Friday, July 10, 2009
It is in this episode where The Doctor's dislike of computers becomes most intense. He spends the better part of a night and early morning scribbling down notes and calculations on bits of paper, often discarding them shortly afterwards in crumpled heaps all over the floor, instead of consulting the base computer for the answers. Was all that defiance really necessary? Surely the Doctor would be clever enough to glean information out of any computer, even one with a rotary dial on it like Clent's treasured base computer (ah, the futuristic 60s).
The Doctor's opinion of computers seem to mirror the distrust and unfamiliarity of computers that society had for them around the same time that the episodes were made. They were almost non-existent (or, at least, relatively ignored) in William Hartnell's era until 1966's The War Machines, when goverment ministers were keen to broadcast their arrogant ignorance towards computers to the world and hope that The Doctor would explain to them the science behind it all. After Troughton's standoff-ish attitude towards them, Jon Pertwee at least had a love-hate relationship with them - not wanting to use them, but realizing their true potential. Thankfully, future incarnations (apart from sarkiness in Colin Baker's era, but what wasn't he sarky about?) never seemed as antiquated as their predecessors.
But Troughton's Doctor does come off as the great improviser, so I suppose it's fitting that he shuns all things technological in order to get things done properly. In Episode One, he does show off some remarkable skills in detecting a glacier movement, timing it down to within one second of when the computer figures out the same problem a few seconds later. However, as with the scene where he spends a good few hours trying to solve a problem (which he eventually solves thanks to a quick glimpse at Penley's notes), it seems a shame that he never Googled the answer on the computer. Surely they have some form of Google in the year 3000? Or is at all back to rotary dials on computers by then?
Posted by Steven at 10:16 AM