Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

The Time Lord is in trouble

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1988-10-31 Sydney Morning Herald.jpg


Is the new Who the real McCoy? Lynne Cairncross has her doubts.

"YOU don't understand regeneration. It's a lottery and I've drawn a short plank."

So says the seventh, and latest, incarnation of Dr Who, who can be seen on Monday at 5.30 pm on Channel 2.

Short, lisping Sylvester McCoy, with his love of slapstick and tremulous upper lip, is definitely the "short plank" in the 25-year history of this BBC science-fiction serial.

McCoy is a 43-year-old Scot with a long and unusual career in showbiz, which has included stints stuffing ferrets down his trousers and three-inch nails up his nose for pub crowds.

The Doctor, in case you have been living in a vacuum, is the Time Lord who travels through space and time in a blue police telephone box called the Tardis (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space).

This crusading Time Lord has two hearts, a body temperature of 15 degrees Celsius and, of course, he never dies. This has been a boon for the BBC script writers, who began the show in November, 1963 with William Hartnell playing the lead.

The show continues to draw growing audiences in 39 countries around the world. But will McCoy change all that?

"Sylvester is a very dominant personality, full of energy, strong on comedy and very physical," says John Nathan-Turner, the show's producer.

This may be his downfall. The first two episodes of Time And The Rani have the new Doctor indulging in dreadful mugging and circus pratfalls that will appeal only to the under fives.

Take heart. Things do improve, according to Dallas Jones, president of the Australasian Dr Who Fan Club. Later episodes play down the slapstick a bit.

Perhaps the real shortcoming of this week's episodes are the scripts by Pip and Jane Baker. Where are the meaty and exciting stories that enhanced the performances of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker? Dr Who is primarily a children's show, but must the producers ignore the millions of adult fans world-wide?

Caption: Sylvester McCoy ... slapstick.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Cairncross, Lynne (1988-10-31). The Time Lord is in trouble. The Sydney Morning Herald p. 3S.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Cairncross, Lynne. "The Time Lord is in trouble." The Sydney Morning Herald [add city] 1988-10-31, 3S. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Cairncross, Lynne. "The Time Lord is in trouble." The Sydney Morning Herald, edition, sec., 1988-10-31
  • Turabian: Cairncross, Lynne. "The Time Lord is in trouble." The Sydney Morning Herald, 1988-10-31, section, 3S edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Time Lord is in trouble | url= | work=The Sydney Morning Herald | pages=3S | date=1988-10-31 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=31 March 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Time Lord is in trouble | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=31 March 2023}}</ref>