More Doctors, More Daleks…and More Toys

Of all the things 2020 will be remembered for, probably pretty low on the list will be “the year that Character Options’ Doctor Who action figure line suddenly awakened”, but…it’s still on the list.

Hot on the heels of the box sets released earlier this year come…more box sets! First up, there is a set of new variants of the current TARDIS crew, with repaints of Graham, Yaz, and Ryan, the thirteenth Doctor’s companions.

Courtesy doctorwho.tv
Courtesy doctorwho.tv

The remaining box sets are firmly in classic series territory, however, starting with a box set of the fifth Doctor, as played by Peter Davison, and his TARDIS. This particular TARDIS mold has been released before, along with the seventh Doctor, but the paint job here is unique, a bit more weathered, and the box set is tied, at least in name, to the 1982 four-parter The Visitation (which was also graced with a soundtrack CD earlier this year). Those of you who like to have an era-appropriate TARDIS for each of the Doctors on your shelf, here it is.

Having been released earlier this year in different costumes, the fourth Doctor’s companions are back in circulation once more, this time dressed for different episodes.

Courtesy doctorwho.tv

This second box set of both incarnations of Romana and Sarah Jane Smith dips into the Jon Pertwee era as well, with Sarah Jane sporting a leather jacket similar to the one worn in 1974’s The Monster Of Peladon, while Romana’s first incarnation wears the futuristic outfit seen in 1978’s The Power Of Kroll (you’ll have to supply your own giant squid to re-enact specific scenes though). Romana’s second incarnation is ready to do battle with The Horns Of Nimon, the not-exactly-a-fan-favorite story that saw Doctor Who limp into 1980 before a new production team gave the series a serious revamp.

The fourth Doctor’s era gets some additional love with the box set that’s likely to be the real eye-opener of this wave of figures…

Courtesy doctorwho.tv

…a box set of figures from the classic fourth Doctor story Terror Of The Zygons, which introduced the shapeshifting monsters in the story’s title. Tom Baker wore a unique variation of his normal costume, complete with a tam o’shanter and a long tartan scarf, appropriate to the Scottish setting of that particular story. That outfit is finally immortalized in plastic, along with a new camo fatigues variant of UNIT regular Sgt. Benton and a more anonymous UNIT soldier (better check to see if he’s wearing a red shirt under there, as many an anonymous UNIT soldier…well, let’s just say they tend not to come back and become as well known as Sgt. Benton).

And are there more Daleks? Oh yes, there are more Daleks.

Courtesy doctorwho.tv

Tackling these in reverse order, Dalek Collectors’ Set #4 brings us two variant Daleks from the epic, 12-part story The Daleks’ Masterplan, a story so long that it started in 1965 and ended in 1966 (!). A Dalek equipped with a flame thrower – for clearing the dense, Dalek-hostile vegetation of the planet Kembel – is included, along with a Black Dalek, presumably in command of that mission.

Courtesy doctorwho.tv

Dalek Collectors’ Set #3 brings us a pair of Daleks from the earlier 1965 six-part story The Chase, one featuring the lighter color scheme that BBC propmasters tried out during this period of the show to help the Daleks “gleam” more futuristically (and more like metal) under studio lights, along with a repeat of the recent limited-edition paint job indicating that the other Dalek was on loan to the BBC from the recently-completed Peter Cushing film Dr. Who And The Daleks; unlike the two Daleks with a similar color scheme from the limited edition set, however, this one features a standard Dalek base and not the raised “bumper car” base seen on the movie Daleks.

And if you think that all of these sets feature characters spaced out too far apart to be a part of the same scene, never forget that UNIT and the Daleks clashed – briefly, and with heavy UNIT casualties (here’s where your anonymous UNIT soldier comes in) in 1971’s Day Of The Daleks (especially if you have, on DVD, the “special edition” of that story which punches up that battle with newly-shot footage).

Plus, of course, you probably have your own UNIT-vs.-Daleks scenarios in mind, too.

A new official U.S. web destination – though leading primarily to Amazon links from a single seller (presumably the owner of the site) – has been established for American collectors in the wake of the resurgence of the Doctor Who action figure line. These sets will start to appear in late October, probably in the $30-40 range for two/three figure box sets, with the fifth Doctor/TARDIS set probably landing at around $50.

“Aim for their wallets! EXTERMINAAAAAAATE!”

What’s next for the Doctor Who figure line? Looking closely at years past offers some likely clues: once a new character mold (say, Romana or ’70s Sarah Jane, or Sgt. Benton and Captain Yates of UNIT) is added to the line, often at great expense between the actual sculpting and the rights to the likenesses of actors who are increasingly no longer with us, those heads will be dropped on top of new bodies for at least a year or so. So if you’re disappointed that Romana hasn’t turned up in the sailor or schoolgirl outfit yet, wait until 2021; your wish-list Romana outfit will probably eventually happen, if only to amortize the expense of creating the new head molds. (If they ever put Sarah Jane in her Brain Of Morbius or Hand Of Fear duds, they’ll probably sucker me into buying whatever box set those variations are part of.) Smart money also says to watch out for specialized Daleks tied into the upcoming Time Lord Victorious storyline or the Daleks! animated series.

And new companions beyond these? Maybe this time next year at the earliest. But the Character Options Doctor Who line, going strong since 2005’s relaunch of the TV series, is clearly not one to write off. As I’ve said before, it’s the UK’s equivalent of the Kenner/Hasbro Star Wars line…and the Doctor’s travels are far from completely chronicled in toy form.

What If Doctor Who Had End Credits Like Avengers: Endgame?

Friends, a couple of days ago Earl Green was kind enough to send me this rather awesome fan made video – that manages to combine the 57 years of Doctor Who with the type of end credits we experienced in Avengers: Endgame. While the culmination up to that point of 12 years worth of films with Avengers: Endgame, with the credits featuring the legion of actors portraying Marvel Comics characters we had grown to love during that time was quite moving – I will admit that it is doubly so when it is applied to this video by Acb Tyson. Although to be completely fair as wonderful as the editing is done in this tribute to Doctor Who – it has more than a helping hand thanks to the stirring score by Alan Silvestri from the 2019 Marvel Studios film.

Video Provided by Acb Tyson.

I have watched that Doctor Who end credits a couple of times now and must be totally honest – I get a pretty large lump in my throat at seeing those Companions and Doctors that are no longer with us. However I am going to bring up something that Earl Green as well as one of my best friends pointed out after seeing the video… why were John Hurt and Paul McGann not included in the full lineup of Doctors? For myself, Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor ranks around my fourth favorite Doctor with Hurt coming in at the fifth spot as the War Doctor.

Probably like many of you of a certain age, my introduction to Doctor Who was thanks to late night airings on PBS – with Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. It wasn’t until much later though when I started renting VHS tapes at the local Hasting’s and Blockbuster Video that I truly became a fan – although my favorite turned out to be Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor.

I would be quite interested to hear which Doctor is your favorite, feel free to let us all know in the comments section!

Dr. Who’s Jon Pertwee Sings Who Is The Doctor!

Last year while visiting a local record shop in my neck of the woods, Block Street Records, I happened upon an interesting collection of 45’s on display. Now I will be quick to point out that the shop always has interesting things that will catch your eye – records and LaserDiscs as well as cassette tapes. That is understandable but if you stop being dazzled by all of the amazing vinyl they have in stock you just might realize that there are an awful lot of Planet of the Apes statues and artwork too. Anyway, during this trip to the record store I happened to notice – high up on the walls that they had a collection of Doctor Who 45’s. I was interested in one record in particular that featured Jon Pertwee and “Who Is The Doctor” on Side A with The Sea Devils on Side B. While I do consider myself more than a casual fan of the Doctor Who series – I had no idea at all what this 45 contained and I certainly wasn’t going to ask the folks at Block Street Records to pull it down to let me listen to it. When I made it home I did some research and found that the vinyl treasure that the record shop offered was a spoken word song performed by the Third Doctor himself!

Before I dive a little more into “Who Is The Doctor” let me say that like probably many of you that frequent the Pop Culture Retrorama site – it was Tom Baker who was the first Doctor I ever watched. Late on Saturday night I would occasionally stay up at my Grandparents and watch Doctor Who on the local PBS affiliate. It wouldn’t be until I was much older that I really started diving into the TV series. This was around the time of the 1996 TV movie that debuted on Fox – starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor with his archnemesis, The Master, being played Eric Roberts.

Video courtesy of Alan Caylow.

Thanks to a local Hasting’s store I was able to rent quite a few Doctor Who episodes and while Baker was my first Doctor – it quickly became apparent that my favorite was his predecessor. There was something so wonderful about Jon Pertwee’s performance as the Third Doctor – equally flamboyant and dashing in his attire, Grandfatherly at times but also quick to anger… and with all that he also knew Venusian Akido!

Thanks to one of my best friends I now own that 45 featuring Pertwee’s “Who Is The Doctor” on one side with Malcolm Clarke’s score for The Sea Devils on the second side. It turns out this 45 is the 1983 re-issue – the original being pressed back in December of 1972. There were two more re-issues produced since then, one in 1985 with The Sea Devils being replaced by “Doctor?” by Blood Donor – then a remastered version in 2014, a digital offering I believe. “Who Is The Doctor” features a delightful performance by Pertwee, the lyrics suitable for the musings of the Third Doctor – set to a reworking of Ron Grainer’s legendary theme for the TV series by Rupert Hine. It turns out that Hine actually wrote the lyrics to “Who Is The Doctor” as well – all designed to fit into the Doctor Who theme song – and while I am obviously biased I think you will find this is the best thing you are going to hear all day.

Video courtesy of Dominator 1911