Episode 2 of I’ll Explain Later focuses on London and three stories that feature the capital strongly:
- The War Machines
- Aliens of London / World War 3
- Invasion of the Dinosaurs
There’s a good discussion on all three stories. For what it’s worth I like them all. I think War Machines is one of the most important early years stories. It was probably only a matter of time before the series included contemporary earth settings but this story shows that concept off really well. Hartnell has mellowed by this point in the show’s run. He is much more like the Doctor Who we meet in the Dalek movies. In terms of the character mellowing maybe that’s what WOTAN was requiring. Of course, when we think of the 1st Doctor we can be prone to remembering the early episodes and we can forget just what a great, rounded and likable character Hartnell’s Doctor was at times.
Aliens of WW3 is the story that sets out exactly what 21st century Who is all about. In a way it ends a short story arc begun in the season opening Rose with the character at first being whisked away to the far future, then a quick meeting up with a historical figure before returning to the present with a bump and lots of consequences. The arc shows us the whole of time and space and therefore the capacity of the show. Travelling with the Doctor results in change now, only hinted at in the classic series. Russell T. Davies created a story that was very bold and I still cheer each time I see Number 10 being blown up, but then I would. Big Ben gets crashed into by a spaceship! This was unthinkable at 7pm on a Saturday night just weeks before it was shown. TV didn’t do that. I think we can forget if we’re not careful what a statement of intent this story was. I also think the humour, including the farting aliens and references to “massive weapons of destruction” are great fun. There’s a touch of Douglas Adams in the script I think.
Invasion of the Dinosaurs is a story I’ve only seen once and I think it was about 20 years ago. But I loved it! The dinosaur affects are wonderfully shonky but the story itself is a fascinating idea. I’ve decided it’s time I gave this another viewing. There’s an interesting discussion regarding the fascistic nature of the environmentalists on the podcast and how we tend to see the green movement as largely left wing these days. I think actually the green movement is largely middle class but it looks leftish in today’s neoliberal climate. One thing that isn’t expanded upon is the politics of the writer of that story. Malcolm Hulke was a Marxist and a key feature of orthadox Marxism is the belief that revolutionary change can only come about via a political working class in an industrial society. The peasantry therefore has no place within the revolution. I’m not saying that these were Hulke’s views but it is possible that as a Marxist he saw a threat to change in a movement that appeared to desire less industrialisation and technology, particularly a movement containing so many middle class voices. You can read more about Hulke and his contribution to Dr Who here.
All in all I‘ll Exp;ain Later Episode 2 is well worth a listen