The Twelve Days of Doctor Who: Days 1-6

G and I are spending the twelve days before the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who watching stories from each Doctor in turn. I know what you’re thinking but it was actually her idea. I was being unusually gracious about the amount of time Gossip Girl and Revenge were on our TV and G smelt a rat. ‘Just you wait’, I said. ‘Why?’ said G. ‘Oh you want to watch old Doctor Who. Why don’t we do the twelve days of Doctor Who?’. I was thinking eleven – one for each Doctor – but I wasn’t going to protest. When Day 1 came I said to G ‘Are you ready for “An Unearthly Child”?. She said yes while rolling her eyes. ‘Why did you roll your eyes?’ I asked. ‘Oh you saw that?’ she replied. It was going to be a long twelve days. If this all sounds a bit familiar, it’s probably because the premise is unnervingly similar to the blog Adventures with the Wife in Space in which Neil Perryman recounts watching every classic Doctor Who story with wife Sue. I don’t wish to step on the toes of this superb blog – of which I was an avid reader – but instead offer a complimentary transatlantic version.

 

‘An Unearthly Child’ (G’s title: ‘Curiosity killed the Science Teacher’):

Welcome to The Price is Right!

G was taken aback at how much the original supporting cast of William Russell, Barbara Wright and Carole Ann Ford looked like contemporary TV actors. And then how much the inside of the TARDIS looked like a game show set. ‘Welcome to The Price is Right!’ she would bellow whenever the doors eased open. I’ve never seen anyone – including myself – as engrossed in the cave people story as G was, and the spell was only broken when she saw that the cavemen had underwear on.

 

‘Tomb of the Cybermen’ (G’s title: ‘Martin Short’s Dad in Space’):

The Mayans are coming!

Are you ready for ‘Tomb of the Cybermen’?, I shouted across the house. ‘Yes’ G shouted back. ‘Wait, I don’t know what that means’. G thinks that even the set travels back in time. ‘Wow, this looks even older that the last one. Are you sure that was before this?’. As the Doctor and his companions arrive at the tomb, G thinks she’s figured out who’s in there. ‘It’s the Mayans. Look at the pictures on the wall’. The Doctor’s witty undercutting of Krieg’s plans for world domination makes G happy: ‘After all, he’s still British’.

 

‘Spearhead from Space’ (G’s title: ‘Freaky Babies Take London’):

So what’s the threat?

‘He’s cool. I like his style’. G knows Jon Pertwee is my favourite Doctor but she seems genuinely charmed by him. The accents of the yokels are harder for her to get her head around. ‘I have no idea what he just said’ G admits as the poacher mumbles west country gibberish into his rabbit sack. The Autons don’t have much effect on her. ‘So what’s the threat?’ she asks whenever they’re on screen.

 

‘The Robots of Death’ (G’s title: ‘What’s Their Problem?):

I need my video console!

‘What do you think of Tom Baker?, I asked G, expecting the usual glowing praise. ‘There’s something I really don’t like about him. I don’t know why.’ Ok, that’s a new one. ‘The monsters are great, though. Are they playing Space Invaders?’.

 

‘The Caves of Androzani’ (G’s title: ‘Revenge of S & M Face’):

The Phantom of the Opera is here!

This takes us two days to get through. ‘It’s too 80s. I can tell when it’s made. With Matt Smith and the older Doctors, you can’t tell when they’re supposed to be from. It’s more magical that way’. If G thinks Peter Davison is too 80s, wait till she sees Colin Baker! We get our first glimpse of Peri. ‘Is that supposed to be an American?’, G asks. ‘The Phantom of the Opera is here’ she sings as the comparison becomes too vivid to deny. ‘Why is S & M face playing Dig-Dug? (I checked and the game came out that very year). G also sees her first regeneration: ‘It’s weird how they just sneak that in at the end of the episode’.

 

‘Vengeance on Varos’ (G’s title: ‘Willy Wonka and the Torture Factory’):

‘She needs a bra and I need a mirror’

‘He looks like a TV math teacher. I keep expecting him to sing “What is 4/Multiplied by 2?” and then pull an 8 out of his jacket’. Sil the slug-like tycoon appears on screen. ‘He’s freaking me out. He looks like a turd.’ The thought-provoking stuff gets through. ‘I wonder if we’ll go back to a society like that’ G asks seconds before observing ‘They need to get Peri a better bra’. ‘The tendrils! They’re poisoned…’, the Doctor explains. ‘…like the ones I just hit with my back’ G adds.

 

The Twelve Days of Doctor Who continues next week – or in Doctor Who cliffhangerese ‘Doctor! Noooooooooooo!!!!!!…’.

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