Thursday, May 27, 2010

How George Lucas Ruined Star Wars

Yeah, yeah, you've heard it all before and seen it all before but here's the thing... I used to be a big Star Wars fan. In point of fact, if it hadn't been for Marvel's Star Wars comic books I probably wouldn't have gotten into comic books at all.

A lot of things went into my disillusionment... Lucas continually tinkering with the original trilogy (and by that I mean the three movies which were released in the late 1970's through the early 1980's) and re-releasing them onto DVD at a rate of about every year, expanding the universe of characters to beyond Star Trek levels and, most of all.... the prequel movies.

Gluh. The prequel movies!! I won't touch the issues most people talked about (the bad acting, the horrible characters, the stilted dialogue) instead, I'm going to focus on just a few ways that Lucas's inability to stop tinkering with his masterpiece ended up retroactively screwing up the originals... And really, the man CREATED this universe, how flippin' hard was it for him to NOT create these plot holes?!

Number One: Nobody knows Amidala's carrying twins. Here was a case where Lucas was actually trying so hard to keep to his original plot that he instead created an entirely different bit of stupidity. Darth Vader didn't know he had two kids. When watching the original trilogy it was easy to just assume that Anakin Skywalker left his love either before knowing she was pregnant or with her being in the early stages of pregnancy before the twins were discovered. Lucas just had to have Anakin around right up to practically the end of Amidala's pregnancy and the both of them refering to "our baby"... singular. WE in this day and age have had technologies for decades which would have picked up on the presence of twins and yet a far more advanced society with robots and laser weapons and interstellar lightspeed travel does NOT have this capability. Either that or Amidala is a poor mother who doesn't bother to get ANY pre-natal care. Either way you slice it, it's stupid.

Number Two: The droids. Just ignoring the stupidity of Anakin Skywalker building a protocol droid (seriously, he and his mother are practically slaves and he's going to build a protocol droid instead of something that could maybe help with the work?!), ignoring the huge, impossible to swallow, coincidence that R2-D2 and C-3PO would STILL be together after more than 18 years, There is the fact that Obi-Wan doesn't recognize them when he sees them with Luke in "A New Hope" (and dear God, I hate the fact that I have to call it 'A New Hope' just to make it clear which movie I'm talking about. I wish I could go back to just calling it "Star Wars"). Luke already thinks R2-D2 was stolen there was no need to Obi-Wan to say "I've never owned a droid like this". He could have said "No, it isn't mine but it does belong to a friend of mine", etc. but no, he doesn't know R2 or 3PO but he's got a pretty good idea where they came from.

Number Three: Leia remembered her mother. She told Luke that she didn't have very many memories of her real mother as the woman died when Leia was still very young. Yet we see Amidala die shortly after childbirth!

Number Four: THIS is the big one. This is the one that cheeses me off. Obi-Wan Kenobi knows Chewbacca. Now think about the scene in the Mos Eisley cantina.... No matter which way you slice it, Han Solo got played by Chewie. Even if we accept the huge, massive, choking coincidence that Obi-Wan manages to find the one bar where Chewie just HAPPENS to be right at the time he HAPPENS to be there it STILL doesn't mitigate the fact that Obi-Wan knows Chewie. So Obi-Wan tells them their plight and Chewie goes to Han and says what? Obviously, he didn't tell Han the TRUTH. So Chewie lies, or at best omits certain data in order to get Han to take the job. And if we DON'T accept that Obi-Wan running into Chewie was a coincidence -- if, as seems likely, he found some way of contacting him -- then that just adds to the betrayal since Chewie was therefore manipulating Han and luring him into the situation right from the start.

So way to go George Lucas. With three lousy prequel movies you managed to screw up three OTHER movies which were perfectly fine on their own.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Classic Doctor Who Reviews: "The War Machines"

Doctor Who Starts to Grow Up

The Plot: The First Doctor and companion Dorthea "Dodo" Chaplet land in (then) present day London having left another traveling companion, Steven Taylor, behind on an alien planet to broker peace between two disparate societies. The Doctor notices that construction has completed on London's latest landmark -- the Post Office Tower -- and also notices that he detects a very palpable air of menace coming from the Tower... so of course he decides to investigate. Inside the Tower he finds the government is putting the final touches on the most powerful, smartest computer to date... WOTAN - Will Operating Thought Analogue. Soon WOTAN will be tied to all the other computers in the world in a massive web of shared knowledge. Unfortunately, the computer programmers have done more than they realized. WOTAN is not only smart it has become sentient and it has decided that the best way forward for humanity is for it to control the world.

WOTAN soon hypnotizes the scientists who created it and a number of other people including the Doctor's companion, Dodo. With this enslaved force WOTAN orders the humans to begin building war machines -- all terrain vehicles it can control and use to conquer the city of London and then the rest of the world. WOTAN desires one more component though... the mind of the Doctor and it sets Dodo to lead the Doctor into a trap.

When that fails it falls to the Doctor's new aqauintances, sailor Ben Jackson and secretatry Polly Wright, to help him put a stop to the war machines as well as WOTAN.

My Take: It's the swinging sixties mate! At the top I titled this review "Doctor Who Grows Up" and in a sense it does mark the series taking it's first tentative steps towards a more mature outlook.

This was the first story to be so obviously set in current times and take advantage of the trappings. Certainly the first episode "An Unearthly Child" had been set in 1963 but it was never overtly ABOUT 1963. The characters really could have almost been picked up from any point in time. Likewise, although it is not stated, the episode "Planet of the Giants" was set on roughly contemporary Earth but, again, the time period wasn't really that relevant to the story. "The War Machines" set in 1966 London takes advantage of the fact by giving viewers a (admittedly naive) view of urban youth culture. Even with this rather idealized portrayal it is still more than what the series had shown before.
When it comes to the new companions, Polly is much more a modern girl and immediately comes off as much less naive, older, and more practical than previous female companions. She is a young woman of independent means, having a career and, presumably, her own place. Likewise, Ben Jackson is a departure. The first companion with a lower class background. With his Cockney accent and the fact that he is just a plain enlisted sailor (no officer here) he is virtually a walking blue collar.
Yes, there is some cringe-worthy attempts by the writers at crafting slang of the times and the Inferno nightclub where Polly takes Dodo is a bit... well, pathetic... considering the music seems to be provided by a record player. I suppose the BBC didn't want to spring for a band or even extras trying to look like a band. Overall, however, there is a very different aura to the whole story.
It is also interesting to note that the Doctor seems very much in his element here. He somehow wrangles a private tour of the WOTAN facility and he seems to be quite chummy with a number of people in power all without any explanation. I suppose we are meant to assume that he manages it with consumate diplomacy, name dropping, and/or display of his obvious superior knowledge.
The story itself also represents a kind of "sign of the times" in that, as the 1960's advanced and more things became automated there was an increase in these types of stories... the idea that one day machines might replace man. Or where the line between man and machine might blur. We saw this theme pop up again in the 1980's with movies like War Games, Short Circuit, and Electric Dreams. Here we have a computer that somehow (never really explained how) manages to take control of people's minds. While it is a far-fetched idea, the scene of Dr. Brett struggling to hold onto his humanity against WOTAN's control and eventually losing is chilling. Likewise, when the WOTAN controlled workers are urged by their fellow human to "be more like the machine" and be tireless. We see the consequences of this as one worker drops from exhaustion and is simply pushed out of the way as the others are told that those who "break down" will be eliminated. It is the heartless, cruelty of a machine logic. Later, however, we are given some hope as we see Polly allow Ben to escape from the clutches of WOTAN (although why they didn't just call up the computer and let it put the whammy on him instead of leaving him to run around loose is a plot hole) and have her humanity start to surface when confronted about the "betrayal" to the machine.
But this one really is the Doctor's story through and through. He swans through the whole thing in his black cape, giving orders as if expecting to be obeyed and generally being the smartest guy in the room. He is at some of his most authoritative and actor William Hartnell takes to every bit of it. There are a couple of scenes where he does chew the scenery like a colony of termites but this is a rare showing for Hartnell. Despite the many opportunities he had for going over the top throughout the years he rarely did it so he can be forgiven here. Also, to my eyes he seemed a bit more frail here than he had in previous stories. This may just be my perception but it was true that this was the last story of the 1965-1966 season and Hartnell would only do two stories (four parts each) in the 1966-1967 season before leaving Doctor Who. Despite that seeming frailty one has to admit that Hartnell simply owns the scene where one of WOTAN's robotic, titular War Machines advances on the military and they retreat while the Doctor slowly strides forward and raises his chin in defiance. It kicks ass.
The plot holes and square attempt to be hip on the part of the writers aside, there are a few other problems with the story. One of the most annoying is the fact that WOTAN refers to the Doctor as "Doctor Who" throughout the story. "Doctor Who is required" it says. Although the program was called Doctor Who and although Hartnell was always billed in the credits as "Doctor Who" it had never been a part of the program to actually CALL him "Doctor Who". The fact that WOTAN does it just feels and sounds wrong every time it comes up.
The other problem is with Dodo. Dorthea Chaplet was a bit doomed from the start. I don't think the writers could have thought through her nickname before they hung it on her otherwise they might have picked something else. It's lent itself too well over the years to snarky comments about the character's intelligence. Although, admittedly, she also, sadly, fell hard into the 'traditional female companion' mold so she never managed to come off as all that intelligent which added to the validity of the snark.
Originally, Dodo came from what was then the present day -- 1965 -- and was meant to be a bit lower class and have a cockney accent. If you watch her first story, "The Ark" there are some scenes where you can still hear traces of it; they actually had started filming with the cockney background for the character before the BBC cracked down and declared that there would be no 'lower class' characters in Doctor Who. This seems funny since, only about a year or so later, they would add Ben Jackson who would be allowed to have a lower class background. It also smacks of a double standard in that a male character would be allowed to be cockney but not a female one.... but I digress.
At the time there were certain standard roles for the companion characters -- the female companion was to be the "heart" of the TARDIS. She would be young, sweet, and would be very empathic. She would make decisions based on her "heart" and she would often feel compassion and sympathy. The male companion would be harder, he would be the "tough guy", the protector, the action hero and usually was supposed to be more cynical. As such, Dodo came off in most of the scripts as a rather fluffy, silly girl who was too kind hearted for her own good. In point of fact, so kind hearted as to be annoying.
I should say that I'm not much of a fan of the character of Dodo but even I have to say that the character, and actress Jackie Lane, got more than a raw deal out of "The War Machines". The BBC, deciding that the character of Dodo wasn't "working out", opted to write her out with this story. Whereas other companions got their moments to say goodbye or got their dramatic exits, Dodo is deprogrammed by the Doctor (in the first example of the Doctor's talent with hypnosis), given a post-hypnotic suggestion to sleep, shuttled off to the country to "rest" after her ordeal, and never seen from again. The Doctor learns that Dodo will not be rejoining him when Polly comes to deliver the news that Dodo has decided to remain behind in her own time period. It is probably one of, if not the worst, send-offs for a companion character in all of Doctor Who history.
With Dodo gone we now get the two new TARDIS companions -- the mod set Ben and Polly who run onto the TARDIS when Polly impetutously decides they need to personally return the key the Doctor dropped. And with that, the series takes at least one tiny step forward in introducing some new kinds of characters and having had an adventure in a different type of setting.
Despite the flaws, "The War Machines" is one of my favorite stories. The plot of "machine vs. man" is still a fun one to see explored in it's historical context and there are aspects of WOTAN which sound remarkably like the modern World Wide Web -- making the writers more forward thinking than they could have known. The Doctor gets a showcase for his more authoritative side and gets a truly "Crowing Moment of Bad Ass" (thank you TV Tropes) here and that is always good. And finally, despite the questionableness of the BBC writer's ability to write "hip" Ben and Polly are truly personable, charming characters and actors Anneke Wills and Michael Craze do an excellent job with the material.
As a little bit of trivia... Anneke Wills was, at the time, married to Michael Gough who most will know from his portrayal of Alfred Pennyworth, Batman's butler, in the Tim Burton Batman movies. Gough had played a Doctor Who villain called the Celestial Toymaker in the previous season and had a ball on the set. After hearing how much fun it had been, Anneke was encouraged to audition for the role of Polly.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Doctor Who Grab Bag Reviews

Yeah, yeah, I've been gone again. Combination of busy and a series of injuries keeping me away from my keyboard. Nothing too serious just enough to make typing uncomfortable.

So anyway, now that I'm back for a bit I thought I'd toss this out there. I have taken the titles to every Doctor Who episode I own (This includes DVD and audio stories), written them on slips of paper, put them in a grab bag and will, periodically, pull a title out at random in order to review.

The winner of the inaugural "Doctor Who Grab Bag Review" is.......

The Horror of Fang Rock

"The Horror of Fang Rock" opened up season 15 and marked actor Tom Baker's fourth season as the Fourth incarnation of the Doctor and the second season for actress Louise Jameson in the role of companion, Leela. In contrast, season 15 had a new producer, Graham Williams.

One season prior to this script editor Robert Holmes had wanted to introduce a new companion -- a young, Victorian woman from the lower class whom the Doctor would transform a la Henry Higgins did Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Producer at the time Philip Hinchcliffe, however, was more interested in having a tougher, more self-reliant companion. Holmes and Hinchcliffe came to agreement over the character of Leela -- a character meant to be a kind of "one off" companion for the Doctor in the story "The Face of Evil". In that story the Doctor lands on an alien world and discovers that the human survivors of a crashed Earth space ship have devolved into two warring societies, most of their knowledge of technology lost and eroded over the generations.

The savage huntress Leela would go on to travel with the Doctor and, for a time, the stories would include the Doctor teaching Leela knowledge, manners and dress. For her part Leela would prove to be one of the toughest and best remembered of the female companions. Partly because of her usual outfit of leather singlet and short skirt and partly due to the fact that she usually held her own in a fight and often rescued the Doctor!

Also, for those of you not in the know, the old series of Doctor Who used to consist of "serials". Each story was broken up into two, four, or six (usually, although there are a few outliers) half-hour installments. "The Horror of Fang Rock" is a four-parter.

But enough about the past... On with the review!

Plot: Vince, the youngest keeper at the Lighthouse on Fang Rock, sees a shooting star plunge into the sea. Shortly thereafter a strange, unnatural, thick fog comes up. In the midst of this the lighthouse's electric generator seems to start acting up -- leaving the main lamp dark! When another of the lighthouse keepers, Ben, goes down to fix the generator something attacks and kills him with electricity.

Meanwhile, the TARDIS goes wrong and lands on Fang Rock instead of landing at Brighton where the Doctor intended to take Leela. Noticing that the lighthouse is dark the Doctor decides to take a look and see if he can help. He and Leela find Ben's body but the Doctor knows the electric generator was not at fault. As he tries to help Vince and the senior lighthouse keeper, Rueben, keep the light going a pleasure craft smashes on the rocks! The survivors of the craft are brought into the lighthouse but soon end up complicating matters as the Doctor discovers that there is a hostile alien among the group disguised as one of them!

One by one the alien picks off members of the group as the Doctor struggles to figure out just who this enemy he is facing is and what they want. Will anyone survive the horror of Fang Rock?

My Take: Philip Hinchcliffe's tenure as producer on Doctor Who has become famous for mixing sci-fantasy with gothic horror and history. Although Hinchcliffe was gone by the time "The Horror of Fang Rock" was made his successor, Graham Williams, backed this story as almost a kind of fond farewell to that era of the show. "The Horror of Fang Rock" was based off of a poem which was, in turn, based off of a real-life event in 1900 in which an entire lighthouse crew on an island off the Hebrides disappeared sometime during a storm.

The set pieces here take center stage as the props crew must have knocked themselves out creating the claustrophobic, realistic interior of a turn of the last century lighthouse. Pay attention to the doors which are even curved to fit the walls! Even the set dressing, the prop pieces, and the background items are period realistic. It's some truly lovely work. On the flip side, though, the interior set used to try to depict the rocky landscape of the island itself is sometimes a bit fake looking. Also, much of the fog and the background in the lamp house were created using CSO -- Color Separation Overlay -- or "blue screen" as it was known back then... the preucrsor to modern "green screen" technology. As such it too sometimes looks a bit off and the CSO is often betrayed by a blue halo appearing around the actor's heads.

The story itself, however, really allows one to overlook most of the flaws. There is an immediate sense of creepy atmosphere. The setting immediately buts the viewer's hackles up as we have a lonely outpost, quickly cut off by the fog, a creepy, unnatural fog, and then an unknown and intitially poorly seen creature which is seemingly picking off victims one at at time with ease. Adding to that is the sudden realization that the creature is locked in WITH the victims and the threat level immediately hightens.

Writer Terrance Dicks has admitted that adding the crew and passengers from the pleasure craft was a way of helping pad out the story and provide a higher body count and, as such, he did not give much thought to the characters beyond cannon fodder and it is true that a couple of the characters are quite annoying and you aren't sorry when they die but there are a couple of nice additions in there. There are several characters who you feel quite sorry for when they fall victim to the alien antagonist.

While, in the commentary, Louise Jameson reveals that she had trouble working with Tom Baker up until this story (when they finally sorted things out) viewers really wouldn't be able to tell it. Jameson and Baker have a fascinating chemistry with Leela sometimes being the more pragmatic of the two and sometimes being the learner. The story also is another great example of how good Baker could be in the role of the Doctor when he gets to balance the Doctor's manic humor alongside some moments of true horror. Take, for instance, the moment when he quickly tells the assembled clutch of trapped humans that they are trapped on the island and there is an alien entity hunting them and they are all quite likely going to die and then grins as though he's told the most amusing joke. That contrasts beautifully with the moment at the end of the third part in which the Doctor turns to Leela and whispers in horror that he has made a terrible mistake and locked the creature in with them!

In the end, if you love atmosphere, gothic horror, quirky humor and lightning quick dialogue then "The Horror of Fang Rock" is a story for you.

Trivia: There is a bit of wildly unscientific science at the end of the story when an explosion seems to cause "pigment dispersion" in Leela's eyes and they change color from brown to blue. In reality this was part of Louise Jameson's agreement to return for another season as Leela. Originally, as her character was supposed to be a "savage" she had to be covered in body make-up to give her skin a sun-browned hue and she had to wear red-tinted contact lenses to turn her blue eyes brown. She eventually managed to talk producer Philip Hinchcliffe into dropping the body make-up which she found uncomfortable and time consuming to have have applied (one could argue that she would lose the 'tan' after traveling around for a while). She had intended to leave the series after only one turn as a companion but producer Graham Williams did not want to lose her and managed to talk her into staying for one more season. A condition of her agreement, however, was that she be allowed to ditch the uncomfortable contact lenses. As such Terrance Dicks was ordered to come up with something in the script to explain the change in Leela's eye color.

At one point Leela uses the word "Teshnician". Some have claimed this was a goof on actress Jameson's part but in actuality it was not. In Leela's savage society certain words had been corrupted over the years. The original "Survey Team" became "Sevateem" and "Technician" became "Teshnician". Terrance Dicks scripted the word to remind the audience of Leela's background.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Doctor Who (So You Never Bothered to Ask), Pt. 2

Who's Your Doctor Now?

The production team for Doctor Who had a difficult task ahead in trying to decide first of all who to cast as the new Doctor and second of all how to explain away the change!

Producer Innes Lloyd drew up a short list of actors to consider for the role but in the end veteran character actor Patrick Troughton was approached. Troughton agreed after some consideration and on the condition that he not be asked to play the role in Hartnell's style... something he felt would be a disservice to the fine actor he considered Hartnell to be. The request was granted.

Troughton spent quite a bit of time trying to decide how he wanted to play the role. Some of his initial ideas were shaped by the fact that, at the time, the script writers were considering using the Doctor's "renewal" as a way of changing the Doctor's personality again. There was an outline for the idea that the Doctor had actually been in a galactic war and his side had lost. An exile and a fugitive from those who had won the war, the idea was that the renewal process would be like a "bad acid trip", bringing to the surface all of the Doctor's ad, old memories of the war and resulting in a man who was darker and more haunted by his past. Along those lines Troughton proposed some darker interpretations... including one idea he proposed that he dress rather like a pirate with a gold earring and a scar on his face.

Eventually, the idea of darkening the Doctor was dropped and Troughton decided to simply play the Doctor as an eccentric, slightly shabby fellow with baggy pants. In the years since fans have dubbed his version of the Doctor "the Cosmic Hobo".

In order to help the audience over the change Innes Lloyd decided to keep on Michael Craze and Anneke Wills who were playing companions Ben Jackson and Polly. There was, however, still the question of how to handle the change.

In what was probably a stroke of genius the decision was made to simply to not really explain it at all. By this time the Doctor had pretty much been defined as an alien (although his race of "Time Lords" and his home planet of Gallifrey would not be mentioned for several years yet) and so the Doctor explains away his change as a "renewal" and indicates it is little different than a caterpillar entering a cocoon and emerging as a butterfly.

The companions, meant to be echoing the audience, are at first a bit mistrusting of this man (although they saw him change before their very eyes) but eventually come to trust him... as does the audience. It does not hurt that the writers also mostly treated the whole thing as 'business as usual' and threw the Doctor right into the midst of an adventure right away. The tradition of having the Doctor be a bit out of it for a while after a regeneration would not start until the Third Doctor came into being.

Also to bolster Troughton's first outing as the Doctor the writers decided to bring in the Daleks. Still widly popular, an appearance by the Daleks would almost certainly get audiences to watch no matter their uncertainty about the change and hopefully by the end of the story they would have settled into accepting Troughton in the role.

Indeed, the gamble paid off and Doctor Who remained popular. So in 1966 it was official as the entire original cast had now left the series and a tradition of change had been settled into place. It would be this tradition of change which would allow the show to continue for decades.

For the three years of Troughton's tenure the show would remain remarkably stable.

With only the second story in the production team added a new companion. Actor Frazer Hines had been acting since a child and, at 22, he was already a known character actor and had actually worked with Troughton a few years before. With a Scottish mother and an English father Hines was known for his ability to credibly do other accents including Scottish and Welsh. As such he was signed on to play one of the primary supporting characters in "The Highlanders" -- the last of the true historical stories to ever be done. As the character of Jamie McCrimmon, Hines was originally supposed to help the Doctor and his companions in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden and then say his goodbyes. The production team, though, liking Hines's work on the story and his interaction with Troughton asked if he wanted to stay on. When Hines unequivocally said "yes" they quickly wrote him into the show -- which caused some major and uncomfortable re-writes to already finished scripts without his character in them.

Toward the end of the 1966-1967 season though the production team felt the series needed a shake-up. Also thinking that the TARDIS team had too many companions it was decided to keep Frazer Hines on and buy out the remainder of Michael Craze and Anneke Wills's contracts. As such "The Faceless Ones" became their last story and, much to both actors' dismay their characters are captured by aliens in the second installment of the six part story and do not appear again until the very end where, released from their imprisonment and finding themselves back on the very day they originally left with the First Doctor, they decide to remain. After a quick good-bye, Craze and Wills' characters were swept off.

To replace the two characters the production team decided to introduce one new female companion... Victoria Waterfield, who hailed from the Victorian era. Interestingly, this would mark the only time in Doctor Who history when the Doctor traveled with two companions from the past. Victoria, played by young actress Deborah Watling, fit very much into the traditional female companion role of playing DiD and screaming a lot. Like a great many actresses before and after her, Watling would eventually find the lack of character development stifling and chose to leave the series after only a year.

To replace Victoria the writers chose to go in the opposite direction. Once again, the show picked up a character who came from the future. In this case the genius intellect Zoe Herriot played by Wendy Padbury. Padbury reaped the benefits of a change in attitude by this point in the series. While she occasionally played DiD she was far more often a template for the more modern female companion to come. Her character of Zoe was smart, capable, relatively fearless most of the time, and saved the day on more than one occasion.

Only going through three companions in three years was quite a record for the time considering that Hartnell's tenure burned through six companions in three years. Part of this was the fact that Troughton took a very mentorly role toward his younger co-stars and kept the mood on the set light for the most part. This led to a very "family" atmosphere off screen by all accounts. In the end, though, this is what ended the Troughton tenure as well.

After three years Troughton began to fear that if he stayed too long in the role he would be typecast. In addition to this he apparently was reciving pressure from his agent and his wife at the time to do something with more weight than the 'kiddie drama' that Doctor Who was still classified as. At the same time Frazer Hines was getting pressure from his agent to leave the show and do something different as well. Learning that Troughton had decided to leave at the end of the season Hines decided to time his leave-taking to Troughton's. As with the change over from Hartnell to Troughton, the production team hoped to keep at least one companion character on to help with the transition to the third actor who would take on the role of the Doctor. They tried to talk Wendy Padbury into staying on but the family atmosphere that had been engendered under Troughton made her decide that it would be too odd and uncomfortable to continue on without him and Hines and so she opted to leave as well.

Along the way, ratings had slipped somewhat during Troughton's tenure although the numbers were still quite respectable. Worrying that the show was becoming stale, the production team decided that a change of direction was needed and felt that the Doctor should become more "relatable". Additionally, the BBC was pressuring the show to cut it's budget and bring in the episodes at less cost. As a result the decision was made to change the look and the feel of the next round of stories.

For the first time the show was facing a whole new round of firsts -- a change over to a new Doctor with absolutely no cast members overlapping, a change in direction and style and, perhaps most of all... the Doctor would be broadcast in color for the first time.....

To Be Continued.....