Friday, June 5, 2009

Y2 - The Hall of Dolls

Almost the entire episode is devoted to one long scene - Steven, Dodo, and a game of chairs, dolls, and two playing cards who have been brought to life. The Toymaker and The Doctor (the latter of whom is invisible, barring one hand) only appear in one or two scenes, and, early on, The Doctor loses his voice as a further mode of punishment for trying to warn Steven and Dodo.

The real world reason for The Doctor's lack of screen time is, of course, a holiday for William Hartnell during the week that this episode was recorded. However, if John Wiles and Donald Tosh were to have their way when they were putting this story together months beforehand, it would have been much different. Due to the fantastical nature of The Celestial Toymaker, it could be made feasible that the current version of The Doctor (Hartnell) could be made to disappear, and then, once he reappears at the end of the story, a new Doctor could appear to take his place. This way, Wiles and Tosh could rid themselves of what they thought was a problem on the show - the temperamental nature of its star.

This idea was vetoed by the bosses at the BBC. But one has to wonder - did this rejected idea from Wiles and Tosh plant a seed in the minds of the BBC executives so that when, a few short months later, when new producer Innes Lloyd approached them with a similar idea to replace the lead actor in Doctor Who, it didn't seem that far fetched?

I compare it to the recent announcement that the Outpost Gallifrey website will be closing forever by the end of July. The site had almost done the same thing in August 2007, but, after a couple days of panic amongst Doctor Who fandom (who are usually an even tempered lot), the site returned, albeit at a slightly reduced level. However, this event caused fandom to seriously ponder the possibility of their favourite fansite not being around anymore, and their collective mind adjusted to this possibility that when, in early June 2009, the announcement of OG's truly final closing wasn't greeted as a sign of the apocalypse, but, instead, many different plans were put into place for its replacement. You see, fandom had seen that the end of OG could conceivably happen, and had backup plans in mind when the end finally did come.

Did a similar scenario occur with the executives at the BBC, thanks to Wiles's and Tosh's suggestion? We'll never know, but the notion of what would come to be known as "regeneration" came along sooner than one would think.


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