Category Archives: Doctor Who

TOBY HADOKE’S WHO’S ROUND

Toby Hadoke’s Who’s Round

For some background on this foolhardy quest, see here.

The Podcasts themselves can be found at the Big Finish Website where it is one of their Ranges. On this page you will also find an alphabetical list of the interviewees plus information on the charities recommended by my subjects.

In 2013, with the help and technical support of Big Finish, I will be embarking on a quest to interview as many people as possible from Doctor Who’s illustrious history. The aim being, in 52 weeks, to get a first hand anecdote about every single story. I am providing a list of all the televised adventures here, and will highlight the ones we have covered in red, with the episode number and anecdotee’s name added. For some stories we may get more than one anecdote, because I don’t play by no rules suckas.

UPDATE – This is where I currently am as far as the latest release (August 2015) is concerned. Stories not yet covered are in black.

 

William Hartnell
An Unearthly Child (Waris Hussein #6)
The Daleks (Clive Doig #12 Brian White #47)
The Edge of Destruction
Marco Polo (Waris Hussein #6, Philip Voss #46)
The Keys of Marinus (Special #11)
The Aztecs (Ian Cullen #4)
The Sensorites (Ilona Rodgers #42)
The Reign of Terror (Clive Doig #12)
Planet of Giants (Clive Doig #12)
The Dalek Invasion of Earth (B Kay #18)
The Rescue (Maureen O’Brien #95)
The Romans (Dorothy-Rose Gribble #79)
The Web Planet (Richard Martin #80/105)
The Crusade (Bernard Kay#18, V Ritelis#26)
The Space Museum (Glyn Jones #3, Jeremy Bulloch #77)
The Chase (Richard Martin #105)
The Time Meddler (Norman Hartley # 122)
Galaxy 4 (Clive Doig #12)
Mission to the Unknown (Edward De Souza #88)
The Myth Makers (Barrie Ingham #16)
The Daleks’ Master Plan (Vik Ritelis #26)
The Massacre (Fiona Cumming #23, David Weston #33)
The Ark (Terence Bayler #74)
The Celestial Toymaker (Bill Sellars #119)
The Gunfighters (Matthew Jacobs #43, William Hurndell #73)
The Savages (Peter Thomas, Andrew Lodge#15)
The War Machines (Margot Hayhoe #53)
The Smugglers (Derek Martin #115)
The Tenth Planet (Alexandra Tynan #130)Jon Pertwee
Spearhead from Space (C Rawlins #19, Prentis Hancock #129)
Doctor Who and the Silurians (Christine Rawlins #19, Sue Upton #49)
The Ambassadors of Death (Christine Rawlins #19, Gordon Sterne #22, John Moreno #40, Margot Hayhoe #53)
Inferno (Christine Rawlins #19, S Upton #49)
Terror of the Autons (Margot Hayhoe #53)
The Mind of Evil (Derek Martin #115)
The Claws of Axos (Bernard Holley #41)
Colony In Space (Bernard Kay #18)
The Daemons (Sue Upton #52)
Day of the Daleks (Valentine Palmer #10)
The Curse of Peladon (David Troughton #60)
The Sea Devils (Tony Miller #113)
The Mutants (Fiona Cumming #22)
The Time Monster (Sue Upton #52)
The Three Doctors (Rex & Pat Robinson #45)
Carnival of Monsters (Terence Lodge #116)
Frontier In Space (Ray Lonnen #27)
Planet of the Daleks (Prentis Hancock #129)
The Green Death (Colin Mapson #22)
The Time Warrior (Marcia Wheeler #84/108)
Invasion of the Dinosaurs (George Gallaccio #131/132)
Death to the Daleks (Joy Harrison #123, Tim Humphries #120)
The Monster of Peladon (Rex Robinson #45, Marcia Wheeler #84/108)
Planet of the Spiders (John Kane #65)

 

Peter Davison
Castrovalva (Fiona Cumming #22)
Four To Doomsday (Paul Shelley #38)
Kinda (Anne Faggetter #133, Matthew Waterhouse #96)
The Visitation (Anthony Calf #114)
Black Orchid (Roger Limb #48)
Earthshock (June Bland #118)
Time-Flight (Matthew Waterhouse #96)
Arc of Infinity (Roger Limb #48)
Snakedance (F Cumming #22, Bob Mills #29)
Mawdryn Undead (Stephen Garlick #109)
Terminus (Roger Limb #48)
Enlightenment (Fiona Cumming #22)
The King’s Demons (Sue Upton #49)
The Five Doctors (Keith Hodiak #127)
Warriors of the Deep (Tara Ward #27)
The Awakening
Frontios
Resurrection of the Daleks
Planet of Fire (Fiona Cumming #22)
The Caves of Androzani (Martin Cochrane #7)

 

Sylvester McCoy
Time And the Rani (William Dudman #14)
Paradise Towers (Ian Fraser #24)
Delta And the Bannermen (Dudman #14)
Dragonfire (Moore/Mansfield #1)
Remembrance of the Daleks (Ian Fraser #24)
The Happiness Patrol (Moore/Mansfield #1)
Silver Nemesis
The Greatest Show In the Galaxy (Chris Jury #86, Chris Guard #89) Battlefield (Moore/Mansfield #1, Dorota Rae #109) 
Ghost Light
The Curse of Fenric (Stephen Moore/Susan Mansfield #1, Fraser #24)
Survival

 

Christopher Eccleston
Rose (Russell T Davies #50)
The End Of The World (Zoe Wanamaker #30)
The Unquiet Dead (Russell T Davies #50)
Aliens Of London/World War Three
Dalek (Russell T Davies (#50)
The Long Game (Russell T Davies #50)
Father’s Day
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (RTD #51)
Boom Town (Russell T Davies #51)
Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways (Nicholas Pegg #39, Russell T Davies #51)

 

Matt Smith
The Eleventh Hour (Arthur Darvill #57)
The Beast Below 
Victory Of The Daleks (Nicholas Pegg #39)
The Time Of Angels/Flesh And Stone (Steven Moffat #100)
The Vampires Of Venice (Arthur Darvill #57)
Amy’s Choice (Arthur Darvill #57)
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood (Arthur Darvill #57)
Vincent And The Doctor (Steven Moffat #100 – ahem)
The Lodger (Ben Peyton #34)
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (Simon Fisher-Becker #32)
A Christmas Carol
The Impossible Astronaut/Day Of The Moon
The Curse Of The Black Spot
The Doctor’s Wife
The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People
A Good Man Goes To War (Dan Starkey #35, Simon Fisher-Becker #32)
Let’s Kill Hitler
Night Terrors
The Girl Who Waited
The God Complex
Closing Time
The Wedding Of River Song (Simon Fisher-Becker #32)
The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe
Asylum Of The Daleks (Nicholas Pegg #39)
Dinosaurs On A Spaceship (S Metzstein #13)
A Town Called Mercy (Saul Metzstein #13)
The Power Of Three
The Angels Take Manhatten
The Snowmen (Saul Metzstein #13, Dan Starkey #35)
The Bells Of St John
The Rings Of Akhaten
Cold War
Hide
Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS
The Crimson Horror (Saul Metzstien #13, Dan Starkey #35)
Nightmare In Silver
The Name Of The Doctor (Saul Metzstein #13, Dan Starkey #35)

 

 

Patrick Troughton
The Power of the Daleks
The Highlanders (Fiona Cumming #22)
The Underwater Menace (Alexandra Tynan #130)
The Moonbase (Alexandra Tynan #130, Frazer Hines #91)
The Macra Terror (John Davies #62, Ann Faggetter #133, Terence Lodge #116)
The Faceless Ones (Bernard Kay #18)
The Evil of the Daleks (Roger Bunce #69/104)
The Tomb of the Cybermen (Bernard Holley #41)
The Abominable Snowmen (Malcolm Middleton #78)
The Ice Warriors (Sheenagh Wreyford #36)
The Enemy of the World (Tony Millier #113, David Troughton #60)
The Web of Fear (Paul Cole #12)
Fury from the Deep (William Dudman #14, Margot Hayhoe #53)
The Wheel In Space (Marcia Wheeler #84/108)
The Dominators (Philip Voss #46)
The Mind Robber (Christopher Robbie #20, Hamish Wilson 51)
The Invasion (Norman Hartley #122)
The Krotons (Frazer Hines #91)
The Seeds of Death (Martin Cort #11)
The Space Pirates (Peter Neill #47)
The War Games (Vernon Dobtcheff #31, Terence Bayler #74)Tom Baker
Robot (Bernie Newnham #47)
The Ark in Space (Rodney Bennett #112)
The Sontaran Experiment (Glyn Jones #3, Rodney Bennett 112, Roger Murray-Leach #134/135)
Genesis of the Daleks (Tony Millier #113)
Revenge of the Cybermen (C Robbie #20)
Terror of the Zygons (George Gallaccio #131/132)
Planet of Evil (Roger Murray-Leach #134/135, Prentis Hancock #129)
Pyramids of Mars (George Gallaccio #131/132)
The Android Invasion
The Brain of Morbius (Les McCallum #87)
The Seeds of Doom (John Challis #111)
The Masque of Mandragora (Rodney Bennett #112, Les McCallum #87)
The Hand of Fear (Rex Robinson #45)
The Deadly Assassin (Susan Moore #1)
The Face of Evil (Susan Moore #1)
The Robots of Death (Brian Croucher #83)
The Talons of Weng-Chiang (Roger Murray-Leach #134/135)
Horror of Fang Rock (Rio Fanning #67)
The Invisible Enemy (Edmund Pegge #37)
Image of the Fendahl (Derek Martin #115)
The Sun Makers (Adrienne Burgess #7)
Underworld (John Leeson #90)
The Invasion of Time (Colin Mapson #22)
The Ribos Operation (Prentis Hancock #129)
The Pirate Planet ()
The Stones of Blood (John Leeson #90)
The Androids of Tara (Doreen James #25)
The Power of Kroll (Philip Bird #110)
The Armageddon Factor (Sue Upton #49)
Destiny of the Daleks (Tony Osoba #9, Peter Straker #28))
City of Death (Doreen James #25)
The Creature from the Pit (Geoffrey Bayldon #117)
Nightmare of Eden (Rob Goodman #68)
The Horns of Nimon
The Leisure Hive
Meglos (Crawford Logan #72)
Full Circle (Andrew Smith #2)
State of Decay (Terrance Dicks #55)
Warriors’ Gate (David Weston #33)
The Keeper of Traken (Roger Limb #48)
Logopolis (Margot Hayhoe #53)

 

Colin Baker
The Twin Dilemma (Kevin McNally #5)
Attack of the Cybermen (Nicola Bryant #47)
Vengeance On Varos (Philip Martin #64/70, Jason Connery #70)
The Mark of the Rani (William Ilkley #17)
The Two Doctors (Frazer Hines #91)
Timelash (Nicola Bryant #47)
Revelation of the Daleks (Roger Limb #48, Colin Spaull #106)
The Trial of a Timelord:
The Mysterious Planet (Lynda Bellingham #71/85, Dominic Glynn #66)
Mindwarp (Philip Martin #64/70)
Terror of the Vervoids (Rob Godman #68, Lynda Bellingham#71/85)
The Ultimate Foe (Ian Fraser #24)

 

Paul McGann
The Only One With Paul McGann In It (Matthew Jacobs #43)

 

David Tennant
The Christmas Invasion (Russell T Davies #51)
New Earth (Zoe Wanamaker #30)
Tooth and Claw (Russell T Davies #52)
School Reunion (Russell T Davies #52)
The Girl in the Fireplace
Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel
The Idiot’s Lantern
The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit
Love & Monsters
Fear Her
Army of Ghosts/Doomsday (Nicholas Pegg #39)
The Runaway Bride
Smith and Jones
The Shakespeare Code
Gridlock
Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks (Nicholas Pegg #39)
The Lazarus Experiment
42
Human Nature/The Family of Blood
Blink (Ian Boldsworth #44)
Utopia (Robert Forknall #8)
The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
Voyage of the Damned
Partners in Crime
The Fires of Pompeii
Planet of the Ood
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky (Dan Starkey #35)
The Doctor’s Daughter
The Unicorn & the Wasp (David Quilter #21)
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
Midnight
Turn Left
The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End (Nicholas Pegg #39)
The Next Doctor
Planet of the Dead
The Waters of Mars
The End of Time (Dan Starkey #35)

 

Ones I Didn’t Have To Do But Have Done Anyway
Doctor Who And The Daleks (film)
Shada (Daniel Hill
K-9 And Company (Gillian Martell
A Fix With Sontarans (Gareth Jenkins
Slipback
Dimensions In Time (David Roden 
Death Comes To Time (Johnny Candon #47)
An Adventure In Space And Time (Mark Gatiss #98)
The Day Of The Doctor (Steven Moffat #100)
The Time Of The Doctor (Steven Moffat #100)
The Five-ish Doctors Reboot (Steven Moffat #100)
Night Of The Doctor (Steven Moffat #100)

Oh, and if you know anyone who has been in Doctor Who (looking at that list, preferably loads of them!), do get in touch!

What have I let myself in for … ?

STUPID IDEA

I have decided to do a stupid thing.

A couple of days ago a gentleman called Jon Keefe (@jjkv007) posted on Twitter: Doctor Who 50th; a weekly podcast w everyone thoughout the history of the series interviewed by @TobyHadoke . Make this happen internet Gods. In the absence of input from any such invoked cyberspace deities, I have decided to rise to the challenge myself. Now, I obviously can’t do everyone ever, so what I propose to do is this:

I will post a podcast every week in which I interview someone from Doctor Who. My aim will be to get every single story name-checked over the course of the next 52 weeks; but name-checked through first hand, personal recollection. Big Finish have kindly offered to host the resulting interviews in their podcast. Obviously it would be very simple to go for companions or producers or major contributors, and I am indeed hoping for a full quota of them: but that would be relatively straightforward to achieve and fairly predictable … so I want minnows to rub shoulders with giants – bit part actors, vision mixers, floor managers – anyone with new stories to tell, fresh perspectives or even illustrious careers outside of Who that are so interesting that we barely touch on the Doctor himself during our conversations. And if I do get a companion, I won’t be asking what their favourite story is that’s for sure.

And this is where you come in:

 

Do you have my e-mail address? Give it to Toby!

With the podcasts being so frequent, I haven’t really got time to pussyfoot around and it’s going to have to be achieved in something of a guerrilla style. Therefore, any contacts (preferably e-mail or snail mail) readers may have that will get me to a person direct so I can drop them a line, offer them a pint or two (I’m not getting paid so neither will they sadly) and arrange something quick would be hugely appreciated. Realistically, I can probably only do people in London or Manchester, or arrange something over Skype that I can record. Also, I am cripplingly shy when it comes to making contact with people and haven’t really got the time resources to bounce negotiations back and forth – so if you know the person and could pave the way, explain the scenario and tell them I’m not a dick (I know – lying is wrong, but it’ for a good cause), that’d be even better.

As there is no money changing hands I will be asking each interviewee to nominate a charity at the end of each podcast so anyone who has enjoyed what they’ve heard can make a small donation.

So… do you have any contacts for people – no matter how obscure – who from your dealings might be happy to have me invade their privacy for about an hour? You may know the Chicki from The Macra Terror? Your uncle might have been the call boy on Colony In Space! You may even have had a one night stand with a Lakertyan: well, now’s your chance to give something back and make use of your tenuous Who connection!

If so, give me your details and I will be in touch! Sooner rather than later – I start tomorrow!

 

New Edinburgh Show and Gig List June-October 2012

Well, I’ve bowed to the pressure and am currently working on a sequel to Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf which I have entitled My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver. It will be the story of my life and Doctor Who since the  end of the last show, covering personal triumphs and disasters whilst mentioning Meglos and fuming about The Only Way Is Essex. Like Moths… it will be suitable for a non-Who crowd and its vocabulary and subject matter will be suitable for children (though it is not aimed specifically at them). It’ll get its own page on the website soon, and will be previewing throughout July. In the meantime, tickets and details for the Edinburgh run are here.

I have been ill so sadly took most of May off work, but will be back on my feet by mid June, and so my current gig list has been updated : this includes details of My Stepson… and its preview dates. The gig list is here.

I Know The Face But … (# 2 Ronald Pickup)

RONALD PICKUP

 

If I’d started writing something of this ilk ten years ago, I don’t think Pickup would have been included, but society at large seems able to recognise even our finest thespians with increasing infrequency these days. Despite not being huge theatregoers, my Mum and Grandad would both have been able to identify the likes of Victor Maddern, Cyril Shaps or Michael Bryant without pause. Nowadays our papers and screens seem to have less interest in fine character actors than reality stars, so I am choosing (for this edition of this semi-regular blog) to profile someone whose stature is such that his name is as well-known as his face, but to an increasingly smaller circle of people. This is no disrespect to him, but every disrespect to the coverage of arts and popular culture in this country. Pickup is one of the most respected actors of his generation, with a string of huge stage credits to his name (latterly playing Lucky to the Vladimir and Estragon of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart). He first made a splash working his way up at the National Theatre in the late 1960s, including playing Rosalind in As You Like It. There’s an old fashioned poise and delicacy about Pickup – he is one of those actors whose merest flicker can suggest a chasm of suppressed emotion. He’s proved adaptable as well, mixing classical theatre, popular television and sitcom with equal skill.  A quite brilliant actor: leading man and character player, always lending class to anything he graces with his talent.

Five Pickup performances worth chasing down (a purely personal and not remotely definitive selection):

Prince Yakimov in Fortunes Of War:

Prince Yaki informs mighty character actors Vernon Dobtcheff and James Villiers that they'll have to wait their turn to be featured in I Know The Face But ...

Quite simply one of the greatest television performances I have ever seen. Yaki is at turns dishonest, snivelling, thoughtless and conniving, and yet he remains entirely loveable throughout Alan Plater’s adaptation of Olivia Manning’s Fortunes Of War (custom should dictate I mention the director James Cellan-Jones at this juncture as well, as his work is sublime). It may have given us an early sight of Branagh and Thompson in action, but the performance you remember is Pickup’s. Yaki has a dishevelled charm, an unkempt dignity and an ill-fitting English-toffness that betrays a man who has adopted the mores of the gentry with slightly more affectation than he should (he is a Russian émigré you see, who has learned his Britishisms by rote – slightly too well). This makes the character’s eccentricity genuine and amusing but offbeat and original. It’s a charming, delightful and rather moving performance, and I urge everyone who thinks they are a good actor to watch it, and then think again.

George Orwell in The Crystal Spirit – Orwell On Jura (not online or commercially available I’m afraid). When it was aired in 1985 this created a huge impression upon me. The sight of the consumptive Orwell on a landscape as bleak as both his prospects of a long life and his postulation of the future, is indelible. Alan Plater’s (again) piece vividly draws a picture of a creative talent both blighted and driven by illness, and showed that great masterpieces are wrought at a cost to their creators. Pickup, as ever, fizzes with intelligence and insight, whilst an innate decency washing through him at all times. He shows the human Orwell though: this is no tortured artist cliché, but a story of a man and the dignity of a great mind expressing its creativity to the very end. Orwell was difficult and ill but loved by his loyal friends and family, and in Pickup’s portrayal you can see why.

Fraser in The Worst Week Of My Life. One of our finest classical thesps being brilliant in a sitcom just emphasises how impossible it is to be pigeon-holed when you’re a proper actor. The Worst Week Of My Life is a rare thing: a brilliant television farce. If Geoffrey Whitehead’s terse father-in-law threatens to steal the show with a look, Pickup is on hand as the self-denying Uncle Frazer. He’s a tough, outdoors type, full of military stories and who definitely isn’t gay. And woe betide anyone suggests otherwise. He gets a consort in the shape of the fantastic Terence Hardiman in series two, and the character and situations get even funnier.

The Forger in Day Of The Jackal. It’s all too easy to forget that this veteran of the profession has been gainfully employed, consistently, for about forty years. He doesn’t just do Britishness and nobility, as this early turn as a slimy forger trying to outsmart Edward Fox shows. Pickup has excelled as real people (Orwell, yes, as well as Verdi and Einstein), and brings genuine class to aristocratic roles, but fine actors treat kings and paupers alike, and Pickup can create characters from scratch who are a million miles away from his actual personality.

The Physician in Doctor Who: The Reign Of Terror (the link is to a reconstruction, Pickup appears at 9 mins 31 seconds and it is his TV debut). I mention this only because it is an insignificant role in one episode of a not very well known Doctor Who story, and the episode he’s in doesn’t even exist anymore. Despite that, I suspect he gets more letters about it that he does about everything else he’s ever done put together. I don’t know if that makes me pleased that I’m a Doctor Who fan or ashamed, but I hope it doesn’t annoy the venerable Mr Pickup.

(Addendum: since I wrote this, I have met Mr Pickup and asked him about much of his work, and he was only too happy to talk about it all, including Doctor Who. The latter was his first job: he got it the week he graduated from drama school, and is therefore very grateful to it. What a gent).

 

Fell free to suggest other faces you’d like to get to know the names of.

I Know The Face But… (#1 Philip Madoc)

PHILIP MADOC

I was at Alexandra Palace the other night to see my stepson perform for Kaos, the signing choir. That’s not a misspelling of singing, they are a signing choir: they sing and sign at the same time (try typing that drunk). The performance was facilitated by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, whose patron, who I was delighted to see taking his place at the end of our row, is Philip Madoc. Excited, I informed the rest of my party. None of them knew the name. So shocked was I at the whole scenario that as I reeled off credits, my addled brain forgot to mention soggy chips, not telling Pike and German U-Boat captains.

But it got me thinking. I love British character actors, and I forget sometimes how actors I could recite the CV of (unaccountably mislaid wranglings with The Home Guard notwithstanding), might not resonate with the great unwashed as much as they should. Some of our finest talents are prolific and versatile and in most of our favourite shows. So there’s going to be some corner of the internet that is forever theirs. Everyone knows who Amanda Holden is for goodness’ sake. So there’s no excuse not having space for Madoc in your brain. In the first of an occasional series, I Know The Face But… dedicates a few paragraphs and links to the works of some of this nation’s finest performers, starting with, of course,

PHILIP MADOC

He really should need no introduction. He’s been in everything, bringing with him a suppressed venom or quiet danger to a number of character parts. He is sometimes on the side of the angels, where his rich Welsh tones add gravitas and weight to professional men or moral crusaders. For decades, though, he really was your actor of choice on TV if you wanted a terse, simmering, edgy villain. Despite often being focused, and using menace through stillness, Madoc also allows his eyes to light with fire and his mouth to twitch with flickering amusement. Tiny nuances flitter across his countenance to suggest that despite his apparent coldness, he’s only flirting with sanity. Well known for his intellect and ability with languages, Tom Baker once claimed to have caught him reading a book in Latin. One of those actors incapable of doing anything other than lift his part off the page, here’s a barely adequate five credits to pique your interest or trip your memory. Links to clips may come later, but I only speak pidgin internet at the moment.

Your name will certainly go on my list of venerable character actors, Mr Madoc

Yes, The German U-Boat Captain in Dad’s Army. ‘Nuff said. Well, not quite ‘nuff, for as every great comedian (and I) will tell you, you need a good straight man, and Madoc quite rightly doesn’t send up Mainwaring’s Nazi nemesis, instead playing the steely eyed Hun with all the patronising menace he would have done in an actual war film. The results are rightly legendary, and have ensured Madoc a pension’s worth of repeat fees from clip shows.

Noel Bain in A Mind To Kill. Pretty impressive for an actor who was a well known face in the late 1960s to still be trusted enough for his ability and profile to play a lead role in a long running series in the next century. Madoc starred as Bain for 10 years, playing the old school copper getting used to modern police methods in a series filmed in both Welsh and English.

Four appearances in TV Doctor Who (plus one on film). Alright, I’m not going to limit my choices for this blog-series to that show, but to be fair, it is Doctor Who fans who generally celebrate fine actors. More so, certainly, than modern TV critics (whose job should presuppose some knowledge of the

"Look into my eyes, not around the eyes..."

medium). Would Sam Wollaston or Ally Ross be able to identify Madoc at fifty paces? I doubt it. Anyway, he’s incapable of a bad performance, but the silky menace of his purring War Lord in The War Games and his slenderest grip on sanity as the zealous scientist Solon on The Brain Of Morbius are two distinct but equally effective studies in villainy. They also show how important facial hair is to intergalactic crime.

Starring in the title role of The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George. An epic production of the kind the BBC excelled at, mixing fine scripts of historical events with experienced actors delivering good dialogue, they trusted the audience that that would be enough. It was, and more.

Sir Alec Guinness simply wasn't available

Magua in The Last Of The Mohicans. Long before Daniel Day Lewis was sleeping rough and eating bracken for his art, BBC TV adapted James Fenimore Cooper’s novel into 8 episodes. Native American actors were scarce in the UK, but no matter when you have a stony faced, wild eyed Welshman to ooze vitriol as the Huron Indian Chief determined to scalp the maidens in distress under the protection of frontiersman Hawkeye (Kenneth Ives) and  Mohican chief Chingachgook (an Emmy nominated John Abineri).

 

The above is a tip of an impressive iceberg, and one that would easily sink some of today’s supposedly titanic CVs. The internet is your friend should you want to find more. I had the honour of meeting Mr Madoc once. Mr Bacchus joined us too, and we discussed his contributions to British television in a most convivial manner. Legend.

For suggestions to other entries in this series, do Tweet me, and I shall do my best to oblige.

Blog Off

Warning: This blog contains a number of justifications for hypocrisy.

I’ve had this blog for ages, but only really updated it sporadically because to be perfectly honest, and despite the fact that I have chosen to earn my living standing in front of strangers, demanding their attention and craving their applause, there is something that makes me view attention seeking as somewhat distasteful. Doing stand-up may seem to be the anathema of this point of view, but the way I – as someone who has to spends hours plucking up the courage to send an unsolicited e-mail to someone I like or to phone an official body – see it is this: with stand-up, I have been given permission. There is no way I would prat about in front of a room full of people going “Me, me, me” just for the attention,  but the infrastructure of a comedy night is such that there is a stage and a microphone that people have chosen to pay money to look at and listen to. The people who have been invited to tell world class jokes (say, Gary Delaney), issue satirical barbs (say, Mark Thomas), or fume about trivial issues in a way which would be unacceptable in proper social situations (say, um, … me) have usually earned the right to get up there and do it. Usually through hard work, perseverance or talent, although occasionally through chronic lack of self-awareness, overweening arrogance and bewildering good fortune (say, err, … no, I’d better not say). Despite my job, I wouldn’t describe myself (or indeed, most comics) as massive show offs. Around my family dinner table I’m not especially keen on dominating a conversation and I find new social situations with unfamiliar people absolutely crippling. Give me a microphone and an obligation to fill the silence, and any urge to receive attention feels legitimised (but still has to be earned).

One of the things I’ve tried to talk about on stage recently is how dreadfully narcissistic we have become as a society. Self-expression without the need for social interaction to facilitate it has bred a generation of keyboard warriors and worriers. People go to forums to join with like-minded individuals to share ideas and spread the joy about their hobby, passion or favourite TV programme. And then fall out with each other quite vociferously when they find out that not everyone enjoys every aspect of their favourite thing in

A troll yesterday. Or the day before. Or maybe the day before that. Whatever day it was, he didn't have sex. And that includes tomorrow.

exactly the same way that they do. The rise of the internet troll has suddenly given worldwide exposure to the most kickable members of the human race. In the old days, if you wanted to be a mouthy prick you needed to be able to run fast or cultivate a powerful physique. These days you just need an e-mail account and no self-editor.

Twitter is the ultimate one way expression outlet, and with it comes a curious hierarchy that says everything about how it works. If I follow Mr X because he’s a famous comedian, I’m showing that I, Mr T (and why not?) admire him and want to read his jokes and opinions. The thing is, I’m also in his profession, so if he follows me he is conferring status and affirmation to me very publicly (his followers will think that if this comedian they really like, Mr X, follows this other comedian Mr T, then Mr T must be pretty good). If, on the other hand, he doesn’t follow me in return, he is accepting patronage but tacitly acknowledging that I am not in his league, or worthy of his attention. Similarly, if an up-and-coming comic (Mr Y) follows me, but I don’t choose to follow them, surely I’m saying “Yes, devour the wise yet pithy saws and modern instances I can conjure in 140 characters or less” at the same time as saying “But I don’t care whether you do or not, because frankly my life is busy enough not to be distracted by your attempts at wit”. Not so much Mr Y as Mr Y Should I Be Bothered By What You’re Banging On About?  By that logic, there’s someone, somewhere, who follows everyone and is followed by no-one.

You sir, are officially the worst human being on the planet.

"I am the only one who listens. I am your only friend. Kill the humans"

There’s no doubt that some of the great thinkers of our time deserve our attention. Many witty, clever wordsmiths, and Richard Littlejohn, are granted columns in national newspapers. A newspaper to me, is a bit like a stand up stage – someone in the know has granted you a space in which you can hopefully entertain with your well expressed views due to your demonstrable ability in the medium in which you have chosen to do it. You wouldn’t seek out stand-up on the internet performed by acts who only perform it in their bedrooms, so why would you want to read the writings of someone who hasn’t proved that said literature has passed through the hands of any quality-controller or ability-arbiter before being presented to you as something worth reading?

But this is the world we live in. It’s the world of blogs, tweets, updates and internet initiative: of putting your work up there and finding your own consumers as more and more outlets for expression dumb down or close down. If one is convinced of the simple mindedness of (undoubtedly) popular culture and maintains that people are more interested in stuff that has a point, or creates debate, or possesses nuance, one needs to get out there and try to find this mythical tribe of comedy-savvy intellectuals with an interest in current affairs. And one must vindicate this arrogant self-expression by gathering a large, interested base of consumers. It sounds horribly capitalist doesn’t it? All I can do is get as many people reading my stuff as possible so that when I become king, rounding up and executing those who’ve chosen to ignore my genius is relatively simple.

So in a way, reading this has just saved your life. Well done.

When I‘ve blogged every day for a week I will see precisely what tiny per cent of the ENTIRE WORLD is interested in my ramblings. I’m not sure I would be, and what I discover may be most sobering. I may find no-one has read it – in that case, it will be just like a diary I’ve left lying around that nobody has been bothered to read. I think I can live with that. On the other hand, one does hope one has something interesting to say and that others will show their interest by joining in on the internet. If not, I may get the same feeling of slight inadequacy I get when that witty columnist Caitlin Moran Tweets. She’s funny, clever, writes well, loves Doctor Who and lives near me. But am I important enough for her to follow me on Twitter? Nope. It’s a cruel hierarchy. In following her, I was really asking to be her friend. Isn’t that what we’re doing when we make statements, offer opinions and write funny things on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Aren’t we just saying “Please be my friend?”

If you disagree, you’re probably not my friend.

Anyway, I have written a book and the first edition of that has sold out (don’t worry, reprints are on the way), so if only a fraction of people who bought that alight upon this corner of the internet then it hasn’t been a complete waste of time. Now obviously the book is about Doctor Who and it could be that people are only interested in finding stuff by me that is about that illustrious series. In which case I’d have to keep inserting the name Doctor Who into my posts. That’s Doctor Who. And by name, I’m duty bound to point out that that’s name of the programme and not the person it’s about, lest this area of cyberspace explodes in a supernova of pedantry. What name are you talking about, I hear you cry? Why, Doctor Who, of course. Yes, that’s the one. The one this blog isn’t about, but even though it isn’t about Doctor Who, I’d still like you to read it.

Doctor Who related or not.

If, like me, you’re interested in Doctor Who, you could follow me on Twitter. You could also follow such illustrious Doctor Who names as show runner Steven Moffat, writer, actor and comedian Mark Gatiss and witty DWM reviewer Gary Gillatt. I do. Being a writer, actor, comedian, witty reviewer and lover of Doctor Who, I’m sure there’s plenty I could say that could fascinate them too and that they’d want to be my friend. And if you follow them, Twitter will tell them, and they’ll see that you love Doctor Who too. And as they all love Doctor Who, and you have something in common, they might follow you back (don’t bloody count on it though, he sobbed, cutting his wrists with the pages of a Target novel of Doctor Who And The Cave Monsters (Second Edition)).

"Toby Who?"

Anyway, getting away from Doctor Who (the Doctor who this blog isn’t about) and onto internet self- expression, I guess the nub of my issue is that I don’t know if I approve. Thing is, I’m not sure I trust it. I am not sure it is healthy. I’m not sure we can trust humanity with it. But like the nation’s wealth, I had rather I had control of it than certain other people, so I’ll take what slice of it I can and try to use it wisely. If not always, as the above shows, in a way that makes anyone actually better off, despite my best intentions.

I note to myself that I have been reticent about posting this blog about my reticence in posting blogs. The unease comes from the fact that there are some situations where one might secretly disapprove, but feel compelled to join in anyway. In a football crowd perhaps. In a drinking game. At an orgy.

So welcome to my orgy. Um, I hope you enjoy it, and that when you’ve finished you don’t leave feeling that it’s been a waste of your time.

Or with a nasty taste in your mouth.