Monday, 11 August 2008


Yes, but this is the last Doctor Who episode for Andrew Rilstone to write about, and consequently for me to comment on.

So next will have to be me saying something myself...


  1. By the way, I probably won't be leaving my email address in any form, since I'm very protective of the email account that I actually read (and there wouldn't be any point to giving the email address for the accounts which I don't read).

    However, to encourage you to watch The Gunfighters, here's Andrew Rilstone on the subject back when the BBC released the VHS:

    "'The Gunfighters', on the other hand, turns out to be an awful lot of fun. It has been universally reviled by Doctor Who fans because there is no way that it can possibly be made consistent with the idea of Doctor Who One. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, silly. It has jokey titles ('A Holiday for the Doctor') and a non-existent story-line ('The TARDIS arrives at the OK Coral just before the Gunfight. Er…that's it, really.') It is not historical drama. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a time-travel story showing what would happen if some modern people were landed in nineteenth-century America. It's not one of those mythical 'stories-to-get-kids-interested-in-history' that some people persist in believing in. It's not even really a Western. It's nothing more or less that an excuse for a bunch of grown ups to play cowboys and Indians for 98 minutes.

    "Few of the supporting cast can actually manage American accents, so we have sheriffs and gunslingers who sound cockney and Australian, sometimes simultaneously. Although the sets are good, there aren't enough extras to make the town look populated. It’s a bit of a drawback when trying to make a western to find out that you can only afford one very brief shot with horses in it.

    "And then there is the matter of That Bloody Song. Someone decided that, if Doctor Who was going to arrive in the Wild West, then there would jolly well be a ballad. There is wonderful bathos when a song at the level of--

    So pick him up gentle
    And carry him slow
    He's gone kind of mental
    Under Earp's heavy blow.

    --fades into the familiar Ron Grainger theme and the swirly lines, reminding you that, yes, despite all evidence to the contrary, this actually has been Doctor Who you've been watching.

    "But that said, the story rolls along at an entertaining pace. It may not make much sense, but it is full of stuff. Stephen gets captured by a lynch mob. The Doctor is (inevitably) mistaken for Doc Holiday. He acts as mediator between the Earps and the Clantons. Stephen and Vicki are forced at gunpoint to do a musical act in the Last Chance Saloon. (Cue: 'Next Episode -- Don't Shoot the Pianist.') The Doctor is surprised that Doc Holiday is going to pull his teeth without anesthetic Stephen wanders around a 'real' Wild West town in a cowboy suit such as you could buy in any Fancy Dress hire shop. The Doctor consistently refers to the sheriff as Mr Werp. At the end of the story, the Doctor accuses Vicki of having fallen prey to every wild west movie cliché in the book. He understood what was going on, if no-one else did."

    A terrifically entertaining story. (In the same review, Mr. Rilstone has good things to say about The Time Meddler and rubbishes The Sensorites.)

  2. Okay, you’ve talked me into it! I’ll watch the ferschluggin’ Gunfighters!

    Incidentally, Andrew Rilstone’s piece you quote is still up on the web. If anyone reading this wants to see the whole of it, click here.

    By the way, I probably won't be leaving my email address in any form

    Fair enough.

    ...since I'm very protective of the email account that I actually read (and there wouldn't be any point to giving the email address for the accounts which I don't read).

    I’ve sometimes thought to get a ‘dummy’ e-mail account just for sites that make you sign up just to get on them. Never got round to it, though!

    Next in Lucid Frenzy-land will probably be Dark Knight. Then it’ll be a toss-up between Quatermass and Doctor Who. If any of those interest you, stay tuned!

  3. Haven't seen either Dark Knight or Quatermass. (I know the latter is a serious gap for a BBC science fiction fan such as myself.) I'm familiar enough with both that I'd be able to follow the articles though.

    I have two dummy email accounts. One is for total garbage like sites that require an email address whose emails I don't wish to read at all and another for websites that I'm doing business with (e.g. Amazon). That one I'll check if I'm expecting an email from one of those sites, but otherwise I just let the advertising pile up in it. My personal email address only goes to personal or business contacts.

  4. I don't think i could stress enough the importance of Quatermass in the development of British Science Fiction. But I'll be trying shortly...

    I don't mind mails from Amazon as they do seem to be at least semi 'smart', as in targeted to stuff I've bought or browsed over before. The complete junk mail sites I just set my smapm filter against. But your idea's probably a good one!