A Conversation for 'Doctor Who' - a Critique of the Early Days

great early stuff

Post 1

Seagull's Lost Horizon

I can't help feeling that this entry is being more than a little harsh, and a lot of it is nothing more than a sign of the times, in years to come the cutting edge stuff now will be considered pre historic.

The bugdet didn't help, and the way the program was made was a totally different affair. when it comes down to it there was plenty of good stuff mixed in with some really bad stuff, and even some of the effects of the later years were terrible.

there were some really good stories, and if you could remake the same stuff now the only real difference would be the effects and make up.

the tomb of the cybermen had some really good effects and they wouldn't have been so good looking in colour.

great early stuff

Post 2

Dark Side of the Goon

The BBC has never really had much time or money for special effects. The early Doctor Who was meant to be a show for children and at least semi-educational - hence the early preponderance of Historical stories. After a while, the BBC realised that the Science Fiction (and occasionally outright fantasy) elements were more popular (dalekmania, anyone?) and decided to ditch any pretence at being educative.

Doctor Who, which always ran on a fairly tight budget, lived or died on the strength of two things - the script and the actors. William Hartnell played The Doctor absolutely straight. He believed in the role completely and although his memory and health were both failing towards the end of his time as the character he always gave his best. The show creaks alarmingly when other cast members are not taking things quite as seriously - often, it seems that actors are taking the opportunity to treat the script as pantomime rather than drama and that tends to drag the proceedings down.

For a television programme that was made and first broadcast in the mid-part of the last century, Doctor Who has survived remarkably well. In the same manner that some novels written at the same time seem hopelessly dated or quirky, the early series of Doctor Who are very much a product of their times. Most importantly, one should avoid digging too deeply into the whys and wherefores of something that is, at the end of the day, just entertainment.

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