That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. e_wraith Active Member

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    Sounds pretty grimdark to me. The poor masses, caught up in an epic struggle between two larger than life forces, nothing more than pawns in their sick attempt to force their lifeviews on the everyday folk who just want to make ends meet and live their lives withoint being trod upon by titans. And the name of the town is Lazy Town, yes? So where is the respect for the native culture on Sporticus's part? Seems like he is bringing them sports themed imperialism, and not taking no for an answer. Robbie Rotten may be reactionary, but isn't he also struggling to uphold the local social norms against an external force of colonialization? And forced to sacrifice his own ideals to do so, it is epically tragic! Wait, are there space marines involved in this too, because I think there might be copyright issues with something else...
     
  2. e_wraith Active Member

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    This is exactly it. And yes, there is a room for entertainment that educates, and comments on the social condition, and whatever else people can imagine. But it is not the be all, end all of entertainment. You should not have to be a great social commentator to be taken seriously as an actor. Nor should one have to go all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum, either, there should be room for intelligent shows that focus more on entertainment than whatever the topic of the day is, as well.

    Anyway, 50 years from now they are not going to look back on our media and say "My, what enlightened blokes they were back then! They picked exactly the right issues to focus on. Bravo!" No, 50 years from now they are going to do what we do now about 50 years ago. "How naive could you be! They were all worried about stupid things, when the greatest threat to the world was right in front of them and everyone ignored it! Let's blame them for all social ills because they were so dumb!" And, of course, those of us who lived in these times will counter with our nostalgic views of how wonderful they were and how the whippersnapers today don't appreciate anything, and by the way won't you stay off my Space Lawn 3000 if you please you young hooligans? And the eternal cycle will continue! (And geeze, you see those anti-gravity skirts the kids are wearing today? In my day you would go to jail for that!)

    Not that this is an excuse for inaction, of course, every generation should do its best to fight injustice and make the world a better place for the next generation, so that they will at least pretend to respect us and only go on our lawns when they are relatively sure we are not at home or at least not looking. Er, not that I have a lawn yet, but I aspire to having a lawn so that I can yell at young people to stay off it.
     
  3. Thande Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother

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    Interesting point. Basically I think it's part of the animation age ghetto, "all cartoons are basically the same, right?" hence why (certainly when I was a kid in the 80s) as mentioned before, they would randomly throw together mixes of Looney Tunes cartoons from the 1930s to the 1970s and ignore even things like dodgy racial stuff or extreme slapstick (like the popular 30s black humour joke of a character seeing something bizarre and then, having 'seen it all', promptly putting a gun to his head and committing suicide).

    A peculiar consequence of this is that some of the 1930s pop culture is now better remembered by its referencing and parodies in Looney Tunes than the originals (which weren't repeated to generations of kids). More people seem to associate "Of course, you realise that THIS MEANS WAR!" with Bugs Bunny than Groucho Marx, to take one obvious example.
     
  4. unclepatrick Well-Known Member

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    [QUOTE Would he produce the 1977 Man from Atlantis Pilot or is he too involved with Rock Around the Clock?[/QUOTE]

    I remember a article in Starlog Magazine that talk about attempts by Marvel Comics to do series beyond Spiderman and Hulk. There was Doctor Strange, which was the only one to go to Pilot. If Roddenberry sell Spectre in this time line to ABC, then CBS may have done Doctor Strange. I thought that One person who would get involve with a Doctor Strange show would have been Charles Band who try to do a Doctor Strange Film in the 1980's. He failed and instead did Doctor Mordrid which was Doctor Strange in all but Name. Band could have brought his friend Stop Motion animator David Allen. So a Doctor Strange Show could have been interesting.

    Another show that was considered but never produced was Submariner. It was never made in OTL because of Man from Atlantis. They were not planing for Namor to fly like in the COmics but he would be strong and have a electric eel like shock ability. Since Justman may be tied up in this time line instead of the bad Man from Atlantis seres, we may see a fun Submariner series.

    The third possible series was Human torch. It never happen because the computer tech at the time was not able to cheaply cover a person with the flame effects.
     
  5. unclepatrick Well-Known Member

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    I know you mention that Questor Tape went to series, but you never mention whether it was a popular series.
     
  6. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    I find that more the effect of text. (Damn keyboards...:p)
    I was thinking less of casting than content. I never paid much attention to the actors names (beyond, "Hey! I know you!":p). I was thinking of Robert Guillaume more as a token (tho Benson was far from, which was a real nice touch, but it almost went too far the other way, into "Anti-Stepin Fetchit":rolleyes: Which didn't make it unfunny.;) {And what did Parker say, "I could always carry your bag on my head. Probly be a good cover." "Might perpetuate a racial stereotype":D).
    Care to name a couple? 'cause I think of the chocolate production line & the "'splainin'", & not much else, & I'm not seeing the impact. OTOH, once you know the story of Dustin Hoffman's "I'm walkin', here!", you rapidly notice damn near every show doing it...:rolleyes: (Imitation is the sincerest form of lack of imagination.:rolleyes:)
    Personally, I never found slapstick funny (aside the Coyote, which is a special case:p). Even then, my favorite gag remains the Bengal Tiger Trap.:p (And do I have to explain to anybody how it worked?) The merest fact I don't have to explain, IMO, is why the Loony Tunes still get laughs: they were done right. It's why Chaplin & Keaton still get laughs, too, & not only for the slapstick.
    Allowing for some amount of "past its best-by date", "Yes, Minister" is as funny as ever in the main, but that's so dependent on non-topical humor, it will be IMO so long as there are bureaucrats.;)
    Truth to tell, despite watching it, that's not what sticks in my memory. For me, it's bits & pieces of old Carnac bits, Art Tatum, Floyd R. Turbo, & the monolog--in particular, once or twice when it wasn't going well, & you got to really see him work. I always liked those nights best, 'cause you got to see how good he really was. (Then, of course, there's that priceless duet with Julio Iglesias...:D)
    Oh, fer sher. Not forgetting Bette was an admirer of his for years, as I understand it. (I seem to recall her saying she regretted they never managed to both be single at the same time. Or was that somebody else?)
    I'm embarassed to admit, I don't even recall him being on the show...:eek::eek:
    I have no problem with humor wanting to upset social norms, provided it makes me laugh. If its sneaking in underneath, the way "AitF" or "Soap" was, or the way "Serial" did, IMO, that's the better approach, because I may not agree with you. (Beating me over the head, or getting on a soapbox, disguised as comedy, or drama, only pisses me off.:rolleyes:)
    :) See, I can be useful.:p
     
  7. NCW8 Just Chilling

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    Really ? I admit that I haven't watched it much (and then mostly episodes dubbed into German), but I didn't think that it took itself that seriously.

    You make a convincing case.

    It reminds me of a British comedian who said that the Care Bears were the world's only example of a functioning socialist state. But of course, we're only seeing their propaganda - somewhere in the background there are probably Care Bear Gulags.

    Remember I'm English. We were doing irony before it was fashionable.

    In North America anyway. I think that the series might have been broadcast on British tv in the fifties and sixties, but they weren't being shown in the seventies when I was growing up.

    Exhibit A would be The Goodies. Their shows often refered to contemporary culture, particularly films and tv. There was one episode about South African Apartheid and their Ecky-Thump episode was inspired by the Kung-fu craze in the UK at the time. In the early seasons, they had "Commercial Breaks" where they did spoof versions of current TV adverts - particularly a running joke with Tim as a school-boy refusing to say that he like beans in a Beanz-Meanz-Heinz advert.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  8. Thande Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother

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    The Goodies indeed did a fair bit of topical pop culture references, but of course it's an awkward example because the BBC never repeated them, but for unrelated reasons to anything to do with topicality.

    Their rivals the Pythons also did a fair few topical jokes but those, in my experience, tend to be cut out of most of the best-of compilations which is often all that modern fans have seen. With a few exceptions: Doug and Dinsdale are based off the Kray Twins of course, the Election Night Sketch is specifically based on the 1970 election night broadcast, and so on.
     
  9. The Professor Pontif of the Guild

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    Was I one of the only people freaked out by the CBs? ;)
    I am rather surprised that the PC crowd have't tried to bring them back :eek:. With increased multiculturalism (TM)
     
  10. NCW8 Just Chilling

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    Quite. It is worth noting that the series has apparently been rebroadcast a number of times in Australia.

    Edit: As an aside, The Goodies are perhaps the only sitcom to literally cause some-one to die laughing.

    Exhibit B is the Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico. This was set against the background of post-war rationing in Britain and made references to the Berlin Airlift. In spite of that topicality, it was shown fairly often on tv in the seventies.

    Would that include the "Liberal Party Political Broadcast" episode that featured some-one in a Jeremy Thorpe mask waving at the camera at odd intervals during the show ? Ironic since Cleese would later make a real party political broadcast for the Liberals.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  11. Thande Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother

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    Technically Cleese's broadcast was for the SDP I believe, but yes, it is ironic.

    That reminds me, the other day P and Roem were telling me about the Lee and Herring show "This Morning With Richard Not Judy" (which I remember being on in 1999, but never watched) and they had a recurring sketch mocking the rising number of comedy history programmes. They would have a different comedian sit there and remnisce, absurdly exaggerating their own influence on the comedy of the 1980s, and would finish by drinking from an SDP mug :D
     
  12. Andrew T Kick 'em when they're up!

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    You know, Soap had some pretty great actors in the cast. Katherine Helmond's Mona (in Who's the Boss) is about as different a character from Jessica Tate as you can imagine, and she was awfully good at both. Richard Mulligan does that fish-out-of-water-straight-man bit as well as anyone. Robert Urich played Peter Campbell in season one. Joe Mantegna (!) played "Juan One" in the last season. Richard Libertini, Gordon Jump, Sorrell ("Boss Hogg") Brooke, Howard Hesseman -- even the one-offs were pretty good actors.

    Against this backdrop, it's even more notable that two of the main characters (Diana Canova as Corinne, and especially Jennifer Salt as Eunice) were simply terrible actors. (I defy you to watch any scene with Eunice and tell me you've suspended disbelief for even a second.) Given the rest of the casting, I'm tempted to think that somehow the producers intentionally cast terrible actors in those roles, but I can't come up with a plausible in-show reason to do so.

    On a broader scale, your point about sitcoms and their influence on the culture is really interesting. Consider Family Ties. It's obviously one of the signature shows of the 1980s, and it launched the career of Michael J. Fox, who has a plausible claim at being the defining actor of the 1980s.

    And yet... can you describe a single episode of Family Ties? Can you highlight a single theme -- other than stock sitcom cliches -- from the show? I can't. I suspect anyone who grew up in the 80s can name the actors from the show, describe the characters they played with one-liners (Alex, little Reaganite; Mallory, ditzy teen girl; the Dad, old-school liberal; Skippy, the nerd sidekick; etc.), and so on -- but does anyone remember Family Ties ever influencing the culture even in a trivial manner?

    And that's one of the signature shows of the 1980s. Isn't that weird?
     
  13. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    I keep hearing that the future is going to be direct download into the brain itself - which is where I intend to draw the line, thank you very much.

    Ah yes, the Weird Al Effect - one of my favourite peculiarities of popular culture. Although Groucho is probably one of their most enduring sources, comparatively speaking - contrast Sen. Claghorn from The Fred Allen Show, the direct inspiration for the character of Foghorn Leghorn. People don't even remember who Fred Allen is anymore!

    The Questor Tapes was one of the Top 30 shows on the air in the 1974-75 season, so yes, it is definitely quite popular.

    You forget the Vitameatavegamin? For shame :p ("Do you pop out at parties? Are you unpoopular?") There's also Lucy's ridiculous and transparent disguises; her buddy-comedy escapades with Ethel (to this day, female slapstick duos are still referred to as "Lucy" and "Ethel"); her landmark pregnancy (never mentioned by name) with Little Ricky, despite the fact that she and Ricky famously slept in separate beds; Ricky performing at the Tropicana; the trips to Europe, to Hollywood, and moving to Connecticut (Who's the Boss even modeled their own house set after their Westport home); and the legions of guest stars (and since this was the 1950s, we're talking about the most star-studded guest lineup in sitcom history). I Love Lucy also standardized the three-camera setup, the live studio audience, and was responsible for the invention of the rerun.

    Slapstick has a very simple, universal appeal (it's the form of comedy that most easily transcends language and culture). Did I mention that I Love Lucy was slapstick? :cool:

    For a time, some years ago, the whole episode was on YouTube. The only specific thing I remember about the Robin Williams interview was his blond hair (he had dyed it for Toys, IIRC). And, of course, he tried his best to step all over the Bette Midler interview (though he did eventually shut up, when it became clear what was unfolding). I can't help but think he was a little jealous - it was the one and only time in his entire professional career that he was upstaged :D

    Like I said, there's definitely an element of regional quirkiness there, but it's not really "precious" or "post-modern".

    Yes, you are the very model of a modern English gentleman! ;)

    Interesting about the Election Night sketch - I think I saw that once, quite some time ago, and it didn't seem too dated to me, looking back in retrospect (having gleaned the basics of how British elections are presented). But if there's any specificity there that I missed, it's obviously been butterflied ITTL.

    Funny you should mention the Care Bears and Multiculturalism, because a Canadian animation studio (Nelvana) was responsible for the original cartoon in the 1980s.

    You're both right - it was a video for the SDP-Liberal Alliance - or, more specifically, their attempts to get more seats by changing the electoral system. I happen to know about it because a number of Canadian provinces floated the idea to the electorate in the last few years, and that video was widely disseminated as a result.

    I agree about Helmond and Mulligan (having obviously grown up watching the latter of the respective shows for which they are famous) - fantastic range, the both of them, and good on Helmond especially for carving out a career for herself despite being a mature woman in Hollywood. With regards to the others, it's just a testament to the sheer excellence of character actors working in television in the 1970s. Sadly, many of them began passing on or retiring into the 1980s, and it shows.

    Well, to be fair, Family Ties codified most of those stock sitcom cliches - the Very Special Episode, the long-lost relative or suddenly dead friend who the audience had never seen before and would never hear about again (Tom Hanks as Uncle Ned), the Emmy Showcase episode ("A My Name Is Alex"), the incredibly sappy theme song featuring the entire cast smiling awkwardly at the camera (here achieved through the device of someone painting them doing so)... I can't argue against the strong legacy of Family Ties as a trailblazer. But is it remembered for anything on its own terms? Apart from the already-mentioned central conceit (liberal parents, conservative children), not really.
     
  14. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    I did not know that.
    Obviously a few of us (like you;)) still do.
    I've made a concerted effort to block that out.:p
    I am ashamed to admit I'd overlooked those...:eek::eek:
    I do know that.;) I just don't like it. (It's the same reason action films do better overseas than drama, or most comedies: no real translation required. Except sometimes... I recall being in the audience with a lot of HK Chinese, or HKC immigrants, in a showing of "Mission Impossible", once. Remember the "jump" Tom made onto the train? They laughed.:eek:)
    :eek:;)
    Did you know the "modern major general" was actually based on a real guy? Garnet, Viscount Wolseley, who was so regulation, when everything was in order, it was "all Sir Garnet".
    Except it was a top-rated show. How many top-rated shows are also challenging the norms? Or resetting them? How many do it without rapidly getting cancelled? Not too many AFAIK.
     
  15. NCW8 Just Chilling

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    Back in the eighties, I was living in the US and I saw A Fish Called Wanda in a cinema there. It got to the part where Cleese starts his rant about <The Unmentionable Overseas Entanglement> and I realised that i was the only one laughing.

    He did the same to Stephen Fry on Parkinson, only there he didn't shut up. Fry was getting visibly annoyed by the end.

    Unfortunately not a scale model !

    Gilbert and Sullivan is another example of something remaining popular in spite of its topicality. For example The Mikado was inspired by the British fascination with Japan at that time - the satire in the show being aimed squarely at the British Establishment.

    Modern productions often acknowledge this topicality by tweaking the lyrics to add current public figures to Ko-Ko's Little List. For example, a production I saw in the eighties included "Bishops that don't believe in God, Chief Constables that do!".

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  16. Thande Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother

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    I don't think there's much specifically about OTL's 1970 election night in terms of the outcome, as opposed to which presenters were doing it and in what style (the BBC made a big thing about how "modern" the 1970 coverage was, see the clip below).

    The only thing I can think of is that the part where the Swingometer spins crazily in the background might be inspired by how some of the Tory swings were so unexpectedly huge in the real election night that they actually had to paint extra numbers on the Swingometer in-situ (clip here).


    [​IMG]
     
  17. Thande Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother

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    I went to a few productions in Cambridge that delighted in the fact that pretty much all the contemporary 1890s jabs at the Liberal Party now applied just as well to the modern Liberal Democrats. You just had to insert a few more syllables in the preceding line to allow for it.
     
  18. Orville_third Banned

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    I've seen altered versions of the "Little List" satirizing Canadians (Stratford Festival's excellent production) and Americans.
     
  19. Maltaran Well-Known Member

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    "Cameron and Clegg, and the coalitionists
    They won't be missed"
     
  20. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    Requiem for the Yank Years (1971-75)

    [FONT=&quot] And now, for the newest update! But first, two very special notices: this marks my 200th post to this thread, and far more importantly, thank you all for 150,000 views! It warms the cockles of my heart to know that you have bestowed so many views and replies upon my humble thread! But without further delay, we present the thrilling conclusion[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    ---

    The “Yank Years” of Doctor Who are, in retrospect, easy to define – those four seasons during which the show aired on American television: from September 13, 1971, through March 10, 1975. In the UK, these seasons aired early in the year, or started in late December of the year preceding; in the US, as was typical, they would begin in September and carry through to March. Canada, due to simultaneous broadcasting policies enacted in 1972, was forced to follow the US schedule, even though it put them several months behind; Australia, by contrast, took the opportunity to catch up with the UK in the early 1970s, having previously been rather far behind themselves; by the beginning of the 1973 season they were only a few weeks behind, largely the result of physical limitations (tapes having to be shipped halfway across the world proved cumbersome).
    [/FONT] [1] The “Yank Years” represented the majority (four seasons out of six) of the tenure of the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, who is consequently remembered as the Doctor in the American popular imagination. Though Desilu Productions had acquired the tapes depicting the adventures of the first two Doctors (played by William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton), these had seen only limited success stateside, a state of affairs that would endure until changes in the industry during the late 1970s.

    Recurring thematic elements of the Yank Years included the involvement of the Doctor with the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, or UNIT. Though this organization, whose purpose was to combat extraterrestrial threats to Earth and/or humanity, had already been in place prior to the plans to export Doctor Who into foreign markets, it made for an excellent opportunity to enhance the international appeal of the program. Not only Americans, but also Canadians and Australians were frequently said or shown to be involved with UNIT, though the Doctor primarily interacted with agents from the United Kingdom. The organization also supplied many of the
    Doctor’s beloved supplementary companions, such as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, the only companion to appear throughout the entirety of the Yank Years (not to mention the entire tenure of the Third Doctor). Restrictions on movement through time and space, imposed by the BBC in the show’s darkest hour (financially speaking), were gradually lifted. The Doctor could travel throughout Earth as of the crossover with Star Trek, and after the show was established as a hit, he and Linda Johnson were able to travel to any time and any place starting in the ninth season. Finally, and most importantly, there was the Master (played by Roger Delgado), who was the equal and opposite to the Doctor.

    As part of the broadcasting agreement with NBC and the production agreement with Desilu, both of those American partner companies were given considerable clout over the production of Doctor Who – the BBC and those directly in charge of the show could obviously negotiate with NBC in the event of disputes, but Desilu – which had total control of much of the post-production process, including film editing (handled, in the early years, by none other than the Oscar-nominated Marcia Lucas) and visual effects (by former members of the Star Trek effects team) – music and sound libraries remained the responsibility of the BBC – was able to get its way far more often.

    When times – and ratings – were good, the two American partners saw little need to exercise their power, and such was the case for the show’s first American season in 1971-72, which had surpassed all expectations and cracked the Top 30. In the ensuing years, as ratings continued to decline, both NBC and Desilu were inclined to credit Star Trek, which had entered syndication that season and aired on many NBC affiliates at 7:00, for that initial burst of success; given their already established shared history and their very similar genres. On Mondays, Doctor Who followed Star Trek at 8:00 on the primetime network feed. It would remain in that timeslot for the entirety of the Yank Years. Laugh-In would follow until 1973, and then The Bill Cosby Show until 1975, at which point both it and Doctor Who were cancelled.

    One of the fiat requirements by Desilu was that every serial, starting midway through the second Pertwee season (and the first broadcast on American network television), be five episodes long (allowing airing on Monday-through-Friday in syndication). Most story arcs had been four to six episodes in the past, so the firm insistence on five – though limiting creative flexibility – was not considered an overwhelming restriction. Indeed, even the British side of the operation could appreciate the appeal, and would find even more reason to do so in the coming years, as it became clear that British audiences, in addition to Americans, greatly enjoyed looking back on the past. [2] Indeed, their experiences likely softened them to the idea of a tenth-anniversary special, which would unite all three incarnations of the Doctor, played by their original actors.

    Though NBC was highly reluctant to fund a serial that would co-star two characters largely unknown to American audiences (the Second Doctor, popularly known at the time as “that other Doctor”, had received decent – if erratic – exposure, whilst the First had been almost completely absent from the airwaves stateside), Desilu was enthusiastic, for exactly that same reason. Stations would be far more willing to pay for the Hartnell and Troughton era episodes, the studio reasoned, if they were better acquainted with the actors and their characters. [3] “The Three Doctors”, the serial that featured said doctors, was – much as the crossover between Star Trek and Doctor Who had been – far better received in the United Kingdom, again largely for the same reason: the “unfamiliar” characters were actually not so for British audiences. However, “The Three Doctors” performed well overall, as it represented Connie Booth’s swan song in the role of Linda Johnson; both Desilu and NBC agreed to pay the (much larger) salary that Booth demanded to appear in the arc (having left the program after her two-season contract had expired), which was commensurate with that of Pertwee himself. Booth had only made such an outlandish demand in an attempt to dissuade the BBC from agreeing to it, but (as is often the case) she was obliged to accede when it was met.

    The BBC and the producers of Doctor Who had considered the obligation to have an American companion over and done with after Booth’s departure, only to face a rude awakening when NBC insisted on another American to replace her. Given viewer demographics, this was not surprising; Booth had been credited with attracting the interest of males aged 14 to 29 the most desirable of all viewer demographics even as other groups stopped tuning in. The BBC was given “complete” control over the casting decision, provided that the new companion would be a young American woman under age 30. Their eventual choice was Angela Bowie, young wife of the rising rock star David Bowie, known for his breakout hit “Space Oddity”, which had ridden Moonshot Lunacy to the Top 10 on the British charts, and – surprisingly – the Top 40 in the United States, as well, giving him a minor chart hit stateside. [4] At the time of her selection as the new companion, her husband was riding high with the release of what would later become viewed as a seminal rock recording: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars. Additionally, she and David had a young son, commonly known as Zowie (legally Duncan Jones). The selection of Angela Bowie as the new companion – who was named Claire Barnett (her real-life maiden name) – was considerably more risky than that of Booth, but it also had potential advantages. However, Bowie was neither as talented nor as disciplined as Booth, and her character was far more empty-headed than the competent Linda Johnson. [5] However, she did generate good publicity, and remained as the principal companion for the remainder of the Third Doctor’s tenure.

    After the conclusion of the Yank Years, Pertwee, already tiring of his role, agreed to appear for one additional season, which would be his last. He had already arranged this with his good friend Roger Delgado, who was planning to bow out as the Master within the same timeframe. [6] Thus, it appeared that the final confrontation between the Doctor and the Master would be unavailable to American viewers, NBC having cancelled the program in 1975. The BBC proved surprisingly willing to provide a compensatory funding boost, largely due to fan lobbying (Doctor Who fandom was said to reach as high as the Queen herself) [7] though obviously not to the same level as that established by the American network. But Desilu, it turned out, continued to be willing to support Doctor Who, for the very simple reason that additional episodes would pad their syndication package. They continued to provide post-production services free of charge for the final Pertwee season – therefore, all story arcs remained five episodes long.

    Pertwee and Delgado both departed at the end of the twelfth season of Doctor Who in 1975, their story arcs having been completed. A new Doctor had to be chosen to appear in the final episode of the last story arc featuring Pertwee, in order to complete the regeneration from the Third Doctor to the Fourth Doctor. From a long list of candidates, the final choice was 39-year-old Jim Dale, over fifteen years the junior of Pertwee. He became the youngest-ever actor cast as the Doctor. Desilu very specifically had nothing to do with his casting; the BBC believed that a youthful Doctor would appeal to the ever-younger audience of the program. [8] Chosen as his principal companion was the first unambiguously British young woman to take the role since Caroline John in 1970: 23-year-old Jane Seymour, as Londoner Alice Evans. [9] Their adventures would be completely funded and produced by the BBC, the post-production facilities devoted to Doctor Who at the Desilu studios instead being redirected to focus on motion pictures.

    Meanwhile, in Canada, perhaps as an indication of its growing cultural independence from the United States and strengthening ties with the Commonwealth, Doctor Who remained on the air, having become a genuine success there – more so than in the United States, in fact, as it remained one of the most popular shows on the CBC. It was a vindication, as it washed away any memories of the abortive run in the 1960s. No longer bound to simulcasting with the American airings, they did their best to air them closer to the original British airdate, though with some difficulty (even though the voyage from Southampton to Halifax was a much shorter one than Southampton to Perth). However, and as was the case with syndication in the United States, this asynchronous situation would endure only until technological advances permitted alternatives

    In total, the Yank Years comprised 100 episodes, divided into twenty-five arcs averaging five episodes apiece, over four production seasons. Included in this package was the four-episode crossover with Star Trek, entitled “Starship from the Future”. Throughout the Anglosphere, only the Doctor Who version was widely seen following the initial broadcast of the two-part Star Trek version (“Lords of Time and Space”), which aired in 1970 stateside and in 1972 in the UK. Bootleg versions were hot items at conventions. [10] The entire Pertwee run in American syndication was 150 episodes over six seasons (the two non-NBC seasons bookending the four). This allowed Desilu to “strip” the program over a period of 30 weeks; every story arc beyond the initial six was five episodes long, with the first six totalling exactly thirty-five episodes. This allowed a strong sense of week-by-week continuity, which would become a very popular method of storytelling with the rise of direct syndication in later years.

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    [1] Australia very nearly caught up to the original UK airdates by the early 1970s IOTL, often by airing several episodes a week, before falling behind again. ITTL, given the popularity of the program in North America, Australian broadcasters and viewers want to avoid being left out of the loop (and wind up ahead as a result).


    [2] You may note that the mid-1970s were about the time that the BBC stopped wiping tapes IOTL (as did the American networks, with regards to auxiliary programming such as talk shows and game shows). This was a contributory factor ITTL, part of an overall snowball effect.

    [3] Hartnell was in slightly better health at this stage ITTL, allowing him to appear in one proper scene with his fellow two Doctors (although his character is constantly shown viewing offscreen monitors or readouts, in order to “disguise” that he is reading cue cards). Sadly, his still-limited presence in the serial wasnt really enough to motivate sales of his tenure into syndication; the Second, on the other hand, would become a syndication mainstay (if not nearly as much as the Third Doctor, let alone Star Trek) as a result of his good reception by American audiences, which is consequently enough for Desilu to rate “The Three Doctors” as a success.

    [4] IOTL, “Space Oddity” failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 on its original release in 1969 (it became a hit single on re-release in 1973).

    [5] Angela Bowie was a controversial figure, kept on largely because NBC insisted on an American, and because she was willing to work cheap. Her well-known androgyny was sublimated into a tomboyish persona for the character of Claire. Her husband, who IOTL has dabbled in acting, made cameo appearances but never took a serious role.

    [6] The death of Delgado in a car crash in Turkey in 1973 IOTL has been butterflied, allowing both he and Pertwee to depart hand-in-hand.

    [7] Yes, apparently Her Majesty is a fan of Doctor Who. The supporting evidence for this IOTL is that Michael Grade, who did his best to destroy that program during his tenure as BBC Controller, is the only person to hold that position who was not knighted by the Queen. And considering just how indiscriminately she hands out knighthoods

    [8] Dale was an OTL candidate to replace Pertwee, in fact the youngest on the shortlist. The next-youngest, one year older (and chosen one year earlier, thus making him the same age as Dale ITTL, since Pertwee stayed on for one extra season) was Tom Baker, the OTL choice.

    [9] Seymour, of course, was the primary Bond girl in Live and Let Die IOTL, but had no role in Moonraker ITTL, and is therefore largely unknown. She auditions for the role of the new companion reasoning that she could surely do a better job than Bowie, and indeed she does. She then shared her (Greater) London origin with Alice Evans.

    [10] Desilu is aware of the bootlegging of “Lords of Time and Space” at Star Trek conventions, and tacitly permits it; they believe that keeping the crossover strictly a part of the Doctor Who syndication package will make it far more desirable (and Star Trek certainly doesnt need any help getting airplay). It also helps that Star Trek has 135 episodes and Doctor Who has 150 episodes under this arrangement, both of which “strip” nicely (as opposed to the clunkier 137 and 146 episodes, respectively).

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    For the official record, until such time as it can be added to the Wiki (all tenures are reckoned by British airdates):

    Doctor Who Actors


    First Doctor: William Hartnell (1963-66)
    Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton (1966-69)
    Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee (1970-75)
    Fourth Doctor: Jim Dale (1975-)

    Principal Companions


    Third Doctor


    Caroline John as Liz Shaw (1970)

    Connie Booth as Linda Johnson (1971-72)
    Angela Bowie as Claire Barnett (1973-75)

    Fourth Doctor


    Jane Seymour as Alice Evans (1975-)


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    Thus concludes our look at Doctor Who in the Yank Years! The further adventures of the Fourth Doctor (and all those subsequent), along with his companions, will now be featured as part of the greater focus on British telly. For those who are lamenting the absence of Tom Baker and Lis Sladen in their OTL roles, please bear in mind that they were cast as such IOTL, and I can never take that away from you ;) Thank you all for your patience and understanding!
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012