Dr. Who - Traveller ExtraordinaryIn 1966, the international radio and television company Stanmark Productions announced their attempts to launch Doctor Who as a radio serial, primarily for overseas broadcast, following the successful foreign radio productions of British TV programmes such as The Avengers. Contemporary press adverts announced that the series would star Peter Cushing as the Doctor, continuing in the role he had portrayed in the Aaru films Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150AD (1966). Accompanied by two young companions named Susan and Mike, the radio Doctor was apparently all set for adventures with Marco Polo, Julius Caesar and the American Revolution. In May 1989 a reader-letter to fan magazine The Frame prompted a reprinting of both the original press cutting and an information pack from Stanmark Productions that had been sent out in early 1967 to curious readers. The advertisement ran as follows:
Time and Space and the realms of the unknown are yet to be fully explored by mankind but their secrets are already known to one person, Dr. Who - Traveller Extraordinary.
Dr. Who's "Space" adversaries include invincible robots, giant insects and invisable monsters - his "Time" adventures involve him with Marco Polo, the American Revolution, Julius Caesar, the Neanderthal Man, the sailing of The Mayflower to the "New World" and many other famous events from our planet's history.
Dr. Who, together with his young companions, Susan and Mike, flashes across the centuries in his Time-Machine "TARDIS" in this series of brilliantly exciting adventures involving them all in deadly danger, fearful intrigues and the weird and wonderful mysteries of space and time.
From the B.B.C.'s most successful television program [sic] comes the amazing "Dr. Who" now available for the first time on radio as a 25-minute serial. A further 51 episodes are in production.
Exploration Earth: The Time Machine
That programme was written by Bernard Venables. Those taking part were Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and John Westbrook. Special sounds were by Dick Mills of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The production was by David Little.
Doctor Who: Slipback with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Jon Glover, Jane Carr, Valentine Dyall, Ron Pember, Nick Revell and Alan Thomspon. The script was written by Eric Saward and produced by Paul Spencer
The Paradise of Death
12th April - 24th May 1994, BBC Radio 5 (repeat)
The Paradise of Death was written by Barry Letts and starred Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, with Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge Stewert, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Harold Innocent as Freeth, Peter Miles as Tragan, Maurice Denham as the President, Richard Pearce as Jeremy Fitzoliver, Jonathan Tafler as Captain Waldo Rudley and Jane Slavin as Onya. Title music was composed by Ron Grainer and arranged by Peter Howell. Additional music by Peter Howell of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The director was Phil Clarke.
Whatever Happened to Dr. Who's grand-daughter, Susan Foreman of class 4B?
In Whatever Happened To... Susan, Susan was played by Jane Asher and Ian by James Grout. Other parts were played by June Barne, Eva Haddon, Andrew Sachs, Peter Woodthorpe and Barry Harrison. Claire Rayner appeared as herself. Whatever Happened To... Susan was written by Adrian Mourby and produced in Bristol by Brian King.
The Ghosts of N-Space
The Ghosts Of N-Space was written by Barry Letts and starred Jon Petwee as the Doctor, with Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Richard Pearce as Jeremy Fitzoliver, Jonathan Tafler as Clemenza, Don McCorkindale as Don Fabrizzio, Stephen Thorne as Max, David Holt as Nico, Sandra Dickinson as Maggie, Harry Towb as Mario, Deborah Berlin as Louisa, Peter Yapp as Umberto, Joanne Sergeant as Maid, Paul Brooke as Paolo, Gavin Muir as Barone, Jillie Meers as Baronessa / Marcella, Jonathan Keeble as Roberto and Jim Sweeney as Guido. Title music was composed by Ron Grainer and arranged by Peter Howell. Additional music by Peter Howell of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The director was Phil Clarke.
The Brigadier's ancient Great-uncle Mario seems unsurprised by the spectres which haunt his even more ancient Sicilian castle, but when the Doctor comes to investigate he faces a danger as great as any he has yet encountered.
This 1994 radio recording was the second and more controversial of the mid-'90s Pertwee serials. Following directly on from The Paradise Of Death, fitting once more into the supposed continuity gap between The Time Warrior and Invasion and starring Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen and Richard Pearce, the six-part story unfortunately failed either to improve upon the faults of the first story or provide modest entertainment for casual radio listeners. Barry Letts' scripts have attracted a large amount of criticism for substituting the original definition of N-Space as 'normal-space' (most expressively identified throughout the E-Space trilogy of Season 18, for which Letts was Executive Producer) for his own 'null-space', a place where the undead await their fate. The ghost-like nature of the story was also felt by many to be far from the traditional Doctor Who story Letts and Co. were supposed to be recreating, and contemporary reviews were quick to criticise the project for ignoring its stated purpose.
Originally scheduled to tie-in with Letts' novelisation of the scripts as a Virgin Missing Adventure, a sizeable delay in broadcast led Doctor Who Magazine's Dave Owen to note that, "rather than sounding like an original radio drama, the production (...) effectively [became] a dramatisation of the book" (DWM 238). Pertwee's performance was less-energetic than before, his role slightly diminished under the large supporting cast and his voice apparently straining to perform the lines. The Sarah-Jane/Jeremy relationship and the Brigadier's frustration with his flambouyant uncle continued the humourous themes left-over from Paradise, but the prominance of loud and lengthly sound effects made listening a tiring experience.
The episodes were finally aired on BBC Radio 2 (as Radio 5 had since reformed itself as a news channel) with a simultaneous double-cassette release, available at Woolworths in a glow-in-the-dark sleeve. The cassette versions featured 'clean' closing music on episodes 1 - 5 (dubbed cast announcements were removed), and episodes 2 and 5 were split over two sides. This version of the story was re-issued over 3 CDs in 2000, as part of the Doctor Who BBC Radio Collection. The story has since been repeated on numerous occasions on the BBC's digital radio station BBC7.
The Wire: Regenerations
Penned by Daragh Carville and starring Michael Colgan, Miche Doherty, Tim Loane, Richard Dormer, Justine Mitchell, Thomas Lappin & Alan McKee. Special guest appearances by Tom Baker and Sophie Aldred. Produced by Gemma McMullan
For a time when I was a student I lived on University Road in Belfast, opposite a hotel called Renshaws. About once a month, on a Sunday morning, I would stagger out of the flat, bleary-eyed and hung over, and be confronted by the sight of a Klingon in full battle-dress, or a member of Starfleet, phaser at the ready. An odd sight at the best of times, but even odder on a damp Sunday morning in Belfast. My response, the only one appropriate under the circumstances, would be to keep my head down and shuffle on through, ignoring them, muttering about bloody Star Trek fans. As a playwright I’ve always tried to write plays about Northern Ireland that aren’t like other plays about Northern Ireland. When I started writing, I was sick and tired of the iconography of the ‘balaclava dramas’ that used to come out of this place. They said nothing to me about my life, as that old whinger Morrissey used to sing. At the same time, though, I knew as a writer that it would be irresponsible just to keep your head down and pretend that the Troubles never happened, or that sectarianism and violence never affected people’s lives here. So in my own work I’ve tried to find new and distinctive ways to talk about Northern Ireland, about issues of identity and belonging, politics and language and culture and history in this place. I’ve tried, as I say, to write plays about Northern Ireland that aren’t like other plays about Northern Ireland.
When I was asked to write something for ‘The Wire’, then, I went back to that image of the Sunday morning Belfast Sci-Fi fans, gathering together for their monthly meeting at Renshaws, those people who seemed so totally alien and out-of-place and at home with themselves. And so I’ve written Regenerations.
Regenerations is a kind of gay love story set at a ‘Doctor Who’ convention in Belfast during the marching season. Gary Mitchell it ain’t. It’s a play about a group of old friends, brought together initially by a love of ‘Doctor Who’, who are finally forced to step back and take a look at themselves and work out what it is they really have in common, what they really share. It’s a play about reality and illusions, about growing up, and what you can take with you and what you have to leave behind. It’s about the condition of being an outsider, an alien, in a culture that doesn’t seem able to accommodate you or represent you fully.
It’s also, I hope, a fast and funny play. And it has Tom Baker in it. What more can I say?
Daragh Carville(c) BBC Radio 3 Online November 2001. Used without permission. No breach of copyright intended.
Big Finish on BBC7Storm Warning tx: 6th - 27th August 2005, 18.30 & 00.30
Dalek I Love Youtx: 11th February 2006, 6pm & midnight, BBC Radio 7