Episode 88


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With "The Curse of Fenric" and "Survival," the classic era of Doctor Who has come to a close, and so ends a major chapter for Bigger on the Inside. Join Dan and Mike as they discuss what Sylvester McCoy brought to the program and what he was lacking, Ace's impact on viewership and future companions, as well as Anthony Ainley's legacy as The Master and his charm. Before the episode ends, however, the guys also dig into the "Search Out Space" episode from the children's program Search Out Science, and "Dimensions in Time," the Doctor Who / EastEnders crossover. [ 2:38:40 || 76.3 MB ]

To listen, click here: http://www.earth-2.net/podcasts/biggerontheinside/episodes/bigger_088.mp3

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I remember vividly the period when Dark Dimension was being mooted. When it became clear that it would have been "The Tom Baker Show plus four other guys" it was scrapped because Pertwee, Davison, C. Baker and McCoy had NO interest in playing second banana to Tom. And the more that comes out, the more obvious it becomes that it would have been a disaster. What little of the script I've read was pretty terrible, and the BBC were still pretty adamant about not actually giving the project any time or money, so there's no way it would have been any good.

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I probably did say that. I think he's capable of acting but when he was the Doctor, he could get lazy and opted to be an exaggerated Jon Pertwee, rather than actually playing the Doctor as a role. He was also REALLY prone to hamminess. What little I've seen him in outside of Doctor Who confirms that for me.

As I've said before, by no means does that mean he wasn't good in the role. (Hell, Tom Baker went from acting his socks off under Hinchcliffe to barely bothering to show up on set, let alone ACT, a few years later.) Charisma and personality was just as, if almost MORE important, than actual acting ability at the time.

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Dan: "This was terrible. When this happened, fandom went berserk."

Yeah...just about my thoughts exactly, but in reference to BOTI when I heard this episode. Perhaps it's best that I don't go into any furious detail (as my original post was going to before a computer glitch erased it), but I strongly disagreed with most of the opinions expressed in this episode. Which is fine, I can live with that, but at times (and indeed, throughout the Seventh Doctor reviews) there also seemed to be some pretty repugnant personal bias against McCoy and his stories that went beyond objective criticism. Perhaps I'm misreading that, but at the very least, I'm finding some of the vitriol directed at these stories extremely hard to swallow given that they're among my favorites. I hope I can stand to continue listening to the show as it moves into a new phase, because I've always had tremendous appreciation for the effort and enthusiasm that evidently goes into these recordings. The way I see it right now, though, without a deeper and less jaundiced view of certain (admittedly contentious) aspects of Doctor Who, I'm not sure I'll feel motivated to stick with BOTI any longer. Sorry to sound so down on things, guys, but perhaps my discontent will pass with time and a new perspective. I hope so, at any rate, because it has been a great run for the show.

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Sorry you feel that way, but I can tell you neither of us had an anti-McCoy agenda or bias. Even when we said he wasn't the strongest actor the show had ever seen, there's no agenda there. It's just an opinion that he could ham it up way too often, and really struggled with deeper emotions like anger. But at the same time, we prised him for many things; he started off not so good (RE: pratfalls) but ended up conveying what was asked of him (RE: master manipulator) quite well.

We also liked half of the stories. There were 12 McCoy-led episodes of Doctor Who, and we generally spoke fondly of "Delta and the Bannermen," "Dragonfire," "Remembrance of the Daleks," "The Happiness Patrol," "Battlefield," and "The Curse of Fenric." I even claimed "Battlefield" as my new favorite story, and was turned completely around on "The Happiness Patrol."

Dan even made it a point to constantly point out that this era was trying new things every week, which we both agreed was a blessing. Because, frankly, the show had grown old. So seeing new ideas like "Ghost Light" and companion-centered storylines was a shot in the arm.

What I think happened is that your love for McCoy clouded you from hearing the genuine fun we had with the final classic era of Doctor Who. Did we dislike things? Sure, plenty. But that goes for every era and every Doctor. Listen back to these episodes and I'm sure you'll see we weren't as biased as you thought.

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there is one doctor who thing you guys forgot to mention. Tom's Prime computer adverts.

I've seen those before, and those are really cute. It's some of the most all-out romantic bits the Doctor and Romana II have ever been seen in.

Also, while DiT is complete shite I think it was pretty cool that they got back so many people to cameo in.

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Also, while DiT is complete shite I think it was pretty cool that they got back so many people to cameo in.

It honestly kind of is. It's easy to watch this five minutes after turning the "Survival" DVD off and go, "Yecch." However, at the time DiT went out, the show had been off the air for a while, and people kind of missed it. And McCoy talked once about how incredible it was that all JNT had to do was pick up the phone and say "Doctor Who reunion for Children in Need" and EVERYONE showed up and worked for free.

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Sorry you feel that way, but I can tell you neither of us had an anti-McCoy agenda or bias. Even when we said he wasn't the strongest actor the show had ever seen, there's no agenda there. It's just an opinion that he could ham it up way too often, and really struggled with deeper emotions like anger. But at the same time, we prised him for many things; he started off not so good (RE: pratfalls) but ended up conveying what was asked of him (RE: master manipulator) quite well.

We also liked half of the stories. There were 12 McCoy-led episodes of Doctor Who, and we generally spoke fondly of "Delta and the Bannermen," "Dragonfire," "Remembrance of the Daleks," "The Happiness Patrol," "Battlefield," and "The Curse of Fenric." I even claimed "Battlefield" as my new favorite story, and was turned completely around on "The Happiness Patrol."

Dan even made it a point to constantly point out that this era was trying new things every week, which we both agreed was a blessing. Because, frankly, the show had grown old. So seeing new ideas like "Ghost Light" and companion-centered storylines was a shot in the arm.

What I think happened is that your love for McCoy clouded you from hearing the genuine fun we had with the final classic era of Doctor Who. Did we dislike things? Sure, plenty. But that goes for every era and every Doctor. Listen back to these episodes and I'm sure you'll see we weren't as biased as you thought.

I appreciate your points, and having listened to the rest of your McCoy era reviews now, I want to thank you for giving stories like The Happiness Patrol and Battlefield credit for trying something different and largely succeeding. And even though I can respectfully disagree with your poor take on stories like Greatest Show in the Galaxy and Survival, as well as your relative disregard for McCoy's acting ability, I do recognize why many people (both at the time and since then) found these to be prime examples of why the show was in decline at that point. I just happen to feel that the genuinely innovative things that the producers and writers were trying to do simply came at the wrong time, directed at the wrong audience, and with probably the lowest level of support both from the studio and the public at large that Doctor Who has ever had. I would venture to say that under similar circumstances, even such lauded teams as Hinchcliffe/Holmes/Baker would have struggled to produce a program of better quality and/or popularity. However, that aside, I must admit that my own affinity for the style and substance of the McCoy era (at least, the way it was intended if not always well realized) colored my reaction to your frequently negative views of it, leaving me with sour taste. If I came off rude as a result, please excuse me. The passion of a fan excuses much, but not all, as I'm sure you are keenly aware of. I do hope that you eventually improve your view of McCoy and some of his stories with further viewings at some point, but in the meantime, thank you for demonstrating as much open-mindedness as you have, something any good Who fan needs in abundance ;-) For now, I must be off; somewhere else, the tea's getting cold...

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