Elena suddenly felt the ground beneath her feet give way. The small castle that she and that hideous abomination were hiding in began to fade away into nothing but darkness. In a last ditch attempt the mass of tormented souls that had been pursuing Elena tried to reach out and grab her, but she jumped into the black abyss that was appearing ahead of her.
Both she and the monster fell through an endless darkness as the last of the castle faded away into smoke.
For how long they fell, they weren’t sure. Time didn’t seem to exist in the abyss they found themselves in. In the very distance however, Elena could see what looked like a tiny window, in reality, it was the frame of the painting she had been pulled through. She pulled herself towards it as much as she could and though it seemed to get further and further away at first, just as all seemed lost she suddenly found herself right in front of the window frame and crawled through it. As the mutant looked back, she saw the abomination that had chased her falling through the endless darkness, not even attempting to flee. In the darkness it was finally free from Scratchman’s control, and unlike Elena, the monster had no desire to escape back into the hell it came from. In this darkness will was the only thing that mattered. As there was no space or matter, when Elena tried to use force to escape through the portal it didn’t work, but ironically as soon as the portal began to fade her terror made her will strong enough to be brought towards it.
The alien knew this, but didn’t care. An eternity through nothingness was still preferrable to a second under Scratchman’s cruelty.
In this void the pain and memories of what they had lost didn’t seem to bother the creature as it sank peacefully into the darkness.
Once Elena had made her way through the portal and back into Scratchman’s castle she started to think the monster had been right not to bother. All around her were hideous monstrosities who had crawled out of the paintings. Both Scratchman’s victims who had been twisted beyond all recognition, and their tormentors who had followed them, fighting and tearing at each other. The hall itself had also vanished and was now replaced by a massive cavern made from mangled flesh and bone. In the very distance Elena could see what looked like several creatures working together in torturing a Demon. It was in fact the Demon that Scratchman had left in control of the paintings, who had earlier captured Elena.
The creature pitifully begged it’s former victims to show clemency which of course fell on deaf ears. Just as before Elena wisely stayed out of the fighting and tried to make her way through the bloodbath to find the Doctor and Yarox.
The Doctor’s attack on Scratchman had only distracted him for a few minutes, but in that time his will was distracted his entire world, or rather what was left of it had been thrown out of order. Several pocket dimensions he had created, such as the paintings had collapsed, the structure of his castle had been stripped to it’s bare bones. (Literally. The foundation of the castle was made of the corpses of the billions Scratchman had slaughtered.)
Even outside his castle, the entire landscape had been ravaged. The land split open, and the lake of torment began to flood the land. The armies fighting outside Scratchman’s castle were swept away in a tidal wave, with only a few Harpies and some of Scratchman’s Demons managing to fly away.
The waves very nearly toppled the castle itself and burst through it’s foundations, flooding the inside. Elena was barely able to escape by climbing up a nearby wall, which she was able to do easily as many of the bones were sticking out of the walls.
She was one of the few survivors to crawl or fly to safety up the castle’s walls. As Elena looked down she saw all of the Demons and their former victims suffering together in the burning green waters as they were washed away.
Scratchman was able to save the Doctor and Yarox from being swept away by the flood as it broke through the walls into his room, by lifting them through the air with his telekinetic powers.
“I don’t know why you bothered” The Doctor said defiantly.
“I’m still not going to help you.”
“Oh I know Time Lord. I’ll have to find a way to break your machine instead. You are too dangerous to be allowed to live, but well I think a little dip in my lake is too good for you. Look at the trouble you’ve caused. I have even less time to make it out of this world now. No I think I have just the right punishment in mind for you.” Scratchman said as he slowly morphed back into his humanoid form.
Scratchman carried the two time travellers down a long hall that was flooded with the lake of the damned. Along the way several of Scratchman’s most loyal minions called out to him, but he didn’t listen.
When they finally reached the end of the hall it was a gigantic silver room, with a huge hole in the centre and monitor on the wall. The water it seemed was incapable of flowing into this area. It just stopped at the entrance.
Scratchman lowered himself to just beside the hole whilst he held the Doctor and his companion above it.
“You see Time Lord it is not just this universe that sustains me. Some of the previous realities I conquered I keep around as small pockets of existence like this one. I have too. I can never tell how long it will be before I overrun each universe. I’ve been trapped in this godforsaken reality for so long now however I’ve had to eat through most of my reserves. Still these are the last of the realities I claimed as my own. They are kept alive through a special supply of energy, even your little trick couldn’t hurt them. They sustain me.”
“Don’t worry though I wont just throw you in. Where’s the fun in that? Since I might not be getting out of this, I might as well enjoy myself don’t you think?”
Scratchman dropped the Doctor and Yarox into the hole. Below was a long, silver, yet dark corridor.
“This is a little anti climactic Harry?” The Doctor said.
A massive fire ball came hurling itself down one end of the corridor forcing the Doctor and Yarox to flee. As they ran further down the corridor, the roof suddenly disappeared.
Up above was nothing but blackness, but the Doctor and Yarox could hear screams and roars all around them. The fireball itself seemed to be screaming.
The Doctor and Yarox reached the end of the corridor where there was a portal, that looked like a hole in the ground, that led to one of Scratchman’s pocket dimensions.
The Doctor looked into the portal and saw a dimension that appeared to be nothing but a gigantic wasteland, with a huge tree in the middle. Several damned souls were trying to climb up the tree, which was covered in jagged, spiked branchses. The souls were cutting themselves on the branches the higher they climbed and were screaming, yet seemingly had no choice but to keep climbing.
“Ah you’ve reached the remains of one my favourite hell dimensions, you get the gist of the game now, if you can get out of my little maze I’ll let you go, well I’ll kill you quickly at least, well quicker than I would have. If not suffer in one of my many layers of hell.”
The Doctor helped Yarox to climb over the wall, after which Yarox then helped to pull the Doctor over, whilst the fire ball vanished down the hole into the hell universe below.
On the other side of the wall was another fire ball that forced the two time travellers to flee up the corridor.
“It’s like we’re trapped in some gigantic, nightmarish pinball machine.” The Doctor said.
As the Time Lord and his companion turned down the nearest corner, they saw a gigantic Iron Dog, with blood and flesh dripping from its fangs. The creature charged at the two time travellers, who both jumped to either side of the wall, narrowly dodging the abomination.
They then ran ahead of it together to the end of the corridor, which ended in three more corridors.
Picking one at random the Doctor and Yarox ran down the centre corridor, only for a gigantic fireball to come rolling down the other end.
“I really hate those things.” The Doctor said as he and Yarox ran back down the way.
When they reached the end of the centre corridor again, the Iron Dog was waiting for them. Roaring and hissing, as the Doctor tried to help Yarox climb over the wall, suddenly from above a gigantic griffin like creatures emerged from the darkness and grabbed the Doctor in it’s talons. Yarox tried to pull the Doctor back down, but the Dog pounced on Yarox. The Griffin carried the Doctor high above the maze, which was absolutely enormous web of corridors, filled with fire balls, creatures and other dangers.
The Griffin dragged the Doctor to another pit at the end of a corridor and dropped him down it. The Doctor however managed to hold on the edges of the hole as he fell.
Below he could see this pocket dimension, or layer of hell, was a gigantic lake of fire, over which there was a huge suspension bridge between two large cliffs. The Doctor could see that several people were being forced to walk from one end of the bridge to the other. Each time they crossed the bridge however hideous Griffin like creatures, similar to the monster that had brought the Doctor to the pit in the first place would attack them, and force most of them into the fire below.
The Doctor tried to crawl back up, but each time he did the Griffin would fly back down and claw at him.
Yarox meanwhile was able to wriggle free from the Iron Dog when it bit into his back as the creature (which stood over 7 feet tall) only grabbed a flap of his clothes which when he pulled it ripped, allowing him to then slide under the monster undetected.
Yarox then ran down the right of the 3 corridors. Once he reached the end of it he came across two large wooden doors without any handles. He tried to push them open, but suddenly the doors started to pull open at either side, revealing the two doors to be a mouth, filled with razor sharp teeth.
The mouth which dribbled green, acidic saliva started to snap shut furiously and moved down the corridor after Yarox. Unfortunately at the other end the Dog was already waiting for him. With nothing left to lose and in a rush of adrenaline, Yarox jumped at the Dog as it leaped at him. Grabbing onto it’s head, he jumped over the beasts head and onto it’s back.
Whilst it was distracted trying to shake him off, the Dog failed to notice the wooden mouth that charged at him. Within a few seconds the two doors lined with razor sharp teeth had closed around the Dog’s head, ripped it off and crushed it into powder. The two doors then crushed and consumed the rest of the animal, whilst Yarox made his way down the left corridor.
Elena meanwhile had managed to make her way to Scratchman’s control room. Crawling along the walls of the rapidly crumbling castle, she could see that the water stopped at the silver corridor and crawled along towards it. Once she was near enough she then jumped onto the metal corridor.
Elena could see Scratchman watching the Doctor and Yarox struggling in his twisted game on the massive computer screen. Scratchman was hysterical with laughter at the two time travllers plight.
Elena knew it was pointless to try and attack Scratchman. There was no way she could hurt him, and she’d probably vaporize herself if she touched him.
Even if she tried to help the Doctor then Scratchman would still see her on his monitor. Still she couldn’t just leave him dangling over one of Scratchman’s worst layers of hell.
Elena quickly jumped down the hole into the maze. There she ran down the corridor until the roof disappeared. She then seeing a fireball heading in her direction jumped up to the top of the wall beside her. It took her a few goes, and it was only on her last attempt before the fire ball reached her, that Elena managed to grab the top of the wall with her finger tips, and pull herself up before the fireball consumed her.
Balancing herself on the top of the thin wall, Elena looked all over the maze, which did resemble a gigantic pinball machine with giant flaming pinballs running down almost every corridor. In the distance she could see the Griffin hovering over the Doctor.
Wasting no time, Elena jumped from the top of one wall to another until she reached where the Doctor was. Catching the Griffin off guard with a powerful kick to the head, she managed to send it flying over the top of the nearest wall, before helping the Doctor up.
“Elena, I honestly thought I’d never see you again, then again, I didn’t think I’d ever seen anything again dangling over that abyss. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, where’s Yarox?”
“I don’t know we got separated in this overgrown pinball machine, come on we need to find him.”
The Griffin suddenly re-emerged from behind the wall furious causing both the Doctor and Elena to flee, though Elena was able to land a good kick onto the monsters chest first.
The Doctor and Elena both called out for Yarox across the maze.
“Doctor? Elena? You’re both alive. I’m over here. Two corridors down.” Yarox shouted.
Elena and the Doctor tried to run down the nearest corridor in Yarox’s direction, but it was blocked by two skeletons holding two shields with Scratchman’s human form on them, smiling.
Elena tried to kick the shield but she suffered an electric shock, whilst the Skeletons were unaffected. As the Doctor helped Elena up, he saw the Skeleton’s as well as Scratchman’s face on both shields laughing hysterically.
With the Griffin not far away, the Doctor and Elena realised that they didn’t have time to try and fight through the Skeleton’s and so the Doctor helped Elena over the wall, but on the other side was red water rather than a floor. Elena jumped over to the top of the wall on the other side, after helping the Doctor up.
Unfortunately when the Doctor prepared to jump over, a gigantic snake like creature emerged from the water. Hissing and snapping at the Doctor, Elena kicked the monster from behind, distracting it and allowing the Doctor to jump over, though he landed on his stomach over the wall. Whilst his feet dangled over the red water, another snake like creatures head began to emerge, but Elena pulled herself and the Doctor over to the other side before they could do anything.
As soon as they landed on the other side however, two fireballs from either direction came charging at them.
“Oh give us a break.” Elena said.
“I think you’ve forgotten where you are supposed to be”. Scratchman said.
Again the Doctor helped Elena up, but before she could return the favour, the Griffin returned and grabbed the Doctor.
A tug of war ensued with Elena only barely holding on to the Doctor. Fortunately the two fireballs below colliding caused a mine explosion which shook knocked the Doctor, Elena and the Griffin backwards.
The Doctor and Elena quickly ran down the nearest corridor, but at the end of it was another hole which led to a very different type of hell dimension.
This dimension was nothing more than a hideous swamp of black tar, though at the centre of the tar was a giant throne, atop which a massive Demon with horns and a pig like face sat.
“Erlik has been so desperate to torture the Time Lord in his swamp. Looks like he’ll get his wish after all” Scratchman laughed.
A fireball blocked off the way back, but the Griffin flew towards the Doctor and Elena.
In desperation the Doctor attacked the Griffin and grabbed it by the talons. Elena soon joined in and together the two of them were able to pull the Monster down for a few seconds before it flew away, with both still holding onto either claw.
Whilst the Griffin struggled to kick them away in the air, the Doctor got a good look around and saw Yarox running down a nearby corridor from another flaming ball.
He and Elena then jumped away from the Griffin and landed in front of Yarox.
“Doctor, Elena” he said with joy.
“We’ll talk later” the Doctor said as he ran away from the fireball.
The three time travellers ran down the long corridor, but on the right hand wall, the three were distracted by a what looked like a door to another one of Scratchman’s pocket dimensions.
The three saw a woman standing in the doorway, though to the three of them she appeared very differently. The Doctor saw her as a hideous Demonic hag, whilst Yarox saw her as the most stunningly beautiful woman he had ever seen with flame red hair, and piercing green eyes. Elena meanwhile saw a relatively ordinary woman.
The Doctor was the first to break out of the trance and quickly pulled his two companions out of it.
They soon reached the end of the corridor, which was another portal on the ground. This time it led to a version of hell that appeared to be nothing but a Frozen wasteland. As the Doctor prepared to help his two companions up the nearest wall again, the walls around them suddenly grew to over 60 feet tall.
“Not very sportsman like Harry” The Doctor said.
“Again I think you’ve forgotten who you were talking too? Be glad I gave you a chance for as long as I did.”
The Doctor and his two companions tried to push at the walls as hard as they could, but it was no use. As the fireball hurled towards them they had no choice but to jump through the portal into Scratchman’s frozen wasteland below.
Scratchman burst out laughing.
“Poor Doctor. If this had been any other time I would have given him more of a chance, but ah well time is short. He brought it on himself.”
Scratchman turned around causing the water flooding his castle to retreat and the walls to turn to fire again.
“Let’s just hope his little machine is smart enough to realise I don’t appreciate or respect stubborness.”
In the wasteland below the Doctor struggled to move the cold was so biting. His people the Time Lords could withstand the cold to a much greater extent than human beings, but even he was beginning to pass out. Around him Elena and Yarox were both completely unconscious.
“Elena, Yarox.” The Doctor said weakly. “Please, we have to move, find shelter or we, we” He collapsed face first into the snow.
This is just a quick notification that all episodes of Professor Fang, and The Circus Master will be avaliable on Royal Road.com, Fictionpress.com and Booksie.
This will not impact my work here, as the stories will always be written here first and then transferred onto the other site.
Naturally I want to build my audience up, and so I will be posting them to as many sites as possible. This is just to let the other sites know that it is me who is publishing those stories and that there is no plagarism involved.
The Doctor and Sarah travel back to stop Chris Chibnall, Steven Moffat, and Paul Cornell from ever meeting up.
In the last article we looked at how a particular fandom incrowd was able to take over the Doctor Who franchise when it was at its most vulnerable, the Fitzroy Crowd (who were named as such because they all used to congregate at the Fitzroy pub in the 90s.)
The Fitzroy Crowd included the likes of Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall Paul Cornell, Gary Russell, Nicholas Briggs, Mark Gatiss, etc.
The Fitzroy Crowd, apart from a few exceptions in my opinion never really cared much for the Classic era. They generally tended to use the show to launch their own projects such as Torchwood instead.
We also examined how the Fitzroy Crowd were able to play on Doctor Who fans collective self loathing and insecurity of the show not succeeding after the cancellation crisis, to bully fandom into accepting the mantras “Doctor Who is all about change”, “Doctor Who has no canon,” and “all change is good.”
In this article I am going to thoroughly debunk the Doctor Who is all about change mantra once and for all and run through why it has been so poisonous for the franchise.
Why Doctor Who is all about change and has no canon are so damaging.
Whenever anyone criticises anything about the new Doctor Who, the first thing its fans will say is either “Well Doctor Who has always been about change. Oh you are the type of people who would have criticised William Hartnell changing into Patrick Troughton.”
Or “Doctor Who has no canon, what about the three sinkings of Atlantis, or the UNIT dating controversy. There are no constants in Doctor Who. It can change its continuity all the time.”
Sadly despite being demonstrably not true, this line of thinking has become the official mantra of the show, with the BBC themselves even using it to justify Jodie’s casting.
These quotes from Paul Cornell, a writer of the 21st century version of Doctor Who and various pieces of spin off material sum up the attitudes of both the makers of New Who and its fans.
To be a good writer, you have to smash things up. To make great Doctor Who, especially, you have to destroy something someone values with every step. Those footsteps of destruction will, in a few years, be cast in bronze and put on a plinth for the next great story to destroy.
Because when you say ‘the books just aren’t “canon!”’ or ‘the books “happened” and the TV show can’t ignore them!’ you’re not saying something like ‘for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction’, you’re saying something like ‘the South will never surrender’. You’re yelling a battle cry, not stating the truth. Because there is no truth here to find. There was never and now cannot be any authority to rule on matters of canonicity in a tale that has allowed, or at the very least accepted, the rewriting of its own continuity. And you’re using the fact that discussions of canonicity are all about authority to try to assume an authority that you do not have.
In the end, you’re just bullying people.
Because in Doctor Who there is no such thing as ‘canon’.
Leaving aside how ridiculous it is that Paul Cornell would complain about bullying. This is a man who regularly smears people as sexists, who called all critics of Missy people who would throw their relatives out onto the street for being trans, and who retweeted a cartoon where critics of Jodie where depicted as wife beaters, whose wives ran away with Jodie fans. (Presumably representing him.)
Remember its not bullying to call people wife beaters, and make jokes about shagging their wives over a difference of opinion over a tv show. It is however bullying when you point out plot holes in their stories.
To start with the all about change idea, is a terrible argument overall not just in regards to Doctor Who. It basically means that a writer doesn’t have to justify any creative decisions on their own merits.
“Someone did something back in 1966, so that means I can do anything I want to now.”
That’s basically Paul Cornell’s argument. By that logic I could have the Doctor morph into a big yellow Dinosaur that shoots eye beams and justify it with, “well William Hartnell changed into Patrick Troughton. That was a change and so is this, so it must be exactly the same. Also Doctor Who has no continuity, so this makes perfect sense.”
Each creative decision has to be justified on it’s own creative merits. There is no one size fit’s all method. No one is saying all change is bad, but you have to take change on a case, by case basis. The concept of regeneration and introducing the Time Lord’s were not even comparable to one another, never mind to the Timeless Child.
Trying to lump every change together under the umbrella of they are all the same, so every change is good, is every bit as bad as saying nothing can ever change. Both are extremes with no room for leeway or debate.
Furthermore limitations are not a bad thing by definition. Paul Cornell likes to paint them as being limits to his creativity, but in actual fact limitations are what define a character, or franchise and give it it’s own identity.
Take a look at another long running character like say Batman for example. Batman has been around longer than Doctor Who, and has gone through arguably more changes. Even just in terms of adaptations Batman has been a comedy character with Adam West, a dark, gothic character with Tim Burton, a sci fi hero with the DCAU, and a gritty crime fighter with Christian Bale.
Throughout all of these adaptations however, Batman has always retained a number of traditions and characteristics that have helped to define him.
Adam West, Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy and Christian Bale’s versions of Batman are all ordinary humans with no super powers, their civilian identities are all Bruce Wayne, they are all motivated to fight crime by the tragic murder of their parents which they all witness as children. They all even have similar costumes, a bat shaped cowl with pointy ears, a long flowing cape, a bat symbol on the chest, bat gloves, a utility belt etc. They all have the same gadgets, batarangs, bat ropes, gas bombs. They all have a Batcave, a Batmobile, a Bat bike, a Bat aerial means of transport. They also all have a butler named Alfred, work with Commisioner Gordon, are summoned by the Bat Signal. They also all fight at least some of Batman’s colourful enemies, the Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin etc.
All of these things define Batman as a character and it’s the job of a particular writer to do something new within those limitations.
You can throw away some limitations of a character in certain adaptations it’s true, but ultimately you cannot throw them all away. It’s okay to have a Batman who might say be a bit less tormented, or even a Sherlock Holmes who lives in modern day, as long as they still have most of the other limitations the character has, like being asexual, fighting the Joker, living in Gotham, etc. If you were to throw away all of those limitations, then we wouldn’t have Batman, or Sherlock Holmes at all, so why bother adapting them and not doing something new? Surely creating a new character is the most creative thing you can do?
Also bare in mind that some limitations are stronger than others. Like Batman and Sherlock Holmes both have to be ordinary men without superpowers above all else.
With this in mind, why should the Doctor as a character, or Doctor Who as a series be any different? It’s demonstrably not true to say that as a franchise, Doctor Who doesn’t have a number of constants that have helped give it a unique identity.
Why has the TARDIS remained a blue police box for over 50 years? Why has the show kept the same theme for over 50 years? Okay there have been different variations, but it is the same basic piece of music.
Why has the Doctor continued to fight the Daleks in every incarnation? Why do the Daleks have the same design? Why do the Daleks have the same voices? Why do the Daleks have the same motivation to exterminate all non Dalek life forms? Why has Davros continued to reappear? Why have the Cybermen continued to return to face almost every Doctor? Why have other villains and characters and staples like the Master, the Ice Warriors, The Brigadier, UNIT etc all spanned multiple Doctors?
If what Paul Cornell said is true that in order to write good Doctor Who you have to smash everything that came before, shouldn’t all these old 60s, 70s monsters and characters have been jettisoned a long time ago?
Why do we not know the Doctors name? Why does the Doctor still have a Sonic Screwdriver?
All of these things are limitations, constants that give Doctor Who it’s identity. If you smash them up, then you don’t have Doctor Who anymore, which is why people like Paul Cornell are so harmful to the franchise. They not only want to smash up the show and characters defining traits, but tar anyone who doesn’t as a bully!
“Oh but the Doctor regenerates, so he can be anyone.”
Again however this argument doesn’t hold much water.
In Classic Who, all of the different Doctors were meant to be the same person. Regeneration was simply an advanced form of healing.
Basically a Time Lord, or Lady’s body broke down, and then it repaired itself, but in doing so changed appearance. As a result of the change, their outer personality might be given a shake up.
Ultimately however a Time Lord, or Lady’s consciousness, memories, morals and core personality remained the same throughout all of their lives. If not then the Doctor wouldn’t exist as a character. He’d be a title handed down to several, totally unrelated characters.
Regeneration was created in order for the character of the Doctor to endure beyond any one actor. It wasn’t just a simple way of replacing the lead however. Back in 1966, since we knew nothing of the Doctors people, the writers could have just as easily revealed that the Doctor was a title handed down to various members of his race, and had the Hartnell version die, only to be replaced by a new Doctor.
Instead however they came up with the best of all worlds. The Doctor could change, meaning they didn’t have to throw out everything from Hartnell’s Doctor (like his history with the Daleks.) Yet at the same time, not only could a new actor play him, but he could in some ways make the role his own, whilst still being believable as the same character.
In Classic Who it was all about finding the right balance when casting and writing the Doctor. You needed someone who would bring something new to the role, but who would not be totally unbelievable as still being William Hartnell under his new face.
Any of the 6 classic Doctors after Hartnell fit that description. Jon Pertwee for instance, brought something new to the role by being more of an action hero, yet he was still an old, grandfatherly scientist like Hartnell. He still had the same motivations as Hartnell, to explore the universe, the same moral code, the same asexual nature etc.
This isn’t just my interpretation. In the series itself the Doctor never treats regeneration as death. He always treats it as a way of escaping death.
See these quotes from Classic Who stories.
The War Games.
TIME LORD: You will be sent to Earth in the twentieth century, and will remain there for as long as we deem proper, and for that period the secret of the Tardis will be taken from you. DOCTOR: But you, you can’t condemn me to exile on one primitive planet in one century in time! Besides, I’m known on the Earth. It might be very awkward for me. TIME LORD: Your appearance has changed before, it will change again. That is part of the sentence. DOCTOR: You can’t just change what I look like without consulting me! TIME LORD: You will have an opportunity to choose your appearance. DOCTOR: Oh, well, that’s not so bad. But I warn you, I’m very particular.
If each Doctor were a different person, why would the Second Doctor say its not so bad if he gets to choose his new face? He’d be dead either way. He’s choosing someone else’s face!
Similarly why does the Third Doctor refer to the Second Doctor as I on many occassions?
DOCTOR: That was my business. JO: What about stealing the Tardis? DOCTOR: I didn’t steal it. I just borrowed it. I fully intended to return it, I assure you. Anyway, she wasn’t exactly the latest model, poor old thing. JO: You can say that again. DOCTOR: I’ll tell you, I made a complete fool of that prosecuting council, though. I ridiculed his every argument. Yes, and I told him that I had the complete answer to every one his charges against me. (And behind his back, the Doctor is using his steel wire on a hinge of the cage door.) JO: And then what happened? DOCTOR: Then what happened. Well, they found me guilty, changed my appearance and exiled me to Earth. JO: And that’s where you met me.
All of this clearly shows that the writers and producers intended Pertwee, Troughton and Hartnell to be the same man.
Furthermore, in the Deadly Assassin, a Time Lord makes a distinction between regeneration and death.
DOCTOR: Yes. He was evil, cunning and resourceful. Highly developed powers of ESP and a formidable hypnotist. And the more I think about it, the less likely it seems.
DOCTOR: Well, that the Master would meekly accept the end of his regeneration cycle. It’s not his style at all.
ENGIN: But that’s something we must all accept, Doctor.
(Engin hands the Doctor a drink.)
DOCTOR: Thank you. Not the Master. No, he had some sort of plan. That’s why he came here, Engin.
ENGIN: After the twelfth regeneration, there is no plan that will postpone death.
Also the Master who plans to steal other regenerations because he is afraid of death’s motivation makes 0 sense if each incarnation of a Time Lord is a different person. He’ll die as soon as he changes anyway.
The Fifth Doctor also makes a distinction between regeneration and death in his last story.
PERI: There must be something I can do. Tell me! DOCTOR: Too late, Peri. Going soon. Time to say goodbye. PERI: Don’t give up. You can’t leave me now! DOCTOR: I might regenerate. I don’t know. (She lays his head down on the floor.)
DOCTOR: Feels different this time.
The hallucinations of the Doctors companions telling him not to die make 0 sense if the 5th Doctor is dying regardless of whether he is regenerating or not. They all tell the Doctor in general to fight and regenerated, why?
Finally in The Twin Dilemma, the poison that killed the 5th Doctor is meant to have damaged the 6th Doctors mind, making him more unstable than previous incarnations. As a result the 6th Doctor starts doing things the Doctor would never do. After his violent attack on Peri he is horrified and states firmly that he is never violent unless in self defence.
Again this makes no sense if all the Doctors are different people? How does the 6th Doctor know that he would never harm anyone if he isn’t provoked? If everything about a Time Lord changes, maybe 6 is just a psychopath. He is basing his behaviour entirely on his previous selves. Similarly why hasn’t one version of the Master ever been a good guy? Why do they all have the same motivation and opinion of the Doctor?
Furthermore its not just that this is how regneration is portrayed in the show itself. All of Classic Who’s most prominent writers, producers and all 6 actors who played the role after regeneration was introduced hold the same opinion.
Patrick Troughton said in an interview collected for the 10th anniversary in the Radio Times, that the key to Doctor Who’s success was that he, William Hartnell and Jon Pertwee were playing different sides of the same character, rather than three different characters.
Jon Pertwee meanwhile was adamant about the Doctor remaining asexual like his predecessors, whilst Tom Baker also said in an interview collected for the 1977 Docu “Whose Doctor Who” that the Doctor was the single most limited role he had ever played. Baker said there were so many things he couldn’t do or else he wouldn’t be the Doctor anymore.
Terrance Dicks the shows longest serving script editor, (and author of more Doctor Who books than is seemingly possible) meanwhile said in this interview conducted in 2013, that the single most important thing is to not change the Doctors character too much.
Robert Holmes and Terry Nation, the two most prolific writers of the original series have both said that they always viewed the Doctor collectively as one character. They both said that they wrote the Doctor as the same character and simply allowed the actor to say the lines in their own way. Both Holmes and Nation argued that from their perspective as writers, the Doctor hadn’t changed. Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker had the same motivations, the same moral code fundamentally, the same attitude to humans and the Daleks, etc. It was up to the actor to make the Doctors outer persona different.
Pertwee would play the role completely seriously, Tom Baker might bring a more bohemian quality, Hartnell would be grumpy and difficult, Davison more youthful, energetic and vulnerable etc.
Point is however it was the same person underneath.
Here are is a quote from Robert Holmes, taken from his biography.
“I wrote the fifth Doctor in very much the same way as his predecessors. After all, the Doctor is always the same character. His body changes, his manner and idosyncrancies alter, but at the bottom he remains the same person.”
Finally John Nathan Turner was also adamant about making the Doctor seem like the same person, hence his famous no hanky panky in the TARDIS policy. JNT even forced his actors who played the role to all grow their hair out, as he said short back and sides were not the Doctors style.
None of the most prominent people involved in the original 26 years of Doctor Who, ever had the attitude of Paul Cornell. Whilst its true what Cornell said that Doctor Who was not the work of one person like Sherlock Holmes, and therefore it’s canon was not set down officially. Ultimately all of the most prominent people who worked on the original still followed an accepted template for the Doctor, based on what had come before.
Its also worth mentioning that many of the people who worked on Classic Who, who helped shape its lore, would be involved throughout most of its history. Terrance Dicks wrote from the Second to the Fifth Doctors.
Robert Holmes wrote from the Second to the Sixth Doctors, whilst Terry Nation not only wrote for three Doctors, but also had final say over every single Dalek story until the very end. Even John Nathan Turner had worked on the show in some capacity since the Troughton era.
Barry Letts meanwhile who co-created the Master, helped to reintroduce the character in the Anthony Ainley era, and filled John Nathan Turner in on his backstory, character (even on the aborted idea that the Master was really the Doctors brother, which nearly re-appeared in Planet of Fire.)
Paul Cornell is talking nonsense when he says that the original creative team had no contact with each other and all worked independently.
The changes behind the scenes were gradual, there was a definite idea of who the Doctor was, and many of the people who helped create and shape the lore were there in some capacity, from Terry Nation to Barry Letts right the way through.
“But the Doctor changed into Patrick Troughton, and in the Hartnell era he wasn’t established as a Time Lord. So that proves the show should rewrite itself.”
No it doesn’t.
To start with these changes that are always cited as proof that all changes work, like the introduction of Time Lords, and regeneration, where introduced when the show was still young and was more of a blank slate. They are not comparable to the Timeless Child that comes after 60 plus years of established history.
When Hartnell morphed into Troughton, we knew nothing about the Doctors race. We didn’t even know what they were called. Revealing that they had the power to renew themselves didn’t contradict anything that had come before. It was still a convenient asspull, but it wasn’t actually contradictory. We already knew that the Doctors people lived for a long time, so the idea that it was because they could renew their bodies, fitted in well.
Similarly in the War Games revealing that the Doctors people were the Time Lords, that he had ran away from them to explore the universe, was not a change. It was filling a gap in. We had never seen his people before the War Games, we had never known why he had ran away so it wasn’t a change. Furthermore it was one that fitted in with what we had seen before.
We knew his people were highly advanced, we knew that the Doctor was a scientist who wanted to explore new worlds above all else (to the point where as Hartnell he risked his friends and families lives at the prospect of exploring a new city.) Finally we also knew he could never go back and was in exile.
The Time Lord explanation fitted into all of that. It tied in with the fact that he couldn’t go back, that he was a renegade, and his status as a scientist who wanted to live by his own rules.
Similarly revealing that Time Lords could regenerate only 12 times wasn’t a contradiction either. It was filling a gap in. Prior to the Deadly Assassin, the Doctors changes of appearance had been very vague. We didn’t know the process in detail, the Deadly Assassin simply told us.
Notice that once these gaps were filled in, they were never contradicted.
After the Doctors people are revealed to be the Time Lords, then that’s it. There is no story that reveals “actually his people are Venusians, and they are giant shapeshifting monsters, with the Doctor just having assumed a human form.” If what Paul Cornell said is true that you “have to smash up what a previous writer created.” Why did everybody from Barry Letts to John Nathan Turner stick to the Doctor’s people being the Time Lord’s after The War Games?
Similarly once the limit for the Time Lord’s lives has been given as 13, that’s it. The Keeper of Traken, Mawdryn Undead, The Five Doctors, The Twin Dilemma, all stick to that rule as contrary to what Cornell said, it clearly was set in stone at that point for future writers.
Again you can see that this is just a facet of writing in general, that you will see with any long running character like Batman. Originally Batman was just a generic crime fighter, but then it was revealed that he fought crime because his parents were killed by a mugger. Once that was revealed, that was it. His origin always had to stay that way. Another writer 20 years later couldn’t come along and say “Batman’s parents are alive, and it was his brother that was killed. If you object to this you are the type of person who would have objected to Batman’s parents being killed in the first place, because that was technically a change and so is this etc.”
Too much time has passed with the knowledge that Batman’s parents are dead. From an in universe perspective it would require a retcon that would stretch credibility, and from a real world perspective audiences wouldn’t accept it. Audiences all over the world recognise the death of Batman’s parents as being a key ingredient of his character. Even in a remake, or adaptation, his parents still have to die. The only time you can not have Thomas and Martha Wayne die, is if it’s meant to be a weird alternate universe version of Batman that is supposed to have a different history.
The Doctor is the same. The Doctor has been set in people’s minds as a Time Lord for over 50 years now. Similarly for over 40 years it has been set that Time Lords have 13 lives. Trying to compare getting rid of, or changing that, to a change that came in after 6 years when the character was more of a blank slate is totally dishonest and harmful to the character. It now means that not only is his past identity that generations have come to love unsafe, but it also means that he can never have an identity again. If the Doctor can say be a Venusian one episode and then a Time Lord the next, then he ceases to exist as a character. Unlike Batman who we know always lives in Gotham, or the Doctor of Classic Who who we knew was a Time Lord, had a TARDIS, hated weapons etc, a character written under the all change is good formula will be nothing more than an incoherent mess.
“What about the three different endings for Atlantis, doesn’t that show the Classic series never cared about continuity.”
No it doesn’t. The three sinkings of Atlantis to start with are a minor part of the show’s lore. Second of all they are an honest continuity mistake.
You can’t bring up examples of the writers making honest mistakes, and use that to justify smashing essential parts of something.
Every single show makes continuity blips now and again. Frasier has about 6 different dates for his birthday. Curb Your Enthusiasm, another classic American comedy series makes a big mistake in series 6. The character of Marty Funkhouser states very clearly in series 4 that his mother has been dead for decades, whilst an episode in series 6 revolves around his mothers recent death.
Again this is a minor blip. It doesn’t then mean that a later writer can come along and smash up the entire story of Curb Your Enthusiasm (by changing it one week that say Larry was always married to Susie Green rather than Cheryl for instance.)
Also I feel that the likes of Cornell often leave out the dozens more examples of really tight continuity from the Classic era.
Look at the Cybermen’s history for instance.
In The Tenth Planet it is said that the Cybermen come from Mondas. After Mondas is destroyed, the Cybermen are driven to near extinction. In their next story, The Moonbase the Cybermen are said to be desperate after losing their home planet.
In Tomb of the Cybermen meanwhile they state that they moved to Telos to survive after their failed invasion of the Moonbase, and the destruction of Mondas.
DOCTOR: We’ll play for time. Wait our chance. Leave it to me. Excuse me. May I ask a question? Why did you submit yourself to freezing? You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to. CONTROLLER: To survive. Our history computer has full details of you. DOCTOR: Oh? How? CONTROLLER: We know of your intelligence. DOCTOR: Oh, thank you very much. Ah, yes. The lunar surface. CONTROLLER: Our machinery had stopped and our supply of replacements been depleted. DOCTOR: So that’s why you attacked the Moonbase. CONTROLLER: You had destroyed our first planet and we were becoming extinct.
In The Wheel in Space meanwhile the Cybermen are again depicted as being desperate. Mondas isn’t mentioned in The Invasion, but there is nothing to contradict it either. (Contrary to popular belief that story does not state that the Cybermen come from Planet 14, simply that they met the Doctor there.)
In Revenge of the Cybermen meanwhile the Cybermen again mention their home planet being destroyed, or rather the Doctor does.
“You’ve no home planet, no influence, nothing!”
Mondas is mentioned in Earthshock too, whilst Attack of the Cybermen shows the monsters attempt to prevent it’s destruction. Finally Silver Nemesis shows the Cybermen attempt to make Earth the New Mondas.
So from the first to last appearance, over 20 years, the show kept to the idea that the Cybermen came from Mondas and as a result of it’s destruction, they were desperate.
Similarly the Daleks home planet is established as Skaro in their first story, and it remains that way right the way through to Remembrance. The Chase meanwhile is a sequel to The Dalek Invasion of Earth. In The Chase, the Daleks explicitly mention wanting to destroy the Doctor for foiling their invasion of earth.
The Daleks Masterplan meanwhile depicts the monsters as having time travel, because they were shown to have discovered it in The Chase. Many Dalek stories set after, such as Day of the Daleks, Ressurection and Remembrance also carry on this plot thread too.
Planet of the Daleks also mentions the events of the first Dalek story too, whilst Resurrection follows on from Destiny. It not only continues the Movellan/Dalek war story, but also follows on from Davros being frozen at the end of Destiny. Likewise Revelation follows on from Resurrection by showing Davros being on bad terms with the Daleks after betraying them.
Similarly the Master, from The Deadly Assassin onwards it is established has lost his ability to regenerate. The Keeper of Traken shows he learned the ability to transfer his mind into new bodies and both of these plot threads are kept up afterwards, even to the 96 movie.
At no point is the Master suddenly shown to be able to regenerate without explanation, post The Deadly Assassin. If it is brought up, he will mention having no lives, and being forced to steal more bodies.
Furthermore the Brigadier’s story is overall consistent as well. Whilst they may get the dates of the stories wrong, the Brigadier always mentions having first met the Doctor when they faced the Yeti in the London Underground, having worked with Sergent Benton, Jo Grant, faced the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Master etc whenever his past is alluded to.
The Doctor’s exile to earth is another example of tight continuity too. In The War Games the Time Lord’s state that they will not only exile him to earth, but remove the knowledge on how to pilot the TARDIS from his mind.
Throughout the Pertwee era his is shown to struggle with fixing the TARDIS, because of the blocks around his memory.
In The Three Doctors the Time Lord’s return the missing piece of the TARDIS to the Doctor, and the Doctor mentions his memory of how to work the machine being restored.
See for yourself.
The War Games
TIME LORD: You will be sent to Earth in the twentieth century, and will remain there for as long as we deem proper, and for that period the secret of the Tardis will be taken from you.
The Three Doctors
DOCTOR: The Time Lords! Look, they’ve sent me a new dematerialisation circuit. And my knowledge of time travel law and all the dematerialisation codes, they’ve all come back. They’ve forgiven me. They’ve given me back my freedom.
Furthermore many stories in the Classic era served as sequels to previous adventures.
The Web of Fear is a sequel to The Abominable Snowman, whilst The Invasion is a sequel to The Web of Fear. The Curse and Monster of Peladon are also connected too, whilst Metebelis 3 is mentioned in various stories before showing up in Pertwee’s last adventure.
The Web of Fear
TRAVERS: Who are you?
JAMIE: I’d like to ask you the same question.
VICTORIA: Wait a minute, Jamie! I’m Victoria Waterfield. And that’s Jamie McCrimmon!
TRAVERS: But it can’t be. Why, that’s over forty years ago.
JAMIE: What’s going on here?
VICTORIA: Oh Jamie, don’t you recognise him? It’s Professor Travers.
JAMIE: So it is! Professor Travers! Here, hasn’t he got old? Oh, but we’re very pleased to see you, Professor. Very pleased.
TRAVERS: The time machine. It was all true then?
JAMIE: The Tardis you mean? Aye, of course it’s true. Hey, do you know what’s happened to the Doctor?
VICTORIA: Oh, is he safe?
TRAVERS: Isn’t he with you?
ANNE: No, he’s in the tunnels. Arnold’s gone to look for him. Father, what is going on?
TRAVERS: Oh dear, I do hope he’s all right. Come on, Jamie. Let’s go and find out if he’s got back yet.
TRAVERS: Eh? Victoria, try and explain to Anne, will you? It’s all right, Victoria. You were born. I mean. She was born years before I was!
(Travers and Jamie leave.)
ANNE: A time machine.
VICTORIA: Oh, dear.
BRIGADIER: How nice to see you again, Doctor.
DOCTOR: It’s Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart!
BRIGADIER: Ah, Brigadier now. I’ve gone on up in the world.
JAMIE: Oh course, the Yetis. We met you in the
BRIGADIER: That’s right, McCrimmon, in the underground. Must be four years ago now.
JAMIE: That long. It only seems about a couple of weeks ago, doesn’t it.
DOCTOR: I’ve told you over and over again, Jamie. Time is relative.
BRIGADIER: Are you still making a nonsense of it. Doctor, in your, what was it called? Tardis?
DOCTOR: Yes, we’re still travelling. Yes.
BRIGADIER: Yes, Mister Travers told me all about it. It’s er, well it’s, to say the least, an unbelievable machine.
DOCTOR: Any more unbelievable than the Yetis?
BRIGADIER: No, true. I’m not quite so much of a sceptic as I was since that little escapade.
With this in mind, how can anyone say that continuity didn’t matter in Classic Who? For the most part it was kept up. Even as far back as the Hartnell era, continuity was deemed important by the producers.
William Hartnell’s widow states in this very interview that the producers kept notes on the show’s lore to make sure that new writers wouldn’t mess things up.
Jump to round about 8 mins in to see Heather talk about how new writers had to adhere to a very strict formula when writing the Doctor.
You can see when you watch the Hartnell era itself, (which again I’m not sure that the Fitzroy Crowd have in decades) It’s continuity overall is surprisingly tight. For instance in The Dalek Invasion of Earth it is established that the Daleks invaded and conquered humanity in the 22nd century. Vicki who is from a later date in human history is therefore familiar with the Daleks, as are other humans from the future, such as Steven, and the colonists in the Ark.
[Museum Exhibit room]
DOCTOR: Chesterton! IAN: It can’t be! (The adults recoil at the sight of a large pepperpot with a bad disposition, but it is only an exhibit labelled Dalek, Planet Skaro.) VICKI: So that’s what a Dalek looks like. DOCTOR: Don’t touch, child. BARBARA: What do you know about them, Vicki? VICKI: Only what I’ve read in history books. That they invaded Earth about three hundred years ago, was it? IAN: We were there, Vicki. That was one of the periods we visited. DOCTOR: I don’t mind admitting, my boy, that that thing gave me a start. Coming face to face to it again. VICKI: It’s not a bit the way I imagined it. Oh, I mean, the books describe them all right but well, this one looks quite friendly. BARBARA: Friendly? IAN: You wouldn’t say that, young lady, if ever we meet them again. Which to say the least is very unlikely. Ihope.
Furthermore the Monk is left stranded on earth at the end of the The Time Meddler, and in his next appearance he mentions this to the Doctor, and vows revenge as a result.
DOCTOR: Ah, tut, tut, tut, my dear Monk. Now don’t be so ridiculous. Put that down at once. MONK: Well, hello, Doctor. Keeping well? DOCTOR: Oh, no complaints, no. And you? MONK: Oh, so so, you know, just so so. SARA: Who is it? MONK: Delighted to see you again, young man. STEVEN: Thanks. I wish I could say the same for you. DOCTOR: I suppose congratulations for your escape are quite in order. MONK: Oh, thank you. Most kind of you, Doctor. Yes, it took a bit of time, but I finally managed to bypass the dimensional controller. DOCTOR: Yes, a very interesting solution, yes, I’m sure, though I think it would make for rather an uncomfortable ride. However, I don’t suppose it affected you very much, being an amateur. MONK: Yes, it was rather uncomfortable, but then, we can’t have everything, can we? As for being an amateur, we shall see. Anyway, it was better than 1066. DOCTOR: Yes, I suppose so. SARA: What’s he talking about, 1066? STEVEN: It’s all right. We’ve met the Monk once before. I’ll explain later. DOCTOR: And you returned here for one obvious reason, did you not? MONK: I’m afraid so, Doctor. Revenge is a strange thing, isn’t it? DOCTOR: Yes, yes, quite, quite. Tell me, any plans? MONK: And all carried out as well. Oh, ho. Doctor, you remember you left me in 1066?
In the 80s meanwhile Ian Levine was called in by John Nathan Turner as a continuity advisor. Whilst some think that Turner went too far with continuity references, personally I think this has been exaggerated somewhat.
The fact is there were references to previous stories before John Nathan Turner’s era. I feel this point get’s exaggerated as a way of justifying the show’s cancellation. Obviously too many references to the past is a bad thing, as it can alienate new viewers. I think you should only reference the past if you are following a previous story. If you are setting a story on an entirely new planet and time, then there is no need to comment on the past.
Still it’s worth baring in mind these references from the Pre JNT years.
DOCTOR: Ever since man began? Exactly. But why? All right, Captain Yates, the curtains. Now creatures like those have been seen over and over again throughout the history of man, and man has turned them into myths, gods or devils, but they’re neither. They are, in fact, creatures from another world.
BENTON: Do you mean like the Axons and the Cybermen?
DOCTOR: Precisely, only far, far older and immeasurably more dangerous.
Pyramids of Mars
SARAH: Hey, Doctor. Doctor, look what I’ve found.
DOCTOR: Hello, Vicky.
DOCTOR: Hmm? Where did you get that dress?
SARAH: I just told you. I found it back there in the wardrobe. Why, don’t you like it?
DOCTOR: Yes. Yes, I always did. Victoria wore it. She travelled with me for a time
Spearhead from Space
BRIGADIER: Since UNIT was formed, there’ve been two attempts to invade this planet. LIZ: Really BRIGADIER: We were lucky enough to be able to stop them. There was a policy decision not to inform the public. LIZ: Do you seriously expect me to believe that BRIGADIER: It’s not my habit to tell lies, Miss Shaw. LIZ: I’m sorry, but it is a fantastic story. BRIGADIER: We were very lucky on both occasions. We had help from a scientist with a great experience of other life forms. LIZ: Really Who was this genius BRIGADIER: Well, it’s all rather difficult to explain. We used to call him the Doctor. (A phone buzzes.) BRIGADIER: Yes
The War Games
TIME LORD: You have heard the charge against you, that you have repeatedly broken our most important law of non-interference in the affairs of other planets. What have you to say? Do you admit these actions? DOCTOR: I not only admit them, I am proud of them. While you have been content merely to observe the evil in the galaxy, I have been fighting against it. TIME LORD 3: It is not we who are on trial here, Doctor, it is you. DOCTOR: No, no, of course, you’re above criticism, aren’t you. TIME LORD: Do you admit that these actions were justified? DOCTOR: Yes, of course, I do. Give me a thought channel and I’ll show you some of the evils I’ve been fighting against. (The Time Lords nod to each other.) DOCTOR: The Quarks, deadly robot servants of the cruel Dominators, they tried to enslave a peace loving race. Then there were the Yeti, more robot killers, instruments of an alien intelligence trying to take over the planet Earth. TIME LORD 3: All this is entirely irrelevant. DOCTOR: You asked me to justify my actions, I am doing so. Let me show you the Ice Warriors, cruel Martian invaders, they tried to conquerthe Earth too. So did the Cybermen, half creature, half machine. But worst of all were the Daleks, a pitiless race of conquerors exterminating all who came up against them. All these evils I have fought while you have done nothing but observe. True, I am guilty of interference, just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need! TIME LORD: Is that all you have to say? DOCTOR: Well, isn’t it enough? TIME LORD: Your defence has been heard and will be carefully considered, but you have raised difficult issues. We require time to think about them. You will be recalled when we have made our decision.
The Curse of Peladon
(There are footsteps so they duck back behind the tapestry as a familiar scaly-armoured green figure hisses its way past. They follow it to a corner.) JO: What was that DOCTOR: That, Jo, was an Ice Warrior. A native of the planet Mars. JO: You’ve seen them before DOCTOR: Yes, indeed I have, and believe me, they’re not very pleasant company.
Ultimately Doctor Who as you can see did very much care about it’s continuity. To say that it didn’t just because of a few minor continuity blips, sprinkled throughout a 26 year history is once again dishonest and harmful.
Fandom seems to have it in their heads that continuity is something that only fans care about, and that it consists of just shoehorning in pointless references. It doesn’t.
Continuity is essentially just making sure a story stays consistent. For instance if you establish that a character like Buffy has super strength, but cannot survive bullet wounds, or conventional weapons then that becomes part of canon. A proper writer will therefore want to work within that, and not have Buffy survive a bullet wound to the head because of her powers. A lazy hack however will have Buffy get shot in the head with a shotgun and be perfectly fine, and justify it with “continuity is for nerds.”
Similarly if a character’s story has been built up for years by other writers, then it won’t just be die hards that care about it being followed up on. If you bring the character back without explanation after being killed off, people will feel cheated. (In all fairness Classic Who was guilty of this with The Master after his supposed death in Planet of Fire. However that was rightfully criticised at the time. It makes no sense to use a bad example of something from Classic Who as a template whilst ignoring all of the good.) Similarly if you undo years of development and don’t explain why, even casual viewers will feel cheated.
Trying to turn continuity into something that must be ignored is a terrible idea, as essentially it is telling viewers “nothing matters. We are too lazy to try and remain consistent to any degree about characters, histories, powers, or anything like that.”
It also means you can’t develop a character properly. After all if their entire history can be just tossed aside (because continuity is for nerds.) How can you possibly develop them over a long period? An example of this from New Who was the development of Missy into a more heroic character that was quickly dropped without explanation when the Master returned in the Chibnall era.
“What about the two different origins for the Daleks in Genesis and the first Dalek story, and what about the Time Lord’s being presented completely differently. That proves Doctor Who constantly rewrote itself as those are large parts of the lore, not just minor blips.”
No it doesn’t. To start with those changes are nowhere near as big as they have been made out to be. (Often by people like Paul Cornell.) Second of all those changes were still carefully done. Again I am not saying you can’t ever have any retcon’s or changes, but even with a retcon it still has to fit in with what came before to a reasonable extent.
In the first Dalek story we learn that the Daleks were once humanoid creatures called the Dals who engaged the Thals in an atomic war which destroyed the surface of Skaro. Both species were mutated as a result, and whilst the Thals mutation cycle eventually came full circle, the Dals mutated into the Daleks, and housed themselves inside metallic casings.
In Genesis of the Daleks, we find out that the Daleks humanoid ancestors were called Kaleds instead. Like the Dals, the Kaleds engaged the Thals in an atomic war that destroyed the surface of Skaro. Both species slowly began to mutate, but in Genesis it is revealed that the Kaleds leading scientist Davros, accelerated the Kaleds mutation cycle (as well as tampered with their minds for his own ends) before placing the mutants inside metal casings, creating the Daleks in the process.
At a glance these two origins stories are deeply contradictory, but Terry Nation (who wrote both stories.) Insisted that they weren’t.
Nation argued that in the first Dalek story we only heard a vague, second hand account about the Daleks origins written thousands of years later from the Thals history records. In Genesis we see a first hand account meanwhile. Therefore the first Dalek story’s origin can be dismissed as just simply the Thals (who were a primitive society at that time) getting their history wrong.
He says as such in this interview at roughly 9 mins 50 seconds.
Personally I think this is a fair enough answer. As Nation himself has pointed out there often many contradictory historical records of different events and important figures.
The point is that Genesis shows us a first hand account, and so after Genesis there is no third origin story for the Daleks. There’s no wiggle room left after Genesis.
Similarly in The Deadly Assassin, Robert Holmes never set out to destroy canon, or smash things up as Paul Cornell said.
The Deadly Assassin was controversial, because prior to The Deadly Assassin the Time Lords had seemingly been portrayed in a sympathetic light, whilst The Deadly Assassin portrayed them as being somewhat corrupt.
Holmes was able to defend the story however, by stating that as far as he was concerned the Time Lords had always had a dark side.
He argued that they had a death penalty (as seen in The War Games) which meant that they were not total pacifists. He also argued that they had produced a number of renegades which suggested that their society was not entirely peaceful. (The Meddling Monk, The War Chief, The Master, Omega and Morbius, all of whom were created by other writers. Morbius was introduced in a story Holmes had script edited, but the character was still the creation of Terrance Dicks.)
Holmes also argued that the Time Lords had punished the Doctor in a severe way by exiling him, and that they had been depicted as unfair and unjust in Jon Pertwee’s time in their treatment of the Doctor.
See here for Holmes words on the subject.
I looked at all that was known about Gallifrey, and it was very litte. The only occasion when more than one Time Lord had been seen in the programme was at the end of The War Games, when a group of them condemned Patrick Troughton to exile on earth for interfering in the affais of other races.
Hang on! Wasn’t it usually a Time Lord who was seen dispatching the Doctor on some important mission? And didn’t this normally result in a bit of some distant planet being blown up? In this case wasn’t it grossly hypocritical to punish Troughton by turning him into Jon Pertwee?
This new hypothesis seemed to fit better than the old belief that Time Lords were lofty minded, cosmic Buddhists. It explained why the Doctor never went near Gallifrey; why in The Brain of Morbius he flew into a rage over their interference and used the telling phrase “won’t soil their lily white hands; and why Morbius himself called them “pallid, devious worms”. It also, I thought explained the disproportionately high number of villainous megalomaniacs emanating from Gallifrey. The Meddlesome Monk, The Master, Omega, The War Chief and Morbius.
I have therefore decided to depict the Time Lords as an inward looking oilgarchy, involved in constant political intrique within their own version of the Palace of Westminster. This interpretation seems fully defensible in the light of the known facts..
Of course we had often been told what splendid chaps they were, interested solely in the welfare of the universe, but it was usually a Time Lord who told us this anyway, it could be dismissed as taradiddle.”
You can see with this in mind that Robert Holmes certainly didn’t have the Paul Cornell mindset of “I can do anything I want.” If he were going to reveal something new or provide a new interpretation of an old character, he would still try and make it fit with what came before.
That’s what any writer should do when trying to rewrite, or reinterpret something that has been established. They find a loop hole, or a way to make their retcon still fit somewhat.
Even outside of Doctor Who you can see that the most successful retcons have worked this way.
In Batman The Killing Joke, Alan Moore added a whole new backstory to the Joker, but again Moore made it fit with established DC continuity. Prior to this adventure, the only thing we knew about the Jokers past was that he had once been a criminal known as the Red Hood, who had fallen into a vat of chemicals. The chemicals bleached his skin white and drove him insane, resulting in the birth of the Joker.
Moore still kept those elements of the Jokers origins intact, but again used the wiggle room that was there to show us who the Joker was before donning the Red Hood persona. (Which had never been revealed before.)
This is how you build on established characters backstories. You fill in any gaps there are, see what wiggle room is still left for you to play around with, try and do something new with them in the present.
If you take the Paul Cornell/Fitzroy approach of just trampling over all established aspects of an established character however, very soon you won’t have anything left of said character, or any kind of consistent universe or mythology or franchise.
This is what has happened to Doctor Who and in the next article we will examine just how the revival smashed the core identity of the Doctor to pieces.
We will be examining how from even the Eccelston era, the revival did not stay true to the Doctors character, and also how this changed the direction of the series and it’s audience as a result.
The latest episode by Chris Chibnall not only completely destroyed the lore, but more or less defeated the whole point of the show. Originally I was going to cover this in the second part of my what ruined Doctor Who article, which I will still be finishing this week.
However I felt this subject deserved its own article. (Note obviously this has delayed King Kong by just a few days. Don’t worry though Professor Fang and The Circus Master will still be on schedule this week. It’s not every week you see the death of a 56 year old series, so it is special circumstances.)
In this article I will be briefly exploring why Chibnalls latest retcon’s have ruined the series, and perhaps how this can be retconned out.
Why the Timeless Child is a Retcon too far
It’s hard to know where to begin dissecting this trainwreck of an idea?
For those lucky enough to miss Chibnall’s latest episode, it was revealed that the Doctor was originally a little girl called the Timeless Child from another universe who had the power to perpetually regenerate. She was found on another world by an alien known as Tecteun, who belonged to a race known as the Shobagans, the original inhabitants of Gallifrey.
After The Timeless Child was taken to Gallifrey, she was experimented on by Tecteun until she was able to extract the child’s powers of regeneration, which was then spliced into every single Shobagan, creating the Time Lords.
The Timeless Child meanwhile was then experimented on further. The Time Lords would brainwash her/him and force them out into the universe as their agent. Whenever the Timeless Child reached the end of her/his 13th life, they would regress her to being a child again and wipe their memories of all of their previous lives to keep up the ruse that the Timeless Child was just another Time Lord.
They would keep doing this over and over again for billions of years, with the cycle of 13 regenerations from Hartnell to Smith just being the latest.
Aside from just being a ridiculous story, this more or less breaks the very foundation of Doctor Who in a number of ways.
To start with we now know pretty much everything about the Doctor. The character had to always remain somewhat mysterious (Clues in the title. Doctor Who?). Now it’s true that over the decades, writers and producers have revealed little bits and pieces about the character, but no one has gone as far as Chibnall.
There’s no Who left in the Doctor anymore. We now know that all of the Doctors were just programmed into being who they were by the Time Lords.
This leads onto my next point, that this latest plot also robs the Doctor of his agency and makes him nothing more than a tool for the Time Lords.
For over 50 years we were led to believe the Doctor was a renegade from the Time Lords. He had left their race because he wanted to explore the galaxy and discover new life forms and cultures (though there may have been other reasons for leaving Gallifrey, which helped to add to the mystery around the character.) However his strong sense of morals caused him to interfere when he had too.
It created a nice dynamic between the Doctor and his people where on the one hand, he was a maverick that broke their laws, whilst on the other at times they need him to fix problems for them. As the Time Lords had spent so long in isolation, then the Doctor knew more of the universe than they did, and so he was always the first person they would call if something threatened them.
Now however the Doctor was always a tool sent by his people to interfere in other planets? Worse than that, all of his own actions were just a result of him being programmed to be that way by the Time Lords, but not knowing it because his memories were wiped.
Stealing a TARDIS, his moral code, even developing a fondness for earth, these were all simply the result of the Time Lords brainwashing the Timeless Child to be a hero?
We don’t actually know who the real Doctor is now. 56 years worth of development was just the life the Time Lords had created for him, similar to the Chamelion Arch creating a false life for John Smith.
(The fact that Jo Martin’s TARDIS was a blue police box shows that even that detail of the Doctors life, was as a result of the Time Lords. The only explanation is that the Time Lords for some reason liked that shape, and so the Doctor’s must have subconsciously recreated it in that form for them in An Unearthly Child. It’s too big a coincidence otherwise.)
Before the Doctor was special among his people because he was more adventurous, now its solely because he is a magic being sent from another universe and brainwashed.
Ironically however whilst turning the Doctor into nothing more than a tool for the Time Lords, this development also makes the Doctor into too important a figure.
Now the Doctor is essentially a god from another universe. Again part of the Doctors charm was that he was something of an under dog, despite being a highly advanced alien.
He was a loser among the Time Lords, a bum who basically just wanted to live an easy life, but had a strong sense of morals.
Now however he is a god sent to us from another universe and conditioned to be the greatest person who ever lived, and the founder of Time Lord society.
It’s true that New Who has been guilty of God Moding the Doctor in the past, but these elements have always been criticised by the majority of fandom and viewers. Even then however, loathe as I am to defend him, Steven Moffat never destroyed the Doctors status as a renegade, and outcast from his society.
There is also the grave insult towards William Hartnell, the actual first actor to play the role of the Doctor.
Now Hartnell isn’t the first. He is simply the 107838463746346738743897439467379th, though that’s probably too small a figure. (Remember in The End of Time, Rassilon said Time Lord history was several billion years old. That means logically that the Doctor who created their society, must be billions of years old too.)
In all fairness to Chibnall he is not the first person who has toyed with the idea of pre Hartnell Doctors. Andrew Cartmell planned a similar idea, whilst as far back as the first regeneration from Hartnell to Troughton, the producers were going to reveal that the Doctor had changed his face multiple times in the past.
Then there are the notorious Morbius Doctors from the 1975 story Brain of Morbius. In this story Morbius and the Doctor have a mind wrestling contest, where we see images of the previous Doctors flash up on screen. After William Hartnell however several previous faces pop up too.
The difference with these retcons or attempted retcons however is that none of them were official. The Cartmell Masterplan was quickly shot down by John Nathan Turner and never brought to the show itself (exactly for the reasons that JNT felt it would ruin the Doctors character by revealing too much), whilst the scene of the previous Hartnell Doctors in Power of the Daleks was quickly cut from the script. Even the Morbius Doctors was deliberately left vague. Those faces could easily be previous versions of Morbius. (I always just assumed they were personally. Hinchcliff also said that he only ever intended to hint, not conform, that those faces could be the Doctor as well.)
Ultimately no producer felt that they had the right to definitively add in Pre Hartnell era Doctors, as ultimately it could be seen as disrespectful to reduce the man who created the characters performance to just being one in a long line.
Some fans have tried to defend this latest retcon by using the tired, debunked old argument of “Doctor Who is all about change.” Well I will be tackling this argument in a greater detail in What Ruined Doctor Who Part 2.
For now though I will just say that you cannot justify a creative decision by saying “well someone did something in 1966, so that means its okay for me to do something now.”
Furthermore changes in canon in the past were not always the same.
When we first met the Doctor in the Hartnell era, he was more of a blank slate. We did not know who where he came from, why he left Gallifrey (other than the vague hint he couldn’t go back.)
When it was revealed that he was a Time Lord, that he could regenerate, those weren’t retcons. They were simply filling gaps in. Once they were filled in, no one would bother to go against them. They would add, maybe fill in another gap (like how often the Doctor can regenerate, or that they can give Time Lords more regenerations if need be.)
Its the same with any long running character. Once a gap has filled in and become part of their identity over time, then its hard if not impossible to rewrite them.
For over 5 decades the Doctor has been a Time Lord. A mountain of spin off material has been made about Gallifrey, entire story arcs have revolved around his relationship with his people, even among the general public, the Doctor is known to be a Time Lord, the same way that Mr Spock is known to be a Vulcan, and Superman is a Kryptonian.
To change that now, and pretend that this is the same as a writer revealing the Doctors people are called Time Lords after just 6 years, when we didn’t know who his people were at all, is completely dishonest.
Ultimately this retcon will not last. Chibnall has gone too far this time. It will be retconned out sooner or later. There is no way for the franchise to go on with the Timeless Child as the Doctors official backstory.
The Lazy Destruction of Gallifrey
Another major development of Chibnall’s latest offering was the destruction of Gallifrey.
Surprisingly this hasn’t been covered by most commentators and fans.
Gallifrey was destroyed once before during the Time War story arc, but again this was different.
Gallifrey’s destruction in The Time War happened off screen and so there was always a possibility of it returning.
Furthermore at the time, whilst I never thought it was a particularly good idea, at least it was new and innovative.
This time however it almost feels like a parody. The entire 50th anniversary revolved around Gallifrey being rescued, the Time Lords being restored, and even showed us a future Doctor who assured us that Gallifrey would be back.
Now all of that has been undone, and what for? So we can revisit the same story arc from 2005-10, except it’s not as effective now.
There’s no Time War for future writers and spin off material to play around with. Now its just the Master who wiped out all of the Time Lords (which by the way HOW did he do that, and WHY when he had turned good as Missy?)
Furthermore this time we saw Gallifrey melt into nothing but dust. There is no way back. No future writers can play around with Time Lord mythology now.
No writer was ever so arrogant as to completely finish a large part of the lore in quite the same way (Remembrance for instance still showed us Davros escaping.)
In this respect Chibnall has just further dragged the show down a pit.
Ironically he’s managed the worst of both worlds. In terms of change, he has damaged the identity of the character and series in a desperate attempt to do something new, yet he has also recycled the same tired ideas.
Lets see the series finale leaves the Doctor as the last of his kind again, it also features the Master and the Cybermen working together for the third finale, and focuses on rewriting the Doctors past like Hellbent.
Is it any wonder mainstream viewers have jumped ship?
The show needs to get out of this obsession with rewriting its past. The Fitzroy Crowd have an obssession that in order to do good Doctor Who, you have to smash up the canon, again founded on the fact that the people who established the continuity made some changes.
This quote from Paul Cornell
To be a good writer, you have to smash things up. To make great Doctor Who, especially, you have to destroy something someone values with every step. Those footsteps of destruction will, in a few years, be cast in bronze and put on a plinth for the next great story to destroy.
Perfectly sums up the mentality that led to the Timeless Child.
The show needs to get out of this mindset if it is to survive. You don’t have to rewrite what has gone before to keep a show fresh, and you cannot compare changes now, after 50 plus years of a characters established identity, to changes made when the character was more of a blank slate.
How Do We Write The Timeless Child Out
Well there is no one way to write out the Timeless Child, as it is fiction there are several, but my preferred method is this.
As regular readers of this blog will know I have decided to split Classic Doctor Who and New Doctor Who into two separate universes.
I feel that even without the Chibnall era, they are totally incompatible. For me Classic Who and New Who take place in two alternate universes, with a similar history up until a certain point, explaining the cameos from Classic era Doctors in New Who, but ultimately their histories went in a different direction.
To me this is the only way forward for Doctor Who. I think that Classic Who deserves to be seen as a completed work in its own right, much like the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle version of Sherlock Holmes.
Any sequels that come along should be set in alternate universes to one another, allowing them all to be linked, but ultimately its up to viewers as to which if any take place in the same universe as the original.
For me after this version of Doctor Who finishes (which will likely be soon,) then it should be rest for a few years, after which the next Doctor should be the 9th Doctor. Once this version reaches the 13th Doctor, then that’s that. When the Doctor is dead, then he will be dead for good. No resets.
Then when that version finishes, the next version should feature a new 9th Doctor, and then when this Doctor reaches the 13th Doctor, or is cancelled then the next sequel should follow on from a new 9th Doctor and so on.
All of these sequels can then be connected by having the Doctor from the previous version cross over into the universe of the latest. (For instance one episode of the hypothetical Doctor Who 3, would have Peter Capaldi or David Tennant’s Doctors cross over from an alternate universe into the New Doctors universe.)
However Chibnall’s ghastly Timeless Child makes this solution hard, as now New Who is so disconnected from the original, that its incompatible even as an alternate universe version of the same character!
I think this is a shame as there is a lot of good in the first 10 years of New Who that shouldn’t just be completely disregarded. (I say that even as someone who isn’t particularly fond of the revival era.)
It would be a shame to junk that completely, so I think the thing to do is to separate the Jodie era as an alternate universe from the rest of New Who.
I don’t like to do this. Its one thing to have two different productions be set in two different universes, but when you use the multiverse format to split up the same production, that’s when things get problematic, as future writers can end up chopping one story up too much to explain away any continuity blips.
Still these are special circumstances. There has never been a retcon this big and damaging even to the fundamentals of Doctor Who. I yearn for the days of Missy now.
Still how do you fit the Timeless Child even into the DW multiverse?
Well I see it like this.
The Timeless Child was a Time Lord from another universe. The New Who Universe to be specific.
We know from Hell Bent that in that universe, Gallifrey will fall billions of years from now at the end of the universe.
We see this when the ruins of the planet persist until literally the last night of the universe, when Ashildir is staying in them when the 12th Doctor visits her. (This is not possible if Gallifrey was blown to dust by the Master.)
We don’t know how the Time Lords fell in this universe, yet. Lets just assume that it was when the rest of the universe began to collapse they suffered the fate of all species.
The last of the Time Lords however, sent a special Time Lady through a portal to escape.
The Time Lords created her just before their planet fell, with there only being enough power to send through one. She not only could regenerate perpetually, but she contained a Matrix within her mind that contained all knowledge of the history of Gallifrey of that universe.
The role of this girl would be to find a primitive planet, and build up its society to be like Gallifrey using the knowledge and history contained in her mind, ensuring that Gallifrey would exist forever in some form. This special child was named The Timeless Child by the Time Lords before they sent her through to the other universe.
The Timeless Child however was found by Tecteun as soon as she entered her reality.
Tecteun as we know took the Timeless Child back to her home planet and experimented on her, where she not only took the powers of regeneration from the Timeless Child, but she discovered the knowledge in Timeless Child’s head.
Using this knowledge, Tecteun and the others learned about the Time Lords from the other universe and built their society based on their culture, becoming Time Lord knock offs themselves. They then conditioned the Timeless Child to be like the Doctor from the previous universe (who they learned about from the knowledge in her head.)
Some of her endless regenerations even came to look like the Doctor from the New Who universe (explaining the brief flashback of the Tenth Doctor from that universe, and Jodie morphing from Capaldi.)
Ultimately however the Timeless Child’s history is mostly different, explaining things like the Jo Martin Doctor.
So with this in mind it goes like this.
Classic Who (1963-1989) is N-Space.
New Who (2005-17, or rather up until Capaldi shouts I WILL NOT CHANGE in the snow) is M-Space.
Chibnall era Who is Y-Space.
Any future sequels can be their own universes.
To me this is the best solution to getting round the Timeless Child and excising Chibnall Who from both the revival and the original.
Well its official now, Jodie Whittakers era has been a disaster. DVD sales are down, merchandise is virtually non existent, and the shows viewers have dropped almost every week since her first episode to under 4 million.
That’s with all the publicity, support and promotion the show could have, and it being placed in the best time slot. (Not only is Sunday night less competitive, but the show is also being shown in January, the best month for any tv show.)
Naturally fans have begun to hurl accusations at certain individuals and groups for ruining this once most wonderful of series.
Chris Chibnall, Jodie Whittaker and the SJW boogey men tend to get the most of the blame. I used to hold the SJWs solely responsible, but in truth now I think they were merely a symptom of the greater problems with the entire 21st century version of Doctor Who.
Ulltimately the 21st century version of Doctor Who never showed any respect to the original. It never attempted to carry on its story arcs, characterisation of the Doctor or other characters like the Master, the Daleks etc.
It was always in essence a remake, which would have been fine, except that it insisted on being a sequel in order to cash in on the originals huge success.
Sadly however unlike other fandoms that generally tend to reject unfaithful adaptations, Doctor Who fans have been quite unique in rolling over and taking the vandalisation of their favourite series.
Over the course of this miniseries, we will see how a particular fandom incrowd were able to dominate all areas of the Doctor Who franchise, not just the television series. We will see how this incrowd didn’t have the shows best interests at heart, how they nurtured a kind of self loathing fanboy mentality and spread lies, such as “Doctor Who is all about change, so all change is good”: and how these lies ultimately destroyed the very core concept of Doctor Who.
The Fitzroy Crowd and their takeover of the franchise
Throughout the 90s when Doctor Who was off the air, a fandom incrowd began to take over all forms of Doctor Who related media. The book range, the magazine, the audios. This incrowd have often been referred to as the Fitzroy Crowd, as they all used to congregate at the Fitzroy pub. They included Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Paul Cornell, Nicholas Briggs, Mark Gatiss and Chris Chibnall.
The Fitzroy Crowd, contrary to popular belief were not the only people interested in reviving Doctor Who throughout the wilderness years. Terry Nation the co-creator of the Daleks pitched a version, as did Leonard Nimoy, the actor and director best known for playing Spock in Star Trek. Steven Spielberg even expressed an interest in the brand at one point.
“Leonard Nimoy is a very pleasant, courteous, soft-spoken and generous man, who had already invested a great deal of time in researching Doctor Who. He had accumulated a fairly extensive collection of videotapes, covering all seven incarnations of the Doctor. We spent a fruitful couple of hours discussing the very basis of the show – what makes Doctor Who Doctor Who – as well as the psychology of its hero, companions, and various off-the-wall casting ideas.”
-From the Nth Doctor book.
The Fitzroy Crowd however I feel had a slight advantage over the others as they had connections within the BBC. (Steven Moffat’s mother in law is Beryl Vertue, whilst Russell T Davies was close friends with Julie Gardner before making the revival.)
Of course that’s not to say it was entirely nepotism as to why they were handed the brand. Davies and Moffat had both produced award winning, successful shows prior to working on the new series. As Terrance Dicks himself said, getting ahead is both who you know, and what you know.
Still ultimately I think its fair to say that Davies and Moffats connections might have given them more of an edge than say Leonard Nimoy, who though more famous, would have undoubtedly been looked down on by the heads of the BBC, as the star of a silly sci fi series. (The heads of the BBC were known for their disdain for the genre in the 90s and 00s, which also undoubtedly contributed to Doctor Who’s long hiatus.)
Still the Fitzroy crowd in hindsight I don’t think were really the right people to bring the show back, despite the massive success of the revival at first. To me the Fitzroy crowd have always been too cliquey and refused to ever allow contrary voices to get a look in.
This article from Lawrence Miles about Paul Cornell sums up the Fitzroy Crowd’s attitude towards their critics.
“But if all this monkey-posturing sounds absurd, then let’s put in the context of the late ’90s / early 2000s. You may remember a time, in the days before “Doctor Who fans” meant thirteen-year-olds, when the Virgin / BBC novels actually seemed important. The authors certainly thought they were important, and pride was their most valued possession. After all, the reason I gained a reputation as an unhealthy influence was that I broke what Keith Topping called “the unspoken code”, the Omerta-like law which held that New Adventures writers should all stick together in the face of fandom and not publicly criticise each others’ work. I say “Omerta”, but in practice, they behaved more like Medieval overlords than mafiosa: the elite have to form a united front, because otherwise, they’ll be revealed as weak, flabby individuals and the peasants will get ideas above their station. Oh, and you’re the peasants, by the way. When the new series began, those authors who were promoted to scriptwriter-level went from “overlords” to “royalty”, which is why my heartless attack on Mark Gatiss was received with the same shock as if a small-time landowner in the Middle Ages had just referred to the Prince of the Realm as a big spaz.
You think I’m exaggerating…? Then consider this. When Paul Cornell took me to task for the social faux-pas of having opinions, he seemed appalled that I was incapable of respecting the natural hierarchy, and asked whether there was anybody I ‘bent the knee’ to. Bent the knee…? What is this, geek feudalism? When I told him that I had no interest in serving or reigning, he asked me: ‘Do your followers know that?’ I found it horrifying that anyone could even think that way, and I still do.”
Now Lawrence Miles is in all fairness a biased source against the Fitzroy Crowd. He had a very big public falling out with most of them in the 00s, but still when you look at their interactions with people on twitter, or what the likes Davies himself has to say about his critics it becomes obvious that there is at least a grain of truth to Miles statements.
“I do worry about being surrounded by yes-men. You’re right, it happens. […] I don’t think it’s happened to me yet. In the end, just as good writers are hard to find, so are good script editors, good producers and good execs. When you find good people like Julie and Phil, their sheer talent cancels out the risk of them yes-ing. I suppose the danger is not RTD And The Yes-Men, but a triumverate of people who are so similar that contrary opinions don’t get a look-in.”
Russell T Davies- The Writers Tale
With this in mind it becomes obvious that Doctor Who has become the vision of one fandom elite in all areas. The show, Big Finish, the books. Anyone who dislikes anything these people have to do with the show is cast out as a pariah from the fandom. Worse these people will never give up the brand it seems. When one of them stops working on the show, they will hand it over to one of their friends (who all think the same, as can be seen with Moffat and Chibnall.) As a result of this for all their talk of the show is all about change, it has become stagnated over the past 30 years to a greater extent than ever before.
Still a bigger problem lies in the fact that this fandom elite who everybody must “Bend the Knee too,” don’t actually care much for the original series at all. They have prevented it from returning as itself, peddled lies about the original that no one dare question, and have changed what the Doctor is in popular culture.
Anyone who disagrees with their opinions, like Doctor Who is all about change, a female Doctor is the best idea since Hartnell changed into Troughton etc. Then you are cast out of the fandom and franchise as a heretic.
The Fitzroy’s Crowd’s disdain for the original
Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall claim to be lifelong fans of the original, yet they turned Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado’s characters into what you see above. Note: I’m not having a go at the person who did the drawing which is fine, just the men who made it possible for lesbian porn to be inspired by the man behind Worzel Gummidge and the Noodle Doodle Man.
Now I don’t think that the Fitzroy Crowd hated the original series and wanted to actively destroy it. I think they all probably did watch the classic era as children and have a nostalgic love for it, but ultimately I don’t think any of them have ever watched it since it was first aired.
Chris Chibnall outright admits in this interview here that he has never watched the classic era since it was on tv.
I think the same is probably true for the rest of the Fitzroy Crowd. You can tell by their opinions of the Doctor, and their analysis of the show that they clearly don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re trying to piece Doctor Who together from memory when they were children, and because nobody dares to question their opinions on anything then it becomes received wisdom.
For instance take a look at Moffat’s analysis of the character of the Doctor.
“We know him to be a sort of academic aristocrat who one day, on a simple moral imperative, erupts from the cloisters and roars through time and space on a mission to end all evil in the universe, unarmed and,if possible, politely.
Consider for a moment — as you would have to if you were casting this part — what kind of man makes a decision like that? He’s profoundly emotional (it’s a profoundly emotional decision), he’s idealistic (unarmed?? Not even a truncheon??), he feels the suffering of others with almost unbearable acuteness (or he’d have stayed at home like we all do when there s a famine or a massacre on the news), he’s almost insanely impulsive (I don’t think I need explain that one) and he is, above all, an innocent — because only an innocent would try to take on the entire cosmos and hope to persuade it to behave a little better.”
No one who has even a basic understanding of the Doctor would come to that conclusion. The Doctor it is said multiple times left Gallifrey because he wanted to explore the universe. He wanted to discover new life forms, new planets, learn the secrets of the universe as a scientist. He did NOT set out on a mission to save the universe. Furthermore far from being someone who feels the suffering of others, there are many times where the Doctor has to be forced into helping others. The Third Doctors entire era is practically him being forced to help others.
The Time Lords exile the Doctor to earth because they see it as being vulnerable to attack. He is put there to protect it as much as it is a punishment. The Doctor however still tries to leave during his exile, even though he knows the earth needs him. He even tries to leave during two crisis’! The Fourth Doctor similarly has to be forced and threatened with death into solving problems such as during the Key to Time story arc.
GUARDIAN: There are times, Doctor, when the forces within the universe upset the balance to such an extent that it becomes necessary to stop everything.
DOCTOR: Stop everything?
GUARDIAN: For a brief moment only.
GUARDIAN: Until the balance is restored. Such a moment is rapidly approaching. These segments must be traced and returned to me before it is too late, before the Universe is plunged into eternal chaos.
DOCTOR: Eternal chaos?
GUARDIAN: Eternal as you understand the term.
DOCTOR: Look, I’m sure there must be plenty of other Time Lords who’d be delighted to
GUARDIAN: I have chosen you.
DOCTOR: Yes, I was afraid you’d say something like that. Ah! You want me to volunteer, isn’t that it?
DOCTOR: And if I don’t?
DOCTOR: Nothing? You mean nothing will happen to me?
GUARDIAN: Nothing at all. Ever.
(The Tardis materialises amongst the ruins and the Doctor rushes out. Thunder rolls.)
DOCTOR: Come out, meddlesome, interfering idiots. I know you’re up there so come on out and show yourselves!
(Sarah sneaks out cautiously with a torch.)
DOCTOR: Messing about with my Tardis. Dragging us a thousand parsecs off course.
SARAH: Oi, have you gone potty? Who are you shouting at?
DOCTOR: The Time Lords, who else? Now, you see? You see? They haven’t even got the common decency to come out and show their ears.
SARAH: They’re probably afraid of getting them boxed, the way you’re carrying on.
DOCTOR: It’s intolerable. I won’t stand for any more of it.
SARAH: Oh look, why can’t it have just gone wrong again?
SARAH: The Tardis.
DOCTOR: What? Do you think I don’t know the difference between an internal fault and an external influence? Oh, no, no, no. There’s something going on here, some dirty work they won’t touch with their lily white hands. Well, I won’t do it, do you hear
The next segment is from Spearhead From Space where the Doctor already knows aliens have landed on earth.
Ultimately the Doctor is a hedonistic character. Someone who just wants to live life by his own rules and hates being forced to do anything he doesn’t want to. He does still have a strong moral sense, so if he sees a problem, most of the time he will interfere. (Though many times the Doctor is also just trying to help himself after his curiosity has gotten him into trouble.) Still he is not someone on a mission to save the universe.
As for being unarmed, this is yet another gross misunderstanding of the Doctors character. The Doctor is a scientist first and foremost who wants to simply explore, so he naturally doesn’t like weapons. Still far from being idealistic, the Doctor is practical and understands that sometimes he has to use weapons to protect himself and the people around him.
Case in point.
DOCTOR: Professor, you don’t happen to have an elephant gun, do you?
LITEFOOT: Elephants? Why on Earth do you want an elephant gun?
DOCTOR: We’re about to embark on a very dangerous mission.
LITEFOOT: Well, I’ve a Chinese fowling piece if that’s any good. Used for duck, mainly.
(The Doctor looks at the long-barreled weapon.)
DOCTOR: Made in Birmingham. Yes, that’s the main requirement. Could you get me a small boat?
Steven Moffat also said that he wanted to recapture the dynamic of Pertwee’s Doctor and Delgado’s Master with Gomez/Capaldi (I’ll give you a minute to laugh at that) by depicting the Doctor and the Master as friends.
Moffat said that not once did Pertwee and Delgado play the Doctor and the Master as anything but friends.
Here’s the quote.
“I was looking back at the old Jon Pertwee/Roger Delgado ones and what’s fascinating about that is that they only ever play it as friends. They never, ever play it as enemies at all. They’re just two gentlemen having fun with each other. The Doctor’s best friend is a murdering psychopath, that’s actually quite fun.”
Here are some actual interactions between Pertwee and Delgado.
MASTER: I hope I’m not interrupting anything important.
DOCTOR: No, no, indeed not. You’ve come here to kill me, of course.
MASTER: But not without considerable regret.
DOCTOR: How very comforting.
MASTER: You see, Doctor, you’re my intellectual equal. Almost. I have so few worthy opponents. When they’ve gone, I always miss them.
DOCTOR: How did you get in here.
MASTER: Oh, don’t be trivial, Doctor. I see you’ve been working on the Nestene autojet. My own small contribution to their invasion plan.
DOCTOR: Vicious, complicated and inefficient. Typical of your way of thinking.
MASTER: Now, come, come, Doctor. Death is always more frightening when it strikes invisibly.
DOCTOR: Tell me, how do you intend to activate these flowers.
MASTER: Oh, by a radio impulse which the Nestenes will send. I shall open the channel for them. We’ve distributed four hundred and fifty thousand of these daffodils, so when four hundred and fifty thousand people fall dead, the country will be disrupted.
DOCTOR: And in the confusion the Nestenes will land their invasion force.
MASTER: Exactly. It’s a shame that you can’t be here to enjoy the chaos and destruction with me. Goodbye, Doctor.
(Jo walks in just as the Master was about to shoot the Doctor. As the Master is distracted, the Doctor grabs something from the bench.)
JO: You were quite right
DOCTOR: Wait! Don’t shoot.
MASTER: Doctor, you do disappoint me. We Time Lords are expected to face death with dignity.
JO: Oh, no!
DOCTOR: Don’t worry. He’s not going to kill me.
MASTER: That is your last mistake.
DOCTOR: If you fire that thing, you will never be able to leave this planet.
MASTER: You’re bluffing on an empty hand, Doctor.
DOCTOR: I’m not bluffing and my hand, as you can see, is not empty. If you kill me, you will destroy the dematerialisation circuit from your own Tardis. You recognise it, I feel sure.
MASTER: Where did you get that.
See how the Master is willing to kill him and the Doctor has to genuinely bluff his way out? Hey maybe this is just one out of character moment for Delgado?
MASTER: You realise, of course, that you’re a doomed man, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Oh, I’m a dead man. I knew that as soon as I came through that door, so you’d better watch out.You see, I’ve nothing to lose, have I?
MASTER: Enough! Azal, destroy him!
AZAL: Who is this?!
MASTER: My enemy and yours, Azal.Destroy him!
AZAL: This is the one we spoke of. He too is not of this planet.
MASTER: He is a meddler and a fool.
AZAL: He is not a fool, yet he has done a foolish thing coming here. Why did you come?
DOCTOR: I came to talk to you. DOCTOR: To try and make you listen to me.
AZAL: Why should I? I see no consequence of value.
MASTER: Then kill him. Kill him now!
AZAL: Very well.
(Azal aims his hand at the Doctor.)
The Time Monster
DOCTOR: Greetings to you, Krasis. Any friend of the Master’s is an enemy of mine.
MASTER: Oh come, Doctor, must we play games? I take it you have something to say to me before I destroy you?
DOCTOR: Yes, I most certainly have.
MASTER: Miss Grant?
JO [on scanner]: What’s happened to the Doctor? You must help him!
MASTER: Ah, he’s beyond my help, my dear. He’s beyond anybody’s help.
JO [on scanner]: You mean that thing, that, that creature really swallowed him up?
MASTER: Ah, that’s a nice point. Yes and no. Yes, it engulfed him. No, it didn’t actually eat him up. He’s out there in the time vortex and there he’s going to stay.
JO [on scanner]: Then he is alive?
MASTER: Well, if you can call it that. Alive for ever in an eternity of nothingness. To coin a phrase, a living death.
JO [on scanner]: That that’s the most cruel, the most wicked thing I ever heard.
MASTER: Thank you, my dear. Now, what are we going to do about you, though? You’re an embarrassment to me. As indeed is that antiquated piece of junk of the Doctor’s. Now let me see
JO [on scanner]: I don’t really care anymore. Do what you like, but just get it over with.
MASTER: Your word is my command. Goodbye, Miss Grant!
(The two Tardises move in and out of each other in the vortex. On the scanner, Jo’s image sways then blurs as the two time machines finally separate.)
The Sea Devils
DOCTOR: How do you know about them?
MASTER: Oh, from the Time Lord’s files.
DOCTOR: More stolen information?
DOCTOR: Well, why do you want to contact them?
MASTER: Those reptiles, Doctor, were once the rulers of this Earth. And with my help, they can be so again. DOCTOR: I still don’t see why you want to help them. What can you possibly gain?
MASTER: The pleasure of seeing the human race exterminated, Doctor. The human race of which you are so fond. Believe me, that’ll be a reward in itself.
The Mind of Evil
JO: But I don’t see why you’re so upset. If you give him back the circuit and he hands over the missile
DOCTOR: You just don’t understand, do you, Jo? Once he gets that circuit back he’s free to roam through time and space. We’d never catch him.
JO: Then you’ll just have to give in. The Master’s got the missile and all we’ve got is this wretched machine.
DOCTOR: Jo, will you stop stating the obvious. What did you say?
JO: I said all we’ve got is this machine.
DOCTOR: Well, that’s it. That’s the answer. We’ve got the machine and we’ve got our friend, Barnham.
JO: I don’t understand.
DOCTOR: With a little help from you, old chap, we can destroy this machine and the Master at the same time.
[The Master’s Tardis]
MASTER: Ah, Doctor. I was afraid you’d be worried about me, so I thought I’d let you know that I’m alive and well.
[Prison Governor’s office]
DOCTOR: I’m extremely sorry to hear that.
Colony in Space
DOCTOR: Now you stay here! I’ve got to try and stop this senseless killing.
MASTER: It won’t do any good, Doctor. They won’t listen to you. It’s always the innocent bystander who suffers eventually.
DOCTOR: And what’s that supposed to mean?
MASTER: (leveling a gun) I’m afraid you’re both about to become the victims of stray bullets
Frontier in Space
(The Master is in the cage with Jo.)
MASTER: Why? What’s his plan?
JO: He wanted to get to the flight deck. He was outside the ship when you made your course correction!
MASTER: Was he now. How very unfortunate (laughs). By now he’s probably thousands of miles away, swimming around in space by himself. But just in case he isn’t, you come with me, Miss Grant. Come on.
Claws of Axos
MASTER: Stop him! Don’t you understand. He’s committing suicide and he’s taking us all with him! He’s doing this for Earth, not for you. He’s putting you all in a time loop and you’ll never get out of it! Never!
DOCTOR: Well, it’s perfectly simple, Brigadier. A time loop is, er. Well, it’s a time loop. One passes continually through the same points in time. Passes through the same. Yes. Well, the Axons said they wanted time travel and now they’ve got it.
FILER: What about the Master.
DOCTOR: Well, I sincerely hope he’s with them.
DOCTOR: Well, I can’t be absolutely sure. I was pretty busy at the time. But I’m ninety percent certain though.
FILER: How much.
DOCTOR: Well, pretty certain. Well, I suppose he could have got away. Just.
Yep the Master and the Doctor were never portrayed as enemies in Delgado’s time. Except in literally every single Delgado story!
It is true that the two were meant to have been friends years ago, and the Doctor does express some regret at how the Masters turned out. Also in Colony in Space the Master offers to let the Doctor help him build his better world.
However the Doctor and Masters past friendship is actually only mentioned in a grand total of one story of the entire classic era, the Sea Devils. It is never presented as interfering in eithers feud with one another in the present. Both may have regrets, but both are perfectly willing to kill the other if need be from the start and the more their feud goes on, the more they develop a genuine hatred for each other that eclipses their former friendship.
Furthermore in Colony in Space the Master’s offer to the Doctor is less about the Doctor and more about his beliefs in building a better galaxy.
The Master throughout the Delgado era wants to rule over planets like the earth because he believes that under his rule he can make them a better place.
AZAL: I answered your call because the time was come for my awakening. The time has come for the completion of the experiment or its destruction.
MASTER: Then fulfill your mission by granting the ultimate power to me. Who else is there strong enough to give these humans the leadership they need?
DOCTOR: I seem to remember somebody else speaking like that. What was the bounder’s name? Hitler. Yes, that’s right, Adolf Hitler. Or was it Genghis Khan?
MASTER: Azal, I have the will. You yourself said so.
At first he thinks that the Doctor can help him build this better world, as he is on a similar wavelength (another renegade Time Lord.) When he finds out that the Doctor will not only never help him, but is actually a bigger threat. The Master becomes determined to destroy the Doctor, which leads to their feud intensifying.
Moffat however has clearly never watched these stories since the early 70s but remembers vaguely that Delgado and Pertwee were friends in real life and assumes it must have been that way on the show. This explains his ridiculous reading of their relationship. Two guys who regularly tried to shoot each other, blow each other up, stab each other etc, were just two old gentlemen having a laugh!
Similarly the Doctors phobia about guns as we have seen is something that no one who actually watched the show could possibly think. Chris Chibnall openly said in a recent interview that the Doctor never throws punches or fires bullets.
It’s not like these are isolated incidents. Part of Jon Pertwee’s entire Doctor was that he was an excellent fighter.
Then there was the moment the Fitzroy crowd actually came third in a Doctor Who trivia quiz.
Clearly the Fitzroy crowd have no knowledge of or interest in the Classic Show. They liked it as children, and they like some of the ideas and characters such as the Daleks, but ultimately they see Classic Who as a boring, embarassing, dated old show that they fixed.
See here for Moffat’s opinions of the show in the 90s.
“Back when I was in my early twenties, I thought Doctor Who was the scariest programme on television. I had one particular Who-inspired nightmare which haunts me to this day — except it wasn’t a nightmare at all, it was something that happened to me on a regular basis. I’d be sitting watching Doctor Who on a Saturday, absolutely as normal… but I’d be in the company of my friends!!
Being a fan is an odd thing, isn’t it? I was in little doubt — though I never admitted it, even to myself — that Doctor Who was nowhere near as good as it should have been, but for whatever reason I’d made that mysterious and deadly emotional connection with the show that transforms you into a fan and like a psychotically devoted supporter of a floundering football club, I turned out every Saturday in my scarf, grimly hoping the production team would finally score.
Of course my friends all knew my devotion to the Doctor had unaccountably survived puberty and had long since ceased to deride me for it. I think (I hope) they generally considered me someone of reasonable taste and intelligence and decided to indulge me in this one, stunningly eccentric lapse. And sometimes, on those distant Saturday afternoons before domestic video my nightmare would begin. I’d be stuck out somewhere with those friends and I’d realise in a moment of sweaty panic that I wasn’t going to make it home in time for the programme—or worse, they’ d be round at my house not taking the hint to leave — so on my infantile insistence we’d all troop to the nearest television and settle down to watch, me clammy with embarrassment at what was to come, my friends tolerant, amused and even open-minded.
And the music would start. And I’d grip the arms of my chair. And I’d pray! Just this once, I begged, make it good. Not great, not fantastic —just good. Don’t, I was really saying, show me up.
And sometimes it would start really quite well. There might even be a passable effects shot (there were more of those than you might imagine) and possibly a decent establishing scene where this week’s expendable guest actors popped outside to investigate that mysterious clanking/groaning/beeping/slurping sound before being found horribly killed/gibbering mad an episode later.
At this point I might actually relax a little. I might even start breathing and let my hair unclench. And then it would be happen. The star of the show would come rocketing through the door, hit a shuddering halt slap in the middle of the set and stare at the camera like (and let’s be honest here) a complete moron.
I’d hear my friends shifting in their chairs. I could hear sniggers tactfully suppressed. Once one of them remarked (with touching gentleness, mindful of my feelings) that this really wasn’t terribly good acting.
Of course, as even they would concede, Tom Baker (for it was he) had been good once — even terrific — but he had long since disappeared up his own art in a seven-year-long act of self-destruction that took him from being a dangerous young actor with a future to a sad, mad old ham safely locked away in a voice-over booth.
Which brings us, of course, to Peter Davison (for it was about to be him). I was appalled when he was cast. I announced to my bored and blank-faced friends that Davison was far too young, far too pretty, and far, far too wet to play television’s most popular character (as, I deeply regret to say, I described the Doctor). Little did I realise, back in 1982, that after years of anxious waiting on the terraces in my front room, my home team were about to score — or that Davison was about to do something almost never before seen in the role of the Doctor. He was going to act.
Let’s get something straight, because if you don’t know now it’s time you did. Davison was the best of the lot. Number One! It’s not a big coincidence or some kind of evil plot, that he’s played more above-the-title lead roles on the telly than the rest of the Doctors put together. It’s because-get this!-he’s the best actor.
You don’t believe me? Okay, let’s check out the opposition, Doctor-wise (relax, I’ll be gentle).
1. William Hartnell. Look, he didn’t know his lines! (okay, fairly gentle. It wasn’t his fault) and it’s sort of a minimum requirement of the lead actor dial he knows marginally more about what’s going to happen next than the audience. In truth, being replaceable was his greatest gift to the series. Had the first Doctor delivered a wonderful performance they almost certainly would not have considered a recast and the show would have died back in the sixties.
2. Patrick Troughton. Marvellous! Troughton, far more than the dispensable, misremembered Hartnell, was the template for the Doctors to come and indeed his performance is the most often cited as precedent for his successors. Trouble is, the show in those days was strictly for indulgent ten-year-olds (and therefore hard to judge as an adult). Damn good, though, and Davison’s sole competitor.
3. Jon Pertwee. The idea of a sort of Jason King with a sillier frock isn’t that seductive, really, is it? In fairness he carried a certain pompous gravitas and was charismatic enough to dominate the proceedings as the Doctor should. Had his notion of the character been less straightforwardly heroic he might have pulled offsomething a little more interesting. His Worzel Gummidge, after all,is inspired and wonderful.
4. Tom Baker. Thunderingly effective at the start, even if his interpretation did seem to alter entirely to fit this week’s script. (Compare, say, THE SEEDS OF DOOM and THE CITY OF DEATH. Is this supposed to be the same person?) I think I’ve said quite enough already about his sad decline so let’s just say that it’s nice to see him back on top form in Medics. Well, is was while it lasted.
5. Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Miscast and floundering. Neither made much impression on the role and none at all on the audience. Or at least on me.
Is it because Davison doesn’t fit the established, middle-aged image of the Time Lord — even though, with twelve regenerations the Doctor must be a rather young Gallifreyan with, we know, a definitively youthful, rebellious outlook? Is it that some fans had actually latched on to tackier, more juvenile style of the earlier seasons and actually missed that approach? Whatever the explanation, if it’s possible for anyone to watch something like KINDA and not realise the show was suddenly in a whole different class then I find that slightly worrying. Perhaps — no definitely — there’s something about being a fan that skews your critical judgements.”
Now in all fairness to Moffat he did refute some of these criticisms. People’s opinions change over time (my opinion of New Who has become more negative for instance in the last few years.) Still I can’t help but think that Steven Moffat deep down still feels this way towards the Classic era.
Look at his depiction of the First Doctor in Capaldi’s last story. Here he rewrote the First Doctor to be a sexist, sexual braggard!
This is a shameful misrepresentation of the character to 21st century audiences. The first Doctor was never depicted as a sexist. His era actually featured many strong, brave female characters such as Barbara and Sara Kingdom, both of whom the Doctor never treated as inferior or less than the men around him.
The Doctor could be condescending to Susan, but that was because Susan was his grand daughter and 15 years old! The Dalek Invasion of Earth depicts the Doctor as still viewing Susan as a child only to realise at the end that she is now a woman, and has outgrown him. The line about how she needs a jolly good smacked bottom, is meant to be embarassing as it shows the Doctor still viewing Susan as a troublesome little girl.
Moffat however completely takes it out of context and has the Doctor say the same thing to Bill, a 20 something woman he has never met before! This almost makes the Doctor look like a dirty old man. It’s one thing to still view your teenage grand daughter that you raised as a little girl, its another to walk up to an obviously adult woman you don’t know and threaten to spank her! (The fact that he earlier boasted about the members of the fairer sex he’s known, like Al Bundy would, just makes it worse.)
Steven Moffat is far from the only member of the Fitzroy crowd to trash the original.
Russell T Davies outright said that the original was an utter joke until he and David Tennant came along.
It’s hard to express the joy of that. For 20 years, this thing was a joke. It was slightly embarrassing admitting liking it. In fact, very embarrassing. You’d see comedians taking the piss out of it. It would crop up on I Love the 60s shows, where they would make it look like rubbish. And to see it being what it always was in our hearts is just amazing. You mentioned it in the same sentence as James Bond. My God, that’s impossible!
Can you feel the love Russell T Davies has for the original series?
Mark Gatiss similarly said in a recent interview that if the revival had not come along, then the original would have been forgotten about as it didn’t hold up to modern audiences.
With “fans” like this, who the fuck needs haters? Seriously what can a hater do to the original that the Fitzroy Crowd haven’t? Say it doesn’t hold up? Insult its characters and the actors who played them? Create a narrative that the original was a total joke that has been accepted by the press?
I think most of the Fitzroy Crowd simply saw the show as being a potential cash cow that could further their careers. Russell T Davies for instance originally pitched Torchwood as a series before Doctor Who called Excalibur, but when it was rejected he decided to spin it off from Doctor Who.
The narrative is often that the Fitzroy Crowd were all big shot writers who were taking a risk in producing an embarassing old show like DW.
Sadly the rest of fandom buys into their lies, but the truth of the matter is that whilst Doctor Who in the 90s was no longer a mainstream series, it was still a huge brand.
I myself grew up in the 90s. I was born in 1991 after the original series finished. I was introduced to it through video releases and I was far from the only person my age who enjoyed it. Plenty of my friends enjoyed the original series and I was never teased for liking it. Obviously everyone’s experience is different and I don’t doubt some people were ridiculed for liking it.
Doctor Who is a sci fi and fantasy series, and sci fi and fantasy sadly have a negative stigma attached to them. Even today with the record breaking success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sci fi is still seen as a niche genre in some respects.
Yes shallow morons on panel shows (tv made by idiots for idiots) laughed at Doctor Who in the 90s, but that doesn’t mean that millions of other people didn’t like it.
Incidentally even today people on panel shows and other comedy series still ridicule Doctor Who. Look at this clip from the Australian version of Gogglebox where they absolutely ridicule the 21st century Doctor Who.
If this above clip was from a 90s show then it would be used as proof that nobody ever liked Doctor Who during that decade by the Fitzroy Crowd. Face facts, the type of people on these shows are never going to love Doctor Who. If its a fad for a short while, like during the Dalekmania craze, or when it was first brought back during the Tennant era, they might say they like it for a short period, but ultimately they will always view sci fi as a silly, childish genre.
During the 90s Doctor Who still had a larger following than the overwhelming majority of genre series (save possibly Star Trek.) In 2002 when the British public were asked which old series they would most like to see come back, Doctor Who topped the poll with the majority of the vote( beating out Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and Dad’s Army.) Most of the people who voted were under the age of 20, and therefore born during the time of Doctor Who’s supposed decline.
Jump to 5:20 to see the Radio Times poll.
In 2002 the Doctor was also voted the greatest tv character in a poll for SFX magazine, beating out various characters in then current, popular series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Farscape among others.
Furthermore every single Doctor Who story that existed was released on video during the 90s and the 00s. If there had been absolutely no demand for them, why would the BBC (who had no love for the series) release obscure and poorly recieved stories like Underworld?
Even compilation videos like the Pertwee Years were best sellers. See here. Jump to 4 minutes in to see Pertwee talk about its success.
Its worth noting that even today Classic Who still maintains a devoted audience. Every single year Classic Who outsells New Who on DVD.
See here, the best selling tv series on DVD and Blue Ray in the United Kingdom for both 2015 and 2017. Classic Who ranks considerably higher than New Who for both years.
Once again its clearly mostly young people who are buying Classic Who DVD’s as the rest of the top ten tv series are all modern programmes.
Furthermore anything Doctor Who related on television was a massive success during the 90s too. Dimensions in Time, the notoriously reviled Eastenders crossover shown in 1993, pulled in over 13 million viewers. The 96 movie contrary to popular belief was not a flop either. It received a positive critical reception at the time and pulled in over 9 million viewers (almost as many as Rose, the first episode of the revival.)
Its also worth noting that until Voyage of the Damned, the first episode of the 4th series of the Russell T Davies era; Rose the first episode of the new series was also the highest rated.
So clearly Classic Who still had a massive following and does still hold up to modern audiences. Obviously I’m not saying that Classic Who could still be a mainstream series (What show from even the 90s could still be shown on primetime mainstream television?) Still to people who love sci fi and fantasy of which there are millions, Classic Who holds up as much as any other genre classic.
Furthermore given how fondly in was remembered by the general public, who’s to say that a more updated version of Classic Who with better practical effects couldn’t have pulled in millions of viewers too?
Far from being a dead show that Russell T Davies was taking a risk bringing back, it was a sleeping giant that he and the rest of the Fitzroy Crowd monopolised for themselves, used to boost their own careers and launch their own projects such as Torchwood/Excalibur.
Among the other ways the Fitzroy Crowd have attempted to down Classic Who’s success is claiming that it never had an overseas following, and that women never enjoyed Doctor Who until they came along.
The narrative is that Doctor Who was NEVER popular abroad until the Steven Moffat era. Critics and fans will often make out that Doctor Who was totally obscure in places like America until Matt Smith, which is demonstrably not true.
Doctor Who first caught on in America in the late 70s, early 80s. At one point in the 80s its popularity in America was greater than it was in Britain! In America DW’s viewers from 1984 on were over 9 million, whilst they generally tended to hover at 7 million in the UK (until the 86 cancellation where they dropped.)
The Doctor Who fanclub of America was also the largest in the world throughout the 80s.
The shows popularity faded in the late 80s due to the BBC raising the prices of the stories to the point where no one could afford to buy them. This was part of the BBC’s calculated attempt to finish the show in the late 80s. (Which also included slashing its budget, giving it no publicity, putting it opposite Coronation Street etc.)
Still it nevertheless remained a cult favourite in America on a par with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Lost In Space. The character of the Doctor (or rather the 4th Doctor) became recognisable to the general population, as did other icons from the series such as the TARDIS and the Daleks.
There were many loving references to the series on American tv in shows such as the Simpsons and Futurama throughout the 90s and 00s. (The character of Leela was partially inspired by and named after Leela from Doctor Who.)
Even to this day whenever an image of the Doctor is used on America tv it’s almost always Tom Baker rather than any of the New Doctors.
Even when Sheldon is talking with his girlfriend called AMY, then its still Tom Baker they use as he is more recognisable.
Its hilarious that even with these references we routinely get told that Doctor Who only caught on in America from the New Series onwards.
Aside from America, Doctor Who also had large cult followings in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. It was in fact shown in over 80 countries around the world.
The revival has not actually enjoyed more popularity in America than the classic era. Both are cult series in America that have enjoyed success by the standards of cult series, but neither are what you would call mainstream hits. (New Who’s viewing figures at the height of its popularity in America were barely over 2 million.) However New Who’s success is beefed up by the media, whilst Classic Who’s is done down to the point where fans who don’t know any better, assume the classic series was completely obscure Stateside until Moffat came along.
It was harder to sell series to other countries and develop followings abroad during the time of the Classic series too. No streaming service, no internet, and no channels like BBC America. A series had to actually be sold back then, and for Classic Who to be seen in 80 countries and make the millions it did for the BBC was incredible.
As for female fans, well its true that the classic era of Doctor Who was overall more of a guys show. On average men prefer sci fi to women. The reason for this is most likely because sci fi is generally perceived in popular culture to be an action genre, and men on average prefer action movies.
Actual genre fans know that sci fi can come in various different forms, but still the stigma persists and so women on average are not drawn to the genre as often as men.
Still women do need escapism and fantasy too. I think that whilst there is a grain of truth to it, the idea of women not liking sci fi is greatly exaggerated and is perhaps more of a self fulfilling prophecy.
Doctor Who meanwhile I think was able to overcome the stigma of being just an action series for women, due to the fact that its leading man was certainly not a conventional action lead. Even in Pertwee’s time. At a first glance, Pertwee who is much older is not going to seem like a conventional leading man. Doctor Who’s massive mainstream popularity from the 60s to the 80s also ensured that it became a part of British popular culture like few other genre series, and thus was more accessible to women.
Throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, Doctor Who was a family show, watched by fathers, mothers and little boys and little girls. On the 1970s Documentary, Whose Doctor Who, which is collected on the DVD release of The Talons of Weng Chiang; just as many young girls are interviewed as young boys, and just as many mothers are spoken to as fathers as representatives of DW’s core audience.
The competition winner from Doctor Who magazine was on set today, a 15-year-old girl. When I was a kid, 15-year-old girls didn’t watch Doctor Who.
A surprising number of American Whovians are women. Joan Paquette a legal secretary from Boston is attracted to Doctor Who’s bumbling charm and mastery of the impossible. Says Graphic Designer Jan Scuza of Cambridge Mass, the Doctor is a humanist hero who fulfills a need in our technological society. Notes Barbara Shewchuk 28, a stenogropher from Bridgeport, Pa “The fact that Doctor Who cares about all life forms shows that you can trust him”
-Extract from Time Magazine in the early 80s.
Throughout the 90s when DW became more niche, then most of its fanbase did tend to be men in the UK. In America however throughout the 80s and the 90s, over 80 percent of its fanbase were young women. (Remember that in America it was more popular in the 80s than it was in the UK.)
Once again however these female Classic era fans are erased from history just as often as 90s era fans like me are because we don’t fit the Fitzroy did it all narrative.
Now just to be clear I am not trying to do down the Fitzroy Crowd’s success. Classic Doctor Who had a huge audience in the 00s, and Doctor Who was still a big brand. Still had the revival not captured the publics imagination on its own steam, then the nostalgia for the original would have faded within a year or so. Added to that the revival has managed to develop its own cult following in places like America, made up of many people who never saw the original series. It also has to be said that Matt Smith is unquestionably the second most recognised Doctor in America too after Tom Baker. Chances are if its not an image of Tom Baker they will use for the Doctor, it will be one of Matt Smith.
I’m more than happy to give the revival the success its due. The problem is however that the Fitzroy Crowd have not been happy to give the original credit for its success. The narrative that they have created is that the original was only ever a niche thing, liked by nerdy men (not that there is anything wrong with that!) Until they came along.
It would be like if Chris Nolan came along and said that nobody had ever heard of Batman until he directed The Dark Knight. The reason for this however is because it helps the Fitzroy’s lies to become more accepted by the fandom, as it becomes a case of “Well if it wasn’t for us then the show would just be an embarassing little niche thing, only liked by nerds, so you have to go along with everything we say.” Which leads onto my next point.
Self Loathing Fanboys
The curse of any fandom is the self loathing fanboy.
The self loathing fanboy will usually be from a more upper middle class background, and will have been teased by people when he was younger for liking sci fi. As a result he will be desperate above all else for it to be accepted and the most popular tv show on earth.
Now fair enough we are all like this to some extent. We all seek acceptance, and we all want the things we love to get their due.
Still the self loathing fanboy is so desperate for acceptance that he will be happy to make any concessions to what he thinks are the it crowd, just to see his favourite show, character, be popular.
Whilst there are self loathing fanboys in every fandom, Doctor Who is sadly rife with them for many reasons.
Ironically a large part of that is because Doctor Who was more successful than most other genre series, and because it later received a far worse treatment from the media.
Most genre series are lucky to last a few years. Firefly, Dollhouse, Randall and Hopkirk deceased, were all axed after one year, whilst even the likes of Star Trek, Lost in Space and Blake’s 7 all only lasted three or four years.
The likes of Buffy, and Xena meanwhile were able to have decent runs, but they were shown on very small channels and only ever became big cult series. Joss Whedon even said that if Buffy were shown on a mainstream channel, its viewers would have seen it cancelled (as was the case with Firefly that was shown on a larger network.)
Classic Who however was shown on the mainstream British tv channel in the best time slot. It was one of the most popular British televisions series in general throughout the 60s and the 70s and even the early 80s. Unlike other sci fi series, which sadly are depicted as being just a thing for young men in the media. Doctor Who broke down all barriers. Mothers, fathers, little boys and little girls, and old grannies and grandfathers all gathered round to watch it.
When the show became more niche in the 90s, its fans weren’t equipped to handle it. All big franchises popularity waxes and wanes over the years. (No one can remain at the top forever. This is why the most important audience to get are the cult audience who are going to stick with you no matter what.)
Take a look at Batman. Batman was a huge sensation in the 60s, only to drop back to obscurity until the 1989 film after which it was a sensation until the late 90s, only to fade again until the Nolan movies. It then went through another bad patch after the Nolan movies until the Joker in 2019.
Throughout it all however the character has remained a recognizable part of popular culture and maintained a devoted fanbase who have kept him alive.
Doctor Who was exactly the same throughout the 90s and the 00s, but sadly unlike Batman fans, DW fans weren’t equipped to deal with it. Batman had after all begun as a more niche character, so when he went back to being one, Batman fans attitude was “well we were fine before, we’ll be fine now.”
The same applies for Star Trek fans. Star Trek until the 80s was a niche thing, and after its mainstream popularity died in the 00s, their attitude again was “we got by in the 70s we can do it again.”
With Doctor Who however because it never had a period of being niche before its cancellation, they just couldn’t cope. They couldn’t bare it just being another cult series (even if it was the most popular cult series alongside Star Trek!) They couldn’t bare the thought that more casual viewers might not be as interested in it anymore, now that it wasn’t current.
In all fairness to Doctor Who fans however, the show also did have a harder time from the media in the 90s and 00s than say Star Trek ever did.
From the 90s on, most comedians, particularly in Britain were cowards. They only ever went after targets that the media said were safe to go after, from celebrities that the papparazzi were harrassing, to religious groups that were safe to poke fun at, to unpopular political leaders.
In order to appear edgy however these comedians would be ridicously nasty to these easy targets.
I have already written an article exposing these comedians cowardice and bullying nature.
If you have the time please check this articlr out. I talk about their shameful treatment of Doctor Who towards the end, but I’d recommend reading the other sections to get an idea of how these bullies work.
Sadly due to how much the BBC and the media hated the classic series, then it became an easy target for these hack comedians. Their treatment of it, much like their treatment of other vulnerable targets such as Amy Winehouse went beyond the pale. It’s one thing to make a light hearted joke about a show being nerdy, or cheesy as is often the case with Star Trek. It’s another to get the person who actually killed the show on to laugh and sneer at it, and make out that it was just a laughing stock.
I totally understand why a lot of Classic Who fans felt bad at this awful treatment, but you have to always look at things in a measured way. Yes these bastards may have been able to sneer at True Who in the 90s, but 30 years after it finished, Doctor Who is still one of the best selling series on DVD, whilst almost all of these panel shows that mocked it are long forgotten.
Sadly however it seems that Doctor Who fans let the bullies win. They were so desperate for the show to not ever be niche again, that they were willing to go along with any trend that they thought might make it popular.
Obviously all fans want their franchise to be successful, but there is a fine line between updating something in a practical way, and selling it out, which sadly the makers of New Who crossed from the beginning. Sadly however they were able to bully a lot Classic era fans into going along with it under the justification of “if you don’t support this we’ll go back to the 00s/90s”
As a result Classic Who fans didn’t defend the show’s traditions and lore until it was too late. Jodie Whittakers Doctor represents the final straw. There is absolutely nothing of the original left in her anymore, so fans have finally started to complain (then there is also the fact that Jodie isn’t popular either.) Still its come too little, too late..
From the start Who fans should have held the Fitzroy Crowd accountable for fucking with the lore and traditions of the character, but we didn’t.
When you look at how fans of other franchises reacted when their characters and traditions were being messed with compared with Doctor Who fans, its embarassing.
Star Trek fans complained when a Beastie Boys song was used in the trailer, because they felt it wasn’t staying true to the tone of the series.
Doctor Who fans meanwhile actually supported turning the Master, the Doctors archenemy from this.
Again not having a go at the person who made this video. I never like to punch down, which picking on a random fan whose never done anyone any harm, and just makes videos as a hobby would be, but I think this vid is the best example of what Moffat did to the character, to contrast with the True Who portrayal of the Master. I suppose the maker of the video should be happy, that this is the best representation of Missy/12’s relationship I could think of online.
That would be like if Khan had been played by Sarah Silverman, and had been rewritten into being in love with Captain Kirk and sang “I’M FUCKING CAPTAIN KIRK” in the style of her I’m fucking Matt Damon song.
Do you think for one second that Star Trek fans would be happy with that? Do you think they’d say such ludicrous things as “Sarah Silverman channelled Ricardo Montablan when she sange about fucking Kirk” or “There was always a sexual subtext between Kirk and Khan, only homophobes don’t acknowledge it.”
As it was Trekkies were unhappy with Benedict Cumberbatch being cast. Cumberbatch gave a good, serious performance, and didn’t turn the character into a joke like Missy, but Trekkies were still unhappy with him in the role simply because he wasn’t a natural fit for the role of Khan.
Similarly look at the shit Jared Leto got from Batman fans for his performance as the Joker. Leto’s Joker whilst certainly not one of my favourites, was at the worst bland and fairly unremarkable.
That’s still better than Missy, who as I have been over before literally threw out absolutely everything about the character of the Master.
The Masters main motivation is to conquer the galaxy and make it fit his vision, hence why he calls himself THE MASTER, the clues in the fucking name Moffat. Having a version of the Master not want power is like having a version of the Joker who isn’t a clown, or a version of Magneto who doesn’t bend metal
Yet Moffat knew so little about the character he did just that.
DOCTOR: (About the Masters plan to take over the galaxy.) You’re risking the total destruction of the entire cosmos.
MASTER: Of course I am. All or nothing, literally! What a glorious alternative!
DOCTOR: You’re mad! Paranoid!
MASTER: There, Miss Grant. I think we’ve seen the last of the Doctor. Buried for all time under the ruins of Atlantis. You know, I’m going to miss him. JO: He’s not finished. I just know it. MASTER: Of course he is. JO: No, you’re the one who’s finished! Do you think that, that creature out there will ever let you control it? MASTER: I do so already. He came when I called. You saw that yourself. JO: Like a tiger comes when he hears a lamb bleating. MASTER: Nicely put, my dear. You know, that was worthy of the late lamented Doctor himself. You know, I could kick myself for not having polished him off long ago. Just think of the future. Dominion over all time and all space. Absolute power forever. And no Doctor to ruin things for me.
MASTER :Think of it, Doctor, absolute power! Power for good. Why, you could reign benevolently, you could end wars, suffering, disease. We could save the universe.
MASTER: Rassilon’s discovery, all mine. I shall have supreme power over the universe. Master of all matter!
DOCTOR: You’re quite right. One mistake now could ruin everything. MASTER: I know that, Doctor, and it could happen so easily. DOCTOR: What do you mean? MASTER: The universe is hanging on a thread. A single recursive pulse down that cable and the CVE would close forever. Even a humble assistant could do it. DOCTOR: You’re mad! (The Master produces his weapon, then switches on the tape recorder to broadcast his message to the universe.) MASTER [OC]: Peoples of the universe, please attend carefully. The message that follows is vital to the future of you all. The choice for you all is simple. A continued existence under my guidance, or total annihilation. At the time of speaking, the DOCTOR: Blackmail. MASTER: No, Doctor, I’m merely reporting the state of affairs. I have it in my power now to save them or destroy them. DOCTOR: You’re utterly mad. MASTER: Back, Doctor. The proceedings must not be interrupted. It’s mine. The CVE. It’s all mine. DOCTOR: Only while that cable holds.
MASTER: A turbulent time, Doctor, in Earth’s history. DOCTOR: Not one of its most tranquil, I agree. MASTER: A critical period. DOCTOR: You could say that. MASTER: Oh, I do. The beginning of a new era. PERI: Doctor, do you get his drift? DOCTOR: I’m afraid I do, Peri. PERI: He wants to pervert history. DOCTOR: Not that the Prince of Darkness here would see it as perversion. MASTER: Maudlin claptrap. The talents of these geniuses should be harnessed to a superior vision. With their help, I could turn this insignificant planet into a power base unique in the universe. DOCTOR: And you intend to use the Rani’s bag of tricks to achieve this egocentric scheme. MASTER: You are indeed a worthy opponent. It’s what gives your destruction its piquancy.
Now take a look at Missy, the female version of the Masters attitude to gaining ultimate power. In her first story Dark Water/Death in Heaven, she gives up an indestructable army of Cybermen to the Doctor (without a failsafe) and says.
DOCTOR: All of this. All of it, just to give me an army? MISSY: Well, I don’t need one, do I? Armies are for people who think they’re right. And nobody thinks they’re righter than you. Give a good man firepower, and he’ll never run out of people to kill. DOCTOR: I don’t want an army! MISSY: Well, that’s the trouble! Yes, you do! You’ve always wanted one! All those people suffering in the Dalek camps? Now you can save them. All those bad guys winning all the wars? Go and get the good guys back.DOCTOR: Why are you doing this? MISSY: I need you to know we’re not so different. I need my friend back.
In what universe is that the same character? One is willing to destroy the universe to gain ultimate power, the other says she doesn’t need an army? Missy never makes any other attempt to gain power over the galaxy in her entire time on the series.
That alone is enough to make her stand out from the others (leaving aside the whole sex change.) Moffat also fucked up the Doctors relationship with the Master.
True Who story, The Deadly Assassin
MASTER: Escape? Escape is not in his mind. Now he is hunting you. GOTH: It was a mistake to bring him here. We could have used anyone. MASTER: No, we could not have used anyone. You do not understand hatred as I understand it. Only hate keeps me alive. Why else should I endure this pain? I must see the Doctor die in shame and dishonour. Yes, and I must destroy the Time Lords. Nothing else matters. Nothing
New Who story, Dark Water.
MISSY: You know who I am. I told you. You felt it. Surely you did.
DOCTOR: Two hearts.
MISSY: And both of them yours.
DOCTOR: Clara. Clara. Clara. I’ve got to get Clara!
(The Doctor runs to the lift door.)
MISSY: Oh, Clara, Clara, Clara! You know I should shoot you in a jealous rage. Now, wouldn’t that be sexy?
On top of that, Missy embodies NONE of the Masters other character traits like his hypnotic nature, his manipulative streak, his signature weapon the TCE that shrinks people.
I’d say she is the Master in name only, but even then she’s not.
Yet poor old Jared Leto and Benedict Cumberbatch get raked over hot coals for simply not being as charismatic as Ricardo Montablan, Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, and Cesar Romero? Meanwhile some Doctor Who fans actually praise Steven Moffat for properly capturing the Masters character, and the writer himself was even able to single out Missy as one of his greatest triumphs?
The reason for that is again because all a lot of Doctor Who fans care about is that the show is popular. Back in 2014, before the backlash against identity politics really began, a lot of fans felt that was what the kids were into, so they went along with it. (The makers of New Who are still under that delusion, hence why the show is crashing and burning.)
The Fitzroy Crowd are the ultimate self loathing fanboys. They were all embarassed to admit they liked Doctor Who to their snobby friends in the industry. (Moffat more or less admits in the quote I posted above.)
None of them had any respect or confidence in the format, and all were more interested in telling their own stories.
Sadly however they were able to dupe fans by playing on their collective self loathing and overwhelming desire for Who to be successful, and the result is ironically that the show is now in a worse position than ever before.
Not only did it sell out to the wrong fad, but now its hard to say what Doctor Who is anymore because its identity has been broken and twisted.
In the next article we will dissect the final lie the Fitzroy Crowd perpetrated “Doctor Who is all about change” and debunk that myth once and for all.
Frankie Boyle, the definition of a cowardly, conformist comedian who pretends to be edgy by being nasty to vulnerable targets.
There was a time when comedians were genuinely counter culture and willing to say things that nobody else had the guts too.
The likes of Lenny Bruce, Monty Python, Richard Pryor, and Rik Mayall, all broke new ground and were genuinely brave in some of the targets they went after. Sadly however since at least the early 2000s, most modern comedians, not all, but certainly most modern comedians in the English speaking world will only go after a target if it has been deemed acceptable to hate by the mainstream media.
Celebrities that the papparazi despise, political figures that are unpopular, religious groups that are easy meat etc. These make up all of the majority of comedians favourite targets, but they are often able to project a false idea that they are edgy by being ridiculously nasty to these easy targets.
The truth is however that the average modern comedian is a coward too afraid to go after the wrong person or group. Their opinions aren’t their own, and they are in essence, bullies who kick people when they are down.
In some ways comedians are as bad as the papparazi themselves in terms of putting pressure on vulnerable celebrities, feeding people false narratives and reinforcing an unfair status quo. It’s high time that they were being viewed with as much contempt in my opinion.
In this article I have decided to compile all of the worst examples of comedians conforming to the status quo and being total hypocrites and bullies in the targets they go after. Hopefully by the end you will agree with me that this generation of comedians are the most conformist generation, and that will be their legacy.
Amy Winehouse and phony feminism
Too ugly for those big hunks Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle apparently.
A personal example for me, since I’m such a huge fan of Amy, but still valid.
When she was alive, though she was hugely successful, Amy Winehouse was frequently made fun of on panel shows by comedians such as Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr.
When I was younger I hated seeing Amy get made fun of, but for many years after her death, I assumed it was just because I was a teenager with a crush on Amy. Looking back on it now however, I feel these comedians shameful treatment of Amy was as bad as the papparazi’s. Unlike the press however they are almost never called out on it.
This is made even worse by the fact that many of the comedians involved in kicking Amy in the teeth when she was at her lowest eb, like Frankie Boyle, Jimmy Carr and Katy Brand are now trying to reinvent themselves as feminists, lecturing the plebs about how to be more tolerant.
Most of the jokes made about Amy when she was alive focused on her looks in the most disgusting, misogynistic and personal ways. Now fair enough comedians, even talented ones have always made remarks about people’s looks. I personally have never liked jokes about people’s looks. I think they are nasty, childish and lazy.
Still with Amy it reached a whole new level for a number of reasons. The comments about her looks, weren’t simply gags or jokes. They were often deeply personal and even sexual in nature. Added to that I think this was the first time comedians and the press worked together to demonise someone quite so much.
Janis Joplin had to endure horrendous abuse from the papers about her looks for instance, but the comedians of the time didn’t all dogpile on her just because the press did.
Can you imagine the likes of say Lenny Bruce making jokes about he hopes Jim Morrison dies, or attacking Janis Joplin as a filthy crack whore just because the papers were against both?
Lenny Bruce was too busy attacking genuine prejudice and the catholic church (back when it was actually brave to do so.) To reinforce the opinions of the moral guardians who wanted to ban the likes of the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix for being a bad influence.
Other comedians meanwhile actually went after the press and the moral guardians who were attacking rock stars. The Goodies for instance, though ironically often dismissed as twee and silly by modern “edgy” comedians; nevertheless went after Mary Whitehouse, a conservative busy body, who tried to get The Rolling Stones music banned, censored Doctor Who for being too violent, and tried and succeeded in getting various horror films such as The Evil Dead banned.
With poor Amy meanwhile not only did she have the papers following her everywhere she went, taking pictures of her when she was in distress and plastering them all over the papers, and magazines such as FHM and Maxim regularly voting her ugliest woman of the year. (There were even whole websites devoted to ridiculing her appearance.) She also had hundreds of comedians joining in, posting awful pictures of her from the papers for a laugh and ridiculing her in arguably more vicious ways than even the papers.
Jimmy Carr, the host of 8 Out Of 10 Cats for instance joked that any man who slept with Amy, would have to strap something over his dick to stop diseases and smells from Amy’s disgusting, rotten vagina getting over it. He also called her an ugly, worthless, horse faced freak, and said that he hoped she would die soon. He even made jokes about her tits being shrivelled up and saggy.
Katy Brand another British comedian regularly mocked Amy’s mental health struggles, called her self obsessed and did sketches where Amy was depicted as an ugly freak, throwing herself at men who would try and kill themselves rather than kiss her.
Zoe Lyons meanwhile made a joke about Amy cutting herself (which was awarded by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.)
Irish comedian Ed Byrne also made a joke about Amy being a good date because she was anorexic. He said you could take her out, not have to buy her anything and then pick your teeth with her legs.
Eminem famously did a video where Amy was not only depicted as repulsive, but people were vomiting at the sight of her kissing people.
Now fair enough I’m not saying that you can never make jokes about people like Winehouse. There have always been plenty of jokes about rock stars and hellraisers like Keith Richards, and Oliver Reed’s wild behaviour. Jokes specifically about Amy drinking, or taking drugs will undoubtedly seem insensitive in hindsight after her death, but at the time I don’t think they were particularly nasty, or at least worse than anyone else got.
However again these comedians didn’t simply just joke about her lifestyle. They jumped on an incredibly vicious media bandwagon that focused almost exclusively on Amy’s looks, the very thing she was most insecure about.
Amy Winehouse suffered from many mental health issues related to her appearance. She was anorexic, bullimic, had manic depression and she self harmed (even before she became famous.) There are interviews from the Frank era where she comments on how ugly she thinks she is. Her famous beehive even came about because of her insecurities about her looks. She said she put her hair up to draw attention away from her face.
In the later years of her life, Amy even had some plastic surgery work done to fix her “ugly face”. Of course the papers just continued to make fun of her looks anyway, even saying that she looked like more of a freak after her plastic surgery.
In 2008, Amy apparently refused to attend her 25th birthday party as she felt she was so ugly, she didn’t want to be seen out in the streets and made fun of.
Her boyfriend for the last few years of her life, Reg Travis also mentions that she went out less and less in the last few years of her life, as she was afraid of the paps snapping bad pictures of her. Most heartbreaking of all, Amy’s bodyguard claimed that on the night before her death she said she would give up all of her musical accomplishments, and talent in a heartbeat, just to walk down the street with no bother.
With all of this in mind I do hold these comedians partially responsible for her tragic death.
Imagine what it must have been like for Amy to constantly see all the very worst things she thought about herself being reinforced on television shows and the media in general. It has to have had an effect, and the fact that she became more of a recluse, her self harming became worse (in one incident she stumped a cigarette out on her face) and her weight dropped to catastrophic levels in the last few years of her life, only reinforces this.
Obviously Amy Winehouse had many other problems, and I’m not saying these comedians actually killed her, but they certainly made her depression worse and reinforced her worst, most destructive insecurities.
I honestly could not imagine previous generations of comedians doing the same thing to Amy. The likes of Monty Python, Rik Mayall, Lenny Bruce, and even the Goodies, all preferred to punch up instead of down, and wouldn’t have relentlessly attacked someone in such obvious distress. They also generally hated the mainstream media rather than pandered to it..
Picture of Bill Oddie, one of the Goodies on stage with Jon Pertwee and Keith Moon, the drummer from The Who. The Goodies are often dismissed by modern comedians and critics as being too twee and safe. Ironically however it was Bill Oddie that got on stage with a famous rock star, and criticised the moral busy bodies like Mary Whitehouse, whilst our modern “edgy” comedians like Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle joined in with the conservative media and busy body’s relentless attack on rock stars like Amy for being bad role models. Had Amy been around in the 70s, I don’t think she would have had as bad a time.
For what they did to Amy alone, I’ll never forgive this generation of comedians, but what makes their treatment of her even worse is the fact that so many of them are now trying to reimagine themselves as feminists.
Back in the 00s during Amy’s heyday it was trendy for comedians to be nasty. The likes of South Park and Family Guy had made this type of humour popular, though don’t think that means I am lumping South Park and Family Guy in with the likes of Jimmy Carr.
South Park and Family Guy can be very funny and intelligent, though it can’t be denied that they both frequently let themselves down with pathetic, nasty jokes that are more needlessly cruel than funny. A prime example of this can be seen in the entire episode South Park devoted to Barbara Streisand of all people. The jokes in that episode all seemed to centre on Streisand’s looks, (particularly her unconventional big nose) which just came across as shallow bullying rather than making any clever point or criticism.
Still I wouldn’t ever call South Park or Family Guy cowards, as at the very least South Park and Family Guy are willing to attack targets that other comedians, and even the media will not such as Islam and identity politics. (Also neither Seth McFarlane or Matt Stone and Trey Parker have tried to reimagine themselves as feminists or Social Justice Warriors either. Both have at least stuck to their guns about being equal opportunity offenders.)
Still South Park and Family Guy definitely pioneered the much more outrageous, yet personal type of humour, and so the talentless sheep like Jimmy Carr, Eminem and Frankie Boyle followed suit.
Sadly however they lacked South Park or Family Guy’s wit or willingness to genuinely push the boundaries, and so all we got was essentially the worst of South Park’s humour, like the Barbara Streisand episode being parroted by these hacks.
Amy sadly was an easy target, as the comedians could say she deserved this treatment by stigmatizing both addiction and mental illness (as people who suffer from those afflictions clearly didn’t deserve sympathy according to the media.) Added to that the mainstream media would back them up by printing nothing but negative stories about her too.
Flash forward to the 2010s however and it’s now trendy to be a social justice warrior, championing women’s rights and gay rights, and all of these same brave comedians who helped to bully an anorexic, bullimic, manic depressive woman into an early grave, are now promoting themselves as SJWs.
Here is Jimmy Carr smearing former Doctor Who star Peter Davison as sexist, because Davison said that he doesn’t think a woman should play Doctor Who
It’s hilarious that Jimmy Carr would try and smear anyone as a misogynist after his borderline Jack the Ripper comments about Amy and her dirty vagina. What’s even worse is the fact that his comments about Davison could have negatively affected his career too.
All Peter Davison said about a female Doctor was that he thinks it’s a shame that little boys lost a positive role model, which is fair enough. You can’t say that a female Doctor should be a role model to little boys, but in order for the Doctor to be a role model to little girls, the character has to be a woman.
For Jimmy Carr to deliberately misinterpret that as Davison saying that no women should be allowed to be medical Doctors in real life is ridiculous. (Someone should tell Jimmy that William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Matt Smith didn’t actually have medical degrees.) Still this type of mud could have easily stuck to Davison and ended up becoming received wisdom, causing people to not want to work with him and his reputation to suffer.
Well looks like that female Doctor you were so desperate to see didn’t work out so well Jimmy. Who would have thought? Meanwhile how is that worthless horseface you dismissed as an ugly freak and bad role model to women’s music doing after 10 years?
Katy Brand meanwhile in recent years has regularly spoken about misogyny in comedy. Look at these recent comments from her about how hard it is for female comedians because they are always judged so harshly for their looks.
“It’s not fair, but currently, it’s still part of the package. We live in a world where women are routinely judged on their appearance far more than men, and we also live in a world where some people still don’t like to be confronted by a woman with a brain and a mouth and a direct connection between the two. And the most useful weapon in these people’s arsenal is to try to shut you up by saying you are ugly.
Luckily, these antediluvian morons are slowly dying out or being loudly told to go away, but it still happens all the time. Remember: you are not ugly, they are just trying to make you be quiet. Don’t be quiet. Ever. Unless you are at a funeral or near a baby that has just gone to sleep.”
Here’s a sketch Katy Brand made back in 2008 about Amy, when her mental health problems were spiraling out of control.
Yep, its wrong to call people ugly Katy. (When it suits your career.)
Zoey Lyons meanwhile after winning a trophy for mocking Amy’s mental health problems, actually had the cheek to now promote mental health awareness. She even appeared at an event called standupfordepression.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival that awarded her that trophy, (and therefore made a statement that Amy’s mental health problems were to be laughed at,) have recently begun to promote mental health awareness too.
Finally Frankie Boyle who had a history of not just attacking Amy for her looks, but other famous, vulnerable women like Kerry Katona, has also recently tried to reinvent himself as an SJW. He hosts a show called Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, where he regularly criticises other people in the media’s misogyny.
Recently on twitter Boyle even retweeted a post slating Lawrence Fox as a misogynist, after the actors public crticism of the phrase “White Male Privilege.” Much like with Peter Davison, the current smearing of Fox as a sexist by hack comedians could end up having a disastrous effect on Fox’s career and reputation. The fact that it’s the same people more or less blacklisting Fox who just ten years earlier had attempted to make Amy Winehouse, an anorexic woman’s name synonmous with “ugly” just makes you want to be sick.
Boyle also called for Jeremy Clarkson to be fired from hosting Top Gear in 2015 after the latter made what Boyle deemed a racist joke.
It’s worth noting that Jeremy Clarkson however makes jokes about all races. In this respect his comments aren’t racist, as he treats everybody the same way. Frankie Boyle however does create an unfair pecking order, where certain groups are not allowed to be ridiculed, but others are. Anorexics, victims of child abduction, cancer patients all of which Boyle has ridiculed deserve it apparently, but heaven forbid anyone get offended at Clarkson making a cheap joke about race.
This article I think sums up Frankie Boyle’s hypocrisy and cowardice perfectly.
Now fair enough we all change our opinions as we go through life. There are posts of mine from 2016, that I cringe over now. For instance I used to enjoy some of Paul Joseph Watson’s videos, but now I regard him as an utter joke.
This was one of the first videos that made me see what a tit Paul Joseph Watson is. His comments about Milo being a rock star haven’t aged well, though to be fair they were cringey at the time too.
Still if your opinions have changed dramatically, at least admit it. The likes of Jimmy Carr, Katy Brand, and Frankie Boyle however will never admit to having made those disgusting remarks about Amy Winehouse, and other famous, vulnerable women throughout the 00s. What’s worse is that when the pendulum swings backwards and there is a backlash against SJWs and woke culture, Frankie Boyle, Katy Brand and Jimmy Carr will go back to insulting famous women in nasty and misogynistic ways.
They are all the epitome of the old Groucho Marx joke “these are my principles if you don’t like them I’ve got others.”
That’s why its important to call these frauds out, both for Amy’s sake so that what she went through isn’t forgotten, and so that the likes of Boyle, Carr and Brand aren’t able to do the same to anybody else in the future without being seen as the hypocritical bullies they are.
Peter Davison and Lawrence Fox, the true faces of misogyny. At least according to Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr. Sure, Boyle and Carr may have taken part in a vile, misogynistic backlash towards a truly talented and inspirational woman, solely for her looks, and mental health problems like anorexia. Boyle may also have made jokes about Kerry Katona (a woman with an eating disorder) being fat, and made jokes about Jordan wanting to rape her blind son. Still at least they didn’t say that a woman can’t play Doctor Who, or criticise the ignorant and racist phrase White Male Privilege.
Donald Trump, Barack Obama and faux anti establishment.
Many modern comedians such as Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr will often make out they are anti establishment by criticising powerful political figures such as Donald Trump, or George W Bush.
Now unlike with Amy, I certainly have no problems with criticising the likes of Trump. Whilst I think he was less of a war monger than Hillary Clinton (at least in 2016.) He is still opposed to many things I believe in, such as free healthcare and he is also a flip flopper who has gone back on many of his election promises.
Still whilst Trump may be the President, criticising him is not a brave thing to do. The media despises Trump. It was completely biased against him during the 2016 election, and openly admitted to it.
Attacking Trump is therefore not the same thing as Monty Python going after religion in the 70s, when it was more of a taboo subject and they actually faced repurcussions, (with Life of Brian being banned in certain areas.)
Slating Trump is an easy, obvious thing to do, hence why every cowardly comedian will fill their act with nothing but Trump jokes. They’re not really being anti establishment. They are just attacking an easy figure head.
In contrast look at how few jokes there were against Barack Obama from comedians. Obama was every bit as bad as Trump for the most part. That’s the point, the President isn’t actually that important. It’s the entire system around them that is corrupt, hence why nothing much has changed whether its Clinton, Bush, Obama or Trump. They are all guilty of war crimes, launching regime change wars (apart from Trump ironically) and imposing sanctions on other countries. Trump so far ironically has probably done the least on an international level, but that could of course change as he has already launched several reckless attacks against other countries such as Iran and Syria.
Still in the grand scheme of things Obama was certainly not any better than either his republican predecessor or successor.
Obama helped to destabilize Libya, which not only threw the country into anarchy, but led to a rise in Isis. He also deported far more people than Trump and ramped up the use of drone strikes from Bush.
Yet all of these edgy comedians were as silent as ghosts when it was Obama committing the exact same, or worse war crimes than Trump saying stupid things on Twitter, simply because the media loved Obama.
With this in mind far from being satirists, I think that modern comedians with their over the top hatred of Trump actually end up supporting the corrupt system they claim to rally against.
Trump in the grand scheme of things is not important. He is just another puppet leader for the war hawks around him. Ironically the only reason he became such a hate figure in the first place was because he challenged the war hawks narrative during his 2016 election campaign, and challenged their preferred candidate, the biggest war hawk in American politics, Hillary Clinton.
Trump actually promised to end regime change wars, improve relations with Russia and pull out of the middle east. Of course he has since gone back on most of these promises, which is a genuinereason to hate him. Still even then that just makes him the same as his predecessors.
Making out that Trump is some evil dictator and that all that matters is getting rid of him however, lets the war hawks behind the scenes away with it. Now they can dupe the public that everything will be okay, just as long as Trump is gone, and we get a more presentable President. We saw exactly this with Bush and Obama. Both supported illegal wars, but nobody cared when Obama did it, because he was handsome, the first black President etc.
The majority of Western comedians support and love for Hillary Clinton alone proves the dangers of their Trump hatred.
Comedians on series such as Saturday Night Live actually tried to paint Hillary’s loss as a bad thing. Fair enough you might think she was the lesser of two evils, (I don’t) but to try and create a positive cult of personality around this war hawk, just because she wasn’t Trump was shameful.
Meanwhile this is what Hillary Clinton actually represents.
With this in mind its a good thing Trump won, not only because of how dangerous Hillary was, but also because if Hillary had won, then the media would have been on her side and so would the edgy satirists. We would have been told how she is a step forward, even as she was continuing the same hawkish policies as Bush and Obama, simply because she was the first female President.
The comedians endorsement of Hillary and other establishment figures in some ways is actually worse than the papers, as everybody expects the papers to not be impartial. Comedians however like Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle will always try and justify their vile remarks about easy targets like Amy Winehouse with “no one is safe.” Turns out they are if they are in with the media like Hillary, which just helps to legitimise Hillary to the general public.
Finally as if that wasn’t enough, most modern comedians don’t even hate Trump for the right reasons.
Ian Hislop, a popular British satirist criticises Trump for his supposed sexism and bigotry. Not once has Hislop mentioned Trump’s spinelessness in standing up for Julian Assange., whose arrest is a threat against free speech, and whistleblowers everywhere. What’s worse is that Trump had previously supported Assange when it benefited him in 2016, outright stating “I love Wikileaks.” Now however he is happy to see Assange tortured and imprisoned, stating recently that he doesn’t know much about Assange.
Yet Hislop, a journalist focuses instead on the fact that Trump said pussy 15 years ago.
Eminem meanwhile, whilst not a comedian, still has the same mindset as most modern comics. He also shot to fame for making humorous and supposedly outrageous statements in his songs so I feel its important to mention him.
Eminem is a total coward who like most comedians, only goes after people if its trendy or safe.
Want proof? Just look at his diss track against Trump, where he ranted about how intolerant and bigoted Trump is.
I’ma walk inside a mosque on Ramadan And say a prayer that every time Melania talks
Racism’s the only thing he’s fantastic for ‘Cause that’s how he gets his f*cking rocks off and he’s orange!
Same sh*t that he tormented Hillary for and he slandered Then does it more From his endorsement of Bannon Support from the Klansmen Tiki torches in hand for the soldier that’s black And comes home from Iraq And is still told to go back to Africa Fork and a dagger in this racist 94-year-old grandpa
The great irony of all this is that Eminem is far more bigoted than Trump. Eminem’s early songs included lyrics about gay people being creepy predators, and torturing gay people.
Again whilst people’s opinions do change, Eminem has tried to justify these vile lyrics by saying that he wasn’t really being homophobic, as he just uses fag as a general insult. It’s true that fag was used as a general insult in the 2000s, but when you look at the context of Eminem’s lyrics its very clear the context he was using fag in.
“My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge That’ll stab you in the head, whether you’re a fag or lez Or a homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest Pants or dress,hate fags? The answer’s yes Homophobic? Nah, you’re just heterophobic Staring at my jeans, watching my genitals bulgin’ That’s my motherfuckin’ balls, you’d better let go of ’em They belong in my scrotum, you’ll never get hold of ’em!”
See what I mean? This isn’t like Spike from Buffy calling Xander a poof without thinking. This is a very specific rant about gay men wanting what’s in his balls, and an outright admission of hating not just gay men, but all LGBT people. It was done at a time when people were less accepting of gays, and Eminem was clearly trying to cash in on a particular audience.
Here are also some of the lovely things he’s said about women.
I told this bitch in gym class That she was too fat to swim laps, she need a Slim Fast (Who? Me?) Yeah, bitch, you so big You walked into Vic Tanny’s and stepped on Jenny Craig She picked me up to snap me like a skinny twig Put me in a headlock, then I thought of my guinea pig I felt the evilness and started transformin’ It began stormin’, I heard a bunch of cheering fans swarmin’ Grabbed that bitch by her hair, drug her across the ground And took her up to the highest diving board And tossed her down Sorry coach, it’s too late to tell me stop While I drop this bitch face down and watch her belly flop”
To think with lyrics like these, it was Amy Winehouse that comedians dog piled on.
With this in mind how can Eminem possibly have any moral high ground when it comes to Trump’s bigotry? How can he possibly claim that Trump is trying to divide us?
It’s Eminem, not Trump whose been spewing hateful, violent rhetoric against gay people for over 20 years. Furthermore Eminem claims to hate Trump for picking on and slandering Hillary, a woman, yet he kicked Amy Winehouse into the dirt when she was in a vulnerable position in terms of her personal life and career in 2009.
Tell me Em what was more sexist, and more of a case of punching down? Attacking an anorexic, bullimic woman for her looks in a video watched by millions of people, or attacking a rival Presidential candidate using her own history of destroying other countries and launching illegal wars?
Eminem doesn’t have a leg to stand on against Trump. When it comes to hatred of women, Trump is a novice compared to Eminem.
Eminem may have had a point against Trump if he was going to attack him for his foreign policy. The problem however is Eminem is too stupid and lazy to analyse Trump’s foreign policy blunders.
He does mention that Trump will kill us all in a nuclear holocaust, but he doesn’t provide any reason for thinking that other than ORANGE MAN BAD! Furthermore he then goes on to praise Obama and later white knights for Hillary, both of whom helped to tear Libya apart.
With all of this in mind its obvious that Eminem’s hatred of Trump is just because it’s trendy to hate Trump. He literally has no other reason. It’s certainly not because Trump is so bigoted, as Eminem when it suits him is partial to a bit of bigotry. It’s also not for anything political as Eminem probably couldn’t even name the countries Trump has genuinely antagonised. Much like his bullying of Amy Winehouse and gay people, Eminem’s diss track to Trump is entirely because the media says it’s trendy to hate Trump.
Islam vs Christianity
Probably the worst example of the modern day comedians cowardice is their refusal to attack Islam.
Now I am not advocating for Muslims to be stigmatized, or for Islam to be attacked more than any other religion. There are specific problems with Islam yes, but that is besides the point.
If comedians do genuinely believe that no target should be off limits, why are there so few jokes about Islam compared to other religions (particularly Christianity and Scientology.)
Well first of all there is the fear of violent retaliation from Islamic extremists, such as the attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015, though I feel this is somewhat exaggerated.
If every comedian regularly made jokes about Islam, or if they had all retweeted the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, or the Danish cartoons, then Islamic extremists would lose their power. They couldn’t kill every single comedian in the country could they? When its an isolated, small paper, then it’s obviously easy to target them. In this respect the Jimmy Carr’s of this world leave the truly brave comedians out in the cold.
Furthermore I think that many comedians are actually more scared of being smeared as racists if they go after Islam. It’s not racist to criticise Islam, as Islam is a religion, not a race. Sadly however shallow people in the media will conflate criticism of Islam with racism, simply because many Muslims are dark skinned. Ironically however Muhammed was actually white.
Check out these quotes from the Hadith.
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Malik: Ibn Buhaina, “When the Prophet prayed, he used to separate his arms from his body so widely that the whiteness of his armpits was visible.“
‘Amir b. Sa’d reported: I saw the Messenger of Allah (may peace be open him) pronouncing taslim on his right and on his left till I saw the whiteness of his cheek.
Jurairi reported: I said to Abu Tufail: Did you see Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him)? He said: Yes, he had a white handsome face. Muslim b. Hajjaj said: Abu Tufail who died in 100 Hijra was the last of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him).
Still Islam is seen as the “dark people’s” religion by the media and so it has become immune to criticism.
Ultimately however all these brave and edgy comedians do is stigmatize Muslims. The majority of Muslims in the west are not fanatics, and so whilst they might not like their religion being criticised, they are not going to react with violence. By making out that all criticism of Islam is off limits however, whilst going after other religions, comedians end up creating a myth that all Muslims can’t take a joke, which creates a greater resentment towards the Muslim community from the general public, particularly other religious groups.
How are Christians supposed to feel when they see comedians mocking their holy figure, calling all Christians stupid (which they frequently do) and paint Christians as bigots, only to then see the exact same comedians write articles for the Guardian about Islamopobia?
See these quotes from Frankie Boyle.
“People seem concerned to make sure that Islam gets its full share of the blame, so we get the unedifying circus of neocons invoking God as much as the killers. “Well, Isis say they’re motivated by God.” Yes, and people who have sex with their pets say they’re motivated by love, but most of us don’t really believe them.”
“Isis want to destroy the knowledge that Islam is a beautiful, scientific and intelligent culture.”
“The U.S attacking Islam is like a serial killer being annoyed when the people locked in his basement start praying.”
As you can see, Frankie Boyle tries to severe any link between Islam and terrorist groups such as Isis, which is not completely true. There are verses in the Quran which command its followers to attack and subjugate all non Muslims.
Here are some quotes from the Quran that have directly inspired Isis.
“When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,”
“The Prophet said if you anyone doing as Lots People did, kill the one doing it and the one to whom it is done.”
Remind me what is it that Isis do to their enemies and gay men again Frankie?
I don’t know, looks like they are chopping people’s heads and hands off just like Muhammed ordered Frankie.
Again this is not to say that all Muslims follow these violent verses, or that there are no violent passages in other holy books like the Old Testament. The difference is Frankie Boyle doesn’t try and cover these passages up and gush about how beautiful and intelligent these others religions are.
For contrast here are Frankie Boyle’s comments on Catholicism.
“You’d think the Catholic Church would be in favour of using condoms as it would mean less priests being caught using DNA tests.”
“The Pope must have done something that even the Catholic Church found unacceptable. My theory is he fucked an adult woman.”
Comedians try and get round this double standard through various lame excuses, such as Dara O’Brien claiming that comedians can’t make jokes about Islam because they don’t know enough about it.
Funny I don’t recall Dara O’Brien extending that same privilege to other groups. Again what about Amy Winehouse? When he let Frankie Boyle call her an ugly, junkie, horse face on his show Mock the Week, did Dara O’Brien pull him up and say “we don’t know enough about addiction, or anorexia, or depression to joke about it.” No he didn’t and I wonder why?
Could it be because again he didn’t have to worry about violent retaliation or social stigma from his London bubble friends?
At the end of the day these cowardly comedians have ironically turned Islam into what Christianity was for the right back in the day.
It’s hilarious (far more so than anything Frankie Boyle has ever said in his career) the way that almost all modern comedians will express admiration for Monty Python and Life of Brian and what it did for free speech.
Back in the 70s it was genuinely brave to attack the Christian faith to the extent that Monty Python did. They were smeared as heretics, Life of Brian was banned in certain areas of the UK as a result.
At the same time however, Life of Brian wasn’t just nasty for no reason. It made valid points about religious dogma, and the hypocrisy of certain groups who claim to follow Christ’s teachings yet carry out acts that would be completely abhorent to him, (such as the famous scene were Brian’s followers murder a helpless old man whilst he begs them not too.)
Unlike Frankie Boyle, Monty Python didn’t need to overcompensate and be nasty because they’d picked a good target. Still whilst Frankie Boyle may feel he is carrying on Monty Python’s legacy, in truth he and other cowards like him are carrying on the legacy of those who would have censored the Python’s jokes about Christianity with their craven cowtowing to Islam.
Kicking people when they are down
Eminem a brave funny man who called Michael Jackson a pedo when he was alive, only to praise him as a misunderstood genius after his death.
Its not just a question of modern comedians are too shit scared to go after targets like Islam, or Barack Obama, or identity politics, or even that they only go after safe targets. They will often go after a target when they are at their most vulnerable.
We’ve already seen how they may very well have helped to drive Amy Winehouse to an early grave, but there are many more examples of comedians kicking someone when they are down.
Kerry Katona, a popular British pop star who suffered from body issues and severe depression was a frequent target of Frankie Boyle’s back in the day. He would regularly ridicule her weight problems and her looks on almost every episode of the dire panel show, Mock the Week.
What increase in population will Kerry Katona be responsible for by the time her womb finally succumbs to the ravages of time and chicken drumsticks?’…..
Similarly Britney Spears much like Amy Winehouse suffered from severe mental health problems and was routinely ridiculed in nasty ways by the mainstream media and comedians for those problems and her looks.
Comedians would always argue that the likes of Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, and Kerry Katona were fair game because of their mental health problems, which not only stigmatises mental health, but also doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny either.
None of these comedians ever went after Kate Moss in the same way. Kate Moss also had problems with drugs and alcohol and an on again, off again relationship with Pete Doherty, yet there were never anywhere near as many vicious remarks about her. There were plenty of jokes about her drug taking, but never horrible drawn out remarks about her looks in quite the same way.
The reason for that was because to start with Kate Moss was more conventional looking. Whilst Amy Winehouse was strikingly beautiful when she was healthy, (far more beautiful than Kate Moss in my opinion) she was still always unconventional with her darker looks, long nose and face, and tatoos.
You can see how of the two of them, Kate Moss has the more conventional looks. Similarly Kerry Katona whilst again not ugly by any stretch of the imagination, was somewhat curvier than most modern pop stars. Britney Spears meanwhile when suffering her breakdown did things like shave her head which obviously made her appear more unconventional than Kate Moss.
Furthermore Kate Moss never looked as though she was in severe distress either. Whilst she may have had a wild lifestyle, we never saw her break down in tears, be rushed to hospital for a suicide attempt, or even publicly mention that she had bullimia.
Moss therefore was not a vulnerable target that the media and comedians together could really upset and bully in quite the same way. Kate Moss also wasn’t frequently voted ugliest woman of the year by the papers, and magazines like FHM and Maxim like Amy Winehouse was, so again that made Amy a much better target than Kate Moss.
It’s not just individuals however that comedians will kick when they are down. The classic British sci fi series Doctor Who was another prime example during the 90s and the 00s.
Doctor Who was the worlds longest running sci fi series. It lasted from 1963-1989 originally. During its heyday, Doctor Who was arguably the most popular British series in the world.
Sadly however it suffered a fall from grace in the mid to late 80s. Whilst there were some problems with the production team, ultimately the real reason Doctor Who came to an end in the 80s was because the heads of the BBC at that time, Michael Grade and Jonathan Powell despised the show and sabotaged it.
Both cancelled the show in 1985 out of pure dislike. Contrary to popular belief Doctor Who’s viewers were nowhere near low enough for cancellation at that point in its history.
Furthermore far from being a show that the public were tired of, there was a national outrage after it was taken off in 1985. (It made the front page of the papers, and there were hundreds of thousands of complaints to Michael Grade.)
Grade and Powell were forced to simply put Doctor Who on hiatus, the backlash was so strong, and as a result, the two would be forced to try more underhanded means to undermine the series over the next few years so they could axe it without any trouble.
After putting it on hiatus, Powell and Grade slashed its already low budget and ridiculed the series in the media. They also ensured that it had no publicity on its return after 18 months, and moved it opposite the A-Team (which saw the first major ratings drop off in the 80s.) They then fired its leading man Colin Baker (and in doing so not only went against his contract, but left producer John Nathan Turner with just a few months to get the new series made with a new Doctor.)
Grade also forced JNT and the production team to make the show lighter and sillier in 7th Doctor, Sylvester McCoy’s first year. Grade said this was to counteract claims from Mary Whitehouse that the show had become too violent, but it was really just to undermine Doctor Who’s credibility. After Grade left at the end of McCoy’s first series, the production team used a much darker characterisation for the 7th Doctor, that they had wanted to use from the start. Sadly by then the pantomimish first McCoy series had caused the show to lose support among the fans and general public.
Powell also told producer John Nathan Turner not to pursue legal proceedings against former script editor, Eric Saward after the latter had slandered him and the show in the press. Powell openly admitted that this was terrible advice and only advised JNT against pursuing legal action because “I hoped it would be another nail in his coffin.” Powell was even on record as stating “I hoped John Nathan Turner would fuck off and die.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Grade and Powell also during the McCoy era placed the show on at the same time as Coronation Street (which was getting over 30 million viewers at that time. In one instance they placed Doctor Who opposite both Coronation Street and an England qualifier for the World Cup, which not surprisingly saw Doctor Who’s viewers drop to the lowest they had ever been.)
Finally Powell and Grade also raised the prices of the 7th Doctors stories to the highest they had ever been, which effectively killed the massive overseas following the show had developed over the years.
People forget that during the 80s, Doctor Who was far more popular in America than it was in the UK.
In America Doctor Who on average pulled in over 9 million viewers, whilst in the UK at that point they were on average over 7 million. Furthermore the Doctor Who fan club in America was the largest in the world, whilst the show had also managed to win round a young student fanbase (it was hugely popular on Universities. It had also won round a huge female following too, with over 80 percent of its fans in America being women.)
So what did Grade and Powell do in response to this?
With all of this in mind, Doctor Who in the 80s really didn’t have a chance, regardless of the quality of the show. It’s worth noting that whilst the 80s does contain some weak seasons (the worst of which are the two Grade and Powell sabotaged) towards the end, it is generally agreed that the show saw a marked improvement.
Many stories from the last two seasons such as Remembrance of the Daleks, Curse of Fenric and Survival have proven to be hugely popular in the decades since. Both Remembrance and Curse were voted among the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time in the 00s. Remembrance has also proven to be one of the best selling stories on video and later DVD.
Still thanks to the smear campaign, the shows viewers tanked and finally in 1989 the BBC were able to cancel Doctor Who without too much fanfare.
Throughout the next decade or so whilst the show still remained hugely popular on video and later DVD, the media would regularly slate it as an embarrassment that deserved to be cancelled. Comedians on panel shows would of course join in and regularly show clips from the very worst episodes to humiliate the series. You could make any series including the revival look terrible by just showing clips from the worst episodes, the only reason they did it to Classic Who was because it was a vulnerable target.
Without doubt the worst example of comedians kicking the classic series when it was was down, was when Paul Merton, a popular British comedian put Doctor Who into Room 101 at the behest of Michael Grade himself.
You can see how this isn’t just a case of a comedian makes a cheap joke about Doctor Who and fans of the show can’t take it. This is the man who did everything he could to kill the show, and acted in the most unprofessional manner when doing so, being allowed to present a totally one sided case and gloat to its fans.
Far from being a comedian challenging someone in power, like The Goodies or Monty Python used to do, here we have a comedian attacking a show that hasn’t been on the air for over a decade, using all of the most cliched and nasty insults against its fans because the media say Doctor Who is a joke and so he has to back them up.
After Doctor Who returned to television in 2005, and became a media darling once again. Paul Merton would later praise it. He even appeared in a Doctor Who themed advert for Have I Got News For You. It’s not as though the New Series hasn’t had its share of ludicrous monsters and bad special effects. If you wanted you could present a compilation of crappy moments from the revival, but Paul Merton would never do that, because New Who wasn’t a vulnerable target, because its makers past and present, like Russell T Davies and Chris Chibnall are in with the mainstream media.
As you can see modern comedians love to punch down, and are really bullies whose idea of being edgy is just to be nasty to acceptable targets.
Their opinions always have to be sanctioned by the majority and they have been responsible for reinforcing nasty opinions and untruths to the general public.
I think its high time these comedians were called out regularly for their spinelessness. It annoys me the way people will always go on about hating the press, yet modern comedians who are just an extension of the press are always let off.
The fifth Cyberman story of the Classic era, the Invasion was also a story of many firsts and helped to introduce a formula to the series that would endure for many more decades to come. It would also mark the Cybermen’s final appearance for five years in the show.
Escaping from the land of fiction, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie arrive near the moon in the latter part of the 20th century. After evading an alien missile fired from the earth, the trio arrive in the English countryside. In their escape the TARDIS is damaged, causing its exterior to turn invisible.
The Doctor decides to contact his old friend, Professor Travers (who had earlier helped him deal with the Great Intelligence in two seperate instances.)
When the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive at Travers place however, they discover that he is away with his daughter Ann, and has left the home in the care of his colleague Professor Watkins and his neice Isobel.
Isobel informs them that Watkins has gone missing whilst working for International Electronics which has quickly become the leading electronics company worldwide.
The Doctor and Jamie decide to investigate its main office, but are quickly discovered and brought to the company’s managing director Tobais Vaughn.
Though Vaughn ensures the Doctor that the Professor is simply dedicated to his work and has no time to see anyone, the Doctor quickly becomes suspicious. After the Doctor leaves it is revealed that Vaughn is working with a Cyber planner.
The Doctor and Jamie are soon captured after leaving the meeting by two strangers and taken to meet their commander, Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart, who had previously helped the Doctor defeat the Yeti’s in the underground. They discover that since the Yeti invasion, Lethbridge Stewart has been promoted to the rank of the Brigadier of UNIT, a special taskforce designed to track down alien or paranormal threats.
The Brigadier asks or the Doctors help in investigating International Electronics, with the previous UNIT operative who investigated the company having gone missing.
Isobel and Zoe soon decide to investigate the company themselves after getting fed up of waiting for the Doctor and Jamie to return. They are quickly captured however after Zoe destroys a robot receptionist, whilst the Doctor and Jamie are also abducted after trying to rescue them.
The Doctor and Jamie are taken to the company’s countryside base where they meet Doctor Watkins who informs the Doctor that not only is Vaughn working with mysterious allies, but that he is forcing him to help build a weapon of some kind.
The Doctor is able to summon UNIT for help, as well as locate Zoe and Isobel. A UNIT helicopter then rescues the Doctor, Zoe, Jamie and Isobel, though doing so alerts Vaughn to the danger UNIT poses to his plans.
Back at UNIT HQ the Brigadier shows the Doctor pictures of alien space ships outside of Vaughns base, conforming that he is working with aliens. When the Doctor and Jamie later investigate they discover that Vaughn is working with the Cybermen.
Vaughn is able to halt UNIT’s investigation by forcing, (through mind control) a retired general at the Ministry of Defence to impede UNIT’s plans.
The Brigadier briefly leaves for Geneva control to try and get help. Meanwhile it is revealed that the device Vaughn has been forcing the Professor to build is a weapon against the Cybermen, with Vaughn hoping to control them after their invasion of earth.
The Cyberman he tests the weapon on however is driven insane and flees into the sewers, where the rest of the Cybermen are beginning their invasion. Zoe, Isobel, and Jamie are almost killed by the Cybermen in the sewers after they go there to try and obtain proof of the monsters existence, but they are saved by UNIT in the nick of time.
UNIT meanwhile are able to rescue the Professor from International Electronics. From the Professors accounts, the Doctor is able to deduce that the Cybermen intend to send signals through devices produced by International Electronics which will pacify the human population, allowing the Cybermen to convert the entire population easily.
The Doctor is able to shield his companions and the UNIT staff however from the Cybermen’s mind control device using depolarizers, which block the Cyberman’s signal.
UNIT are able to overcome the Cyber invasion force in London, which prompts the Cybermen to cut their losses and destroy the earth using a Cyber megatron bomb.
Vaughn agrees to help the Doctor after the Cybermen betray him and uses his weapon to help the Doctor and UNIT battle the Cyber forces on earth. Vaughn is killed in the final battle, though the Doctor and UNIT are able to destroy the Cyber megatron bomb after which the Russians destroy the Cyber mothership with their rocket.
With the invasion foiled, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie depart in the Tardis.
The Invasion is I feel a somewhat overlooked story. Its arguably the most important serial from the late 60s alongside The War Games. Whilst the War Games may establish the exiled to earth story arc, The Invasion sets the template not just for Pertwee era UNIT stories that were to follow, but the majority of invasion earth stories as well. Even up to the revival. The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Sky for instance essentially recreates the dynamic between Vaughn and the Cybermen, with the Sontarans and Luke Rattigan.
The Invasion also marks the first time in Doctor Who that modern technology is utilised by an alien menace to take over the earth. Other stories to explore this theme include Spearhead from Space with the Autons, and The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Sky.
Whilst a lot of the stories tropes and basic plot may seem somewhat basic to modern viewers as a result of being emulated so frequently. Overall I think the Invasion still holds up due to how well its realised.
Douglas Camfield who directed the Invasion was definitely one of the series strongest directors (if not the strongest) and The Invasion plays to many of his greatest strengths as a director.
Douglas had a real talent for action and the Invasion has some of the most over the top and creative action scenes for Douglas to work with. From the Doctors escape via helicopter (which is sadly missing) to UNIT’s showdown with the Cybermen in the streets of London, which rivals the Yeti’s fight in Covent Gardens in terms of how explosive it is.
At the same time however Douglas plays to the Cybermen’s strengths as villains too. The Cybermen always work best in more closed, claustrophobic environments where there’s no way you can outrun, or outfight them if they corner you. The scene of the insane Cyberman cornering Jamie, Zoe and Isobel is one of the most frightening and memorable moments with the monsters, as the main characters terror is prolonged when the monsters slowly advances towards them.
The Invasion is also responsible for one of the most striking and memorable images of the original series too, when the Cybermen march in force in front of St Paul’s Cathedral. Like the Dalek Invasion of Earth before it, the Invasion wonderfully contrasts an every day icon from a famous city with an unearthly creature.
Whilst the Invasion has plenty of action, all of its characters are given enough attention to the point where we feel like we get to really know them.
Isobel and Zoe have great chemistry with one another, though there are some cringey “women’s lib” moments between Isobel and the UNIT soldiers that come off as more demeaning to women than empowering. Its always better just to have strong female characters, than talk about it. Still overall for the most part Isobel is a likable and capable character that helps move the plot along, rather than hinder it.
Having said that however I wish that they had been able to use Professor Travers and Anne in the role of the Professor and Isobel as was originally intended. Travers had a great chemistry with the Doctor, whilst Anne was one of my favourite guest characters in any 60s Who story. She would also have been able to take a more proactive role in helping the Doctor due to her background as a scientist. Still Isobel and the Professor are adequate replacements who quickly establish their own rapport with the Doctor and his companions.
Nicholas Courtney meanwhile gives a very strong performance as always as The Brigadier. Though the character had appeared in The Web of Fear before, this marks his first time in the more familiar role as the head of UNIT (as well as UNIT’s debut as well.)
Courtney and Troughton’s chemistry is more straight forward and friendly than Pertwee and Courtney’s, which at times is actually more enjoyable to watch, though it doesn’t have quite the gravitas that the end of say the Silurians does.
The appearance of the Brigadier also marks one of the first story arcs in the shows history too. The Invasion is very much a sequel to The Web of Fear. It doesn’t just reference previous events, but shows the consequences of them too, with the Great Intelligence’s invasion having led directly to the creation of UNIT.
This wasn’t the first time that toriginal series tried to build up a story arc. The Cybermen themselves followed a story arc through the destruction of their planet, but this story nevertheless helps to build the continuity and lore of the show to a greater extent and make it feel like the one ongoing story, rather than just loosely connected adventures.
Tobais Vaughn is one of the shows most memorable villains, thanks in no small part to Kevin Stoney’s stellar performance. His characterisation is fairly straight forward. Misguided genius who thinks he can guide humanity with the help of aliens, but there are plenty of wonderfully nasty little moments, such as his torture of the Professor that really show how hateful he is.
In some ways Vaughn can be seen as a precursor to the Delgado Master. Both have the same motivation of wanting to take over the earth because they believe they can make it a better place, though deep down both are really just egomaniacal, power hungry and petty. Both ultimately just enjoy having power over other people, as seen with Vaughn’s sadistic treatment of the Professor. Both also fulfill the same role of being the devious humanoid villain working with an alien race that they think they can manipulate and then dispose of, only to be betrayed themselves.
I also love the fact that though Vaughn helps the Doctor defeat the Cybermen at the end of the story, he still doesn’t really acheive redemption as he only helps the Doctor because he hates the Cybermen. Even when he does the right thing, its for the wrong reasons.
The Cybermen are also brilliantly handled in this episode. Their designs are impressive, they are shown to be formidable in their final battle with UNIT and the story tries to do new things with the Cybermen, unlike the Wheel in Space which was sadly just a retread of the Moonbase.
The Invasion shows a much more manipulative side to the monsters, whilst also exploring the idea of their emotions being restored after conversion, which is an interesting idea and again one that would be explored in future stories.
The idea of the Cybermen taking control of everyday technology and using it to turn on people is also a nice extension of what the monsters were originally meant to represent, of our technology turning inwards and destroying us. Whilst some critics have complained about their lack of dialogue, personally I think this made the creatures more effective. For me the Cybermen always be quiet as they are meant to be emotionless cyborgs. The later bombastic Cybermen of the 80s, though fun seemed far more out of character.
Having said that is a shame that the Cybermen are once again invading the earth. Unlike the Daleks I don’t think the Cybermen where ever able to branch out and become a galactic threat, which sadly undermined their menace. The monsters are also introduced just a bit too late into the story too.
Overall the Invasion is a classic, highly influential story and definitely one of the best of Patrick Troughton’s final season.
Notes and Trivia
This story bares many similarities to the Daleks Master Plan. Both stories mark the final appearance of the main villain of their respective Doctors eras (The Daleks were the main villains of the Hartnell era, whilst the Cybermen were the main villains of the Troughton era.) Both fittingly are much longer than the monsters other appearances (The Invasion is 8 episodes, whilst Masterplan is 12 episodes.) Both feature the main villains working with a human villain played by Kevin Stoney who is killed by the monsters at the end. Both also star Nicholas Courtney in a heroic role, and finally both stories were also directed by Douglas Camfield.
This marked the final appearance of the Cybermen for 5 years. They did not appear again as Terrance Dicks, the script editor for the Pertwee era hated the Cybermen, and hated working with Kit Pedler their creator, who wanted too much control over the scripts.
The Strange Boy couldn’t control his violent urges any longer. The Vampire had spent several life times fighting the Demon within him, but now thanks to the Kardons influence and the danger to his friends, he finally gave in.
Ashlei tried to hold the Vampire back, but it was no use. The Strange boy reached out to the nearest Rysteian that had cornered the two time travellers against a wall, and sunk his fangs into its neck.
The Rysteian tried to pull away, but when he did, he lost a massive chunk of flesh from his neck. The Rysteian collapsed dead in front of the terrified crowd who all backed away in fear.
The Strange Boy however leapt from Ashlei’s arms and stood in front of the crowd, snarling, roaring and spitting blood.
Keptis meanwhile after struggling free from the Rysteans who were holding him back, instantly froze when he saw the Strange Boy standing before the crowd.
The Martian much like the rest of the Circus Folk, knew virtually nothing about who the Strange Boy really was. How could he when the Vampire child never even spoke. Still even Keptis could see that it wasn’t the Strange Boy anymore. There was nothing but bloodlust and rage on the Demon child’s face.
The Strange Boy grabbed a nearby female Rysteian’s hand and sunk his fangs into her flesh. He bit so hard his teeth went straight through her bone, before tearing a massive amount of flesh and bone off.
The female collapsed from the bloodloss into her husbands arms. As several more Rysteians prepared to circle the Strange Boy however, the room suddenly began to shake.
Carlene meanwhile pushed the rubble off, and jumped to her feet, with the Rysteians who had surrounded her having been distracted by the commotion with the Strange Boy. Carlene quickly jumped over her former attackers to Keptis and grabbed the Martian, before jumping to the Strange Boy was.
Carlene and Keptis both tried to restrain the child, but it tossed them to either side before renewing its attack on the frightened Rysteians.
Kile meanwhile pushed her way past the other Rysteans and started to shoot at the Strange Boy. She was consumed with hatred for the Circus Folk to the point where she didn’t care about anything but making them pay. Even the Kardons hadn’t inspired such raw hatred in the Rysteian soldier as these strange visitors.
Kile fired relentlessly at the Vampire child, but it simply hopped towards her on both feet and slashed her gun in two. It then grabbed her by the arm, and before she could react hurled Kile to the floor. The Jiang Shi then jumped on Kile, pinning her to the ground and sunk its fangs deep into her throat. Carlene, aided by several more Rysteans was able to pull the young Vampire off of Kile. Again Carlene tried to restrain the Demon child, but he jumped out of her grasp and hopped across the room, with Keptis in pursuit.
Carlene meanwhile tended to Kile. Her wounds were fatal, but Carlene hoped she could make her last few moments comfortable. Even in her death throes however, Kile refused any help from the Circus Folk.
“I’m not falling for your tricks.” Kile said as she coughed up her own blood. “You’re disgusting, evil monsters” she managed to say before spitting her blood in Carlene’s face in a final act of spite.
Carlene froze for a second. The sensation of fresh blood, even of these creatures on her face was almost too much to bare, but she managed to compose herself and wipe the blood from her face.
She looked round at the other Rysteians, all of whom looked at her more in confusion than hatred or fear.
“Please” she said. “Don’t make te same mistake that Kile did, we’re all in this.” A gigantic tentacle suddenly came smashing through the wall and crushed several Rysteians. Carlene instantly ran to their aid, but the tentacle, almost sensing there was something special about Carlene wrapped itself around her. More tentacles came bursting through the floors and walls of the base, impaling and crushing more Rysteans along the way.
Carlene tried to break free, but the tentacle wrapped itself around her arms and started to tighten like a snake. The force it was applying would have been enough to snap a human body in half several times over.
Outside The Circus Master and Denika’s pod had been ensnared by one of the gigantic Demonic, Octopus like creatures mere seconds after leaving the base. Denika tried to blast it away with her magic, but the Demon was too strong and it started to crush the ship slowly.
As the walls and floor began to close in, Denika tried to push them back with her magic. The Circus Master tried to push them back with his strength too, but he soon realised that it would do no good and instead started to tear a hole in the floor.
The Circus Master swam underneath the ship and round onto the Octopus’ back, which he dug his talons into. The monster didn’t even flinch at first, but eventually it couldn’t take it anymore, as the Circus Master continued to slash and slash at the beast, tearing massive chunks out of its back in the process. The monster hurled the sub across the water and turned to face the tiny Vandal behind it. Its tentacles opened wide, completely surrounding the Circus Master. Fortunately however Denika quickly rammed the sub into the back of the Octopus creature, sending it hurling into the base.
The Circus Master then swam back into the ship, but just as Denika prepared to take it away, hordes of Ishica started to appear. Denika still plowed through them, using her magics to blast any of the unholy monsters that tried to grab onto the pod.
Just as she got free of the Ishica, several more Octopus like creatures started to emerge from the depths.
Denika froze in terror for a moment, with not even the Circus Master knowing what to do at first, Without any other options, Denika plowed into the Octopus that was advancing towards the two time travellers.
Denika’s gambit paid off as the Demon was caught completely off guard, and using the pod Denika smashed one of the giants into the one behind.
As the pod pulled clear however it was stopped in its tracks. Denika tried to move it with her magics, but the Circus Master knew it was pointless. All of the Demons outside had stopped, and that could mean only one thing.
Both the Circus Master and Denika looked up to see the hideous face of one of the Kardons that had caught their miniscule pod in its grasp.
On the inside of the base meanwhile several Ishica had broken their way in through the holes created by the giant Octopus creature. The Demons were hoping to snatch any last Rysteians they could before the Kardons arrived.
Keptis did his best to try and hold them off, as did other Rysteian men and women, but the monsters were too numerous, and even Keptis had no real means of holding them off.
The Strange Boy was at least initially more focused on attacking the Rysteians, but he soon got into a tussle with one of the Ishica that tried to restrain the child Vampire.
Ashlei meanwhile came to Carlene’s aid. She stabbed a large sharp piece of rubble through the tentacle that was wrapped around Carlene causing it to release her. Carlene then pulled several silver knives out of her beehive and hurled them at the 6 Ishica’s in the room’s hearts, killing them stone dead. She then pulled another piece of enchanted paper from her beehive to use against the Strange Boy. With Keptis and several more Rysteians help she was able to place it on the boy’s forehead, stopping him in his tracks.
Ashlei and several more Rysteians meanwhile tried to hold off the Demonic tentacles as best they could, but several more Rysteans were impaled and Ashlei herself was nearly struck down until Keptis managed to push her out of the way to safety.
“This changes nothing do you understand.” Keptis said coldly to Ashlei.
By this stage Florence’s face had repaired itself and she was able to use her voice to calm the frantic crowd, whilst Carlene, Keptis and Ashlei continued to try and hold off the tentacles together.
“We can’t get out this way, there are too many Demons. Is there another exit” Florence asked the terrified crowd.
“No”. Mascia said.”These are the only escape pods. We are finished.”
Just then the entire building began to shake and the roof was ripped open, revealing the all too familiar and gruesome sight of the Kardons above. The Kardons started to turn several of the Rysteians below into Ishica.
As Mascia began to turn he grabbed onto Carlene and begged her to help.
“Please, please don’t let me become one of those things.”
“The only thing I can do is kill you.” Carlene said.
“Then do it, do it now.” Mascia pleaded.
Carlene pulled another silver knife from her beehive and prepared to strike, but before she could another one of the tentacles grabbed her and pulled her up to the Kardons. Carlene tried to throw her knife down at the Mascia’s heart, but she was too late.
Mascia had already turned and the first thing he did was attack a young female Rysteian whose throat he tore out.
The rest of the Ishica surrounded the Circus Folk and brought them to their Kardon masters.
“It was always going to end like this.” One of the Kardons taunted. “You strangers thought you could seal us into the hell we created. Now you will suffer.”
The Kardons brought the Circus folk to face their leader, Garishikar who had arrived just outside the base, surrounded by a sea of hundreds of thousands of hideous Demons.
“Interesting.” The gigantic Demon king said.
“I can detect all kinds of magics and enchantments from other worlds, galaxies, even dimensions all over this band of freaks. They are not of this world or time. Some of their magics are unfamiliar even for me. Fascinating. Still I’ll have time to figure out what they are after they have freed us. If they can get in, they can get us out.”
“We might have had our differences recently, but I think I speak for all of the Circus Folk when I say that we will never help you escape.”
“You have no ideas the agonies I can dream up for you.”
“Believe me I do. I know all about what your kind are capable of. Which is why I’ll never let you loose into the world.”
“What about the Rysteians? The race you condemned to suffer with us? What if I torture them in front of you, one by one. Will you really just sit back.”
“You’ll torture them anyway, what difference does it make?”
“What about one of your friends.” The Demon said as Ashlei was pulled closer to the beast.
“What if I slowly burn her, and keep her alive right the way through the fire until the end, then I’ll bring her back and keep doing it again and again. Will you just sit back and watch?.”
“Please” Carlene shouted out.
“Like I said, it doesn’t make a difference.” The Circus Master said over Carlene’s pleas. As soon as Ashlei started to scream however, the Circus Master instantly gave in.
“Okay, okay I’ll take you to our craft.” The Circus Master said.
“What a pathetic waste of time. You’re spineless, all of you.” Garishikar taunted.
Whilst Garishikar left with the Circus Folk, the rest of the Kardons and their Demonic minions descended on the Rysteians palace. They would not kill them all as the Rysteians were their only form of amusement.
Sadly for the Rysteans the Kardons could not use them to escape. The technology that Mascia had built had taken years to aquire, and it would take even longer to replicate it.
For now it seemed the Kardons were trapped, and as a result the Rysteians were in for a much darker hell than ever before. The Kardons would be taking their frustrations out on them rather than simply their boredom.
It didn’t take Garishikar long to sense the presence of the tent. He was a little perplexed by it. It looked so weak and fragile, but he could sense among the most powerful magics he had ever experienced deep within.
“How will this free us.”
“I didn’t say it would free you. It will free us.”
“You would dare.”
“Yes I would. You said you can sense the magics inside of us? What else can you sense. Go on.”
Garishikar had felt the presence of the father of the Kardon’s Khastran among the Circus Folk from the start, but he refused to believe it. He couldn’t. He was as scared of Khastran as the Rysteians were of him!
He was sure that they couldn’t be in any way related to Khastran as the Circus Master and Carlene had both shown concern for Ashlei. Still now that the Circus Master was drawing it to his attention and demanding he acknowledge it, Garishikar’s nerve was beginning to break.
“What do you think Khastran will do when he finds you treating his children that way? Oh he doesn’t really care about us, but he’ll be angry at the idea of anyone daring to hurt his creations. Your hell will be much greater than even the Rysteians.”
Garishikar didn’t say anything.
“Well aren’t you going to torture me? What are you waiting for? I thought you could dream up agonies we couldn’t imagine?”
The Circus Master signalled to Denika and then called out to the other Circus Folk.
“Cover your eyes.”
Denika fired a quick magic blast of light. It obviously didn’t hurt Garishikar, but the light distracted him for just a few seconds. Denika, used her magic to clear a path through the blinding light for the Circus Folk, allowing them to make it to the Tent. Carlene carried both Ashlei who was weak after the torture, and the Strange Boy
Once inside the Circus Master prepared to take off.
“We can’t just leave them.” Ashlei protested.
“If you want to go out there and fight the Kardons be my guest. I’m sure no one here will stop you apart from Carlene. I’m getting us out now before that monster can use this ship to escape.”
Just as the tent prepared to take off however, Garishikar grabbed it with both hands. He actually managed to hold it in place, while the power from the vortex itself pulled and pulled.
The inside of the ship began to break apart and catch fire.
“That fool” The Circus Master screamed.
“He’ll rip a hole in the fabric of time.” The Circus Master started to use the emergency supplies, whilst Denika fired as much magic as she could into the machine’s console.
“You will not escape.” Garishikar screamed. “I have waited too long. No one, not even Khastran will keep me here.”
Within a matter of seconds however the Tent exploded into a ball of fire. Garishikar was completely unfazed by the flames that quickly vanished into smoke.
He wasn’t sure if the time travellers had escape or simply burned up. It seemed far more likely the latter.
Either way the Demon had lost his only chance at escape. It was all because of his cowardice. Had he not let his fear of Khastran cloud his judgement, then they would never have escaped.
He would have to live with his weakness in this dank hell forever now. How long would it be before his followers would realise how weak he was. In many ways his future was just as bleak as the Rysteians.
I would like to wish all of my regular readers a Happy Christmas.
This year has definitely been a lot smoother for me personally. Whilst I have still suffered from some bouts of depression, overall my mental health has been a lot more stable.
There has been more content produced on this blog in 2019, than during the last two years combined! Having said that however my schedule has been somewhat haphazard during the last few months of this year. For 2020 I have decided to draw up a new schedule for my three ongoing series, Doctor Who, Professor Fang and The Circus Master as well as two new series.
Starting in late January 2020, I will produce one episode each of Professor Fang and The Circus Master one week, and one episode each of my two new series the next, and one episode of Doctor Who the week after.
I think this will be easier than trying to crowbar three stories into one week. Two is more managable, and the three week gap also gives me time to work on each part of a story properly.
I appreciate regular readers being patient during the gaps between the parts of the latest Circus Master and Professor Fang stories, both of which will conclude this week.
Have a marvellous Christmas and holiday season ahead.
Batman has a long and varied history spread out across multiple different mediums and universes. There has never been just one Batman per se, even within the continuity of DC. He’s been rebooted, (both in and out of universe) killed off, replaced with alternate counterparts, as well as his children and even in one instance his deceased father.
Across his many iterations, the Batman has been everything from a gritty crime fighter, to a gothic anti hero, to a sci fi superhero, to a loving father.
Both in universe and from a real world perspective the history of the Caped Crusader is a fascinating and somewhat tragic story. Whilst the modern image of Batman may be one of the most beloved fictional characters, that image was the work of many great artists and writers over the course of several decades, many of whom’s contributions have sadly been overlooked.
Creation and Controversy
Bob Kane with Bill Fingers Batman.
For decades the official story about Batman’s origins was that he was created by cartoonist Bob Kane in 1939 for National Comics (later known as DC.) Kane was the only person ever to be credited on any form of Batman media for the first 70 or so years of the characters history. In the majority of interviews throughout his life, Kane would only ever credit himself with creating Batman and his supporting characters and enemies like the Joker and Catwoman.
In recent decades however it has been revealed that writer Bill Finger contributed far more to the Batman character and mythos than Kane ever did.
Kane came up with the name Batman, but his initial sketch bore little resemblance to the Batman we know today. Kane’s Batman had no cape, a dominos mask and dressed in red.
It was Bill Finger who not only came up with the Caped Crusaders look, but much of his character too. Finger suggested that Kane give Batman a cowl with bat ears, that he change the wings to a cape, and that he make Batman’s eyes white to suggest an air of mystery. He also suggested giving the Batman a grey and black colour scheme too.
Finger also came up with Gotham city, Commisioner Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth and the Batman’s civilian identity of the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. (He apparently named Bruce Wayne after the famous Scottish king Robert the Bruce.) Finger also came up with Batman’s tragic origins of being motivated to fight crime by the death of his parents.
Finger also created, or co-created most of Batman’s famous enemies including the Joker, Catwoman, the Riddler, the Scarecrow and the Penguin. Other artists and writers also contributed to the creation of many of Batman’s iconic rogues and supporting characters too, such as Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang and Gardner Fox.
In all fairness to Kane back in the 40s the standard policy was for one person’s name to be stamped on the cover. The likes of Finger and Robinson were also hired as ghost artists and writers too. It wouldn’t be until the 60s when Marvel pioneered crediting all involved in the comic, with the famous Marvel bull pen.
Disputes over who created an iconic character are also common in the comic book and television mediums, where unlike a novel several people are always involved in a characters creation.
Stan Lee though pioneering the bull pen method, still always argued that he was the sole creator of the likes of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, as he came up with the initial concepts for all characters.
The difference between Lee and Kane however, was that Lee always credited the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko with designing the characters, and always said that the characters would not have been successful without the artists contributions. Lee was also always happy for his artists to refer to themselves as co-creators too.
Kane however not only took credit for things we now know he didn’t do, like Batman’s final design, but he also tried to silence Bill Fingers claims to helping create the Batman.
In the 1960s when Bill Finger mentioned his contributions to the Batman character at one of the first comic conventions, Bob Kane was quick to discredit him in a Batman fan magazine.
Now, Biljo, I’d like to emphatically set the record straight, once and for all, about the many “myths” and “conjectures” that I read about myself and my creation, “Batman,” in your “Fanzine” and other publications. I can only call all the stories I read about myself “conjectures,” because most of them are written without my advice or consent, and, therefore, cannot be entirely the truth, because how can an article about me or the Batman be the true story, when I am not consulted or interviewed?
Here, for the first time, straight from the “horse’s mouth” is the real inside story about myself and “Batman,” with no holds barred, and I intend to explode the myths about myself and get down to the real truth about the legend that is “Batman,” so, fasten your seat belts, Batmanians, as the fireworks begin.
We can call this story, “Inside Bob Kane,” or will the real creator of “Batman” sign in, please!
The Myth: Bob Kane is not the sole creator of “Batman.” (I’ve heard this a thousand times in my lifetime), that “Batman” was really created by Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Carmine Infantino, Jack Schiff, Julie Schwartz, my publisher, etc., etc., and my housekeeper!
The Truth: All hogwash! I, Bob Kane, am the sole creator of “Batman.” I created “Batman” in 1939, and it appeared, if memory serves me correctly, in Detective Comics as a six or eight page story, and I signed the first strip, “Robert Kane.”
I read your article that you sent to me, “If the Truth be Known,” ”A Finger in Every Plot,” and it seemed to me that Bill Finger has given out the impression that he and not myself created the ”Batman”, as well as Robin and all the other leading villains and characters. This statement is fraudulent and entirely untrue. That is ”myth” and I quote an excerpt from the article written by Jerry G. Bails, “The Cowl and Cape, the utility belt and gauntlets were all Bill’s contribution.”
Also, further down in the article and again I quote , “Bill also created Robin, of course, but also Commissioner Gordon, (who appeared in the first Batman story), Alfred the Penguin, The Catwoman, etc., etc.
I challenge Bill to repeat those statements in front of me. I am sorry that I was absent from the comicdom’s convention so that I could have answered him. The truth is that Bill Finger is taking credit for much more than he deserves, and I refute much of his statements here in print The fact is that I conceived the ”Batman`’ figure and costume entirely by myself’ even before I called Bill in to help me write the “Batman.” I created the title, masthead, the format and concept, as well as the Batman figure and costume. Robin, the boy wonder, was also my idea, . . . not Bill’s.
The only proof I need to back my statement is that if Bill co-authored and conceived the idea, either with me or before me, then he would most certainly have a by-line on the strip along with my name, the same as Siegel and Schuster had as creators of Superman. However, it remains obvious that my name appears on the strip alone, proving that I created the idea first and then called Bill in later, after my publisher okayed my original creation.
Now, Biljo, in all fairness to Bill, I will admit he was influential in aiding me in shaping up the strip, and there are certain characters Bill created, aside from my main characters’ and many other characters that I created, including the Batmobile. It’s been 25 years now, and truthfully, time sometimes blurs the memory and it is difficult to separate, at times, the myth from the truth, so that I cannot blame Bill too much if at times his memory “clouds.”
Aside to Jerry G. Bails: I ought to sue you for misrepresentation and distortion of the truth about your “Finger Article” that blatantly intimates that Bill Finger was the true creator behind Batman, and not Bob Kane. Your article is completely misleading, loaded with untruths fed to you by Finger’s hallucinations of grandeur.
May I say to you, Mr . Bails, that before you wrote so smugly and assuredly about Bill Finger being the real creator and ”tour de force” behind the Batman for publication, don’t you think that you should have double-checked your information back to me, so that I could verify and clarify Bill Finger’s comments? After all, I was involved with the Batman, don’t you think? But, of course, you minimized my part in the creation and maximized Bill Finger’s part, only because you listened to one side of the story – Finger’ s side. I am sure that you have heard that there are “two sides to every story”? At any rate, now you’ve heard my side. Are you still convinced about Finger’s immortality?
I am sick and tired of opinionated people, like yourself, who throughout the years have written distorted and untrue stories about how Batman was created and by whom, receiving their information from unreliable sources, when it would have been much easier to get the true story simply by contacting me, the one and only creator of Batman, that could be proven so easily by merely asking my publisher or simply by looking at the lone by-line of “Bob Kane” on the strip.
I’d also like to state here, Mr. Bails, that although Bill Finger literally typed the scripts in the early days, that he wrote the scripts from ideas that we mutually collaborated on and that many of the unique concepts and story twists also came from my own fertile imagination and that I was not just a puppet cartoonist alone, following a writer’s script and contributing nothing more than the art work.
Finger never received the credit he was due during his lifetime as a result, and died in both obscurity and poverty in the 1970s. Contrary to popular belief he was not buried in an unmarked potters grave. He was cremated, with his only son Fred Finger scattering his ashes in the shape of a Bat on a beach in Oregon, as per his wishes.
Bob Kane would later express regret for the way he had treated Bill Finger. In 1989 after the release of the first Batman film starring Michael Keaton, Kane said.
In those days it was one artist and he had his name over it [the comic strip] — the policy of DC in the comic books was, if you can’t write it, obtain other writers, but their names would never appear on the comic book in the finished version. So Bill never asked me for it [the byline] and I never volunteered — I guess my ego at that time. And I felt badly, really, when he [Finger] died
Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone, I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero … I often tell my wife, if I could go back fifteen years, before he died, I would like to say. ‘I’ll put your name on it now. You deserve it.
However many saw this as too little, too late, and argued that Kane was only recounting now that Finger had passed away and could not recieve any royalties. It would not be until 2015, following a campaign by author Marc Tyler Nobleman and Fingers grand daughter Athena, that Finger would be officially credited as the co-creator of Batman, beginning with the film Batman vs Superman and the television series Gotham.
Kane’s reputation has naturally dropped considerably as a result. Many others in the industry have come forward with less than favourable stories about Bob Kane in recent years, with arguably the most infamous being comic book author Jim Steranko’s near physical confrontation with Kane, who Steranko derided as both a coward, and back stabber who took advantage of Finger.
Its ironic in a way, as now I feel that people perhaps don’t give Kane the credit he deserves.
Kane did play a vital role in the creation of Batman and various other important characters in the Batman canon. One thing people often overlook about Kane’s initial drawing of Batman is that even there, the character lacks superpowers. Kane’s Batman couldn’t fly like Superman. He had artificial wings instead which he had designed to help him fly.
This would ultimately prove to be a vital component in Batman’s character, that he has to rely on gadgets rather than super powers and it was there in Kane’s initial concept.
Bob Kane also did play a role in the creation of the Joker, Catwoman, the Scarecrow and the Penguin too. Jerry Robinson, who spoke very unfavourably of Kane’s treatment of Bill Finger, (going as far as to say he never forgave him for it) nevertheless said that Kane can be considered a co-creator of the Joker. It is also known that Kane played a key role in fleshing out the Catwoman’s character. He apparently based much of Catwoman’s personality on his cousin Ruth Steel.
The real Catwoman.
Kane also created the final design for the Penguin and was the sole creator of Two Face, one of Batman’s most iconic foes. Finally it was also Kane who personally assembled the original team of artists and writers on the Batman comics, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson.
Had Kane not been so desperate to hoover up all the credit, he would be revered as the man who helped kick off, and flesh out the Batman mythos. The lesson here is to never try and take too much credit or else when the truth comes out, people will be loathe to give you any credit at all, as seen with Kane.
Whilst its tragic that Finger was never given the credit he was due, at the very least his reputation among fans and critics is considerably stronger today than Kane’s.
The Early Years
Batman first appeared in Detective Comics 27. In his first few appearances Batman was depicted as being willing to murder his enemies and use guns. It was also a policy of earlier comics to make sure that none of Batman’s enemies would recur, so as not to undermine his status as a hero. Despite this however there were two recurring enemies in Batman’s earliest days with Detective Comics, The Mad Monk, a hypnotic Vampire, and Doctor Death, a mad scientist. Death’s origins of having his face scarred in an accident and developing a grudge against Batman as a result, would later be reused for the Joker.
Whilst Bruce Wayne was best friends with Commissioner James Gordon in the earlier stories, the police still viewed Batman as a dangerous psychopath who needed to be put down. Bruce Wayne also had a fiance too in the early years, Julie Madison, who has been seldom seen in most adaptations.
Whilst featuring many larger than life concepts from death rays, to robot Dinosaurs to Vampires, the earliest Batman comics still took the stories and character very seriously, and were very dark in tone.
During Batman’s first year with Detective Comics, several key elements of the Batman mythos would be established, such as the characters tragic origins in Detective Comics 33, his utility belt in issue 29, and his famous Batarang as well as the first ever Bat themed vehicle, the Bat plane in issue 31.
Finally in Detective Comics 38, Batman’s sidekick Robin was introduced. Created by Jerry Robinson, Robin, whose real name was Dick Grayson, was a young boy whose parents had been murdered just like Batman. Robin’s popularity would lead to a surge in similar kid sidekicks. Robin has remained a somewhat controversial figure in the decades since, with many feeling that he made Batman too light a character. Robin has nevertheless remained one of the most enduring icons of the Batman mythos.
Batman proved to be such a big hit that he would soon get his own series, whilst continuing to star in Detective Comics. The first ever solo issue of Batman saw the character face both the Joker and the Catwoman (then just referred to as simply the Cat.)
The Joker in his first appearance was depicted as a true monster clown, murdering his victims in gruesome ways simply because he thought it was funny. His origins were shrouded in complete mystery. Whilst more details have been revealed about the Jokers past in the ensuing decades, to this day the villains identity and real name have never been revealed.
From the start the Joker was depicted as Batman’s most dangerous and evil adversary, being ten steps ahead of the Batman and the police, and in a stark contrast to his later appearances; he was even depicted as being able to best the Caped Crusader in a fight.
Catwoman, whose real name was Selina Kyle, meanwhile was depicted initially as more of a manipulative villain who was no match for the Batman physically, and was far more unsympathetic than later depictions. From the start however the two were shown to have a romantic interest in one another, though this would become more prominent after Julie Madison was written out.
The Penguin meanwhile would be introduced in 1942. Though initially a more comical villain than the Joke, The Penguin would go on to be one of Batman’s most recognisable and recurring foes. Over the decades the Penguin’s character would be fleshed out more, and he would go from a campy supervillain obsessed with birds, to a gritty and brutal crime lord.
The first appearances of the Penguin and the Catwoman, two of Batman’s main enemies. The papa spank line isn’t one of the Caped Crusaders finest moments.
Another major enemy of Batman introduced during the early years was Doctor Hugo Strange. Originally intended to be Batman’s archenemy, Strange was more of a match for Batman in terms of intellect than his other enemies, being a genius scientist in his own right. Ultimately however the more colourful Joker, Penguin and Catwoman would soon eclipse Strange, though Strange would continue to recur over the decades, and has even appeared in many adaptations such as the recent tv series Gotham.
The Joker was originally to have been killed off in his second appearance, but a last minute decision by editor Whitney Ellisworth ultimately spared the character, and the Joker would quickly cement himself as Batman’s arch foe, appearing in 6 out of the first 9 Batman issues.
The first appearance of what would quickly become Batman’s greatest enemy, the Joker.
Ellsworth would also make another major contribution to Batman’s character, deciding after an issue of Detective Comics which featured the caped crusader murdering mutated giants with a machine gun, that Batman would never use a gun or kill his enemies again.
This has gone on to be a vital aspect of Batman’s character ever since, not just in the comics, but in most other adaptations too. In universe the reason Batman hates guns it would be established is obviously because they were used in the brutal murder of his parents. Some versions of Batman however, such as Michael Keaton’s in the first two Burton Batman movies have returned to using weapons and lethal force, but generally speaking, most versions of Batman have stuck to Ellsworth’s policy.
In addition to starring in his own series and Detective Comics, Batman would go on to appear regularly in World’s Finest in 1940, a series which featured stories starring both Batman and Superman, DC’s other most popular character. It would not be until 1952 however that World’s Finest would bring both characters together in the same story. Batman and Superman would quickly be established as being best friends, and would remain so until the modern age, when the darker Batman’s methods often clashed with Superman.
Batman would also be established as an honorary member of the first ever superhero team, The Justice Society of America early into his career. First appearing in All Star Comics 3 in 1941, Batman and Superman however unlike with the later Justice League were not allowed to appear in with the Justice Society in a regular basis, as they already had their own titles, unlike most of the other members. Still one of the Justice Society’s base of operations was in Gotham City.
Batman would remain one of DC’s best selling characters throughout the 40s, though as the decade waned on, Batman would be made into a much lighter character, and more of a traditional father figure to Robin.
The End of the Original Batman
From an in universe perspective the original Batman’s adventures would come to an end in the 50s. DC would later establish in the early 60s, that all of their stories from the 1930s to the mid 50s took place in another universe to those from the mid 50s to the then present.
The original 30s-50s stories took place on Earth 2, whilst the then modern stories from the mid 50s-present took place on Earth 1.
DC did this to explain away the major continuity issues that had emerged over the decades, chiefly concerning the Justice League and the Justice Society, which had each featured their own version of the Flash, Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, whilst Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman had been members of both teams. (Barry and Jay had been established as the only versions of the Flash in their own titles leading to some confusion.)
The multiverse idea was introduced in the story Flash of Two Earth’s which saw Barry Allen, the modern Flash travel to Earth Two where he met Jay Garrick the original Flash (who had visibly aged since we last saw him.)
The meant however that the then current Batman of the 60s was not the same character as the original from the 30s-mid 50s. It was never made clear when the adventures of the original Batman had come to an end, and the adventures of the new Batman began, as the multiverse was a retcon, but it would later be established in universe that the Earth Two Batman had retired at some point in the 50s.
The original Earth Two Batman’s final fate would be revealed in the late 70s. At some point in the mid 50s, Batman married a reformed Catwoman, and the two soon had a daughter, Helena Wayne. Years later however Catwoman would be blackmailed into carrying out another crime, and Batman would inadvertantly cause her death.
The marriage of Batman and Catwoman.
Vowing to never don the cape and cowl again, Bruce was left a broken man by his wife’s death, but his daughter Helena Wayne would later become a masked crime fighter, The Huntress who would bring the criminal who had blackmailed her mother to justice.
Helena Wayne vows to avenge her mothers death.
The Huntress would go on to become a popular character throughout the 70s, continuing her father’s legacy on Earth 2, joining the Justice Society, and later crossing over to Earth One where she’d work with its version of her father.
The Earth Two Bruce Wayne meanwhile despite his vow would later become Batman one last time to battle the Wizard, Frederick Faust which resulted in his death.
Following Batman’s death ironically the Joker would take it hardest of all. Furious that he had beaten his long time enemy, simply by outliving him, the Joker refused to believe Batman was gone and would go on a massive rampage to try and draw The Batman out. An older Dick Grayson would be forced to pretend to be Batman in order to convince the Joker that his foe was still alive. Happy that Batman was not dead, the Joker willingly surrendered, and continued to plot his final duel with the Batman that would ultimately never come.
This classic scene from Batman the animated series where the Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) believes Batman has been killed and grieves, not over Batman, but simply of being deprived of his revenge; was inspired by the original Earth Two Joker’s reaction to his Batman’s death.
Whilst some critics felt the multiverse format was needlessly complicated, personally I think that it was a brilliant formula that ultimately allowed DC to finish their characters stories, whilst not having to stop producing Batman stories altogether. In contrast Marvel, whose characters all live in one floating timeline’s stories can never end, or even develop in any meaningful way that upsets the status quo. Take a look at Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s wedding for instance that had to be retconned in the most ridiculous way, to restore Spidey to being single. The original Batman and Catwoman’s marriage meanwhile remained final and even produced another superhero, the Huntress.
Personally I enjoy reading the earliest Batman comics knowing that he and Catwoman one day end up getting married, and that their legacy continues on through the Huntress, who is one of my favourite heroes.
Ultimately whatever your opinion on the multiverse, its important to remember that your Batman is NOT your grandfathers Batman. The Batman we read about in any story from his introduction to the mid 50s died decades ago, and has been replaced since by three alternate universe counterparts.
50s: Sci Fi Hijinks
From a real world perspective the 50s would mark a radical change in Batman’s character. Batman had been completely watered down by this stage from his darker past into being a totally family friendly hero, but as the decade rolled on the character would be turned into more of a sci fi hero. The 50s would see Batman regularly travel to other worlds, travel through time, battle aliens, giant robots, and other atomic age monsters and strange creatures.
Sci Fi had been a vital component in Batman’s character from the very beginning. His gadgets and Batcave were often presented as being far in advance of contemporary technology. (One of the most famous and longstanding trophies in the Batcave is a gigantic robot Tyrannosaurus Rex.)
Added to that many of Batman’s most iconic enemies such as Doctor Hugo Strange were firmly rooted in sci fi too. The 50s however ultimately took it too far and had Batman spend more time in outerspace, or the future or on other worlds, than in Gotham.
As a result the 50s is often seen as a low point in the characters history. Nevertheless there would be a few important developments during this decade. The Jokers origins would be finally be revealed in the story The Man Behind The Red Hood.
Originally the Joker had been a criminal known as the Red Hood who planned to steal a million pounds and then retire, but during his final robbery of the Monarch Card company, Batman accidentally knocked the Red Hood into a vat of chemicals, which bleached his skin chalk white, dyed his hair green and distorted his mouth into a permanent hideous grin, driving him insane in the process
Whilst presented as a light hearted story at the time, this development ended up having major repurcussions on the Batman/Joker dynamic. Now Batman was made responsible for creating the Joker, and was therefore accountable for all of his crimes. By this stage however the Joker had been turned into more of a harmless prankster, carrying out wild, over the top schemes, but rarely ever killing anyone. It would not be until the 70s, when the Joker was restored to his old murderous persona that writers would explore the ramifications of Batman’s role in the Joker’s origin, as well as his role in the creation of his other major villains too.
The 1950s also saw the introduction fo Mr Freeze, then referred to as Mr Zero. Freeze would go on to be one of Batman’s most famous foes in popular culture, thanks to his appearances in the 60s Adam West series and the 90s Batman the Animated series.
Justice League of America
In 1960 Batman, along with Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Aquaman would form one of the first superhero teams, The Justice League in The Brave and the Bold issue 28.
Initially however Batman and Superman would be relegated to more minor roles in the strip with DC not wanting to overexpose their two most famous characters, though the two heroes did still go on several adventures with the league, and even played key roles in saving the day in some of the earlier strips. Eventually Batman and Superman would be allowed to play more major roles in the Justice League.
Batman despite having no superpowers of his own, would still be able to keep up with his allies in the league through his gadgets and fighting skills. (Batman had already been shown to tackle super powered and paranormal threats on his own, such as Manbat, and Mr Freeze.)
Batman would often end up being the key to many of the Justice League’s success’ as his scientific genius would enable him to disarm the villains weapons, or rewire their technology in a way that the other heroes couldn’t, whilst his deduction skills would often allow him to figure out the villains weaknesses, hideouts, or their plans when the other members of the League could not.
An example of Batman’s usefulness to the rest of the League despite his lack of powers.
In spite of this Batman’s history with the league has not always been smooth. In the 2000 miniseries, Towel of Bable, Batman’s archenemy, Ra’s Al Ghul steals files Batman as gathered on the rest of the League in case they ever went rogue and uses them to very nearly kill the League.
Though Ra’s plan is stopped, Batman is forced to leave the League afterwards, with Wonder Woman, Plastique Man and Aquaman being unable to trust Batman afterwards.
Batman has often clashed with other members of the League due to his secretive and somewhat paranoid personality. Still he has nevertheless always remained a prominent member of the team, and in many versions has even helped found the League.
Towards the end of the 50s and the early 60s, two more sidekicks would be introduced for the Caped Crusader. Kathy Kane aka Batwoman, and her niece Bette Kane who became the first ever Batgirl. Both were introduced as love interests of Batman and Robin respectively. In addition to this Batman would also inherit a trusty hound known as Ace during this period, and another sidekick in the form of Batmite.
Batmite was an imp from the 5th dimension, similar to Superman foe Mr Mxylptzlik, though Batmite in contrast was shown to idolise Batman and would frequently help him out.
By the mid 60s the Bat family would be phased out, with editors feeling that there were too many characters detracting from Batman. Kathy Kane would nevertheless be revived many decades later as Kate Kane, whilst the concept of Batgirl would similarly be revived towards the end of the 60s.
Many critics and comic historians have argued that Batwoman and Batgirl were introduced simply to offset complaints that Batman and Robin were gay lovers. Ironically the later version of Kate Kane would be depicted as one of the first openly lesbian heroes in comics.
The Silly Years
Batman’s sales declined rapidly throughout the 60s to the point were there was talk of cancellation. Ultimately however the character would reach new heights of popularity during the later half of the decade thanks to the live action Batman television series starring Adam West.
Premiering in 1966, Batman was a comedy series that spoofed the characters. Though undoubtedly one of the greatest comedy series of all time, the show did change the pubic perception of Batman to being a campy, silly character which made it difficult for later more serious film pitch’s for the Dark Knight to be taken seriously.
Still overall the 60s show had a positive impact on the franchise. Bob Kane himself credited the show with saving the comic, with the 66 Batman helping to kick off a craze that would become known as Batmania. The 60s show would also elevate the characters of the Riddler and Mr Freeze into being among Batman’s most iconic enemies. Prior to the 60s serise Mr Freeze had appeared just once, whilst The Riddler had made only a handful of appearances.
The 60s series would also be responsible for the creation of the second Batgirl. This version of the character named Barbara Gordon was the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, and generally worked on her own. The new Batgirl proved to be very popular with readers and would go on to become one of the most successful female heroes for DC comics.
In order to emulate the success of the 60s show, the Batman comics would start to adopt a campier, more light hearted tone, but after the show came to an end attempts would be made by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams to take Batman back to his darker roots.
Classic examples of campier Batman stories of the 60s.
The Night of the Stalker
Throughout the 70s Batman would be depicted as a much darker character. Now operating alone, with Robin having since grown up and established himself as a hero in his own right. The Batman of the 70s still retained many of the lighter elements that had been developed in the decades since his introduction. The 70s Batman still had a sense of humour, was friendly to those closest to him, and genuinely enjoyed his life.
Still the stories took themselves more seriously than ever before, and explored much darker content.
A classic example of the more mature and sophisticated stories of the 70s, can be seen in the strip “The Night of the Stalker.” Here Batman witnesses the murder a couple in front of their child by common criminals who he then pursues through the woods of Gotham. Batman is absolutely vicious in dispatching the criminals, as he is forced to relive the horror of his parents death yet again. Night of the Stalker was widely praised by fans and critics alike for its depiction of Batman as a dark, ruthless anti hero, whilst at the same time touching on the tragic elements of his character in a moving way.
Batman’s enemies would similarly be given a makeover during this era. The Joker having been portrayed as a silly prankster throughout the last two decades, would be returned to being a vicious, sadistic, mass murderer in O’Neil’s “Joker’s 5 Way Revenge”. This story saw the villain murder his former henchmen in gruesome ways, with Batman only managing to rescue the last, who the Joker attempts to feed to a shark!
This version of the Joker however was different to the original in that he was still comical, and his plans still more outlandish, but the humour was instead very dark. Unlike later depictions of the Clown Prince of Crime, the 70s, early 80s Joker also still despised the Batman and genuinely wished to kill him. Later versions of the Joker would instead enjoy fighting with Batman, viewing him as the straight man in their double act. The 70s Joker however had a more traditional hero/villain relationship with Batman.
Classic examples of the Jokers sick sense of humour from the 70s-early 80s.
The 70s would also see the introduction of the only villain to ever challenge the Jokers claim as Batman’s archfoe. Ra’s Al Ghul. Ghul was a warlord who had been kept young for several hundred years, through the Lazarus pits.
Leader of the league of assassins, Ghul had countless resources all over the world to use against the Batman. He was also Batman’s equal in terms of intellect and physical prowess, and was able to deduce Batman’s secret identity when he first met him. Ghul initially saw Batman as his heir to the position of the Demon’s head, but the two would soon come into conflict which would be made all the more personal by Batman’s feelings for Ghul’s daughter, Talia.
The 70s would also see Batman work with many other DC heroes to a far greater extent than ever before through The Brave and the Bold which saw Batman work with a different DC hero every issue.
The Brave and the Bold was originally conceived as an anthology series, before becoming a team up series.
From issue 50 however The Brave and the Bold came to revolve entirely around Batman working with a different hero each week. This decision was made to cash in on the popularity of the Batman series, but the strip would remain a Batman team up series, even after the show had been cancelled. Throughout the 70s The Brave and the Bold would become the most popular Batman title.
The series helped to put Batman into more fantastical and outlandish settings, but unlike in the 50’s comics it didn’t stop the Batman from going on more traditional crime stories in the main title. The Brave and the Bold also helped to examine Batman’s greater role in the DC universe and flesh out his relationships with other DC characters to a far greater extent than ever before. We got to see Batman’s strange friendship with Deadman, his partnership with Wild Cat (which unlike with Robin was on a more equal footing) and his rivalry with Green Arrow. One strip even saw the Caped Crusader trapped in a love triangle with Wonder Woman and Batgirl!
One of the most ridiculous stories ever written.
For me the late 60s to the early 80s represents the best period of Batman’s history. There is a much wider variety of stories during that decade than any other. The silly, light hearted approach is not entirely jettisoned as seen above, but at the same time there are darker, more serious stories such as Night of the Stalker. The 70s still saw Batman battle ordinary criminals in his own series, yet through the Brave and the Bold it saw the character go on sci fi and fantasy adventures too. The 70s also featured more Batman team ups than any other decade. Brave and the Bold would come to an end in 1982, and when it was revived in 2007 it would be restored to a team up series, rather than a Batman comic.
Batman in my opinion is a better fit for team ups than any other hero. His lack of powers means that he can be vulnerable to any other heroes enemies, whilst his gadgets and deduction skills enables him to be of use to even the most powerful super heroes too. In contrast Superman or Wonder Woman or even The Flash are all too powerful to help out a hero like say Wild Cat, as they’d deal with his problem in a matter of minutes. Its a shame that no other decade would make use of Batman’s adaptability in working with other heroes as well as the 70s did.
For me the 70s best shows off all of the different sides to Batman’s character and it has gone on to be widely praised as a golden age by many critics and comics historians. The 70s would go on to have a large influence on Batman the Animated Series in particular. Sadly however despite its popularity with fans, Batman sales would actually decline greatly throughout the 70s.
End of the Earth One Batman’s adventures
In 1985 DC would produce a multi crossover story called Crisis on Infinite Earth’s which saw a vastly powerful and evil cosmic entity known as the Anti Monitor destroy every universe, with only one universe, New Earth, created from the ruins of the last 5 universes surviving.
As a result of this the Earth One Batman’s adventures came to an end, and all main DC stories from 1985-2011 would take place on New Earth.
The Huntress, daughter of the Earth 2 Batman’s life would come to a tragic end too. Though she survived the erasure of her own world, she would later be murdered by minions of the Anti Monitor during a final stand against the Anti Monitor’s minions. The Huntress would die a heroesdeath saving some children from falling rubble. The Huntress was one of many heroes to die during the Crisis, alongside Barry Allen (who would be succeeded by Wally West) and Supergirl.
Crisis on Infinite Earth’s had been designed solely to wipe the Multiverse from canon. DC felt that the Multiverse, which had since expanded to include hundreds of earths aside from earth’s 1 and 2 was too overly complicated and in danger of putting new readers off. Therefore New Earth was designed to serve as a single timeline that readers could easily follow.
Ultimately the multiverse would be brought back gradually over the next few decades. The 2005 crossover Infinite Crisis saw one of the final survivors of the multiverse, a heroic alternate version of Lex Luthor, create 52 new universes, whilst a 2015 crossover event called Convergence erased the events of Crisis on Infinite Earth’s restoring the multiverse.
Still from 1985 to 2011, it would be the adventures of the Batman of New Earth that readers would follow.
The Dark Knight Returns
Batman sales declined in the early 80s, but the character would be given a major boost through a number of much darker, more violent works which fully helped to restore Batman’s reputation as an anti hero.
The first of these was Frank Millers mini series The Dark Knight Returns which depicted an aging and bitter Bruce Wayne come out of retirement. Set outside of the New Earth continuity, The Dark Knight Returns was most notable for featuring Batman and Superman clashing with one another, and its final brutal showdown between Batman and the Joker.
The Dark Knight Returns proved to be a massive success and finally helped Batman shake off the campy image from the Adam West series. The levels of violence in the story far exceeded those of previous Batman adventures. According to Frank Miller, Bob Kane himself hated the miniseries, feeling that it was too nasty. Still The Dark Knight Returns made an immeasurably huge impact on the industry, and similar darker Batman stories followed.
The 1988 graphic novel, The Killing Joke written by Alan Moore and with art by Brian Bolland, expanded on the Jokers origins, whilst taking the feud between the Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight to a whole new level.
The Killing Joke reveals that the Joker was original a failed comedian, who attempted to rob the Ace chemicals plant to support his pregnant wife. On the night of the robbery however, the Jokers wife is killed in a freak accident. The criminals then force him into helping to carry out the robbery, during which the Joker falls into a vat of chemicals, finally pushing him over the edge.
In the present the Joker attempts to prove that one bad day can drive anyone to lunacy. He targets Commisoner Gordon and shoots his daughter Barbara through the spine and then tortures the Commisoner by showing him pictures of Barbara’s bleeding, naked body!
The Jokers origins and his heinous crimes against Jim and Barbara Gordon from the 2016 adaptation of The Killing Joke, starring Mark Hamil as the Joker.
Barbara Gordon who had earlier retired as Batgirl would be permanently crippled as a result. Originally Alan Moore had intended the Killing Joke to be a one off, outside of DC canon, but DC would incorporate it into the New Earth timeline nonetheless. Barbara Gordon would still continue to appear regularly however, as the character of Oracle, a computer expert and skilled hacker. Ironically as Oracle Barbara would go on to have greater significance than she ever did as Batgirl.
Later that same year the Joker would be responsible for another tragedy in Batman’s life in the mini series Death in the Family. Here the Joker murdered the second Robin, Jason Todd in cold blood. Todd had replaced Dick Grayson in 1983. Though popular at first, the character’s more aggressive personality quickly caused readers to turn on him, so much so that in the final panels of Death in the Family, readers were given a choice to vote on Robin’s death or survival, with readers ultimately choosing to kill him.
The Joker’s murder of Jason Todd, the Second Robin, as voted for by contemporary readers.
These stories, combined with the 1989 Batman movie, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as Batman, and Jack Nicholson as the Joker; helped to cement the darker portrayal of Batman in popular culture.
From this point on Batman would always be depicted as a darker, more violent, tortured anti hero, paranoid, untrustworthy and in some ways as disturbed as many of the villains he faces.
The Modern Age
Throughout the 90s Batman would continue to enjoy new levels of popularity. Burton’s Batman film had been a record breaking success and a bigger cultural phenomenon than even the 66 series. The character would go on to enjoy greater success in animation with the classic Batman the Animated Series which would kick off the entire DC Animated Universe. Much like the Burton movie, the DCAU would treated the source material seriously. The DCAU would also influence the comics themselves, just like the 66 Batman series.
The character of Harley Quinn, Jokers sidekick and lover who first appeared in Batman the Animated series would later be incorporated into the comic books, becoming one of Batman’s most recognisable enemies in popular culture. Another character from the DCAU who would later be incorporated into the comics would be Terry McGinness, the second Batman.
McGinness was introduced in the series Batman Beyond, which was set 50 years into the future. McGinness was originally a street hoodlum who would stumble upon the Batcave after Bruce Wayne helped save him from the Jokerz Gang. Terry would later steal the Bat suit to avenge his fathers murder, and though Bruce disapproved of his actions at first, Bruce would later take Terry on as his protege, training him to be the new Batman proper.
It would later be revealed that Terry McGiness was in fact Bruce Wayne’s biological son.
The second Batman, Terry McGiness. Despite his popularity, Terry would not be incorporated into the mainstream comics until 2014 with the new 52 crossover series.
In 1993 one of Batman’s most iconic enemies, Bane would be introduced in the Nightfall arc. Bane would be responsible for breaking the Dark Knights back. For the first time someone other than Bruce Wayne, Jean Paul Valley would be forced to don the suit until Bruce Wayne was able to recover.
Batman would continue to enjoy further acclaim with the No Man’s Land and Hush story arcs, both of which would go on to influence further stories and adaptations.
Throughout the first decade of the 21st century Batman would continue to enjoy mainstream success due to the Christopher Nolan trilogy, which reached its peak with The Dark Knight, the second entry in the series. The Nolan trilogy presented audiences with a more realistic, gritty interpretation of the Caped Crusader than any before.
Despite Batman’s popularity however, DC would seemingly kill the New Earth version of Batman in 2008 in the major crossover story Infinite Crisis. Batman seemingly died in action against Superman’s enemy Darkseid, with Dick Grayson taking his place as the new Batman, and Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son taking over as the new Robin.
It would later be revealed however that Batman had simply been sent backwards in time by Darkseid’s Omega beams, and Bruce Wayne would make his return in 2010. Just over a year later however the New Earth Batman’s adventures would come to an end in 2011 when DC rebooted its titles with the New 52 crossover series.
Since 2011 DC has followed the Batman of Prime Earth’s adventures, though as the full multiverse has been restored then the Batmen of Earth One, and New Earth now both still exist, as does the Huntress of Earth 2.
As of the writing of this article Batman still maintains a large presence in popular culture, and with no signs of slowing down its doubtless that we will continue to see more adventures from the Batman of Earth Prime and dozens of other universes for decades to come.
In the next entry of the series we will examine the influences on Batman and the influence the character has had on popular culture.