16 December 2012

Who Created Doctor Who?

When I speak to people about analyzing the networks of Doctor Who, the first thing that comes to mind is how the various characters of the show interact. But I'm finding there's another network that possibly even more significant. It has to do with the roles of the people who created and produced the show.

This will take a look at the people from the first decade of the show. This will cover the production crew which helped mold the characters, and the show, for future incarnations.

Mum and Dad

If you had to look for the proud parents of Doctor Who it would certainly have to be Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert.

Sydney Newman
Most people, when asked this question, will instantly answer Sydney Newman. And yes, his was the original concept. He wanted an educational show which would divide it's time between historical adventures and space adventures. Above all he wanted it to be viewed with the attitude that something could be learned from it.
Excellent foundation building and picking good people

Verity Lambert
But the young producer, Verity Lambert might have had a more far reaching effect on the future of the show. She was extremely headstrong in what she wanted and wouldn't be coerced to make. Verity had previously worked Newman on Adam Adamant Lives!
Selecting the right people for the roles and good forethought for the future.

The Rest of the Family

Many people had a hand in the creation of the show. But a few need mentioned for the outstanding contributions.

Donald Wilson
Most people would say, "Who's he?". This is the man who started the ball rolling. As Head of the Script Department he began the search for that something new. And he looked to the area of science fiction. And Wilson was pivotal in getting Sydney Newman on board. Though not the father of Doctor Who, he certainly can be viewed as an ancestor of the family.
Ground Zero for the program

David Whitaker
Whitaker brought in the Alchemy angle. Items like the Cybermats somehow drained the 'life' out of metal rather than just consuming it and Maxtible, in the Power of the Daleks wanted to turn lead into gold. He also wrote two-part filler, The Edge of Destruction, which helped set the style for how the original four characters interacted. As the first script editor he guided the show in a direction, sometimes of his own choosing. Whitaker's original description of the first Doctor and three companions set the ground for the future. If Whitaker's original description of Susan was used she would have made for a much more interesting character.
The Doctor as Mystic and Excellent basic characters

Dennis Spooner
Some think Spooner guided the show more than anyone else. He wrote Doctor Who stories the same way you would write something like Hamlet. There's was the initial hook, to get the viewers interested. That was followed by the characters going through various ups and downs. And finally it builds up to a smashing fight at the end. Spooner was also the man who introduced the idea that the Doctor had contemporaries in time traveling. After the Meddling Monk, the Doctor's life would never be the same again.
Quality story lines and other time travelers

Innes Lloyd
Innes took the show in a sci-fi direction. It always had the science fiction edge but his knowledge of the sciences made it more credible. His thought was there were already enough good costume dramas, he thought, so let's take it in a new direction. He added the Cybermen to the Doctor Who mix of villains making the second long-lasting foe. Innes oversaw The Enemy of the World, a sort of James Bond style which was a mystery with no monsters. Definitely something different from the normal world of monsters of Doctor Who.
Higher caliber science fiction ideas and Cybermen

Barry Letts
Barry brought in more innovations that any producer so far. Doctor Who was one of the first shows to use Color-Separation Overlay regularly and attempt bigger effects than was thought possible on their budget. Yes, we all know there were failures but there were also many successes. But above all, he also sought out the best writers for the show.
New production methods and finding quality writers

Terrence Dicks
Early on he defined the Doctor Who as an action/adventure serial with a background of science fiction. It's not really hardcore science fiction. Terrance's biggest talent, which was good as a script editor, was to be able to quickly rewrite a script to fit the Doctor Who mold better and still bring it under budget.
Mellowing the harder science fiction to introduce more grandiose ideas

Robert Holmes
Robert Holmes's first two scripts were, as some consider, his learning stories. But after those first two stories he began taking the show in new, uncharted directions. He would always give characters a backstory so they weren't just 'wallpaper' to be killed and thrown away. You actually got to know them before they died. Holmes concentrated more on developing the characters first. He figures if you had good characters, a good story would naturally come. His taste for the macabre well known and when he became script editor under Philip Hinchcliffe and the series went into it's darkest, most horrific era. And least we forget, Robert Holmes created the Master, the perfect counterpoint to the Doctor.
Everybody gets a backstory and a dark sense of horror stories

These are the people who helped guide the Doctor through its growing up period and into adolescence. Each contribution help refine the show, whether it was adding a little something or taking something away. What you see today can ultimately be traced to all these people above.

There is a full set of networks being planned for the production major production people.

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