The Lair of the White Witch

The Dæmons on DVD

Probably to a greater extent than most stories, opinions of The Dæmons became polarised between those who either saw it on transmission or suckled at the teat of Jeremy Bentham-era Doctor Who Monthly, and those who first encountered the story in 1992, either on BBC2 or VHS, when fan murmurings about the Pertwee years were starting in earnest. As all those Third-Doctor-as-establishment-stooge arguments started to rage, The Daemons, as the emblematic story of its period, got more than its fair share of criticism.


The One That Got Away

Shada by Gareth Roberts

It’s appropriate that so much of Shada is concerned with the power and significance of an ancient book, as Douglas Adams’ original has itself become a kind of palimpsest, with layer upon layer of new material being added but with the original material still visible underneath. Over the years since the television production was scrapped partway through filming, there have been a number of attempts to complete the work, all of them adding new material, until what we understand when people discuss Shada is so much more than the 70 minutes or so of footage that was actually completed.


Strategic Penetration

Adam Smith Series One on DVD

We’ve probably all at some point imagined what our younger selves would make of 2012 if they could have looked into their future. My 10 year old self from 1978 would have excitedly spotted mobile phones, iPads, the massive number of television channels, while no doubt being puzzled at the mysterious sight of people carrying water bottles around rather than cans of Lilt and Tizer. But most of all, my young self would have cheered and whooped to see that the kind of Sundays we endured in 1978 had finally been abolished.

It’s hard to convey the terrifying ennui of the Sabbath in the 1970s. For six days a week lifewas great – there was Tiswas, Computer Battleships, Target novelisations and…


Keeping Down with the Joneses

Romany Jones Series 2 on DVD

Romany Jones was a cursed show, possibly because it took the Romany name in vain. Writers Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe (the other Two Ronnies) devised the show when they were still riding high with the continuing success of On the Buses. Despite making a pilot which was shown in 1972, Thames Television decided not to continue, and it was only when the director/producer Stuart Allen moved to London Weekend Television that the idea was resurrected and the series emerged. This caused another problem when Arthur English, the original Wally Briggs, was unavailable for the series and so fate decreed…