Classic Rewatch: The Daemons

The Daemons

The early seventies were a wild time. The Summer of Love was drawing to a slurred, hazy close. Darker tones and imagery were starting to replace the flowers and neon colors in modern art, and interest in the shadowy fringes of history, science, and culture were becoming not only interesting, but influential. Psychedelic rock was giving way to new sounds, like a group of ragtag blokes from Birmingham who called their group ‘Black Sabbath’. Being the consummate trendsetter and fashion nameplate that he is, the Master wasted no time in capitalizing on this shift in style. Now, if he could only find a minion with stony resolve…

This week, we’re joined by none other than Jeremy Radick (Gareth in the 1996 Doctor Who Movie) to enjoy a rewatch of the Third Doctor occult classic, “The Dæmons”. We enjoy the living hell (oh, the puns) out of this bizarre adventure, from autonomous Bessie, to to “Fight Club with Benton”, to the origins of Osgood and…the Weeping Angels? It may not be the BEST Pertwee era story, but we’ll be burned at the stake if it’s not one of the most entertaining. Eoh, eoh, Azal!

BONUS: We play a little “Ask Jeremy Anything”, spanning Whovian topics from the classic era to Jodie Whittaker’s casting.

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World Enough and Time

World Enough and Time

We could not count the times over the course of the past five-plus years on GPR that we have come to the defense of Steven Moffat. His writing, his style of production, his casting choices, his vision for the series, his whimsical-bordering-upon-maddening way of talking about the program through vague words and red herrings. Through it all, we recognized that he is a consummate fan, like us in many ways, and he revels in putting forth stories and ideas that delight and astonish him — in hopes that we will share in that delight and astonishment.

With this most recent episode, he must be grinning like the cat who ate the canary at what he has accomplished…and he’s not quite finished with us yet.

This week, we release our grip on the edges of our seats long enough to reflect on “World Enough and Time”, the penultimate episode of Series 10, and the first of an unofficial trilogy leading up to the end of Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, and the close of Peter Capaldi’s time as the Twelfth Doctor. Given the perfect storm of a solid TARDIS team, the fascinating return of Mondasian Cybermen, and the baffling duo of Missy and the Harold Saxon Master, we had high expectations. We were not wrong. In fact, we were unprepared for how intense it would be. We discuss the emotions (many), the tone of Rachel Talalay’s direction (chilling), the complexity yet plausibility of the script (wonderful), and the questions left to be answered…or so we hope…with the series finale episode to come, and yet a regeneration that is reported to occur months later, but yet…BUT YET.

Oh, Steven; you brilliant, maddening, magnificent bastard, you.

BONUS: We announce the winner of our latest listener contribution contest, where we discussed the DW contributions of Mark Gatiss!

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Classic Rewatch: The Claws of Axos

The Claws of Axos

The most interesting fictional adversaries have more in common than they do in conflict: Holmes and Moriarty. Gandalf and Saruman. Kenobi and Vader. Burger King and Ronald McDonald. What may make their ‘familiar contempt’ even more intriguing, perhaps, are the instances where they must put aside their differences and work towards a common goal — typically their own survival. We present, as a grab-your-popcorn-and-just-enjoy examples, the Doctor and the Master trying to jointly outwit an alien force that is quickly outgrowing and outmaneuvering them both, no thanks to the inherent greed/stupidity of a few humans in power.

(Also, electro-pasta-beasts, ’embiggened’ frogs, and mumbling country bumpkins clumsily riding bikes into freezing ponds. This is Classic Who at some of its finest, people — the agony and the ecstasy in a single story.)

This week, we relish the 1971 classic, “The Claws of Axos”. Pertwee and Delgado are at their finest, the costumes and effects at their most questionable, and the story is aces. Pull up a bowl of psycho spaghetti, and dig in.

BONUS: We play a round of “UNIT Must Have a Star Labs Division”, an alt-universe character improvisation game. (Coming soon to a convention near you!)

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Classic Rewatch: Terror of the Autons

Terror of the Autons

The deus ex machina trope has been explored and adapted more times in science fiction media that we could count. When Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes developed the Nestene Consciousness for “Spearhead from Space”, he paired the concept of a non-corporeal sentient being with the god-in-the-machine premise in the form of the Autons, and the Whovian world would never be the same. Not left to rest on his laurels, however, Holmes was by no means finished, and in the next appearance of the villainous beings, they are assisted by one of the greatest additions the programme has seen. Enter: the Master.

This week, we enjoy the action, adventure, and cat-and-mouse interplay between Doctor and Master in the Third Doctor story, “Terror of the Autons”. Liz Shaw has made an abrupt off-screen departure, the effervescent Josephine Grant emerges as the new companion, and the deadly plastic menace is back once again with the manipulative evil genius of the Master to help in their efforts to overthrow Earth from England outward (as its customary). We delve into the Doctor’s affinity for blowing up electronics, Jo’s prowess as a Level-30 lockpick, the boyish charm of Captain Yates, and the undeniable creepy-cool that is Roger Delgado.

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When Dark Eyes are Smiling

GPR Post HeaderIt’s no secret to anyone who has listened to GPR for any length of time that we are tremendous fans of the audio productions that emerge from the Big Finish studios. They bring the classic era to life over and over again in artistic and magical ways, expanding upon the Whovian universe and allowing established televised characters (Doctors and Companions alike) to flourish and grow beyond their time on screen. But where we feel they truly stand out (and this may just be because in our opinions, more time with Paul McGann as the Doctor is an immeasurable gift) is with their Eighth Doctor audio dramas. The dramatic power, warmth, heart and wit behind these stories are astounding — and the productions are something to which any Whovian should invest the time in listening.

This week, we talk at length about the newest expansions to the Eighth Doctor Adventures, the award-winning Dark Eyes series. When the Doctor meets a medical assistance volunteer from World War I who is unknowingly at the center of a plot that could unravel time itself, involving every threat from Daleks, to Sontarans, to the Time Lord Celestial Intervention Agency, to the Master himself, you need four intricate and intertwined series to truly do it justice. (And we needed nearly two hours to discuss it.) So enjoy this super-sized edition of Gallifrey Public Radio…after listening to Dark Eyes, of course…

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