It's 1913 and John Smith is a middle-aged teacher who works in a private school where he is assisted by his doting Maid Martha who was previously employed by his father. John has his head frequently in the clouds. He has recurring dreams which he jots down details of in his journal and recounts to Joan Redfern, the school's plain, kind-hearted Matron. They involve an alien time traveler who calls himself the Doctor who journeys through time and space in a blue box, picking up numerous companions along the way. But he wonders if it's all really just the dream. As John and Joan's feelings become more and more apparent is there more to Martha's concerns over Mr. Smith than just mere infatuation? Events begin to take another twist when a mysterious, other-worldly family with an army of animated scarecrows make their presence known. Written by
Tubular metal scaffolding (of the kind that the Doctor dislodges with a thrown cricket ball in order to save the woman and child from a falling piano) was not in widespread use in the UK until the 1930s. Before that, wooden scaffolding poles were employed, lashed together/into position with rope or something similar. See more »
I dream I'm this adventurer. This daredevil, a madman. The Doctor, I'm called. And last night, I dreamt that you were there. As my companion.
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In the early 1990s Virgin books started to publish a range called The New Adventures Of Doctor Who . These so called New Adventures were supposed to continue the saga of DOCTOR WHO the television series but I never ever bought a copy because I didn't consider the range to be canonical and just seemed to be a way of parting fans of their money . They were just glorified fan fiction something I had zero interest . When the BBC confirmed one of the stories of series three was to b an adaptation of Paul Cornell's NA book Human Nature I rolled my eyes : " Couldn't they employ people to write original scripts ? " I asked myself . " Dear oh dear the show won't have long to survive if they've got to do this "
It seems after watching this episode that apologies of some sort are in order to the production team . Far from being a debacle of any sort Cornell and co have crafted a very sophisticated and intelligent piece of fantasy television . Not only that they succeeded in showing why DOCTOR WHO is the most remarkable show in the history of television . unlike the preceding episode 42 Human Nature is entirely original , it doesn't remind you of any story you have ever seen before . It's also an episode full of character development for the Doctor . Nostalgia plays a part too with a quick flashback sequence and a picture book reference to previous Doctors and adventures , along with an in joke to Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert . But perhaps the show's greatest strength is one of imagery and millions of children will never EVER look upon scarecrows in the same way again
There are one or two flaws to the story . One involves internal logic in that if the Doctor trusts Martha so much then why doesn't he let her keep the watch ? Talking of Martha it becomes clear that despite her best efforts Freema Agyeman seems to be spouting dialogue that was originally written for Rose Tyler and just to point out that she's not a lame reference to Martha being black is added . But these are minor flaws in an episode that rightly deserves to be called a classic
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