Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode19-300The classic Doctor countdown continues! Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Lynne as we discuss the Peter Davison era–the Doctor, the companions, the stories, the relationships, and of course, the costumes. And all of these things in relation to this week’s “representative” episode, “Mawdryn Undead”.

Who loves Doctor number five? Who loves the companions? Who thinks the companions love each other? Who doesn’t? If you’ve been listening a while, some of those answers may be obvious,  but perhaps not all!


Also covered:
Chicago TARDIS announces two Doctors!
“The Mind of Evil”!
“The Tenth Planet” animated episodes on the Regeneration box set!
Doctor Who Confidential – Series 1!

Download or listen now (runtime 1:00:59) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 19 – Doctor 5 Is Alive!" (26)

  1. can’t wait to listen. No 5 is one of my 2 doctors

  2. Elvis Omar said:

    Oh dear me. I’m only 49 seconds into listening to this episode, and I already feel the need to comment.

    Who does the editing of the little edited-out-of-context teaser stuff at the open? I couldn’t let the teaser for this episode go by without saying: This is a really brilliant feature of the Verity Podcast! Of course all people say wonderful and hilarious things every day if they are pulled from their context. This feature is always very funny, while it also does serious thing: It underscores that one of the fundamental conceits of the podcast is that we are silently listening in on a conversation among several smart friends. In other words, I would assert this clearly fulfills any admonishment to “keep it real”. Love you guys… and now, to actually listen to you talk about Peter Davison and company.

    • I do that editing, and I thank you kindly for recognizing it! I was actually thinking of dropping it for a while because it really does add a lot of extra work, but between you and the couple of other people who have commented on it, I see that it’s work that’s worth doing!

      I never really thought about how it would play into listening-to-us-babble-as-friends, but I see how that makes sense! (And you really are listening in on a friendly conversation. 🙂 )

      I hope you like the rest of the episode as much as you enjoyed the first 49 seconds.

      • Elvis Omar said:

        I didn’t say so right away, but yes, I did. And it made me realize, among other things, that though I have seen quite a bit of the fifth Doctor’s stories, I don’t think I have seen Mawdryn Undead. And if I have, it was way back when it first aired in the states. As always, thank you for a fun and interesting hour (or so).

      • You are most welcome! I do hope you get a chance to watch Mawdryn Undead before too long. It’s just fab.

    • It reminds me a tiny bit of “This Episode” in Space: 1999, or the little clips they show in Battlestar Galactica that I always avert my eyes from.
      In any case, I, too, love this feature!

  3. Matt S. said:

    I have to chime in and say that Mawdryn Undead’s score really resonates with me. I was on my way to work, listening to this episode of Verity, and the scene where the Brigadier remembers all of his history with the Doctor via flashbacks was discussed. I immediately felt a little pang of memory as the music from that scene started playing in my head. It’s a really, really effective use of the Doctor Who theme tune motif (the “oo-wee-oo”, as it were).
    Paddy Kingsland’s music is very melody-heavy, so that makes it extremely memorable. He and Peter Howell really set the tone in early JNT serials (along with Roger Limb and Malcolm Clarke) and is one of the myriad reasons that I love the early 80s in Doctor Who so much.

    To respond to Lynne’s point about Nyssa’s departure in Terminus: I think it’s appropriate for the character, since she is a trained biochemist and feels a sense of duty to help. This kind of fits into the idea that traveling with the Doctor is like training to save the world. And I like to consider the continuing story of Nyssa in books and audios as a good trajectory for what happens after she leaves (i.e. cures the lepers, finds other diseases to study, starts a family, etc).
    (Now, I haven’t seen Terminus for a long time, so it’s possible that the actual dialog and direction was clunky, but on a greater conceptual level, I think it’s a good way for Nyssa to grow and move on).

    Really enjoyed the episode!

    Good luck with figuring out a representative story for Tom Baker o_o

  4. Ray Adamson said:

    Surprised that the Verity crew were restrained about the running time of this particular podcast as you’ve declared an affectation for this periods characters and stories fairly blatantly.I can’t agree that the way the programme depicted the reaction to Adrics’ death was indicative of how other dramas’of this time’ handled it.Even Blake’s Seven which was nearly contemporary to this period of production handled the consequences of this kind of situation better dramatically.I think that the way characters like Tegan and Nyssa were less involved with episode cliffhangers during this period was because JNT liked to believe that he had a more progressive attitude to how companions were used compared to previously but creatively i don’t think anybody actually benefitted from the decision as he had no real interest in providing alternative storylines for them which were better and it got a bit repetitive,to the extent that Davisons’ Doctor seemed to be threatened with the same situation multiple times.It just looked like they were running out of ideas.Mawdryn Undeads’ traitor in the TARDIS plot is a good example of why JNT shouldn’t have been in charge since it might have worked as an idea if the companion wasn’t aware they were a threat to the Doctor and he chose to introduce another male companion immediately.Since they were writing Nyssa out ,it would have made much more sense to use a story about the possible restoration of her father to force her to betray her friends involving the Master and The Black Guardian.Having to engineer ways for Turlough to constantly fail to execute the Doctor undermined the whole concept.Davisons’ Doctor is the least authoratative so i find it a bit weird that fans are often so generous about him considering this is such an important feature of the Doctors’ character.

  5. I keep meaning to come comment on the episodes every week, but I forget. But I needed to come comment on this week’s episode because Five is my Doctor and I love the entirety of the Davison era to pieces.

    This is going to sound strange, but I am so happy that Erika mentioned “Warriors of the Deep” as her representative episode! It’s one of my favorite episodes story-wise and I’m kind of weird in that I can blissfully ignore the special effects and technical stuff as long as the story’s good. The Myrka’s even sort of cute, if you tilt your head and squint a little. Granted, I came to Doctor Who through the New Series, so I sort of expect the production values of Classic Who to be a little subpar compared to what I’m used to – but I’ve found the storytelling to be consistently good through all the Classic Who and that’s why I love it so, so, so much! (I actually chose “Warriors of the Deep” to represent the Fifth Doctor TV stories on my own 50th Anniversary blogging project:

    But I am glad that “Mawdryn Undead” was chosen as the representative episode for the group – time-travel, nods to the past, the Brigadier returns, Turlough’s debut, the Doctor being self-sacrificing, Tegan and Nyssa working together when they think Mawdryn is a new regeneration of the Doctor (that’s a twist, isn’t it?), Nyssa’s super-cute outfit – what’s not to love?

    And I found myself cheering Lynne’s comments about Tegan and Nyssa’s friendship! They are so wonderful together and I can’t add anything more to Lynne’s thoughts other than I completely agree with her assessment.

    • Hooray and cheers for “Warriors of the Deep” love! I unashamedly love that story. (Of course I haven’t actually watched it in decades, so perhaps a grain of salt is warranted there…) I’m with you, story trumps special effects every time, and that story both excited me and broke my heart. So what if it was a re-hash of previous Sea Devil/Silurian stories? Davison’s Doctor sold it for me. ❤

  6. Paul A. said:

    In case anyone hasn’t looked it up for themselves yet:

    It was in the Hartnell story “The Chase” that we learned the Daleks were responsible for the mysterious disappearance of everyone aboard the Mary Celeste; and

    The Blinovitch Limitation Effect was first mentioned in the Pertwee story “Day of the Daleks”. Somebody had noticed that there was a plot hole due to time travel – why does it matter if the guerillas fail? can’t they just keep going back to the same day and trying again until they get it right? – so there was a scene added to the script where Jo asks the Doctor that and he says, “Aha! That’s due to the Blinovitch Limitation Effect!” “The what?” “Well, you see–” and then the plot breaks in on their conversation, thus saving the writer from having to come up with any kind of actual explanation.

    • Thank you for the clarification! I knew I remembered the Pertwee era being where the Blinovitch Limitation Effect got it’s start. I haven’t actually seen “Day of the Daleks” yet. I must’ve picked up that tidbit of knowledge from a podcast. See? Podcasts really do work as educational tools! 🙂 I’m gonna credit RFS with this one. I bet that’s where I gleaned this one from.

  7. My favorite Davison story was Snakedance. The only negative thing about the story is Nyssa’s scream at the end of part 3, since I do not think she ever screamed before. Everything else was great. The boredom, decadence, and pomposity of the people of Manussa seemed believable. There is a great science explanation for the origin of the Mara. It is so cool when the Doctor and Dojjen meet and Dojjen teaches the Doctor how he can defeat the Mara. The Mara were scary to me since they can take over a person and Janet Fielding did a great job communicating that Mara possession was icky. I wonder if the reason that Tegan wants to stay on board the TARDIS after the Visitation (as she states in Black Orchid) is because the Mara is beginning to reassert its control over Tegan. It was nice to see that this story won the Season Survey in Doctor Who Magazine particularly since Kinda came in last the year before.

    Mawdyn Undead was a great story. It was the perfect 20th season story which was celebration of the show’s past. I do wonder whose idea it was to have the Guardians have birds on their heads. Even when I first saw it in the 1980s it seemed odd.

    I do think Enlightenment was a stronger Turlough story. His interactions with Wrack were interesting. There were times you thought Turlough was going to side with her and wondered how he was going to get out of it. After that story I do not think the writer used Turlough well until Planet of Fire.

    Just some thoughts on the era.

    Great show as always.

    • Excellent thoughts! Snakedance is one of the few Davison stories I’ve watched recently, and it does hold up. It’s one of the more fascinating stories from the ers, for certain. As for Enlightenment, I haven’t seen it in decades, and I remember next to nothing about it, which usually means I didn’t care for it. I definitely have to re-watch that one and see what I think now that I have so much more Doctor Who (and life!) experience behind me.

  8. Well, I don’t agree that any of the fifth Doctor’s companions were attracted to him. That’s just not a vibe I ever got.

    Now is Five a father figure? Um…hm. It is all very family there isn’t it? But you’re right that he’d make a terrible father. He’s more like the uncle who isn’t that emotionally invested in nephews/nieces. He knows what he should do to be the grownup, he’s just not terribly good at it. Which is weird considering how self-sacrificing he is for his companions.

    Thank you for the podcast!

    • Hear hear! I wasn’t picking up that vibe either. And I agree on your assessment of 5 as a not-quite father figure. The Doctor is always kind of fatherey, in that he’s much MUCH older and (sometimes) wiser, but this particular incarnation didn’t really have the parental thing down. And that’s part of what makes the TARDIS-team dynamic so interesting in this era.

      You’re quite welcome; thank you for listening!

  9. MayorOfUlthar said:

    I just saw “Time Crash” last night, which will put me in the proper mindset for listening to this podcast.

  10. I loved your commentary on Tegan and Nyssa’s relationship — I’d never really thought before about how healthy it seemed, especially in comparison to the modern series which seems to default to an assumption that female companions must be jealous of and snipe at one another.

    I’ve listened to your Sixth Doctor and Fifth Doctor podcasts so far, and while I didn’t get what I was (perhaps incorrectly) expecting (an overview of the era, as opposed to a focus on a particular representative story or two, or an in-depth discussion of the Doctor himself), I enjoyed what I got (a discussion of the companions and iconic villains, which in some ways is more interesting and rarely heard). Thanks!

    These days I’m less likely to think of the Fifth Doctor as one of my favorite Doctors, but I can’t deny that three of his stories are in my top five for the whole Classic series (“Kinda,” “Snakedance,” and “Enlightenment”) and a couple more (“Castrovalva” for sure) would easily make my top ten.

  11. […] Katrina recommends Episode 19 – Doctor 5 Is Alive! – “A good representation of a ‘normal’ episode for the Verities. Shockingly, we actually come to a (sort of) agreement about the story being representative, even if it was originally picked because it’s a favourite!” If you’ve ever wondered about classic Who subtext, or if you saw the fifth Doctor in “Time Crash” and want to know more about him, this one is for you. […]

  12. Can I just say how excited I was when you guys commented on Davison’s sideburns? They’re amazing in this story! I wish they’d looked like this for more stories. A tiny and completely frivolous detail, I realize, but still one I appreciated. 🙂

    In regards to the conversation about Turlough, I like what Kat said about him being like an older brother that nobody wanted to have around. Obviously he wasn’t with Nyssa long, but they didn’t seem to connect and Tegan was clearly distrustful of him (for good reason) for his first few stories, but once the Black Guardian stuff was settled, it definitely feels like the two of them had an adversarial brother/sister relationship. He’s not my favorite companion, but I think the dynamic created when he joins the TARDIS crew works well.

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