TARDIS Eruditorum - An Unauthorized Critical History of Doctor Who Volume 2: Patrick Troughton
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This second volume of collected and expanded posts from the popular blog TARDIS Eruditorum offers a critical history of the Patrick Troughton era of Doctor Who. Steadily tracking the developing story of Doctor Who from its beginning to the present day, TARDIS Eruditorum pushes beyond received fan wisdom and dogma to understand the story of Doctor Who as the story of an entire line of mystical, avant-garde, and radical culture in Great Britain: a show that is genuinely about everything that has ever happened, and everything that ever will. This volume focuses on Doctor Who’s intersection with psychedelic Britain and with the radical leftist counterculture of the late 1960s, exploring its connections with James Bond, social realism, dropping acid, and overthrowing the government. Along, of course, with scads of monsters, the introduction of UNIT, and the Land of Fiction itself. Every essay on the Troughton era has been revised and expanded, along with eight brand new essays written exclusively for this collected edition, including a thorough look at UNIT dating, an exploration of just what was lost in the wiping of the missing episodes, and a look at Stephen Baxter’s The Wheel of Ice. On top of that, you’ll discover: Whether The Mind Robber implies an alternate origin for the Doctor in which he is not a Time Lord but a lord of something else entirely. How The Evil of the Daleks reveals the secrets of alchemy. What can be seen on a walking tour of London’s alien invasions.
mad for space. And, as Miles and Wood point out (in About Time: Volume 2), this is actually structured much like the news coverage of space flight, with anticipation and waiting serving as a fundamental part of the narrative. More than almost anything else in 1960s Doctor Who, this is a story that is in part about expectation—about setting up a confrontation and then making us wait to actually see it play out. It’s a structure we’ve seen used successfully before; The Enemy of the World and The
“Lloyd seriously thought this was all Doctor Who was capable of being, all the license payers were entitled to expect from the series.” And there we run aground. (It is perhaps worth noting that Lawrence Miles apparently considers The Underwater Menace his least favorite story, and the accusation of “contempt” rings strikingly close to his assessments of Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who, making this one of the moments in About Time when we can fairly clearly tell which writer’s viewpoints are most on
exactly, Klieg thinks that the gun—something the Cybermen presumably have rather a lot of—is such a massive threat to them. Of course, everyone acts as though the gun is particularly deadly. Mind you, it leaves the first human it hits alive, so if it is deadly, this means that the Cybermen—a seemingly monolithic race of conquerors—have designed their weapons to be more deadly to themselves than to the people they’re conquering. As the Cyberleader said in The Moonbase, clever, clever, clever. So
and Past Doctor Adventures, I will admit, for exactly this reason—that too often they seem to solve problems they themselves invent. On the other hand, I’ve been more or less fond of most of the books this project has covered so far. That said, the books I’ve enjoyed were all ones that offered commentaries on the eras they were set in and on the show itself. Not only does The Dark Path not offer any real commentary on the Troughton era, it doesn’t really try to. It’s just some continuity points
purging of the left relatively unscathed. Or, to relate it back to Doctor Who, for all his anarchism and disregard for authorities, the Doctor is not a revolutionary in the American or French sense of things. Left to his own devices, he seems to want nothing more than to bop about the universe doing cool stuff. Any revolutionary drive he has seems to extend from the degree to which he is a socially unacceptable figure just for wanting to wander time and space. Secondarily, it comes from his