Hello! Right, just a quick update to the Tom Baker interviews. Well, it’s not really an interview as such, but I only just found out that Mr. B answers questions on his website from time to time in a special ‘Question Room’. So it’s like an interview, I suppose. You can read it here.
Happy Christmas! Last year, I took the opportunity to highlight some of the stranger search engine terms that led people to this blog, so in lieu of a better idea, here’s another round-up. These are all things that people typed in over the past 12 months to get here:
People who hate Matthew Waterhouse
Comedy Frankenstein Sink Plunger
Did Gareth Lloyd get a haircut?
toby whithouse wife
wendy padbury knickers
rada +drama +leotard
nicola bryant bust size
eccleston miserable bastard
I want to audition for Doctor Who
Doctor Who screwdriver crow
Will Robert Holmes come back to Doctor Who?
Nicola Bryant bra size
Nicola Bryant cleavage
Carole Ann Ford nude Dalek
Patrick Troughton Miss Piggy
Katy Manning’s hair
Katy Manning teeth
Katy Manning dalek
Katy Manning nude
A while ago I went through all the interviews on this site so far, and I divided them up story by story, with the aim of creating a kind of companion blog. Have I explained that well? Probably not. Oh well…
Lots of gaps, of course, but you get the idea of what I’m trying to do (and how bl**dy long it’ll take). If anyone likes it, leave a comment or something so I know it’s worth pushing on with it, otherwise I’ll just stick to posting interviews.
Ingrid Pitt died today, and as well as appearing in quite a few classic Hammer films she was in two ‘Doctor Who’ stories, ‘The Time Monster’ and ‘Warriors of the Deep’. You can read a column she wrote about Doctor Who here, in which she makes the slightly odd suggestion that ‘Doctor Who’ was only brought back in 2005 so that there would be an excuse to make ‘Torchwood’. But anyway, here are a few quotes from her:
On her childhood in a concentration camp
The Russian Army was coming, so our camp, Stutthoff in Poland, had to be moved, or liquidated, as they called it. We were marched into the gas chamber and I remember my mother holding me so tight. I don’t know if it was luck or destiny, but we survived. I was eight.
A Jehovah’s Witness told me, `you will survive but tomorrow I will be dead,’ and she was right. Why didn’t the gas chamber work? We must have been in there for hours, because when we went in there it was dark and when we came out it was dark again – so a whole day must have passed. It was a miracle that they opened the door, because we could have just stayed there, and they could have all gone. Nobody could have opened it from the inside. (read more)
On The Time Monster
Towards the end of shooting we ran out of tape. Instead of getting some more the director, Paul Bernard, cut the scenes which hadn’t already been shot. I told him I had some tape under my bed at home, as one does, and offered to go and get it. But he wasn’t interested. The only relief was Jon Pertwee. He just marched on regardless of what was going on around him. (read more)
On Jon Pertwee’s funeral
The vicar who did the service met him on the top of a bus – on his way to the VE Day celebrations. Jon, being Jon, asked him if he would do his funeral when the time came. He also told him a lot of very funny stories. So Jon toddles off to the great cabbage patch in the sky and the Rev. steps in. He repeated Jon’s jokes of the long ago bus ride and everyone fell about. Then came that horrible moment when grim reality intrudes and the coffin slides towards the furnace door. On the coffin was an effigy of Wurzel Gummidge. As it approached the doors the figure fell off and someone in the pews said, “That’s Jon for you. Always plays it for laughs”. (read more)
On Warriors of the Deep
Pennant Roberts was directing. I only got the job because Pennant was sorry for me. He dropped around to see me one day when I was in the throes of extending my house. It was chaos. Pennant decided I needed a break. He had cast everyone but Dr. Solow. A role for a male actor! (read more)
Here’s another link to a comic strip focused interview, this time with Lee Sullivan, who drew most of the strips I remember from when I first used to buy DWM. He also talks about Transformers, Robocop and William Shatner.
Just a quick link to an interesting new interview with Martin Geraghty, one of the big names in DWM comic strip history. You’ll have to follow the link to read it, I have no right to copy/paste the interview – oh, okay, here’s a brief excerpt:
There. Now go read the rest, you won’t be disappointed.
This isn’t an interview, it’s part of a letter from Sydney Newman to Michael Grade in which Newman suggests that the seventh Doctor should be a woman. Covered in the Daily Telegraph, the recently discovered letter doesn’t really inspire much confidence. Thankfully his advice wasn’t heeded; if it had been, we’d never have had Sylvester McCoy as No. 7, and so my favourite Doctor wouldn’t have existed!
“At a later stage Doctor Who should be metamorphosed into a woman. Don’t you agree that this is considerably more worthy of the BBC than Doctor Who’s presently largely socially valueless, escapist schlock?
“This requires some considerable thought – mainly because I want to avoid a flashy, Hollywood Wonder Woman, because this kind of heroine with no flaws is a bore.
“Should you accept these ideas the fee I would accept would be in the form of my being taken on and paid to be its executive director to ensure the concept is properly executed
“Given more time than I have now, I can create such a character.”
Okay, this isn’t an interview, it’s choice quotes from a foreword to Paul McCauley’s novella ‘Eye of the Tyger’, but it’s relevant to ‘Doctor Who’ and it’s a good read. I’ve only quoted a few highlights, to read the full thing (and if you haven’t, I’d very much recommend it), you can either go and find a copy of the novella or you can read the full foreword at Neil Gaiman’s blog.
“The complaint about Dr Who from adults was always, when I was small, that it was too frightening. This missed, I think, the much more dangerous effect of Dr Who: that it was viral.
“Of course it was frightening. More or less. I watched the good bits from behind the sofa, and was always angry and cheated and creeped out by the cliffhanger in the final moments. But that had, as far as I can tell, no effect on me at all, as I grew, the fear. The real complaint, the thing that the adults should have been afraid of and complaining about was what it did to the inside of my head. How it painted my interior landscape.
“The shape of reality – the way I perceive the world – exists only because of Dr Who. Specifically, from The War Games in 1969, the multipart series that was to be Patrick Troughton’s swan song. The Doctor and his assistants find themselves in a place where armies fight: an interminable World War One battlefield, in which armies from the whole of time have been stolen from their original spatio-temporal location and made to fight each other. Strange mists divide the armies and the time zones. Travel between the time zones is possible, using a white, boxlike structure approximately the same size and shape as a smallish lift, or, even more prosaically, a public toilet: you get in in 1970, you come out in Troy or Mons or Waterloo.
“These days, as a middle-aged and respectable author, I still feel a sense of indeterminate but infinite possibility on entering a lift, particularly a small one with white walls. That to date the doors that have opened have always done so in the same time, and world, and even the same building in which I started out seems merely fortuitous – evidence only of a lack of imagination on the part of the rest of the universe”.
Here’s a brief quote from Tom Baker, talking about Jon Pertwee. Short, I know, but worth it because there aren’t too many examples of him talking about other Doctors:
“I only met Jon Pertwee for the first time at the changeover shot in his last episode. So up till then I had no knowledge of him.
“Later I met him in various sound studios where we doing voice overs or commentaries and so on. Also I met him on several occasions at Sci-fi conventions. He was always very glamorous and charismatic and he obviously felt I was a bit peculiar.
“I used to tease him by pretending I was earning huge fees. This made him pink up a bit. But he was the generation ahead of me so there was a gap too wide for us to become friends.
“But I respected him and greatly admired his Worzel Gummidge series. I was sorry to hear of his death although envious of the manner (he died in his sleep). He did not know the fear of dying”.
Here are some quotes from Sylvester McCoy, talking about life in Dunoon, becoming the Chieftain of the Cowal Highland Games, and his thoughts on Matt Smith and David Tennant:
“I was born in Dunoon, I left here when I was 18. Every year, the Cowal Highland Games was an exciting time in Dunoon. “When I was a little boy I used to climb over the wall and sneak in here without having to pay, to watch all the events. Now I’ve come back, and my penance is I’ve got to be Chieftain.
“As a little boy, Dunoon is a small little insular place. When the games arrived it brought in the whole world, and that was really exciting. God, wow!
“Matt Smith is wonderfully strange. He’s got a great, strange look to him, a great face, and his timing is terrific, his concentration and everything. And he’s very young! I wasn’t mad about the idea of him doing it, but now he’s done it I think he’s done a really good job.
“I watch it. I’ve been working all over the world so I don’t see it always, but I do dip in now and again. Partly out of duty, but I enjoy the duty, especially because of Matt Smith, I like what I’ve seen of him. And David was terrific, you know. I also liked Christopher Eccleston because he was the first real working-class Doctor, I was disappointed in a way that the next one wasn’t equally.
“I would have loved it if someone like Billy Connolly came out, and said [doing Billy impression]: ‘Oh my God, look at that planet, I love it! Bleep bleep bleep, I love it.’ I would have liked more of that, but apart from that it’s good”.
You can read the whole interview here.