The last two of Three

Well, that’s it; I have now completed the Jon Pertwee era, as I did the Hartnell era in June and the Troughton era in July. (It will take me a bit longer to get through T Baker and Davison, though I’ve already seen half of McCoy and almost half of C Baker.) I promised a long post on the first two, but now might do a longer one on the first three. Before I get there, though, the last two Third Doctor stories on my list.

Day of the Daleks has benefited in fan memory from having one of Terrance Dicks’ best novelisations, as Ian was reflecting not so long ago. In fact it is by some way the most widely owned of the Target novelisations on LibraryThing, at 117 copies (the next are the novelisations of Genesis of the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen and Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon = Colony in Space, at 97 each; four of the new series books score higher, Only Human with 119, Monsters Inside on 122, The Clockwise Man on 128 and The Stone Rose on 129). Ian also links to the Alan Stevens / Fiona Moore discussion of the story.

I think he is a little harsh on the 1972 TV version. It is indeed nothing like as good as the book; I watched it for the first time ten or fifteen years ago and thought it was really rubbish, but this time round I could see the good points, in particular the excellent performance of Aubrey Wood as the controller, and forgive the basic cheapness of the sets. The looming threat of global war between the superpowers is a piece of context that has now been utterly changed, in today’s unipolar world where threats come from the disaffected. The guerillas too are very seventies. But as political stories of the Letts era go, it is much less strident in its messages than say The Mutants or The Monster of Peladon.

Also, surely this is the first ever flashback showing pictures of the earlier Doctors? (Apart from the brief glimpse of Hartnell at the start of The Power of the Daleks.)

I was trying to think of the times when the Doctor is seen drinking alcohol; he has a jolly good go at the Styles wine cellar here, and the Second Doctor did similarly well out of the Waterfields in Evil of the Daleks, and of course the First Doctor toasts us all in champagne during The Daleks’ Master Plan. I can’t remember the Fourth Doctor going for it though.

The Mind of Evil, first broadcast almost exactly a year earlier in 1971, was completely fresh for me; I don’t think I had even read the book. It is also almost entirely in black and white, so there’s a funny kind of retro-feel to it. Here too we have a world peace conference, a rather more credible one than the one organised by Styles, and we have some really memorable Delgado!Master moments: his aggression towards Captain Chin Lee is very sexual, and his phone calls to the Doctor (of course referenced in The Sound of Drums) hint at the depth of the relationship. Again we have flashbacks to earlier monsters, with even War Machines making an appearance. The prison scenes are memorably nasty, and the gun battles suitably vicious and body-strewn. The plot doesn’t quite hang together (so, what happened with the peace conference in the end? and the nerve gas on the missile?) but Jo was not as bad as usual, beating the Doctor hands down at draughts, and even Benton and Yates as well as the Brigadier seem to get plenty to do. Weirdly, Pertwee’s Doctor seems to be at his worst, condescending and making silly mistakes, and the mind parasite seems introduced a bit rapidly at the end. But it teeters on the edge of greatness.

So there we have it; all 24 of the Third Doctor stories now watched. The Green Death was actually the first Doctor Who story I reviewed here; I started on a relatively high note, and did not finish too badly, considering I had tended to watch the good ones first. A reminder for those of you who care that I have archived all my TV reviews here, and all my other DW reviews here.

One thought on “The last two of Three

  1. CBT is widely accepted by mental health professionals, and there seems to be reasonable evidence that it is effective in treating some forms of mental illness (to an extent that isn’t true for some other forms of therapy). It sounds like the book is suggesting it as some sort of self-help tool?

    NLP was in vogue in some business circles (especially on the sales side), and may still be, but I’ve not come across any real scientific backing for it, and many regard it as pseudoscience.

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