Monday, December 01, 2008

Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1977 Brilliant?

Alex - hope it's not too serious and you get well soon.

I was looking forward to your take on 1977 so I hope you don't mind if I put my two-penneth in;-)

1977 was a simply fantastic year of Who.

To this then eight/nine year old boy it was compulsive viewing and much playground talk each week would be about the previous Saturday's episode and the one coming up.

Having said goodbye to Sarah Jane Smith at the end of 1976 and seen off the Master, January 1977 saw the arrival of the lovely Leela. This scantily clad 'savage' was something of a contrast with previous well turned out companions but made for a great double-act with Tom Baker's Doctor.

The show was in good hands with Producer Philip Hinchcliffe and Script Editor Robert Holmes taking the series in a more gothic direction. Storylines and scripts were strong - it doesn't get much better than Robots of Death, Talons of Weng Chiang and Horror of Fang Rock one after the other. I can still remember the drama of every one of these stories. It was during this period that Mary Whitehouse's criticism of the show was at its most strident - clear evidence that the show was doing well!

The scripts did not lose their humour, however, and Leela, in particular, had some great one liners.

My favourite, in The Face of Evil (I think):

The Doctor : "Would you like a Jelly Baby?"
Leela : "It's true then. They say the Evil One eats babies."

What to watch:

I'd recommend getting the DVD of The Talons of Weng Chiang. A strong story and script, and if, like me, you've got kids who love the new series, they'll love this one too. (And it's cheap on Amazon at the moment too).


Jennie Rigg said...

1977 was brilliant because I was both concieved and born... ;)

Liberal Neil said...


Alex Wilcock said...

Morning Neil

Thank you very much – that quite cheered me up! Three weeks later, I’ve finally got back to it, and you’ll find I agree with pretty much every word you say…