The Whovian Report: Old Episodes Restored! Original Who Comes to RetroTV! Rory Sings!

Greetings and salutations, fellow Fridge Nukers! Your Nuke the Fridge Whovian in Residence, Bradfield here, reporting from Torchwood Headquarters with “All the Who that’s fit to print,” for the week ending June 1st, 2014…

DWM Special 37 cover
Everything you want to know about Matt Smith’s last season as The Doctor. [Image property of Panini Press/BBC Worldwide.]
Reading Material

Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition: The Official Guide to the 2013 Series is on select newsstands now, and is bound to trickle down to standard outlets soon. The upshot of this particular special issue is that, since it is about everything one could conceivably want to know about a season that wrapped up last December, Whovians in the States reading this mag don’t have to be disappointed by the 2 month lag time in the Who news cycle.

Wibbly, wobbly, timey… warpy stuff. [Image property of The Hillywood Show. Character property of BBC WorldWide.]

A couple of Doctor Who parody videos are blowing up in the meme world:

Arthur Darvill has a lighter take on life post-Who [Here, we call it AWS, or Adam West Syndrome] in a parody of the Oscar Winning song from Frozen, Let It Go.

The online comedy troupe The Hillywood Show have a nice, Doctor Who inspired version of The Time Warp from perennial favorite, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. On the plus side: very, VERY funny. Plenty of fan candy, especially for David Tennant fans. On the minus side: Most of the song is no different than the original, but with somebody doing a Tennant impression. Also, the source material came out in 1975 (well, the movie – the play, a couple years before) – so really, this is Tom Baker’s party, maybe John Pertwee‘s. With that, I wrap up my “old man” fist-shaking and return to my bottle of Geritol. Bottom line: it’s absolutely funny, and absolutely worth a watch – and some YouTube love. If it doesn’t at least make you smile, you have no soul.

Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, in the all but lost story, “Web of Fear.” [Image property of BBC WorldWide.]
Raiders of the Lost Vaults

Americans have a different relationship with television shows than TV lovers elsewhere in the world. Mainly – reruns. With volumes of classic television shows, from I Love Lucy, to The Munsters, to Space 1999, and beyond, available in a variety of media, “lost episodes” mainly means that the rights holders of a given property found an unaired episode. When it comes to DW, “lost episode,” means LOST.

In a nutshell, though there were just a little under 700 episodes of the first series shot between 1963 and 1989, around one hundred of them are all but completely lost. This is because BBC, “junked” most of the stock on which their TV programs were shot – either overwriting tapes with new material, or transferring film to subpar stock and subjecting it to a harsh chemical regimen for quick broadcast, not really seeing the long term profit potential in television. This is especially problematic with Doctor Who as finding one episode only means that you have one piece of a puzzle, as most of the early seasons were full stories.

Regardless, every once in a while more pieces to the puzzle tend to come in from BBC affiliates and stations that licensed the program in all corners of the globe. Most recently, nine episodes from The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear were returned to the BBC archive and passed on to the Digital Media Services Department for cleanup and transfer. Hard to say when we’ll see these episodes on the open market, but in the meantime, a BBC has released a great informational video about the delicate process of restoring an International treasure.

Tom Baker
Perhaps the best known of the pre-2005 Doctors, Number Four, Tom Baker, and a few friends. [Image property of BBC WorldWide.]
This Week In “About Bloody Time”

RetroTV is a new cable network in the tradition of TV Land, focusing on the licensing of classic television. So it seems only fitting that, as Doctor Who’s popularity in the US continues to grow, so would the desire to see the old episodes. And they have licensed all available episodes to date – here, they aired on PBS – so that’s an upwards of around 600 episodes of “new” (to many) Doctor Who material for fans in select markets. So to those fans in those select markets, I highly encourage you to support the old show in its new home.

My only real suggestion is to look at it like the first series of Star Trek. We’re kind of spoiled by scifi television that has the benefit of state of the art effects. So the main thing about those early episodes is that the writing was great enough for the franchise to cement itself in the imaginations of people worldwide. Sure, they switch from video to film, the color is inconsistent, and a well done monster is a cheaply done one. However, if you just like the show overall, it really hasn’t, at its core, changed in 50 years. So sure, it’s cheesy, but that’s several hours of binge watching in front of you.

See you next week!