praises all day but I'll sum it up with an actual quote from the story: "Exquisite. Absolutely exquisite." Dr Who doesn't get any better than this!
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