Classic Rewatch: The Sontaran Experiment

The Sontaran Experiment

Sometimes, when you’ve got a tale to tell, you don’t need to embellish it with a lot of extraneous characters and tangential moments. The beginning, middle, and end just fall into place, straightforward and true. (And you don’t even have to mention that in the crafting of the story, people were getting seriously injured, and it was probably best that you didn’t drag things for any longer, else something really nasty might come about.)

This week, Taylor Nelson from The PODcastica joins us for a surprisingly brief rewatch of Season 12’s two-part story, ‘The Sontaran Experiment’. Neither he nor Jay had viewed it before, and were rather thrown to find that it was the first two-episode story of Doctor Who ever aired. Nonetheless, we all agreed it was a tight, perfectly enjoyable extension to the “Ark In Space” predecessor…perhaps…the Ark Arc? (We’ll show ourselves out.) The TARDIS is missed, Harry is a bit of a clod (again), Sarah Jane stands strong against Styre, and Tom Baker is endearing and amiable, despite an on-set injury that would/should have really impeded his performance. Let’s face it…he’s just that good.

EXTRA: A little “Five Rounds, Rapid” with Taylor!

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Classic Rewatch: Ark In Space

Ark In Space

That favourite t-shirt, which looks a but threadbare, but is the softest thing in your bureau. That hokey song that has been around forever, and makes all your friends roll their eyes, but you still sing it at the top of your lungs in the shower. The comfort food that has all the nutritional value of a bathmat, but brings a smile to your face just preparing it. We all have those things that mean the world to us, though others may look upon them with quizzical eyes, wondering exactly what the appeal is.

Let’s just get this out in the open, then — it’s green bubble wrap. WE KNOW. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s used in a brilliant way, in a story that we adore, performed by actors who are making it 100% endearing and wonderful. (So stick that in your fist, and pop it.)

Joined by Rachel from Hockey Feels and other podcasts, we enter the ‘Space Station That Steve Jobs Built’, and deal with some unusual pest control in “Ark In Space”. We look in particular at the growing relationship between Fourth and Sarah Jane, note the growing contempt for Harry Sullivan (nice shoes, mate), revel in the set and costume design, and yes — we commend the design team for doing something exceptional and rather convincing with items from your local home improvement market.

EXTRA: We subject Rachel to the obligatory ‘Five Rounds, Rapid’!

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Classic Rewatch: Robot

Robot

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines madness as ‘behavior or thinking that is very foolish or dangerous’, whereas the term eccentricity is ‘deviation from an established pattern or norm; especially odd or whimsical behavior’. With that in mind, we choose to revise the offhand way we have previously referred to one of the most iconic actors ever to portray The Doctor. With sincerest apologies to Tom Baker, we simply didn’t think that calling his Fourth Doctor merely ‘eccentric’ did him justice…but his behavior is whimsical to say the least, deviates from all patterns we could possibly expect, but is by no means foolish in his actions. He knows precisely what he’s doing, and if you’re ever so fortunate, he might even explain…some small part of it.

This week, Graeme Burke of Reality Bomb joins us as we sit back, kick our boots up onto the highest piece of furniture in the room, and enjoy the arrival of the Fourth Doctor in “Robot”. The Letts and Dicks era draws to a close, and they exeunt with a rollicking, well-paced, superbly cast (if slightly heavy-handed with the baddies) story that transitions us from the action-ready, take-charge days of Pertwee, into the unpredictable, what-in-the-world-is-he-grinning-at world of Baker. We salute Benton on his arguably finest story, watch Lis Sladen shine all the brighter in the presence of a new colleague, and wonder how much effort it took Terry Dicks to drop so much of an earlier Avengers episode into a Doctor Who script, given that “cut and paste” wasn’t available in 1974. Need a quick villain? Toss in a few fascist scientists bent on a new world order. Hey presto!

EXTRA: We reserve the right to play a little “Five Rounds Rapid” with our guest!

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Classic Rewatch: Planet of the Spiders

Planet of the Spiders

Everyone has their phobias, be they great or small. For some, they focus on mortal dangers, like heights, open waters, small spaces. For others, they are rooted in the misunderstood or the alien, such as snakes, French mimes, or spiders. So what is the Doctor’s fear? What is that one flaw in their character that could be exploited so adeptly by a powerful adversary, that even they are found without rebuttal, without a plan, without a solution? It’s rats, isn’t it? Gotta be rats. I mean, seriously. RATS.

This week, we bid the fondest farewell to Jon Pertwee as our Third Doctor, as we chant into being a six-episode chase through “Planet of the Spiders”. Haley and Jay enjoy this story for the first time, as Keir picks their brains like so many sentient eight-legs to gather their thoughts on Yates’ redemption, Pertwee’s denouement, the need or lack thereof for the humans of Metebelis III, and the Brigadier’s floofy haircut. Honestly, you expect a serious, thought-provoking conversation about the regeneration of one of the most revered iterations of the Doctor…from us?

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Classic Rewatch: The Monster of Peladon

The Monster of Peladon

If you know us well, you know that even when assessing the most lopsided and poorly executed story from Doctor Who, be it the new or classic era, we’re going to strain at our harnesses to remain positive, and find commendable aspects of the script, the production, the performances. Headed into this week, a number of you expected us to have to get a well-balanced meal and a good nap in first, in order to do the same with our second materialization on the fledgling Federation planet of Peladon.

Sorry to disappoint you, but we didn’t have to work THAT hard. We rather like a lot of this story. In fact, some of us were really looking forward to it.

Podcasting colleague Alyssa of ‘This Week in Time Travel’ joins us to rewatch the penultimate Third Doctor Story, complete with mining revots, ghostly Aggadors, and our favourite hermaphroditic cephalopod. We revel in the glory of badger wigs, discuss Elisabeth Sladen’s ability to forge an iconic scene out of a lesser script, and wonder if Michael Cera is somehow the love child of shady scientist Eckersley. (There. Now you can’t un-see it. You’re welcome.)

EXTRA: We put a perfectly nice person in front of the squad, and subject Alyssa to a session of “Five Rounds, Rapid”.

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