Monday, August 9, 2010

The Name is Smith... John Smith.

Set the TARDIS controls for 1970, as we kick off week two of DOCTOR WHO MONTH. It's Mike here, bringing you the Cliff's Nephew's Notes version of all that is Classic 'Who'.

Kick was right! Action was in, and big changes were afoot. 

First, it's a decade of 'Doctor Who' in colour and on location! Granted, all the locations were still grey rock quarries, but they had to shell out for colour film, you know! Lay off!

Second, the Doctor was in exile, confined to one dismal little world in one dismal little time for daring to protect it. His TARDIS controls were fused, his memory of how to operate them expunged, and a snake tatoo appeared on his arm as an extra slap on the wrist.

Third, there was the Third Doctor. The Action Man himself!

John Devon Roland Pertwee starred as the Doctor from 1970-1974. He was expelled from his drama school for acting out, worked in Naval Intelligence in WW2, married twice, and was known especially for his comedy work in the 'Carry On' films and later 'Worzel Gummidge'. (Yes, that's a thing.) 

Pertwee stated that he was directed to play the Doctor 'as Jon Pertwee', and was shocked to discover at 50 years old that he didn't know who that was!  He discovered traits about his genuine self while inventing the third incarnation of the Doctor: both men adored fine clothes, both loved gadgets and technology, and both were very fond of fast cars.

The Third Doctor was also more than a little like a certain rakish English super-spy with a certain three-digit code name. He worked, reluctantly at first, with his human chums at UNIT protecting the Earth from international intrigue and interstellar invasion. His lovely companion ever at his side, his Whomobile revved and hovering in glorious early CSO technology (!), his fierce wit and fiercer fighting skills always at the ready.

The Third Doctor was a skilled diplomat, fluent in Mandarin and with stronger Eastern, Buddhist-style philosophies than previous reincarnation... I mean, regenerations. And he was a Galactic cosmopolitan as well: he claimed to have over a thousand years of experience, spoke the language of planet Delphon with his eyebrows, and could deliver a chop to a reptilian villain with his Venusian Aikido (seen here EXCLUSIVELY and for the FIRST TIME: Battling the Dalek Supreme at Neuschwanstein).

The Doctor spoke somewhat more about his long-ago childhood in this period; citing a role model of his youth had been a mountain-dwelling hermit; a cultural drop-out from the Time Lord's smothering society. He also let slip the name of his home planet: Gallifrey.

In 1973 he did the Time Lords a solid and was released from his Earth exile. He took to the stars again with aplomb, cutting a dashing figure on distant planets and putting disgruntled despots in their place again. He even went so far as to face down the Daleks' invisible army under an ice volcano. (ICE volcano? Molten ICE? I... ugh. Just move on.) 

He gave it his best in trying circumstances, developed deeper friendships with humans and a greater appreciation for his home-away-from home. There are even some moments when this debonair Doctor seemed to have deeper feelings for his companion Jo than mere friendship. Sadly unrequited, of course, but there's always Bessie. (His deceptively souped-up roadster.)

FAVORITE PERTWEE STORY: The Time Warrior (There's nothing not to like about the first ever appearance of Sarah Jane and the Sontarans!)

LEAST FAVORITE PERTWEE STORY: The Time Monster (There's plenty to dislike about the dismal effects, dull story, and risibly silly concepts. It makes the molten ice seem sensible.)

FAVORITE THIRD DOCTOR QUOTE: 'Well, I'll tell you something that should be of vital interest to you. That you, Sir, are a NITWIT!'

No comments: