LOOKING FOR TELOS – “Daleks’ Invasion of Earth 2150 AD”

SAM: And now, we continue our wonderful Technicolour journey through the Peter Cushing Dalek movies, still accompanied by the incomparable Jake Black (go buy The Book of the Peace, people) – with the second and last movie. A retelling of The Dalek Invasion of Earth, but with more Wilfred Mott. And, apparently, if Jake hasn’t lied to us, a lot more weird goofy shit. Are you excited? I’m excited.

KEVIN: It has Bernard Cribbins and we have Jake, I’m excited!

JAKE: Thanks for having me again guys! One last thing to remember though, not only do we have Bernard Cribbins, but Barbara is replaced by the Doctor’s niece Louise in this film! For some reason. Susan’s still here though. 

KEVIN: I like how that implies that the Doctor has a sibling to have a niece. Irving Braxiatel is film canon.

SAM: Doesn’t Missy mention having a daughter in The Witch’s Familiar, too? Just sayin’ …


JAKE: Sacha Dhawan would have Leekley-flavored words with you. 

SAM: Maybe they’re just friends! Y’know, the way you introduce your fuckbuddy as “uncle something” to your children. Probably. I don’t have children.

JAKE: The Master as played by Christopher Lee and Braxiatel as played by Vincent Price.

SAM: No need to … Hammer it home, Jake … 

KEVIN: We’ve not started yet and you’re already both cancelled.

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LOOKING FOR TELOS – “Dr. Who and the Daleks”

KEVIN: Hello! We’re back, as you can see, but we’re doing something a little different this time. While we take a break between the Hartnell era and whoever that next clown is, we figured it would be a good time to sidestep into the other early 60s Doctor: Peter Cushing. I know very little about these movies, but I know he totally counts, as our guest today has assured me. And yes, we have a guest! Hello, Jake!

JAKE: Hello friends! Thanks for having me on, especially for this! Cushing is genuinely one of my favorite Doctors, so I’m really excited you both get to experience this. 

KEVIN: For those who don’t know, Jake Black, in addition to being a brilliant friend, is an author of various things, including several stories for the current Faction Paradox line at Obverse. As such, our takes are even more valid today, because he’s got a page on the Doctor Who wiki. This is very official.

SAM: We’re even more valid than the Wiki, though, because instead of refusing to make a page for LGBT characters, we’re all gay. In any case, I’m also here, and excited, and I know nothing about these movies except the fact there’s a lot of very pretty Dalek boys of all colours and they go kaboom and it’s, presumably, fun.

KEVIN: I thought you were going to say “very pretty Thal boys” and feared I’d have to use a certain Thor gif.

JAKE: Actually, gay eyeliner aside, the costumes in this don’t hold a candle to the slit leggings from the original serial. 

KEVIN: Let’s see for ourselves! Let’s roll!

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LOOKING FOR TELOS – “The Tenth Planet”

KEVIN: And here Sam and I are at the Hartnell’s final serial, The Tenth Planet. The first Doctor’s death knell. Hart-knell?

SAM: I’m a bit sad to see him go. I mean, it’s not like he didn’t have about a thousand expanded universe appearances. And that he didn’t show up in Three Doctors. And that a weird doppelganger of him appeared in 1983. And another in 2017. But point is – there’s something really unique and beautiful about this era, and it’s a shame my time discovering it has come to an end. Still, I expect I’ll have plenty of Marco Polo-and-mojitos parties in the future with friends.

KEVIN: Can I just say, though: it’s been an absolute privilege to share this era with you! Hartnell’s is a favorite time in the show for me, and it’s been a real thrill showing it to a friend, and watching them discover just how good it all is. You were a classic Who skeptic! And this won you over.

SAM: Awwwww. This is cute. We’re cute. You know what’s also cute? Dead, rotting corpses wrapped in bandages attacking polar bases. And yes, I mean that very seriously. Let’s roll!

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LOOKING FOR TELOS – “The Smugglers”

KEVIN: So here Sam and I are, back yet again to watch the first serial of Doctor Who’s fourth season, The Smugglers. Let’s mix it up: Sam, why don’t you start by telling us what you know about this story?

SAM: Well, Kevin, I know three things about The Smugglers. One, it’s entirely missing. Two, it kind of sort of got a sequel in NuWho with Curse of the Black Spot. Three, among my friends who know their Classic Who, it has the reputation of being the most boring serial in Who history.

KEVIN: Congratulations. You’ve given a brilliant summary of the critical consensus to this story, as far as I’m aware. Let’s see if we can come up with anything more than that by watching it. I will say, I remember very little of it from last time, but it’s got two points which make me inclined towards liking it. Firstly, it’s a Hartnell historical. Secondly, it’s a companion first trip story. I love those story modes. Let’s hope I love them enough to survive this serial.

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LOOKING FOR TELOS – “The War Machines”

KEVIN: So, I guess this is becoming the place where I rattle off some facts to introduce the story. Well, Sam and I are about to type away through The War Machines, the final serial of Doctor Who’s third season, and we’ve got some real milestones here. I mean, first, it entirely exists. Second, it’s the first story set in the present day since Planet of Giants and the introduction to the invasion action story format we’ll be seeing a lot more of in future. It’s the debut of some new contemporary companions in Ben and Polly, the departure of Dodo, the origin for one of our favorite Big Finish box sets (yes, Yvonne Hartmann vs WOTAN is necessary)… but I think the biggest piece to me is that, though it’s taken us a while, we’re a couple hours away from finishing the longest season in Doctor Who history. 45 episodes, so many of which missing. That’s a hell of an achievement, isn’t it?

SAM: It is. I mean – we spent two whole years on it. I’m going to stop making that joke, now, it’s run its course. But yeah. Obviously that wasn’t planned, we just had a lot of stuff on our respective plates (including moving to the UK for me!), but it’s kind of fitting, I think, especially given we stopped after Master Plan the first time. It feels like such a rupture with the two first seasons, which is in itself surprising because those are already very sprawling, and it’s hard to get down at one thing that’d be their essence. But season three is this … just massive chunk of the show going off the rails, sometimes in a controlled way, sometimes not. It’s a truly odd thing to watch, and it’s a lot harder to get hooked on than the first couple years of the show, but I genuinely did enjoy going through it a lot. There’s a real rewarding quality to it, I think – you get to see so much of the weirdness and confusion that came to define Who take shape, and it’s kind of wonderful. Anyway, now for some robots. 

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KEVIN: We’re back! This week, we’re on the penultimate Doctor Who serial of season 3! Only took us, like, three years.

SAM: One year per season number. Hope you’re ready for those hot hot Evil of the Daleks takes in 2024.

KEVIN: And speaking of Evil of the Daleks, not only do we get companion turnover this week, but we get to discuss our good old friend in classic Who: racism. Cuz this week, there be blackface.

SAM: It’s always fun to be reminded that Who had to work its way up to Toberman in “Tomb of the Cyberman”.

KEVIN: So, for the third serial of the last four, we get to have a very fun argument: is it racist? Some say this is a story about racism. Most say nothing because they’ve not watched it, which, valid. We just said The Ark was a story about racism, and that didn’t have anyone blacking up, which seems like a reasonable baseline standard to me. But let’s see how we feel about this.

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LOOKING FOR TELOS – “The Gunfighters”

KEVIN: Another day, another serial! And I get all the treats, because it’s

1. One I love

2. One Sam hasn’t seen and 

3. Entirely exists.

I am so spoiled today.

SAM: I haven’t seen most of these going forwards, really. It’s gonna be fun. Anyway, from what I’ve gathered, I can’t wait for Will Hartnell to do the dentist song from Little Shop of Horrors in an impeccable burlesque Western choreography. 

KEVIN: God dammit, why do you have to have even better ideas than what we’re about to watch. Now I’ll be disappointed the whole time.

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INTERVIEW – William Shaw, the Leaf and “Rings of Akhaten”

The Black Archive line, edited by Obverse books has been for the last few years one of the true bastions of thorough, academic research in the fandom – given that, and the fact that some of the people involved in the site are writing books of their own for the range, and also the fact that Rings of Akhaten unquestionably slaps and is the best episode of the Matt Smith years and deserves a definitive defence, it was only natural for us to invite William Shaw, friend of and occasional contributor to the site, student of dril and editor extraordinaire, to talk us through the writing process of his monography on the episode, and to tell us what it is really about …

The Black Archive #42: The Rings of Akhaten was released in early April 2020, and is available right now in ebook and physical format on the Obverse Books website.

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