Doctor Who (1963) Forums

BBC (ended 1989)

We should be greatful to Sydney Newman

  • Avatar of archangelwho

    archangelwho

    [1]May 24, 2014
    • member since: 07/13/05
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    I have just started reading "Doctor Who Celebrating Fifty Years A History" by Alan Kistler. Now with church, my wife,3 young kids, my job it takes a long time forme to finish a book. Over the years I have picked up some of the history of the show but so farI have finished the 1st 2 chapters and if they had went with the first 3 or 4 drafts Doctor Who would not have made it out of the 1st season. Newman's feedback really saved the show before it even got started.

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  • Avatar of steamheaduk

    steamheaduk

    [2]May 24, 2014
    • member since: 07/04/05
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    Yep he stuck it out against the wishes of his superiors when an Unearthly Child essentially was a flop and Daleks was going over budget BUT I get the feeling that had Dalek not been the unmitigated success it was, that would have been it. Without that Dr Who would have essentially run for 4 weeks.


    I don't know if you've ever seen the first shoot of An Unearthly Child, but that was a bit of a disaster with problems with the doors and fluffed lines etc, but back then directors were only allowed to make 4 edits in a show in total, so dramas were recorded essentially "as live" short of absolute disaster scenes having to be rolled back. Sydney again stuck his neck out here and ordered an entire reshoot, and rather cleverly asked for the removal of a reference of Susan saying they were from the 49th century as he thought that was too specific, he wanted Doctor Who? This set the style for the whole series, as it took 6 years before we even found out he was a Timelord. Even now fifty years later there are so many things we don't really know about him.


    Though that's not to say all of his decisions were the right ones. Famously he said "no bug eyed monsters" in his original pitch to Verity Lambert, and really didn't like the concept of the Daleks, but Verity stuck it out and insisted there was more to these than just "cheap sci-fi schtick". Daleks was made, transmitted and Dalekmania was born. To which Newman reportedly commended Lambert with the phrase "what do I know?".


    She also stuck her neck out against him to save the opening titles, he thought they were too scary for kids.

    Most of these snippets here have been "Who folklore" for years here in the UK, probably first emerging as stories around the 10th anniversary when people started taking an interest in the origins. But for me the pinnacle of the drama produced for the Fiftieth Anniversary was"An Adventure in Space and Time" which is basically a drama giving life to all these snippets and telling the story of Hartnell's time on the show. As a sixties period piece alone it is a remarkable piece of TV, and won awards for that. But telling the story of the beginning, well I have to say it made a grown man cry. If you haven't seen it, you really should. I just watched it again today on the plane coming back from Chicago. And I know you like to see the original actors getting a shot, well obviously nobody from this period could play themselves convincingly in a drama set fifty year ago, but it you look carefully you'll see the two remaining original crew members in there (Ian and Susan) in cameo roles, as you also see Polly and Sarah Kingdom with little cameos.

    You also get to see how groundbreaking the show was with the production team, as both Verity Lambert and first time director Warris Hussein managed to break through the "tweed ceiling" in a very conservative "old boys club" era at the BBC.

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  • Avatar of archangelwho

    archangelwho

    [3]May 25, 2014
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    Yes, I have seen the "Pilot" and "An Unearthly Child" and do believe the reshoot is much better. There also the ink spots with Susan that was just strange and as a parent would have pulled my children out of the room never to watch Doctor Who again. I do wonder if that was going to bea 1 time event or if thiswas going to be an on going part of Susan.


    But my post was more about even before the "Pilot". Terms like "frail old man", "capable of sudden malignance", "a criminal fleeting his own time", "his hatred of scientist, inventors, improvers", "where ever he goes he tend to make ad hoc enemies" to list some was used for the Doctor. An uncareing criminal who would hurt others would not lasted very long and would not have been the Doctor we all love. I know Hartnell's Doctor had some of these as part of his nature but most of them was gone by 4th story or so.


    I did like the 1st idea of a base for a team of scientific troubleshootersthough I agrees this would have been above the younger childeren and mayhave been a better showforadults or maybe as young as older middle schoolers.

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