Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stock Footage Hell: The Five Doctors Special

The Doctor Who series has spanned nearly fifty years now, with only about ten or so of those spent not on the air.  With 12 different actors officially playing the part over the years and at least a half-dozen doing so unofficially (i.e. Peter Cushing's film Doctor), the legacy of it is huge.  So it's only natural that the BBC has tried to make good use of this legacy for works such as The Two Doctors, The Three Doctors and today's film.

The plot is pretty simple, at least as far as Doctor Who stories go.  All five Doctors are plucked from time- a benefit of doing a time-travel show- and forced to work together to solve a common problem.  However, there is a slight flaw and the Fourth Doctor- the immortal Tom Baker- is stuck in another dimension.  Why, you ask, considering that he is arguably the most popular of all time?

Well, Baker declined to return to the show in any form, having just left it two years prior.  As such, they had to find a way to *include him* so they didn't have to call this The Four Doctors, But Not The One You Really, Really Like.  What did they do?  Well, given the title of this segment, you can probably guess: they used stock footage!

They took footage from an unused episode called Shada & tried to make it work.  The result: it alienated fans of Baker.  I can attest to this personally as the son of a Baker fan myself.  Seriously, they hate this thing.  Good job, BBC!

Next up, a lighter version of this segment as a cartoon reuses a cut scene, only to have it get brought back.  Stay tuned...

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