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Down Memory Lane in a TARDIS

A Review of the Second Chch Doctor Who Day

By Steve Meikle

I hope that the turnout of 81 at the recent Second Doctor Who Day augurs well for the future. It was twice the numbers expected and the organisers are to be congratulated for drawing such a number and running the show with aplomb and relative efficiency.

After the routine business of opening, two videos were simultaneously shown. The same happened after lunch, and again for the final session. Just prior to closing, prizes were given and an anonymous reviewer was viciously assaulted by an unaimed jelly baby hitting him on the head at high speed, and leaving a sizable lump. No, it wasn't a Dalek torture, it was the traditional Jelly Baby Scramble religiously done in honour of the sainted Fourth Doctor.

The copy of The Web Planet left much to be desired as regards picture, and particularly, sound quality, but, being old enough to remember a Time when Doctor Who was regarded as a late-nite horror show I have always had a fond reminiscence of the hieratic and hierarchic first Doctor, stern and mysterious, and so deemed it worth persevering.

I found the story quite cute, not quite as I expected, but it was an enjoyable trip down memory lane, not so much for that particular story, which I never saw, but for a glimpse of the venerable first Doctor. They don't regenerate them like they used to.

For the claustrophobic and the elderly needing fresh air the nefarious and Mephistophelian mind of Herr Reichsmarshall Richard Scheib provided the diversion of a treasure hunt, sending us unfortunates on the warpath following clues to answer the six lofty and terrible questions which comprised the key to time. The air was bracing, and the puns were obscure and terrible. Who else but the mind of Richard (is he The Mind of Evil, or The Brain of Morbius, or, Rassilon forbid, The Great Intelligence) could have guessed that a miniature fish was in fact a micro-fiche? Answer: The Master, and the bright spark on the winning team who cracked it.

It was, all said and done, an enjoyable event, but universal odium goes on the heads of Jason Stevenson and Rosemary Shaw, for defacing clues, in short, for cheating.

I rested my weary bones watching Sylvester McCoy give an impressive rendition in Survival in which the new spirit of the age had much of the initiative for saving the party from the world of teleporting cats. He looks like a demented Teddy Bear, but he has a style all of his own, and quite a strength of character, and on the strength of this the latest Doctor has, it seems at least to me, finally taken his place in the hearts of Who fandom after some weird first impression. Bring on season 27!!

We departed, sated with video and activity, at about 7pm, and I hope that these days can become a regular feature, though I must admit that for me the high point of the day came with my team winning the prize for the treasure hunt. Hardly ever winning anything, I found it most gratifying to be presented with a pile of novelisations and being invited to take my pick. My choice? Two first Doctor stories, naturally.

Congratulations, management, on a good time all round.

This item appeared in TSV 18 (May 1990).