The first complete Doctor Who story to be repeated by the BBC was ‘The Evil Of The Daleks‘ (first broadcast May-July 1967) with episode one repeated this day in 1968. It was aired to fill the gap between seasons 5 and 6, with a two-week break between episodes three and four to accommodate the BBC’s extended coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Unlike most reruns, the repeat was actually worked into the narrative of the series, by having new companion Zoe Heriot watching the events unfold via a telepathic projector hidden behind one of the roundels of the console room. For the repeats, episode one had an added voice-over by Patrick Troughton and Wendy Padbury immediately after the opening title sequence that referred back to the fact that this was being “shown” to Zoe.
‘Planet of the Spiders‘ was the fifth and final story of season 11. It was the final regular appearance of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor and the first of Tom Baker (uncredited) as the Fourth Doctor.
The story was the first to use the term “regeneration” to describe the biological process that caused Time Lords to change in physical appearance and introduced one of the Doctor’s mentors, K’anpo Rimpoche, as a means to further explain the mechanic and cement it into the Doctor Who mythos.
In part 6, the Doctor realises his greed for knowledge and his theft of the blue crystal from Metebelis III has set events into motion and that he must face his fear and probable death by returning it. He pilots the TARDIS to Metebelis III and enters the cave to confront the Great One, an enormous spider, who desires the crystal to complete a crystalline web that will amplify her psychic power to infinity. The Doctor obliges, but not before warning her that she is doomed to failure. With the crystal in place, she briefly succeeds, before the web overloads and destroys both her and the Eight Legs. The Doctor receives a lethal dose of radiation from the cave and barely manages to escape to the TARDIS.
Watch watch what happens next on the BBCClassicDoctorWho YouTube Channel.
1949: Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as “1984”, is a dystopian novel published by English author George Orwell. The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The superstate and its residents are dictated to by a political regime euphemistically named English Socialism, shortened to “Ingsoc” in Newspeak, the government’s invented language. The superstate is under the control of the privileged elite of the Inner Party, a party and government that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrime”, which is enforced by the “Thought Police”.
The tyranny is ostensibly overseen by Big Brother, the Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. The Party “seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.” The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue in Newspeak), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line. The instructions that the workers receive portray the corrections as fixing misquotations and never as what they really are: forgeries and falsifications. A large part of the Ministry also actively destroys all documents that have not been edited and do not contain the revisions; in this way, no proof exists that the government is lying. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker but secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. The heroine of the novel, Julia, is based on Orwell’s second wife, Sonia Orwell.
As literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory hole, have entered into common use since its publication. Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor’s list, and 6 on the readers’ list. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read. [Wikipedia]
1987: Misery is a psychological horror thriller novel by Stephen King. The novel was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1988, and was later made into a Hollywood film and an off-Broadway play of the same name. When King was writing Misery in 1985 he planned the book to be released under the pseudonym Richard Bachman but the identity of the pseudonym was discovered before the release of the book.
The novel focuses on Paul Sheldon, a writer famous for Victorian-era romance novels involving the character of Misery Chastain. One day he is rescued from a car crash by crazed fan Annie Wilkes, who transports him to her house and, once finding out what he has done to Misery in his latest book, forces him to write a new book modifying the story – no matter what it takes. [Wikipedia]
“Watch “Rocket Man” sweep from the clouds to battle America’s enemies!”
1949: King of the Rocket Men is a 12-chapter black-and-white Republic movie serial, produced by Franklin Adreon, directed Fred C. Brannon, that stars Tristram Coffin, Mae Clarke, Don Haggerty, House Peters, Jr., James Craven, and I. Stanford Jolley.
This serial is notable for featuring the only character actually called “Rocket Man”, a misnomer applied by fans to the other Republic rocket-powered-suited heroes that followed in their later serials, Radar Men from the Moon (1952), Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), and Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953).
An evil genius of unknown identity, calling himself “Dr. Vulcan” (heard only as a voice and seen as a shadow on a brightly lit wall), plots to conquer the world, but first needs to eliminate, one by one, the members of the Science Associates, an organization of America’s greatest scientists. After narrowly escaping an attempt on his life by Vulcan, one member of Science Associates, Dr. Millard goes into hiding and then outfits another member, Jeff King with an advanced, sonic-powered rocket backpack and jacket, a bullet-shaped, aerodynamic helmet, and raygun they had been working on together.
Using the flying jacket and helmet and other inventions provided by Dr. Millard and aided by magazine reporter and photographer Glenda Thomas, Jeff King, as Rocket Man, battles Dr. Vulcan and his henchmen through a dozen action-packed Republic chapters. Eventually, Vulcan steals Millard’s most dangerous invention, a Sonic Decimator, and uses it to flood, then destroy both New York City and the rest of Manhattan Island before finally being unmasked and brought to justice by Jeff King in his Rocket Man persona. [Wikipedia]
Watch the trailer on the Throwback YouTube Channel.
“James Bond’s all time high!”
1983: Octopussy is the thirteenth entry in the Eon Productions James Bond film series, and the sixth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond.
The film’s title is taken from a short story in Ian Fleming‘s 1966 short story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights, although the film’s plot is original. It does, however, include a scene inspired by the Fleming short story “The Property of a Lady” (included in 1967 and later editions of Octopussy and The Living Daylights), while the events of the short story “Octopussy” form a part of the title character’s background and are recounted by her.
Bond is assigned the task of following a general who is stealing jewels and relics from the Soviet government. This leads him to a wealthy Afghan prince, Kamal Khan, and his associate, Octopussy. Bond uncovers a plot to force disarmament in Europe with the use of a nuclear weapon.
Octopussy was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, and was released in the same year as the non-Eon Bond film Never Say Never Again. The film was written by George MacDonald Fraser, Richard Maibaum, and Michael G. Wilson, and was directed by John Glen. [Wikipedia]
Watch the trailer on the THX1968 YouTube Channel.
“The Best Picture of Any Year”
1939: Goodbye, Mr. Chips is a British romantic drama film directed by Sam Wood and starring Robert Donat and Greer Garson. Based on the 1934 novel Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton, the film is about Mr. Chipping, a beloved aged school teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school who recalls his career and his personal life over the decades. Produced for the British division of MGM at Denham Studios, Goodbye, Mr. Chips was voted the 72nd greatest British film ever in the BFI Top 100 British films poll.
For his performance as Mr. Chipping, Donat received the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1939. [Wikipedia]
Watch a promotional clip on the Warner Bros YouTube Channel.
“It shouts and sings with life…explodes with love!”
1961: The Misfits is an American drama film written by Arthur Miller, directed by John Huston, and starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. The supporting cast features Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach and Kevin McCarthy. It marked the last completed film of Gable and Monroe. For Gable, the film was posthumously released, while Monroe died the following year. The plot centres on a recently divorced woman (Monroe) and her time spent with a cowboy (Gable) and his rodeo-riding friend (Clift) in the Western Nevada desert in the 1960s. The film was a commercial failure at the time of its release, but received positive critical comments for its script and performances, and is highly regarded today. [Wikipedia]
Watch the trailer on the Movieclips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.
“You liked it before, so he’s back with more.”
1972: Shaft’s Big Score! is an American neo-noir action crime–drama film starring Richard Roundtree as the private detective John Shaft. Directed by Gordon Parks, this is the second film in the trilogy. Ernest Tidyman once more supplied the screenplay. The first film’s composer Isaac Hayes was unavailable, so Parks, the returning director, did the score himself. The film was produced on a budget of $1,978,000. Shaft’s Big Score! also stars Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown, Joseph Mascolo, Julius Harris, and Joe Santos.
While New York is never at a loss for criminal activity, things take a turn for the worse when the corrupt co-owner of a funeral parlor and insurance agency kills his partner, a personal friend of John Shaft, only to discover that the money he was planning to steal to pay his gambling debts is missing. He makes a deal with the mobster he owes (Mascolo) to split the business but also makes the same deal with crime lord Bumpy Jonas (Gunn). The bullets start flying when the hoods find they’ve been played against each other, and Shaft is forced to clean up the mess. [Wikipedia]
Watch the trailer on the Warner Movies On Demand YouTube Channel.
Colin Baker played the sixth incarnation of the Doctor from 1984 to 1986, beginning with the concluding scene of ‘The Caves of Androzani‘ and ending with ‘The Ultimate Foe‘. He reprised the role for the 1993 Children in Need special, ‘Dimensions in Time‘. As the Doctor, he had a mass of curly fair hair and a lurid patchwork coat. He was assisted by companions Peri Brown and Melanie Bush.
Prior to being cast as the Doctor, Baker had guest starred in the programme, as Commander Maxil in the Peter Davison serial ‘Arc of Infinity‘. At one point in the serial, Maxil shoots the Doctor; Baker often jokes that he got the part of the Doctor by killing the incumbent.
Baker’s era was interrupted by an eighteen-month hiatus, officially because the show was moved back from the spring to the autumn schedule. He was ultimately dismissed from the part at the insistence of BBC management, who wanted to refresh the show. The Controller of BBC One at the time, Michael Grade, criticised Doctor Who, saying that the programme had become overly violent and its storylines farcical. Baker was offered the first four episodes of the next season in order to pave the way for a regeneration, which he turned down as he did not wish to miss out on other work in the meantime. He did offer to do the whole season and have the Doctor regenerate at the end, but this was refused. So far, he is the only actor to play the Doctor who has been fired by the BBC.