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The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


ikanreed posted:

People keep referring to that. Did Doctor Who make the joker?

You should watch Vengeance on Varos. Some say it's a classic.

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OldMemes
Sep 5, 2011

I have to go now. My planet needs me.


ikanreed posted:

People keep referring to that. Did Doctor Who make the joker?

"Forgive me if I don't join you!"

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


Comics and TV writer Si Spencer has died. Spencer was commissioned to write an episode of S1 Torchwood that never made it to air, consequently writing a book about it under a pseudonym called 'Torch, Wood, & Peasants'. It contains his script and a bit about how he got entirely hosed over by the production team.

There's a really good Reddit post summing it up, and sounds pretty damning of whoever this 'Crumpsall' character is.

quote:

I recently discovered that TV and comics writer Si Spencer (who, I learned as I was writing this post, has sadly just passed away at the age of merely 56(?, or 60? Sources seem confused about his age)) was once upon a time commissioned to write an episode of Torchwood Series 1. RTD wrote in an April 2006 issue of DWM (see above thread) that Spencer "brings a whole new energy and attitude to the scripts. And his idea is one of the boldest of the lot". This episode, Blood (which was originally lined up to be episode 3 of the season), never ultimately materialised.

No doubt by pure coincidence, Spencer occasionally tweeted about a curio of a book called Torch, Wood & Peasants: Adventures in British Sci Fi by one 'Webley Wildfoot' (the connotations of shooting oneself in the foot are no doubt clear), whose bio on the back reads as practically identical to Spencer's, ending with "five years ago [Wildfoot's] confidence and career were almost destroyed by a single show. Webley Wildfoot is a pseudonym". It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to work out that the account given in the book, that is, about Wildfoot's experiences writing for Alien Sex Cops, a dark and gritty spin-off of beloved television classic Mercury Steele which had just been rebooted by 'notorious ladies' man(!) Stone D. McFerris', a dark and gritty spin-off starring one 'Lieutenant Jonny Hanks' ... is in fact an account of Spencer's experiences on Torchwood. Experiences which, it's safe to say, he did not look back on fondly. Since some of the revelations are ... juicy, to say the least, I thought I'd write some of them up here.

Torch, Wood & Peasants is a slim volume. After a brief introduction, 'Wildfoot' presents his script, with various names amended for legal reasons, which is followed by 9 pages detailing what exactly went down. I've not read the script in its entirety yet, but suffice to say it shares a lot of DNA with RTD's Second Coming in that it's about a Messianic figure appearing in present-day Cardiff. The BTS commentary, though, paints a fascinating picture. Obviously we can't be 100% certain that things transpired as 'Wildfoot' maintains they did - it's not as though Chibnall or RTD is going to come out and discuss this - although I have been in touch with a writer of Who spin-off fiction and comics who knew Spencer a bit, and from what they've said it sounds legit.

According to Wildfoot (sorry for the length):
  • He was approached to write for Alien Sex Cops under the proviso that schedules & deadlines were going to be very tight and he would have to drop all other commitments. He agreed, despite the payment on offer being lower than the other jobs he's turning down, so enthused was he to collaborate with McFerris ('the greatest writer currently working in TV').

  • At the first commissioning meeting, Wildfoot meets one 'Amos Crumpsall' who 'I assumed was just another writer, but it soon became apparent he had a bigger sway than that' (I'm sure you can guess who this is). It transpires that the pitch Wildfoot has for his episode - an angel which kills prostitutes' abusive clients at the point of orgasm - is too close to Crumpsall's Episode 2.

  • McFerris, 'kindness personified', asks Wildfoot to focus instead on the 'alien angel' aspect, which soon gets updated to 'Christ himself'. Wildfoot gets to work, freely admitting his first draft was terrible and overly literal, including 'a swimming pool being turned to wine' and 'a scene in a bank full of moneylenders'. He gets some critical feedback from a script editor asking for various improvements to the next draft due in 2 weeks' time. Shooting is 7 months away at this point (beginning May 2006, only a month or so after RTD's DWM column).

  • Two days later, he gets told that 2-week-turnaround is now a mere 5 days. The next day, he gets asked if he can deliver tomorrow ('there's pressure and there's pressure'). An exhausting all-nighter ensues. The following morning, McFerris tells him he was 'a bit disappointed' with the half-rewrite (it turns out they all thought he'd had far longer to work on it than he had actually had). They bat about the notion of a vengeful Old Testament god the Alien Sex Cops team would battle, and the idea that this god would momentarily stop all death on planet Earth (note that both of these ideas more or less get used later on).

  • The script Wildfoot writes as a result is Blood, included in the book. He gets very positive feedback from all involved with just 'several tweaks to improve it' needed. The increased public image from being announced in DWM is all very flattering - he even gets invited to a comic convention to discuss the show and sign merchandise, despite not being able to tell anyone anything yet.

  • Wildfoot knows in hindsight that McFerris 'had delegated his responsibilities on the show to Amos Crumpsall', but had no idea of this at the time so was somewhat bemused to be invited to Crumpsall's home, 'some 150 miles away in a remote rural town' (in Dorset, perchance?). He duly makes the trek, arriving in rural Wessex at an unmanned station next to a sewage plant. The taxi that's meant to take him the next 30 miles does not turn up, and there's no phone reception. I quote: 'I could spend a long time detailing the three loving hours I spent standing in the middle of the arse end of nowhere, my nostrils reeking with the stench of poo poo, with no idea whether a car would turn up or whether I should just hop the next trainful of braying Country Life-reading tosspots back to the Smoke or not - but I won't. Suffice to say if you thought the last sentence was overlong, you haven't stood inhaling effluence in a state of bewilderment wondering whether that distant dot on the horizon might be a pub. In retrospect, three hours of breathing in human effluence would turn out to be a truncated metaphor for the next three months'.

  • Eventually, he gets to Crumpsall's home (4 hours late), noting an entire wall of Buffy memorabilia in the man's office ('don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the Slayer and the Scoobies, but I do try very hard not to consciously steal lines wholesale from the show, and I certainly wouldn't have thought it wise to cast an ex-member of the show and steal lines to put in his mouth'). It turns out that one 'Leon Clark' (guess who), another writer for Alien Sex Cops, is there as well, writing in Crumpsall's garage. Contrary to all the nice feedback he's been getting, Crumpsall tells Wildfoot they need to rethink his entire script from the beginning and 2 hours later he's sent off to write a 'new two-page pitch for a new episode', 6 months and 4 drafts down the line.

  • This next version, which apparently involved the rendition of suspected terrorists returning from the Middle East but also kept the Christ aspect (hmm) but which Wildfoot has subsequently lost, gets delivered. He waits... and waits... six weeks pass. Shooting has started. Out of the blue he gets a email from another writer on the show, Jackie Martin (who I'm sure bears no resemblance to Torchwood writer Jacquetta May). She was new to TV and had struggled with her own ep and as such Wildfoot had been in touch in the past, sending her reassuring emails about the experience. She offers him 'massive condolences about [him] being dropped from the show', apologising for how long it had taken her to get in touch since she'd learned about the sacking weeks ago. No one from production has been in touch. Leon has also heard he's been unceremoniously dropped and is also angry about this (though this then turns out to be untrue in his case).

  • Wildfoot argues that 'after the workload, the exclusivity deal and the shoddy treatment it would be reasonable to pay me my second half fee, otherwise I'd been on hold for the last eight months for less than minimum wage'. The production office eventually agree to this, but retain the rights to using his scripts with or without permission. He accepts that he was one of the over-commissions (this is quite common in TV) but 'a little honesty about it would have been nice'. He also hints that McFerris' 'triumphant return' to Series 3 'supports much of the gossip I heard about his feelings on the direction of the second series'. In conclusion, Wildfoot has thrown 8 months of his career away, has pittance to show for it, and his credit rating and industry clout have collapsed.

OldMemes
Sep 5, 2011

I have to go now. My planet needs me.


I still say Torchwood was a bad show. It wasn't a bad concept, but it was trying way too hard to be "edgy" and just came across as tryhard. The immature approach to sexual politics, the main characters either being boring or downright unlikable, the nihilistic obsession with atheism, the tacked on violence - it just didn't work, and just felt like a generic 2000s genre show, with a few nods to the main show bolted on, and some edginess sprinkled in. There were some decent episodes, and the cast were trying, but it just didn't work as part of the Doctor Who universe, because it didn't share any of the philosophy of the main show. The they wrote most of the cast out?

There are much better "grounded" and "mature" stories set in the Doctor Who universe, like Bernice Summerfield's stories.
Torchwood has not aged well, I'm guessing. I've heard decent things about the audios, but I have no interest in them myself.

Sydney Bottocks
Oct 15, 2004

Eh.



OldMemes posted:

I still say Torchwood was a bad show.

I think this is one of the few things most people ITT can agree upon. Torchwood was hot garbage.

CommonShore
Jun 6, 2014

A true renaissance man




Sydney Bottocks posted:

I think this is one of the few things most people ITT can agree upon. Torchwood was hot garbage.

And all of us have watched every episode of it

Sydney Bottocks
Oct 15, 2004

Eh.



CommonShore posted:

And all of us have watched every episode of it

Not I! I checked out partway through season 1 and never looked back

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

Ask me about my calm and reasonable opinions on cycling!

I am in no way a zealot about cycling!

Cycling helmets are ABSOLUTE HARAM!


CommonShore posted:

And all of us have watched every episode of it

I watched a bit of Children of Earth but otherwise haven't bothered

marktheando
Nov 4, 2006



I just watched Children of Earth and the first couple episodes of the one with Bill Paxton.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


marktheando posted:

I just watched Children of Earth and the first couple episodes of the one with Bill Paxton.

Bill Pullman, although Bill Paxton would have been great.

Rhyno
Mar 22, 2003

how few people do you
need before you can
change the world?


I watched it all because BARROWMAN

Astroman
Apr 8, 2001




marktheando posted:

I just watched Children of Earth and the first couple episodes of the one with Bill Paxton.

Literally all I ever watched myself. But CoE more than makes up for the entire rest of the show.

If you have watched no Torchwood and have no interest in it, do yourself a favor and watch Children of Earth.

But be prepared, it is about the darkest and bleakest Doctor Who story ever.

Astroman fucked around with this message at 00:22 on Feb 19, 2021

OldMemes
Sep 5, 2011

I have to go now. My planet needs me.


People liked Captain Jack because he was a roguish, flamboyant adventurer, so in Torchwood they decided to just have John Barrowman brood and be moody endlessly. The other characters were one dimensional at best, deeply selfish and unlikable at worst. The constant "the characters have SEX and everything is SEX and VIOLENCE because unlike Doctor Who is this DARK and EDGY and SEX and NIHILISM because morals and meaning and fun are for losers" was tiring. The show had an almost obsessive fixation on sex, and felt immature. Then in the second season they decided to do a lighter edit of each episode, but it robbed the show of what little identity it had because it had to be worked around what could be cut.

Children of Earth was better because it had some focus. Miracle Day was ok, but too long, and it didn't even need the Torchwood characters. Aside from a reference to the Sarah Jane Smith Adventures of all things, there was no reason for it to be set in the Doctor Who universe. It could have been its own standalone thing, aside from having John Barrowman and Eve Myles there.

Being mature with story telling isn't about sex, gore or swearing, its about how you approach subjects.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


I gave up on Torchwood after Cyberwoman (though I was ready to pitch the whole thing in the bin after the pilot and the introduction of one of the central characters as a straight-up rapist), never watched season 2 but caught Children of Earth based on the high praise and quite enjoyed it, then made it through I think one episode of season 4 and just gave up on it again.

Unkempt
May 24, 2003

Sexual Air Supply




Was there some episode of Torchwood where there was like a giant wound in the Earth or something? And it looked a lot like a vagina? Or is my brain dying

Edward Mass
Sep 14, 2011

The Timeless Child is THE DOCTOR? Oh, for God's sake!


That was the big reveal of Miracle Day.

jivjov
Sep 13, 2007

But how does it taste? Yummy!


Dinosaur Gum

I am still convinced that Miracle Day was plotted as a 5-chapter mini series like Children of Earth was that got ballooned to 10 episodes at the directive of Starz or whatever premium network it was they had partnered with

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


The Torchwood radio plays from Big Finish are loving excellent, particularly their Seasons 5 and 6. Highly recommended -- and on sale right now.

Big Finish has been putting out a lot of crap these last six years or so, but Torchwood has been consistently brilliant. Highly, highly recommended.

jivjov posted:

I am still convinced that Miracle Day was plotted as a 5-chapter mini series like Children of Earth was that got ballooned to 10 episodes at the directive of Starz or whatever premium network it was they had partnered with

It was Starz, and yeah, that's apparently the story.

It did make the most of its running time, I thought, even if it wasn't all necessary.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


jivjov posted:

I am still convinced that Miracle Day was plotted as a 5-chapter mini series like Children of Earth was that got ballooned to 10 episodes at the directive of Starz or whatever premium network it was they had partnered with

That’s exactly what happened, yes. There’s a general feeling the order for more episodes came very late in the day, when the original 5 scripts had already been more or less done., because the padding episodes are very easy to spot. The plane episode, the one in the McMansion. Anything where the action just stops.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


This is a shot from upcoming movie Doors. Looks pretty familiar.



<TWAAAANG>

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


The_Doctor posted:

That’s exactly what happened, yes. There’s a general feeling the order for more episodes came very late in the day, when the original 5 scripts had already been more or less done., because the padding episodes are very easy to spot. The plane episode, the one in the McMansion. Anything where the action just stops.

The plane episode is hilarious as gently caress though. The bit where the FBI lady wanders into oncoming traffic is black comedy gold.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


Open Source Idiom posted:

The plane episode is hilarious as gently caress though.

Only in a ‘this is some terrible writing’ kind of way.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


The_Doctor posted:

This is a shot from upcoming movie Doors. Looks pretty familiar.



<TWAAAANG>

All the "....of DEATH!" jokes aside, goddamn do I love the visual from this cliffhanger:

Gameko
Feb 23, 2006

The friend of all children!

Which episode arc is that? I thought all the pertwee stuff was shot in color. Guess it's somewhere at the end of the 2nd Doctor's run?

Sydney Bottocks
Oct 15, 2004

Eh.



Jerusalem posted:

All the "....of DEATH!" jokes aside, goddamn do I love the visual from this cliffhanger:



I juat rewatched Pertwee's first season, and drat if that wasn't a season where everything was firing on all cylinders. And Liz Shaw is definitely one of the most underrated companions to be sure

Gameko posted:

Which episode arc is that? I thought all the pertwee stuff was shot in color. Guess it's somewhere at the end of the 2nd Doctor's run?

I'll let someone else do the joke about the story's title

It's actually from Pertwee's first season, and you're correct in that his stuff was shot in color. However, Pertwee's run was also subject to the BBC's then-policy of junking or reusing videotapes after an episode had been aired (IIRC, they didn't officially stop that practice until sometime during Tom Baker's run), because back then videotapes were horrendously expensive, and there was no home video market to sell to, so programs like DW and others were often wiped sometime after their initial airing. In the case of Pertwee, several of his stories had missing episodes or were wiped completely, but were eventually able to be recovered from overseas sources, or the tapes were found in a dusty storage cabinet, things like that. But a lot of the missing stuff that was recovered was from black and white duplicates for overseas markets (mostly former British colonies, and many of which hadn't switched to color broadcasting just yet), and it wasn't until the last decade or two that they were able to successfully recolor the b&w Pertwee stuff.

Sydney Bottocks fucked around with this message at 15:27 on Feb 19, 2021

Gameko
Feb 23, 2006

The friend of all children!

Aha! That makes sense. But is it a story arc I should look up?

jivjov
Sep 13, 2007

But how does it taste? Yummy!


Dinosaur Gum

I'm absolutely astonished the legs Torchwood has had with Big Finish. I guess I shouldn't be, they spun Jago and Litefoot from one story into 15 box sets and some one-offs, almost every doctor they've touched have more stories with them than they did on TV...but I just preordered stories 49 through 60....SIXTY!! of the monthly Torchwood range. And it's not just the tv show team! They have Torchwood Soho! Queen Victoria! Bilis Manger! All from a fairly poorly received little spinoff.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


Have they had Omar Epps back yet?

Sydney Bottocks
Oct 15, 2004

Eh.



Gameko posted:

Aha! That makes sense. But is it a story arc I should look up?

Oh absolutely, having done a recent re-watch of Pertwee's first season, I'd say the whole season is worth looking up.

Davros1
Jul 19, 2007

You've got to admit, you are kind of implausible





The_Doctor posted:

Have they had Omar Epps back yet?

No, but I think that might have something to do with Miracle Day being a Starz co-production

marktheando
Nov 4, 2006



Sydney Bottocks posted:

Oh absolutely, having done a recent re-watch of Pertwee's first season, I'd say the whole season is worth looking up.



This, but Pertwee's entire run. Hell just watch all the 1970s.

Rhyno
Mar 22, 2003

how few people do you
need before you can
change the world?


The_Doctor posted:

Have they had Omar Epps back yet?

Mekhi Phifer.

jivjov
Sep 13, 2007

But how does it taste? Yummy!


Dinosaur Gum

Yeah, Miracle Day has only had the most passing of mentions, stuff that flies under the radar, due to rights issues. Though even Children of Earth only gets brought up when the want to mention Ianto being dead.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


Rhyno posted:

Mekhi Phifer.

Oh my god.

Rhyno
Mar 22, 2003

how few people do you
need before you can
change the world?


The_Doctor posted:

Oh my god.

I almost went off on you and had to re-enter myself. My former best friend called every black actor "Omar Epps" and I do near strangled him over it once. I know it was just a mistake on your part but that fucker was a huge closet racist and it took me years to realize it.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


The Ambassadors....* is definitely a fantastic story and well worth watching, but yes seconding that you should probably watch Pertwee's entire run because even when it got a little self-indulgent it was still great stuff.






* OF DEATH!
<TWAAANG!>

CommonShore
Jun 6, 2014

A true renaissance man




The chase in his final story is one of the greatest things ever filmed and aired

Payndz
Sep 22, 2006

They smelled of pubs, and Wormwood Scrubs, and too many right-wing meetings.

So I twatted them with a magic yo-yo. Because, hell, why not?


I just finished my Pertwee run (over the course of about two years) and yes, doooooo iiiiiiiiit. There are inevitably clunkers ('The Time Monster' and 'The Monster of Peladon' spring to mind), but nothing of a 'Twin Dilemma' level, and there are also some genuine greats. There's also the best Master, the Brig, and Pertwee being the most dapper velvet-smoking-jacketed mofo in the universe. Go for it.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


The Daemons is a standout, mostly because it understands that there's nothing wrong with ripping off Quatermass and the Pit.

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MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

Ask me about my calm and reasonable opinions on cycling!

I am in no way a zealot about cycling!

Cycling helmets are ABSOLUTE HARAM!


Jerusalem posted:

The Daemons is a standout, mostly because it understands that there's nothing wrong with ripping off Quatermass and the Pit.

As one of my fellow Random Who watchers mentions every time a Pertwee or Base Under Siege or similar story comes up, Doctor Who rips off Quatermass a lot.

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