February 16th, 2021


Whoniversaries 16 February

i) births and deaths

16 February 1926: birth of Rex Robinson, who played Dr Tyler in The Three Doctors (Third Doctor plus guests, 1972), Gebek in The Monster of Peladon (Third Doctor, 1974) and Dr Carter in The Hand of Fear (Fourth Doctor, 1977). All three of his appearances were directed by Lennie Mayne.

16 February 1945: birth of Jeremy Bulloch, who played Tor in The Space Museum (1965), Hal in The Time Warrior (1973-74), and is best known as Boba Fett in the first two Star Wars films.

16 February 1964: birth of Christopher Eccleston, who played the Ninth Doctor in 2005.

We sang Happy Birthday to him at Gallifrey One last year, the last time I was in the USA; a very happy memory.

16 February 1973: birth of Colm McCarthy, who directed The Bells of Saint John (Eleventh Doctor, 2013).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

16 February 1974: broadcast of sixth episode of Invasion of the Dinosaurs; last appearance as a regular character of Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, though he pops up again later in the season. The Doctor sends Whitaker and Grover back to their Golden Age in a time eddy, and the world is saved.

16 February 1982: broadcast of second episode of The Visitation. The Doctor, Nyssa and Mace find cages full of rats; Adric and Tegan are captured by the Terileptils but Adric escapes; the Doctor is threatened with execution by the villagers.

16 February 1983: broadcast of second episode of Terminus. Tegan and Turlough are threatened by gas, the Doctor heads for Terminus, and Nyssa takes her skirt off.

16 February 1985: broadcast of first episode of The Two Doctors. The Second Doctor is captured by Sontarans and taken to Spain; the Sixth Doctor senses a disturbance in the time stream and starts looking for him; Peri is attacked by a ragged Jamie.

16 February 2020: broadcast of The Haunting of Villa Diodati. I watched it with a thousand other fans at Gallifrey One. Hopefully those days will come again.

My tweets


Watling Street: Travels Through Britain and Its Ever-Present Past, by John Higgs

Second paragraph of third chapter:
For nearly 500 years the postal service was an important part of our national infrastructure The cost of sending a letter was the same, regardless of whether it was sent to someone a few streets away or whether it went from the coast of Cornwall to the highlands of Scotland. This strengthened our sense of geographic identity because, in the eyes of the Royal Mail, we were all equal. Their postcode system unified the country.
This was an impulse purchase as a Christmas present to myself. I had a phase when I was about nine or ten of looking at the maps of England and tracing the paths of the Roman roads - perhaps a little envious that there aren't any in Ireland. (Now I live within a brisk walk of several Gallo-Roman tumuli.)

Higgs does what I've always wanted to do, and frames a series of historical and cultural snapshots along the length of Watling Street, the Roman road that goes from Dover through Canterbury, London, and St Albans, passes near Bletchley Park and Northampton, and then through Wroxeter to Holyhead. It's all interesting and some of it is glorious, for instance his tour of Northampton as portrayed in Alan Moore's Jerusalem, guided by Alan Moore himself and one of Moore's greatest fans. He comes at it from an unapologetically left, counter-cultural perspective, a welcome refresher that interest in your own country's culture and history belongs to all parts of the political spectrum. Lots of nuggets here, especially commending the bits on London and Bletchley Park, but it's all good. You can get it here.