Saturday, 28 January 2012

Ghost Light

Ghost Light has won the Doctor Who Bar Seventh Doctor poll, with 32% of the votes!

Although Ghost light was the second story of season twenty six, it was the last to be produced.

It is a macabre tale of an alien presence trying to control evolution set within a Victorian house.

It is the ongoing theme of the Doctor challenging and tutoring Ace continues in this story.  Here he is testing her initiative by, unknown known to her at first, bring her to the very Victorian house that she blew up aged 13.  

Costume dramas is a genre which the BBC has always excelled at.  Though during the late 1980's they had stopped producing them.  So maybe that's why the sets look so good in this story.  It's clear to set the amount of love that went into producing them.

So join us for this classic Seventh Doctor story from 7.30pm, pressing play at 8pm GMT!

Memories of the Seventh Doctor

Thank you to all those who responded to our requests for your thoughts and memories of the Seventh Doctor...

1987 was a strange old year. I was living in Manchester, playing the part of wannabe Rock Star and struggling author. My love for my childhood show was at an all time low; the previous season had scarred me deeply and my eyes had still to reset themselves after THAT costume, so it was with little enthusiasm I sat down to watch this ‘new guy.’
Initial impressions were not good but despite the derision of my peers I persevered. Slowly something strange occurred and by the time of Remembrance of The Daleks I had come to love this darkly comic, suspicious little man. Battlefield, Ghost light and Fenric cemented these feelings and, truth be told, I may have shed a tear at the end scene of Survival..
I find it ironic that for something that got so many things wrong, the TV Movie actually delivered a touching and suitably violent goodbye to perhaps the darkest doctor of them all (get back in your cupboard Eccleston!)The opening scenes in the Tardis shall stay with me forever…
By @KneelDowne

brian tapparno-clark @badwolfbrian
Always been my favourite Doctor. Know i seem to be in the minority here. There are some good stories like Fenric & Ghostlight

brian tapparno-clark @badwolfbrian
I just thought he was great loved the interaction between him and Sophie plus loved the darker side he portrayed #underrated

Cory Eadson @TimeLord89
The finale of Battlefield. A lovely little moment between the Doctor and the Brig. Marvellous! #dwbar #memoriesof7

Daniel White @Dr_Who_Con_Fans
My memories of the seventh doctor are as follows: brilliant and innovative yet very dark. Manipulative in achieving his aims and loyal to his companions. Brilliant stories Sylvester through himself into the role yet is regarded by some as the least popular Doctor. People rubbish his tenure and wrongly so. He was a victim of the BBCs shunting the program to midweek.

Martin Carle @who_martin
7th dr, was the most entertaining to watch and the one that went through several emotions in 1 episode.

Daniel White @Dr_Who_Con_Fans
@who_martin totally agree to write off his tenure and stories is wrong some of them and his doctor was riveting

Martin Carle @who_martin
@Dr_Who_Con_Fans In a way he also kept dr who going right up until its end in 1989.

Martin Carle @who_martin
@Dr_Who_Con_Fans yes, his 7th into 8th dr regenneration was a sight to behold, he just does 1 of his many faces.CloseAndrew Buckley @bluerockquarry

a superb Doctor/Companion team. Seasons 25 and 26 among the best in the original run!!

sasha hale @sassysashsash
@7thDocisAce McCoy was my doctor as when I was a kid x the best! he made u wish u could be his companion & scream at the tv on edge of seats and crave the next week 2hurry up. he also made u feel alive and u could do anything if u put your mind to it! loved his firm but fair manor

James Hadwen @jameshscience
I think I'm in the minority but I prefer the season 24 McCoy to the other two seasonsI think it's mostly because it's a portrayal more suited to McCoy's acting ability. He does the clown so well. But he doesn't resort to "angry acting" where he goes too shouty. He's mischievous rather than manipulative

Feel free to leave you comments about the Seventh Doctor below...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Memories of the Seventh Doctor by @fannyvonfabulus

If you go by birthdays, then technically Peter Davison is my Doctor. But if you go by what you remember growing up, then Sylvester McCoy is very much my Doctor. He’s the one I remember the most and he’s the one responsible for my obsessive love of all things Whovian.

What do I remember about Doctor Who way back when? Well, I remember that it used to scare the crap out of me and keep me awake at night. But it also enthralled me, taking me off to other planets, other solar systems despite the crap sets and sometimes even crappier monsters. But at that age, all the BBC needed to provide me with was someone growling wearing green bubble wrap and my young mind filled in the gaps.

I do faintly remember the arrival of McCoy as the Doctor. I believe it was my first regeneration experience and my father was most excited about it. I know people knock The Time and The Rani for how utterly rubbish it was but I like it. And Kate O’Mara was camp as anything in that episode which made me love it all the more! I re-watched it over Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it. It did make me realise how different McCoy’s Doctor became over the course of his run as our favourite Timelord. He was very different in his first episode. But I liked him! He was funny and I remember him getting all his words and phrases wrong which I remember I found really rather amusing as a child.

One of my favourite things about Seven is that he had, in my mind anyway, the best companion, Ace. She was AWESOME! No-one has compared to her since. Forget the Ponds, forget Rose, forget even Donna – Ace was the best! She was headstrong, decisive and got the job done. I fell utterly in love with the pair of them, her especially. No-one has compared to her since. They were a fantastic team and one of the better suited pairings that have shared the T.A.R.D.I.S. together. I actually had the chance to meet McCoy and Aldred at the London Film and Comic Con last year at Earls Court and I’m not ashamed to say that when I saw them, there were some tears on my part. It was a highlight in my life that I shall never forget.

I do think it’s unfair that McCoy gets labelled as the destroyer of Doctor Who. It was failing before he became The Doctor and most of that was down to the fact that the BBC Controller at the time, Michael Grade, openly hated Who. He made no bones about changing the times that Doctor Who aired, regularly putting it up against Corrie on ITV. No wonder the viewing figures for Doctor Who dropped off dramatically – Grade was determined to kill it come hell or high water. SHAME ON YOU GRADE!

Thanks to my father, I’d already seen some Doctor Who episodes with both the Bakers, Troughton, Pertwee and Davison but McCoy was my real introduction to Doctor Who. My father was determined that I would watch his stint as the 7th Doctor from the very beginning and no matter how awful some of his episodes were, how tenuous his plot lines were or how much people knocked his performance, McCoy will always be MY Doctor and I shall defend him to the death!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

10 Facts about Sylvester McCoy!

  1. Sylvester McCoy became the Seventh Doctor after taking over the lead role of ‘The Doctor’ in 1987 from previous incarnation Colin Baker. He remained on the series until it ended in 1989.

  2. As Colin Baker declined the invitation to film the regeneration scene, Sylvester briefly wore a wig and appeared as the 6th Doctor in the regeneration scene.

  3. He played the Doctor in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time, and again in 1996, appearing in the beginning of the Doctor Who television movie starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.

  4. In his first series, Sylvester portrayed the character with a degree of clown-like humour, but script editor Andrew Cartmel soon changed that when fans argued that the character and plots were becoming increasingly lightweight.

  5. The Seventh Doctor developed into a much darker figure than any of his earlier incarnations, manipulating people like chess pieces and always seeming to be playing a deeper game.

  6. A distinguishing feature of McCoy's performances was his manner of speech. He used his natural slight Scottish accent and rolled his R’s.

  7. In 1990, readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted McCoy's Doctor "Best Doctor", over perennial favourite Tom Baker.

  8. The 7th Doctor was the last Incarnation to have his face in the opening titles of the show.

  9. The 10th Doctor Two–Part Story ‘Human Nature’ and ‘Family of Blood’ was an adaptation of a ‘Virgin New Adventure’ originally written for the 7th Doctor called ‘Human Nature’.

  10. McCoy is acknowledged as the actor who played the Doctor for a longer period of time than any other.

The Seventh Doctor era is noted for the ‘Virgin New Adventures’, a range of original novels published from 1992 to 1997, taking the series beyond the television serials. It is also noted for the cancellation of Doctor Who after 26 years on British TV.

A sketch of The Seventh Doctor is later seen in John Smith's ‘A Journal of Impossible Things’ in the new series 2007 episode "Human Nature". Brief holographic clips of the Seventh Doctor appear in "The Next Doctor" and "The Eleventh Hour".

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

An interview with the land lord of The Doctor Who Bar

Our good friends at The Cult Den have just put up an interview with the current land lord of The Doctor Who Bar, Tom Greeves.

You can read about how we were created, our sessions, the #DWBarUSA, Tom's Doctor Who history and views on the series.

Read the interview here...

Paradise Towers- The Seventh Doctor

Tonight we will be watching Paradise Towers as part of our celebration of all things Sylvester (the Real McCoy you might say)

Here is a spoiler free introduction. The Doctor and Mel decide to find a swimming pool (not one in the Tardis then) so Mel can continue her fitness obsession. They arrive at Paradise Towers a, supposedly, state of the art massive complex. Guess what? Things arent as they should be and what follows is a classic Seventh Doctor story full of Sylvestors wonderful Doctor, running, talking fast and unravelling the horrific secret that lies at the heart of Paradise Towers.

So join us for girl gangs (Kangs) mysterious killer robotic cleaners oh and a character called Bin Liner. Yes you read correctly

The Doctor Who Bar will be open at 7pm GMT on twitter and we will press play on our own DVDs or videos at 7.30pm. Until then Build high for happiness!

Stick around after for a lock-in at 10pm for Full Circle, in celebration of Dr Who Con Fans's birthday!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A Controversial Doctor?

Played by an actor more familiar to the general public for sticking nails up his nose, Sylvester McCoy was brought to the attention of producer John Nathan-Turner whilst McCoy was playing the Pied Piper.

For those of you that have the DVD of Time of the Rani you can clearly see why JNT wanted McCoy for the role, as he gives a fantastic performance in his audition for the role against former companion Janet Fielding who played a Thatcherite dictator. McCoy has the same gravitas that we wouldn’t see on screen until his later seasons.

I think it is a shame that McCoy came into the role when the show was struggling. JNT was who-ed out. The BBC wanted to axe the program and his early stories were either written for Colin Baker or an unknown Doctor. Like Jon Pertwee, who was also known as a comedian, he wanted to play the part straight. But the early scripts were written before the character of the Seventh Doctor was established or defined. So we see plenty of mixed metaphors, pratfalling and spoon playing,

As the script editor gained more control over the series he put his “master plan” into action to add more mystery into the character, which had been lost over the past decade.

Remembrance of the Daleks, McCoy has said, was the first story that he felt at ease with the character. Here we see a Doctor manipulating events, far more than ever before. We seem to have been dropped in the middle of the story, rather than the Doctor arriving by accident. This was something explored further in the Virgin New Adventures.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Seventh Doctor Week in @TheDoctorWhoBar

As some of our regular fans have recently asked to watch some stories from the Sylvester McCoy Era, we thought we would have a Seventh Doctor theme this week.

Later this week we will be posting some articles about the Seventh Doctor...

Meanwhile you can choose from a selection of his stories. We have selected stories that we haven't seen for a while.

Time and the Rani is quite a sound story from Pip and and Jane Baker. It's better than people give it credit for. Bare in mind that it was written before Sylvester was cast in the role. If you look beyond Mel's screaming you will find that she is a loyal companion. The effects are surprisingly good for its era.

Remembance of the Daleks is an amazing Dalek story and a social comment on the early Sixties. Ben Arronovitch really understood the essence of the Daleks. It is the event that arguably kicked of the Time War...

Silver Nemesis: The 25th anniversary story. It shows the Doctor at his manipulative best with some shiny Cybermen!
If you look closely at the sight seers who are touring around Windsor castle, you might get a surprise! None other than Vere Lorimer, Nicholas Courtney, Fiona Cumming, Peter Moffatt and Kevin Clarke himself!

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. Continuing the Ace arc, that made this era really interesting, the Doctor takes Ace to the Psychic Circus after receiving some space junk mail, so that she can face her fears. Behind the scenes asbestos was discovered at BBC Television Centre, so they could not use a studio. So they pitched pitched up a real circus tent in the car park at BBC Elstree. I think this gave the scenes a terrific atmosphere, which they might not have got in studio.

Battlefield sees the return of the Brigadier in his final meeting with the Doctor, in a version of the sword and the stone.

Ghost Light is an intriguing story by Marc Platt. It shows a dark and mysterious Doctor once again manipulating events and getting Ace to face her demons.

Survival sees the return of the Master and the final story of the show's original run. The Doctor finally takes Ace back to her home town of Perivale. Her old friends are being kidnapped by a race of alien hunters called the Cheetah People..

So take your pick from the above stories, vote on the poll and join The Doctor Who Bar from 7.30pm on Twitter and we will press play on our own DVDs or videos at 8pm, to stay in sync.

Meanwhile if you have any memories of this era or stories of meeting Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford and Sophie Aldred then let us know in the comments below.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Android Invasion Tonight in @TheDoctorWhoBar

Tonight will complete our viewing of The UNIT Files with The Android Invasion.

The Doctor and Sarah land in a forest that looks and smells like Earth, but all is not what it seems...

You can read James Hadwen's (@JamesHScience)  Review of The Android Invasion DVD here.

The drink of choice tonight is Ginger Beer! So join us from 7.30pm over on Twitter
and we will press Play on our DVD's at 8pm to stay in sync.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Tonight in @TheDoctorWhoBar: The UNIT Files, Invasion of the Dinosaurs!

Tonight's session will be invaded by Dinosaurs! As we watch the first part of The UNIT Files...

Arriving back in London, the Doctor and Sarah are eager to get back to UNIT, but they find the city to be oddly deserted...

You can read a review of this DVD box set here

Join us tonight from 7.30pm for a chat, then we will press play on our DVDs at 8pm.

Friday, 20 January 2012

The UNIT Files: The Android Invasion: Extras. Review by James Hadwen

The risk with box sets, where there’s not a strong link between the stories, is that the extra material is going to end up feeling rather samey. Thankfully “The UNIT Files” manages to avoid this trap and the extra material is sufficiently different on the two stories to make the material on “The Android Invasion” seem quite special, whereas if it had been a solo release there might have been comments about it being a bit lightweight.

The main feature, The Village that Came to Life, is the compulsory making of documentary. Fronted by Nicholas Briggs it comes across almost as an apology for the story. Very few people pull punches about the production and many of its flaws being highlighted and discussed in detail. It starts more as a Terry Nation based documentary but they soon get around to talking to the cast and crew of the story and Nicholas Briggs spends a fair amount of time wandering around the locations which means this also, effectively, doubles as a “Then and Now” feature as well.

Philip Hinchcliffe gets a feature to himself and this, to me, was far more interesting than the making of one as I knew very little about his career after Doctor Who and the documentary shows just how much he really has done and the range of productions he’s been involved in. It also has the “gimmick” that the interviewer is his own daughter... charming, fascinating and compulsive viewing. To complete the disk there’s also the rather random “Weetabix” advert and a PDF of the Weetabix promotions of the era. Nothing really to do with the story but a curio nevertheless.

It’s a set of extras that go for the interest angle rather than the detailed information one and it’s probably all the better for it. The story might not be high on everyone’s list of favourites but I challenge you not to be won over by the disk as a whole.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The UNIT Files: Invasion of the Dinosaurs: Extras. Review by James Hadwen

Doctor Who stories usually fall into one of two categories, completely overlooked or completely obsessed about. “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” falls into the later category because the traditional fan perception is that it’s so awful.

The main documentary in the extras, “People, Power and Puppetry” claims it’s going to be different from the usual talking heads style feature but only really achieves this by putting a rather smug front man in front of the camera. After the first few links I found my brain instinctively switching off, until the people actually involved in the story came back on screen. When they do, there’s little that’s outstandingly new given (though there’s one huge new bit of information in the production subtitles") but it’s presented exceptionally well by people who genuinely seem to care about the story.

The “Deleted Scenes” don’t really add much (especially as most of them have been seen many times in the past) and “Now and Then” is as informative as ever.

There’s the rather bizarre historical curio “Billy Smart’s Circus” where the aim was clearly to get the Whomobile on screen as much as possible before Jon Pertwee left and there’s an extra ten minutes worth of commentary on episode five from John Levine. If you’ve never heard a John Levine commentary before then be prepared as they’re a rather unique experience.

Highlight of the disc though is “Doctor Who Stories: Elisabeth Sladen Part 1”, a set of sequences filmed for the 2003 Anniversary documentary “The Story of Doctor Who”. Again, there’s nothing massively new in it but it’s just so fun to watch and listen to Elisabeth Sladen being so enthusiastic once more. Plus it has the BEST opening visuals I’ve seen on one of these discs for a long time, “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” buy it for the story, watch the colourised episode one and then stay for the extras, it’s what winter nights were made for.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The UNIT Files:The Android Invasion. Review by James Hadwen

“The Android Invasion” never features highly on the list of classic Who stories. It has a plot that barely hangs together, aliens who are in less than perfectly fitting rubber masks and it’s often seen as UNIT’s last whimper. Yet most of the accusations aimed at this story apply to so many others that it seems highly unfair to single this one out to take the brunt of them. The only reason I can think of for people really not liking it is that it’s simply not fashionable to.

What people often overlook is that this has the fourth Doctor on absolute top form. It has Sarah-Jane Smith actually showing signs that she’s a journalist rather than generic female companion. It has Mother from “The Avengers” on loan to highlight the almost Avengerish feel of the opening episodes.

Yes, the plot to invade the world is pretty loopy but, if you actually stop and think about it, pretty much any plot to take over this planet is rather insane (no Doctor Who story has ever explained why this rather less than special ball of rock that’s in the middle of nowhere is invaded so much) and given the heavy use of radiation, well you can just blame the lunacy of the scheme on “radiation induced craziness”. Masks that don’t quite fit correctly, well that’s just “radiation induced skin fatigue”. Men in white space suits with loaded fingers roaming a deserted English countryside with indestructible members of UNIT and space travel in what look like giant seed pods? That’s just a great opening episode and, if you’re honest with yourself, three more insane episodes that know they’re daft but don’t try and po-face their way out of it. It’s fun and you know it, you just won’t allow yourself to admit it.

A review of the extras will be posted tomorrow...

Monday, 16 January 2012

The UNIT Files: Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Review by James Hadwen

I used to describe “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” as one of my guilty pleasures. The DVD release has made me revise this though as now I’ve sat down and watched it in “full” colour for the first time I have to say there’s nothing guilty about loving this story, it’s a real gem. Ignore all those people who can’t get past the non-CGI dinosaurs and talk at great length about how the CSO is so obvious, they’ve clearly got no soul to them.

Instead look at the actual story. Listen to the dialogue and immerse yourself in the passion of the characters who have always come across as actually having real beliefs and drive. Prepare yourself for one of the most unexpected twists a story has ever taken and cherish the fact that this story was actually made.

Just imagine the production meeting (the reality of which is talked about in the production subtitles, which are superb as always) where they’ve got a choice between Earth being invaded by men in rubber suits (again) or by big, scary dinosaurs that fight each other in the streets. Common sense says go for the one that’s do-able. Passion to create good television screams dinosaurs. It doesn’t rely on masses of stock footage. They wanted a deserted London so they found a way to film it (covered in the superb extra features) and they wanted dinosaurs so they gave it their all. No, it’s not perfect. It’s a little padded in places and the story structure means that the twist is explained away far too soon but sit back, turn your brain down just very slightly and just go with it. It’s more than worth it.

Part two will be reviewed tomorrow

Saturday, 14 January 2012


Inferno has won the Monster Mutations poll with 43% of your votes!

UNIT is providing security cover at an experimental drilling project designed to penetrate the Earth's crust and release a previously untapped source of energy. Soon however the drill head starts to leak an oily green liquid that transforms those who touch it into vicious primeval creatures with a craving for heat.

The Doctor tries to use the energy from the project to repair the TARIS console, but in doing so he is accidentally transported to a parallel universe, a world which is a little more advanced than our own. He encounters his friends' ruthless alter egos.. The Doctor has a race against time to save both universes.

Join us for the classic adventure from 7.30pm and pressing play at 8pm GMT

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Year, New Doctor Poll

Happy New Year!

The Doctor Who Bar returns for the first session of 2012, on Saturday 7th January.

To welcome in the New Year we thought it would be fun to watch one of the first stories from each of the Doctor's.

As we have watched An Unearthly Child/100,000 BC and The Christmas Invasion recently we have excluded them and put in New Earth instead.

We hope to see you on Saturday from 7.30pm and pressing Play on your DVD/VCR at 8pm GMT.

Meanwhile if you have any ideas for any future polls or stories which you would like to watch please leave them in the comments box below or DM @The DoctorWhoBar.