Doctor Who? No its Doctor What!!!

In episode 65, Mark and Richard discussed the many (in)different attempts to bring the greatest TV show in the world from the humble home micro to the latest generation of gaming consoles. We thought we covered every last one of them, however, as with The War Doctor who appeared from nowhere (and made absolutely no sense) we have discovered a new ‘non-canon’ entry into the pantheon of Doctor Who computer games.

In 1986, while the Trial of a Timelord was underway on TV, CRL Software released Doctor What! for the Spectrum 48K computer.  Just like his TV counterpart, Doctor What ! also travels in time and space in something called a TRYDIS which looks like a souped out Police Box.

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When previewed in the October issue of Sinclair User they hyped up the release of this software extravaganza like so:

‘Doctor What! is a new arcade adventure from CRL. It features four Doctors . . . What, Why, When and Where. No Who for obvious legal reasons (expensive licence that one, guys!). The four Doctors have travelled back in time to watch the Big Bang at the aptly named Big Bang Burger Bar. I guess they took over the concession from the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. The object of the game is to get each Doctor the Jellybaby of infinite wisdoms.’

Despite the preview’s attempt to make this adventure sound like a cross between Terminus / Hitch-Hikers and The Five Doctor’s, when the reviews finally hit they were, alas, not particularly kind!

Crash Magazine:

“What the hell is this? WHEN can I pull the plug out please? WHERE does it go? and WHY? the hell release it? Just a few of the questions I asked myself when I started to play this rubbish. Dr. What is obviously, from the packaging, supposed to be a rip off of the BBC’s Dr. Who, and a very dismal effort it is. The graphics are average, sound is practically non-existent, and playability is kept to a minimum. I shouldn’t think many people would go wild over Dr. What — that is if CRL don’t get sued first.”

Overall Score = 17

Sinclair User:

A questionable program featuring Doctors What, Where, When and Why… but don’t ask where Who is in case the BBC decides to sue. Obviously all these interrogative medicos are no relation to the televisual time-traveller, even if they do have time machines shaped like police boxes. You get the idea? Its plot could finish the TV series faster than a decision to let Bonnie Langford sing and dance her way out of danger every week. It all concerns hang-overs and a trip to the Jelly Baby of Infinite Wisdom — which gives you an idea of the sort of party the Doctors were attending to get in this confused state! But despite all this Hitchhikers Guide to Time Travel-style parody, at heart these four travellers remind me more of another hero whose name begins with a W… Wally Week! The game is just another example of the ‘pick up objects and find where to use them’ school. The puzzles are refined by the use of four characters, each trapped in a different era, but able to bring each other vital objects thanks to their trusty time machines. But in the end a program should reach into the future, and I couldn’t help feeling that the time destination for this one was set for a good two years ago I was left with only one question in my brain — why release this at full price in this day and age?

Overall Score = 6

Whether this release fell afoul of JNT’s yellow Highlighter of Death is unknown, however unlike many other titles Doctor What! wasn’t ported over to either the Commodore 64 or Amstrad CPC and was quickly forgotten…until now!

As we briefly mentioned in our Merchandising Melancholia podcast, Aron Challinger has recently obtained a copy from eBay and has kindly taken some photos. It’s in very good condition for its age, but as the Sinclair Spectrum wasn’t a big seller in Oz we are unable to see if the program will load off cassette tape.  However, if you feel the need to relive this particular adventure via an emulator the file can be downloaded from here.

 

But if you have a spare 25 minutes check out the full walk-through video!

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Merchandising Melancholia (a.k.a Where has all the tat gone?)

Episode 81 – Compared to the 50th Anniversary torrent of Doctor Who merchandising, the stores and shelves today seem bereft of product. Rob and Mark ventured into Melbourne’s northern suburbs to meet Aron from Lobos Collectibles and 42 to Doomsday regular (and co-host of Space Fall – A Blake’s 7 podcast) Richard where we discussed the current state of Doctor Who merchandising from both a retailer and collector’s perspective.

We dive deep into why some people are disposing their collections, what manufacturers are saying about the current state of the programme and what drastic action is needed (if any) to reignite the flame in the collecting world.

All this plus: Listen as we lament the items that got away! Or as, like a dog returning to eat its own vomit, Rob (inevitably!) brings the conversation back to missing episodes and whether any passed through Melbourne dealer’s hands!

The Merch!.jpg

 

 

 

 

Losing My Religion – 42 to Doomsday arises from the grave!

Episode 80 – The hiatus is over and Rob and Mark are back with a brand new episode!

Aside from answering, ‘Why are we back?’ we also discuss the classic series blu-ray range, Rob’s latest fictional adventure and we give our own tribute to one of the most influential figures in Doctor Who – Terrance Dicks.

Rob and friend of the show David Kitchen then take an in-depth journey through how religion and faith have been portrayed over the course of the programme in both its classic and new incarnations before Rob and Mark answer that deep theological conundrum, what does the future hold for this podcast?!

 

 

 

 

Staff Xmas Party – The Fourth!

Episode 79 – Just in time for Xmas, the Four Horsemen of the Podcopalypse have returned talking all things Doctor Who!

Join Rob, Mark, Dave and Richard as we celebrate 2018 with laughs, tears, bitter recriminations and then joyful reconciliation!

Gasp as we summarise the first (and potentially last?) full Jodie Whitaker season of Doctor Who and then we go old school chatting about why doesn’t fandom give the love that we think Terry Nation deserves.

Social Justice Warrior fans avert your ears as we tackle the taboo (or ‘problematic’) stories of Doctor Who *cough Talons of Weng Chiang cough*

The Target Book Club reconvenes as we look over four of the least loved Doctor Who stories. And because nobody asked for it, we each bring our Fanwank of the year nominations for discussion!

All this plus listener feedback and we look back at all the non-Doctor Who stuff that captivated our attention.

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all of you at home!

42 to Doomsday will RETURN!*

*unless Rob goes back into rehab! Fingers crossed, either way!

 

 

 

 

Surprise-Cast!

Episode 78 – After promising never to return Mark and Rob prove themselves to be the dirty liars they are and are indeed back!

In this special ‘reunion’ episode we dust off the mics to discuss the fallout from #macracangate from our previous final episode.

We then ‘go there’ and ask are our chills multiplying over the imminent return of Doctor Who?

We continue our look at the newsworthy year of 1990 from the lens of DWB. topics discussed include: the Gerry Davis / Terry Nation bid to produce our favourite series, the trauma of the same photo appearing on DWM and TV Zone, the exciting news of the extended Curse of Fenric on VHS and finally, we pore over the results of the DWB reader poll, which to be honest include some bat-sh*t crazy outcomes!

42 to Doomsday will return at Xmas!

DWM vs TV Zone

 

 

 

Duplicate Doctor Who prints in Australia – A response

Macra Terro 3 - Dup

Mark and I appreciate all the commentary and interest regarding the Macra Terror 3 film can interview and photographs.

We understand that there are questions about the film can, particularly over the label and our own motivations.  We would like to address them here.

Some have questioned why the label looks new.  The answer is that both previous owners, known personally to Mark and I, stored the can in a way that ensured that it didn’t age while in their hands.  The previous owner kept it in storage for the duration, while the current owner stores the can in a cabinet out of direct sunlight.

Indeed, as an example of the conditions the previous owner stores items, we attach a photo of a Target book from 1974 which forms part of their personal collection.  As you can see, it has been stored in excellent condition over the intervening 44 years and looks brand new.  The film can was stored under the same conditions.

As mentioned before the current owner of the film can, and the immediate previous owner, are both known to Mark and I.  These relationships go back at least 20 years.  Both are sober, intelligent people who don’t engage in wild flights of fantasy.  If they say the film can and the information taped to it are legitimate, then we believe them.

Unlike the ‘burger van’ hoax or the ‘Barrett’  Shibaden tape supposedly containing TP4 and other innumerable hoaxes, Mark and I have been upfront about who we are and have provided photos to support what we believe to be true.  We agree it would be preferable the can had the usual BBC or ABC sticker(s), but we believe that the can itself, based on the logo used and advice we have received about the logo, itself dates back to the 1970s.  Part of the reason we went public with the film can was to facilitate discussion about the belief many have that duplicate prints circulated around Australia.

Aside from the film can and its label, there have been attacks on our credibility. Phil Morris claimed to have contacted the ABC who he alleges said the can was a ‘fake’. We have contacted Morris via Twitter offering the can to representatives of the ABC for examination but so far he has chosen not to respond, as he is entitled to do.

We stand by our credibility.  We have been involved in fandom since the late 1980 and 1990’s.  Within fandom, through our podcast, we are public figures, not faceless keyboard warriors trolling fellow fans.  It’s well-known that Rob played a hand in returning the Power of the Daleks clips from Australia in the mid-1990s.  Once he had the information, he contacted the BBC, in the shape of Steve Roberts, to allow the speedy return of the clips to their proper place at the BBC.  This is all documented on what remains of the Restoration Team’s website.  His intent then, and now, was purely to assist in the recovery, and deepen the understanding, of the fate of missing Doctor Who episodes.

We would have not proceeded with the interview and published images of the can if we felt it was a forgery and furthermore we certainly did not do this as a ’clickbait’ exercise, but only to share our findings with Doctor Who fandom.  Our podcast has finished-it’s a pretty strange way to drum up more listeners when there are no more episodes being made!

Again, we appreciate all the considered comments that have been made since the interview and photos were made available.  We certainly understand the well-argued skepticism some have voiced.  But, we stand by the information as presented and hope it provides the beginnings of a clearer understanding of how prints were handled and moved around Australia.

Stay tuned!

Rob and Mark

 

 

The Final End?

Episode 77 – Time is called on Australia’s longest running and (in)consistent podcast! It is the moment all our fans (but particularly our enemies) have waited for!

Before 42 to Doomsday ride’s off into the distance we strap on the mics one last time to bury Moffat, not once, but twice!

We dig through the entrails of early 1990’s DWBs delusions, plus listeners feedback where we take down the whole Patreon Industrial-Military complex in a no hold’s barred suicide run and thenwax poetic as we sink slowly into the sunset!

But wait! Who is that *other* voice on the podcast? Could it be…Lord Melbourne?! And what does he bring with him? Could it be…not one, but two cans?

But the question you all really want answered……….will 42 to Doomsday return ?

 

 

 

 

Duplicate Doctor Who prints in Australia – Is this proof?

What we have discovered is a film can of an episode of The Macra Terror. As you can see from the photos we have provided exclusively anywhere for the first time, this can is marked as a DUP.

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The current holder of the film can, who we have chosen to dub ‘Lord Melbourne’ to help mask his identity, purchased it from a collector in the last decade or so. We have spoken with this previous owner, who has provided his recollections of acquiring the can.

‘I bought the collection of 78 discs sometime around 1997.

Although there is no doubt the lot of cans originated from the BBC, the collector I got it from didn’t get it directly from there. They bought them from an auction house in Camberwell (a suburb of Melbourne) in the late 70’s / early 80’s – they couldn’t remember exactly when. There were two pallets of films for sale, and the family I got them from bought one of the pallets.

The price they paid for a pallet of film seemed ridiculously cheap! I think it was either $20 or $50 the lot. They were bought for the film cans to be used as 78 shellac record storage, as the 10″ tins were exactly the right size to store them. There was only a handful of the larger cans in the lot I saw, and they were empty – no records, and no film. All the films had gone to the dump, even the ones in the larger cans that weren’t used to house 78’s. These were thrown out because they were to heavy to carry with the films in!

I don’t remember anything else of particular interest being in the collection, I do remember there being either a surfing documentary, or a Bells Beach documentary being on the label of one of the cans. I remember this because I had found films before that were surfing related, and thought the odds were against finding any others again!

I didn’t really think it was that important as it was an empty can, and wasn’t even BBC, and only had a written label on. I did write to whoever was in charge of BBC archives at the time – I think Adam Lee, but never got a reply.’

It is unknown whether other film cans marked Doctor Who were purchased as part of this lot from the ABC. We believe that the print of The Macra Terror 3 has been disposed of and is now lost forever.

But what it does provide, we believe, is proof positive that, based on the information contained on the can, that yes, the ABC struck multiple prints of at least one story (and likely many others) to ship around Australia. We do know that around 130 episodes were returned to the BBC from Australia in 1975. But if multiple prints were struck, and only one set each were sent back to the BBC, then it is a possibility that others may still exist here in Australia, if not on the hands of the ABC, then in the hands of film collectors.

Our other item, which has provenance from Bonham’s, appears to be model shots on film from The Colony in Space. Being ultra careful, the owner has never viewed the print, so we are unsure if the model shots appear on the DVD release.

 

 

 

The Omni-Rumourist – Part Two!

Episode 76 – Even though the moment has been prepared for, it isn’t quite the end of 42 to Doomsday! We rip of the coffin lid and clamber out for this, our second last episode!

We’ve brought back one of our most popular guests, Dave Hoskin, to discuss the progress of his book ‘Chasing Shadows’ on Phil Morris and his search for missing #DoctorWho episodes and his impact on fandom.

All that plus we talk about our plans for our ‘cross our heart and hope to die ‘final’ monthly episode!

 

 

 

 

Staff Xmas Party – Part Trois!

Episode 75 – Rob and Mark are joined by Richard and Dave to help us ‘celebrate’ our very last Christmas special! We attempt to rehabilitate Eric Saward’s contribution to the show, examine arcs in their classic and modern contexts (warning: Rob doesn’t mince words), wax lyrical about ye olde novelisations in The Target book session, go deep into our favourite shows of the year and our hope and dreams for Series 11!

But more importantly who will be the recipient of this years ‘fanwank of the year’ award?

Apologies for the sound quality, Mark forgot to press the correct button again!

Hang in there, folks. Only one more to go…