Auckland, New Zealand
Like Sydney, Australia, Auckland in New Zealand is a city with connections, in terms of architecture, to the greater British Empire and so a shared past with Australia.
Only the BBC could manage this, the destruction of the Doctor. But why would they want to bump him off? He has been a major player, in one form or another, since the 1960s and a focal point for people around the world, young and old. It is a mystery easily solved when you take into account that this is the age of the politically correct and the BBC has become very politically correct. Also those presently in charge have no idea when it comes to science fiction and also why the Doctor has remained so popular for so long.
The first Doctor was played by William Hartnell who, back then, was more famous for his tough guy roles in movies. The role gave Hartnell his opportunity to connect with the young including his niece who was a big fan of the show.
He was my first Doctor, beginning his famous role, as a renegade time lord, in November of 1963. I remember watching the show every Sunday evening knowing it was going to be the last show I saw before bed time and then getting up for school the next day. It thus has, in its early days, bitter sweet memories for me. But he was THE first Doctor. He was old and grouchy but still loveable and his machine, the TARDIS, could go absolutely any where in time and space.
There wasn't much money to be spent on Doctor Who back then and this would be a continuing problem for many years. Even so, it was exciting stuff for a kid in the 1960s and everyone I knew then thought the Daleks, mirrored somewhat on the Nazis, were scary and, also, brilliant.
Unfortunately, William Hartnell could not last forever as the Doctor. He became ill with fading memory and has to be replaced. This was done in an elegant way through regeneration but for quite some time I did feel the loss of Hartnell in the role and it did take me a while to accept the new Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton. The recorder he played did not help.
Troughton won me over first with The War Games episodes. Then I went back and discovered The Evil of the Daleks and The Ice Warriors and thus became a Patrick Troughton fan.
Jon Pertwee replaced Troughton as the Doctor in 1969. At last the Doctor was in colour and this fresh incarnation was more flamboyant in dress and attitude than the previous Doctors. Roger Delgado came on board as the first Master, a rather sinister fellow time lord. He became a much loved villain capable of freezing the blood with just one look. Prior to becoming the Master, he had had a lively career on television where he generally played either heroes or villains. Sadly, he died in a car accident and, shortly after, the then major players in Doctor Who, including Pertwee, decided to call it a day. There have been many Masters since Delgado but only the present one, played by Sacha Dhawan, has ever disgraced the role.
The Fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker, is a favourite among my generation of Doctor Who fans. He was quirky but definite in his views on how evil, in all its incarnations, must be fought. In The Seeds of Doom, for example, there is the question of what humanity is doing to this planet Earth and whether the removal of humanity to give the plants of this world a better go might not be a great idea. The Doctor sides with humanity, since the seeds that are a menace come from elsewhere, but the question of what best to do about the plants of this world remains. Of course previous Doctors, such as the one played by Pertwee, also tackled environment issues but not quite the way Baker did. The Baker Doctor was more alien and sometimes wondered why he sided with humanity at all.
Doctor Who did not end there. Doctor Who paperbacks with new adventures in them were coming out together with comic books, both UK and American, as well as the official Doctor Who magazine. Also efforts were being made to bring Doctor Who back but with a much larger budget.
In 2005, with Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor, there was a return to television. Fans everywhere cheered. This Doctor was somewhat like Pertwee in that he ran around a lot and, like Baker and McCoy, in that he was indeed a time lord and so not quite human. The special effects were great and everyone back then thought maybe, just maybe Doctor Who would really go on forever.
Again let us fast forward but very close to the present. So what could be going so wrong with Doctor Who that over seven million British fans are switching off, let alone how many overseas fans? Is it the Doctor going from male to female? Probably not for most fans since, when the Master became Missy, it was more than alright. Missy as a nasty time lord was playful in a cut your throat sort of way and so the actress playing Missy, Michelle Gomez, did the original Master, Delgado, proud in her wonderful performances.
Yes, the Doctor going from male to female was a surprise for some fans of the show. We wondered what would happen with Jodie Whittaker at the helm. Unfortunately, her role as the Doctor has been marred by bad scriptwriting and a this-is-the-lesson-for-today approach to social issues that is way too simplistic for most viewers and so is off putting. The science fiction elements have been weak and the new Master, played by Sacha Dhawan, is an insult to all the Masters that have come before him including Missy. Sinister? Sacha yells his head off at the Doctor. Nothing sinister in that! In fact, his performances have been tedious!
What is killing Doctor Who is the idea that William Hartnell wasn't the First Doctor. This role must now go to someone more politically correct.
The result? Instead of curtailing racism with this move I believe that the producers and writers of Doctor Who will actually create more of it as people throughout the world feel the pain and react to it.
No one wants their heroes thrown away simply because of their age and their lack of skin colour. Back in the 1990s, we used to call this form of discrimination reverse racism. In truth it is simply racism.
Already there has been a big backlash against reducing William Hartnell's role on the show and may this backlash grow and grow until the BBC understands what it has done and reverses the damage if, indeed, that is possible. For me, William Hartnell will forever by THE First Doctor no matter what Jodie Whittaker and company might think!
This island is just off the main north island
and is the place to go if you have an
interest in New Zealand wildlife.
You get to Kapiti via a small boat.
It takes all of twenty minutes and is not
what I would call a rough trip.
Darwin came across such creatures in his travels.
This one was found in the heart of Corrimal, NSW, Australia.
Right now the south coast of NSW
is in the grip of a cold snap.
There is the promise of cold and rain for the next few days and a heavy storm tonight. I was a bit concerned about Phil Adams Park which is close to Corrimal train station. I feared the local council might have plans for it other than mowing the lawn every once in a while. As it turned out that seems to be their total interest in the sight which is good news to the local wildlife.
Last year around this time I photographed a Frogmouth looking all sinister in one of those gnarled trees. I like Frogmouths.
Of late Wollongong artists have gotten a tad morbid with their street art. Considering how much many of us prefer summer that seems fair enough to me.
I suppose such art does suit winter in Australia or winter elsewhere for that matter. All in good fun.
Sinister or just blue? You decide. Found in Wollongong.
I have a story in Second-Hand Creeps called Smiley. The name is based on the first computer virus I ever came across which was named Smiley Face because of how it operated. The Smiley Face virus sat on your computer until you typed in a particular word. Once you typed in that word everything you had typed in up to then plus that word became a large orange face with a great big grin. Anyway, that is where the name of my story in Second-Hand Creeps comes from.
The story Smiley is about a demonic creature that creates havoc via emails. You can get what you wish for through this demonic creature via your computer but if enough people have the same wish then chaos must ensue.
Auckland, New Zealand Like Sydney, Australia, Auckland in New Zealand is a city with connections, in terms of archite...