January 20th, 2021

shocked and surprised

Whoniversaries 20 January

i) births and deaths

20 January 1934: They don't come much bigger than this - birth of Tom Baker, who played the Fourth Doctor from 1974 to 1981 and has reprised the role on occasion since. For me he remains the definitive Doctor. Happy birthday, Tom!



20 January 1936: birth of Ralph Watson, who played an unnamed generator scientist in The Underwater Menace (Second Doctor, 1967), Captain Knight in The Web of Fear (Second Doctor, 1968), the miners' leader Ettis in The Monster of Peladon (Third Doctor, 1974) and principal lighthouse keeper Travers in Horror of Fang Rock (Fourth Doctor, 1977).

20 January 1978: birth of Jami Reid-Quarrell, who played Davros' servant Colony Sarff in The Magician's Apprentice (Twelfth Doctor, 2015), the faceless Veil in Heaven Sent (also Twelfth Doctor, 2015), the Cloister Wraiths in Hell Bent (also Twelfth Doctor, 2015) and the Robot Inspector in The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo (Class, 2016).

20 January 1990: death of John Maxim/John Wills, who played the Frankenstein monster in The Chase (1965) and a Cyberman in The Moonbase (1967). I was friendly with his son, the year below me at Clare College.

ii) broadcast anniversaries

20 January 1968: broadcast of fifth episode of The Enemy of the World. Bruce has switched sides and starts to help the opposition to salamander. Meanwhile the scientists trapped underground are getting restive.

20 January 1973: broadcast of fourth episode of The Three Doctors. The Second and Third Doctors persuade Omega to return the others to Earth, and then destroy him with the Second Doctor's recorder. The Three Doctors are restored to their own timestreams.


20 January 1978: broadcast of first episode of The Armageddon Factor; first appearance of Lalla Ward (though as Princess Astra, not Romana). Atrios and Zeos are locked in war. The Doctor and Romana are captured by the Marshal but escape; Princess Astra is captured by a bloke in a cloak.

20 January 1984: broadcast of second episode of The Awakening. The Malus attempts to manifest by draining energy from the villagers and the Tardis, but the Doctor defeats it.

20 January 1996: broadcast of first episode of The Ghosts of N-Space on BBC radio. The Brigadier is visiting his Sicilian uncle whose castle is under threat from modern mobsters and ancient ghosts. Er, yeah.

iii) dates specified in canon

20 January 1920: birth of Toshiko Sato's grandfather in Japan. (She mentions at the start of the 2007 Torchwood story, Captain Jack Harkness, that she is on her way to his 88th birthday party.)

20 January 1941: Toshiko Sato and Jack meet the real Captain Jack Harkness (also in the 2007 Torchwood story, Captain Jack Harkness).
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prisoner

The Prisoner: A Day in the Life, by Hank Stine

Second paragraph of third chapter:
He lay quietly for a while and listened to the rain. It was a good sound, clean and substantial: above suspicion. The weather was (save himself) the only thing he could trust.
This was the first book I finished in 2021 (I've already written up two others, because they fitted with other projects). It's one of three original spinoff novels from everyone's favourite enigmatic TV show; I've read one of the others and must look out for the third. (There are a few other later ones as well.)

Perhaps I am easily pleased, but I rather enjoyed this. The Prisoner is made a prisoner even within the confined circumstances of The Village; he flirts with Number 7, plays chess with the Admiral, assassinates a few people in London and life goes back to normal. The level of mind-bending is about average for one of the TV episodes. I would find it difficult to describe anything that actually happened in the story, but I enjoyed reading it. You can get it here.

This was the first book that I finished reading in 2021 (I have already blogged a couple that I finished after I had read this). It was also the shortest unread book that I had acquired in 2014. Next on that list is The Autumn Land, by Clifford D. Simak.