The Doctors: The Pat Troughton Years – Behind the Scenes Vol. 1
Prod Keith Barnfather, UK 2022 timetraveltv.com, £15.00 (DVD)
There’s an introduction by Nicholas “Voice of the Daleks” Briggs
This DVD presents over five hours of Doctor Who behind the scenes material, made by Reeltime Pictures as part of their Mythmakers strand. Reeltime have been going since 1984, and as well as several standalone dramas have produced something like 150 interview discs relating to Doctor Who.
Disc one, with the interviews carried out by Nicholas “Voice of the Daleks” Briggs, has three interviewees, all now sadly departed. First is Shaun Sutton, BBC Head of Drama at the time. His is the longest career of anyone interviewed, and saw him interacting with the good Doctor in incarnations from William Hartnell through to Tom Baker. It’s also, though, the interview with the least Who content. Sutton’s job was to oversee numerous productions, rather than the day-to-day running of particular programmes, so while this is an interesting piece on the history of the BBC it doesn’t offer so much for the Who fan. Next up is Victor Pemberton, including material from two separate interviews separated by several years; the material is pretty much 100 per cent Who in this case! And finally, we get former Script Editor Derrick Sherwin, who tells many interesting stories in an easy-going manner.
On the second disc we have an introduction by Nicholas “Voice of the Daleks” Briggs – it is an unwritten law that he is always referred to like that – but the interviews are left to others. Firstly, from 1987, we have a panel from a Doctor Who Appreciation Society convention that includes Peter Bryant and Innes Lloyd – producers for most of the Troughton era. Victor Pemberton and actor Michael (Ben) Craze complete the roster. There’s only 50 minutes for all four of them, which really isn’t enough time: lots of information, but there could have been so much more – always a problem with this format at conventions. And talking of problems, this set of interviews is technically the worst, with variable sound and picture quality.
The last two offerings are another convention piece, “Flight Through Time: The
Hollywood options anything Stephen King writes. I swear his shopping lists are in preproduction right now. So vast is this movie Kingdom that it has both beautiful peaks and rough, unspeakable valleys – but also some weird back streets that might not be magnificent, but are well worth a visit. Like Cat’s Eye, a slightly unhinged anthology horror linked by the (still) random device of a psychic hero cat padding through stories until it can save Drew Barrymore from an animatronic troll with a floppy bell hat and squiggly dagger.
Such portmanteau horror movies often save their best tales till the end. This one flips that, with a gradual descent in quality. “Quitters Incorporated” is excellent, with James Woods kicking his smoking habit via a radical new programme: if he’s seen lighting up, someone will rape his wife. Do it again: they’ll kill his daughter. “The Ledge” works too, though less so, with Airplane’s Robert Hays windmilling his arms on the edge of a high rise. “General” is “the one with the troll”, and it feels off kilter after the adult themes of the first two segments. It’s so child