Splendid Chaps – Eight/Science


This year Doctor Who turns 50! To celebrate these 11 ‘splendid chaps‘, Ben McKenzie (Dungeon Crawl, ‘patron saint of geek comedy’) and John Richards (ABC1’s Outland, Boxcutters TV podcast) are recording a live podcast every month from January to November.

In August it’s Eight/Science

❝Our eighth major episode brings us to the Doctor of the show’s “middle period” between classic and new Who – Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor. A cult figure thanks to his starring role in Withnail and I (alongside alternate Ninth Doctor Richard E Grant), McGann was a popular choice and garnered much kudos for his performance – but almost nothing else about the American co-produced telemovie seemed to please audiences on either of the Atlantic, and no new series was produced. It’s a weird moment in the so-called “wilderness years” between old and new Who.
It’s also National Science Week, so we’re looking at science in Doctor Who. Ostensibly science fiction, and starting out life with an educational remit, Doctor Who originally alternated between trips to historical events and sci-fi tales that were meant to teach us about science. But amongst the mad scientists, wobbly grasp of concepts like “black hole”, “neutron” and “constellation”, and the rather more fantastical bent of the post-2005 show, does Doctor Who actually depict real science in any meaningful way? Does it champion the idea of being “sciencey”? What does it get wrong, what does it get right, and what can we learn from it about science in either case?❞ [1]

Homework viewing for episode Eight/Science
An internet crib sheet guide to the Dr Who episodes listed for the Splendid Chaps Eight/Science.



☛ Doctor Who: The Movie

The Seventh Doctor is charged with transporting the remains of his fellow Time Lord, the Master, back to their home planet. But he is surprised to discover that his old enemy is not quite dead. The arrival of the Master not only costs the Doctor a life, but it spells near disaster for the Earth. Only the new Doctor can stop the Master and save the planet.
* Tardis Data Core

…okay, no surprises there. While we’ll mostly be sticking with discussion of Grace: 1999, you might enjoy listening to some Eighth Doctor Big Finish audio adventures. We suggest: [2]

☛ The Chimes of Midnight
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring.
But something must be stirring. Something hidden … (2002 Feb, #29)
* Big Finish

☛ The Silver Turk
Roll up! Roll up! To the great Viennese Exposition, where showman Stahlbaum will show you his most wonderful creation, the Silver Turk – a mecha… (2011 Oct, #153)
* Big Finish

☛ Shada
The Doctor has a spot of unfinished business. Reunited with his old friends Romana and K9, he answers a summons from Professor Chronotis, a reti… (2003 Dec, BR.II)
* Big Finish

☛ the BBC7 series beginning with Blood of the Daleks
Starring Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith with Kenneth Cranham, Anita Dobson, Hayley Atwell and Nicholas Briggs
An excellent jumping-on point for new listeners… Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor starts another phase of his adventures with a brand new companion…
* 1.1. Blood of the Daleks – Part 1
* 1.2. Blood of the Daleks Part 2


We’re talking about science in Doctor Who; here are some good (or bad) examples of science and scientists in the show: [2]

☛ The Daleks (William Hartnell, 1963; seven episodes)

The Daleks was the second story of season 1 of Doctor Who. Its most obvious contribution to the Doctor Who mythos was the introduction of the Daleks, the Thals and the planet Skaro. It also continued and deepened the antagonistic relationship between the First Doctor and his new human companions, Ian and Barbara, which would come to a head in the next story.
* Tardis Data Core

☛ Terror of the Autons (Jon Pertwee, 1971; four episodes)

Terror of the Autons was the first story of Season 8 of Doctor Who. It was notable for being a “gentle reboot” of the Jon Pertwee era, offering a number of elements which would remain prevalent for the next three seasons. It marked the debut of three new recurring characters: Jo Grant, Captain Mike Yates and the Master. Furthermore, it was the first story in which Sgt. Benton’s portrayer, John Levene, was given an annual contract, rather than employment as a day player. It also introduced what became UNIT’s standard, green uniforms — the replacements for what Barry Letts disparagingly called the “chocolates” of Season 7 — and a new UNIT laboratory which would be used by the Third Doctor until the end of his exile.
* Tardis Data Core

☛ The Masque of Mandragora (Tom Baker, 1976; four episodes)

The Masque of Mandragora was the first story of the 14th season of Doctor Who. It was notable for being the first historical or pseudo-historical story since TV: The Gunfighters not to be principally set in Great Britain.
It also introduced the first radical redesign of the TARDIS control room, and offered the first explanation of how both the Doctor and his companions were able to understand and communicate in languages other than English.

* Tardis Data Core

☛ Four to Doomsday (Peter Davison, 1982; four episodes)

Four to Doomsday was the second story in the nineteenth season of Doctor Who. It was the first story filmed with Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor.
* Tardis Data Core

☛ The Lazarus Experiment (David Tennant, 2007; one episodes)

The Lazarus Experiment was the sixth episode of the third series of Doctor Who. It saw regular writer Mark Gatiss take on an acting role and marked the Doctor’s acceptance of Martha as his regular companion. It included a large number of “Harold Saxon” references and saw Francine Jones’ first involvement with his aides.
* Tardis Data Core

❝There’s so much “science” in Doctor Who, though, that we could easily list dozens of other relevant stories; if you’re feeling enthusiastic, you might also want to watch The Daemons, Creature from the Pit, Logopolis, Aliens of London/World War Three, New Earth or The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky.❞ [2]


Eight/Science (Duration: 1:17:00 — 35.3MB)

[1] Eight/Science (live show) (2013-Jul-19) [Splendid Chaps]
[2] The Eight/Science viewing/listening list (2013-Jul-25) [Splendid Chaps]
[3] Doctor Who – Classic Series – Episode Guide – Eighth Doctor Index [BBC]

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One Response to Splendid Chaps – Eight/Science

  1. Pingback: The Night of the Doctor: A Mini Episode | Visible Procrastinations

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