Episode 78


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Depending on which host you ask, "The Twin Dilemma" is either rote or enjoyable. However, once Colin Baker is factored in, they agree rather mightily on his awesomeness! Also, the 21st season is examined, and Mike reacts poorly to the results of a Doctor Who Magazine poll. [ 1:36:25 || 46.4 MB ]

To listen, click here: http://www.earth-2.net/podcasts/biggerontheinside/episodes/bigger_078.mp3

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After watching this one for a third time, I have to stress that I really do not get the hate for it. Frankly, I quite like it.

I think "The Twin Dilemma" has suffered the same fate as On Her Majesty's Secret Service. A few people made the claim that it was sub-par, and others, without watching it for themselves, went along with them. Then, over the years, it went from sup-par to bad to awful to wretched to worst ever.

Is it great? No. The acting skills of the twins range from below average to bad (but they're not on screen all that often), some of the props are literally covered in tin foil (but that's only one scene), Mestor has fins he cannot move (I can't justify this one), the cliffhangers are weak (or this one), and there are some dodgy lines (but that's the charm of Doctor Who). However, Lieutenant Lang (Kevin McNally) was badass and should have been a companion, the costumes (besides the damn fins) are great, Nicola Bryant worked well with McNally, I felt bad for Azmael and Drak, and the bit at the end with the Chamberlain were funny.

And then there's the epicness of Colin Baker.

We'll never know for sure, but my guess is that it got the initial bad wrap (which led to the "worst ever" claim) due to the scene where The Doctor tries to murder Peri. If it weren't for that, I bet "The Twin Dilemma" would rank much higher in people's minds.

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I think that a big part of it is the attempted murder, but also just an entire story where we're not sure we like this new guy, followed by nine months of no new stories. That gave the audience nine months to decide they didn't like where the show was going. And once fandom decides it doesn't like something, that's pretty much it. This is not new with the internet; fandom has ALWAYS been intractable and quick to judgement. I'm not going to lie; there are some capital-B Bad stories coming up. But the fact that Twin Dilemma was voted Worst. Story. Ever. has more to do with fandom having made a decision and sticking with it than anything truly BAD about this particular story.

I stand by what I said; it's not a good story. But there have been FAR worse ones.

Also, we can't overestimate the effect of the hiatus at the end of the next season. There was a lot of "This wouldn't have happened with Tom or Peter!!!!!", which plain wasn't true, and Colin (VERY unfairly) takes a lot of crap for it. So yeah, his stories take a lot of heat because his era is generally seen by the fanboy hivemind as a failure. Which is a shame, because he's great.

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A lot of what you said there, Dan, backs up a point I made on the show. For one reason or another -- be it attacking Peri, his haughty attitude, scripts that weren't his fault, the nine-month season break, the 18-month hiatus, or The Coat -- even his best story will have its haters due to a wrongheaded anti-Colin Baker bias. And I think that's exactly what's happened here.

I'd rather the fans take it out on JNT or Eric Saward than Baker. I mean, on some level I get pointing at the lead actor and blaming him, but anyone with a single brain cell should be able to step back to realize they should be blaming the guys in charge.

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One more thing, and this is to those in the anti-Baker camp. I do want to have a discussion about this. I might be firm in my opinion of this Doctor, but I will not shut you down because you disagree. That said, if your opinion is "I hate him because The Coat is stupid" or "He ruined the show," well, then we're done before we started. Let's talk about the scripts, his hammy acting, Peri being Peri, etc.

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I'd rather the fans take it out on JNT or Eric Saward than Baker. I mean, on some level I get pointing at the lead actor and blaming him, but anyone with a single brain cell should be able to step back to realize they should be blaming the guys in charge.

Absolutely. Even though there are some dreadful stories in his era, Colin Baker makes every story worth watching at least once because of his performance alone. The BBC completely screwed him over for circumstances that he had no control over.

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There were just SO MANY THINGS going against the show at this time. JNT wanted out in the WORST way and kept being told no. in fact, aruond this time, he was told straight out that no other producer at the BBC wanted to take over Doctor Who because JNT had turned it into such a machine that they were overwhelmed. He could leave, but if he left, the show would end, and he didn't want that, so he stuck with it in a job he no longer wanted.

Eric Saward felt Colin was HUGELY miscast. Liked him, thought him a good actor, but didn't think he was a good Doctor.

So basically, the two men in charge of the show no longer had any passion for it. And I think that around this time, it WAS becoming a little tired.

Plus, Michael Grade (BBC1 Controller) and Jonathan Powell (the head guy at the BBC) straight out did not like the show. I don't think they were going out of their way to kill it (Powell, at least), but they certainly weren't going to give it more money, time, attention, or anything it would have needed to improve in their eyes. On top of which, (read into this what you will), Grade was dating Colin's ex wife and personally did not like Colin. So when he granted the show a reprieve in 1987, he was adamant that Colin go.

Colin was the LAST thing wrong with the show. He had boundless enthusiasm and a genuine love of being Doctor Who. It's just that the universe was going out of its way to shit on the man.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43jxIaL0pLA

The thing with polls is that they're always based on reputation, earned or unearned. The Tenth Planet? It's a great debut for the Cybermen and has the shock of the first ever regeneration, but peel the layers and it's pretty damn generic. The Tomb of the Cybermen? It's quintessential Doctor Who, but that doesn't mean it's a classic. The Web of Fear? Great story, but in a season with only one story being the odd one out, it's Base Under Siege™ to the Nth degree.

When I started on the Sixth Doctor 6 months ago, I was aware of The Twin Dilemma's awful reputation, and I think much of that is justified, but it's not the worst ever, and Colin Baker still made it worthwhile. And since I've railed on polls, here's another ranking list that's a load of doo doo.

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The thing with polls is that they're always based on reputation, earned or unearned.

Absolutely. in the 80s there was a fan named Peter Haining who was kind of the ultimate voice of authority in fandom. He wrote a lot of books, episode guides, things like that. Back then, there were a lot of people who had never seen the 60s black and white era, and few people could actually remember it very well. Also, there was a tendency to venerate any and all Hartnell and Troughton stories as lost, untouchable classics that could never be spoken unkindly of.

Therefore, in one particular book, Haining listed all the stories and how each one was unspeakably amazingly awesome. In fairness, there had to be one story that wasn't as good as the others, and Haining decided to offer up The Gunfighters as an example of a terrible story. The reason for this was that it was a comedy, and comedies aren't supposed to be good on Doctor Who.

For YEARS, this was treated as biblical law. Ask any fan what they thought of The Gunfighters, and invariably you would hear about how it was the worst story of the era, even though the speaker had clearly never seen it.

Fast forward to last year, when the Gunfighters came out on DVD. There had already been some rumblings about how maybe this story might not be as bad as people had been making it out to be, but once people got a chance to actually watch it, fans were amazed that, hey, this actually is pretty smart. So yeah, uninformed fandom makes a LOT of decisions as to story quality.

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Don't get me started on Ian Levine. I've actually gone out of my way to not talk about him on the podcast, as his contributions to the show have (thus far) been relatively minor and certainly not worth discussing. I don't feel the need to badmouth what is just essentially another fan whose work on the show has been GROSSLY overinflated in his mind. Yes, he prevented some episodes (including the first Dalek story) from being wiped, and he deserves every shred of thanks he gets from that. However, he is DEEPLY obnoxious, completely incapable of interacting with anyone on any kind of personal level, has no filter on his mouth or sense of proportion about what is and isn't important, and IMHO actually helped to cause JNT to steer the show in a direction that catered to longtime fanboys and away from casual viewers that ultimately doomed the show.

There. In a nutshell, that's my Ian Levine rant.

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I'm afraid this episode is where me and the Doctor parted company for a bit. It's a shame we can't go back in time and talk to my younger self as my memory is extremely bad and i neither dislike Colin Bakers portrayal of the doctor or Twin Dilema these days. For me it was the strangling of Peri and him seemingly turning into a bit of a crazy tory twat. I knew pretty much nothing of William Hartnell so there was no real precedence in my mind and was quite a bit different to the doctors i knew.

I do think Colin Baker has proven himself to be a really decent bloke, a lot of people would not of been able to take the amount of crap he took on the chin.

As for Twin Dilema being the worst doctor who story, for me it isn't, though in the 80's i would of said it was without any shadow of a doubt. Unfortunately though my taste really isn't of much value as i tend to like pretty much all doctor who these days, yes i like Timelash (Avon ftw!) and Horns of Nimon. I don't know what story i would put last, but as i think either Mike or Dan has said before, the only crime really is for a story to be a bit boring and Twin Dilema certainly isn't that.

Oh and on an aside i blame Grade for doctor who's decline. He always seems happy about whatever part he played, so i say he can have the honour.

P.s the COAT owns, only a manly man would dare wear such a thing :)

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Can I interest you in a podcast, sir?

i bet i've messed up this quote thingy :o

thanks for the link i shall check them out :D blakes7 is a great show, some great characters in that and has Colin Baker at one point as well, which just goes to show how awesome it is :D

Edit thingy: thinking of Avon just in case you have not seen this, in the episode 2 review here http://wifeinspace.c...-the-silurians/ there is a wonderful short bit of audio by Paul Darrow :D

Edit thingy pt2: Have listened to some of that podcast now, great stuff, i'm afraid you have obtained a muppety listener :)

Edited by Muppet
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In regards to Peri and Nicola Bryant's apparently atrocious american accent, there is something I will have to come clean about.

For the longest time I believed that Nicola Bryant was American. The only time I've ever heard her speak was in Doctor Who, when she had the accent.

I forget now how I found out that she was in fact British, but it can't be more than a couple of years ago.

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I can kind of understand why a British listener might not pick up on how bad her American accent is. I will sometimes listen to someone putting on a UK accent and not think anything of it when apparently it's pretty inaccurate. I listen to Nicola Bryant's accent and can immediately see it's put on because I am American, while British listeners might not pick up on it. So I can forgive JNT or Colin not realizing it's not very good.

And it's not very good.

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