Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A recent interview with DOCTOR WHO showrunner Steven Moffat produced some quotes that have delighted many and, I'm sure, chilled others.  The gist is that we've seen the last (for a while, anyway) of the Doctor kissing companions, random doomed humans, and Tudor monarchs.

I, for one, welcome the smoochless Doctor.  I'm still a Fourth Doctor kinda guy, and he didn't go around kissing everybody. The friendly offer of a jelly baby was more than sufficient. (Wellllll,* that and an insanely dangerous spin in his stolen time machine that usually he couldn't control.)

But the interview also contained the hint that Moffat thinks the casting of Peter Capaldi will help to establish a new "unkissable" Doctor because, well, who'd want to get close to a man in his fifties? "Eww," Moffat seems to be saying, despite being himself a man in his fifties. And maybe this only matters to me since I was born a few months before Moffat and not terribly long after Capaldi. But what are your thoughts on this?

*You have to say it like Tom Baker.  Wellllllll....

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Doctor's Scottish Medical Credentials

So I was watching one of the surviving episodes of the Second Doctor adventure THE MOONBASE (1967) the other day, and I was struck by the fact that Polly is surprised when the Doctor commits to curing the mysterious virus afflicting the staff of the moonbase.  She didn't know he had any actual training as, well, a doctor. He reassures her by oh-so-casually mentioning that he studied in Glasgow with Lister.

He means Joseph Lister, of course, the guy who had the radical idea that surgeons ought to wash their dad-blamed hands before they operated on people, and that in general being dirty was bad for you.  Since Lister's breakthrough was in  1865 and he left Glasgow in 1869, that's probably the period when the doctor was studying with him in Scotland.

But as we know, the Doctor lies.  Why would he have studied with Lister?  Would a centuries-old Time Lord need to learn about how germs are spread?  Perhaps it's more likely that the Doctor was there giving Lister hints...

And that's an intriguing possibility, especially since it might tie in with the story the Tenth Doctor gives Queen Victoria in TOOTH AND CLAW (2006). He tells Her Majesty that he's a Scottish doctor who studied with Joseph Bell. If he's lying, he chose a clever false credential, because Bell was one of Her Majesty's personal physicians. (He was also the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, but that's beside the point.)

But could he be telling the truth?  Bell and Lister were contemporaries, and the ever-curious Second Doctor could have been drawn to hanging around with both of them. And given the trouble he had controlling the TARDIS in his first and second lives, he might easily have been stuck in Scotland for a few years.

So if he really did study with (or mentor) Lister and Bell at some point during his second incarnation, that may be why as the Tenth Doctor he chose to tell Queen Victoria his name was James McCrimmon.  Perhaps when thinking back to that time, hundreds of years in his own past, when he studied medicine in Scotland -- and was reminded of the young man who was his friend and companion up to the very end of that regeneration.

Just a theory.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Third Doctor Smooching. It's About Electronics.

A very cute short film featuring Jon Pertwee doing his best impression of Danny Kaye. He explains electronics without ever once reversing the polarity of the neutron flow!  If nothing else, this film has a shot of Pertwee passionately kissing a cute girl -- something his Doctor never got to do.  The world would have to wait for David Tennant before we'd have that sort of thing going on. 

Monday, April 14, 2014


Okay, Ian and I let this blog lie fallow for far too long... nearly two years ... but we're back! It was two years of seismic changes in our lives, so if you knew the details you'd understand, but they're not relevant here. What matters here is DOCTOR WHO and we say, "On with the show!" ... or, to put it another way: allons-y!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Was Working on the Show in the 70s a Death Sentence?

Mary Tamm, the fine actress who played DOCTOR WHO's first-ever Time Lady, has been taken from us.  And shortly after cancer also claimed Caroline John (Liz Shaw) too.  And if you look through this blog, you'll see I was so shaken by the sudden passing of Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) that I couldn't even write about it here.

Once again, it's the redoubtable Charlie Jane Anders who's summed up the importance of gorgeous Mary Tamm to the show -- so I encourage you to read her remembrance of "Romana I" over there on

But as if the early, early passing of Mary Tamm wasn't bad enough in itself, it makes her the third of the 1970s DOCTOR WHO companions who died of cancer, two of them in their early 60s.  Louise Jameson (Leela), bless her, keeps the chain from being unbroken.  Long live our Leela!

Still, it's more than a little creepy, losing Lis Sladen, Caroline John, and Mary Tamm -- all within such a short time.  Were our ladies exposed to something carcinogenic while working on the series in those days?

Sweet little Katie Manning (Jo Grant) is still with us, thank goodness, and so is Lalla Ward (Romana II).  I recently had the pleasure of meeting Matthew Waterhouse and Louise Jameson and Sarah Sutton (Adric, Tegan, and Nyssa), and they all seemed in good health, hale and hearty. For that matter, I also recently met William Russell (Ian Chesterton) who played the clever and brave Ian Chesterton in the very first episode of the show (and for three years after) and at age 87 he looked like he might go on forever.  Maybe they're all saved by spending so much time in the studio?

I dunno.  I think there was something toxic in those rock quarries that the show used and reused as alien locations in those days.  I hope Tom Baker will see his doctor for a checkup right away.

Friday, June 22, 2012

How Caroline John Helped Save Doctor Who

Check out the outstanding piece by io9 editor Charlie Jane Anders about Caroline John, who passed away recently at the age of 71.  Caroline John was known to DOCTOR WHO fans as Third Doctor companion Dr. Liz Shaw.  Here's the link to the article:

Dr. Shaw was arguably the first companion who was deliberately written to be the Doctor's equal. She was an intelligent and independent woman at a time when such characters were rare on television. And Caroline John played her to perfection. It's a pity she wasn't in more episodes.

Nicholas Courtney, Jon Pertwee, and Caroline John

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tiny Little Bow Ties are Cool

Animation artist Alisa Stern now claims to be the Doctor's current companion, and she can prove it -- they really do go everywhere together. Her Doctor is only a few inches tall and I think he's brilliant. The details and textures are perfect, and best of all it's a very good caricature likeness of dear old Eleven.

(Sometimes the Doctor Puppet has Matt Smith's goofy lopsided smile and sometimes he looks very very sad indeed... I need to know: is Alisa adding his mouth digitally in her photos? Did she make a Happy Head and a Sad Head? Is the mouth a sticker or something? Reveal your secrets, Alisa!)

Follow Alisa's adventures with the Doctor Puppet at!