Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode21-300Holy cats is this a big week in Verity! We cover the fourth Doctor, we chat about the little things that make us happy in the world of Doctor Who, and one more thing…what was it?…oh yeah, A NEW DOCTOR OMGWTFETC!!!!!!!! (Pardon the textual hysterics, but we’re a little bit excited.)

Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Lynne as we talk (or in some cases gush) about all of these things, including an in-depth review of Erika’s favorite Doctor Who story of all time, “The Ribos Operation”. It’s a slightly extra-long episode, but in this case, we feel it’s warranted.


Also covered:
“The Visitation” Special Edition Extras!
4th Doctor Over the Knee Socks! & TARDIS Projection Alarm Clock!
Ace as an action figure! & Big Finish reduces prices on the first 50 audios!
Awesome short film: Cleaning Up!

Download or listen now (runtime 1:26:46) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 21 – A Four-tunate Choice?" (46)

  1. Shelley Lee said:

    I think Tom Baker and the Key to Time is the best introduction of Classic Era Doctor Who to a new Who fan. Mary Tamm is so wonderful and I can watch these stories over and over.

    • Deborah Stanish said:

      I think it’s good – now. 😉 Coming to it straight after Eccleston was a bit too jarring. But, as Erika said, once my “Doctor gaze” broadened it was much more logical. I really enjoyed it this time around! And yes, re Mary Tamm. A thousand times, yes!

      • I actually found that really interesting – that some Doctors can be gateway Doctors for other Doctors. I wonder if those people who balk at B&W Who might be more intrigued to give Hartnell a chance once Capaldi has won their hearts…

  2. I’ll listen to this in two parts, cause it’s getting late here. But I just have to leave my two cents re: Peter Capaldi.

    I agree with the general sentiment: I’m sort of disappointed that they chickened out on a more progressive casting choice but if it had to be a white dude again I’m happy that it’s Peter Capaldi. I’m happy that it’s an established actor. I’m happy that it’s an older actor. I’m happy that it’s a Scottish actor who hopefully is allowed to keep his accent (Lots of planets have a north after all!). And the cherry on top is that he’s such a Doctor Who geek and now all his letters to the BBC and old fanart surface! I’m really looking forward to see him in action!

    What I also found really great is that the reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. There are always a few complainers here and there but for the most part people seems to be really on board with Peter as the next Doctor. Yay!

  3. mike mazurek said:

    I overheard you ladies saying that you wanted to watch “The Thick of It”. Did u know you could watch it on hulu? Enjoy

  4. I didn’t know about the Big Finish offer! (In fact I cut you off mid sentence and dashed to my mac to investigate. I now have 1.4 days of Big Finish audio to listen to).

    For Whovians that are new to Big Finish – can I recommend this site

    Skim the reviews (they tend to be spoilerish) but the ratings give you an idea of which download is worth the money.

    • Elvisomar said:

      Thank you Clare! I’d never seen that site. I plan to refer to it regularly, and will perhaps contribute ratings from time to time.

    • Deborah Stanish said:

      Thanks! Can’t wait to check this out. And to see how the reviews conform to my opinions, of course. 😉

  5. Shelley Lee said:

    Ooh good advice

  6. Ah, I’ll always have a soft spot for The Key to Time – the first season I watched live as a little one…

    Nice discussion on the new Doctor. Like a lot of people, I’ve been having contradictory feelings about this. Firstly, I’m a big fan of Peter Capaldi (oh, you lucky people who have yet to see ‘The Thick of It’) and I think he’ll be a fabulous Doctor. On the other hand, I really wanted to see a female Doctor this time around. Trying to unpack this has left me with a few conclusions:

    Moffat was clear that they had a short list of one, and there were no auditions. Given his love of intricately plotting out whole seasons, I assume that this was because he has a particular story to tell, and Capaldi is the one to tell it. And given his abiding love of the show, he’ll be a great ambassador for us all.

    I want a female Doctor but honestly I don’t think that Moffat is the person to give us one. The way he writes the female leads (puzzles to be solved by men) is frequently problematic. But in terms of taking things in a new direction, the casting of an actor in his fifties is a big shift, and an important reminder that Doctor Who changes, particularly for fans who have grown up with the post-2005 show. So some important foundations have been laid, and given the growing chorus for a non-white male Doctor, I think that next time there’s a very strong chance that will happen. Especially if, as you discuss in the podcast, Moffat has moved on from being showrunner. And if you want to think about it in terms of Doctor Who as story rather than a series of behind-the-scenes made by a television studio, then the next reincarnation – the end of 12 regenerations that must surely demand some sort of in-universe solution – provides an irresistible opportunity for a female Doctor and a whole new way of telling stories. Especially since by that time the show will have been back for a decade and will be in need of freshening up to stop it becoming just another part of the TV landscape.

    In the meantime, let’s have more female writers, directors and producers please! And a great storyline for the Twelfth.

    • mikken said:

      “In the meantime, let’s have more female writers, directors and producers please! And a great storyline for the Twelfth.”

      Hear, hear!

  7. ‘Robots of Death’ is probably my favorite Fourth Doctor story (I’m so easy for Leela and Four, though), so I’m so glad that it got at least a small mention. 🙂

  8. Good to hear such a positive response to Ribos. A wonderfully rich production across the board.

    I agree with Liz regarding Binro though. Heavy handed. It surprises me when I hear people say that they well up at that scene.
    Even though Liz was joking about her response to Binro being “British” I think generally non-British fans of Who seem to respond more positively to that scene.

    After Liz’s talk of Glaswegian actors she had no word for the great Iain Culbertson (Garron).
    He’s up there with Patrick Troughton in the history of British film and telly as one of my favourite “star” character actors who’s never given a bad performance.

  9. Like many, the fourth Doctor is my Doctor. Loved the discussion of his era and The Ribos Operation in particular. The crooks, Garron and Unstoffe, are hilarious. We are introduced to Romana, who quickly became my favorite companion of all time. The whole Key To Time arc was pretty good and I would like to see an arc like that in the new show. Maybe not spanning an entire season, but maybe over a part of a season. A four episode quest arc or something like that.

    My wife started watching Doctor Who with Eccelston and she still can’t/won’t watch classic stuff. She is warming to the 8th Doctor audio adventures though 🙂 She is just going down the slippery slope slower. She did seem to be enjoying a 6th Doctor audio we were listening to in the car awhile back, so there is still hope.

    Re: The casting of the 12th Doctor. Peter Capaldi is a complete unknown to me (sorry Liz). I do like the fact that we’ll have an older appearing Doctor. Mr. Capaldi has some good experience, so I’m sure he’ll be great. I am looking forward to the fall of 2014 when we actually get to see him be the Doctor. The dynamic in the Tardis will change and I think for the better. I am cautiously optimistic that Mr. Capaldi will turn out to be my favorite Doctor of the modern era. My wife is not so sure. My 11 year old daughter is withholding opinions until she sees him in action.

    • It was very clever of Moffat to choose an actor with such major acting history & cred who is ALSO a complete unknown in the States – best of both worlds. Something similar happened with Catherine Tate and indeed James Corden – both were exceptionally famous in the UK, and barely known outside it. Those of us in Australia and the US got to watch without preconceptions, while the UK viewers got the publicity and celebrity factor.

      I’d also barely heard of Billie Piper when she was cast and I hear she was, you know. A bit famous. Just a bit.

  10. Steven Moffatt didn’t bottle it, make a mistake or ignore a section of society with his casting of The Doctor. He knew where he wanted to take the character and picked the person he thought would do that. In the future the character will go another direction and will be open to almost anyone.

    I have been a passionate supporter of Patterson Joseph as a Doctor potential but for me to complain that Peter Capaldi is the wrong choice would mean that, logically, I should say that Matt Smith and David Tenant were the wrong choices. Capaldi is a great actor, has the skills to be a great Doctor and if Steven Moffatt honestly believed he was the best person in the whole world for the role then it would have done the show a disservice to choose anyone else.

    For all the people who have also said that he is too old for an action role – most of the cast of The Expendables is over a decade older than him the The Doctor is a less energetic role than those films.

    Please just give the guy a chance and enjoy the ride.

    (I know that the cast of Verity! will be supportive but there’s other parts of fandom where this post is more applicable)

    • +10

      I think an important thing to remember is that a major aspect of Moffat’s Who (not just as showrunner but in his individual episodes before then) has been a threesome in the TARDIS. He loves writing trios and I suspect very strongly that we’ll get a younger male companion to join Clara and 12 next year.

      I agree completely with you about Moffat’s choice – and Liz’s theory too. Many fans seem to be forgetting how much outrage there was about Matt Smith’s casting (he’s twelve years old!) and that Moffat was very clear then how hard he had been planning and wanting an ‘older’ Doctor, but Matt Smith had blown him away in auditions.

      • Now you’ve mentioned the trios it’s got me wondering what it would be like to have Capaldi, Clara and Cpt Jack as a TARDIS crew (no shipping!). Not going to happen but that doesn’t stop me finding it an interesting prospect.

        I’m also very happy that an older actor has been cast as at the age of 32 I’m due a mid-life crisis soon and not having a Doctor significantly younger than me will hopefully stave that off for a while! 😉

  11. MayorOfUlthar said:

    I’ve not seen “The Thick Of It”… and am one of those Americans not fond of profanity.

    Turns out it is not on real Hulu.. .but a paid version of Hulu, which like the regular one, still runs on hardly any hardware. Nonetheless, I would give it an enthusiastic try if I had an opportunity.

    I am holding out for it to come to Netflix or BBC-America. I really have no idea why BBC-America fills its schedule with purely American shows, but surely at least one of them can make way for this!

    Anyway, As soon as there’s a decent pile of 12th Doctor TV footage, no doubt look for Youtube mashups with the Doctor swearing at everyone in sight, in his own voice.


    Loved the 4th Doctor discussion. Now I have a good idea what to buy when I seek out a deluxe edition of the show with extras and all, on DVD.


    A store in my town sells what appears to be the scarf knee-socks. They also have Dalek pattern socks. Along with a very recent edition: a Dalek knit stocking cap. There are two Who stores now across the street from each other, competing, and with mostly different inventory compared to each other. It is really quite a lot of fun.

    The lest desirable item I have seen is a tiny box of many very tiny Cybermats. Too small to be useful/fun, small enough to lose. Not the kind of thing that someone would want to take out of the package

    • Although “The Thick Of It” is not on Netflix, “In The Loop” is. It’s effectively a movie spin-off of “The Thick Of It”, but unlike the Doctor in the Peter Cushing movies, Malcolm Tucker is intact here. It’s a 90 minute standalone opportunity to see Peter Capaldi in his best known role, in all his sweary goodness. Since the film mixes UK and US politics, it may also be more accessible to US audiences, especially those who have since seen “Veep”.

  12. I’m very happy with Capaldi’s casting and look forward to seeing what he’ll do with the part. Yay Scotland! 🙂

    I first started watching Who regularly in 1973, so Pertwee was my first Doctor, but Tom Baker is still my favourite. I’m a big horror fan so I’m afraid I side with perceived fan wisdom and think that Mad Tom’s first three seasons are his best. I would probably pick something like The Ark in Space as the most representative episode of the Hinchcliffe era. It was like a statement of intent – “Get ready kids, we’re going to scare the crap out of you!”

  13. MayorOfUlthar said:

    Paul: My “first Doctor” was McGann. How common is that, I wonder? And that TV movie, which I saw when it first aired, and not since, got me interested in Doctor Who. Now, with everyone saying how awful this TV movie is, I almost don’t want to go back and watch it again.

    • The TV movie has its flaws but I still rate it above Rings of Akhaten or Love and Monsters (worst episode of any tv show ever).

      • Yeah…. 40 minutes of the Doctor yelling at a real big pumpkin.

        I see I am not the only one who didn’t like “Love and Monsters”. The monster was just too repulsive to look at on the screen so long. I remember thinking “Fear Her” was OK, though in the first podcast I started with they loathed it, and tell me so every other one they do.

      • jezbez said:

        I didn’t mind Fear Her at all and actually quite liked some parts (is it RFS that you listened to before by any chance?). The costume of the Abzorbaloff didn’t bother me and stunt casting I’m used to. My problem is with episodes where they try to make either the show or the Doctor something they’re not. RoA I had issues with because it was a fantasy story, not science fiction. If they had made more of an effort to explain things then I may have felt differently. It also probably suffered from how much I had enjoyed Bells of St John the week before. My problem with L&M is the paving slab girlfriend. It’s not the sex joke – there’s plenty of those hidden in old Who if you know where to look. It’s the fact that the Doctor actively took someone who had, to all intents and purposes, died and brought them back to live a bastardised half paving slab half person creature. They would be permanently immoble, living in the main character’s bedroom never seeing the outside, her friends or her family and living something that couldn’t even be classed as a half life. It’s not what the Doctor would do to someone. He would help Elton accept losing Ursula and celebrate the life she had lived.

      • I can accept “Rings” as science fiction, if all the mind communication is a form of telepathy…. but yes, that doesn’t recall cover it all. One would imagine what this might have looked like in 1972.

        Perhaps like this

        instead of a CGI jack-o-lantern fireball.

        I also wasn’t too impressed by the very angry bellowing Sleestak in the glass box.

        “They would be permanently immoble, living in the main character’s bedroom never seeing the outside”

        Sort of like Han Solo in carbonite, but a state of that in which he can still talk. No fun.

        The other podcast? I will just say that the perceived typical fan is quoted on a Comic Book Guy voice a lot, on this other one.

      • I think calling Doctor Who “science fiction” is a bit of a stretch quite a lot of the time. I’ve heard it described as “science fantasy”, and I think that’s a much bettor descriptor. so for me, Rings wasn’t that far out there. Most of the “science” on the show is really just technobabble (which, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE). In Rings, they could have added another few minutes where the Doctor explained more about the physics and science of the world they were visiting, but that would have really put the brakes on the flow of the story (which I quite enjoyed). While I do wish there would’ve been a few lines tossed in here and there to clarify what was happening (that kind of confusion is rather unexcusable), I’m okay with leaving out the scientific explanations from time to time. (I remember Deb saying something similar after The Crinson Horror when there was no explanation for how the Doctor un-crimsoned himself in the cupboard.) I like it when Doctor Who tries to do new things. It doesn’t always work, but if they don’t try once in a while, the show is in danger of getting stale.

        For the record, I’m in the Chris-from-RFS camp. I rather like Fear Her. As for Love and Monsters, I haven’t seen it since it aired. I remember not liking it much, but that was long before I discovered fandom, so I feel I was missing a huge layer of what that story was about. I need to rewatch it with fandom in mind and see if I can at least appreciate what it was trying to say–even if I can’t get behind the story itself or even the execution.

        I’ll also go on record as loving the Comic Book Guy voice a lot. (And it’s used on so many podcasts, that doesn’t narrow it down. 🙂 ) It warms the cockles of my cold cold heart to hear folks who are self-aware enough to poke fun at themselves.

    • Don’t let people put you off! The TV Movie is a gem – damaged and definitely flawed in places but it gave us a brilliant Doctor, an excellent companion and some good storytelling. Plus an excuse to make jokes about Eric Roberts! The DVD is also great because of the story BEHIND the movie which puts it all in perspective.

      Terrible is subjective. Even when the chorus seems to be very, very noisy.

    • I think it helps a lot to look at the TV movie as a sort of stepping stone between classic and New Who. At the time, I didn’t like it at all, but it has grown on me a little.

  14. Actually, in America, anyway, the “Fetch quest” in an RPG is commonly called a “Fedex” Quest. 😉

    As far as best companion introduction scene–mmm, tricky. What about Jo?

  15. The 4th Doctor is THE Doctor…look at your own icon. I see a certain scarf…

    As far as Capaldi, happy to have a Doctor substantially older than me again (Smith was younger, Tennant is a half year older than me. Eccleston “felt young” in his role even if he’s nearly got a decade on me.

    We’ll see how this new Doctor “Feels”. Consider the 4th Doctor was given Harry as an extra companion in case he was going to be a more Hartnell than Pertwee kind of Doctor.

  16. Great choice, everyone! And, for me at least, a very surprising one.

    I found it really interesting that The Key to Time is so popular and fondly remembered in North America; I don’t remember it that well, and the one I remember best (perhaps it was repeated more often in Australia?) is The Power of Kroll. Yeah. No wonder I have a poor opinion of the season. Certainly, while I love the Mary Tamm Romana, I get the feeling Tom at this point is halfway between his first few years of greatness and the middle silly period – which we, regrettably, dismissed as the “Disco Aliens” period on Splendid Chaps before remembering that like most Doctor Who there are great bits.

    For my money, the quintessential Tom Baker story is The Ark in Space – not because it really represents his entire era (I think that’s impossible, as there are at least three Tom Baker eras), or because it’s the best story he was in (it has plenty of problems, but it’s pretty good), but because it represents the way the general public (and, it would seem, many of the fans who now make the show) remember *all* of Doctor Who. We’ve had more guests on Splendid Chaps remember The Ark in Space as their most vivid memory than any other, and the various tropes – people being taken over, companions screaming, crawling through ventilation shafts, effects that either are (the models) or seem to be (the bubble wrap) cheap in hindsight, 70s fashion passed off as the future…it’s got everything.

    All that said, your lauding of The Ribos Operation does stir dim memories of it being pretty good, and since we’ll be listing The Stones of Blood in the homework for our Ninth episode, I think a re-watch of The Key to Time is in order. Though I might skip The Power of Kroll and most of The Armageddon Factor.

    • The Key To Time is my favourite Tom Baker era too! Romana I was a character I really connected with as a kid – I can appreciate Ribos Operation now as an adult but back then it wasn’t nearly my favourite except for the Romana bits. But The Pirate Planet, Stones of Blood and Androids of Tara are very dear to my heart. Even Kroll has some good bits. Mostly involving Mary Tamm.

      I agree very much with my crew (Hi Verities!) that Tom Baker’s Doctor was really interesting in this time because of the new dynamic with Romana, and the oneupmanship between them. It’s never quite as simple as her being book smart and him being street smart but there are elements of that.

      I never quite understand the dismissal of the later Baker years as I think he’s at his most likeable with Lalla Ward around (well, sometimes) and the final season has some of his best material, particularly the Leisure Hive, The Keeper of Traken and Logopolis. I do think it’s often underestimated how bloody good his companions were, and how each of them brought out different facets of the Fourth Doctor – without that aspect, the seven years he was in the role would have dragged far more but instead the show was being constantly refreshed.

      I don’t separate the Baker years by producers like many fans do – I do it by Sarah/Leela/RomanaI/RomanaII/Entropy

      • “I don’t separate the Baker years by producers like many fans do – I do it by Sarah/Leela/RomanaI/RomanaII/Entropy”

        HA! Entropy seen as the 4th Doctor’s final, fatal “companion”. People (and dogs) were coming and going, but entropy was with him through it all… I love it! =:o]

  17. Oh, I also had some ideas about the best companion introduction scene! Having just re-watched the telemovie, Grace’s is pretty fantastic. In the one act of her lowering her opera glasses we discover (and I think I’m paraphrasing Josie Long here) she’s clearly a successful professional, cultured, beautiful and sensitive, and then when she responds to her pager we realised she’s also dedicated to saving lives. *sigh* The things that movie gets right, it gets really right.

    Having said that, I also like Liz a lot, and let’s not forget Barbara and Ian, or indeed Steven! Oh, and Donna. Come on: appearing in the TARDIS out of nowhere? Brilliant.

    • Steven and his stuffed panda is a wonderful introduction. We need more slightly-crazed-from-incarceration space age feminist astronaut male companions.

      • Deborah Stanish said:

        Why doesn’t WordPress have “like” buttons?!!! I approve of Tansy’s comments so very hard.

      • Reading this comment in mid 2020… I feel the urge to watch “The Chase” part 6 & “The Time Medller” part 1 again, just to say “Hi” to the “lockdown companion”. =:o}

  18. Ray Adamson said:

    Whatever happens in Doctor Who’s future now,the past is still there to look forward to and i have to recommend the special edition of The Green Death with it’s marvellously magnificent commentary track with Katy Manning and Russell T Davies.’Fantastic’ as a favourite Doctor used to exclaim.Russell T Davies might not be perfect but he really is a proper hero and i’m compelled to salute him again.Thanks Russell.I am a big fan of ‘The Ribos Operation’ too,it’s a pity that there are so few examples of heist stories in Doctor Who’s history considering how often the Doctor can find himself involved in things he wants nothing to do with.I really enjoy the thoroughness of it’s characterisation and world building and how completely it establishes Romana as a contrast to Leela and a colleague rather than an assistant to the Doctor.Tom Baker is hugely impressive as he develops an instant working rapport with Mary Tamm and demonstrates a versatility in his characters relationship with his new companion that isn’t really a feature of other Doctors work on the programme.He is just as effective at playing the adversarial/combative nature of his relationship with Romana as he was with the teacher/pupil attitude he adopted with Leela before and he maintains a consistent integrity as the programme changes.I don’t really think most of the other Doctors have had to adapt to radically different assistants in the same extreme. Intrigued by the combination of the new Capaldi/Moffat Doctor Who team since i think they share mutual fascinations and characteristics.Interested to note that Capaldi straight away drew attention to how Scots normally have a very dark sensibility which seems very familiar considering Stevens’ propensity to regularly visit characters graves in his storylines recently instead of celebrating the anniversary in an upbeat manner.I know this is pretty much unavoidable considering recent departures but it’s dominating the writing at the moment. If anybody wants cheering up ,you might want to consider keeping up with Karen Gillans’ new work on NTSF;SD;SUV ,Where she’s working with Kate Mulgrew bringing some funny online on adult swim every Friday.Obtained a copy of a favourite film’Devil Girl From Mars’ which features a martian invasion of Inverness.They got there before the Zygons,apparently.It was made at Shepparton Studios where she’s currently shooting’Guardians Of The Galaxy.’

  19. Loved the The Forth Doctor podcast. Interesting fact about the late great Scottish actor Iain Cuthbertson who played Unstoffe. I few years earlier we had a massive stroke which resulted in him having to learn to walk and talk all over again. Then look at that performance with an accent and everything. Amazing

  20. NEVER apologize for being too long! You guys make every second of your podcasts extremely entertaining and informative. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve had to go out and try just because of you. Keep it up. LONGER, HARDER, MORE!!!

  21. Philip said:

    I’m late to the comments because I’m listening through the archives. Peter Capaldi was an unknown to me when announced, which will be fun, I think. On the topic of more unique choices for future Doctors, I like Dev Patel and Parminder Nagra. When I saw Patel in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I thought that this guy could totally pull off the Doctor. After Capaldi, it may be a good time to go with a young and very physical actor again. As for Nagra, I have to disclose a very healthy and platonic crush on her, which means I would happily watch her build a bird house from scratch, whilst swooning the whole time. I think she was excellent in the short lived Alcatraz as a very intelligent and capable doctor, and would make a solid choice for a future Doctor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: