Judith Merril's Dr Who Discussions

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Steve67, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    'The Transformed Man' Recording Sessions
    A couple years ago on youtube there were a series of post-episode segments hosted by science fiction author Judith Merril discussing Dr Who. From Judith Merril.com:

    "1978-81: [Merril] Creates 108 mini-documentaries of three to seven minutes each, to be played following broadcast episodes of Dr. Who on TVOntario."

    The one I saw was from Terror of the Zygons, and I vaguely remember Merril talking about the social commentary regarding our dependence on fossil fuels and perhaps she went on to discuss the ramifications of such dependence.

    Anyway, is anyone else familiar with Merril's Dr Who post-episode and are they available for viewing anywhere online? If not, are there transcripts of said documentaries? I found these analyses of Dr Who stories quite interesting.
     
  2. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    'The Transformed Man' Recording Sessions
    I was hoping some Canadian fans might remember this...

    Maybe I should've put "Matt Smith" in the thread's subject line.:p
     
  3. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2002
    Location:
    Fifth Circle of Hell
    Youtube is probably your only bet. They're rare enough that 2 Entertain didn't even get any to include on the DVD releases.

    BroaDWcast.org has details about the Merril and Jim Dator's intros for the TVO broadcasts. There was also an educational guide published about Doctor Who that I'd love to get my hands on:

    http://gallifreybase.com/w/index.php/Canada_TVO

    Alex
     
  4. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    'The Transformed Man' Recording Sessions
    Youtube is where I saw it about five years ago. With any luck, someone'll re-upload them.

    Seeing Merril's discussions reminds me of how the Science Fiction "community" was back in the 1970s, when it seemed--at least to my young mind--that the genre was cerebral and more interested in concepts, before the popularity of Star Wars made it all Flash Gordon-y again. My youthful impressions of Sci-Fi enthusiasts then were of longish-haired college-aged people who looked like "Rascally" Roy Thomas. The kind of person who could casually quote Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov in their daily conversations. All of that changed by the time I was old enough to get into that stuff in the '80s.
     
  5. PorthosShadow

    PorthosShadow Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Location:
    Hermans Head
    There is a really good interview with Rod Serling from 1970 conducted by author James Gunn. While Rod Serling talks a lot about the state of television at the time (sadly little has changed) he also talks a great deal about science fiction as a genre.
     
  6. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    'The Transformed Man' Recording Sessions
    Excerpt about Merril and Dr. Who from Frederik Pohl's The Way the Future Blogs The author doesn't think much of Dr. Who, however (boldface is mine):

    "Things reached a point with Judy where I could do something for her. The Ontario TV authorities were getting difficult. Dr. Who had been sold to them as science fiction under the general principle that science fiction was educational and therefore good for children to watch. Educational authorities, though, were up in arms to say that such claims were ridiculous. Dr. Who wasn’t science. It was silly garbage, and it should be off the air.

    And what Judy wanted to know was, “Listen, Fred, you’re pretty good at that space-program science talk. If we gave you time, is there anything you could say that would make Dr. Who sound a little more sciency?”

    I thought that was a pretty funny request. I had also, for some time, been spending a lot of my time defending sf in general as healthy for people to watch. True, Dr. Who was a pretty marginal case. But you could find scientific lessons in almost any fantasy story once you allowed quantum reality to be defined as scientific, and I wrote a number of comments-on-the-air for Judy’s shows, and the problem passed."
     
  7. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    'The Transformed Man' Recording Sessions
    More on Judith Merril from writer Robert J. Sawyer.

    I take it that most here have never heard of Judith Merril, but let me say that seeing her in those Dr Who segments made me interested in her. She was a commanding presence and an engaging speaker. I hope that her Terror of the Zygons discussion makes it onto that DVD release-- speaking of which, it had better be a two-disc set, which would elevate my hopes that this stuff is included.
     
  8. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    'The Transformed Man' Recording Sessions
    ...Alas, it was not. :( In fact, none of the bonus featurettes discuss the subtle ecological criticism of when the Doctor says:

    "Oil? An emergency? Ha! It's about time the people who run this planet of yours realised that to be dependent on a mineral slime just doesn't make sense."

    In fact, all we get is something called The Fuel Fishers, an industrial propaganda film which was shot in the North Sea on an oil rig and presented by an awkward Elisabeth Sladen, who wears a goofy outfit much like Sarah Jane would have donned in the series proper. The Judith Merrill program went into this in great detail and it's a shame the Canadian program or at least an original BBC featurette prepared for the DVD set discussing the political environment of the era, much like other Doctor Who DVD sets have.

    I haven't read/listened to the commentaries yet; they're my only hope... ;)
     
  9. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    A schools' programme, to be exact: I remember vividly seeing at junior school sometime in 1976/77 (judging by my memory of which classroom we were in!). It was part of series where Lis explored subjects educationally; there was one on weights and measures (yes, really), where the weighbridge she checked out to discover how they checked lorryloads was quarter of a mile from that same school, right next to the sweetshop, which was thrilling for us all: Sarah Jane had visited our area!
    It's been knocked down and houses built on it now...
     
  10. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    'The Transformed Man' Recording Sessions
    Update: There are some Judith Merril videos up on the 'Tube, including her 1980 discussions of Revenge of the Cybermen, The Masque of Mandragora, and The Invisible Enemy. No Terror of the Zygons yet, however.

    The Masque of Mandragora episode takes the "educational" angle mentioned previously in this thread. There is also a conversation Merril has regarding Voyager-1 and its fly by of Saturn.
     
  11. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Wow, that's cool - a real educational component! My 80s Doctor Who was viewed in Edmonton, but being so far from the Centre of the Universe / Ontario, we had to settle for the feed from PBS Spokane...

    Also, TYPEWRITER!

    Mark
     
  12. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Judith Merril is a good writer in her own, uh, right, and definitely worth reading.
     
  13. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    ME TV should take up the cause with older broadcasts if possible.
     

Share This Page