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Andrew Orton

Autor(a) de Managing Community Practice

7 Works 24 Membros 1 Review

Obras por Andrew Orton


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Andrew Orton’s Black Archive on the story is very meaty, with seven chapters and three appendices. Up front: I liked it a lot for shedding new light on a story I already love.

“Chapter 1: The Gothic Assassin” is the longest of the chapters, setting out Orton’s agenda. It leads with a consideration of the Gothic in Doctor Who of the Hinchcliffe/Holmes period in general, and of course in The Deadly Assassin in particular. There’s a whacking great indicator in the name of the main Time Lord villain. Even the opening rollover caption echoes the faux manuscript theme in Gothic literature.

“Chaper 2: The Noir Assassin” looks not only at the visible noir influence in the story but also as American and British political scandals: Watergate, Jeremy Thorpe, Harold Wilson’s resignation honours (announced the day the first episode was shown).

“Chapter 3: The Wartime Assassin” looks at the influence of the Second World War and the Cold War on British TV of the era in general, and on Doctor Who and this story in particular. Orton makes the point that the first twenty years of Doctor Who were dominated by the memory of conflict, Holmes in particular with his Burmese experience (it has been previously noted that he has a fondness for swamp planets with bubbling explosive gas).

“Chapter 4: The Symbolic Assassin” looks at the way in which the Time Lords mirror British society, especially parliament, and at the symbolism of the Matrix.

“Chapter 5: The Observant Assassin” reflects on the significance of the Panopticon and the Eye of Harmony; what are the Time Lords actually observing?

“Chapter 6: The Linguistic Assassin” looks at Robert Holmes’ inventive use of language throughout his Doctor Who career.

“Chapter 7: The Dangerous Assassin” points out that the story comes more or less at the half-way point of Old Who, and reflects that Holmes’ attempt to myth-bust the Time Lords resulted in yet more mythology.

“Appendix 1: Engines” reports briefly on the whereabouts of the four railway engines seen in Episode 3, all of which are still intact.

“Appendix 2: How Might the Eye of Harmony Actually Work?” unsuccessfully attempts to bring scientific rigour to a technobabble plot twist.

“Appendix 3: Observer Theory” looks at why it is that the Doctor (generally) has his adventures in order. Of course, we know the real reason, but it’s fun to try and put it in fictionally coherent terms.

In summary, Robert Holmes is the greatest Old Who writer, The Deadly Assassin is his greatest story, and this book is a great book because it provides further evidence for those uncontroversial opinions.
… (mais)
nwhyte | Aug 28, 2023 |

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