Inside: RIP John Hurt & Deborah Watling, The Doctor Who Cookbook, The Casting of Jodie Whittaker, The Curse of Time, Returning Villains And Much More
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18
Staying In For The Summer Believe it or not, this editorial has been through more edits than the Oxford English Dictionary in recent years. First written in 2016, the changing landscape of Doctor Who saw me make various changes as time went on, in the hope that I’ll eventually cobble together enough content to release the issue – but it never really happened. Issue 18 was left packed away, gathering virtual dust. But thanks to circumstances, I’ve managed to find the time to complete it – and what a time to be back. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing chaos around the world with most of us stuck inside on government orders – I’m fortunate enough to be able to eke out a living from a computer screen, but it’s been an awful time for others, with their livelihoods, as well as their health, at stake. It all seemed like a bad dream at first – it feels somewhat alien not being able to go outside to see people, hug them or allow them to buy you a drink in the pub. We’re two months in (at the time of writing) and I’ve just about got used to it. Brilliantly though (as said in various episodes of Doctor Who, funnily enough) the human race always finds a way to make good the grave situations they find themselves in. Whether it’s something as small as checking in on neighbours to volunteering for, and supporting, the emergency services – people have bandied together in the hope that things will get back to normal, sooner rather than later. It’s made me value the stuff I’ve got – and one of those things was a couple of thousand words by brilliant contributors that
I’ve had lying around for four years. So why not get on with finishing it? Well, that was part of the reason for the return of this fanzine, the other part is that I’ve got an irrational fear of leaving things on odd numbers – this is an actual phobia, called ‘Imparnumerophobia’, apparently, so I had no choice but to bring out an Issue 18. The monsters that hide between the floorboards would have got me. Where We’ve Been In all honesty, I’ve actively avoided most things Doctor Who for the last few years – the poisonous politics that surround the show at the moment makes it difficult to parody, let alone enjoy it as a spectacle. I’m not just talking about the fallout of the casting of the first female Doctor with Jodie Whitaker, but real-life politics has bled into fandom and has been intertwined with Who, dividing people along lines other than ‘which Doctor is their favourite’. I’m one of those weirdos who believes Doctor Who should be a means of escapism, something for people to connect through, not to use to abuse each other and fall out, so I decided that I was better off detaching myself from it for a bit – and I didn’t really miss it. My ducking out of fandom doesn’t mean that I’ve not been watching new episodes, because I have and I’ve been liking them (mostly), but I think I’ve reached the point where talking about them (as part of a mass fandom, not in a guerrilla publication such as this!) isn’t for me anymore. Whilst I’m hoping to bring out new issues in the future (more about that in a bit), I’m going to try and find a way to enjoy Doctor Who without
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 having to refer to social media or forums – a gargantuan task, considering I collect information (‘work’) from the bloody things! Back For Good? The return of this fanzine is still somewhat tentative – there’s already an Issue 19 in the works, which means that there’ll be an Issue 20 too (no odd numbers and all that). Beyond that, it’s all up in the air. Not that I’m purposely trying to be ungrateful here (!), but another reason why the fanzine took a hiatus was due to a lack of contributions – nobody’s fault, but that’s the way things have gone. This is something which I understand has affected other fan publications, as news and views have migrated into video form and instant reactions on YouTube. I never wanted this fanzine to be solely my mouthpiece; I wanted all manner of views represented and me just writing the same old rubbish is just, well, the same old rubbish. This I think is the key to a fanzine; it should be a collective, a place in which opposing views can be aired with respect, whilst the reader understands them and decides for themselves where they fall (so you can see my issue with the Wild West nature of fandom at the moment!)
something more substantial than a Tweet or a Facebook post and over the last 18 issues I was delighted to receive all manner of different points of view, from all over the world. So let’s see what happens – we’ve got a lot of stuff to catch up on (including reviews from the 2016 Christmas specialonwards!), so if YOU would like to send anything to the fanzine (especially your written or drawn contributions!), you can do so by directing your e-mails to email@example.com. If you don’t already, stay connected with the fanzine on Twitter – @fishcustardzine or on Facebook for updates. As always, you can download our back issues from fishcustardfanzine.co.uk. Just to note, this issue contains content that was written in 2016/17 (with some more recent bits bolted on). Hopefully we can go more in-depth on the current goings-on in Doctor Who in the next few issues. Enjoy this issue, stay safe – and look after others by looking after yourself. Cheers Danny
A fanzine ultimately exists to give likeminded enthusiasts a platform to air their views in
Fish Fingers and Custard was made possible by the following chaps: Editor: Daniel Gee Contributors: Matthew Kresal, Callum McKelvie, Tim Gambrell, Arthur Orse, Steve James and John Barleycorn. Doctor Who is ©BBC. No copyright infringement is intended. We are but humble fans. FFAC120
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18
They’ve Cast A WOMAN? AS THE DOCTOR? IN DOCTOR WHO? Everyone knew that the time was coming, surely? The reveal of the actor to play the new Doctor was always going to be totally different on this occasion. With speculation always full of ridiculous suggestions (amazing how the majority of people STILL don’t pick-up on the actor of choice always being jobbing/up-andcoming) and with a strive to reflect people’s takes on equality, it always leads to disappointment when a white man is cast. Some are delighted at the calibre of actor cast, some do not and prophesise the doom of Doctor Who. Rinse and repeat. With a new head writer and in an era where the show has slipped from appointment viewing to ‘we’ll catch-up-later-because-nothing-else-ison’ – a bold choice was needed to rejuvenate the show. Something safe but popular, something interesting, but half-expected. The time isn’t right to throw the baby out with the bathwater but perhaps it was time to take a risk and throw those ever-dwindling BBC coffers (?) at a world-famous name to give those casual watchers a reason to watch? Come the time when the video reveal played, with excitement bubbling away, I was left stunned by the end. Even in these times of equality awareness, I just didn’t expect them to ‘go there’. Go there they did; Jodie Whittaker is The Doctor. Oh yes, she is. SHE!
The Reaction I thought I was surprised – then I went online. Fans were in either 3 camps, I’d say: • • •
Those who were UTTERLY DELIGHTED Those who were UTTERLY APPALLED Those who were indifferent
I must admit that I was probably the latter of those by the end of that day. The initial surprise I felt evaporated though when I saw the new Doctor’s face – Jodie’s got that same trusting, kind
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 look that you’d expect of The Doctor, she looks kind of ‘unusual’ (in a nice way!) and all of a sudden, it didn’t really matter what gender she identified with anymore. She was The Doctor and looked beautiful, stunning even (I think that’s the biggest issue that I need to get my head around now – I’ve never found The Doctor attractive before. Well, apart from Jon Pertwee). So personally, I’m just looking forward to this new Doctor and her new adventures, just like I’ve always done. Let’s get on with it! There are those who haven’t taken the news as well. I think we need to be careful here though – it can be easy to throw that theoretical SEXIST brick and smash someone’s head in. I don’t think it’s right that good people, with certain views on a show they’ve watched for decades, are being hounded, labelled and ridiculed because they just don’t agree with The Doctor changing his form into that of a female. I think reasoned debate is absolutely fine – but reaching for that obvious brick to throw when you’re having trouble understanding somebody’s genuine feelings isn’t going to win people over to your point-of-view. It’s only going to make you look like you throw bricks in anger because you can’t take the time to be empathic. Whilst there could well be a minority that may have a hint of sexism in their views – it’s important that they’re challenged and shown examples of why The Doctor being a woman isn’t that much of a big deal in 2018 – and that can only be achieved by producing great episodes of Doctor Who. So over to you, Chris and the team.
The Canon But WAIT! The Doctor being a woman doesn’t make sense – he’s been a white man for 50-odd years!!! That’s correct – and I have a solution: For those still having trouble with the casting on a canon level; with this technically being the first time The Doctor has regenerated within *his* new regeneration cycle, you can probably say the mix-up in cells is a result of that unnatural extension to a Time Lord’s life – explaining the similarities of the 13 previous incarnations (white/male), and the differences of future ones. Therefore *he* can now change gender, race – maybe even have two heads. WHO knows? (You can have that for free BBC, by the way). One thing I am hoping for though, is that this change in gender won’t be constantly referred to ‘in show’ – if we are seriously going to imagine The Doctor as a woman then constantly hitting us over the head with it will seem somewhat unnatural. The Doctor not being a man should come across as the most natural thing – I think that’s the point; it’s The Doctor, he/she/they transcends any particular group we identify with. Ultimately, The Doctor should be a hero to look up to for EVERYONE regardless of age, gender or race. •
We’ll be talking more about the casting of Jodie, the companions and the series’ in future issues – contact us if you’d like to contribute (REGARDLESS of your particular point-of-view).
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18
10 Years Since Fish Custard This month marks 10 years since this fanzine was first published – back in 2010 when us Doctor Who fans were looking forward to the Matt Smith era and a new outlook on the show by Steven Moffat, a man whose scripts could do no wrong at that point. Along the way we unleashed our own brand of irreverent ‘humour’ on fandom, got into arguments over fonts, done black market deals for staplers, started viral Twitter hashtags (#drwhoadultvideos), attended conventions and offered criticism and praise to the BBC where merited. Whilst much of the content we’ve produced (I use ‘we’, as it’s not just me who creates this content!) has been experimental and oftentimes, mental, I’m particularly fulfilled that the fanzine has provided people with an opportunity to get their views out about the show they love in something more substantial than a forum post or tweet. So for anyone new (or old) to this publication, I’m going to delve into the past to explain how we got here – slightly narcissistic, maybe, but I’ve a page count to fill! The Genesis of Fish Custard Having always been interested in the written word ever since I learned how to construct meaningful sentences (around age 16), it was always my ambition to produce something that could encourage me to write more – whilst simultaneously being inspired by content that I could collect from people. I contributed stuff myself to various publications throughout the years (not just Doctor Who) and the time came when I wanted to create something of my own. The great thing about Doctor Who, is the limitless creativity of it. Not just the stories on telly – but the way in which it inspires creative thinking amongst those who watch it. It’s a show about an alien who can travel anywhere at any time, so just thinking about some of the plotpoints we’ve had (especially in recent years!) helps to train the mind, opening up creative doors that would have otherwise been shut if we’d been fans of soap operas like Star Trek, or whatever. So producing a fanzine was my way of harnessing that creative flair sparked by the show – the airing of The Eleventh Hour sealing the deal.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 Day of Fish Custard Originally, the fanzine was produced in paper and in PDF format – a fan of all things physical (in terms of SFX, I mean) I endeavoured to produce something that you could conceivably read on the toilet, and then use in lieu of toilet roll*. Getting the fanzine printed by professionals was somewhat out of my price range – I wanted to keep the cover price as low as possible too (£1.50, excl. p+p). So I would print it myself, using matte/gloss paper for the colour covers and A4 paper (recycled) for the black-and-white interior pages (folded to create an A5 form). (*Only joking – never put anything but designated toilet paper in the toilet; you’ll cause blockages, otherwise). After much worrying, sweating and swearing, Issue 1 rd was finally released on the 23 June 2010, two weeks after the initial planned date. I posted the fanzine just after worrying, sweating and swearing at England’s eventual World Cup will over Slovenia and immediately went out on the town to celebrate. In my drunken haze, I was convinced that ‘England would beat Germany in the Second Round’, ‘I would ask that nice girl out who I’ve been chatting to on Facebook’ and that ‘the fanzine would go down okay’. England would go on to lose 4-1, so ‘2 out of 3 Ain’t Bad’, as the popular artist ‘Malt Loaf’ once sang. Featuring a review of the aforementioned opening Matt Smith episode, information on the infamous ‘PBS hijacking incident’, a report on the Invasion convention in the UK, a column from someone who will be never named in these pages again, and an interview with Louis Trapani (the host of what was the biggest Doctor Who-related podcast at the time), Issue 1 certainly covered a large breadth of fan activity. The Power of Fish Custard It seemed to go down quite well; many ‘digged’ the fact that it was a duel-print/PDF fanzine; its style evoking memories of fanzines produced in the 1980s (I didn’t tell anyone that I was a mere toddler back then). From my Megaupload stats (remember that site?) I saw that the PDF was downloaded by over 2,000 people, whilst the paper copies sold over 70 – it turned out to be the peak of our popularity! Using Google’s Blogger platform as the fanzine’s home on the internet gives you an easy way to see where in the world people are accessing your site from. The following is perhaps my favourite piece of feedback, one which set the template for much of our future content…
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 Re: New Fanzine - Fish Fingers and Custard by eirrac54 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:24 pm Not particulaely serious arrrrgh... Who the f*** does that jumped up little freak think he is. in his opening address he manages to disrespect every single Dr Who fan whoever watched the show before Matt Smith came on board. To him it's a 'social experiment' to test the power of the 'fanzine' as a phenomenon. He lost me at 'Hi'.... I was one of thosee kids waiting for Dr Who to start on the Saturday, only to feel really pissed off because some US president got himself assasinated on the Friday and the BBC delayed the start until the following week... bastards lol I watched William Hartnell finally 'morph' orph' into Tom Baker (who completely broke the mould those guys, Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee and on... were ALL important and significant.
He passes them over as 'fluff' that got the Doctor started.....arrrrrgh, where does he live, what's his address... I'll show him... I read a few pages and it was total crap... and who the hell was that 'insider' ex Dr Who actor (loser) who never actually made it to air. all he wanted to do was get his head on tv again... on anything, didn't know squat about the show. And those 'bunches of fives' wtf... Please don't legitomise this idiot by making any positive comment about his so called Dr Who 'zine'. Unbelievably bad... IMHO (of course). regards john th
That particular post appeared on a New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Forum on the 27 July. Despite the initial shock (this was my first experience of being abused on the internet) I quickly shook it off and laughed my head off; despite him being factually wrong on a number of statements there (and not to mention borderline offensive to the family of John F. Kennedy) I love that he got so worked up about it. The post exists in a thread that was overwhelming rwhelming positive about the issue and it was then that I understood the polarising reactions of putting stuff out in the public domain. If you ever wanted to know why the fanzine likes to take a pop at Keyboard Daleks,, there’s a little example of why. I’m still not sure if he was being serious, but he certainly gave me something to parody, providing further content for the fanzine.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 You can read that opening editorial for yourself in Issue 1; I don’t know, you tell me – was it disrespectful to ALL Doctor Who that came before Matt Smith? Did I pass it off as fluff? I learned that day that you really can’t please everyone, especially when you’re giving them a free downloadable magazine (that despite what some people believe, celebrates ALL of Doctor Who!) ‘ John’ wasn’t the only one to have a go – I had constant battles over Twitter because we used the font ‘Comic Sans’ quite a lot. I’m not the most design-savvy; much of the photo editing I do is in MS Paint, so I honestly don’t mind what font something is written in as long as it’s readable. I don’t understand why so many people are so passionately hateful (I’m not exaggerating here!) of a font that we only used for our logo (and the headers, footers and a handful of titles). If the entire body was written in that font, fair enough, but it wasn’t. I quite liked using it in all honesty; it looked fun, not a serious, heavy font like most of them seem to be – the ‘irony’ of using it I think rather summed up the fanzine and what I was trying to achieve. I had also read it was particularly helpful to people with dyslexia. So, naturally, I carried on using Comic Sans until I got bored of winding people up about it. Revelation of Fish Custard So, on we chugged, building up a dedicated base of writers and artists as the years went by. A particular favourite part of my editing this fanzine (aside from receiving all the lovely content, of course) is finding/making cover art. Whilst Issue 1 was a brilliant piece of fan art by Jon Wesley Huff, I knew that longer term, if the fanzine wanted to poke (loving) fun at certain aspects of the show, using photographs would be best (not that I’m adverse to receiving cover art, by the way!). Issue 2, featuring Georgia Moffett holding a photograph of herself that she doctored, was obtained by chance – I worked these signing events at the time and a fellow crew member took the photo. The cover that, for some reason I can’t fathom (even now) that received the most attention was the one for Issue 14 which featured the Teletubbies patriarch, Tinky Winky, proclaiming him as ‘The Next Doctor’ as he filled ‘all the requirements’ set out by fans. Now, I wanted to get a decent picture of Big Tinks carrying his favourite handbag (to represent the arguments going on in fandom – ‘handbags’ being British slang for ‘relatively tame arguing/fighting’), but unless I went through all the episodes of Teletubbies, I couldn’t obtain one (plus I didn’t fancy my hard drive being taken away). Still, the image I used of Tinky Winky garnered interest – I received an e-mail from a reader
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 who wanted to feature it in an academic paper (if I had the picture with the handbag, it would have been featured in a gallery, I’m sure of it). As time went on, I received more requests for things – contributing to books, interviews with The Atlantic, even helping someone with their GCSE project. It was all welcome, but utterly bizarre that something I produced in my front room could lead to things like this. Remembrance of Fish Custard Aside from offering up reviews and opinion on Doctor Who, one thing that I wanted to promote above all was the fandom – how this family television drama affects the lives of those who watch it in particular. With the internet making it easy for us all to connect, people around the world discovered Doctor Who and created their own local groups – not just in all the English-speaking countries (and the US), but in countries that you wouldn’t expect to fall in love with a weird British sci-fi show – Issue 11 featured an interview with one of them; Thais Aux, the organiser of a fan club in Brazil. Since then, her organisation has been recognised by the BBC as the ‘official’ Brazilian Doctor Who news outlet and its Twitter account continues to grow in strength. It can be easy to take Who for granted in the UK – it’s on ‘channel 1(01)’ every week when it airs and the iPlayer thereafter. For our overseas friends, watching the show (at least up until the last decade) was somewhat of a challenge and many of them told great tales of the lengths they went to in order to source episodes and/or get involved with local fan groups – alien concepts to us Brits. Then there are the more personal stories, the ones in which watching Who has changed people’s lives. Abby Peck’s ‘Why I Watch Who’ in Issue 5 told of how the show provided her with comfort and a community to relate to when times were hard. Then there was Aussie fan, Jamie Boyd in Issue 10, who told of his experiences growing up with it, watching with his father as the two of them drank in Colin Baker’s era as The Doctor; Colin sharing a resemblance to his dad (who would pass away a couple of years later). Jamie would meet Colin in 2005 as he toured conventions Down Under; acting as a reminder of that special time in his childhood and his relationship with his dad, bringing it full circle. It’s this kind of content that makes for fascinating reading and I was delighted to feature it and humbled to read it. We’ve featured the odd interview with fans, convention organisers and actors too (not ‘odd’ as in weird, odd as in ‘every now and again’). Aside from Louis in Issue 1, we’ve had writer Simon Barnard (creator of The Scarifyers) talking about working with Nick Courtney on the audio series, Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar in series 5 & 6 of Doctor Who) spoke to contributor, Lisa Carroll about his career and experiences on Who, Steve Hatcher of the Whoovers fan group in Derby told us about arranging the popular Whooverville convention
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 and in the last issue, actor Caroline Boulton talked with Tim Gambrell about her work on ‘Face The Raven’. And the art! We’ve had some great pieces sent in, many of them used for back covers or inside pages – then there were great comics, such as Mike Pearse’s ‘Cyberman No3’ series that charted the progress of a hapless performer (something which I can relate to). Resurrection of Fish Custard So, here we are. After a 4-year break, the fanzine is back. How long for? I’ve no idea – I’m just going to keep at it until I run out of ideas (or I get battered by an angry Doctor Who fan). Producing this fanzine has given me a lot; friends, a sense of purpose, improved writing skills, the confidence to press ahead and say what I feel is right (even though it turns out that I’m often not right). My views have undoubtedly changed, which is great; that’s what living should be. This experience, producing this silly fan magazine has allowed me to grow as a person and learn about things outside of my usual box of thinking (and I’m not just talking about Doctor Who, here!) I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has taken the time to contribute, purchase or downloaded the fanzine – without you, there would no fanzine at all, let alone 18 issues of it, so thank-you from the bottom of my heart(s). If you feel like you have a creative itch for anything, I’d say press ahead and do it. The Internet is a wonderful gift for our generation; connecting us to different people all around the world and providing us with great opportunities to fulfil our creative ambitions. It may seem difficult initially, but don’t let anxiety or anything or anyone stop you because ultimately, it’ll be you who is stopping yourself – and that would be the biggest pity there is. It may be one of the oldest adages around BUT if I, a barely educated simpleton, can feel fulfilled by bringing 18 issues of this out in 10 years, you can achieve what you’re looking for too. So, here's to another 10 years? Well, we’ll see!
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18
Farewell, John Hurt
Of all the Doctors, the War Doctor holds a special place for me. Not just because he was played by Sir John Hurt, an actor I greatly admired, but because of who that Doctor was and his role in the series. I took an almost instant liking to this Doctor and the anniversary special but it wasn't until months after it first aired that I realized why. Because The Day Of The Doctor, and the War Doctor's role within it, is a tale of redemption. Whatever else you may love or hate about that fiftieth anniversary tale, it is ultimately a tale about a man facing his darkest day to make an impossible choice that he feels he can not recover from, yet finding in facing it
the strength to carry on and become a better person. Looking back on things, it was that part of the special that resonated with me. Because back in 2007, I faced an impossible choice of my own which I thought I never would recover from. Due to being a poor math student, I missed out on graduating from high school when I was meant to have and, with the additional factoring in of a number of other reasons, lead to me making a decision I never considered making before: I dropped out of high school. I know that might not sound very traumatic but back then I was the sort of kid who had a plan for the future, to go to college (university for you in the UK) so I could attend film
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 school and go on to have what I thought would be a great career. That plan was dashed to the rocks, leaving me without a future it seem, destined to languish at a job I came to hate to pay repentance for my lack of hubris.
August, features a protagonist modeled on Sir John Hurt. I even adopted one of Hurt's lines (originally written by Terrance Dicks) as a personal motto: “Never give up, never give in.”
Yet once an idea is in your brain, it doesn't really go away. Events during the year after the special was broadcast were to show me that, like Hurt's Doctor, I did have another choice and that I could change my mind. In a sense I found my own version of the Moment who showed me the way, someone who would become my best friend for all intents and purposes, who encouraged me to write again and to look for a way out of my job. It was no accident that my first serious piece of fiction in years was a War Doctor tale, one written for the Seasons Of War fan anthology that was accepted but later cut when a strand of stories were removed. Or that my first published story, published in an anthology back in
That is what the War Doctor and Hurt's performance meant to me. This was a man who had seen and done terrible things given a chance to reclaim the man he once was. This was a man who found, in spite of everything, a chance to be who he wanted to be again. It's a lesson I haven't forgotten and that I hope I never will. Rest in peace Sir John and thank you so much for being the Doctor I needed. •
(Taken from http://warpedfactor.com. Follow Matthew’s blog at http://timdalton007.livejournal.com)
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Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18
The Curse of Time Most conspiracy theories aren’t true – for instance, I don’t believe the earth is flat, I don’t consider the moon landing was faked and I don’t think that aliens started the human race. In fact, the only ‘conspiracy’ I believe in (aside from the giant marshmallow man that invaded New York in the 1980’s – that definitely happened) involves Doctor Who and why ‘time’ has failed it. I can’t fully remember the circumstances when I first stumbled across this theory. It may have been immediately after The End of Time when somebody was bemoaning it on a forum somewhere, but I do recall there being a clear hypothesis amongst fans that all Doctor Who stories with the word ‘time’ in the title were destined to be bad. A possible explanation (other than it being a coincidence/load of bollocks) is that time (and travelling through it) is so integral to Doctor Who that the writers believe they have to create something unique and complex, or to simply put on a show (at the cost of canon or common sense). So to investigate this theory (and just to give me something to do), I re-watched all stories with ‘time’ in the title. These are ‘full stories’ (yes, I know the final episode of The Daleks Master Plan was called ‘Destruction of Time’ – but the entire story was called The Daleks Master Plan. Also, I’m not including Trial of a Timelord or Key to Time – these are collective names for seasons made from connected serials, each of which have their own titles). And naturally, there will be spoilers.
Is There A Problem With Doctor Who and ‘Time’? The Time Meddler My theory hits the skids immediately, as the first serial in Doctor Who history to have ‘Time’ in the title is quite enjoyable. Full of sharp dialogue, witty retorts and some rubbish sword fighting, it’s what I would describe as ‘pure Doctor Who’. The story is also historically important (in terms of real history and Doctor Who history).
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 After Ian and Barbara leave the TARDIS after The Chase, The Doctor is travelling alone with Vicki – or so they thought. The presumed-dead pilot from the previous story, Steven Taylor, has managed to stowaway on board and joins them for a trip to Northumbria – in 1066. A key moment in the formation of Europe’s royalty; The Norwegians, under the leadership of Harald Hardrada are poised to invade the North East of England, whilst the Norman King, William, is organising his forces to invade from the South. Between them is the Anglo-Saxon King, Harold Godwinson – who moves north to meet the Vikings. The TARDIS appears prior to the eventual Battle of Stamford Bridge between the Saxons and the Vikings; The Doctor throwing a hilarious look towards the camera as he realises he made a faux-pas, talking about the upcoming battle in front of a Saxon villager. There’s a great use of exposition in this scene – ostensibly, it’s The Doctor talking to himself as he recounts what happened in 1066, but it’s really talking to the viewer – fulfilling Doctor Who’s role of being an educational programme for children. The travellers encounter a Monk, whose monastery lies above the Saxon village, and the story doesn’t mess about in telling us that he’s up to no good. As it turns out, The Monk (played by Peter Butterworth) is a time traveller from ‘the same place’ as The Doctor – he’s a Time Lord, the first person other than The Doctor and Susan to have been revealed as such (although not as a Time Lord, specifically – the term wasn’t in use yet!) The Monk wants to lure the Viking fleet to the coast to destroy it, leaving the Saxon forces intact and rested for a march south to defeat the Norman invasion (which he would also undoubtedly have a hand in). In reality, the Saxons did defeat the Vikings but just 3 days after the battle, they had to go south to engage the Normans – where they were roundly defeated and King Harold got an arrow in his eye for his trouble. The Monk’s plan is to prevent that from happening, stabilising the English kingdom and th helping it to advance so much that both television and aircraft would be available by the 16
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 century. Hence, he is a ‘time meddler’ (the reveal of The Monk’s TARDIS at the end of episode three must have been a breathtaking moment for viewers at the time). Hartnell and Butterworth’s sparring is great to watch – they just bounce lines off each other, in the chippy way that gentlemen of the era did. My particular favourite exchange was The Doctor admiring The Monk’s Type-4 TARDIS console and The Monk asking what model The Doctor’s was; ‘Mind your own business!’, shoots a belittled Hartnell, as he pulls a face away from the camera. The ending is great too – The Doctor stealing The Monk’s dimensional circuitry so the interior of his TARDIS is reduced to an unusable size, trapping him on Earth in 1066, with angry Saxons after him. For those needing more of the original Doctor in their lives, The Time Meddler is a good watch; it’s an important milestone in the development of Gallifrey and the Time Lords (before they were ruined), anyway.
The Time Monster “One moment you're talking about the entire universe blowing up and the next you're going on about tea” – The Doctor summed up quite well by the Brigadier there! The Time Monster continues The Doctor’s banishment to Earth and his ongoing battles against The Master (Roger Delgado in his second-last appearance as the character). On this occasion, The Master’s plan is to control time and space by seizing a ‘Chronovore’ – a creature that exists outside of reality as we know it. The means by which The Master is going about all this, is through a machine he created at a research institute outside Cambridge called ‘TOMTIT’ (Transmission of Matter Through Interstitial Time). The Master is attempting to bring a crystal, that summons the Chronovore, through time – but it stays stuck in the past, in Atlantis, no less. Naturally, The Master goes after it – and The Doctor and Jo (‘Jo-Jo’) Grant, follow. Whilst this story isn’t overly-terrible, it isn’t particularly enjoyable, either. The 6-parts are just too much, with the first 3 being particularly slow (an apt criticism, considering some of the plot is dedicated to slowing down time!) There are some good moments though – my favourites were every time The Doctor pulled out his ‘time displacement tracker’ (which looked remarkably like a phallus), and him recounting his childhood on Gallifrey
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 as he played truant from school to visit the Hermit in the hills above his house, who taught him the beauty of positivity. Perhaps what would have made the story better is if we would have spent more time in Atlantis – the fabled lost kingdom was only featured prominently in the last two episodes. I would have preferred some extra time to delve deeper into the political situation and the motivations of the characters there. Horror icon Ingrid Pitt makes the first of her two guest star roles in Doctor Who here (the th other being the 5 Doctor story, Warriors of The Deep), as Queen Galleia – who is unceremoniously wooed by The Master with promises of power (and love. Yuck). Oh and with this being Doctor Who, we need a literal punch on the nose (as well as a figurative one) – a Minotaur guarding the crystal and the Chronovore itself fitting the promise of a ‘Time rd Monster’. There are much better 3 Doctor stories to watch, which brings us to…
The Time Warrior An important story for a number of reasons; it kicks off Jon Pertwee’s final season, it has new opening titles (the debut of ‘the diamond logo’), names ‘Gallifrey’ as The Doctor’s planet, introduces a villainous race that would re-appear up to the present day and last, but not least, introduces a companion that many fans rate as the quintessential sidekick of The Doctor. And it’s an ace story. The Doctor, along with a number of other scientists, are being kept at a research institute for their own safety – apparently a number of them have been disappearing into thin air. In fact, they have been kidnapped by Linx – a Sontaran warrior whose ship has crashed in The Middle th Ages; he’s using his own time travel technology to send himself to the 20 century to snatch them away (the ship is too big to transport, presumably). After hearing about the disappearances, journalist Sarah Jane Smith uses her aunt’s virologist credentials to gain entry into the research institute. It doesn’t take long until she comes into contact with ‘Doctor John Smith’ and the pair (unbeknownst to The Doctor) are travelling to the Middle Ages to see what’s occurring. Aside from the delightful co-villain, Irongron (played by David Darker) seeming over-the-top without being over-the-top, I really liked that Sarah didn’t trust The Doctor at the outset – because why would she? She doesn’t know him from Adam, he behaves weird and has a police box that moves through time – she’s also a journalist with an inquisitive mind and a story to uncover. Linx (Kevin Lindsay) is a joy – his tough exterior and manner is tested throughout the story with his interactions with Irongron, and you can see him visibly growing more frustrated as
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 time goes on. This makes their double-act quite amusing; when realising that humans had more than a single gender, Linx’s line of “Girl? You have two species on this planet?” raised a particular chuckle. Speaking of repartee, I also enjoyed the character of Rubeish (Donald Pelmear), a scientist who was snatched by Linx, and his interactions with The Doctor. It was a real ‘punch the air moment’ when our guy Rubeish smacked Linx in his probic vent to help The Doctor and Sarah, let me tell you. Speaking of that potential double-entendre – Linx acknowledges the effect of a damaged probic vent (which lies at the back of every Sontaran’s neck), but sees its presence as a strength as it means that Sontarans ‘must always face their enemies’. Apt for a species that deals exclusively in warfare! Episode 4 sees the budding friendship between The Doctor and Sarah enter full bloom as she helps him escape the clutches of Irongron’s men – her throwing him a chandelier to swing on, whilst he saves her from being shot. True friendship (love) blooms on a battlefield, as a great warrior once said. The ending is classy too, as the archer Hal says “You are truly a magician, Doctor”, (The Doctor), “To tell you the truth, I’m not a magician at all”. (Sarah Jane, on her first trip), “I’m not so sure about that”. *TARDIS disappears*
The Invasion of Time This story is a funny one – not in a Mrs Browns Boys sense – but it’s almost like a 2-in-1 story; the first four parts dedicated to an invasion of Gallifrey by the mysterious plastic bag-wearing Vardans, and the other two parts cover the real invasion of time by a group of Sontarans. Having apparently struck some kind of deal with some mysterious aliens, The Doctor goes home to claim the presidency of Gallifrey (which was effectively awarded to him in The Deadly Assassin). He’s acting weird though (well, weirder than usual) and as he orders for Leela to be ejected from The Citadel, it becomes apparent that he is helping the aliens to invade Gallifrey. But why?
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 The narrative builds up quite nicely early on; doing a great job of convincing any first-time viewer that The Doctor (and K9) have turned heel – The Doctor’s maniacal laugh at the end of episode 2 leaving us in no doubt that he’s acting like a baddie. Leela isn’t convinced though; despite being told that ‘all reason points to The Doctor helping the invaders’ she retorts with, ‘Then reason is a liar’. This story is a great showcase for Leela in what is her last outing – she was all-action, brave, witty and intelligent; showing great growth from her first appearance in The Face of Evil. Louise Jameson had reportedly requested for her character to be killed off, but producer, Graham Williams, apparently tried everything to keep her on board – even offering to re-write the ending when the story was well into production. This drive to keep Leela would go some way to explain the abrupt departure, what with her deciding to stay behind on Gallifrey having apparently struck up a romance with Andred (even though there was little to suggest such a thing was occurring). Although the twist at the end of episode 4 with the Vardans being sent on their way, only to be replaced by the Sontarans, is great, there wasn’t any real threat from them. We get an intriguing chase through the corridors and rooms of The Doctor’s TARDIS, and a Sontaran almost trips over a chair next to the swimming pool (look out for that, you’ll piss yourself laughing. I did), but it just seems like it’s all playing for time and that the twist was done just for the sake of it. Credit to the production team for that final scene in the TARDIS, though – while he’s lost his two best friends, The Doctor ends the story by pulling out a box containing another K9 unit, looking directly into the camera and giving a big beaming smile. After the previous scene in which Leela and K9 were lamenting the loneliness of The Doctor, this tells us that he’s not alone and is going to be alright as he embarks on a new era of adventures. Which is a relief, as I was cursing the big ponce for being a traitor for most of the first 3 episodes.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 Time Flight You know what they say about perceived fan wisdom? It differs from fan-to fan. You tend to hear some bad things about the closing story in Peter Davison’s first season as The Doctor, but is it REALLY that bad? Well, no. Not really. Not in the way it’s spoken about, anyway. The first two episodes of Time-Flight, a story about two Concorde aircraft slipping through a hole in time back to prehistoric times, motor along quite nicely – there’s an extremely camp villain who seems to be directing all the events. As we learn from the (brilliant) episode 2 cliffhanger, it’s The Master!
Okay, fair enough, there wasn’t really any need for him to dress up like that but as we now live in a more progressive era these days, shouldn’t we respect his choice to dress up as Kalid, the looking-like-he-has-dried-mud-on-his-face warlock weirdo? He clearly only took it off to surprise The Doctor, so I think it’s fine to say that The Master has some kind of fetish for dressing up. It takes all kinds to make up a universe. The biggest issue I had with this story is that the supporting characters seemed too quick to accept The Doctor and the situation they found themselves in – okay, there’s only 25 minutes per episode and the plot needs to be moved on, but with four episodes to play with (where not a lot happens, aside from The Master wanting to power up his TARDIS), it’s not like there wasn’t room for some descent to grow.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 This is, of course, the first story to take place after Adric’s sad demise in Earthshock – Matthew Waterhouse making an appearance in this as a memory created by The Master/Kallid to spook Tegan and Nyssa (apparently, this was done to fulfil Waterhouse’s contract). One of the biggest complaints about this story from fans (apart from them saying it’s shit), is that The Doctor was too ambivalent towards Adric. Could he have gone back and saved him? I think his reaction was par the course for The Doctor in the classic series – he couldn’t risk anything that would affect time (in today’s Doctor Who, we’d have half a series of him going back to save him!) Although it was done to provide a season-ending cliffhanger (confirmed by script editor, Eric Saward in the DVD commentary), The Doctor and Nyssa leaving Tegan at the airport without a thought was a bit odd – she would reappear in the next season opener, Arc of Infinity (in search of a missing cousin), so I suppose it makes plot sense to leave her on earth to set that up – so why could they not put a line in this story about her thinking about staying behind to resume her air stewardess job? That way, we assume that The Doctor misread her intentions and took off without her. At the end of this, he just seems like a bellend. Despite some of these missteps, Time-Flight isn’t as bad as what’s made out – I mean, you need to have a look at some of the stories we’ve got coming up next…
The Curse of Time will conclude in Issue 19. •
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I think it’s fair to say that the announcement of a new (official) Doctor Who spin-off was met with indifference by the vast majority of fans. Patchier than a patchwork quilt (obviously stained with human fluids for added, pointless affect) Torchwood didn’t quite deliver the quality that it was capable of. For every Children of Earth, there was a story like Cyberwoman. Then there was The Sarah Jane Adventures, sadly ending too soon but did a decent job in catering for the younger Doctor Who fans on CBBC. Now, there’s Class; a series aimed at teenagers and marketed on BBC Three’s new online platform. Written by renowned Young Adult author, Patrick Ness, the series promised to be a halfway house between Torchwood and SJA (although leaning more towards Torchwood, if truth be told), with the
hope being that the series would take advantage of the growing ‘Young Adult’ market. Did it deliver? With me not being the right demographic for this either (but slightly more in tune with the series and what its characters tried to convey) I must say that I enjoyed it. It isn’t perfect by any means, but for a first stab at a television series, Patrick Ness did a decent job in creating believable characters with genuine real-life issues, against the backdrop of alien invasions. Taking place at the now-named Coal Hill Academy, the school that taught Susan Foreman in 1963 and staffed by Clara Oswald is now a sixth-form college and thanks to the many incursions it suffered in the past, is a Torchwood-esq ‘Rift’ for aliens to be attracted to. Standing up to the potential threats (as we know, the majority of aliens are all evil, of course)
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 are a group of students who despite having different personalities, become friends as they battle the aliens – aided by snarky teacher, Miss Quill. Looking as if she genuinely hates her students, Quill (played by Katherine Kelly) is the main stand out of the series, stealing nearly every scene she’s in. Unfortunately for her, she has a certain link with one of the group, which only works to increase her bewilderment and pure hatred for the situation she finds herself in as the series goes on. We’ve all had teachers like her. Other standout characters include the troubled football star Ram (Fady Elsayed) and Charlie (Greg Austin); a seemingly intelligent student with a secret (or two) to hide. Being a series that delves into relationships (heterosexual and homosexual), race, age, displacement, broken homes, depression and suicide – much is packed into the 8 episodes. The only aspect that I’m still at odds with, is the PE teacher being called ‘Coach’. He’s a PE teacher – not a coach! It was usually ‘Sir’ at my school (although being a sixth form college, I’d imagine they’ll be allowed to call teachers by their first names? This article has taken a weird turn, as I desperately try to make up the word count). I mentioned earlier that this was a halfway house between Torchwood and SJA, at a push Torchwood-lite. On reflection, I’d say it’s more akin to Buffy
The Vampire Slayer, although with slightly more choice language. In fact, Buffy is mentioned in this series which further cements the US show as the template for modern Young Adult television. I feel that Class, despite the obvious influences (and not to mention the spectre of Doctor Who hanging over it) stands on its own and does a fine job of quickly immersing the viewer into their world. It just needs a chance to further expand its own universe. The series hasn’t exactly been wellreceived by the general press – indeed many tabloids were running (incorrect) stories that it had been cancelled soonafter its release. The truth is after a run on BBC Three’s online platform, it was later repeated late-night on BBC One to an expected low audience share. It’s airing on BBC America at the moment (after new episodes of Doctor Who) and reading between the lines, it’s likely the feedback from those viewers that will ultimately decide the future of the series. It got me thinking – is this BBC Three Online experiment really worth it? Why invest so much and place it on an online-only channel, then rebroadcast on a graveyard slot? It makes little sense. I would encourage all Doctor Who fans to tune into at least the first episode, just to try it out – it can be found on Netflix (the UK one, at least) and on DVD. •
UPDATE: Sadly, CLASS wasn’t re-commissioned for a new series. More short-sightedness by the BBC? Thankfully the show was ‘revived’ of sorts – on audio by Big Finish. Check it out at https://www.bigfinish.com/ranges/released/class
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10 Most Boring Doctor Who Moments In response to Cult Box’s highly contentious article listing the 5 Most Boring Doctor Who Stories of all time, here is FFAC’s list of the TEN Most Boring Doctor Who Moments of all time - because we all need to know when to press fast forward. (Or just laugh incredulously – Ed). 10
The gaps between Gatherer Hade’s words in The Sun Makers.
The Chief Caretaker’s post-possession top lip in Paradise Towers.
The TOM part of the acronym TOMTIT in The Time Monster.
The TIT part of the acronym TOMTIT in The Time Monster (not to be confused with item 5).
The look on Captain Revere’s face when he’s driving that Tractator machine in Frontios. I mean, come on, cheer up!
The words between the pauses spoken by The Security Chief in The War Games.
Any part of The Time Monster not involving Ingrid Pitt’s chest.
Sorak’s under-hat hair in The Horns of Nimon.
Those areas between the rims of the Portreve’s hat in Castrovalva.
The gap between the upper and lower eyebrows on any of the Xeron males in The Space Museum.
Any point in A Christmas Carol.
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The Doctor Who Cookbook The history of Doctor Who merchandise is a subject so broad, so colourful and at points so downright bizarre, that it deserves several books-worth of material in its own right (and has them, I recommend all volumes of Howe’s Transcendental Toybox for the eager collector). Surpassingly, given that there was a significantly lower number of Doctor Who related items on the market, some of the strangest examples emerged during the run of the classic series. From Dapol’s legendary two-handed Davros, green K9 and five sided Console figures to Tom Baker underpants, you sometimes have to be glad you live in a time where the weirdest items include a sonic screw-driver pizza cutter and a th Mr Potato Head 11 Doctor. Rarely talked about however are a number of cookery related products marketed under the Doctor Who Banner, including two-official cookbooks. The first of these, 1986’s The Doctor Who Cookbook is the subject of this little piece. Unlike the later work (Doctor Who; The Official Cookbook by Joanna Farrow) the book does not feature recipes ‘based’ on the show (Slitheen Cuisine and Ood Head Bread amongst others) but instead Downie took it upon himself to collect the favourite recipes of various cast and crew members. Oh and I don’t just mean, Doctors, companions, producers and notable villains. Oh no. Ever wondered what Kari from Terminus likes for desert? Or how about what members of the Radiophonic workshop favourite mains are? Then this is a book for you.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 The first two recipes I tried I suppose fit into the category of ‘guest stars’ as oppose to notable Who faces, though both from well-known British character actors who are sadly no longer with us. The first was Michael Gough’s (The Celestial Toymaker) Celestial Peacock, in a spicy and sweet sauce. Now as shocking as this may seem, the local Iceland was sadly out of Peacock, though thankfully Mr Gough has noted that this recipe goes just as well using Chicken. Admittedly- this was pretty damn spicy and with a lot of extremely strong flavours. Served on a bed of rice and as Mr Gough suggested, with an Ice-Cold larger, this was perhaps one of my favourites from the entire book. Admittedly I had been helping myself somewhat copiously to the cooking Sherry of which this recipe makes delightful use of. Next up was a recipe from that much adored of Doctor Who supporting characters, Professor Hayter from Time Flight (now where is that spin-off?). Nigel Stock is perhaps better known for his role as Watson opposite Peter Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes, or as the only actor other than Patrick McGoohan to take on the role of Number 6 in The Prisoner. Mr Stock’s recipe sticks with the Spicy theme; Hot Spinach and Prawns (sadly the only one of my chosen selection not to contain a clever whorelated pun).Essentially prawns fried with Spinach, Chilli, Garlic, Tomato Paste and Tabasco this was a little disappointing coming after the last recipe this is still extremely tasty and giving the simple nature of it is deserving of a second chance. Now is when things really started to get intense. Living on a student budget and attempting to make a ton of recipes from a book whose contributors are primarily RSC trained British Character actors with expensive and exotic tastes is not an easy thing to do. So I needed assistance. Offering Students food for about £3 however is an offer that’s never going to get turned down. So with a few friends (one of whom happens to be Pescatarian- hence the large amount of fish on the menu) I targeted three more recipes… With all my other choices being from Actors involved in the programme it seemed logical to target a member of the production crew for the first of our two starters, and always enjoying a good pun I went for Jhonny Bryne’s ‘Kipper of Traken’. The recipe has something of an interesting History- as Mr Bryne explains; ‘Most favoured dish of the Keepers of Traken. The nearest earth equivalent to the smoked Katura Kipper, so popular that many Trakens took their given names from it, is the delicious Arbroath Smokie. This recipe was found among the items abandoned by Nyssa on the TARDIS’
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 Well Arbroath Smokie Tesco hath not and so armed with a couple of kippers from the Fishmongers I set about marinating them in the White wine vinegar, mustard seed, onions, black peppers, brown sugar, coriander seeds, bay leaves and Olive oil before baking. What emerged was probably the most popular dish that evening and certainly one that I would try again. Like Bryne’s scripts its rich and flavoursome, but a little quirky. Next up was the only dish submitted by a companion on our menu, Janet Fielding (who played Tegan with the Fourth and Fifth Doctor) who provided the excellent Ocker Balls. Essentially Oysters and Prawns in a cream sauce and encased in pastry balls these seem like the ideal decadent treat for the fanciest of fancy parties. Now as I was cooking for only a set of three, I cheated a little and instead did ‘Ocker cups’ which were equally as lovely, though admittedly they were served with a Bottle of Echo Falls as oppose to the ‘Alfred Gratien Cremant Brut 1976’suggested by the editor. Now considering this the ‘Doctor Who’ cookbook and not the ‘Doctor Who Supporting Cast and Production Crew Cookbook’ it seemed pretty obvious that at this point I had to bite the bullet and attempt to cook a few recipes by those privileged actors who have played our favourite hero. Well as the Cookbook was released in 1986 and the majority of the illustrations and material related to the then current Doctor, ‘Old Sixie’ Colin Baker, he seemed a pretty obvious choice. His recipe‘The Doctors Temptation’, was another Fish Dish (and thankfully the last on our menu), being a selection of tinned fish (primarily anchovies) cooked in cream and baked with potatoes and breadcrumbs on top. Although not my personal favourite, it made ideal ‘comfort’ food and went down very well with the rest of the group. Cheap and easy to make, it’s perhaps the one I would encourage people to seek out the most simply due to the simplicity and the popularity Now for Bill Hartnell’s (the First Doctor) ‘Chocolate Chumblies’, provided by his Widow- Heather Hartnell. Oh good god. I think it’s fair to say that my attempt at producing, ‘Chocolate Chumblies’ turned out about as successful as their television
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 counterparts- that is not very well at all. Also similarly to Galaxy Four, these Chumblies will not be making a second appearance. Now before I unfold the disaster before you dear reader, let me point out that I don’t for one second believe that this is a fault with Heather Hartnell’s recipe. Admittedly there were points where there was either a printing error or editing error (the method mentions using eggs but the ingredients list makes no mentions of eggs or indeed how many!) but also I’ll be honest, I may be able to cook a little- but Baking? No chance. It seemed simple enough, three or four little chocolate balls with chocolate and sherry buttercream on top. Well I’m not sure what it was they tasted off (at least I cannot find an appropriate word to describe them that could possibly be printed within these pages) but it certainly wasn’t Chocolate and Sherry. To begin with I used icing sugar instead of casting sugar (don’t ask, the Echo Falls had had the effective of Venusian lullaby on Aggedor by this point), so then re-making the cream in our….’condition’ our group decided to pile it on top of the Chumblies fresh out of the Oven resulting in a bit of a mess. Oh well, at least it’s a good metaphor for Galaxy Four. My condition that evening can be used to sum up my feelings on The Doctor Who Cookbook in general. Confused, bloated but most of all having a whale of a time and not really caring what the hell had just gone into my system. The Doctor Who Cookbook is a truly unique piece of Merchandise but not what that is nessecarly unwelcome! As a cook book, well a lot of the recipes fall into one of either two categories, cheap and affordable comfort food, whilst the others are exciting and enticing glimpses of a much more decadent lifestyle, a kind of- how the other half lives. One of my friends commented that the selection; ‘Tasted so 80s!’ I’m not really sure what exactly was meant by that. Are we to take that it tasted so 80’s in a Timelash kind of way? In which case I should probably be extremely insulted. Or perhaps she meant that’s so 80’s in a Caves of Androzani way, though I wouldn’t say that any of it made me feel depressed and dark inside. No I prefer to think of it as a Two Doctors of cook books. Brash, outlandish and very over the top but with a deep love of Doctor Who and its past, though not afraid to share that love with a wink and a smile. Bon appetite •
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5 Villains That Should Be Brought Back To Doctor Who I don’t know about you, but I’m bloody sick of seeing the Daleks and the Cybermen return every single year. The Daleks have been utterly destroyed (and then returned to full strength) like an average character in a scripted reality show, whilst the Cybermen’s aim to turn from humans into fully-fledged robots was achieved a long time ago. So where can these villains go now? Where’s the creativity in bringing them back just to rehash the same old story? Whilst I would prefer a series of new villains to be created and pushed as much as the old ones, for hype and marketing reasons, that’s about as likely as DWM publishing critical articles on the show. So instead of the usual suspects, which other past villains should make a return? So for fans that may not be au fait with villains from the classic series (and for those who are!), here’s my wishlist of baddies that should make a reappearance in Doctor Who:
1 – The Monk Debuting in the First Doctor serial ‘The Time Meddler’, The Monk (not his name, he has the name as he was literally dressed as a Monk!) was the first ‘Time Lord’, other than The Doctor and Susan, to appear in the series. His raison d'etre is to influence historical events, changing them so they benefit him in some way – already, just by thinking about a single historical event and how it could have turned out differently, you can see the story possibilities that can be mined from this. In The Time Meddler, his messing about was used to explain the events leading up to The Battle of Stamford Bridge and The Battle of Hastings. So it’s a great, easy way to inform viewers of history – the original intention of the show. One of my disappointments with the modern series is that it has only explored Gallifrey (and its people) just to provide The Doctor with some wistful memories, or to blow it up. What was the point of Steven Moffat bringing the planet ‘back’ if we’re never going to learn about the people from there? I don’t buy the argument that exploring Gallifrey would ‘cheapen’ its mystery – opening a single door to a corridor may reveal a countless number of locked doors.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 The Monk (like other Time Lords, bar the Doctor and The Master) is intriguing, not just because of his meddling, but because we know almost next-to-nothing about him.
2 – The Mara Appearing in the Fifth Doctor stories ‘Kinda’ and ‘Snakedance’, The Mara is a telepathic creature that mostly exists in the minds of the people who it infects. It is described as ‘a being of pure hatred, anger and greed, requiring the fear of its victims to survive’. In its physical form, it took the shape of a snake – although it could conceivably take the shape of anything the victim is terrified of. The added benefit to such a creature (aside from its spreading of fear, anger and greed – apt for our modern day) is that it won’t have to cost much (anything) to produce. Instead of creating massive rubber suits, models or spending weeks in the CGI suite, the Mara can be represented by a person or an everyday object – or nothing at all. That’s more budget saved for the inevitable polarising finale.
3 – The Celestial Toymaker Hailing from another universe, the Celestial Toymaker is an immortal being who tries to manage his exile by creating games to challenge the beings he encounters (a bit like the Grim Reaper in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, but not as camp). If he wins, the contestant is kept as a toy, but if he loses, his whole world is destroyed (he is, of course, powerful enough to survive and rebuild). The great thing about this character is that his existence is essentially meaningless – the only beings who have something to risk are the ones he challenges, so the pressure is all on them to beat him. With such high stakes, a story with the CT can be used as a great character builder for someone – be it The Doctor or a companion.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 4 – The Black Guardian First encountered in the ‘Key to Time’ season, The Black Guardian is the embodiment of ‘chaos in time’; a transcendental being that is seemingly trying to trump the other Guardians (none more so than the White one; his immediate counterpart that represents the other side of ‘the universal balance’). He later appeared in the latter end of the Fifth Doctor’s reign, tasking Turlough with killing The Doctor, unleashing the chaos he desires. The main reason why I think that this would be a good idea is that the influence of the Guardians can be spread across an entire series or multiple series’ – their existence is to provide balance to the universe; teaching us, perhaps, that it takes all kinds to build a better world, rather than a single ideology. We can even have both Black and White Guardians appearing together, having some intriguing (and undoubtedly, hilarious) repartee. We had The Great Intelligence as a recent series-framing villain which made little sense, so I think the Guardians bantering would be an improvement!
5 – The Rani Ever since the show came back in 2005, the villainous Time Lady has been speculated to return (mostly by fans) – since becoming a running joke whenever ‘returning villains’ are announced by some media outlet. Introduced in the latter end of the classic series, the character (played by Kate O’Mara) was more than a ‘female Master’; her interests were to conduct scientific experiments, causing The Doctor a whole host of problems – including having to regenerate in one story. It was unfortunate that the character appeared when the show was on the wane – ‘The Mark of The Rani’, in which she’s forced to work with The Master to extract a chemical from
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 human brains, is a joy to watch at times. Her next appearance in ‘Time and The Rani’ is somewhat more of a mixed bag – those with fond childhood memories of the late-80’s era seem to love it whilst everyone else despises it. Either way, I think both groups can agree it was slightly better than her last TV appearance to date – ‘Dimensions In Time’, the Children in Need crossover with Eastenders. (Just because it’s for charity, doesn’t mean it has to be bad!) So I think this intriguing character is owed more outings. Sadly, Kate O’Mara died in 2014, so a new Rani, cast in a similar mould to the brilliantly snarky O’Mara, would be a fine tribute. (Although for equality purposes, she should then be made to regenerate into a man. Fair’s fair).
Hots and Nots (A COVID-19 Special) HOT
More time with family Zoom by Fat Larry’s Band Watching Classic Who episodes
More time with family Zoom, the video conferencing app Watching ‘Nu-Who’ episodes (oooh we’ll get angry letters! – Ed) Paying for umpteen subscription services
Watching films on Youtube that have had their picture mirrored to avoid being taken down for copyright infringements Being calm and buying only what you need No sport Jackbox.tv Losing weight by drinking Gin and Tonic Fist bumps Everyone getting on with it and mucking in together Assassins who are ‘deadly’ Working from home Online shopping Discord servers The Chase (the quiz, not Doctor Who) Pubs being closed
Being thoughtless and panic buying No sport ‘World Cup of *something*’ competitions Losing weight by taking dodgy supplements Elbow bumps A ‘look at me’ attitude Children who are ‘timeless’ Going to work when it’s possible to work from home Standing in a queue for half-an-hour Twitter Pointless (the quiz, not Doctor Who) Pubs being closed
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Deborah Watling (1948-2017) It’s unthinkable for contemporary actors that a good portion of their work will be lost forever; deleted after being shown and shipped to other countries – this was considered the norm as recently as 50 years ago. There are just two complete stories starring Deborah Watling as companion Victoria Waterfield – The Tomb of The Cybermen and The Enemy of The World (the latter of these was only ‘completed’ when episode 3 was returned to the BBC in 2013). Nevertheless, despite the lack of on-screen reference, she was as popular with fans than those companions who had their performances intact; her tales about working with Patrick Troughton and Fraser Hines made all the better for the fact much of their work no longer exists. Sadly, Deborah passed away in 2017 at the age of 69, just six weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer. The daughter of renowned actor, Jack Watling (a label she would lovingly address in her 2010 autobiography, ‘Daddy’s Girl’), Deborah made her acting debut as a nine-year-old in the 1958 television version of the HG Wells novel ‘The Invisible Man’ (although a later performance in the children’s drama ‘William Tell’ ended up going to air first). In 1960, she landed a part in ‘A Life of Bliss’, a sitcom starring the great George Cole. Five years later, she made arguably her first starring role in ‘Alice’, a BBC Wednesday Play about Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka ‘Lewis Carroll’) and his relationship with Alice Liddell, the muse behind Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (which was celebrating its centenary in 1965). It was Doctor Who that most of us know her for though – in her autobiography, she revealed that producer, Innes Lloyd, had personally sought her out to play a companion a full year before she was cast – he wanted her to gain more experience in preparation for the gruelling rehearsal and filming schedule for the show. Making her debut in 1967’s The Evil of the Daleks, Deborah’s Victoria was a contemporary character, the daughter of an inventor, Edward Waterfield, who initially used his time experiments to bring objects back from the Victorian era to sell in his antiques shop (the objects were from a hundred years before, in fact – maybe he brought back some first edition
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 18 copies of Alice, perhaps?) It isn’t really a spoiler to say that The Daleks exploited this, performing their evil deeds – including kidnapping Victoria and killing Edward, who sacrificed himself to save The Doctor. Promising he would look after her, Victoria joined the alien time traveller and his companion, Jamie, on board the TARDIS. During her time on the show, she persuaded her father to take the role of Professor Edward Travers – an anthropologist and explorer who appeared in ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ on the trail of the Yeti. He would later reprise his role as the Professor in ‘The Web of Fear’ and was set to make a third appearance in ‘The Invasion’ but his schedule wouldn’t allow. As mentioned, this particular era of Troughton’s spell as The Doctor has been heavily hit by wiping – the only existing episode of Evil is Victoria’s introduction episode, episode 2, whilst both The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear are missing a number of episodes (5/6 in the case of Web). Victoria’s total existing episode count (currently) stands at 21 – prior to the return of 9 missing episodes in 2013 (including the missing episode of The Enemy of The World which completed the serial), Victoria was the hardest-hit companion through wiping; only 24% of her episodes existed. At a screening event for the missing episodes, Deborah and Fraser Hines spoke to the BBC about them, commenting that it was the first time in 45 years that they had seen them – no doubt sparking some great memories that they were able to share with fans once again. After Doctor Who, Deborah had a number of high-profile roles in film and television – most notably the films ‘That’ll Be The Day’ (with David Essex, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and Billy Fury) and ‘Take Me High’ (with Cliff Richard, in his final film role). On the small screen, she appeared in the soap ‘The Newcomers’ (once again with her father), comedy series Rising Damp and Second World War drama, ‘Danger UXB’. She was a regular on the convention circuit, with fellow actors and fans alike struck by her warm nature and general ‘bubbly’ personality – she would later reprise the role of Victoria in Big Finish’s ‘Companion Chronicles’ series and appeared on screen in ‘Dimensions in Time’ and ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’. Deborah was survived by her husband, Steve Turner, and her siblings (all of whom, along with their mother Patricia, were also actors); sisters Dilys and Nicky, and brother Giles (who is currently the MP for Clacton). Thank-you, Deborah, for your time on the show as Victoria, your continued support of all things Who and all of your wonderful recollections of a time many of us today are fascinated by. •
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FIVES Will Make You Feel Alright 5 Jobs Peter Capaldi Should Turn His Hand To Now He’s Hung Up His Doctor’s Coat • • • • •
Magician Session Guitarist A grizzly-looking detective with a dark secret WHO Doctor Director of Communications
5 Great Things To Do In Quarantine • • • • •
Read all those books you’ve been meaning to Watch all those TV shows/films you’ve been meaning to Video chat with family/friends Read back issues of Fish Fingers and Custard Dress small children and household pets up as characters from Doctor Who
5 Top Bananas • • • • •
Bananaman The Banana Splits Bananarama Banana Bread Banana jokes (RIP) in Doctor Who
5 Other Shows That Were On While We Were Away That We Enjoyed
5 Things We’ll Be Glad To See/Hear The Back Of When We (Eventually) Bugger Off •
Font racialists who say “Why do you use comic sans, it’s rubbish”
The constant speculation over the next Doctor, no matter how long the current one has been in. Not. Bothered. Anymore. Getting quizzical looks from Post Office staff when you want to post the same-sized ‘small letters’ to USA, New Zealand and Croydon. Adults who say they ‘Squee’ Over-bearing slash fiction on Tumblr
5 Jodie Whittaker Things To Check Out • • • • •
Black Mirror (‘The Entire History of You’) The Journeyman Attack The Block Get Santa The Night Watch
5 Doctor Who ‘Villains’ That Should Go Away For A Few Years • • • • •
The Daleks The Cybermen The Master/Missy Any monster made entirely with CGI The BBC One schedulers
5 Great John Hurt (RIP) Things • • • • •
Better Call Saul The Leftovers Twin Peaks Black Summer Mr Tumble
• • • •
The Elephant Man Alien Nineteen Eighty-Four 10 Rillington Place
The War Doctor