February 23rd, 2021


Whoniversaries 23 February

i) births and deaths

23 February 1918: birth of Bill Strutton, writer of The Web Planet (First Doctor, 1965) and the novelisation Doctor Who and the Zarbi.

23 February 1928: birth of Bernard Kay, who played Carl Tyler in the story we now call The Dalek Invasion of Earth (First Doctor, 1964), Saladin in the story we now call The Crusade (First Doctor, 1965), Inspector Crossland and The Director in The Faceless Ones (Second Doctor, 1967) and Caldwell in Colony in Space (Third Doctor, 1971).

23 February 1935: birth of Gerry Davis, script editor of Doctor Who from The Celestial Toymaker (First Doctor, 1966) to part 3 of The Evil of the Daleks (Second Doctor, 1967), co-writer of The Tenth Planet (First Doctor, 1966), The Highlanders (Second Doctor, 1967), and Tomb of the Cybermen (Second Doctor, 1967-68), and sole credited writer of Revenge of the Cybermen (Fourth Doctor, 1975).

23 February 2009: death of Laurence Payne, who played Johnny Ringo in The Gunfighters (First Doctor, 1966), Morix in The Leisure Hive (Fourth Doctor, 1980), and Dastari in The Two Doctors (Sixth and Second Doctors, 1985).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

23 February 1974: broadcast of first episode of Death to the Daleks. The Tardis lands on Exxilon, suffering a power drain, with Sarah in a swimsuit; the Doctor finds a stranded earth ship, Sarah is captured by the natives and the Daleks arrive.

23 February 1982: broadcast of fourth episode of The Visitation. The Doctor and friends pursue the Terileptils to London and destroy their base, leading to a much bigger conflagration.

23 February 1983: broadcast of fourth episode of Terminus; last regular appearance of Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. The Doctor shuts down the engine and Nyssa stays behind to help the Lazars; but the Black Guardian is still angry with Turlough.

23 February 1984: broadcast of first episode of Planet of Fire; first appearance of Nicola Bryant as Peri. Kamelion (remember him?) reappears for the first time in eleven months and brings the Tardis to Lanzarote, where a young woman in a bikini is rescued by Turlough.

23 February 1985: broadcast of "A Fix with Sontarans", a Doctor Who segment of Jim'll Fix It with Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan and young Gareth Jenkins saving the earth from, well, Sontarans. This mini-episode has been purged from history after the dreadful revelations about Jimmy Saville. The scripted bit ends with Tegan calling: "Doctor! Look at the screen! It's monstrous!" to which the Sixth Doctor replies in horror, "It's revolting!" And Jimmy Saville's face appears. Utterly chilling, given what we now know. Gareth Jenkins is now director of advocacy with a major health charity.

also 23 February 1985: broadcast of second episode of The Two Doctors. The Sixth Doctor, Jamie and Peri pursue the Sontarans and the Second Doctor to Spain, where the anthropophagous and hungry Shockeye captures Peri.

23 February 2020: broadcast of Ascension of the Cybermen.In the far future, the Doctor and her friends face a brutal battle across the farthest reaches of space to protect the last of the human race against the deadly Cybermen. And what's with Brendan, the abandoned baby who grows up to join the Gardaí?

My tweets


Sugar and other stories, by A.S. Byatt

Second paragraph of third story (“The July Ghost”):
He picked a long, bright hair off the back of her dress, so deftly that the act seemed simply considerate. He had been skilful at balancing glass, plate and cutlery, too. He had a look of dignified misery, like a dejected hawk. She was interested.
Stories from early in Byatt's career; I have previously read Possession, which I loved, and Babel Tower, which I did not. Two of these are ghost stories, most of them demonstrate a talent still coming together. I particularly liked the first one, “Racine and the Tablecloth”, about feminist liberation through boarding-school essays, and the last two, “Precipice-Encurled”, an exploration of Robert Browning à la Possession, and the clearly autobiographical “Sugar”. All very digestible. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book by a woman and my top unread non-genre fiction (excluding the two ghost stories). Next on those piles are Serpent Sea, by Martha Wells, and The Complete Maupassant.