Book Review – Doctor Who: Bang-Bang-a-Boom

  • Title: Bang-Bang-a-Boom!
  • Series: Doctor Who Main Range
  • Discs: 2 CDs
  • Authors: Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman
  • Director: Nicholas Pegg
  • Characters: Seventh Doctor, Mel
  • Cast: Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford, Sabina Franklyn, Nickolas Grace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/27/2017

**Spoiler Alert** Bang-Bang-a-Boom is one of my very favorite Big Finish audio plays – because it is relentlessly funny. This is a full-cast audio play, with music, sound effects, and an excellent cast. It features the Seventh Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy and his companion, Mel. The story starts with a bang, as the TARDIS arrives on an in-bound shuttle to a space station. The Doctor and Mel no sooner arrive than they realize the people on the shuttle are dead and it is about to explode. Before they can get to the TARDIS, they are beamed to the space station.

The station, Dark Space 8, is expecting a replacement commander, the previous one having died in a space flu. The staff of the Station welcomes the Doctor as the new Commander and Mel as his pilot. The Station is about to host the Intergalactic Song Contest.

The Doctor and Mel meet the contestants of the contest, including representatives of two Galactic Empires posed on the brink of war. They also meet the Arbiter, a galaxy-wide famous diplomat. Before long, people on the station start getting murdered, the Doctor investigates, and Dr. Eleanor Harcourt feels so … helpless.

The story is great fun, and the parodies of ST: TNG and ST: DS9 are rampant. The Doctor gets to play detective with Mel as his reluctant assistant. They eventually realize that the Intergalactic Peace Conference that is taking place at the same time, supposedly on another planet, is actually taking place on the station – and the Song Contest is a convenient cover. The Doctor also uncovers a number of secrets about the crew of Dark Space 8. The story has a light tone and is laugh-out-loud funny. It truly is one of my very favorite Big Finish stories and I highly recommend it.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website:

Click this link to order Bang-Bang-a-Boom! on Download only. Note: currently for the discounted price of $2.99. Get it while you can!

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Doctor Who Writers

I commented last week Saturday on Facebook and Twitter about Doctor Who, and Capaldi’s incredible speech and performance in “The Zygon Inversion”. One of my friends asked a very simple but important question: Who wrote it? And I realised that, although I’ve made made lists for Doctor Who, lists of all the stories, lists of the episodes on DVD and the ones missing from the BBC archives, even lists of various series of original books – with authors, I had never listed the authors of the actual episodes – so here it goes. It actually took a bit to pull together this list. For Classic Who, author names and air-dates were pulled from Doctor Who the Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier (Second Edition), for McCoy’s final season – authors and airdates were cross-checked with Doctor Who the Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier (Fourth Edition). Pseudonyms and possible errors (such as the one episode that only listed a month and year rather than an full air date) were cross-checked with the Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium by Paul Smith. For New Who, I consulted TARDIS wiki. Please see footnotes at bottom of spreadsheet for details.

Story # Ep. # Episode Title Episode Author Date Num. Eps. Num. Discs
William Hartnell
1 1 An Unearthly Child Anthony Coburn 11/23/1963 – 12/14/1963 4 1
2 2 The Daleks Terry Nation 12/21/1963 – 2/1/1964 7 1
3 3 The Edge of Destruction David Whitaker 2/8/1964 – 2/15/1964 2 1
4 4 Macro Polo* John Lucarotti 2/22/1964 – 3/4/1964 7 *
5 5 The Keys of Marinus Terry Nation 4/11/1964 – 5/16/1964 6 1
6 6 The Aztecs John Lucarotti 5/23/1964 – 6/13/1964 4 1
7 7 The Sensorites Peter R. Newman 6/20/1964 – 8/1/1964 6 1
8 8 The Reign of Terror Dennis Spooner 8/8/1964 – 9/12/1964 6 1
9 9 Planet of the Giants Louis Marks 10/31/1964 – 11/14/1964 3 1
10 10 The Dalek Invasion of Earth Terry Nation 11/21/1964 – 12/26/1964 6 2
11 11 The Rescue David Whitaker 1/2/1965 – 1/9/1965 2 1
12 12 The Romans Dennis Spooner 1/19/1965 – 2/6/1965 4 1
13 13 The Web Planet Bill Strutton 2/13/1965 – 3/20/1965 6 1
14 14 The Crusade* David Whitaker 3/27/1965 – 4/17/1965 4 *
15 15 The Space Museum Glyn Jones 4/24/1965 – 5/15/1965 4 1
16 16 The Chase Terry Nation 5/22/1965 – 6/26/1965 6 2
17 17 The Time Meddler Dennis Spooner 7/3/1965 – 7/24/1965 4 1
18 18 Galaxy Four* William Emms 9/11/1965 – 10/2/1965 4 *
19 19 Mission to the Unknown* Terry Nation 10/9/1965 1 *
20 20 The Myth Makers* David Cotton 10/19/1965 – 11/6/1965 4 *
21 21 The Daleks Masterplan* Terry Nation, Dennis Spooner 11/13/1965 – 1/29/1966 12 *
22 22 The Massacre* John Lucarotti 2/5/1966 – 2/26/1966 4 *
23 23 The Ark Paul Erickson, Lesley Scott 3/5/1966 – 3/26/1966 4 1
24 24 The Celestial Toymaker* Brian Hayles 4/2/1966 – 4/23/1966 4 *
25 25 The Gunfighters David Cotton 4/30/1966 – 5/21/1966 4 1
26 26 The Savages* Ian Stuart Black 5/28/1966 – 6/18/1966 4 *
27 27 The War Machines Ian Stuart Black 6/25/1966 – 7/16/1966 6 1
28 28 The Smugglers* Brian Hayles 9/10/1966 – 10/1/1966 4 *
29 29 The Tenth Planet Kit Pedler, Gerry Davis, Pat Dunlap 10/8/1966 – 10/29/1966 4 2
Patrick Troughton
30 1 Power of the Daleks* David Whitaker 11/5/1966 – 12/10/1966 6 *
31 2 The Highlanders* Gerry Davis, Elwyn Jones 12/17/1966 – 1/7/1967 4 *
32 3 The Underwater Menace* Geoffrey Orme 1/14/1967 – 2/4/1967 4 *
33 4 The Moonbase Kit Pedler 2/11/1967 – 3/4/1967 4 1
34 5 The Marca Terror* Ian Stuart Black 3/11/1967 – 4/1/1967 4 *
35 6 The Faceless Ones* David Ellis, Malcolm Hulke 4/8/1967 – 5/13/1967 6 *
36 7 The Evil of the Daleks* David Whitaker 5/20/1967 – 7/1/1967 7 *
37 8 Tomb of the Cybermen Kit Pedler, Gerry Davis 9/2/1967 – 9/23/1967 4 1
38 9 The Abominable Snowmen* Mervyn Haisman, Henry Lincoln 9/30/1967 – 11/4/1967 6 *
39 10 The Ice Warriors Brian Hayles 11/11/1967 – 12/16/1967 6 2
40 11 The Enemy of the World David Whitaker 12/23/1967 – 1/27/1968 6 1
41 12 The Web of Fear Mervyn Haisman, Henry Lincoln 2/3/1968 – 3/9/1968 6 1
42 13 Fury from the Deep* Victor Pemberton 3/16/1968 – 4/20/1968 6 *
43 14 The Wheel in Space* David Whitaker 4/27/1968 – 6/1/1968 6 *
44 15 The Dominators Norman Ashby 8/10/1968 – 9/7/1968 5 1
45 16 The Mind Robber Peter Ling, Derrick Sherwin 9/14/1968 – 10/12/1968 5 1
46 17 The Invasion Derrick Sherwin 11/2/1968 – 12/21/1968 8 2
47 18 The Krotons Robert Holmes 12/28/1968 – 1/18/1969 4 1
48 19 The Seeds of Death Brian Hayles 1/25/1969 – 3/1/1969 6 2
49 20 The Space Pirates* Robert Holmes 3/8/1969 – 4/12/1969 6 *
50 21 The War Games Malcolm Hulke, Terrance Dicks 4/19/1969 – 6/21/1969 10 3
Jon Pertwee
51 1 Spearhead from Space Robert Holmes 1/3/1970 – 1/24/1970 4 1
52 2 The Silurians Malcolm Hulke 1/31/1970 – 3/14/1970 7 2
53 3 The Ambassadors of Death David Whitaker 3/21/1970 – 5/2/1970 7 2
54 4 Inferno Don Houghton 5/9/1970 – 6/20/1970 7 2
55 5 Terror of the Autons Robert Holmes 1/2/1971 – 1/23/1971 4 1
56 6 The Mind of Evil Don Houghton 1/30/1971 – 3/6/1971 6 2
57 7 The Claws of Axos Bob Baker, Dave Martin 3/13/1971 – 4/3/1971 4 1
58 8 Colony in Space Malcolm Hulke 4/10/1971 – 5/15/1971 6 1
59 9 The Daemons Guy Leopold 5/22/1971 – 6/19/1971 5 2
60 10 Day of the Daleks Louis Marks 1/1/1972 – 1/22/1972 4 2
61 11 The Curse of Peladon Brian Hayles 1/29/1972 – 2/19/1972 4 1
62 12 The Sea Devils Malcolm Hulke 2/26/1972 – 4/1/1972 6 1
63 13 The Mutants Bob Baker, Dave Martin 4/8/1972 – 5/13/1972 6 2
64 14 The Time Monster Robert Sloman 5/20/1972 – 6/24/1972 6 1
65 15 The Three Doctors Bob Baker, Dave Martin 12/30/1972 – 4/20/1973 4 1
66 16 Carnival of Monsters Robert Holmes 1/27/1973 – 2/17/1973 4 1
67 17 Frontier in Space Malcolm Hulke 2/24/1973 – 3/31/1973 6 2
68 18 Planet of the Daleks Terry Nation 4/7/1973 – 5/12/1973 6 2
69 19 The Green Death Robert Sloman 5/19/1973 – 6/23/1973 6 1
70 20 The Time Warrior Robert Holmes 12/15/1973 – 1/5/1974 4 1
71 21 Invasion of the Dinosaurs Malcolm Hulke 1/12/1974 – 2/16/1974 6 2
72 22 Death to the Daleks Terry Nation 2/23/1974 – 3/16/1974 4 1
73 23 The Monster of Peladon Brian Hayles 3/23/1974 – 4/27/1974 6 2
74 24 Planet of the Spiders Robert Sloman 5/4/1974 – 6/8/1974 6 2
Tom Baker
75 1 Robot Terrance Dicks 12/28/1974 – 1/18/1975 4 1
76 2 The Ark in Space Robert Holmes 1/25/1975 – 2/15/1975 4 1
77 3 The Sontaran Experiment Bob Baker, Dave Martin 2/22/1975 – 3/1/1975 2 1
78 4 Genesis of the Daleks Terry Nation 3/8/1975 – 4/12/1975 6 2
79 5 Revenge of the Cybermen Gerry Davis 4/19/1975 – 5/10/1975 4 1
80 6 Terror of the Zygons Robert Banks Stewart 8/30/1975 – 9/20/1975 4 2
81 7 Planet of Evil Louis Marks 9/27/1975 – 10/18/1975 4 1
82 8 Pyramids of Mars Stephen Harris 10/25/1975 – 11/15/1975 4 1
83 9 The Android Invasion Terry Nation 11/22/1975 – 12/13/1975 4 1
84 10 The Brain of Morbuis Robin Bland 1/3/1976 – 1/24/1976 4 1
85 11 The Seeds of Doom Robert Banks Stewart 1/31/1976 – 3/6/1976 6 2
86 12 The Masque of Mandragora Louis Marks 9/4/1976 – 9/25/1976 4 1
87 13 The Hand of Fear Bob Baker, Dave Martin 10/2/1976 – 10/23/1976 4 1
88 14 The Deadly Assasin Robert Holmes 10/30/1976 – 11/20/1976 4 1
89 15 The Face of Evil Chris Boucher 1/1/1977 – 1/22/1977 4 1
90 16 The Robots of Death Chris Boucher 1/29/1977 – 2/19/1977 4 1
91 17 The Talons of Weng-Chiang Robert Holmes 2/26/1977 – 4/2/1977 6 2
92 18 The Horror of Fang Rock Terrance Dicks 9/3/1977 – 9/24/1977 4 1
93 19 The Invisible Enemy Bob Baker, Dave Martin 10/1/1977 – 10/22/1977 4 1
94 20 Image of the Fendahl Chris Boucher 10/29/1977 – 11/19/1977 4 1
95 21 The Sunmakers Robert Holmes 11/26/1977 – 12/17/1977 4 1
96 22 Underworld Bob Baker, Dave Martin 1/7/1978 – 1/28/1978 4 1
97 23 The Invasion of Time David Agnew (Graham Williams, Anthony Read)** 2/4/1978 – 3/11/1978 6 2
98 24 The Robos Operation Robert Holmes 9/2/1978 – 9/23/1978 4 1
99 25 The Pirate Planet Douglas Adams 9/30/1978 – 10/21/1978 4 1
100 26 The Stones of Blood David Fisher 10/28/1978 – 11/18/1978 4 1
101 27 The Androids of Tara David Fisher 11/25/1978 – 12/16/1978 4 1
102 28 The Power of Kroll Robert Holmes 12/23/1978 – 1/13/1979 4 1
103 29 The Armageddon Factor Bob Baker, Dave Martin 1/20/1979 – 2/24/1979 6 1
104 30 Destiny of the Daleks Terry Nation 9/1/1979 – 9/22/1979 4 1
105 31 City of Death David Agnew (Douglas Adams) 9/29/1979 – 10/20/1979 4 2
106 32 The Creature from the Pit David Fisher 10/27/1979 – 11/17/1979 4 1
107 33 Nightmare of Eden Bob Baker 11/24/1979 – 12/15/1979 4 1
108 34 The Horns of Nimon Anthony Read 12/12/1979 – 1/12/1980 4 1
109 35 Shada Douglas Adams not broadcast 6 3
110 36 The Leisure Hive David Fisher 8/30/1980 – 9/20/1980 4 1
111 37 Meglos John Flanagan 9/27/1980 – 10/18/1980 4 1
112 38 Full Circle Andrew Smith 10/25/1980 – 11/15/1980 4 1
113 39 State of Decay Terrance Dicks 11/22/1980 – 12/13/1980 4 1
114 40 Warrior’s Gate Steve Gallagher 1/3/1981 – 1/24/1981 4 1
115 41 The Keeper of Traken Johnny Byrne 1/31/1981 – 2/21/1981 4 1
116 42 Logopolis Christopher H. Bidmead 2/28/1981 – 3/21/1981 4 1
Special Special K-9 and Co. – A Girl’s Best Friend Terence Dudley 12/28/1981 1 1
Peter Davison
117 1 Castrovalva Christopher H. Bidmead 1/4/1982 – 1/12/1982 4 1
118 2 Four to Doomsday Terence Dudley 1/18/1982 – 1/26/1982 4 1
119 3 Kinda Christopher Bailey 2/1/1982 – 2/9/1982 4 1
120 4 The Visitation Eric Saward 2/15/1982 – 2/23/2015 4 1
121 5 Black Orchid Terence Dudley 3/1/1982 – 3/2/1982 2 1
122 6 Earthshock Eric Saward 3/8/1982 – 3/16/1982 4 1
123 7 Time Flight Peter Grimwade 3/22/1982 – 3/30/1982 4 1
124 8 Arc of Infinity Johnny Byrne 1/3/1983 – 1/11/1983 4 1
125 9 Snakedance Christopher Bailey 1/17/1983 – 1/25/1983 4 1
126 10 Mawdryn Undead Peter Grimwade 2/1/1983 – 2/9/1983 4 1
127 11 Terminus Steve Gallagher 2/15/1983 – 2/23/1983 4 1
128 12 Enlightenment Barbara Clegg 3/1/1983 – 3/9/1983 4 2
129 13 The King’s Demons Terence Dudley 3/15/1983 – 3/16/1983 2 1
130 14 The Five Doctors Terrance Dicks 11/25/1983 1 1
131 15 Warriors of the Deep Johnny Byrne 1/5/1984 – 1/13/1984 4 1
132 16 The Awakening Eric Pringle 1/19/1984 – 1/20/1984 2 1
133 17 Frontios Christopher H. Bidmead 1/26/1984 – 2/3/1984 4 1
134 18 Resurrection of the Daleks Eric Saward 2/8/1984 – 2/15/1984 4 1
135 19 Planet of Fire Peter Grimwade 2/23/1984 – 3/2/1984 4 2
136 20 The Caves of Androzani Robert Holmes 3/8/1984 – 3/16/1984 4 1
Colin Baker
137 1 The Twin Dilemma Anthony Steven 3/22/1984 – 3/30/1984 4 1
138 2 Attack of the Cybermen Paula Moore 1/5/1985 – 1/12/1985 2 1
139 3 Vengeance on Varos Philip Martin 1/19/1985 – 1/26/1985 2 1
140 4 The Mark of the Rani Pip & Jane Baker 2/2/1985 – 2/9/1985 2 1
141 5 The Two Doctors Robert Holmes 2/16/1985 – 3/2/1985 3 2
142 6 Timelash Glen McCoy 3/9/1985 – 3/16/1985 2 1
143 7 Revelation / Daleks Eric Saward 3/23/1985 – 3/30/1985 2 1
144 8 The Mysterious Planet Robert Holmes 9/6/1986 – 9/27/1986 4 1
145 9 Mindwarp Philip Martin 10/4/1986 – 10/25/1986 4 1
146 10 Terror of the Vervoids Pip & Jane Baker 11/1/1986 – 11/22/1986 4 1
147 11 The Ultimate Foe Robert Holmes, Pip & Jane Baker 11/29/1986 – 12/6/1986 2 1
Sylvester McCoy
148 1 Time and the Rani Pip & Jane Baker 9/7/1987 – 9/28/1987 4 1
149 2 Paradise Towers Stephen Wyatt 10/5/1987 – 10/26/1987 4 1
150 3 Delta and the Bannermen Malcolm Kohll 11/2/1987 – 11/16/1987 3 1
151 4 Dragonfire Ian Briggs 11/23/1987 – 12/7/1987 3 1
152 5 Remembrance of the Daleks Ben Aaronovitch 10/5/1988 – 10/26/1988 4 1
153 6 The Happiness Patrol Graeme Curry 11/2/1988 – 11/16/1988 3 1
154 7 Silver Nemesis Kevin Clarke 11/23/1988 – 12/7/1988 3 1
155 8 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy Stephen Wyatt 12/14/1988 – 1/4/1989 4 1
156 9 Battlefield Ben Aaronovitch 9/6/1989 – 9/27/1989 4 2
157 10 Ghost Light Marc Platt 10/4/1989 – 10/18/1989 3 1
158 11 The Curse of Fenric Ian Briggs 10/25/1989 – 11/15/1989 4 2
159 12 Survival Rona Munro 11/22/1989 – 12/6/1989 3 2
160 Paul McGann
The (FOX) TV-Movie Matthew Jacobs 5/14/1996 (US), 5/27/1996 (UK) 1
Special Special The Scream of the Shalka Paul Cornell 11/13/2003 – 12/18/2003 6 2
Special Special The Night of the Doctor Steven Moffat 11/14/2013 1 1
Story # Ep. # Episode Title Episode Author Date Num. Eps. Num. Discs
Christopher Eccleston
Series 1
1 Rose Russell T. Davies 3/26/2005 (BBC 1)
2 The End of the World Russell T. Davies 4/2/2005
3 The Unquiet Dead Mark Gatiss 4/9/2005
4 Aliens of London Russell T. Davies 4/16/2005
5 World War Three Russell T. Davies 4/23/2005
6 Dalek Robert Shearman 4/30/2005
7 The Long Game Russell T. Davies 5/7/2005
8 Father’s Day Paul Cornell 5/14/2005
9 The Empty Child Steven Moffat 5/21/2005
10 The Doctor Dances Steven Moffat 5/28/2005
11 Boom Town Russell T. Davies 6/4/2005
12 Bad Wolf Russell T. Davies 6/11/2005
13 The Parting of the Ways Russell T. Davies 6/18/2005
David Tennant
Series 2
Special The Christmas Invasion Russell T. Davies 12/25/2005
1. New Earth Russell T. Davies 4/15/2006
2. Tooth and Claw Russell T. Davies 4/22/2006
3. School Reunion Toby Whithouse 4/29/2006
4. The Girl in the Fireplace Steven Moffat 5/6/2006
5. Rise of the Cybermen Tom MacRae 5/13/2006
6. The Age of Steel Tom MacRae 5/20/2006
7. The Idiot’s Lantern Mark Gatiss 5/27/2006
8. The Impossible Planet Matt Jones 6/3/2006
9. The Satan Pit Matt Jones 6/10/2006
10. Love and Monsters Russell T. Davies 6/17/2006
11. Fear Her Matthew Graham 6/24/2006
12. Army of Ghosts Russell T. Davies 7/1/2006
13. Doomsday Russell T. Davies 7/8/2006
Series 3
Special The Runaway Bride Russell T. Davies 12/25/2006
1. Smith and Jones Russell T. Davies 3/31/2007
2. The Shakespeare Code Gareth Roberts 4/7/2007
3. Gridlock Russell T. Davies 4/14/2007
4. Daleks in Manhatten Helen Raynor 4/21/2007
5. Evolution of the Daleks Helen Raynor 4/28/2007
6. The Lazarus Experiment Stephen Greenhorn 5/5/2007
7. 42 Chris Chibnall 5/19/2007
8. Human Nature Paul Cornell 5/26/2007
9. The Family of Blood Paul Cornell 6/2/2007
10. Blink Steven Moffat 6/9/2007
11. Utopia Russell T. Davies 6/16/2007
12. The Sound of Drums Russell T. Davies 6/23/2007
13. Last of the Time Lords Russell T. Davies 6/30/2007
Special The Infinite Quest Alan Barnes 4/2/2007 – 6/29/2007
Series 4
Special Voyage of the Damned Russell T. Davies 12/25/2007
1. Partners in Crime Russell T. Davies 4/5/2008
2. Fires of Pompeii James Moran 4/12/2008
3. The Planet of the Ood Keith Temple 4/12/2008
4. The Sontaran Stratagem Helen Raynor 4/26/2008
5. The Poison Sky Helen Raynor 5/3/2008
6. The Doctor’s Daughter Stephen Greenhorn 5/10/2008
7. The Unicorn and the Wasp Gareth Roberts 5/17/2008
8. Silence in the Library Steven Moffat 5/31/2008
9. Forest of the Dead Steven Moffat 6/7/2008
10. Midnight Russell T. Davies 6/14/2008
11 Turn Left Russell T. Davies 6/21/2008
12 This Stolen Earth Russell T. Davies 6/28/2008
13. Journey’s End Russell T. Davies 7/5/2008
The Specials (Series 4.5)
Special The Next Doctor Russell T. Davies 12/25/2008
Special Planet of the Dead Russell T. Davies & Gareth Roberts 4/11/2009
Special The Waters of Mars Russell T. Davies & Phil Ford 11/15/2009
Special The End of Time, Part 1 Russell T. Davies 12/25/2009
Special The End of Time, Part 2 Russell T. Davies 1/1/2009
Special Dreamland Phil Ford 11/21/2009 – 11/21/2009
Matt Smith
Series 5
1. The Eleventh Hour Steven Moffat 4/3/2010
2. The Beast Below Steven Moffat 4/10/2010
3. Victory of the Daleks Mark Gatiss 4/17/2010
4. The Time of Angels Steven Moffat 4/24/2010
5. Flesh and Stone Steven Moffat 5/1/2010
6. The Vampires of Venice Toby Whithouse 5/8/2010
7. Amy’s Choice Simon Nye 5/15/2010
8. The Hungry Earth Chris Chibnall 5/22/2010
9. Cold Blood Chris Chibnall 5/29/2010
10. Vincent and the Doctor Richard Curtis 6/5/2010
11. The Lodger Gareth Roberts 6/12/2010
12. The Pandorica Opens Steven Moffat 6/19/2010
13. The Big Bang Steven Moffat 6/26/2010
Special A Christmas Carol Steven Moffat 12/25/2010
Series 6
1. The Impossible Astronaut Steven Moffat 4/23/2011
2. Day of the Moon Steven Moffat 4/30/2011
3. Curse of the Black Spot Steve Thompson 5/7/2011
4. The Doctor’s Wife Neil Gaiman 5/14/2011
5. The Rebel Flesh Matthew Graham 5/21/2011
6. The Almost People Matthew Graham 5/28/2011
7. A Good Man Goes to War Steven Moffat 6/4/2011
8. Let’s Kill Hitler Steven Moffat 8/27/2011
9. Night Terrors Mark Gatiss 9/3/2011
10. The Girl Who Waited Tom MacRae 9/10/2011
11. The God Complex Toby Whithouse 9/17/2011
12. Closing Time Gareth Roberts 9/24/2011
13. The Wedding of River Song Steven Moffat 10/1/2011
Special The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe Steven Moffat 12/25/2011
Series 7
1. Asylum of the Daleks Steven Moffat 9/1/2012
2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship Chris Chibnall 9/8/2012
3. A Town Called Mercy Toby Whithouse 9/15/2012
4. The Power of Three Chris Chibnall 9/22/2012
5. The Angels Take Manhatten Steven Moffat 9/29/2012
Special The Snowmen Steven Moffat 12/25/2012
6. The Bells of St. John Steven Moffat 3/30/2013
7. The Rings of Akhaten Neil Cross 4/6/2013
8. Cold War Mark Gatiss 4/13/2013
9. Hide Neil Cross 4/20/2013
10. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS Steve Thompson 4/27/2013
11. The Crimson Horror Mark Gatiss 5/4/2013
12. Nightmare in Silver Neil Gaiman 5/11/2013
13. The Name of the Doctor Steven Moffat 5/18/2013
Special The Day of the Doctor Steven Moffat 11/23/2013
Special The Time of the Doctor Steven Moffat 12/25/2013
Peter Capaldi
Series 8
1. Deep Breath Steven Moffat 8/23/2014
2. Into the Dalek Phil Ford & Steven Moffat 8/30/2014
3. Robot of Sherwood Mark Gatiss 9/6/2014
4. Listen Steven Moffat 9/13/2014
5. Time Heist Stephen Thompson & Steven Moffat 9/20/2014
6. The Caretaker Gareth Roberts & Steven Moffat 9/27/2014
7. Kill the Moon Peter Harness 10/4/2014
8. Mummy on the Orient Express Jamie Mathieson 10/11/2014
9. Flatline Jamie Mathieson 10/18/2014
10. In the Forest of the Night Frank Cottrell Boyce 10/25/2014
11. Dark Water Steven Moffat 11/1/2014
12. Death in Heaven Steven Moffat 11/8/2014
Special Last Christmas Steven Moffat 12/25/2014
Series 9
1. The Magician’s Apprentice Steven Moffat 9/19/2015
2. The Witch’s Familiar Steven Moffat 9/26/2015
3. Under the Lake Toby Whithouse 10/3/2015
4. Before the Flood Toby Whithouse 10/10/2015
5. The Girl Who Died Jamie Mathieson, Steven Moffat 10/17/2015
6. The Women Who Lived Catherine Tregenna 10/24/2015
7. The Zygon Invasion Peter Harness 10/31/2015
8. The Zygon Inversion Peter Harness, Steven Moffat 11/7/2015
9. Sleep No More Mark Gatiss 11/15/2015

Note: Stories marked * are missing.
Note: Classic DW Titles, Authors, Dates, and Number of Episodes info from Doctor Who The Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier.
Note: David Agnew is a BBC Pseudonym. Per Paul Smith, and Script Editor Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium “The Invasion of Time” was written by producer Graham Williams & script editor Anthony Read. The pseudonym was used for on-air titles due to BBC policy. (see p. 166)
Likewise, it is well-known Douglas Adams wrote “City of Death” and a pseudonym was slapped on the story by the BBC. (See Smith pp. 75-76).
Doctor Who: The Programme Guide, by Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier (4th Ed.) used to check airdates for McCoy’s final season.
Airdates for the TV-Movie from Paul Smith, The Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium, p. 204.
Authors for Season 8 from “Doctor Who Season 8: All Episode Titles, Writers & Directors Revealed” by Sandy Schaefer 8/18/2014 Screenrant.
Most New Series info (writers, dates) from the Doctor Who Wiki
Series 9 authors & airdates obtained by checking episodes, crosschecked with TARDIS wiki.

The Best Speeches from Doctor Who

Last Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, “The Zygon Inversion”, featured an impassioned speech by the Doctor, played to perfection by Peter Capaldi. It was brilliant and had a Shakespearean quality to it. Afterwards Twitter just exploded with comments about the episode, the speech, and Capaldi – and comments about other great speeches from Doctor Who. This post is a collection of some of the best speeches from Doctor Who, roughly one per Doctor. I have no desire to do a “top ten” style list, so they are presented in reverse chronological order, newest to oldest, with youTube clips where I can find them.

12 – Peter Capaldi – Zygon Inversion,
written by Peter Harness & Steven Moffat, BBC 2015

“You just want cruelty to beget cruelty. You’re not superior to people who were cruel to you.  You’re just a whole bunch of new cruel people. A whole bunch of new cruel people being cruel to some other people who will end-up being cruel to you. The only way anyone can live in peace is if they are prepared to forgive. Why don’t you break the cycle?” – The Doctor
“Why should we?” – Bonnie
“What is it that you actually want?” – The Doctor
“War.” – Bonnie
“Ah. And when this war is over? When you have a homeland free from humans. What do you think it’s going to be like? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Have you given it any consideration? Because you’re very close to getting what you want. What’s it going to be like? Paint me a picture. Are you going to live in houses? Do you want people to go to work? Will there be holidays? Oh. Will there be music? Do you think people will be allowed to play violins? Who’s going to make the violins? Well? Oh, you don’t actually know do you? Because like every single tantruming child in history, Bonnie, you don’t actually know what you want. So let me ask you a question about this Brave New World of yours. When you’ve killed all the bad guys, and when it’s all perfect, and just, and fair, when you have finally got it exactly the way you want it. What are you going to do with the people like you? The troublemakers. How are you going to protect your Glorious Revolution from the next one?” – The Doctor
“We’ll win.” – Bonnie
“Oh, will you? Well, maybe. Maybe you will win. but nobody wins for long. The wheel just keeps turning. So, come on, break the cycle.” – The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), “The Zygon Inversion”, BBC 2015

“You set this up, why?” – Kate
“Because it’s not a game, Kate. This is a scale model of  war! Every war ever fought right there in front of you! Because its always the same, when you fire that first shot. No matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die! You don’t know who’s children are going to scream and burn! How many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does what they were always going to have to do from the very beginning – sit down and talk!” – the Doctor

“You’re all the same, you screaming kids, you know that? ‘Look at me, I’m unforgivable’, well, here’s the unforeseeable – I forgive you! After all you’ve done – I forgive you!” – The Doctor
“You don’t understand! You will never understand!” – Bonnie
“I don’t understand? Are you kidding? Me? Of course, I understand. I mean, you call this a war? This funny little thing? This is not a war! I fought in a bigger war than you will ever know. I did worse things than you could ever imagine! And when I close my eyes… I hear more screams than anyone would ever be able to count. And do you know what you do with all that pain? Shall I tell you where to put it? You hold it tight… until it burns your hand. And you say this! No one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will ever have to feel this pain. Not on my watch.” – The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), “The Zygon Inversion”, BBC 2015

11 – Matt Smith – Pandorica “The Pandorica Opens”,
written by Steven Moffat, BBC 2010

“Hello, Stonehedge! Who takes the Pandorica takes the universe. But bad news, everyone…Cos guess who? Ha! listen, you lot, you’re all whizzing about, it’s really very distracting. Could you all stay still a minute? Because I…am…talking! Now, the question of the hour is, Who’s got the Pandorica? Answer – I do. Next question, Who’s coming to take it from me? Come on! Look at me, no plan, no backup, no weapons worth a damn. Oh, and something else, I don’t have… anything to lose! So, if you’re sitting up there in your silly little spaceship, with all your silly little guns, and you’ve got any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who’s standing in your way. Remember every black day I ever stopped you. And then, and then, do the smart thing. Let somebody else try first.” – the Doctor (Matt Smith)

10 – David Tennant, “Voyage of the Damned”,
written by Russell T. Davies, BBC 2007

“Wait a minute, who put you in charge?  And who the hell are you anyway?” – Pickton Slade
“I’m the Doctor.  I’m a Time Lord.  I’m from the planet Gallifrey, in the constellation of Kasterborous.  I’m 903 years old, and I’m the man who’s going to save your lives and all six billion people on the planet below.  You have a problem with that?” – The Doctor (David Tennant)
“No.” – Pickton Slade

9 – Christopher Eccleston, “Rose”,
written by Russell T. Davies, BBC 2005

“Really though Doctor,  tell me, Who are you?” – Rose
“You know like we were saying, about the Earth revolving?  It’s like when you’re a kid, the first time they tell you that the world’s turning, and you just can’t believe it, ’cause everything looks like it’s standing still.  I can feel it (takes Rose’s hand) the turn of the Earth.  The ground beneath our feet is spinnin’ at 1000 miles an hour, and the entire planet is hurling around the Sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it.  We’re falling through space you and me – clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go… (pause) That’s who I am.  Now forget me, Rose Tyler.  Go home.” – The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)

Comment vid – it was the best I could find.

7 – Sylvester McCoy, “Survival”,
written by Rona Munro, BBC 1989

“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea’s asleep and the rivers dream.  People made of smoke and cities made of song.  Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, somewhere else the tea is getting cold.  Come on, Ace, we’ve got work to do.” –the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)

6 – Colin Baker, “The Ultimate Foe”
Written by Robert Holmes and Pip & Jane Baker, BBC 1986

“In all my travelings throughout the universe I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators.  I should have stayed here.  The oldest civilisation… Dedecant, degenerate, and rotten to the core… Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen– they’re still in the nursery compared to us.  Ten million years of absolute power– that’s what it takes to be really corrupt!” –the Doctor (Colin Baker), “Trial of a Time Lord – The Ultimate Foe”

5 Peter Davison, “Earthshock”,
written by Eric Saward, BBC 1983

“They [emotions] also enhance life–when did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?” –The Doctor (Davison)
“These things are irrelevant.” The Cyber-leader
“For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about.” The Doctor in response, (Peter Davison)

4 Tom Baker, “Genesis of the Daleks”,
written by Terry Nation, BBC 1975

“Well, What are you waiting for?”  –Sarah Jane
“Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished.  Have I the right?” The Doctor
“To destroy the Daleks, you can’t doubt it?” –Sarah
“But I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks.  Many Future Worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks.”  –The Doctor
“It isn’t like that!” –Sarah (Elisabeth Sladen)
“But the final responsibility is mine, and mine alone. Listen, if someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dicator, who would destroy millions of lives. Could you then kill that child?” –The Doctor
“We’re talking about the Daleks, the most evil creatures ever invented, you must destroy them! You must complete your mission for the Time Lords!” – Sarah Jane
“Do I have the right? Simply touch one wire against the other and that’s it, the Daleks cease to exist. Hundreds of millions of people, thousands of generations can live without fear, in peace, and never even know the word ‘Dalek’.” – The Doctor
“Then why wait? If it was a disease, or some sort of bacteria you were destroying you wouldn’t hesitate.”
“But if I kill, wipe out a whole intelligent life form, then I become like them, I’d be no better than the Daleks.” The Doctor (Tom Baker)

4  Tom Baker, “The Ark in Space”,
Written by Robert Holmes, BBC 1975

“Homo Sapiens! What an inventive, invincible species.  It’s only a few millions years since they’ve crawled out of  the mud and learned to walk.  Puny, defenseless, bipeds.  They’ve survived flood, famine and plague, they’ve survived cosmic wars and holocausts, and now here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life, ready to outsit eternity.  They’re indomitable!  Indomitable!” –The Doctor (Tom Baker)

3  Jon Pertwee, Planet of the Daleks,
Written by Terry Nation, BBC 1973

“You know, what you did back there, leading the searchers away from us was very couragous.” – The Doctor
“I just didn’t give myself time to think.  If I had I certainly wouldn’t have taken the risk.” – Thal Scientist Codal
“I think your doing yourself rather an injustice there. If you hadn’t acted the way you did – we’ve all been captured. They give medals for that sort of bravery.” – The Doctor
“Bravery? I’ve been terrified ever since I landed on this planet. It’s different for Taren and Vabor – they’re professionals. They’ve seen action before.” – Thal Scientist Codal
“And do you think they’re any less brave because of that?” – The Doctor
“They know how to deal with fear. They’re used to living close to death. I’m not. I’m a scientist not an adventurer.”  – Thal Scientist Codal
“Well, forgive me if I’m wrong, but weren’t you a volunteer?” – The Doctor
“Yes.” – Thal Scientist Codal
“Well, you must have known what you were getting  into.” – The Doctor
“No. None of us did. We’re not a war-like people, Doctor. We’ve only just developed space flight. No one attempted a voyage of this length before. But every man and woman from my division volunteered. Over 600 of them, you see, I didn’t even have the courage to be the odd man out.” – Thal Scientist Codal

[The Doctor chuckles]

“What are you laughing at?” – Thal Scientist Codal
“You my friend. You may be a very brilliant scientist, but you have very little understanding of people, particularly yourself. Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know.” – The Doctor
“What is it, then?” – Thal Scientist Codal
“It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.” – The Doctor (Jon Pertwee)

2 Patrick Troughton – “The Moonbase”,
Written by Kit Pedler, BBC 1967

“Evil is what I meant. There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything that we believe in. They must be fought.” – The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), “The Moonbase”, BBC 1967 (written by Kit Pedler)

2 Patrick Troughton – “The War Games”,
Written by Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks, BBC 1969

“You asked me to justify my actions, I am doing so. Let me show you the Ice Warriors, cruel Martian invaders, they tried to conquer the Earth, too. So did the Cybermen, half creature, half machine. but, worst of all, were the Daleks, a pityless race of conquerers 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!” – The Doctor (Patrick Troughton)

1 – William Hartnell, “An Unearthly Child”,
written by Anthony Coburn

“I tolerate this century but I don’t enjoy it. Have you ever thought what it’s like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? Have you? To be exiles. Susan and I are cut off from our own planet, without friends or protection. But one day we shall go back. Yes, one day. One day.” “An Unearthly Child”, BBC 1963

And finally as an Honorable Mention, because it is a quote about the Doctor but not said by him.

The Family of Blood, Written by Paul Cornell (based on his original Doctor Who novel, Human Nature, published in the New Adventures series by Virgin Publishing), BBC 2007
“Because it [the watch] was waiting. Then because I was so scared of the Doctor.” – Timothy Latimer
“Why?” – Joan
“Because, I’ve seen him. He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm and the heart of the sun.” – Latimer
“Stop it.” – John Smith
“He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the center of time, and he can see the turn of the universe.” – Latimer
“Stop it. I said, stop it.” – John Smith (David Tennant)
“And he’s wonderful.” – Tim Latimer (Thomas Sangster)

All speeches and dialogue hand-transcribed by me. Authors and dates from Doctor Who – The Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier Second and Fourth editions for Classic Who, and from The TARDIS Wikia for New Who. Yes, I realize Paul McGann is missing – I hope to get something from one of the Big Finish audios or the BBC Books Eighth Doctor Adventures at some point. I do really like McGann’s Doctor.

This is why I love Doctor Who so much – it is so wonderfully written, and acted, and brilliant, and diverse. What are your favorite speeches from Doctor Who?

Doctor Who – Complete Episode List Including Missing Episodes

Doctor Who is the World’s Longest Running science fiction program. It’s also one of the longest-running scripted dramas in the world. But, at some point in the series’s history, the BBC decided to clear out space in their vaults, and many older programs, including Doctor Who were junked or destroyed.  Within a few years the BBC realized their mistake, and began a world-wide search for older, missing, stories. The recovery of “The Web of Fear” and “Enemy of the World” was well-publicized. However, some stories from the Hartnell and Troughton Eras are still missing.  This table lists all Doctor Who stories in original air order, with the missing episodes noted.  Of special note, “The Underwater Menace” was at one point scheduled for release, with the still-missing episodes to be restored using animation and the original sound track. That rumored (aided by a “coming soon” notation on Amazon dot com) release still has not appeared. Stories not marked “Missing” are available on DVD, though some may be out of print.  For more information on the efforts to restore Doctor Who, go to the Doctor Who Restoration Team website. For a fun music video of every Doctor Who Story, See Babelcolour‘s videos on youTube. Direct link to the 50th Anniversary Edition.

And for more information on Classic Doctor Who in book form, the two most useful factual books are:

The Doctor Who Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier (4th Edition also by Randy Lofficier, Mystery Writers of America Presents an imprint of iUniverse, Inc. 2003; original versions published by W.H. Allen & Co. PLC and Virgin Publishing, Ltd.)


Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium Every Disc, Every Episode, Every Extra compiled by Paul Smith, Wonderful Books, London, 2014.

Both are extremely useful and highly recommended as reference books.

Story # Ep. # Ep. Title Num. Eps. Comment
William Hartnell
1 1 An Unearthly Child 4
2 2 The Daleks 7
3 3 The Edge of Destruction 2
4 4 Macro Polo 7 MISSING
5 5 The Keys of Marinus 6
6 6 The Aztecs 4
7 7 The Sensorites 6
8 8 The Reign of Terror 6
9 9 Planet of the Giants 3
10 10 Dalek Invasion of Earth 6
11 11 The Rescue 2
12 12 The Romans 4
13 13 The Web Planet 6
14 14 The Crusade 4 MISSING
15 15 The Space Museum 4
16 16 The Chase 6
17 17 The Time Meddler 4
18 18 Galaxy Four 4 MISSING
19 19 Mission to the Unknown 1 Missing, Prequel to #21 below
20 20 The Myth Makers 4 MISSING
21 21 The Daleks Master Plan 12 MISSING
22 22 The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve 4 MISSING
23 23 The Ark 4
24 24 The Celestial Toymaker 4 MISSING
25 25 The Gunfighters 4
26 26 The Savages 4 MISSING
27 27 The War Machines 4
28 28 The Smugglers 4 MISSING
29 29 The Tenth Planet 4
Patrick Troughton
30 1 The Power of the Daleks 6 MISSING
31 2 The Highlanders 4 MISSING
32 3 The Underwater Menace 4 MISSING
33 4 The Moonbase 4
34 5 The Macra Terror 4 MISSING
35 6 The Faceless Ones 6 MISSING
36 7 The Evil of the Daleks 7 MISSING
37 8 Tomb of the Cybermen 4
38 9 The Abominable Snowmen 6
39 10 The Ice Warriors 6
40 11 The Enemy of the World 6
41 12 The Web of Fear 6
42 13 Fury from the Deep 6 MISSING
43 14 The Wheel in Space 6 MISSING
44 15 The Dominators 5
45 16 The Mind Robber 5
46 17 The Invasion 8
47 18 The Krotons 4
48 19 The Seeds of Death 6
49 20 The Space Pirates 6 MISSING
50 21 The War Games 10
Jon Pertwee
51 1 Spearhead from Space 4
52 2 The Silurians 7
53 3 The Ambassadors of Death 7
54 4 Inferno 7
55 5 Terror of the Autons 4
56 6 The Mind of Evil 6
57 7 The Claws of Axos 4
58 8 Colony in Space 6
59 9 The Daemons 5
60 10 Day of the Daleks 4
61 11 The Curse of Peladon 4
62 12 The Sea Devils 6
63 13 The Mutants 6
64 14 The Time Monster 6
65 15 The Three Doctors 4
66 16 Carnival of Monsters 4
67 17 Frontier in Space 6
68 18 Planet of the Daleks 6
69 19 The Green Death 6
70 20 The Time Warrior 4
71 21 Invasion of the Dinosaurs 6
72 22 Death to the Daleks 4
73 23 The Monster of Peladon 6
74 24 Planet of the Spiders 6
Tom Baker
75 1 Robot 4
76 2 The Ark in Space 4
77 3 The Sontaran Experiment 2
78 4 Genesis of the Daleks 6
79 5 Revenge of the Cybermen 4
80 6 Terror of the Zygons 4
81 7 Planet of Evil 4
82 8 Pyramids of Mars 4
83 9 The Android Invasion 4
84 10 The Brain of Morbuis 4
85 11 The Seeds of Doom 6
86 12 The Masque of Mandragora 4
87 13 The Hand of Fear 4
88 14 The Deadly Assasin 4
89 15 The Face of Evil 4
90 16 The Robots of Death 4
91 17 The Talons of Weng-Chiang 6
92 18 The Horror of Fang Rock 4
93 19 The Invisible Enemy 4
94 20 Image of the Fendahl 4
95 21 The Sunmakers 4
96 22 Underworld 4
97 23 The Invasion of Time 6
98 24 The Robos Operation 4
99 25 The Pirate Planet 4
100 26 The Stones of Blood 4
101 27 The Androids of Tara 4
102 28 The Power of Kroll 4
103 29 The Armageddon Factor 6
104 30 Destiny of the Daleks 4
105 31 City of Death 4
106 32 The Creature from the Pit 4
107 33 Nightmare of Eden 4
108 34 The Horns of Nimon 4
109 35 Shada / 30 Years in the TARDIS 6
110 36 The Leisure Hive 4
111 37 Meglos 4
112 38 Full Circle 4
113 39 State of Decay 4
114 40 Warrior’s Gate 4
115 41 The Keeper of Traken 4
116 42 Logopolis 4
Special Special K-9 and Co. – A Girl’s Best Friend 1
Peter Davison
117 1 Castrovalva 4
118 2 Four to Doomsday 4
119 3 Kinda 4
120 4 The Visitation 4
121 5 Black Orchid 2
122 6 Earthshock 4
123 7 Time Flight 4
124 8 Arc of Infinity 4
125 9 Snakedance 4
126 10 Mawdryn Undead 4
127 11 Terminus 4
128 12 Enlightenment 4
129 13 The King’s Demons 2
130 14 The Five Doctors 1
131 15 Warriors of the Deep 4
132 16 The Awakening 2
133 17 Frontios 4
134 18 Resurrection of the Daleks 4
135 19 Planet of Fire 4
136 20 The Caves of Androzani 4
Colin Baker
137 1 The Twin Dilemma 4
138 2 Attack of the Cybermen 2
139 3 Vengeance on Varos 2
140 4 The Mark of the Rani 2
141 5 The Two Doctors 3
142 6 Timelash 2
143 7 Revelation of the Daleks 2
144 8 The Mysterious Planet 4
145 9 Mindwarp 4
146 10 Terror of the Vervoids 4
147 11 The Ultimate Foe 2
Sylvester McCoy
148 1 Time and the Rani 4
149 2 Paradise Towers 4
150 3 Delta and the Bannermen 3
151 4 Dragonfire 3
152 5 Remembrance of the Daleks 4
153 6 The Happiness Patrol 3
154 7 Silver Nemesis 3
155 8 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy 4
156 9 Battlefield 4
157 10 Ghost Light 3
158 11 The Curse of Fenric 4
159 12 Survival 3
Paul McGann
160 The (FOX) TV-Movie 1
Animated Special The Scream of the Shalka 6 15-min. eps.
Christopher Eccleston
Series 1
161 1 Rose
162 2 The End of the World
163 3 The Unquiet Dead
164 4 Aliens of London
165 5 World War Three
166 6 Dalek
167 7 The Long Game
168 8 Father’s Day
169 9 The Empty Child
170 10 The Doctor Dances
171 11 Boom Town
172 12 Bad Wolf
173 13 The Parting of the Ways
David Tennant
Series 2
174 Special The Christmas Invasion
175 1. New Earth
176 2. Tooth and Claw
177 3. School Reunion
178 4. The Girl in the Fireplace
179 5. Rise of the Cybermen
180 6. The Age of Steel
181 7. The Idiot’s Lantern
182 8. The Impossible Planet
183 9. The Satan Pit
184 10. Love and Monsters
185 11. Fear Her
186 12. Army of Ghosts
187 13. Doomsday
Series 3
188 Special The Runaway Bride
189 1. Smith and Jones
190 2. The Shakespeare Code
191 3. Gridlock
192 4. Daleks in Manhatten
193 5. Evolution of the Daleks
194 6. The Lazarus Experiment
195 7. 42
196 8. Human Nature
197 9. The Family of Blood
198 10. Blink
199 11. Utopia
200 12. The Sound of Drums
201 13. Last of the Time Lords
Animated Special The Infinite Quest
Series 4
202 Special Voyage of the Damned
203 1. Partners in Crime
204 2. Fires of Pompeii
205 3. The Planet of the Ood
206 4. The Sontaran Stratagem
207 5. The Poison Sky
208 6. The Doctor’s Daughter
209 7. The Unicorn and the Wasp
210 8. Silence in the Library
211 9. Forest of the Dead
212 10. Midnight
213 11 Turn Left
214 12 This Stolen Earth
215 13. Journey’s End
The Specials (Series 4.5)
216 Special The Next Doctor
217 Special Planet of the Dead
218 Special The Waters of Mars
219 Special The End of Time, Part 1
220 Special The End of Time, Part 2
Animated Special Dreamland 1
Matt Smith
Series 5
221 1. The Eleventh Hour
222 2. The Beast Below
223 3. Victory of the Daleks
224 4. The Time of Angels
225 5. Flesh and Stone
226 6. The Vampires of Venice
227 7. Amy’s Choice
228 8. The Hungry Earth
229 9. Cold Blood
230 10. Vincent and the Doctor
231 11. The Lodger
232 12. The Pandorica Opens
233 13. The Big Bang
234 Special A Christmas Carol
Series 6
235 1. The Impossible Astronaut
236 2. Day of the Moon
237 3. Curse of the Black Spot
238 4. The Doctor’s Wife
239 5. The Rebel Flesh
240 6. The Almost People
241 7. A Good Man Goes to War
242 8. Let’s Kill Hitler
243 9. Night Terrors
244 10. The Girl Who Waited
245 11. The God Complex
246 12. Closing Time
247 13. The Wedding of River Song
248 Special The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
Series 7
249 1. Asylum of the Daleks
250 2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
251 3. A Town Called Mercy
252 4. The Power of Three
253 5. The Angels Take Manhatten
254 Special The Snowmen
255 6. The Bells of St. John
256 7. The Rings of Akhaten
257 8. Cold War
258 9. Hide
259260 10. Journey to the Center of the TARDIS
261 11. The Crimson Horror
262 12. Nightmare in Silver
263 13. The Name of the Doctor
264 Special The Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary Special
265 Special The Time of the Doctor
Peter Capaldi
Series 8
266 1. Deep Breath
267 2. Into the Dalek
268 3. Robot of Sherwood
269 4. Listen
270 5. Time Heist
271 6. The Caretaker
272 7. Kill the Moon
273 8. Mummy on the Orient Express
274 9. Flatline
275 10. In the Forest of the Night
276 11. Dark Water
277 12. Death in Heaven
278 Special Last Christmas

Classic Doctor Who DVD Recs – The Seventh Doctor

This post consists of my recommendations for Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor, find previous Classic Doctors by following the links below.

Sylvester McCoy, along with Peter Davison, and the new series David Tennant, is my favorite Doctor. During McCoy’s time as the Doctor, the production team deliberately worked to make the Doctor more mysterious, and even, “more than just another Time Lord,” as the Doctor states to Davros in Remembrance of the Daleks.


The Doctor and Mel land on IceWorld a trading post on the frozen dark side of a planet, which is ruled by the meglomaniac dictator Kane, who can only exist at sub-zero temperatures. While the Doctor goes on a quest to find the legendary dragon in the depths of Ice World, Mel befriends Ace, a teenager from Earth who’s working as an waitress at the spaceport café. The Doctor discovers the dragon hides a powerful crystal that Kane covets.

Dragonfire is Mel’s last story, and introduces Ace. The Doctor and Ace have a mentor – student relationship that suits the characters well. The story is filled with metaphysical references and some excellent dialogue.


Remembrance of the Daleks is the unofficial 25th Anniversary special, and contains references to An Unearthly Child. The TARDIS lands at Coal Hill Secondary School in 1963. The Doctor and Ace met Group Captain Gilmore, and the scientists Rachel and Allison who are investigating an alien invasion. The aliens turn out to be white Imperial Daleks, who are using a transmat station to send Daleks from an orbiting spaceship to the basement of the school, to find the Hand of Omega, a remote stellar manipulator left in a coffin by the First Doctor. However, renegade Daleks are also looking for the same thing, as well as fighting the Imperial Daleks, and use a child connected to a battle computer as a weapon.

Remembrance is just… wonderful. Daleks fighting each other, with 1960s Earth as their battlefield, as well as revelations of the Doctor’s past and a dark side to the Doctor’s nature make this story really work.


Validium is a living metal created by the Time Lord’s founder, Rassilon, as Gallifrey’s ultimate defense. An asteroid of the stuff lands in 1638, where Lady Peinforte uses it to create a statue that will be her weapon. The Doctor squelches her plans by sending the statue into an orbit that brings it near Earth every 25 years causing disasters. Lady Pienforte, uses the statue’s arrow to travel to Windsor in 1988. A group of Nazi’s who have the statue’s bow, also show up in Windsor to find the statue. And the Cybermen also arrive.

The VHS video tape of Silver Nemesis was an extended edition (the episode was originally planned to be four parts, but was cut down to three for broadcast – therefore the extra footage existed). Unfortunately, the DVD is only the original three-part version, as aired. I really wish both versions were included on the DVD set – and, though I seldom buy things twice, I would buy a Special Edition of Silver Nemesis that included the extra footage. As a three-parter, the story is more confusing, but it’s still a great story. It again, not only brings-up the Doctor’s past, but makes the character more mysterious.


The Doctor and Ace encounter Ancelyn, a knight from another dimension, who calls the Doctor, Merlin. They also encounter Modred, and his mother, Morgaine, a sorceress who is looking for Arthur, Excalibur, and conquest. The Doctor encounters the new Brigadier for UNIT, Winifred Bambera; and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is called out of retirement to help. Morgaine first raises the monster, the Destroyer, and when Lethbridge-Stewart defeats it, threatens to use the nearby nuclear missile from UNIT’s convey.

This story is simply brilliant. It has some truly wonderful moments, as well as the Doctor explaining to Ace that the reverse of Clarke’s Law is also true, “Any advanced form of magic is indistinguishable from technology.” And Morgaine is from another dimension anyway. But whereas other episodes of the previous 25th Anniversary Season refered events from the Doctor’s past, this story refers to events from the Doctor’s future:  where he will travel to Morgaine’s dimension and become known as Merlin.


The Doctor and Ace arrive in Perivale in 1988, at a strange house called Gabriel Chase, which in Ace’s time is considered haunted. An alien ship is hidden beneath the house, and though it’s alien captain pretends to be the Victorian gentleman of the house, he is not – he controls the other residents of the house. He keeps an explorer named Redvers Fenn-Cooper captive in the house, but wishes to have him assassinate Queen Victoria. Meanwhile, Ace releases Light – a mysterious alien who catalogs all the species of Earth, then becomes frustrated when they evolve into new species, and wishes to destroy the planet to keep it stagnant.

Although complex, and requiring multiple viewings, Ghost Light has a spooky atmosphere, as well as filling in some background for Ace, and hinting that the Doctor knows more about her than he’s revealed so far.


The Doctor and Ace arrive at a secret British naval base at the end of World War II. At the base, Dr. Judson, is working on a device, called Ultima, to break the secret German ciphers. The Base commander, however, plots to hand the Ultima machine to the Russians because he’s rigged it with deadly neurotoxin. Meanwhile, Dr. Judson tests the Ultima machine, by translating ancient Norse runes, thereby releasing Fenric, an ancient Norse harbinger of doom. The Doctor had actually encountered Fenric seventeen centuries ago and trapped it. The battle between Fenric and the Doctor, in the form of a chess match, also involves Ace, who becomes an unwitting pawn.

Fenric is a complex episode, and it puts the Doctor’s entire relationship with Ace in a new light, as well as revealing how she ended-up on Iceworld in the first place. However, despite the new complexities in their relationship, Ace continues to be the Doctor’s companion.


The Doctor and Ace go to Perivale in her time, only to discover a number of Ace’s old friends have disappeared. Her friends have been transported to the planet of the Cheetah people, where the planet’s atmosphere causes people on the planet to become savage cat people. The Master is also on the planet, he contacts the Doctor to rescue him, because he’s become trapped on the planet – and it’s savage effects are also beginning to change him into a cat-person.

This is the last story for classic Doctor Who, and although it has an inexpensive look, to say the least, the story is quite different as the struggle to maintain civilization not savagery is largely internal. There is also some really great dialogue, especially the Doctor’s concluding speech, delivered as he and Ace walk off into the forest back on Earth.

“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea’s asleep and the rivers dream.  People made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we’ve got work to do.” –the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), “Survival”, BBC, 1989

And that’s it – all the Classic Doctors. I hope these posts encourage Doctor Who fans, especially those who started watching with the New Series, to dip into the Classic Series and experience some of the great older stories.

What are your favorite Sylvester McCoy stories? Do you have others to recommend? Let me know in the comments.

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

  • Title:  The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey
  • Director:  Peter Jackson
  • Date:  2012
  • Studio:  Warner Brothers, New Line, MGM
  • Genre:  Fantasy, Action, Drama
  • Cast:  Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Sylvester McCoy, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, James Nesbitt, Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC


“For he had seen dragonfire in the sky and a city turned to ash, and he never forgave and he never forgot.”  — Old Bilbo describing Thorin Oakenshield

“I’ve never used a sword in my life.” — Bilbo
“And I hope you never have to.  But if you do, remember this:  True courage is about knowing not when to take a life but when to spare one.”  — Gandalf

“Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.  But that is not what I have found.  I found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the blackness at bay.  Simple acts of kindness and love.”  — Gandalf

The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey opens with old Bilbo (Ian Holm) reminiscing, speaking to Frodo, but only in his head as he goes through some of his old souvenirs of his adventures.  Bilbo’s narration includes the famous first line that Tolkien wrote about Hobbits, “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…” and background information about the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and the kingdom of Erebor.  When Frodo does arrive he brings in the mail, most of which are responses to Biblo’s birthday party — and Bilbo gives him the sign to hang on his garden gate, “No admittance except on Party business”.  The screen then transitions to the title card for “An Unexpected Journey” and young Bilbo (Martin Freeman).  This neatly ties The Hobbit in with the previous Lord of the Rings film trilogy.  JRR Tolkien wrote The Hobbit first, then The Lord of the Rings which was so long, his publisher suggested publishing it in three volumes, which became:  The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.  Now, you can get LotR in either a single volume or in the traditional three-book version, and often it’s packaged in box sets with the prequel, The Hobbit.

In the Shire, Bilbo is standing around outside when Gandalf arrives and tries to talk Bilbo into accompanying him on an adventure.  Bilbo dismisses the idea.  Later, one by one, then in groups, a total of twelve Dwarves arrive at his Hobbit hole.  Finally, Thorin Oakenshield the Dwarven leader arrives, as does Gandalf.  The Dwarves are rather chaotic house-guests, but they tell Bilbo of their quest — to return to Erebor and re-claim their kingdom under the mountain from the dragon, Smaug.  Bilbo is reluctant.

The Dwarves sing, “The Song of the Misty Mountains”, their anthem, and each of the Dwarves stands to sing.  This somewhat convinces Bilbo, but when he gets a look at his “contract”  he’s shocked at all the ways he could die, and ultimately he refuses.

The next morning, Bilbo awakens and his home is sparkling.  He finds the contract, signs it, and runs out his door to join Gandalf and the Dwarves on an adventure.  As they travel, the scenery is beautiful and gorgeous.  Stunning, really.

One night, when they’ve stopped to camp, Balin fills Bilbo in on more of Thorin’s background.  His Grandfather and Father had attempted to re-take Moria which was filled with Orcs.  Not only did they face an horde of orcs, but a pale orc beheads the king, Thorin’s grandfather, and Thorin’s father runs off, driven mad by grief, anger, and fear.  The pale orc, Azog, also attacks Thorin, who defends himself  with an oaken branch.  Thorin rallies the Dwarves, but though they “win” the battle, the cost is much too high, with the piles of Dwarven dead on the battlefield, and the death of the Dwarves’ king.

Gandalf, Bilbo, and the Dwarves continue their journey in the rain.  Bilbo asks Gandalf about other wizards. Gandalf mentions Saruman the White, the two blues, and Radagast the Brown.  The film transitions to Radagast, who is investigating mysterious occurrences in the Greenwood.  Radagast travels by way of a sled pulled by rabbits.  The film transitions back to Thorin’s company.

Again, the Dwarves camp for the night.  Two ponies go missing.  Fili, Kili, and Bilbo investigate and find trolls.  While the trolls, are gross, stupid, and acting like the Three Stooges, Bilbo sneaks over to free the now four taken ponies.  Bilbo is caught and the trolls threaten to eat him.  Kili and the other Dwarves arrive to the rescue.  There’s a fight, but in the end, Bilbo is caught and the Dwarves have to put down their arms.  The trolls plan on eating the dwarves.  Bilbo tries to delay the trolls.  At dawn, Gandalf arrives and the sun turns the trolls to stone.  Bilbo’s playing for time had saved the Dwarves as much as Gandalf’s arrival, but Gandalf  has to point the fact out to Thorin.

The company finds the nearby troll hold of  treasure and weapons.  They discover three fine Elvish swords, Gandalf takes one, he gives Thorin another, and Bilbo takes a third, a knife that is just the right size for him to use as a sword.

Radagast arrives and tells Gandalf that a darkness has fallen on the Greenwood, and spiders have invaded it.  a dark power, the shadow of an ancient horror, the Necromancer is now there.  Wargs (giant wolf/dog-type animals) and orcs attack, and the ponies bolt.  Radagast draws off the Wargs.

Gandalf  leads the Dwarves to a secret passage, Thorin covers the retreat.  Suddenly, someone arrives and attacks the orcs, a group of Elves.  Gandalf  leads the Dwarves through the path and they arrive in Rivendell.

Elrond arrives, he is back from hunting Orcs.  Elrond and his Elves exhibit impressive horsemanship, and Elrond’s red-tinged armor is gorgeous!  Elrond greets Thorin by name, and by the names of his father and mentions knowing his grandfather.  The Elves offer the Dwarves food and shelter.  Thorin reluctantly accepts, still holding a grudge against Elves because they did not aid the Dwarves when Smaug attacked Erebor.

Elrond recognizes the Elvish swords that the Dwarves found, telling Thorin his is, Orcrist – the Goblin Cleaver, and he tells Gandalf, his is, Glamdring, the Foe Hammer.  Elrond tells them a little of the swords’ history.  Bilbo looks up with expectation, but he’s told his “sword” is too small to have done great deals, that it is probably a “dinner knife” or child’s toy.  The Dwarves are treated to a meal and music, but are uncomfortable.

Elrond explains the moon runes on Thorin’s map to Gandalf and Thorin.  Elrond discovers the company’s quest and refers to Gandalf as a “Guardian of Middle-Earth”.  Gandalf shows the Morgul blade to a council of  himself, Elrond, Galadriel, and Saruman, as proof of Radagast’s news that something is going on in the Greenwood.  Saruman dismisses this news, and Radagast himself, but Galadriel takes Gandalf more seriously and offers her help if he should ever need it.

The Dwarves leave Rivendell, and continue their journey.  On a black mountain cliff, in the rain, they wander into a battle between storm giants.  Bilbo nearly falls from the cliff.  In rescuing him, Thorin is nearly lost.  In a fit of anger, he tells Bilbo, “He’s been lost, ever since he left home.  He should never have come.  He has no place amongst us.”  The Dwarves move into a cave to rest.  Bilbo’s about to leave, to go home, but he talks to Bofur who convinces him to stay, then his sword glows blue – indicating orcs or goblins nearby.  The company is attacked by goblins (orcs).  The Dwarves are captured, but Bilbo is over-looked and left alone.  There, he is attacked by a goblin and fights, then falls down a cavern.

The captured Dwarves are brought to the Goblin king.  Thorin comes to defend the Dwarves.  The goblin king threatens to send Thorin’s head to the pale orc.

Bilbo wakes in the dark.  He sees Gollum.  Gollum loses the ring while attacking a goblin, which he drags back to his underground pond to kill and eat.
Bilbo finds the ring, and pockets it.
Once Gollum has killed the goblin, Bilbo’s sword ceased to glow blue.  He and Gollum meet. Slowly Bilbo and Gollum get into a game of riddles.  Biblo asks Gollum to show him the way out if he wins, and if  he loses, Gollum wants to eat him.  Gollum alternates between his “Gollum” and “Smeagol” personalities throughout the scenes between he and Bilbo.  It’s extremely well done!

Since Bilbo wins the game, Gollum must show him the way out.  Gollum also realises with a panic that he’s lost his precious, and also realises that Bilbo has it in his “pocketses”.

Gandalf arrives to rescue Thorin and his Dwarves.

Bilbo escapes a wrathful Gollum by squeezing through a tight passage in the rock – so tight the brass button pop off  his waistcoat (or vest).  The ring falls on his finger and he’s dropped into “wraithworld” without warning or understanding.

Fighting the goblins, the Dwarves and Gandalf move to escape but they are confronted by the goblin king.  Gandalf defeats him.  The Dwarves and Gandalf, however, fall off a wooden bridge, into a cavern and land in a heap.  They run for the exit.

Bilbo, in the wraithworld, sees the Dwarves running by, who, naturally don’t notice him.  Bilbo is unable to kill the helpless and pathetic Gollum.  This will be very important later, in The Lord of the Rings, where Bilbo’s mercy has great consequences.  Bilbo runs for the exit, and Gollum doesn’t really know what’s happened.

In the woods, Gandalf counts the Dwarves, sees they are all there, then asks after Bilbo.  Bilbo takes the ring off and appears.  Wargs and orcs attack, Bilbo kills a warg.  The company escapes into the trees.  Gandalf speaks to a Monarch butterfly to call for help.  Azog arrives.  Gandalf attacks the wargs with fire, setting pine-cones alight and throwing them.  Bilbo and the Dwarves also throw flaming pine cones at the wargs.  But the forest of trees bursts into flame and the Dwarves nearly fall off  the cliff.  Walking through the pale trees, Thorin attacks Azog, the pale orc.  Azog strikes back and knocks Thorin out.

Bilbo attacks the orc sent to take Thorin’s head and kills the orc.  The Eagles arrive to rescue the Dwarves.  The Eagles attack the wargs and orcs.  One eagle picks up the still unconscious Thorin in his talons.  All, including Bilbo, are rescued.  The eagles carry everyone to a rocky cliff face at the top of a mountain.  Gandalf goes to check on Thorin and heals him.  Thorin is grateful to Bilbo for saving him, and admits to being wrong about him.  From the cliff, they can see Erebor, the Lonely Mountain.  Under the mountain, is Smaug.

I enjoyed The Hobbit.  Yes, it is a long film, and  there are several complex action sequences, as one would expect from Peter Jackson.  But the emphasis and heart of the film is the characters, especially, Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin.  Tolkien’s original novel is only about 300 pages, and it’s a straight-forward, there-and-back again tale of adventure.  So, I wondered how Jackson was going to take that and make first, two films, and later, it was announced, a new trilogy of films. However, one of the things he does in An Unexpected Journey is he changes the emphasis of the Dwarves’ quest from one for gold — the gold horded by the dragon, to a quest to re-take their home.  Making the quest about home means it’s easier to identify with the entire story, and it gives Bilbo a reason to accompany the Dwarves on their quest.  He tells Thorin that he has a home but he will help Thorin take his home back, if he can.  Bilbo can understand and emphasize with Thorin’s quest to take back his home.  I’m hoping 2013’s The Desolation of Smaug will also be as good, though I have no doubts that it will be.  Anyway, this film is excellent, highly enjoyable, and highly recommended.

New Zealand again plays Middle-Earth, and the scenery is stunning, absolutely stunning. Howard Shore’s score, which I was anticipating last year almost as much as the film itself, is perfect.  It’s new, but has a quality that lets you know this is the same Middle-Earth as in Lord of the Rings, though a younger, more innocent time, with only a hint of the darkness to come.  And the Dwarves’ choral piece, “Song of the Misty Mountains” is beautiful, I really loved it.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars
Next Film:  Cloud Atlas

Original 2012 Reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I saw The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey last night.  I bought my ticket about 1:00pm, then did other stuff, including dinner with Mom & Dad at a new restaurant near the movie theater, Kitchen 67 by Brann’s, in short, dinner was OK.  The showing was at 8:30pm last night in the largest individual theater in my local multiplex – and it was a sold out show.

In short, the film is awesome – Peter Jackson really does have another hit on his hands, and I’m already eagerly awaiting the next two films, since Jackson has somehow turned “The Hobbit” into a trilogy.

The three most developed characters were: Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield son of Thrain (Richard Armitage) and Gandalf (Ian McKellan).  All the actors are excellent in their parts.  Martin Freeman, whom I know from Sherlock (where he played Dr. John Watson), spends much of his time looking confused and bemused — something Martin Freeman is particularly good at.  However, though the Dwarves underestimate him, Bilbo has strange courage when pushed and he’s loyal despite being ignored, treated as baggage, and even scolded.

Thorin is played by Richard Armitage (whom I know from the BBC’s recent Robin Hood TV series – the one with Jonas Armstrong as Robin) and he’s fantastic!  For one thing, even under all the hair, make-up, and costuming — Armitage is gorgeous, and as he’s very much the hero in the film, he gets several “heroic poses” shots, which I must admit got my attention in the theater last night.  But Armitage brings a real strength and gravitas to the part.  He doesn’t “ham it up” — and with him in the role Thorin becomes more likable.  No longer is this simply a group of Dwarves out for gold — it’s a group of thirteen wanderers in search of a home.  The parellel with the Lost Tribes of Israel popped into my head in the theater and just wouldn’t go away.

Ian McKellan’s Gandalf returns, whom most viewers of the film will remember from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Also returning for a scene in Rivendell are:  Cate Blanchet as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, and Christopher Lee as Saruman.  Somehow they managed to make Hugo Weaving look a little younger — and I love his “hunting uniform” as we first encounter him when he and a group of Elves hunt and kill Orcs and wargs, thus saving Thorin, Bilbo, and their troop.  Though at the time neither really realises what’s happened, and who’s saved who.  Christopher Lee seems threatening and dark here (as Saruman), though at this point in the overall story everyone trusts him, including Gandalf.  I actually liked Cate Blanchet better this time around, and her psychic conversations with Gandalf were actually effective storytelling. And they were cool!

New to the story (besides Thorin and his Dwarves) is the wonderful Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown, one of the five Wizards entrusted with the care of Middle-Earth.  I loved it that when Bilbo asked about other Wizards, Gandalf said:  ”The head of our order is Saruman the White, then there’s two Blue Wizards but I can’t remember their names, and there’s Radagast the Brown, he’s ‘odd’ – prefers the company of animals over people.” (I’m probably paraphrasing a bit)  But I love that Gandalf says there’s these other two Wizards but he doesn’t know their names.  Tolkien actually never named the other two Wizards, though the fact that their were five of them originally is mentioned more than once in the canon of the books (both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings).  Sylvester is barely recognizable under his costume, and I now understand his comments at Chicago TARDIS about it — it is off-putting and even a bit gross (with the bird poo in his hair and the bird nest that he’s wearing almost as a hat).  But that aside, he still has that sense of strangeness and alien-ness that worked so well in Doctor Who.  The scene where he’s using magic to save a hedge-hog is wonderful.  In the books, Radagast is barely mentioned, here he doesn’t have a large part, but he’s important… breaking messages to Gandalf.

The novel, The Hobbit:  There and Back Again, was a pre-quel to Lord of the Rings, and it came out first. The two stories are connected by the Ring, Bilbo, and some other re-occurring characters, as well as being in the same universe of Middle-Earth.  I’ve read Lord of the Rings countless times.  I first read in in seventh grade, when I found the books in my junior high school library, and I read it about every three years since.  When Jackson’s LotR Trilogy came out that switched to every year, as I wanted to see where the films diverged from the books.  The Hobbit I’ve only read two or three times, as I’ve always preferred LotR.  The Hobbit has always seemed to be more of a children’s book, as well as a straight-forward adventure tale (literally “There and Back Again” — Bilbo gets involved in a quest for treasure, he has a series of adventures, he comes home safe).  There are some memoriable scenes in the book, but really… LotR, which came out later, is much better, deeper, more complex, and transcends it’s “fantasy” label and genre.

I knew Ian Holm was going to be in the Hobbit film, but that Martin Freeman would play “young Bilbo”, so I was expecting some sort of “flashback” opening.  The film starts with Bilbo narrating a rather long narration of the history of Thrain (Thorin’s father), Thorin and the Dwarves.  I rather liked it because it gives the audience more background on Thorin and makes him more sympathetic and more of a hero.  Eventually, we see Bilbo addressing Frodo (Elijah Wood) as he starts writing in his journal.  Frodo arrives with the mail (post) and mentions they are replies to the party invitations.  Bilbo hands Frodo a sign to hang on his door, and as Frodo nails it up, we see it says “No Admittance Except on Party Business”, this neatly places this scene just before the opening in the Shire in Fellowship of the Ring (after that film’s prologue), the film then transitions 60 Years Ago to Bilbo’s adventure (and the sub-title comes up).  I loved the way the transition was done, technically, visually, and as an opening of the plot, so I won’t spoil it.

There is a lot of humor in The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey, a bit more than I was expecting.  The acting was really, really good, too.  Visually, the film is stunning (Honestly, New Zealand is just stunning!). I also liked the switch in emphasis from the Dwarves looking for gold to the Dwarves wanting to return to their lost homeland.  ”The Song of the Lonely Mountain”, which was used in the previews, under-scores the film and it’s gorgeous!  The scene in Bag End, where the Dwarves sing their song, each standing one at a time and joining in, was almost like watching people singing their own National Anthem (and brings to mind a similar scene in Casablanca where everyone sings La Marseilles).  It also reminded me of something I had actually seen happen in a pub in Ireland, where someone started singing the Irish National Anthem (tho’ I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time) — the pub got deadly quiet, everyone stood, and everyone joined in. Anyway, it’s a wonderful scene in the film, and I think it’s part of what convinces Bilbo to join in on the adventure, though he initially says “no”.

The Hobbit the novel is the prequel book to The Lord of the Rings, and it was written and published first. However, Peter Jackson’s film was filmed and produced AFTER the very popular Oscar-winning (among other awards) Lord of the Rings Trilogy of films.  Movie-making logic suggests that sequels need to be bigger, more exciting, and more awesome than the original.  Yet, Tolkien’s book, having come first is smaller in scope.  I’ve already mentioned how it seems more like a children’s book and it has a straight-forward, there-and-back plot.  Initially, when news broke of a Peter Jackson film of the Hobbit, and the news broke as “two films” my first thought was “How?”  And, as we now know, Jackson is planning a trilogy.  Again, How?  The original story is much shorter, and doesn’t seem to have enough material for two films, let alone three.  My cynical thought was “Jackson overshot the movie”.  However, this is Peter Jackson, who, though he loves his action sequences (and The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey has plenty), also has a way of writing his characters, expanding their parts, and making the outline of the story better.  I do think it’s odd, The Hobbit, could have been one film, but Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, could have each been two films, if The Hobbit had been filmed first, as one would have expected.  That the stories are switched is going to have a interesting effect on the complete storyline.  I almost wonder if Jackson’s long-range plan is to re-do LotR as six films after The Hobbit Trilogy is complete in theaters.  (If you haven’t read LotR it is six books, split into three parts — each a separate book, plus an appendix).

Anyway, the film was awesome, I highly encourage everyone to see it!