Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode30-300This week’s episode feels more reverent than most, which seems fitting, given the subject matter. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Lynne as we have an almost NPR-style chat about what we enjoyed in this “love letter to Doctor Who.” We all enjoyed it to varying degrees, but as you might expect, some of us had wee quibbles with it. Generally very wee, though. Think of this ep as a mellow way to ease out of the giant (sometimes exhausting) squee-fest that these past few weeks have been.


Also covered:

Bonus links:
Behind the scenes of An Adventure in Space and Time – Doctor Who 50th Anniversary
An Unearthly Series – The Origins of a TV Legend

Download or listen now (runtime 1:03:30) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 30 – An Adventure: Embraced, Sublime" (27)

  1. I definitely felt like I had a Doctor Who hangover, but in a good way. I told my husband that watching the 11th Doctor special the next night felt like a Perkins brunch the day after a big college party. You have fun and wear yourself out, but then you drag yourself to that one last thing anyway. (Sorry, that was a super weird simile, esp as I was never a partier. But I’m sure that’s what it felt like.)

    I thought An Adventure in Space and Time would be more docu than drama as well, and expected it to be very interesting in that “wow, how informative!” way. I did not expect to be so quickly sucked in. I’m a pretty big Classic Who fan, my husband less so, and we were both completely entranced and loved it. David Bradley and Jessica Raine were wonderful. I texted my New Who friends and family immediately to tell them they had to look for it on iTunes, because I’m pretty positive even someone with little to no Classic era knowledge/interest would still enjoy it.

    Looking forward to hearing the Chicago TARDIS discussion. I managed to miss all Verity!-related things there, an unsurprising consequence of having two 5-year-olds with me…loads of fun, but certainly limits how many panels you sit through…and we had to be on the road home before the live podcast recording happened. 🙂

  2. I adored the crap out of “An Adventure in Space and Time.” I love the First Doctor’s era and I’ve listened to so many interviews and DVD documentaries about it, so I felt like I knew the dry laundry list of facts of how things happened – but it was so wonderful to get a tiny glimpse into the emotional side of the story and that’s what I felt “An Adventure” did so perfectly. I didn’t feel like the sentimentality was forced or that I was being manipulated and I was pretty much a sobbing mess for the last ten minutes of the show (of course, I’m an emotional person anyway and I eat sentimentality for breakfast. If you can’t be sentimental during the 50th Anniversary, when can you be?)

    I love how William Hartnell and Verity Lambert were portrayed at such different places in their lives – and not only as professionals in their field, but also as human beings. It’s so easy to limit historical figures to a two-sentence description (Hartnell as an irascible grumpy old man and Verity as this spitfire, take-no-prisoners, young TV producer) that we sometimes forget that they were real people with real human foibles and emotions. I think David Bradley and Jessica Raine both struck the perfect balance between the public perception and the humanity of the people they portrayed, and I appreciated that so, so much. The entire production looked amazing and I feel like I have something more personable to go along with the factual anecdotes of the Hartnell years of “Doctor Who” (not that I don’t love anecdotes, but it’s easy to feel separated from something that happened 50 years ago – like it doesn’t really matter to you in the long run).

    Lynne – I appreciated you comparing Verity Lambert’s experience being a first-time producer with your own career aspirations and the things you learned as you got more and more responsibility. That little segment of the podcast really hit home for me (seeing as I’m 28 and trying to get into the library services field, but as a youth services librarian) and I just wanted to thank you for sharing that because it is tough and you do have to pick your battles and play it smart.

    Another great podcast and great discussion, ladies! (and thank you to Kat for remembering to mention William Russell’s and Carole Ann Ford’s cameos – those scenes were some of my big happy hand-flappy fangirl moments and I would have been sad if they’d been missed ^_^)

  3. I was surprised by how much I *loved* Adventure in Time & Space for most of the reasons given by the Verity team. I was in tears at the end, thinking about the show and how much has transpired over the years. I missed most of the cameos so it’ll be fun to rewatch it with those eyes. The “I don’t want to go” got me combined with the “He doesn’t like goodbyes, does he?” line.

    Was this the behind the scenes program you were discussing?

  4. I adored An Adventure in Space and Time. I cried at the end when Matt Smith popped up at the end.

    I laughed when Richard Martin (played by Mark’s partner Ian Hallard) at a go at the dalek on Westminster Bridge during filming of Dalek Invasion of Earth. The whole exchange was brilliant with ‘I need a wee’ to ‘you try operating this thing’. Also a cyberman smoking on the set of Tenth Planet just captured brilliantly how behind the scenes could be.

    Also a surprise was footage of the first woman in space. Everything was brilliantly put together.

  5. laurissy said:

    Not sure if it’s just me but everytime I tried to listen this I got directed to the day of the doctor podcast. Not sure what’s up with that.

    Anyway I love this special, it’s quite interesting because I’ve watched all the first doctor DVD’s with all the documentaries, I’ve read William Hartnell’s biography written by his grandaughter Jessica Carney and I looked up old interviews with people who aren’t on the dvd range like Jacqueline hill, David Whitaker, Sydney Newman. So I consider myself fairly knowledgable about this era. Also I have a strong personal connection to this era because it’s where I started with classic who. I fell in love with these characters straight away but not just them. I fell in love with the writers, directors producers everybody. They were so young and vibrant and so determined to succeed despite the establishment frankly wanting them to fail. It’s also made me oddly defensive of William Hartnell because I think people dismiss him as a racist, sexist and other things but I don’t think he was. Now I’m not saying that he never uttered anything sexist or racist in his life but I think people use this to define him when it seems to me it was part of the background of his charcater and he was clearly able to get over it because he worked so well with Verity Lambert and Warris Hussein. So when this special was announced in doctor who magazine I was super excited I watched all the casting updates as he came out and I got more and more excited as it came closer and I’m super super happy.

    So I watched the Special with my mum who like the new series watched the pertwee era as a kid but is generally a casual fan. So I was like spotting the cameos look mum there’s Toby Hadoke. She was asking me so was Doctor Who just Sydney Newman’s idea. No mum there were lots of people. She really liked it and even though she didn’t get every detail, she got the emotion of the story and she thought it was very well done. I think I do have a bit of an anorak and I know all the things. One thing that probably only annoyed me is the scene where they do the speech from the end of the massacre. (Please find this scene Phillip Morris) William Hartnell’s arguing with this male voice and I’m like the director of the massacre was a woman Paddy Russell. I suppose it could be John Wiles the new producer but i don’t recall producers actually being there for the filming and certainly not giving direct instructions. Also considering that Hartnell’s relationship with Wiles was so bad that the cast and crew had to use a code whenever they were refering to him. I think Wiles would want to be as far from filming as humanly possible. But that’s just one scene and there were so many great scene like Hartnell trying to get Carole anne ford to change her mind. Verity Lambert demanding the designer do his job and build her time machine. Heather Hartnell talking to Lambert, the ending scene I have to admit that made me cry when he said I don’t want to go and I was praying my mum wouldn’t se me. I was spoiled by the Matt Smith cameo but I loved it I don’t care how cheesy and manipulative it was. It works so well. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want it to change because I think the contrast between Hartnell and Smith works so well and it makes the moment more poignant.

    About filming the missing episodes I don’t think it’s a good idea because I think so much of an episode comes from the actor’s performance and I don’t think that should be replaced maybe if we didn’t have audio recordings I’d be behind this. But we do and through animation we can preserve some of the orginial actor’s performance and fill in the blanks the best we can. I ‘m sure there are talented actors that could do it well but it would be removed form the original and at the end of the day i want to see Patrick Troughton face the daleks for the first time not his replacement. But that’s just me.

  6. Ray Adamson said:

    Thought’An Adventure In Space and Time’ was a sensitive and emotive paean to everybody involved in producing Doctor Who’ coming to terms with leaving it behind despite their personal investment ,with it’s dramatisation of Carole Ann Ford,Verity Lambert and William Hartnells’ departures and it’s portrayal of how much it meant to them.The excitement of the various cameo appearances and re enactments of iconic Doctor Who landmarks more than compensated for the slight inaccuracies for the sake of editorial and dramatic convenience.David Bradley,Jessica Raine,Mark Gatiss and Terry Mc Donough’s assorted contributions to the production were all highly impressive and carefully realised.It could never be particularly informative to Doctor Who’s more devoted fanbase but it was more about acknowledging everybody who concieved and established Doctor Who initially anyway.I had some difficulty accessing the latest episode of Verity too and needed to click on the download option since the audio files for last weeks episode seemed to be attached to the click play option at the bottom of the latest post.It’s an unfortunate aberration probably due to Erika techs’ attention to her participation at Chicago TARDIS rather than her normal obligation to Verity.I genuinely know absolutely nothing of these technical intricacies of assembling podcasts anyway and favour the magic word method or a sonic screwdriver and a thump if nothing else works.This would be followed by tea if i even enjoyed it.

  7. Ray Adamson said:

    Although this additional comment is not really relevant to this episode of Verity,i want to recommend the latest episode of Sally Braithwaites’ second series of Last Tango In Halifax which features some fabulous humour concerning Matthew Waterhouse and physical violence(probably because of her association with Peter Davison).So funny.Also,i watched an old British movie called The Happiest Days of Our Lives which starred Alasdair Sim and Margaret Rutherford recently.Alasdair Sim played a character called Wetherby Pond.Since it was school based,it could have been an inspiration for Augustus and Amelias’ name considering Steven Moffats professional background before he started writing for television.

  8. I was surprised how the anecdotes in the Doctor Who ‘The Reunion’ ( so closely matched the script Mark Gatiss wrote for ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’. It’s almost like he used that discussion as a source! Luckily the BBC has made it available worldwide on iPlayer with no expiration date, so everyone can listen. I think this backs up the historical accuracy of the program, and shows true stories are often the best ones.

    I get most of my BBC programs from Amazon, and was very happy to find ‘An Adventure…’ there in 720p for only $3US ( Being a cord cutter sucks some of the time, but at least the copies from Amazon aren’t loaded with pop-up overlay graphics! BBC America has been releasing most programming on Amazon the day after it airs on cable, so the wait for a new episode isn’t too terribly long.

    The extra regeneration sequence Lynne mentions is from, part of the ‘Behind the scenes of An Adventure…’ program Julia mentions above. It also has the photo session with David Bradley, Mark Gatiss, and Reece Shearsmith dressed as the first three Doctors near the end. The full show is worth watching, but I’ve excerpted the regeneration sequence and a still of the three ‘Doctors’ on Tumblr at

    As you can probably tell I truly love this podcast. If only I could find more like it! And yes Erika, I have your list of favorites and am diligently working through it. But I have to echo Liz’ wish that you had included your favorite episodes as well…

  9. I want to start out by saying I am so happy to be a Doctor Who fan because this is THE best time to be a Who fan. I absolutely adored Adventure In Space And Time even though I wasn’t able to watch it until the monday after the 50th. Im partly happy that I saved the best of the celebrations for last. It was exciting to see how the story I knew so well of the first few years of DW was brought to life.
    I watched it a second time with my parents (who’ve never seen a classic episode) & grandmother (who has never even heard of the show). My parents enjoyed it immensely and my mom still is talking about how much she enjoyed it and even shed a tear at the end. My grandmother, on the other hand, refused to get into the story and sat at the computer because she didn’t know what was going on (but every few minutes was asking what was going on).
    I cant say enough of how much I loved this. The casting was great, the pace and direction was spot on, and it was just filled with love and respect for history and those working on the show.

    I’d also like to add that I have a Doctor Who hangover too, but I dont want it to end!!! Thanks for another amazing podcast. Love you girls!.

  10. I actually wasn’t all that excited about this one when I first heard about it because I couldn’t see how they would turn it into a compelling drama. Oh, how wrong I was.

    I think it did for William Hartnell what ‘Ed Wood’ did for Bela Lugosi, but I think this was probably more effective. Both films left me with a lump in my throat and something in my eye though. The scene where Hartnell was alone and bewildered at the Tardis console was a beautiful, heartbreaking fusion of great acting, direction and editing. They kept the camera on him for just the right length of time. And that final moment with Matt Smith slew me. Maybe it was cheesy and maybe not, but damn, it worked. And I had no idea it was coming, thankfully, so the emotional impact was not dulled by spoilers.

    Fabulous stuff. As with The Day of the Doctor, I came away much more satisfied than I was expecting to be. Now if they make the Christmas special the best yet, this will be one hell of a year for Who. No pressure! 🙂

  11. I enjoyed An Adventure in Space and Time but it clearly didn’t pack the same emotional punch for me as it did for the Verities (I’m usually a crier, but all I got was a little moist-eyed at the end…). For me it lost something once Verity Lambert left the show, because I was clearly identifying more with her as a viewpoint character than I was with Hartnell. I don’t have any parallels in my own life with that of Verity, but I’d like to think that I’d be as gutsy as her in any similar situation!

    Regardless of the level of ‘doco’ in the movie, I think it beautifully brought home that Doctor Who was a show that really oughtn’t have worked, but somehow did, despite everything that was stacked against it – and that’s a thought that makes me more misty-eyed than the movie actually did!

    Thanks once again for a great episode, and for bringing me into the great big Doctor who fandom over this year.

  12. I just watched “An Adventure…” for the 9th time and I STILL cry when he says “I don’t want to go!”. Not a bit of cheese as far as I’m concerned. What I really loved (besides everything) was the juxtaposition of the first woman in space with Sidney cogitating on who should produce Doctor Who and the introduction of Verity (who will be the first woman in the BBC’s space). It’s lovely and adds to the feeling of a great Creation Myth.

    I’m really sorry they haven’t come out with region one DVDs of this because its forced me to torrent and burn my own as Christmas presents for all my non-Whovian friends. I would gladly buy them. Then again, I probably wouldn’t have seen it 9 times and counting (got to check my work, you see).

  13. MayorOfUlthar said:

    It’s that time of year, and only a couple of weeks toward the day of the regeneration, which is also a gift-day too. I am adding a few things to my Christmas list., including Classic Who DVDs. I was curious what the “Verities” and the intelligent commenters here think are the classic DVDs with the best VAM/extra content…. perhaps, even, those with the best VAM without regard to the quality of the actual episodes.

    I would add “Adventure” to the list, but it doesn’t seem to be available in my country. Yet another instance where the DVD region system appears to have no other purpose but to encourage people to get it for free from friends. since the sales are discouraged.
    By the way, I keep finding myself getting the name wrong, and hear people on podcasts do this too… “An Adventure in Space and Time” or “An Adventure in Time and Space”? I wonder if Inspector Spacetime adds to the confusion or makes it better.

    • That’s a great question that I would like an answer to as well. What ARE the best vam DVDs? I generally read the backs and get anything with Lis Sladen on but I need to expand my reach.

      • Ray Adamson said:

        Shamefully,i’m suggesting the ludicrous and abysmal TimeFlight fron the Tegan box set for the commentary value,i think.Pretty much the Doctor Who equivalent of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 with Doctor Who actors being tortured instead of robots for me.Totally appropriate they should suffer with us.Apart from that,The Beginning,Key to Time,Trial of a Time Lord ,Legacy,Out of Time and New Beginning collections seem to me to be quite good shouts for VAM.

      • I think everyone should listen to at least one Peter Davison & Janet Fielding commentary… also the new Spearhead from Space Blu-Ray has some great documentaries about Caroline John & Jon Pertwee

    • I’d recommend ‘The Beginning’ box set for VAM, especially if you want to know more about the origins of Who because it has a superb hour long documentary on that very thing, as well as lots of other great extras including the untelevised ‘pilot’ version of the first episode, stuff about the creation of the Daleks, and a condensed reconstruction of the missing Marco Polo serial.

    • mikeb said:

      The Green Death special edition – not only does it have the Sarah Jane Adventures episode Death of the Doctor, you also get the brilliant and hilarious commentary by Russell T. Davies and Katy Manning.

  14. Ray Adamson said:

    Apologies.Mea Culpa.Critically,i wanted to suggest the Lost in Time collection but said Out of Time.Oops.

  15. On the theme of recommendations, I’d love suggestions on good stories/episodes for children. My son is 8 years old and hasn’t watched a lot of live actor shows (he’s keener on animation), but is starting to show a bit of interest in Doctor Who, which I’d like to encourage! I think that new Who might be a bit fast-paced for him, but my memory of classic Who is pretty shoddy, so any ideas gratefully accepted!

    A couple of things that might influence people’s recommendations:
    He’s on the autism spectrum so probably wouldn’t be keen on anything with more complex emotional content. And he loves computers and transport (trains especially).

    P.S. I’ve also toyed with the idea of getting him interested in the Who universe through the Sarah Jane Adventures, but I’ve not seen that myself so would appreciate people’s thoughts.

    • The Sarah Jane Adventures is brilliant – a great drama show for kids which is high on the adventure, humour & monsters, and a gateway drug for new & classic Who.

      As far as classic stories that might appeal to your son, The Green Death comes to mind (maggots, evil computers, environmental themes, giant fly), or something fun like Destiny of the Daleks (computers, Daleks, robots that look like people) or The Androids of Tara (sword fights, androids). Robot is a very good introduction to Classic Who and to the Fourth Doctor, who has been charming kids for four decades.

      If he’s keen on animation, though, why not give him a go at some of the Troughton stories that have reconstructed episodes? He might be interested in the combination. My 4 year old fell in love with Troughton via The Ice Warriors, and all the kids I know really enjoy The Invasion which has soldiers, Cybermen and a couple of animated episodes.

      If he’s anything like my godson and his brothers (who all have a deeply embedded fannish gene) then all he needs is one Cyberman & one Dalek story in order to develop FIRM OPINIONS about which is best. An action figure or two slipped his way would probably help a lot with his connecting to the show, and depending on his reading ability, a battered copy of The Programme Guide from the 80’s & some Target novelisations…

      • Thanks for the suggestions, Tansy. I’ll try one or two of those and let you know how it goes… The trick will lie in introducing him to something new, which he always resists!

  16. MayorOfUlthar said:

    Thank you all for your suggestions: adding them to my list 🙂 a few were already on it!

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