Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Good lighting and costumes

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1978-09-07 Stage and Television Today.jpg


Unlike other series, resurrected from a timely demise or outliving their usefulness. Dr. Who (BBC-1, Saturday September 2, 5.45 pm) maintains its standards. With an eye to the children and more than half an eve to the adults, it includes old favourites — The Tardis, K9, Time Lords, Guardians et al — and some changes. The new series, starting this week, offers a new assistant. The cool, calculating and quite devastatingly glamorous Romana (Mary Tamm).

Avoiding the amateurism, sometimes associated with similar programmes, George Spenton-Foster's direction was intelligent with a thoughtful attention to detail. He is assisted by a talented team who clearly have an involvement in the enterprise and a desire to make this more than just a routine show for the kids.

Good lighting and costumes

Jimmy Purdie's lighting achieved some remarkable effects — Dr. Who suffused with a golden glow when summoned to meet the Guardian. and a nice greenish tinge for the obligatory monster (Dr. Who has always been strong on monsters) — and Jane Hudson's opulent costumes were always impressive. lain Cuthbertson, imposing as entrepreneur. Garron, benefited most but other characters enjoyed their share of fur and finery.

Miss Tamm was, perhaps, a little overdressed for a liberated lady — white is very impractical — but she certainly looked lovely. Designer. Ken Ledsham's sets crammed a lot into a small space and the resounding tones of Dudley Simpson's incidental music added an ecclesiastical grandeur to the atmosphere.

Dr. Who scores heavily on its stylish presentation and special effects. Its marks are not so high in other areas. The dialogue is often funny — Dr. Who's nicely timed exchange with the Guardian, "What will happen to me?", "Nothing", "You mean nothing will happen to me?", "Nothing at all — ever." It can also be arch, with too great a tendency to pander to the sophisticated.

While references to the doctor's age, (756 ? 759 ?) are acceptable. discussions of the educational system at the Academy—'Triple Firsts" and "scraping through with 51 per cent at the second attempt", enter a different territory.

Lacks conviction in the role

Some of the fault here must lie with the doctor himself. Compelling, charismatic and good to look at though Tom Baker is, he sometimes seems to lack the conviction necessary to the role. His interpretation is oriented to a generation brought up on silicone chips and satellites rather than Children's Hour and, as such, it has its strengths. He is frequently not helped by dialogue that errs towards slickness and send-up but it is the considerable warmth of his personality, not its abrasiveness that is worthy of the greater emphasis in this context.

Miss Tamm has scarcely had an opportunity to establish herself but, as yet, she has not had much impact and it is to be hoped that Robert Holmes will allow her to develop into something more than a smooth-talking new-broom apprentice, assiduous in her attempts to belittle yhe doctor's experience.

There was no uncertainty of spirit amongst the supporting cast. Nigel Plaskitt, Paul Seed and Robert Keegan gave convincing performances. Cyril Luckham suffered from the prevalent technique of obscure satire, but he managed to convey at least some of the dignity expected of a Guardian.

To all but the most astute of viewers, the story does look somewhat confusing at the moment. There seem to be one or two subplots as well as the main theme. However, it looks able to sustain interest for the ensuing episodes and many adventures are promised in the search for the Key to Time.

At its best, Dr. Who is clever enough to stimulate and adventurous enough to excite. The first episode of the new series was not outstanding but there is no reason to suppose that it will not achieve its expected quota of satisfied customers.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Lovelace, Jennifer (1978-09-07). Good lighting and costumes. The Stage and Television Today p. 19.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Lovelace, Jennifer. "Good lighting and costumes." The Stage and Television Today [add city] 1978-09-07, 19. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Lovelace, Jennifer. "Good lighting and costumes." The Stage and Television Today, edition, sec., 1978-09-07
  • Turabian: Lovelace, Jennifer. "Good lighting and costumes." The Stage and Television Today, 1978-09-07, section, 19 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Good lighting and costumes | url= | work=The Stage and Television Today | pages=19 | date=1978-09-07 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 March 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Good lighting and costumes | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 March 2023}}</ref>