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9 August 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day 221: The Dominators, Episode Five

Dear diary,

You know that a story hasn't been all that successful when the thing that excites you the most about it is seeing the Doctor burn through a wall with his Sonic Screwdriver. He's clearly been tinkering away at the device a little bit since the last time we saw it, giving it a few extra functions. It's nice to see it starting to be more in keeping with the version of the tool we all know, and it really does help to give a feeling of evolution to the series. Enjoy me liking the device in these early days - there'll come a time, I'm sure, when I regret its invention!

Oh dear, it didn't take as long to praise the Sonic Screwdriver as I'd hoped it would. I've really not got all that much left to say about The Dominators, and I've not said much to begin with! I fear that I'm going to end up falling back onto old favourites, like praising the Quarks (I'm a total covert now. I'm a Quarkvert. I might get that made into a badge), or discussing how much I love the main cast of the programme.

Something that I do have to be thankful for is that this story was cut down from a planned six-episode length. I've discussed in the past how much I'm not a fan of six-part stories, and I fear that this one may well have finished me off for once and for all. I just can't see how they were planning to stretch things out over another whole episode before things came to a head - it feels like they're pushing their luck already.

I'm sorry to see Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln leave the series with this story, though. While I wasn't all that fond of The Abominable Snowmen (still lined up for a relisten after the marathon, though), I thought that The Web of Fear was one of the best examples of Doctor Who you could hope to find. If it existed in the archives, it's sure to be the 1960s story that you'd show to get people interested in the idea of 1960s Who.

Between them, they've been responsible for some pretty major additions to the Who mythos - the biggest of course being the Brigadier. Yeah, yeah, he'll evolve over the years (starting in just a couple of stories time) into a character basically unrecognisable from the one who turns up as a not-particularly-likeable chap on the London Underground but he still started with them.

Then, of course, we've got the Great Intelligence. Although the character has recently had his number of appearances considerably increased during the latest series, the character has always been among those hailed as a great Doctor Who villain. Barely a year has gone by since the programme returned in 2005 without someone asking for a return for the Yeti. The kind of reputation they have as monsters, you'd expect them to be in far more than two stories, both from the same season in the late 1960s.

I'm sorry that the behind the scenes fallings out meant that they never got to write the third Yeti story, in which the Great Intelligence would launch another attack on Earth, this time via Jamie's ancestral home (mind you, it would have played chaos with my Great Intelligence timeline), as I'm sure I'd have enjoyed it. The idea of the castle being surrounded by shaggy highland cows which stand up and turn out to be Yeti would surely be one of the best remembered cliff-hangers of all time. Bizzare yet brilliant - Doctor Who at its best.

It was partly the loss of that story which means that Jamie sticks around until the end of the Second Doctor's tenure, too. Regular readers will know it's no secret that I love Jamie as a companion, and I love Frazer Hines being on screen with his Doctor, but part of me would love to see him bow out early in Season Six, giving the Doctor a bit of time without him before he heads off to his exile. It makes the Second Doctor's tenure seem incredibly small to have this same human with him for all but one adventure…

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