Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode23-300We’re back to talking Doctors this week, but perhaps not in the way you expected. Join Erika, Kat, Liz, and Tansy as we discuss those actors who played the Doctor non-canonically! *gasp* Yes, there are plenty of performances out there that don’t fall under the umbrella of what went out on BBC1. More than some of us realized! Certainly more than some of us cared about.

As you may have noticed, we’re sans Deb this week. With no one (but the hapless Erika) to reign in the troops, see just how far things go off the rails. (Actually, we remain pretty much on track until near the very end.)

(And despite the title of this episode, I’m afraid we don’t actually dip back into the Virgin New Adventures and talk about that shadowy figure from Gallifrey’s ancient past who may or may not have some direct connection to the Doctor. If you want to hear about that, check out this episode of The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast.)


Supporting links:
Two-minute Time Lord 316: What is “Doctor Who Canon” Anyway??? (Time Dilation)
Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death
Scream of the Shalka
Big Finish’s Unbound series
The Infinity Doctors and The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast’s Episode 8: The Infinity Doctors

Also covered:
Tansy’s been working on the Verity! Pintrest!
Kat’s South Park fandom friend started watching Doctor Who!
Liz covets the Pyramids of Mars playset!
Erika listens to Verities on other podcasts! Deb on TARDIS Tavern! Erika on RFS! Kat on RFS! Deb on RFS!

Download or listen now (runtime 1:11:08) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 23 – The “Other” Doctors" (22)

  1. Elvisomar said:

    Good stuff, as always. I missed Deb, but the resulting chaos was fun, in its own way.

    I didn’t understand Kat’s comment about Star Wars canon. Can any one explain it to me?

    You all have definitely caused me to dig out my copy of Scream of the Shalka and actually watch it soon.

    I’d add my own recommend for the Big Finish Doctor Who – Unbound series. In particular Sympathy for the Devil, Masters of War, Full Fathom Five, and Deadline. David Warner as the Doctor was, for me, terribly squee-worthy. I disagree about Exile, though—I thought it was absolute rubbish. Exile was one of the three or four Big Finish stories that had me shouting “really?!” at my iPod in an indignant manner.

    Big Finish seems to be done with making episodes in the Unbound realm, but much like Tansy seemed to suggest, I would love to hear stories with a female Doctor if they were done in a serious tone.

    Finally, like Liz, I’m terribly excited to watch twelve weeks of Peter Capaldi sitting in a box!

  2. I don’t have much to say on the topic but I just wanted to use this space to say how much I enjoy this podcast in general. It is so refreshing to hear women’s voices discussing a genre in which in the past ( andto some extent today) have been routinely silenced and dismissed. I grew up on Buffy, X-Men, Xena, and SF/F YA fiction and always felt embarrassed for my love of these types of shows, comics, and books. As someone who came into DW as an adult woman, I have grown to love it (and be proud of it!) and as a feminist, I love how you all unpack important issues regarding representation, gender roles, and sexuality each week.

    I’ve been listening to all your episodes from the past several months and to be honest, its the only thing getting me through writing my lectures on atmospheric pressure and earth-sun relations. Plus, it makes me want to watch Classic Who (I’ve only seen about a dozen or so stories) and listen to Big Finish.

    So yeah, big thank you and I look forward to listening to more podcasts while I toil away on my lessons.

  3. Emily said:

    When you were talking about how much Steven Moffat brought into the new series from Curse of Fatal Death, the first thing I thought of was a totally shared line of dialogue. In CoFD, when Hugh Grant’s doctor is dying he tells his companion, “look after the universe for me–I’ve put a lot of work into it.” In the Eleventh Hour, when the Atraxi note that the Doctor’s not from earth he says the same – “no, but I’ve put a lot of work into it.” It was too good a line to ‘waste’ on ‘non-canon,’ apparently 🙂

  4. bekitty3 said:

    A flat white is pretty much exactly the same as a latte, except that the foam in a flat white is taken from the bottom of the jug of frothed milk rather than the top. This means that the foam is more emulsified and the bubbles are a lot smaller than your average latte.

    I imagine that when US folks order coffee, terms like “flat white” and “long black” are seen as possibly racist? I remember that when I was over there, even the term “white coffee” (coffee with milk) generated the side-eye from some baristas.

    • Elvisomar said:

      American here. I’m not sure I agree about the racial concerns about the coffee ordering—those politically-correct concerns are certainly not widespread, anyway. I hear people regularly order “black coffee” over here; but “white coffee” is less descriptive, perhaps? (Even milk with a dash of coffee added is slightly beige.) In any case, coffee ordering is so very region-dependant. You might be interested to know that for many decades (and probably still) if you order “a regular coffee” in New York City, you get brewed coffee with milk and sugar. I suspect there are many, similar quirks and variations around the English-speaking world.

      Regarding a “flat white” in particular, the wikipedia page seems clear that the term originated in Australia in the 1980s, and goes on to suggest that Aussie and Kiwi ex-pats brought the term to the U.K. where it spread. Starbucks has not embraced that term in the U.S. and Canada as it apparently has elsewhere. I had never heard it before today.

      This is all really to suggest that there are geeks and fans of all stripes—including coffee fanboys like me.

      • Elvisomar said:

        I wrote “a regular coffee” above, when I clearly should have written “uh reg-yuh-luh co-aw-fee”.

      • Flat white means coffee with unfluffy milk. Sadly because all the milk in cafes is frothed these days, it does tend to mean you still get a serious layer of froth (poured from the bottom of the jug as mentioned above!), but it’s a lot lower than your cappucino. I know people who have moved from cappucino to flat white purely because that way you get at least half a cup of coffee with your froth.

        I just remember being cautioned when I went to Italy not to order a ‘latte’ because then you just get a glass of milk and a sympathetic look because obviously you must have an ulcer.

  5. Awesome episode as always though I thought Kat was pretty quiet and I would have liked more of her opinion on why she didn’t really subscribe to the “alt” Doctors. Also, I just wanted to compliment Tansy work on pinterest. So far my favorite board is the “Perfect Ten”. LOL

  6. Julia (aka mizzelle) said:

    I also wanted to “yay Tansy!” for her work on the Pinterest board. The flood of Dr Who pins was appreciated. 🙂

    I think I’m like Erika in that I’ve avoided the alt-Doctors more out of ignorance than any willful disdain. I think I’d heard of the Cushing movies, but not the other skits/specials. I… tried listening to Big Finish Unbound “Exile” with Arabella Weir but I must be British comedy impaired — it just sounded like one of those British comedies on PBS that I stare at and go “What *is* this?” Like Tansy I would have liked a dramatic turn for comparison at least.

  7. Another edifying podcast. And more stuff I have to buy now. I was poo-pooing the new Shalka DVD as something I would never in a million years want but now feel pretty certain my life will be over if I don’t possess it. Almost the same with Dominion. I thought it was a vaguely interesting idea but nothing I had to have. Now I have to have it. Sigh, since I’m going to be broke anyway I may as well buy the Cushing DVDs. I didn’t like the movies when I saw them originally but now that I’m older and wiser and have been nudged towards needing more Peter Cushing in my life I’ll probably spend a lovely weekend with them and a bowl of popcorn.

  8. Pausing the podcast to share my love and adoration for the Cushing movies!

    I’ve loved Cushing for as long as I can remember (even being an American — from Atlanta), but that was mostly from things like Star Wars and the Hammer Horror movies I watched a lot as a kid. So, when I discovered the Cushing ‘Dr Who’ films in my early 20s (during the Wilderness Years), I jumped on them with glee. As said in the podcast, if you’ve never seen them, you have to go into them with the knowledge they’re going to be a bit cheesetastic and not much like the show, but I still find them a lot of fun. You could even watch them in a very Mystery Science Theatre way (in fact, I think RiffTrax recently did a commentary for the first film).

    On a related note, years ago, just after ‘Journey’s End’, I remember seeing online someone joking that the Cushing!Universe stories are actually Handy’s (the duplicate Doctor/Donna that ended up staying with Rose at the end of JE) future. I’ve always had a theory that Handy is losing his memory, since he has a human brain with the Doctor’s (and Donna’s! Fandom always forgets that!) memories mooshed inside, so by the time he’s old, maybe he only remembers fragments of his memories of the Doctor’s life.

    So, what I saw online was: what if Peter Cushing’s Doctor is Handy as an old man? He’s named his granddaughters (I’m assuming Barbara in the films is an older granddaughter — she’s not Susan’s mother or aunt from what I can tell) after companions he remembers, he’s built a TARDIS in his backyard/garden from the vague memories he has of the TARDIS (though he has it a bit wrong since he just calls it ‘TARDIS’, dropping the ‘The’), he goes by ‘Dr Who’ (from all the ‘Doctor Who?’ jokes he used to hear — and maybe he never got himself a last name?) and he has an interest in time travel. So, then he inadvertently goes an the adventure in the alt!verse (not that he remembers his similar adventures anymore as the First Doctor), though I think there were no Daleks there, but who knows, there weren’t supposed to be Cybermen either.

    Anyway, silly idea, but I like to think about it when I watch the movies again. It adds to the fun! 🙂

    • That is such a cute theory! Barbara and Susan were both his granddaughters, yes, though I think it was implied that they were cousins rather than sisters – then Louise turns up later as a niece. Quite a family he and Rose had together 😀

    • jezbez said:

      I’d never heard that theory before but really like it. The one I’d always heard was that the Cushing movies were stories written Ian and Barbara to subtly prepare the world for a Dalek invasion. They didn’t have creative control on the films so the details aren’t the correct ones when compared to the life they experienced. Don’t know where that theory comes from originally but works well enough with a bit of hand waving

  9. Me again!

    Oooh, I’m a *huge* fan of ‘Scream of the Shalka’! You guys were so right when you talked about how much depth it has for just one story. I just always want to know more about that universe and its backstory. And you’re right, there is a small, but awesome fandom for it. I think my personal favorite fanfic for it is called ‘An Irksome Word and Task’ by Cryptile ( I also love that these people ( are trying to do radio plays for it, though it sadly seems to be coming along slowly! 😦

    Oh, and you guys joked about David Tennant being in the Big Finish story ‘Exile’, but he’s also actually in ‘Scream of the Shalka’, albeit for just a second (he has about one line!). He basically begged to be on it back when he was in his pre-Doctor-but-total-fanboy actor days (I believe he was working in studio next door doing another acting job and found out they were doing it).

    And, yes, ‘Exile’ is very funny! Still, I do agree with Tansy about how its sad that this was the only Doctor that was played for laughs in the Unbound stories. I hope that changes at some point. And, oh god, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ is AMAZING. I’m not going to lie, I listened to it originally for David Tennant years ago (in which he plays the awesomely cynical Col. Ross Brimmicombe-Wood, who is also in the Big Finish story ‘The Wasting’ — I love a fanfic with him as well, but that one is a naughty one), but came away really loving it and diving into several other Unbound releases. GREAT STUFF!

  10. jezbez said:

    Have to sheepishly hold my hands up and say that the idea of “canon” is the one area of fandom where my instinct is to think in absolutes and I struggle to change my viewpoint or even accept that there is any other possible “correct” one.

    My mother is a Methodist Minister and was the person who introduced me to Doctor Who more than 3 decades ago at age 0 (I think it was 2 months to be technical). Our opinions on DW canon are remarkably similar (the ONLY similar opinion we hold) and not the same as generally expressed on 2MTL so I blame her entirely!

    My personal opinion is that the TV series is kind of a “Canon Prime” and beyond question. Anything produced on film directly by the BBC and inteded to fit in with the continuity of Canon Prime. Anything licensed to a 3rd party is, no matter how glorious or how well it fits in with Canon Prime, not canon (apologies to the brilliantness that is Big Finish). Anything in printed word, comic or animation is not canon. Lungbarrow was officially licensed and I’m told it’s good (missed it first time around and can’t afford it now) but it is, to all intents and purposes, wrong.

    Moving on to the actual not-quite-actually-Doctors, even with a love of Peter Cushing and an understanding of the much greater cost he would have been to the film I can fully understand and agree with the view that he looked like a cheap copy. There’s the natural mental state of knowing it’s a copy of the original and then having it decked out in bright colours. Bright colours always make something look like a cheap copy, no matter how much you spend on them.

    The Curse of Fatal Death is the best parody of anything ever. I remember watching it for the first time and feeling such happiness because although it was making fun of the show there was an obvious warmth, love and use of intelligence. It gave me hope that the show wasn’t “dead” because there were people out there who loved the show, had the skill to write for it and understood what it was all about. I never felt like the female Doctor was treated as a joke beyond all the other little things they changed from the original show. Joanna Lumley’s Doctor was both written and portrayed as intelligent, eloquent and more capable than some of her predessors. It will happen one day.

    Scream of the Shalka was an odd beast. It had canon written into it but was obviously also written to be a jumping on point for new fans. The story wasn’t that great but it wasn’t bad either. I always get the feeling that it would have led to great things but didn’t really achieve much in itself. Overall as a Doctor Who animation, better than Infinite Quest (just terrible) or Dreamland but not as good as Reel Time or the 8th Doctor Shada. It did have some high points though and these pretty much entirely included the Master. Derek Jacobi is awesome and can do no wrong. I think making him an android was a brilliant way around a problem as well – bringing him out of the Eye of Harmony you’ve either got to go through explaining the whole Time Lords granting a new life cycle idea to a new audience, have him steal a new body and go very dark very fast or find a third option. Having the Doctor place him inside an android body so that no-one has to die worked perfectly for me.

    With the picking up of all the times David Tennant has appeared in Big Finish I can’t believe no-one commented about him appearing in Scream of the Shalka! From memory, I think he did the fan-boy banging on the door until they give him a part there as well.

    I’ll finish what has accidentally turned into an essay with a couple of questions:

    – If there is a section of received fan wisdom that says that a Time Lord who commits suicide should automatically change gender then shouldn’t the 7th Doctor have been female? (can of worms now open)

    – If at least one person is not counting John Hurt as a canon Doctor as he wont have a series (apologies – listened yesterday and can’t remember who it was) then are you also not counting Paul McGann as a canon Doctor? He appeared in one special and has had no other canon appearances – exactly the same as we’re expecting from John Hurt.

  11. I was the one arguing that John Hurt IS a real Doctor but to be honest was mostly doing that to stir.

    I suspect a big reason why most people aren’t counting him yet is because we’re all waiting for the big reveal that Moffat has tricked us (because Moffat lies) and John Hurt is actually the Master. Or Romana.

    Or is that just me?

    • jezbez said:

      11 seemed to accept and react to him as part of himself and his own past. Would be a very strange reaction if it turned out that John Hurt was actually a different person. I think that there’s going to be something more than what we’ve been told but I don’t think it will be that.

  12. MayorOfUlthar said:

    Am I the only one who is curious as to where this pawn shop with a TARDIS is?

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