Peter Miles   Leave a comment

Posted March 10, 2018 by docwhom in Doctor Who, Misc

Private Eye Answers Hard Acrostics   1 comment

Once again, Private Eye (No. 1456) stoops from the elevated world of politics and Fleet Street to uncover the murky goining-on in the world of Doctor Who.

This is discussed at some length in episode 87 of the Diddly Dum Podcast.



Posted November 10, 2017 by docwhom in Doctor Who, Misc

Mavic Chen Rhymes With Manic Pen (Holding)   Leave a comment

(With “The Daleks’ Master Plan”, we reach Part 21 of our Name Dropping journey through the First Doctor’s character arc as represented by his changing ways of addressing Steven: in which not much jam is spread over 12 slices of toast but we do learn the coolest way to hold a pen.)

Oops! In my relief at finally finishing “The Massacre”, it looks like I forgot that I’d never got around to posting my Name Dropping review of “The Daleks’ Master Plan”. This story had long been held up as the (mostly) lost masterpiece but it really comes across as a lot of filler flying back and forth between big watchable events like the deaths of Katerina and Sara Kingdom, Celation’s 1980s Manc walk, Mavic Chen’s wonderfully cool way of holding a pen and the notorious “Merry Christmas”. Incidentally, my podcasting colleague Mark holds his pen in a remarkably similar way to Mavic Chen. The episode “The Feast of Steven” is just an abomination which by comparison makes Little and Large look funny and Morton Dill a thoughtful piece of characterisation.

The really big treat here is Nicholas Courtney’s first appearance in Doctor Who as Bret Vyon (a name which you feel should be an anagram for something significant). Outrageously, the Doctor nearly always addresses him as “Bret” which must surely make poor Ian and Steven feel pretty hard done by.

When it comes to how the Doctor addresses Steven in this episode, we get my boy x 17, dear boy x 11, young man x 8, Steven x 5, my dear boy x 4, my dear young man x 3, Steven my boy x 1, my dear fellow x 1 and a rare outing for my friend x 1.

(select NAME DROPPING from the list of Categories in the left hand menu to catch the rest of this series)

Posted May 21, 2017 by docwhom in Name Dropping


Doctor Who used to be famous, nay notorious, for its high proportion of gay fans.

This always brought a certain sophistication to our ranks compared to other sci-fi fans who ranged from safely heteronormative preferences for one-piece uniforms and blowing things up to the more outré Red Dwarf furries (all those cats!) – not to mention those Browncoats.

So, where have Doctor Who’s gay legions all disappeared to? In the opening scene of “The Pilot”, the first episode of the current Series 10 of the revived Doctor Who, fans revelled in the nod to the First Doctor’s era provided by the Out of Order sign on the TARDIS door being in the same font as that seen in “The War Machines” in 1966. A small nod maybe and only to be picked up by old school fans but all the more satisfying for that.

What are we to make then of the fact that whole swathes of fans seemed to miss the Charles Eames chair standing outside the TARDIS, a stylish nod to the one in which the First Doctor is found relaxing in 1965’s “The Rescue”?

Can it be that, in the rush to embrace the technocratic era of internet fandom, 2017 sees a Doctor Who fanbase which can expertly compare print fonts but no longer has any eye for interior decor? Is the introduction of a gay companion in the current series an attempt to reverse this trend among fans towards a lack of taste in design classic furnishings? I think we ought to be told.

(For more on the use of Eames in early Doctor Who, follow this link.)


Posted May 19, 2017 by docwhom in Series Ten

Catholics 0 – 0 Protestants (Viewers 0)   Leave a comment

(With “The Massacre of St Batholemew’s Eve”, we reach Part 22 of our Name Dropping journey through the First Doctor’s character arc as represented by his changing ways of addressing Steven: in which we see nothing because the tapes are lost and what we hear doesn’t explain much.)

This time last year, I watched the first reconstructed episode of “The Massacre”. It’s since taken me twelve months of further attempts to get into the story until tonight I finally finished it, and then only by dint of buying the BBC audiobook.

I can’t say that I wouldn’t write home about it. I’m planning on penning dozens of messages to friends and family warning them not to go within a hundred yards of “The Massacre”.

Four episodes of Steven wandering Doctorless around Paris, alternately overhearing Catholics with similar names plotting against Protestants with similar names and vice versa – it hasn’t been a page turner. Mind you, I’m not surprised that it’s one of Peter Purves’s favourites. It’s 90% him. It may be very different visually, but I doubt it.

It’s only in the very final scene that it becomes interesting as Steven turns on the Doctor for not being prepared to change history and storms out of the TARDIS, leaving the Doctor to lament that he’s lost all his friends. If only he was so lucky – because in walks Dodo with an accent that makes Chorlton and the Wheelies sound like Received Pronunciation.

So, to the point of this whole exercise, how does the Doctor addresses Steven in this story. We get my boy x 3, my dear boy x 1, dear boy x 3, boy x 1, young man x 1 and we even get my dear Steven x 2.

(select NAME DROPPING from the list of Categories in the left hand menu to catch the rest of this series)


Posted May 16, 2017 by docwhom in Name Dropping


Today’s unveiling of a new female companion for the Doctor also marks the launch of Feistywatch.

As detailed in this previous blog post, the BBC is incapable of letting a female companion go by without heralding her at some point as “feisty”.

My previous post stopped at Amy but here are just a few examples of Clara getting the “feisty” treatment, all either from the BBC or put into Jenna Coleman’s mouth by the BBC:

Coleman said her character was “mysterious” and “very down to earth, but feisty and curious too”. (The Sun)

Jenna-Louise Coleman has described her character Clara as “feisty”, marking her down as “a mysterious one” (Daily  Mail)

Jenna-Louise Coleman has said that she plans to bring a ‘feisty’ edge to her role as Doctor Who’s new companion Clara. (
Clara will be missed by the Doctor, by Rigsy, maybe even by Ashildr and certainly by the many whose lives she touched. But Clara Oswald, the funny, feisty, heroic and human Impossible Girl, will be missed most keenly by us. (

The first person who brings to my attention an example of new companion, Bill, being described as “feisty” by any arm of the BBC or by Pearl Mackie herself will win a Golden Ticket.


Posted April 23, 2016 by docwhom in Doctor Who, Misc



(With “The Myth Makers”, we reach Part 20 of our Name Dropping journey through the First Doctor’s character arc as represented by his changing ways of addressing Steven: in which we see a more adult version of Doctor Who as the TARDIS crew encounters the Great Whores of Asia.)

You could be forgiven for giving up on this story before you reached Scene 8. But that would be a tragedy because once we escape the tedious non-duels in the middle of nowhere and get to Agamemnon and Menelaus bitching at each other, “The Myth Makers” really takes off and never (well, rarely) looks back.

In a similar way to the attempts in “The Crusade” to craft the dialogue in something close to iambic pentameter to give it a Shakespearian feel, “The Myth Makers” dialogue aims at the Homeric. Not that I’d know, never having read The Iliad in English translation. I’ve only read it in the original Klingon. This helps to give some gravitas to the interplay between the characters which plays very nicely against their characterisation. Because much of “The Myth Makers” is Homeric epic played out as a drawing room farce. And it works wonderfully for it.

The family back-biting between Agamemnon and Menelaus, Priam and Paris, and Paris and Cassandra is delightful at times. It’s not that far away from the interplay between the Caecilius family in “Fires of Pompeii” but fortunately with a sight less overdramatised dancing and gesturing in temples. When Paris turns up in Troy with the TARDIS and tells Priam that it’s a prize he captured from the Greeks, his Dad sniffily replies: “I wager they were glad to see the back of it.” When the Doctor tries to convince the Greeks that he has supernatural knowledge by telling Agamemnon that his wife is unfaithful to him, Odysseus dismisses it with: “Everyone knows that.”

Given that no episodes of “The Myth Makers” exist in the BBC archives, Loose Cannon had a bit of luck when putting together their reconstruction. Francis de Wolff (last seen trying to rape Barbara in a snowbound hut in “Keys of Marinus”) as the BBC costume department hired the same uniform for his role as Agamemnon as he wore a year earlier in “Carry On Cleo for his role as Agrippa (famous for the immortal lines “I’m Agrippa” – “Well, I know one or two holds myself.”) This may seem a remarkable coincidence until you consider that it may have been the only ancient uniform in that size in the whole UK.

The Steven and Vicki double-act goes from strength to strength. Their bickering at each other in the cells is lovely as well as being entirely natural. Alas, this story was the last we’d see of what was promising to be one of the finest TARDIS crews ever. It was criminal that, after their meeting in “The Chase”, they would have only 12 episodes together and that only 5 of those should survive.

We turn to how the Doctor addresses Steven in this story. Well, not much as they see little of each other: my boy x 2, my dear boy x 2 and young man x 1.

(select NAME DROPPING from the list of Categories in the left hand menu to catch the rest of this series)

Posted March 30, 2016 by docwhom in Name Dropping