Be careful what you wish for

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that I may have altered the URL of my last entry after I’d sent it out, which may well have rendered it inaccessible. So if you missed out on Dalek Caan talking like Johnny the painter from The Fast Show, here’s the updated link.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (waiting for Tom Baker to come and look at you) for the past few days, you’ll know all about the BBC’s recent announcement that they’ve found most of ‘The Web of Fear’ and ‘The Enemy of the World’, two lost gems from the lost archives of the Second Doctor. This rumour has been circulating all year, of course, although the actual size of the haul has decreased from 105 episodes down to about 9 over the months, while the location of discovery has shifted from Ethopia to Nigeria. It would be easy to suggest, rather cynically, that the discovery occurred at the end of winter, the negotiations finished in spring and that the BBC drafted the press release before the summer solstice, and then held off on the announcement until mere weeks before the anniversary story in order to ensure maximum publicity. But I am not going to do that. Honest.

One of the most amusing comments I read came courtesy of an Independent reader, who quipped:

Dear Sir,
I am the nephew of a deceased Nigerian general and have discovered a vast cache of vintage film classics among his possessions. They could be worth several billion pounds if they can be sold to international media distributors. However, I need a reliable person in the UK with a legitimate bank account…

Elsewhere, there are the usual grumblings from fans who are complaining about the iTunes release plan. “Some were saying that if lots of people buy those then the BBC might not bother releasing DVDs because no-one will want to buy them twice,” said Gareth. “Others were saying that if too few buy the iTunes (e.g., because they’re waiting for the DVDs) then the BBC might not bother releasing DVDs because there’s clearly no interest.  Silly!” Of course, the DVDs of both adventures are due – in November and February – and they will be well received, because you can never have too much of Patrick Troughton.

I had an idea a while back for a Doctor Who story in which the Tenth Doctor and Martha are asked by a wise and learned people to travel back in time and recover some sacred scrolls that are vital to their future. The Doctor does this, only to find that the scrolls contain a secret so terrible it must never be revealed, and he takes it upon himself to see it’s destroyed. I know I just said you can never have too much of Patrick Troughton, but I can’t help wondering whether some of these episodes should stay buried. In any event, this whole thing makes me wonder what’ll happen when we eventually stop collecting physical media just consign everything to the cloud. I know that DVDs and Blu Rays don’t last forever, and I know that the servers are hidden in bomb-proof hangars underneath international airports (meaning that in the event of a nuclear apocalypse and the collapse of the global infrastructure, we’ll still be able to watch Doctor Who), but what happens when the terrorists work out a way to wipe out the internet and hold us all to ransom? Would we really be willing to sacrifice our freedom so that the likes of lolcatz can survive? I’m not sure I would, although I might make an exception for rathergood.com, particularly this one.

Of course, if we’re being futurist and cynical at the same time, we might end up with something like this.

 

Using one crap episode to exploit another is a bit self-referential, of course, but that’s the story of my life.

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