Doctor Who (1963-2017)

Over the last four years I’ve been on a marathon quest. In 2015 I decided to watch every episode of Doctor Who, a show I’m very fond of, and tweet some short reviews. I began with the serials broadcast in the 20th century and – rather than start with the William Hartnell-starring first episode from 1963 – watched those in a randomly chosen order. Just to keep it fun. I saw 158 stories and it took nearly two years.

WilliamHartnell

I then moved on to the seasons that have followed the show’s relaunch in 2005, and I saw and commented on these 144 episodes in broadcast order – one episode per tweet this time, even when they part of larger stories. This phase took 25 months. I brought it to an end after Peter Capaldi’s final appearance in Twice Upon a Time (2017) because I don’t want to rewatch and review stories starring the current Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, until there’s been a greater distance of time and perspective.

PeterCapaldi

In the end, therefore, this process has meant 302 tweets – some serious, some silly, all just what I thought at the time. You can view the full archive here, as well as a statistical leader board of appearances I kept as I went along: it lists every character who’s in more than one Doctor Who story, ranked by the number of individual episodes in which they appear. (Well, it entertained me to update it after each tweet.)

My 20 favourite TV title sequences – part two

Note: I’ve restricted myself to dramas and comedies.

Part one can be found here.

15 seaQuest DSV (1993-1996)

14 The Royle Family (1998-2012)

13 ER (1994-2009)

12 Doctor Who (1963 onwards)

11 Jeeves and Wooster (1990-1993)

Part three here…

Doctor Who: Journey into Terror (BBC1, 12 June 1965, Richard Martin)

DoctorWho

An occasional series where I watch and review works inspired by Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula…

These reviews reveal plot twists.

Setting: This is the fourth episode of The Chase, a six-part serial from Doctor Who’s second season. The regular characters – the Doctor (William Hartnell), Ian (William Russell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) – are being pursued through time and space by the Daleks. This week, they seemingly end up in a haunted house…

Faithful to the novel? Count Dracula (Malcolm Rodgers) appears about six minutes in – he opens his mouth and a disembodied voice says his name. He has a cape and two fangs protruding over his lips. He then shows up again a few minutes later and gets zapped by the Daleks… though is unaffected. Also in the ‘haunted house’ are bats, Frankenstein’s monster and a grey-lady ghost woman who shouts “Unshriven!” The Doctor theorises that the TARDIS has landed in some kind of fantasy world created by the creative psyches of humanity. We viewers, however, get a Rosebud-style reveal: it’s actually a closed-down section of a theme park (‘Festival of Ghana 1996, Frankenstein’s House of Horrors, price $10’). Dracula was just a mechanical exhibit.

Best performance: William Russell knows what he’s doing, as ever.

Best bit: There isn’t one.

Review: Lines are fluffed, props are left in shot during the wrong scenes, cameras cast shadows onto actors, cues are missed. It’s a tiresomely sloppy piece of television. The Dracula-containing sequence makes up just the first 15 minutes of the episode.

Two phagocytes out of 10