Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode26-300Woo hoo! This week Deb, Erika, Katrina, Liz, and Lynne join the ranks of gleeful fans around the world as we celebrate the return of nine previously-lost second Doctor episodes! We just happen to have reached dear old 2 in our countdown, so we threw out the story we planned for and decided “The Web of Fear” is a great representative story. Though maybe not all of us were quite as squeeful about it as expected.

Of course we can’t help but talk about “The Enemy of the World” a bit too. It’s all just SO EXCITING!


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Comments on: "Verity! Episode 26 – Two New 2! It’s True!" (24)

  1. baticeer said:

    Hooray! I have been excitedly anticipating the time for Verity to cover my favorite Doctor and here it is. 😀 Great episode as usual. I’m glad you picked Web to discuss for this episode rather than The Mind Robber because, although I do love it, it’s really not representative of the era. My own personal choice would be maybe The Seeds of Death but Web is a good one too. I enjoy it because of the atmosphere (sets, direction, all of it’s great) and because it has the Brigadier (I don’t care if he’s a Colonel at this point, he is always the Brig to me) and Anne Travers being fabulous. And I think Yeti are adorable (and I agree with the demand for a plushie Yeti). But it’ll never be one of my favorites.

    One of the things I do think is interesting is how popular it seems to be with fans of a certain age who watched it when it went out. I recall reading an article in DWM that interviewed Neil Gaiman, where he said that this was one of his favorite stories as a child, and that he thinks his novel Neverwhere was subconsciously inspired by it (I haven’t read Neverwhere but I know it involves strange things happening in the London Underground). I think Mark Gatiss has made similar comments.

    I have to say that the atmosphere in fandom surrounding the news of the missing episode recoveries was the absolute best feeling ever. Tumblr was full of delight and it was so infectious. It just made my entire week. I did in fact download both of them from iTunes at midnight (6 pm my time zone) and watch ALL of Enemy of the World in one sitting. I haven’t finished Web yet — I’ve been pacing myself and have seen the first 2 episodes so far — but I couldn’t help but race through Enemy. I was so happy to have that one back as it was on my list of top 5 missing stories that I want recovered (yes naturally I have a list!!) and it was so, so good.

    For me Patrick Troughton is the absolute best Doctor for a variety of reasons. I love how he is adorable and goofy one minute, then deadly serious and menacing the next. I love his relationships with all of his companions from the friendship with Polly and Ben, the surrogate-father role he played with Victoria, and then almost a friendly rivalry, where she’s actually smarter than he is, with Zoe. And of course Jamie is the quintessential Second Doctor companion (God Bless the Cling). I could go on and on! But his era of the show will always be my favorite.

    I actually think I want to go and watch Evil of the Daleks now, because it’s one of only a few Second Doctor stories that I haven’t seen (“seen” in the case of the missing parts) (the others are Underwater Menace, Space Pirates, and War Games). I tried once, but the recon really bored me after a certain point, and I gave up halfway through — but I’m really intrigued by how much praise y’all gave it in this podcast. I’ll have to give it another look.

  2. Concerning “Arthuriana”. I was reminded of a Youtube video I saw recently of the Mike Oldfiield song “Tears of an Angel”. Some made a nice video of scenes of “Doctor Who” Weeping Angels set to this song. It’s been censored since (here’s the link anyway: Hope it comes back.

    The lyrics of the song might not be out of place in a Weeping Angels episode, but they do come across like something from “Tommy”:

    I wanna feel…
    Can you give me?
    Feel me?
    Falling like rain are the tears of an angel.

    Can you feel me?
    Feel me?
    Falling like rain are the tears of an angel….

    More concerning Oldfield: Murray Gold’s “I Am the Doctor” theme reminds me so much of Oldfield’s “Music of the Spheres” album, especially “Harbinger” from it.

    About Troughton? I need to redouble my efforts to convince some friends he’s not Moe of the Three Stooges. Yes, I have encountered that problem.

  3. Ray Adamson said:

    As a disenfranchised poor boy,i’m waiting in the queue for the glory of new Troughton but i can at least sustain myself by enjoying the pleasure of everybody else and second hand accounts of the experience for now.Obliged to apologise to Matt Smith for mocking his enthusiasm for discussing his characters choice of underwear by saying how unlikely it would be for Hartnell and Troughton to be talking about it.Never,ever underestimate how weird Doctor Who is as it is suddenly possible to see Patrick Troughton in his underwear ,running into the sea.Oh,my giddy aunt!!Reeling at Deb Stanishs’ admission that she has pretty much avoided his stories ,even after The Three Doctors,The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors.How?So,anyway,does anybody else find Troughtons Doctor Who to have a cinematic Science fiction B movie feel?I always felt that the surviving episode 1 of Web Of Fear with the Yeti being activated again in the museum,was very Hammer-esque in style and suspense and i think the comparison is also appropriate ,in stuff like The Underwater Menace and Tomb of The Cybermen,to me.Troughton really intrigues me as a person since one life never seemed to be enough for him even when he wasn’t acting.He had to have this kind of double life all the time apparently.Always liked the novelisation of Web of Fear so i’m fairly certain i will love watching it,i think i like my Doctor Who with a lot of death really.

  4. I have so far watch 2 episodes of Web of Fear… which is my first Troughton experience outside of The Three Doctors *hids from Liz*

    I have been squeeing so hard. LoveLoveLoveLoveLove.

  5. Emily said:

    When you mentioned listening to the Highlanders and the Underwater Menace audio reconstructions in a podcast a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. I’ve watched all Troughton’s existing complete stories, but I really am one of those people who aches for the missing stories, even though I’m a relatively new fan. So on your recommendation I finally got around to listening to the Highlanders (well, first Power of the Daleks). It was great, so thanks Verity!

    After that I decided to listen to the Web of Fear, because I really wanted to “see” the Brigadier’s first appearance. So I watched the first episode. Then I don’t remember exactly what happened – if I heard a rumor that some news was about to break, or if I just didn’t have the heart to go on knowing I wouldn’t be able to see the rest, or if I just had a feeling, or what — but anyway, I decided to hold off listening to the rest of the reconstructions in the faint hope that The Web of Fear would be one that I would some day be able to actually see. So a week passed, and the news that there would be news was confirmed (how agonizing were those three or four days!) and so I waited with bated breath, and my wait was rewarded. There were tears when the opening credits rolled. Can’t imagine how much stronger the feeling would have been if I had been waiting since twenty years before I was born.

    I know I’m doing it out of order, but I haven’t seen Enemy of the World yet (I do plan to though, especially after this podcast). It was the unknown entity, for me, and I just couldn’t wait for the Brig especially when I’d already seen episode 1 of the Web of Fear. And the Brig lived up to all expectations, with his completely pragmatic approach yet open mind, right from the start. Oh show, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

    • I can also recommend the audio versions of Target novelisations, which in the case of audio stories that you might struggle to keep attention all the way through (looking at Deb with Daleks Master Plan!) are great ways to experience some of the stories. The Highlanders became one of my favourites because of the books, back in the days before audio soundtracks were easy to access.

  6. […] And straight into The Web of Fear, ra! Which we discuss on this week’s Verity!. […]

  7. Thanks for another lovely podcast!

    Although I share your excitement about the recovery of more Troughton, I feel like a very bad fan because I haven’t downloaded and watched the recovered episodes, and I don’t plan to. I’m going to wait until they get released on DVD and then I can watch episode 3 of Web of Fear in all its animated glory. Your enthusiasm is very infectious though, so I am very much looking forward to seeing these recovered treasures for the first time. 🙂

    • Waiting for the DVD is perfectly reasonable and respectable – ESPECIALLY now that enough fans have downloaded them that we can be pretty sure it’s a) not a hoax and b) not going to get lost again.

      • Quite so! Also, it’ll save me the trouble of having to wrestle with iTunes. Popping a disc in my player is a much less stressful activity. 🙂

  8. Thanks for another fun podcast (Liz cracked me up with the Sutekh stuff)

    Economics have kept me from buying and downloading either episode, sadly.

  9. Laurissy said:

    Just because I’m probably the only one who will say this. I have not downloaded these two stories and nor do i plan to. I am happy they are doing well. But to me it seemed like a waste of a money. I know it’s like a tenner but I’m broke and also I don’t like the idea of having a doctor who episode and not be able to slot it into it’s rightful place in my dvd competition. Plus I want to see what Vam they come out with. Plus these dvd releases are happening so quickly, especially considering how long we had to wait for galaxy 4 and we still don’t have that episode of the underwater meance. I mean enemy of the world is coming out in a month and that’s the one I want the most because it’s David Whittaker, I love his writing still a little but annoyed he’s being cut out of an adventure in space and time. Oh well. Web of fear does look amazing. To be honest though both of the yeti stories seem a bit thin. So even though the direction does look amazing from episode 1. I’m pefectly happy to wait till next year for the official dvd release. Don’t get me wrong though I am super happy that these episodes will soon be part of my dvd collection. The patrick troughton section is quite small and sadly I’ve bought all his dvds so I’m glad that his section will grow and hopefully will continue to grow when some more announcemnets are made. (Frantically touches wood)

    The only real problem I have with the second doctor is how much he overshadows the first doctor. You see I did the insane thing and started watching classic doctor who in order from an unearthly child and I am now up to the android invasion. I love the second doctor I think he’s charming he has a great relationship with Jamie probably the best doctor companion dynamic ever and the dynamic between his other companions is nothing to sniff at either. But I think his stories are very repetitive he shines in them but the stories are quite repetitive. I do hate how people keep commenting on Patrick Troughton like he created the character and the show wouldn’t have been succesful without him and I keep thinking yes he’s good but he’s not the original. Not kidding I was playing trekkie trivia and on the other sci fi question it asked who was the first doctor and the answer on the card was Patrick Troughton, suffice to say I got the point and I’m working on tracking down the game developers and forcing them to watch the first three seasons from now till the end of time. I do love William Hartnell and I think his era gets sidelined quite a lot. But that’s not Patrick Troughton’s fault and he is awesome. So can’t wait for the first doctor podcast. I’m really curious what you’re going to pick as the definitive episode because there’s so much variety in those first three seasons I’d have trouble picking a definitive episode.

    • baticeer said:

      I have to say I agree with you on a lot of your second paragraph, I adore Troughton until the end of time but I started watching Classic Who with the First Doctor and I think that Hartnell is also wonderful. I so hate when people say “he didn’t really become the Doctor until [some point]” because to me he was Doctor Who from the beginning and I have to say he’s one of my favorites. A lot of the stories from Troughton’s era do get a bit repetitive with the base-under-siege format (which really comes through if you watch them all in order) and I think the first two seasons of the show are some of the most unique and inventive Doctor Who has ever been. Everyone’s free to dislike whatever character they want (heck, what do I know, my two least favorite Doctors are 4 and 10 and everyone thinks they’re the greatest) but really Doctor Who wouldn’t have been what it was without Hartnell.

      People reduce the First Doctor often to just “grumpy old man” or “grandfatherly” or “Billy fluffs” but he’s the Doctor out of all of them that goes through the most deep and fascinating character arc if you watch the first three seasons and that’s one of the reasons why I love him … but that discussion is probably best saved for the next episode instead of here!

      • laurissy said:

        It’s nice to know that someone agrees with me and I think the first three season had a lot of variety, there was good character growth all around and everything felt very fresh. It was also what got me into classic who and I think watching them in order you really see how much more variety there was in the Hartnell era as opposed to the Troughton era although in fainress to troughton I think his era was more action based and there’s only so long you can hear Frazer hines go they fight or they walk down a corridor. I think that’s what I like most about Hartnell’s time is the variety of stories that were told and I’ve been thinking about this ever since Verity started this retrospective and I realised I just couldn’t think of a story that seemed definitive because it seems like every story had something different to offer. I’d probably have to go for the aztecs but i think that might just be going the liz route by picking my favourite. If I had to justify it then it’s a historical only the hartnell era really did historicals, it has the doctor being grumpy, Barbara being awesome and Ian being the muscle.

        In terms of people seeing Hartnell as the grumpy one I remember ages ago I read a comment saying the problem is people start of the hartnell era with an unearthly child and assume that’s the whole character. Now don’t get me wrong I love an unearthly child and Hartnell is brilliant in it but people assume that’s all the first doctor is and they don’t get to see how funny he is in the romans or how vulnerable he is in the massacre to name but a few. I feel kinda bad talking about Hartnell so much in Troughton’s comment section. I’ll end with Patrick Troughton is awesome and I think I’ve proven how much I’m looking forward to the first doctor retrospective.

  10. Elvisomar said:

    Woo-hoo, woo-hoo; two new two who! Whew! Who knew? [sigh] too few…

  11. Paul A. said:

    Related to the discussion about “Web of Fear” not being a good story for Victoria: it’s her penultimate story, immediately followed by the one where she decides she can’t hack the lifestyle any more and leaves the TARDIS – and I can’t recall exactly where, but I remember reading an interview where Deborah Watling says that in “Web of Fear” she’s playing Victoria as already struggling and starting to feel overwhelmed.

    • Ray Adamson said:

      It’s understandable that people don,t have much patience for Victoria as a companion considering what we expect from a companion nowadays.She is,just a gentile society girl who is only travelling with the Doctor because her father was murdered by the Daleks so she’s really more of a conventional’Damsel in Distress’style companion rather than a role model for young girls.It would have been a bit unauthentic,if she was portrayed as brave and confident all the time in the situations she was involved in.I quite like the surrogate family aspect of the character and her relationship with the Doctor and Jamie ,whatever her faults.She did have a developing character arc as she was being written out,at least.

      • laurissy said:

        I really like Victoria and I think people look down on her way too quickly. The fact that she never even entertained that her life would be anything different than what had been laid out for her. This victorian girl with victorian principles all of a sudden had to deal with monsters and madness for the first time. She copes remarkably well and her relationship with Jamie is really cute and remarkable to watch. I also think her saying goodbye to Jamie is one of the saddest scenes doctor who has ever done and I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that one day I’ll get to see but then again if the tele snaps get me teary I dread to think what the actual scene will so.

        I have to admit in new who. I’m a bit tired of every companion being so gung ho about aliens and the world being destroyed. Now I like companions to be adaptive and capable but sometimes it gets too silly about what these companions are willing to put up with but that’s just my two cents.

  12. Ray Adamson said:

    Unfortunately,it’s a necessary practicality for Doctor Who to create strong female characters because the majority of movies and television only seem to present women as romantic interest.Unless it’s another detective drama depicting a female character in a masculine way like Prime Suspect,Vera or to a lesser extent,Scott and Bailey for the sake of being professionally successful.Doctor Who is concieved to appeal to a broad audience and i don’t think people like Julie Gardner or Caro Skinner would be especially enthusiastic about featuring a passive,vulnerable character now in a science fiction programme.It does present a bit of a problem as the programme continues,negotiating that balance without compromising the show dramatically as there is a risk the characters will become indistinguishable and unbelievable.

    • Laurissy said:

      I get what you’re saying but what’s the difference between a romantic interest in any given television show and a companion in new who. All the female companions with the exception of Donna are exhibited as having romantic feelings towards the doctor. This means there character has to go in a specific direction. I mean Moffat has even defined companions as a female in their 20’s with a crush on the doctor. This in my opinion is very damaging to the show because for one it does nothing to distinguish doctor who from practically everything else but it sets things in a certain direction he either reciprocates or he does not. I think the great thing about Victoria is she’s very human, if she sees something scary she’s going to scream and run away but that doesn’t make her a coward like in the ice warriors where she manages to escape so she can warn the doctor. She’s vulnerable but I’d argue with passive.I think with Doctor who companions there should be a degree of vulnerability if the companions don’t take the threat seriously how are we meant to. Now then I don’t believe in a cookie cutter companion so of course every companion should be different to be honest the main problem I have with clara is that it seems like moffat’s just smooshed all the other companions together rolled them out got out his cookie cutter sprinkled a mysterious origin and made Clara. I guess what I’m saying is that there should be good female characters on doctor but we should not have to sacrifice basic human vulnerability for that to happen. We should also be able to express the many different and valid ways men and women can interact with each other in the doctor companion relationship. I hope this doesn’t come across as too ranty but this has irritated me for a while. Final thought Victoria is awesome and while I wouldn’t want to see her coming back to the tardis. I think if they took a little inspiration form her the show could move in a new and interesting direction.

      • +1!

        I understand people getting upset about female characters only being written as passive or victim-ish and nothing else, but it’s really distressing now how often female characters are dismissed for not being aggressively heroic, as if that’s the only kind of strength that counts.

        I’ve always been fond of Victoria as a character and I hope that The Enemy of the World at least will encourage people to revisit her usefulness.

        What you say about sacrificing human vulnerability is absolutely true. (And of course the easiest way to address people’s concerns is to match a less ‘gung ho’ or aggressively heroic female companion with ANOTHER regular female character so she’s not obliged to represent the entirety of womankind)

  13. Matthew Kilburn said:

    There is not a small child who does not see a picture of a Yeti (at least in their Abominable Snowmen incarnation) and go “Aaah” rather than “Aaargh!” The licensed soft toy must appear soon.

  14. Another splendid episode!

    I purchased Web of Fear immediately. I’d intended to wait for DVD, but was swept up in the fannish frenzy, and couldn’t help myself. 😛 And despite buying it right away, we still had to wait to actually watch it, because iTunes was seemingly so overrun we couldn’t get the episode to load properly until the next day. Modern technology just can’t stand up to eleventy billion excited Doctor Who fans…

    I’m terrible at picking my own “representative episodes” as I tend to just go straight for whichever is my favorite, which is often a different thing entirely. But I do think Web of Fear may have now replaced The Mind Robber as my favorite Troughton episode.

  15. […] Verity! Podcast picks “The Web of Fear” as their representative second story story. A base under siege. Monsters. Jamie and the second Doctor. What more do you […]

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