Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Red Dwarf: The Early Years
Episode 1 is a curiosity. Jamie is in nearly every second Doctor story, and yet this a rare occasion when they appear as the regular cast without anyone else in their dynamic. It’s a real chance to see the two of them lazily blunder into a new story together, talking and discussing matters with the rapport that I always remember them having, when perhaps we actually saw it quite rarely.

Zoe’s character is well established before her first appearance too. While they do concentrate on her a bit too much straight after Victoria’s departure from the show (Zoe’s obviously her replacement), the depth they give her does make her joining a much more likable development.

It’s unfortunate that this is the second story in a row featuring a closed-minded commander ignoring the oncoming alien threat, and that the story itself is so thin.

David Whitaker’s surface-plotting has a lot of thought behind it though, and the strength of Doctor Who’s fast characterisation is on show here too. When Gemma dies at the end of episode 5, it feels really senseless.

It’s also another story to feature Doctor Who's famous curse of the alien who sounds like Zippy. All this, and we even get Troughton’s famous “Turn on the sexual air supply” fluff. (or did he say “sectional”?)

The Doctor doesn't approve of cross-dressing
At the end, Zoe stows away aboard the TARDIS, and to try to change her mind the Doctor puts on a headset and begins to project a memory of an old adventure with the Daleks (from last season) onto the TARDIS’ scanner screen. This was originally to lead into a 7-week repeat of The Evil Of The Daleks while the cast and crew had a holiday. (Doctor Who was literally a weekly series in 1968, all year round)

So that's where the mastertapes got to
She was hoping to watch Z-Cars
Then, after the closing credits had finished, there was something quite magical on the tape.

I found myself watching some genuine, bona fide, canon Doctor Who material from 1968 that I had never heard of before.

Let me just say that again – I have never ever heard of this extra scene via any book, magazine or website. It was totally new and unknown to me.

The reconstructed scene (still photos with a soundtrack) was from the beginning of the repeated version of Evil of the Daleks episode 1. Apparently this new scene was shot purely to be shown on the start of this first repeated episode, and not to ever be seen again or sold overseas.

The Doctor boasts how he once outran Davros
It featured Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor and Wendy Padbury as Zoe, continuing their conversation in the TARDIS from the end of the previous week’s episode. I would like to think that Frazer Hines was still there as Jamie too, but since he has no dialogue on the soundtrack, I just don’t know.

Thank God a fan audio-taped this when it was broadcast, as it’s now the world’s only known copy.

Usually when I watch old Doctor Who episodes I have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen.

But just occassionally I don’t, and that’s when I feel like a kid again.

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2 comment(s):

At 5:03 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

This is so original. I hope you never run out of material!

At 10:44 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

The bizarre thing is, I rather thought I had...


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