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Tardis Party: Who’s birthday? #3 ~ rare but brilliant pics from Doctor Who (’80s/ ’90s)

March 18, 2013

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Supersonic celery: Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor (1981-84) came face to face with one of the ’80s’ greatest icons Concorde in the serial Time-Flight (1984), in which the aircfraft travelled back to prehistory

To be fair, the 1980s was a decade of dubious taste. Big hair; even bigger trousers; skin-tight footballers’ shorts; even skin-tighter womens’ leggings; oh, and Colin Baker’s ludicrously multi-coloured outfit as The Sixth Doctor. Indeed, talking of the latter, The Who Doctor had quite the decade in the ’80s.

While there were the highs of the one of the greatest serials in the show’s history, the breathless The Caves Of Androzani (1984), and the 20th-anniversary-celebrating hokum of The Five Doctors (1983), there were also the lows of the daft-Sylvester McCoy introducing Time And The Rani (1987), the dreadful Colin Baker-introducing The Twin Dilemma (1984) and, of course, the catastrophe of the show’s cancellation altogether.

But then came the ’90s and, surprisingly and controversially, Who was back – yes, back in the fine guise of Paul McGann. But in a TV movie. Hmmm. The ’80s and the ’90s then… Doctor Who‘s lost and found years? Maybe. What’s for sure, though, is this third of four George’s-Journal-third-birthday- and Doctor Who-golden-anniversary-celebrating posts (see the first two here and here) is a doozy, all right. Well, I think it is, at least…

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Howzat? Doctor Who opened the door on a new era as All Creatures Great And Small (1978-90) actor Peter Davison stepped into Tom Baker’s not insignificant shoes dressed in cricket-esque togs

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The ’80s new man: a deliberate step away from the Baker years, the young, blond Davison offered a softer, maybe less sure but just as resilient and heroic version of everyone’s favourite Time Lord

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Definite article: a Radio Times feature on Davison as the new Doctor from January 1982

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The power of three: Davison poses with two of his three main companions, Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Janet Fielding (Tegan) and the latter pair with third companion Adric (Matthew Waterhouse)

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The Mouth with the scarf: Fielding wrapped in previous Doctor Tom Baker’s second scarf

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Billy’s missus: it’s not fit for the Nine O’Clock News but quite the day for Davison surely, as he poses rather randomly for a publicity shot with comedy actress Mrs Billy Connelly, Pamela Stephenson

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Southbank sandwich: Fielding helps Davison free from the clutches of two Daleks at Tower Bridge

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Goatee devotee: here catching up on Whoniverse gossip in Doctor Who Monthly magazine, Anthony Ainley filled Roger Delagdo’s shoes as The Master for eight years between 1981 and ’89

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The famous five? In fact, just two former Docs – Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee – joined Davison for 20th anniversary-celebrating story The Five Doctors (1983); William Hartnell had by then died, so the hero’s first incarnation was played by Richard Hurndall and Tom Baker decided not to appear, forcing a Madame Tussauds’ likeness to be used for publicity shots and the others to goof around

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The name’s Bryant, Nicola Bryant: as Peri Brown, Nicola Bryant had only a brief time with Davison’s Doc, but was companion for his all-time classic swansong serial The Caves Of Androzani (1984)

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Children’s (half-)hour: Davison – with host Sarah Greene – and Colin Baker on BBC kids’ show Blue Peter

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Hats off to ’em? It was all smiles for Bryant and Colin Baker as he became the Sixth Doctor in 1984, but troubled waters lay ahead for both him and the show over the next two years

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Look who’s back: Baker welcomes back Patrick Troughton for the serial The Two Doctors (1985) 

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A Baker’s double: puppets of Tom and Colin Baker in their guises as The Doctor from an ’80s magazine 

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Feeling blue? Baker (with Bryant) sports a rather fetching blue mourning cloak over his garish usual costume in Revelation Of The Daleks (1986) – a sartorial touch dreamt up by the serial’s writer in order to cover up his colourful togs, which the scribe deemed unsuitable for TV drama. For his part, Baker had wanted to wear an all-black costume (at least at first) to reflect his Doctor ‘s darkness, but got lumbered with a costume he described as ‘like an explosion in a rainbow factory’

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Unfurled curls: new companion Bonnie Langford (Mel Bush) posing with an even more curly-than-usual Baker, pretending she intends to cut off his beard, which he’s presumably sporting for another role

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She’s a scream: Bonnie Langford’s Mel doing what she did best – scream like a little girl

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Never cross a woman permed: a be-wigged Kate O’Mara (as The Rani) dresses as Langord’s Mel for newly cast Doctor Sylvester McCoy’s first serial of the show, Time And The Rani (1987)

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Steel feel: McCoy and Sophie Aldred (companion Ace) on location with Cybermen at the wasteland site on which The O2 (The Millennium Dome) would eventually be built in London’s Greenwich for the long-running show’s silver anniversary-celebrating serial Silver Nemesis (1988)

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Modern girl: Sophie Aldred poing as Ace, the ‘Classic’ series’ final companion; a tearaway ’80s youth

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Tunnel vision: McCoy’s attempts to take the character and the show in a darker, less infantile direction were eventually thwarted by its expected cancellation – after 26 years and seasons – in 1989

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John the Don: almost as exuberant a character as The Doc, producer John Nathan-Turner guided Doctor Who (often controversially) through its choppy ’80s waters – here with his three show leads

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Old friends: 1970s Doctor Who alumni Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) and Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor) meet up at a 1980s event

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An ad man’s dream? Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison and Tom Baker appeared in commercials for the Volkswagen Golf Estate car in the ’90s. The tagline? ‘Bigger on the inside’. But of course.

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Hello, goodbye: seven years after its demise, Doctor Who was back as an Anglo-American-Canadian TV movie in which McCoy handed over the TARDIS key to the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann

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Millennium bug-bear: set in 1999, the TV movie saw McGann team up with Daphne Ashbrook (Dr Grace Holloway) against his old Time Lord foe The Master in the human form of Julia Roberts’ brother Eric

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Bad hair days? McGann turned up to filming with a crewcut (l), felling it a radical, interesting departure for the role; the TV movie’s makers didn’t agree, insisting he wear a long wig (r) – ironically, a decade later Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor sported pretty much the look McGann had envisaged

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Pudsey’s pals: (clockwise from top l) Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, the Bakers Colin and Tom and Jon Pertwee resurrected all their Docs in a Children In Need 1993 Night special to mark Doctor Who’s 30th anniversary, in which their TARDISes rather bizarrely interracted with the cast of EastEnders 

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Parody players: a more satisfying, if spoofy charity-driven (non-canonical) special came in 1999 for Comic Relief, in which Rowan Atkinson’s Doctor faces Jonathan Pryce’s Master and undergoes regeneration-after-regeneration, transforming into Richard E Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and finally Joanna Lumley. Fittingly, the special was written by future show-runner Steven Moffat.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2013 8:41 am

    I was fond of Peter Davison. I remembered him as “Tristan” in “All creatures great and small”.
    I was also fond of Sylvester McCoy. I first saw him and his comedy on “Tiswas” but also in other small parts, comedic and serious.
    Both were good Doctors.
    Paul McGann only had 1 shot as the Doctor and the show was disappointing. Not his fault.
    But, I’m sorry to say Colin Baker was undoubtedly the worst ever Doctor. He made bumbling Patrick Troughton look like Lord Olivier!
    N.B. I did like Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor, but he had a lot to live up to!

    • March 19, 2013 4:26 pm

      Yup, McCoy was The Doctor of my youth, so I’ve something of a soft spot for him. Never been keen on Colin Baker’s effort – but in the years since he left the show he’s been a dedicated ambassador for it, so I’ve a lot of time for him.

      Of the ’80s Doctors then, my fave has always been Davison. He was gentler and subtler than those who came before him and those after him, but stands out because of it and was very likeable. Still, think it something of a crying shame McGann somehow didn’t get more from the role (on the screen, that his). His Doc was rather like Davison’s but with more oomph.

      Anyway, thanks – as ever – for your comment, Peter. And glad to see you’re enjoying these celebratory pictorial posts – one more to go…! 😉

Trackbacks

  1. Tardis Party: Who’s birthday? #4 ~ rare but brilliant pics from Doctor Who (’00s/ ’10s) | George's Journal
  2. Tardis Party: Doctor Who serial close-up ~ An Unearthly Child (Season 1/ 1963) | George's Journal
  3. Tardis Party: Doctor Who episode close-up ~ The Five Doctors (Special/ 1983) | George's Journal
  4. Tardis Party: Doctor Who serial close-up ~ The Caves Of Androzani (1984) | George's Journal
  5. Tardis Party: Doctor Who episode close-up ~ Doctor Who: The Movie (1996) | George's Journal

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