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[sticky post] Doctor Who and Me

adipose
My mother was 12 years old in 1963, when Doctor Who aired for the very first time. She watched the show, enjoyed it, and became a lifelong fan – maybe not the kind of fan who obsesses and writes fanfiction and memorises every detail, but the kind of fan who has now been watching the show for 50 years and counting, rarely missing an episode, so that Doctor Who was part of my consciousness from my earliest babyhood, because it was always on in our house. When Doctor Who stories began to be released on VHS, Mum invested in them – not many, because they were expensive and money was scarce, but over the years we built up a bank of maybe two dozen adventures, which were my introduction to the earlier Doctors, the ones who'd already ended their run before I was even born. Rather more affordable were the Target novelisations, and we built up a huge library of over 100 books, which I read over and over as a child. The videos gave me a voice and character for each Doctor, but the novelisations were my window to their adventures, and I loved them.

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Coming soon - The Massacre, The Ark!

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Follows on from Season One, Season Two, Galaxy Four, Mission to the Unknown and The Myth Makers

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DOCTOR: Well, I suppose you might say that I am a citizen of the universe – and a gentleman to boot.

Overview

The Daleks' Master Plan is an epic, by any standard: a sprawling tale spanning both galaxies and centuries, told over 12 action-packed episodes – the longest Doctor Who story ever made with a single director and production code. The stakes are high and the losses painful – and losses there are: not one but two of the Doctor's companions, the first of only a handful of such deaths in the show's long history. The deaths are real and hit hard; they can't be undone and have significance both within the context of the adventure and, more personally, for the survivors, the Doctor and Steven, who feel the losses keenly.

Only three of the 12 episodes of The Daleks' Master Plan still exist, episodes two, five and ten; the other nine are all lost, but may be experienced either as audio or reconstruction. Like The Myth Makers before it, my first entry into this epic adventure was the novelisation, told over two separate but sequential books, due to the length of the story, and beautifully written by John Peel. It really is a fantastic read, one I'd recommend to anyone.

The plot, in a nutshell, is this: following on from the events of the standalone episode Mission to the Unknown earlier in the season, the Doctor, Steven and new companion Katarina land on the planet Kembel just as the Daleks are reaching the final stages of their master plan to achieve total universal domination. The TARDIS travellers must join forces first with Space Security Agent Bret Vyon and later with his sister, Space Security Agent Sara Kingdom, to thwart this terrible plan.

The story also encompasses the total TARDIS travelling time of two new companions, Katarina and Sara, both of whom lose their lives along the way.

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On to Part II
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Continued from Part II

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The Verdict

Overall and taken as a whole, The Daleks' Master Plan features high on my list of 'lost serials I most want to be rediscovered'. There were a lot of behind-the-scenes upheavals going on during the writing and production of this story, yet there is not even a hint on-screen of any of that trouble, except perhaps in the heightened performance of William Hartnell. This is a magnificent story, a true epic yet also rich in character and continuity. There's just so much going on here, the story absolutely crammed with incident, full of twists and turns, with a broad cast of characters, all with their own opinions and agendas, a story where even an ally can be an antagonist – and where an antagonist can become an ally. It's the kind of story that could be intriguing if retold as a seasonal arc for the modern show, in fact: a deadly enemy and an epic chase, with distractions and side-trips, victories and losses along the way, each episode having its own focus and dramatic arc while also forming an integral part of the ongoing story – and, moreover, not requiring any Plot to be grafted onto the characters, but instead relying for the meat of the story on how the characters react to one another and their circumstances, developing and evolving their relationships at every step. This review is as long as it is not just because the story is long, but because there was simply so much to say about the characters: their motivations, development and dynamics.

The first half of the serial, written by Terry Nation, is rather stronger than the second half, written by Dennis Spooner – Nation places more emphasis on continuity and character, which I appreciate – but all in all this is a splendid story, best appreciated as a mini-series rather than a single adventure, and well worth watching.

The Long Way Down - Masterpost

DW-DoctorSarahHarry
Title: The Long Way Down
Show: Classic Doctor Who
Characters: Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan
Rating: PG
Summary: Another false landing by the TARDIS sees the Doctor, Sarah and Harry stranded and separated on a strange, hostile world – can they find their way back to the TARDIS and each other to make good their escape?
Disclaimer: The Doctor, his TARDIS and his companions belong to the BBC. I have borrowed them for this story and am making no profit from this.
Author's Note: This story is a sequel to and follows directly on from The Freedom of Lindos, but does not depend on knowledge of that story and can be read as standalone
The story is complete but will be posted in parts
With thanks to Sue for encouragement and editorial input

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Part 1a and Part 1b
Part 2a and Part 2b
Part 3a and Part 3b
Part 4 and Part 5

This story can also be read at AO3 or whofic.com

The Long Way Down - Part Five

DW-DoctorSarahHarry
Continued from Part Four

Title: The Long Way Down, Part 4/5
Author: llywela13
Show: Classic Doctor Who
Characters: Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan
Rating: PG

Part 3aCollapse )

The Long Way Down, part 4

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Continued from Part Three

Title: The Long Way Down, Part 4/5
Author: llywela13
Show: Classic Doctor Who
Characters: Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan
Rating: PG

Part 3aCollapse )


Concluded in Part Five

The Long Way Down, part 3a

DW-DoctorSarahHarry
Continued from Part Two

Title: The Long Way Down, Part 3/5
Author: llywela13
Show: Classic Doctor Who
Characters: Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan
Rating: PG

Part 3aCollapse )


On to Part 3b

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