The (UnOfficial) Doctor Who Limerick GuideBookmark and Share

Friday, 21 April 2017 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
The Unofficial Doctor Who Limerick Guide (Credit: Long Scarf Publications)

The Unofficial Doctor Who Limerick Guide

Compiled By: Jenny Shirt and Christopher Samuel Stone

LIMITED RUN - available in Hardback and Paperback

Please see the social media link:

https://www.facebook.com/doctorwholimericks/

There Once Was a Limerick Book~
Using Old Legends as a Hook
Covering Over A Hundred Pages..
... A Dozen Time Lord Stages
It truly demands a good look.

[Reviewer’s Own Summary Limerick]


Although limericks are designed to be light hearted through their very nature and fixed structure, the book is for a very worthy cause in MIND. This charity is one of the most renowned in its sector, and one of a number of causes that has been given further credibility and support by Great Britain's very own Prince William and Kate Middleton. (And as we know the Queen is as loyal a Who fan as any in the history of royalty).

Dozens of contributors feature in this collections, and there are likewise dozens of accompanying illustrations - some are simple 'motifs' and some would look handy gracing a proper comic strip or cover art for a book. Each of the Doctors feature in full colour glory, with a selection of their stalwart companions. Amongst the majority of names that are perhaps less well known in fandom, are some of the more prolific and important literary authors to grace Doctor Who over the years - such as Andy Lane, Jonathan Morris, and John Peel.

Each of the contributions was carefully chose, and the editors have thoughtfully arranged different waves of limerick in either thematic or Doctor 'era' order. I appreciated how actors' names and characters or types of races were mixed together in the same piece at times - perhaps highlighting also how effective Doctor Who tends to be in its escapism, even if much of its history had barely sufficient production values for the sheer ambition of imagination.

I also enjoyed just how irreverent the fans/contributors could be with supposedly sacrosanct 'classics'. To my mind anyway, part of being a dedicated fan is to sometimes accept its limitations, but still embrace them in the right spirit. The Tomb of the Cybermen has perhaps suffered of late with the ‘return’ of its Season Five colleagues – The Web Of Fear and The Enemy Of The World - but is still essential viewing. Plot logic for this long-lost story was never its strongest feature, and whilst the effects for the emerging Cybermen from their hibernation pods do work in glorious black and white, there remains the certainty that cling-film is one of the cheaper props available (even back in the late 1960s). Both these aspects are mentioned in Kingsley Clennel White’s sharply written piece.

The limericks are pitched at both the highbrow and lowbrow levels, with some managing to make sense to children, without being too obviously risqué – and yet  still working on that adult level.

But even in the space of five lines, with an overly rhyming 'gimmick' there is every so often a truly poignant example in the mix. The Third Doctor's death and the "tear" is brilliantly brought back into focus by Callum Stewart. An ambiguous picture – which could be argued is Alpha Centauri shedding a tear from his/her/its lone eye - manages to really hit home just what a monumental moment in the show’s history was the passing of the torch, from one amazingly magnetic leading man, to another of the same calibre (though markedly different in his image).

Then there are three whole sections, containing work on Four Doctors at a time, which manage to summarise their key raison d’être but also how they met their end. At the time of writing - despite plenty of speculation - we still do not know the exact end for the Twelfth Doctor, but the limerick confidently acknowledges this, and simply describes his demise as a “crash”.

This is a very nicely done collection, which never takes itself too seriously, but is designed to help those across space and time (and in particular on our planet) who do not have the easiest of existences. A 'Song Book' which promises to reveal the real reasons behind some stories' conception, is mentioned as being available in the near future. On the evidence of this pleasing compilation, the follow-up should be much anticipated, and hopefully lead to yet more, further down the Time Lines.





Children in Need SpecialBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 November 2005 - Reviewed by Ewen Campion-Clarke

Oh, come on - all I did was change!

Watching these seven minutes of pure characterization, it suddenly struck me - if this little story was scripted, filmed and recorded after The Christmas Invasion, what would it be like to go straight from the end of The Parting of the Ways to the Christmas special? We have for the first time a proper retcon, a story written to plug the gaps. Had Children in Need not wanted this sketch, what would have happened?

Unless this sketch (which I intend to call Afterlife), is merely the first scene of The Christmas Invasion shown a month early how well the Tenth Doctor's debut would have fitted with the Ninth's swansong?

Without it, we would have lost the crucial re-affirmation that the cute bloke with the floppy hair was the big-eared Northerner new viewers had tuned in for the previous series. Without seeing these first few minutes of culture shock between Rose and the new Doctor, without the establishing of just why the hell The Christmas Invasion is set at Christmas (instead of, say, The November Invasion, which is where the Mickey/Jackie scenes seem to take place in The Parting of the Ways), how much would leave us scratching our heads. It would be as jarring as The Twin Dilemma as it opens, not on a rerun of the regeneration, but two idiots we've never seen before playing backgammon.

The thought occurred to me right away. Only able to view Afterlife on a tolerant internet café RealPlayer, it is unlikely that this charity sketch will be screened on Australian TV and definitely no time soon (indeed, at time of writing, the story appearing on DVD is not one hundred per cent confirmed).

Having managed to see Dimensions in Time at a Doctor Who convention I at last shared the horror of other Doctor Who fans at the last Children in Need special, and RTD's script shows someone who learned the lesson - assuming he needed teaching at all. With seven minutes, there's no way in hell you can tell a decent story, and there's also the small matter that it can't spoil the upcoming Christmas special. The answer? A character piece, simple but not unimaginative.

The idea of the story solely concerning showing Rose accepting that David Tennant is the Doctor for better or for worse is a cunning one. It's disposable enough to miss, but casual viewers will be able to grasp the point immediately and they and new viewers will watch to see what this new incarnation is like (the rest of us fans would have watched anyway).

It's hard to judge the Tenth Doctor's character on this single viewing, but that's precisely the point. He's meant to be vague, nothing more than an extrapolation of the toothy madman pronouncing "Barcelona" in that strange way he does. The new Doctor manages a great range of facets. His snapping at Rose recalls the first Doctor, hopping around the console reminds us of the eighth, while his suspicious cover story about Captain Jack reminds us of the manipulative seventh, and overall Afterlife is a kind of condensed cross between Castrovalva and The Twin Dilemma, with a shockingly young and vulnerable-looking Doctor suffering manic moments of insanity.

But while you can point to the Doctor's delight at crash-landing and say 'That's Tom Baker, that is,' or feel a return of Troughton as the Time Lord shuts up for two minutes and lets his companion doing the talking, the only real Doctor Tennant is impersonating is Christopher Eccleston. He too was ranting, chatty, enthusiastic, apparently suicidal and any line the Doctor says in seven minutes could easily have come from his predecessor's mouth. The most obvious moment is when the Doctor finishes setting the coordinates and stands back, arms folded, mirroring the stance he used in The Unquiet Dead and Aliens of London.

There are a few moments that I think show what we might come to know of as the Tenth Doctor (but then again, I could be completely wrong - only time will tell). Just as RTD's The Second Coming had Christopher Eccleston's Steven Baxter just the Ninth Doctor with one heart (they even like the same lack of sugar in their coffee), it would be well to consider RTD's Casanova as the audition for the Tenth Doctor. The bit where the Doctor bursts out about hopping and slowly realizes that Rose isn't joining in, steadily losing his enthusiasm before finishing in embarrassment recalls the (few) scenes where Casanova's charm falls to work. His gentle teasing of Rose, breaking down her barriers reminds me of Casanova's plan to crack Henriette's façade and get her to admit her feelings.

So, basing the Tenth Doctor on Casanova, we will have a Doctor will numerous abilities and social skills, improvising madly on the turn of a dime, with a nice line in self-depreciating wit and the ability to become a desperate man ala Davison in The Caves of Androzani. And his catchphrase will be 'That's weird.' Or maybe just 'Jings!'.

...

I'll read this again in a year's time and either gloat or squirm.

Of course, while the whole point of the skit might be David Tennant, the story is firmly based on Rose. Billie Piper hasn't lost anything in the months between series and she plays the Tyler girl nicely on the brink. Of course, the Ninth Doctor told her plainly what was going to happen but Rose doesn't blindly accept that - as she says, she's seen beings change their appearance before her eyes before. But it's not hard to see her suspicion of the Tenth Doctor is more motivated by the desire for his predecessor. It's so much easier to think the Doctor's been teleported out and locked up by Slitheen than realize her best friend has changed in body, mind and soul.

Surely no regeneration story has ever been as poignant as Rose's simple question: "Can you change back?"

The original series usually managed to skip over this by careful positioning of companions. Ben and Polly get on with the Second Doctor just as well if not better with the First, and they didn't spend much time with him anyway. There's no Jamie and Zoe to suffer culture shock in Spearhead from Space, and Tegan and Nyssa barely knew the Doctor before his regeneration in Logopolis. Crucially, Adric did and him not being present for the early days explained the alienation of those two companions. Mel's blasse reaction to the Seventh Doctor is one of the more forgivable crimes of Time and the Rani.

The exceptions are Sarah in Robot and Peri in The Twin Dilemma. In the latter, Peri takes a believable amount of time to accept the new Doctor is the genuine article, but it's undermined as its clearly not the same Peri who watched in tears as her friend died saving her life. She dislikes the Sixth Doctor but shows no real affection for his predecessor, bar a defense of his good looks. Sarah's reaction, however is more subtle - after the change, she begins avoiding the Doctor for most of the story. Time and time again she walks out of UNIT HQ, only returning because of this giant robot and fascist scientists. It is notable the only time in the story she and the Doctor share any real feelings is at the endings, when he offers her a jelly baby and the chance to travel with him again respectively - and she accepts both.

Likewise, the Doctor's casual insults of Jackie convince Rose of his identity just as much as his reminiscing of the time they first met. And its unsurprising but still affecting that the moment Rose smiles and finally begins to open up to the new Doctor he starts vomiting five-dimensional bile and running around with no hint of sanity.Afterlife is just what was needed after The Parting of the Ways, and judging about the amount of care and attention and importance in it, is probably vital for The Christmas Invasion as well. We're left with the impression that Tennant has the potential to be a brilliant Doctor, but not sure exactly what that Doctor is like, and the most convincing reaction to seeing a man change his face since The Power of the Daleks.

Oh, and they used the word 'regeneration'! You mark my words, 'Skaro', 'Gallifrey' and 'symbiotic nucleii' will be the next old series mythos to be used, it's only a matter of time!





Children in Need SpecialBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 November 2005 - Reviewed by Eddy Wolverson

I was delighted when I heard that I wouldn't have to wait until Christmas for my next big Doctor Who fix – a few minutes of the 'Children in Need' telethon would be set aside for Rose and the new Doctor, and even better, unlike it's star-studded charity predecessors it would count. This would be real Doctor Who; Episode 14; Canon!

The pre-credit sequence is a spectacular recap of "The Parting of the Ways," reminding the audience not only how poignant the ninth Doctor's sacrifice was but how 'fantastic' the actor who played him was. David Tennant has certainly got the hardest task since Patrick Troughton took over the role.

"Barcelona."

The untitled mini-episode picks up right from where we left the Doctor and Rose, David Tennant looking rather small in Christopher Eccleston's clothes. The episode is little more than a lengthy-scene, however it is a vital scene for fans as we see how Rose reacts to the new Doctor – a vital scene that would have surely eaten up too much time of what promises to be a fast-paced, primetime Christmas special.

Rose is in utter shock at the Doctor's explosive regeneration and reacts much as Ben and Polly did way back when – "You're not the Doctor." Billie is excellent as Rose blabbers out her stream of consciousness… Slitheen… teleport… bodyswap…. but unlike her sixties counterparts it takes her six minutes, as opposed to six episodes, to reluctantly accept the Doctor's new incarnation.

Tennant cannot be judged on about seven minutes of TV, nor can the new Doctor's persona be judged in his post-regenerative state. He seems very off the wall, a mockney accent, even a little bit unstable, though he doesn't try to throttle Rose which is probably a good sign. He does, however, spend a worrying about of time hopping about which brought back memories of Tom Baker and a skipping rope. Despite his post-regenerative state, the tenth Doctor has a few lucid moments which look promising, most memorably taking Rose by the hand and asking her to remember when they first met.

Promising stuff.

Of course, the regeneration goes a bit wrong, the Doctor loses it and the Doctor pushes the TARDIS "past the time limit" racing towards Earth, Christmas Eve…

My only disappointment was the lack of a 'NEXT TIME…" trailer!





Children in Need SpecialBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 November 2005 - Reviewed by John Williams

The anticipation for new Doctor Who since the airing of Series 1 has been huge. With reports that the Children in Need special could be anything from 3 - 15 minutes long everyone was hoping for the latter. Despite the speical only being around six minutes long I found it difficult to complain. At first I thought that the anticipation of the event had covered up a lack of content, but on repeat viewings I found the mini-episode to be just as good.

The untitled special starts with a brief recap of some of the events that took place in the series one final - The Parting of the Ways. With the Doctor now regenerated, Rose has problems trusting him. She is unsure whether the man standing in front of her is really the Doctor. The Doctor attempts to convince her but in the end sets a course for Earth. True to the classic series the Doctor has problems with his regeneration and loses control. He speeds up the Tardis and sets it for a crashlanding. The episode clearly leads directly into the Christmas special.

My impressions of the mini-episode are on the whole positive. David Tennant is superb as the Doctor. He has great screen pesence and is full of energy. Billie Piper is also excellent. In the space of just a few minutes its easy to see the screen chemistry that these two actors have. The script by Russell T. Davies is brilliant and the effects are particularly good for a charity special. Apart from the length I can't find anything negative to say about this episode. It left me anticipating the Christmas special even more.





Children in Need SpecialBookmark and Share

Friday, 25 November 2005 - Reviewed by Jordan Wilson

The terse and untitled Doctor Who Children in Need special mediates between the closing moments of The Parting of the Ways and the forthcoming The Christmas Invasion (2005). Doctor #10 (David Tennant) - having just regenerated from a dying Doctor #9 (Christopher Eccleston) – attempts to convince a startled Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) that he is who he claims. In-between abysmally failing to support his shocked, traumatized and generally upset companion, The new Doctor excitedly hops around the TARDIS interior, prior to becoming disconcertingly dangerous and unpredictable…

That’s all there is to it. It’s simply an extended scene – footage to support a charity event, and a taster for Christmas 2005 and beyond.

Tennant is OTT, and it’s difficult to judge him solely on this basis. I will say his performance was promising, although I wasn’t overly enthusiastic.

Piper is on top form; her detached and mortified behaviour contrasts starkly with the Time Lord’s eccentricity and post-regeneration problems. She wants Her Doctor back, not this raving loon laden with a dubious limp wrist and concealed beauty spot!

Written by Russell T. Davies, the dialogue obviously isn’t Shakespearian, but it does the job – although his writing style is perhaps forever doomed to make me cringe convulsively.

In conclusion: OK. Surreal, and a fine taster for things to come… ***[/5]