By James Chapman
During this examine of a tv institution--the first to attract greatly at the complete riches of the BBC Written Archives--James Chapman explores the background of Doctor Who from its origins to the current day. He exhibits how the sequence has advanced to satisfy altering institutional and cultural contexts, whereas holding its quirky, eccentric and distinctively British features. And he demonstrates how the creation historical past of the sequence has allowed it to resume and refresh its layout according to advancements within the wider international of technology fiction.
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Extra info for Inside the Tardis: The Worlds of Doctor Who
The machine has long been disabled, but the Voords, who want to use its power for their own ends, now seek to reactivate it. The Keeper sends the Doctor and his companions to find four 'micro circuits' that he has hidden all over Marinus. 'The Keys of Marinus' is an example of the picaresque in which each episode is not only relatively self-contained but also takes place in a different planetary environment: the city of Morphoton where 'people are perhaps the most contented in the universe' but where external appearances prove deceptive; a living jungle that attacks the travellers; a freezing tundra where the key is in an ice cave protected by mysterious guardians; and the petty bureaucratic city-state of Millennius, where Ian finds himself on trial for the theft of the key.
It brings to mind the fantastic worlds of children's fiction (Wonderland, Narnia, Oz) and to this extent renders Susan's excursion there safe: nothing really bad could happen to her in this magical kingdom. The Daleks, now colour-coded according to function, are also less frightening in bright primary colours, looking more like the toy Daleks flooding the toyshops in 1965 than the sinister silver-grey creatures of the television series. D. makes extensive use of locations (the Dalek rising from the Thames, for example, is impressively staged) and has a more realistic visual style appropriate to its Earthbound location.
Like all popular cultural phenomena, it was a historically specific and short lived craze. In 1966, 'Dalekmania' gave way to 'Batmania' following the success of the colourful American comic-strip series Batman. Subotsky and Rosenberg did not take up their option for a third film. The two Dalek films may have lacked the narrative complexity of the television series, but they were significant in one very important respect: they had suggested, for the first time, that there might conceivably be another 'Doctor Who'.