Monday, 30 November 2009

Strange planets in a strange galaxy

Talking of larger-than-life characters, there were few bigger or badder than Bill Hartnell's Doctor in his prime. Here was the archetypal Trickster figure, sabotaging his own ship just to have an excuse to visit the mysterious metal city on the edge of the petrified forest. And see how well that worked out.

Playing the Doctor as a cross between Odin and Loki, Hartnell gave us an inquisitive, irascible, haughty, ruthless, twisty old rascal - quite unlike the lead in any other TV drama, and certainly a million miles away from the action hero with magic - er, sonic - wand that those BBC morons have turned him into. Oh, there I go again. Ahem. Sorry.

Anyway, here's some rather nice colorization work by Stuart Humphryes of some of those episodes from the Hartnell years - the ones the BBC didn't erase, that is. It's interesting to see how striking some of the shot compositions were (pretty amazing, in fact, seeing as they were turning out a new episode every week throughout the year) and it reminds me that, before his memory problems became too obvious, Hartnell played the least pantomimey of all the Doctor's incarnations, apart perhaps from the great Paul McGann.

Btw all this discussion of compelling Trickster-figures just makes me think how much I would love to be living in the timeline where Robert Carlyle took the part. Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. The daleks have flame throwers, a lot scarier than toilet plungers.
    A little before my time, but what a rousing sound track.