Tuesday, 16 April 2013

11 Doctors and 1 Dentist

Had my first trip to an NHS dentist today! Finally, I have one, after all these years. And quite frankly, it was a lovely experience, she was very nice, very friendly and actually gave me some practical advice on how to clean my teeth properly.

I impressed her with my tale of how I took my own tooth out. Somewhat exaggerated of course.

It seems they aren't in the best of condition, still I am sure she has seen worse. Anyway it's pretty much a straight race to the finish line now as to who's going to last the longest, me or my teeth. Well as long as there's something to look forward to in life...

Most pleased to be presented with a bill of £18 at the end - my old private dentist in Eynsham who retired a few years back started at around £50 just to walk through the front door.

Now then, onto a subject which I feel most qualified to comment upon. As one of Doctor Who's greatest fans, I thought it perhaps time, as we approach the 50th anniversary, to present to you my thoughts on the various actors that have held the role. Now undoubtedly there are those among you who are massive fans of the new series who will know far more about the Eccleston/ Tennant/ Smith era. But how many William Hartnell stories have you watched? Enough to form an opinion on his era, or was it just old and black and white therefore must have been crap?

I have seen or heard every episode, plus read hundreds of books, and also listened to hundreds of Big Finish audios. What are they? Well basically since 1999, an independent company has under licence been producing original audio dramas which you can buy monthly on CD, all featuring the voices of the original actors. In the case of Paul McGann, who the majority of you will only have ever seen in the one movie, well he has produced several full seasons. He is the audio doctor.

I know in this era of vision, I am sure very few of us ever listen to radio plays (any Archers fans reading? Thought not). However these audios are well worth a go. I shall refer to them in my summing up.

There is far too much to go into in one blog entry, so I am going to do one for each Doctor to pad it out over the next few weeks, in between the other blog bits. Today, we look at the Doctor that I have ranked in positions 11 i.e. my least favourite. I must point out that since I absolutely adore Doctor Who in all shapes and forms, this doesn't mean I don't like him, far from it. But someone has to come last, and even the last finisher in the 100m Olympic final is one of the fastest runners in the world. Hopefully that puts some perspective upon it.

While trying to rank the Doctors, I have tried to put each doctor in context of his time. I am judging his performance and the stories he was in - not the special effects. It's hardly fair to say Jon Pertwee was worse than David Tennant because his sets were all wobbly and the monsters looked crap compared to today's CGI. That's not what we are judging here.

So here we go - and in eleventh place it's...

11) Colin Baker

The Doctor never had much dress sense, but even by his standards, this is bad.

I feel so sorry for poor old Colin, and quite honestly, mean for sticking him in last place, as almost everybody else compiling a list such as this probably does. I really feel that he just did not get a fair crack of the whip on TV. By the time he became the Doctor, the worst excesses of producer John Nathan-Turner's "flamboyance" were coming out. That costume! What were they thinking? From the moment he put it on, he was doomed. But to compound the unfolding disaster, they decided to have his first story at the end of the last Peter Davison season - following on from the fantastic Caves Of Androzani (one of the best of all time), we were given "The Twin Dilemna" a story that is regularly voted by fans as the worst Doctor Who story of all time. I don't think it's "that bad" but certainly in the bottom 10. And then they make the regeneration go wrong so he turns horrible, spiteful, sarcastic and nasty, and in the first episode he even tries to strangle his companion! Could they possibly have done any worse? Oh and then at the end of that first story the show goes off the air for 9 months so there is no time for instant redemption.

In most people's eyes, as far as the original series went it lost all credibility at this point. It went from being the stuff discussed in playgrounds up and down the land to the sort of thing that if you mentioned it at school you'd probably get duffed up.

So Colin stumbled through a couple of seasons, with some reasonable stories, and some shockers, but the damage was well and truly done. And then just as you thought it couldn't get any worse, Bonnie Bloody Langford appears as the new companion. Hideous, and the worse companion of all time (and that includes Adric and that lame idiot that used to be in Coronation Street who lasted two episodes with Christopher Eccleston).

Worst. Companion. Ever.

I have always maintained it wasn't Colin's fault, I lay the blame squarely at the door of JNT. And even in death it comes back to haunt poor Colin. A few weeks ago, JNT became the latest name splashed across the front of the tabloids in the BBC sex abuse scandals, with "Doctor Who Sex Scandal" in huge letters and a picture of JNT standing next to Colin Baker. Of course, a fair few people who saw this, presumably those who don't (or can't) read and just look at the pictures assumed this to be about Colin Baker, and now poor Colin has been getting abuse in the street. Probably the same sort of people who think a paediatrician is the same thing as paedophile and chuck eggs at their windows.

But Colin did eventually get his chance to redeem his reputation, not that many are aware of it, and he certainly impressed me. Big Finish audios saved the day. I have heard (and own) many of the audios Colin has done for them, alongside his co-star Nicola Bryant who played Peri, and others, and they really show what he could have achieved on television given the chance. Many of these were written by new series writers such as Mark Gatiss (Cold War + 5 others), Gareth Roberts (The Shakespeare Code + 3 others), and many more. Here the excesses of the Doctor's character forced upon him on television are toned down, we really get to know him, and what's more, we don't have to look at that bloody horrible coat!

So Colin, I salute you! You may have come last in my list, but you can hold your head up high with honour! 11th placed prize money, and next time we will find out who is at Number 10. And possibly 9 as well if I can squeeze two into one entry.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Jason xx

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