Sunday 6 May 2012

The Hartnell Years

There’s nothing that can help you understand your own beliefs better than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child.
- Frank Clark

We finished The Tenth Planet before lunch, and then had a pretty long discussion about the nature of reality and fiction and how it all links into alchemy, belief and consciousness.  I say ‘we’, but what I actually mean is that I rambled off into an accidental lecture whilst the Him held his head and wept fake, but no doubt burny, tears.  Anyway, that’s the sort of stuff that happens when Kenneth Grant crops up in a conversation unexpectedly.

And Derren Brown is the Devil.

Me:   I thought we’d run through these bookends of the eras with a set of generic questions, is that okay?

Him:  Like I have a choice?

Me:  You pick this Sensorite up pretty quick.1 Right, first question.  Ready?

Him:  Yes.

Me:  What’s your favourite Hartnell story, and why?

Him:  I’d probably have to say The Keys of Marinus.

Me:  That’s interesting.  And controversial.  Why?

Him:  I like the exploration –

Me:  Eh?

Him:  -and I don’t feel there are that many to choose from.

Me:  What do you mean, ‘exploration’?

Him:  Exploring.

Me:  Simple as that?

Him:  Yup.

Me:  Okay. What about The Aztecs?

Him:  I’m not saying there aren’t a few to choose from, I just remember watching The Keys of Marinus.

Me:  Alright, fair enough.  I’m only really looking for a gut-reaction anyway.  So, what’s your least favourite story that isn’t The Sensorites

Him:  No!

Me:  -and why?  Ha.  Got you.

Him:  Umm…  But The Sensorites is just so terrible.  Okay, The Smugglers.

Me:  Not The War Machines?

Him:  No.  I remember The War Machines and The Smugglers doesn’t exist at all, and it was a trial to get through it.

Me:  Reign of Terror?

Him:  Reign of Terror wasn’t that bad.

Me:  Right.  Favourite companion and why?

Him:  Steven.  Because he didn’t seem to pay too much attention to anything and at the same time he was really helpful and funny.

Me:  You did take a shine to him.  After Ian, I wasn’t sure that you were going to, but you did.  Hi-Fi probably helped.  And so did The Daleks’ Master Plan, I thought he was good in that.

Him:  I did like Vicki as well.  Just not as much.

Me:  Fair enough.  You’re wrong of course, the correct answer was Barbara.

Him:  Ha!

Me:  Okay, who was your least favourite companion and why?

Him:  Probably Susan, because she was really whiny and annoying.

Me:  Yeah, Carole Ann Ford wasn’t served very well by the scripts.  Okay, favourite monster blah blah blah?

Him:  The Slyther.

Me:  Good choice.  Least favourite green swine?

Him:  What?

Me:  Least favourite monster.

Him:  Daleks.

Me:  Tch.  Conformist.

Him:  I just hate the Daleks.

Me:  Too scary?

Him:  Too boring.  The Cyberman had wild and crazy plans.  The Slyther ate everyone.  The Daleks sat around and went “EX-TER-MIN-ATE!”

Me:  Yeah, but this should just be based on Hartnell stories.

Him:  How do I do that?

Me:  Ha!  Okay, what’s been your favourite moment overall up until this point?


Him:  Hmmm…  Probably when we started.  Or when we finished The Daleks’ Master Plan.

Me:  I was so chuffed when we got through it.  Loved it though.

Him:  It’s the same with me.

Me:  I should probably ask you officially then: “Are we going to keep going”?

Him:  Yes.  Why wouldn’t we?

Me:  Good lad.  What’s been the worst moment of the Hartnell era?

Him:  Either when we started The Daleks’ Master Plan and I thought it was going to be boring, or when Katarina was stuck in the airlock and I knew that she was going to die.

Me:  It was really full-on.  I told you what Phil Sandifer’s reading of that was didn’t I?

Him:  That would’ve been worse.  If Vicki had been stuck in the airlock it would’ve changed Doctor Who.

Me:  As a series?

Him:  Probably just the First Doctor stories.

Me:  Okay.  Right then, which missing episode or story would you like recovered?

Him:  I think the story’s had enough mentions so far, but The Daleks’ Master Plan.

Me:  I’m going to pipe up and say The Myth Makers, because I think that’s one of the best Doctor Who stories ever.

Him:  I know.  I like The Myth Makers, I just preferred The Daleks’ Master Plan.

Me:  Are we including Mission to the Unknown in that?

Him:  No.  Not enough happened in Mission to the Unknown.

Me:  Ok.  Which episode or story - that isn’t The Sensorites - do you wish was missing?

Him:  Aaaargh!  Not again!  Ummm…  So many are already missing.  I don’t really want any of them to be missing.

Me:  That’s a good answer.  We can leave it there if you like?

Him:  Ok.  So that was our William Hartnell retrospective?

Me:  Reckon so.  Shall we have a picture of stickman fighting a Kraken that’s like something out of Lovecraft to wrap everything up?

Him:  You mean the picture of my stickman, that I made up?

Me:  We could stick a Patrick Troughton catchphrase on and pretend we meant to do that all along?

Him:  But, we made it years ago.  As a joke.

Me:  “And that’s Magick.”

Him:  Or, do I just need to say ‘wibble’ from now on?

Me:  It’d halve our readership.  And he wouldn’t like that.

It takes a moment to get it, but the Him’s in fits when he does. 

And, on that bombshell, thank you very much for your kind indulgence over the last few months and 125,719 words, Lady and/or Gentleman.  You're glorious and we’ll see you soon.

Dedicated to William Hartnell

(08/01/1908 - 23/04/1975)

1.  We don’t do that joke anymore.


Thumpsquid said...

I'm enjoying this too much to be put off by someone saying "Wibble"

Al said...

ME: Thank you kindly, Thumpsquid. You may, of course, change your mind. We'll be here for a while yet.

HIM: Wibble.