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Who @ 50

"go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine"

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50th Anniversary Fanwork-a-thon-a-thon, Round Nine: Three
jjpor wrote in who_at_50
50th Anniversary Fanwork-a-thon-a-thon, Round Nine: Three

(Secondary prompt: Who Spinoffs)

By now, my friends, I can't help but feel that the end is near and sooner than we might expect we are going to be facing the final curtain (figuratively, hopefully). But not quite yet! We still have a trio of excellent Doctors to get through before the big anniversary in November. Fine vintages all, you might say, that deserve to be savoured. Round Eight is still in full swing, centred on the Fourth Doctor, but right now it's time to strap yourselves in and reverse the polarity of the neutron flow as we speed on into the next leg.

(As I always say at times like this, though, those of you still working on entries for prior legs - please, please, please still post them to the comm whenever they're finished, even if it's after November 23, or indeed after December 31. I know I certainly am going to need to do so!)

This month's Doctor you might describe as a gentleman of the old school. Either that or a dandyish, car-chasing, sword-fighting, Venusian aikido-ing James Bond figure. Not your typical Doctor, really, if there is such a thing (more like not your typical Doctor through the lens of forty years of fannish hindsight plus the cancellation and resurrection of the series - at the time they were making it up as they went). In many ways, though, possibly the big old series Doctor after Four in the days of pre-internet fandom, not that he's always been a favourite among fans. We're talking relentless historical name-dropping, very sugary tea and a taste for the high life; we're talking the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, canary yellow roadsters and black-hearted archenemies who turn up like the proverbial bad penny. We're talking...


Three, of course, is this month's Doctor. And as referenced, a Doctor whose reputation has veered wildly from one extreme to another over the course of the past couple of decades. Perhaps Jon Pertwee's Patrician style and Three's seeming - seeming, mind you! - cosiness with the Establishment as embodied by the Brigadier and crew didn't sit well with the more politicised corners of late-80s, early-90s big-name-fandom, and didn't fit with a lot of people's perception of what the Doctor should be and what he should do. It seems though that in more recent years, opinion has swung back the other way, or at least the new intake of fans since the beginning of the new series have different perspectives to fans of 20 years ago and Three, in some ways, bears more resemblance to the general style of the new series Doctors, with their hands-on approach and forays into action, than some of the his fellow classic Doctors. Or I could be wildly speculating off the top of my head. ;D What's noticeable to me, though, about the Three era is just how varied it is, even compared to the tenure of the other really long-running Doctor, Four. We have the dour thrillers of Season 7, then the more formulaic "UNIT family" stories of Season 8, then almost as soon as they seem to have started this whole "Doctor exiled to Earth" malarkey they start finding excuses to get him out into space and time again... You have the feeling of watching the production team trying to recreate the show from the ground up after the end of the 60s, and doing it on the fly, throwing as many ideas at the wall as possible and seeing what sticks. It's all very exciting. And the thing that really makes it endearing is the supporting cast of characters. Liz Shaw, Jo Grant, the Brig and the UNIT boys, the soon-to-be-great Sarah Jane Smith creeping in at the end of the era. And last, but not least, Roger Delgado's inimitable take on the Master.

Well, by now many of you probably now what the score is, but: All forms of fannish endeavour are welcome - that goes for fanfic, fanart, fanvids, fanmixes, icons, podfic, and absolutely any other medium in which you want to express your creativity and celebrate your love for that which is Who. Think of Three and the undeniable dash he cut across grimy, brown early-70s Britain. Think of the Brig remaining calm even when the rational reaction would be to run and hide - think of Jo and Liz and Sarah and their various very different but equally likeable relationships with the Doctor. Think of how Delgado!Master just won't learn even when Evil Plan #457 has just come crashing down around his suave, villainous ears. And remember most of all; where there's life, there's...

As ever, something that evokes the idea of the oncoming 50th Anniversary would be especially welcome, but maybe the best way to do that is by creating the most undeniably Three-ish Three fanwork you can conceive of?

And as usual, there will be having a secondary theme for those of you who would find something else more inspiring. And for September 2013, that will be...

Who Spinoffs. There were various proposals over the years, some semi-legendary among fandom (Jago and Litefoot the Series??), but it's interesting that in spite of its longevity and its popularity during much of that time, Doctor Who didn't get any full-blown television spinoffs until the new series took root. But then again, the RTD period was the time for it, if ever there was one, with Who having made a dramatic and triumphant return to wide public popularity after so many years in the wilderness. Not that we should forget the deeply strange and ultimately unsuccessful pilot for "K9 and Company", of course, which in some sense was a dry run for at least one of the spinoffs we eventually did get those decades later. And the interesting thing about Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures is just how different they are, in conception, in tone and content. And yet they both unambiguously position themselves as part of the wider Doctor Who universe and continuity, just showing what a broad canvas that is by now. Torchwood, with some notable exceptions along the way, has always been something of a guilty pleasure for me, if that at times, but SJA was imho an absolute joy from start to untimely finish. I think the thing about both of them is that they both offer different perspectives on the parent show, in the way that they expand on its world and occasionally cross over with it, and they both have strong casts of interesting characters with interesting relationships between themselves and also, even if in some cases they never meet him directly, with the Doctor and the footprint he leaves as he travels the universe. All of which is grist to the mill of us fanworkers, I think. And to be honest, there are so many other licenced spinoffs in other media and nearly-spinoffs that you could also bring into play here - the PROBE and Countermeasures audio series, perhaps, not to mention the actual Jago and Litefoot adventures we eventually got? Rose Tyler Earth Defender, or whatever it was going to be called? So I think, if we're talking about the fifty year ride that is Doctor Who these spinoffs deserve some consideration and commemoration. I am sure you are all more than able to think of more than a few ways of doing that.

I'm sure whatever you end up doing, my friends, it's going to be well worth sticking around the comm to see. :)

Hopefully the above will have you champing at the bit ready to get to work creating some creations. If so, please express your wish to participate in the comments to this post. It would be great if you could name a date (list provided below) as it helps spread the contributions across more of the month, but if not it's no biggie.

The Days
September 2013
1 - femme_slash_fan
3 - locker_monster
26 - clocketpatch
28 - femme_slash_fan (again!)
30 - akashasheiress

Members who would have expressed interest in participating but would prefer not to be tied to a specific date include: magister, jjpor

Oh well, I suppose now is a good time to take a look at what have not wholly accurately been called the rules:

- Please feel free to post your fanworks directly to the community, or link to your own Livejournal/Dreamwidth account or any external archive or site you use for hosting your stuff.
- There are no minimum length requirements, but please put any large images or, in the case of fanfic, anything over 1000 words, under a cut or the other side of a link.
- There are no rating restrictions, but again please cut and provide warnings for anything over PG-13, or which might be considered triggering. Use your common sense.
- Character-bashing is in the eye of the beholder, but there are ways of critiquing or lampooning something you don't necessarily like about the show without resorting to straight-up hatchet-work that is going to cause angst on the comm. Common sense, again.
- Disclaimers may or may not actually work from a legal standpoint, but they help me sleep at night.
- Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Well, that's me for now. You lot can take it from here, I think. :)

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Yes, we seem to have room there... ;D


Also, I think they people who think that Three is actually that cozy with the establishment haven't really been watching his stories.

To be honest, I strongly sympathise with leftist readings of Doctor Who (how could I be such a fanatical Seven fan and not??), but I think people like Paul Cornell threw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, in their blanket condemnation of Three. It's an era of contradictions, sometimes, to be sure, but it's more nuanced than that particular criticism of it would seem to suggest. As always, imho, of course. :)

I don't know if there were as many contradictions as is popularly thought. While many characters within The Establishment were very sympathetic, I don't get the sense that the show (or the Doctor) were pro-The Man, so to speak. While the Brig is clearly an awesome character, the narrative is frequently disagreeing with him IMO. It's still nowhere near NuWho level. I can't imagine Three being all cozy with Churchill, for instance.* And the goals are often achieved by subverting UNIT rules etc.

*Yes, there's the ''my friend, Chairman Mao'' comment, but I think that was simply due to the isolation of Communist China (and hence a lack of knowledge).

I think tbh, even as someone who's used it as a talking point in the past that the Chairman Mao thing is a red herring (ba-doom, tish!). As you say, the full story about the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution etc was practically unknown to the general public in the West at the time (and deliberately kept that way, as far as possible, by the Chinese leadership) and Maoism was kind of cool for a while with the counterculture or whatever was left of it by 1971, so yeah. And also, there's no real evidence that the Doctor meant it seriously or was just trying to inveigle his way into the good graces of the Chinese communists he was talking to.

When I speak of contradictions, I suppose I mean things like paying lip service to feminism while also reserving the right to make "women's lib" jokes or making a story that is ostensibly an allegory of the (first) miner's strike and then having the miners' actions be a result of, effectively, them being duped by foreign agents, kind of thing. But yes, as you say, although Three can move within the Establishment and even pass as one of them from time to time, he's too outspoken and too much his own man to ever be cosy with them. Three vs Winston Churchill, one has to imagine, would end up as some sort of rampant clash of egos rather than any sort of love-in. And good for Three. As you say, the Brig is something of a dolt as well as obviously being awesome, and when he isn't being a dolt he's usually rubbing up against superior authority just as much as the Doctor is (strange how every army officer outranking the Brigadier we actually see on screen turns out to be some sort of alien plant - an Auton duplicate in the first instance and part of the weird Eco-dinosaur conspiracy the second time round). That's another contradiction, though - we're in favour of ecological activism, right (Green Death)? Not when they actually do something revolutionary, though! But then again, not everybody is by temperament or belief a revolutionary. Tbh, I think we're broadly in agreement on the Three era, and broadly in disagreement with most people who've sought to dismiss it for what they perceive to be its politics.

Now, for some really ugly right-wing stuff creeping into Who, we only have to rewind a couple of years and watch The Dominators, which is... O.o

Oh, yeah, you definitely have a point there. But even then, it's certainly not worse than New Who. With the whole lip-service thing, I mean. It just annoys me when people use (for example) the Three-era contradictions to 'prove' how much more progressive and enlightened NuWho is when it's actually much worse in several ways. I do think that Three would have genuine issues with Churchill that weren't all about competing egos (although that would certainly take place, too).

And yes, the good thing about the Mao line is that we can handwave it as an acerbic joke on Three's part. And I actually do think that's a genuine possibility, although if it really is the case, I think the writers ought to have been slightly more obvious about it. 0.o Let's hope it was just a subtle dig. ;)

The Dominators is definitely very uncomfortable (albeit somewhat amusing). There seems to have been some sort of ideological tug-of-war, whether deliberate or not, in the Two era. Thankfully, I think The War Games proves that the more progressive side finally ended up with the upper hand.

To be honest, I don't think the old series would have gone near any historical characters who had been alive within living memory (dead less than a decade in Churchill's case during the Three era), but I agree the level of social conscience and "political" sophistication in almost all of old Who generally puts the new series to shame. But then again, I think that's more to do with the way popular culture and society has changed in the past thirty-odd years than with the actual TV programme or the people making it during the two eras. Then again, we have had this conversation a few times by now and always end up agreeing in the end. ;)

And I think that's exactly what was going on in the Two era, even if none of the people involved were consciously aware of it at the time. After Hartnell left, the whole nature of the series and its (far from guaranteed) future was up in the air, and I don't think it really sorted itself out and decided what it was until Four came on the scene eight years later. It was a fun ride while they were deciding, though, with stuff like The Dominators passing quickly by, thankfully. Although as you say, there's a lot to laugh at and keep your self amused with even in that story, while you're trying not to notice the unsightly subtext sticking out. ;D

Yeah, I agree. It's more to with the state of telly today than with Who in itself. But it's just especially sad when it's Who, due to its history. :(

Those outfits in The Dominators. Hell, just the title of the story. ;D

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