The latest issue of RTP! (#27) has been reviewed by Zeus Blog reviewer Alistair Hughes.
Take a look here to read.
1 day ago
We don' t have a lot to go on regarding Cats, but perhaps what there does exist and is known to have happened around its first commission and eventual rejection will be enough. Perhaps. Let's go.
Cats was to have been the season closer of Season Fifteen after Graham Williams suggested a sequel by Robert Holmes to The Deadly Assassin. Holmes declined and Cats was its initial replacement. The season had already undergone some considerable change throughout its production, having suffered from the usual conflict of lofty ideas versus limited budget (perhaps to a more spectacular degree in stories such as The Invisible Enemy and Underworld, the latter having been "saved" though the use of extensive CSO, a factor which would be its critical downfall for many years). Already then, the seeds for Cats' early shelving were sown, a fact not helped by the now widely celebrated but infamous "Wembly Park Stadium" scene, reputed to have hosted up to 96,000 extras in full feline attire. But Cats might not have been entirely lost just through one scene, which could still have been realised alternatively with, say, forced perspective (see: The Twin Dilemma). The script must have had its problems. What were they? Unfortunately, these remain unknown.
Certainly some elements of Cats survived to be realised in its eventual replacement, and this should come as no surprise given the rushed schedule to complete the season line-up, along with the co-writing credit by the season's Script Editor. The Invasion of Time kept the Gallifreyan setting, and it might not be too much of a stretch to imagine the felines taking their place within this model. A Sontaran beach-head model at this stage sounds unlikely, but maybe their part was as the aggressor - an attempt by them made on the Capitol? Who can say?
But what of the Killer Cats themselves? All we have to go on is a set of costume designs by Dee Robson (showing male and female versions), and what costumes they looked to be! The Cats would have worn flowing robes according to the design sketches, which by Who terms usually spells two things: civilisation and nobility. Perhaps they were a race as old as the Time Lords themselves. Were they a civilised race betrayed by one of their number who was either ambitious or foolhardy? Perhaps they were the precursors to Invasion's "Outsiders" - the idea of Leela leaving the TARDIS for a life among the felines seems plausible. One thing is certain with Cats however; the series' vision of Gallifrey would have undergone yet another change with the introduction of this new native race.
In some way, with what we know of what followed in the series some of this might not have made a complete clash; we know from Mark of the Rani that cats exist on Gallifrey, and this idea was extended in the Missing Adventures (Goth Opera had the Doctor reminiscing over introducing cats into the planet's biosphere; Invasion of the Cat People linked the book's villains with the Cheetah People and the Killer Cats as relatives). Who knows what fan theories might have sprung up regarding the sixth Doctor's choice of moggy badges had Cats seen production? Far more significant though, would have been the change to Gallifrey within the series. Unless the appearance of the Cats comes as some sort of contrivance (they reappear after returning from a long journey, a la the Minyans of Underworld, or are "woken" from slumber. A catnap if you will) then we must assume that they have always been part of Gallifrey. The only alternative is the contrivance, and this might perhaps have saved the overpopulation problem of the story. Survivors of thought-dead races in Who usually number under ten - often under five (Zygons, Kraals).
Problem solved? Maybe not. After all the supposition, the most famous aspect of Cats is that Wembly Stadium concept. As a season closer, a handful of monsters, grand, ancient and noble as they may be, makes less than impressive television. But then so did the Vardans apparently, which really just goes to show how much of a gamble the whole game becomes in the end.
- Peter Adamson
Forty Years Young ...Monty Python's Life of Guff:
The series has almost reached 40 years of age and is now at a point we generally call middle-aged. Which leads me to ponder two questions: 1) has the series aged gracefully?; and 2) is the series experiencing a mid-life crisis?
Can a TV series age gracefully? I think a series can, but most never manage this feat from either being cut short by management focused solely on ratings and demographics, or limping past their used-by-date and dying a painful death long after their audience has switched channels to watch something new. Everybody has their own ideas as to when the later happens, hence the book and web site Jump The Shark. Take a visit to the web site and have a look at when people think the series 'jumped the shark'.
However this is an editorial and, more importantly, it is *my* editorial. So I can waffle on a bit now about *my* thoughts on these two important questions. Given that I haven't seen Doctor Who rushing out to buy a sports car, getting hair replacement therapy or trying to be trendy buy cashing in on the latest passing fad, I can only assume that it is *not* having a mid-life crisis. (It can be argued that Star Trek on the other hand is having a mid-life crisis, hence the alleged emphasis on tits and arse in Enterprise.)
Is Doctor Who aging gracefully? Some fans would point to the maturity of the now twelve year old range of original novels and that it feels secure enough to 'reboot' the series, such as with the events of The Ancestor Cell. Others still will gesticulate wildly toward the Big Finish audios and the way in which the last four Doctors are making use of the opportunity to flesh out their characters far beyond anything they achieved on the small screen. Again other fans will point to the DWM comic strip and the fact that it is happy to play with big stakes and take risks such as the Wormwood saga or more recently with Izzy's transformation.
I can't comment of any of these developments in the Doctor Who universe as I don't get DWM, the Big Finish audios or the BBC books. So I'll stick with the TV series. I feel that maybe the series had its mid-life crisis in the Eighties where it tried to re-invent itself several times from the basics of storytelling to the extras like theme arrangements. Because of that, I believe that the series is *now* the 'crotchety old man' of the sci-fi world and therefore holds the revered place of 'elder statesman' with Star Trek as the pretender to the throne. This is subject to change should the series return to TV screens.
As a result of this mid-life crisis in the Eighties, the various spin-offs and continuations of the series in other forms of media are much stronger than they would be if that crisis hadn't happened. It turned out to be a much needed wake-up call that allowed everybody (both the fans and the people producing the series) and to step back and see the larger picture, something that hasn't happened with the Star Trek franchise yet.
So, yes the series has managed to age gracefully and no it is not having a mid-life crisis, but is instead planning of what to do now that said crisis is over. Should it make a big comeback or slip quietly into retirement? Time will tell, it always does ..."
- Alexander Ballingall
Reincarnation, Regeneration, RebirthThe Dark Guff:
No, you aren't hallucinating. Another issue of Reverse the Polarity! is currently sitting in your hands begging to be cuddled and taken home to be read. The fanzine has weathered a two year dry spell and after a rocky start back onto the road with issues 11 and 12, I think it is safe to say that RTP! will be around for some time to come. After all, it's all about reincarnation, regeneration and rebirth.
RTP! is the reincarnation of the ill-fated fanzine attempt known as The Scrolls of Rassilon which Matt Kamstra and Wade Campbell attempted to foist onto the world in early 1997. The Scrolls of Rassilon never saw the light of day but RTP! did. It's early days were an attempt to find its' feet and carve a place out for itself in the New Zealand fanzine landscape, rather than become a clone of Telos. And I think that that fear of becoming a Telos clone goes a long way to explaining the rather unbecoming attitude towards the aforementioned fanzine that featured in RTP!. One that cast a shadow over those first four issues as Matt and Wade grappled with this conundrum. In the middle of 1998 Wade bowed out and the fanzine underwent a regeneration.
September 1998 through to June 1999 (issues 5 through 8) saw RTP! flower into a zine in its' own right and shake off any doubts about being Telos by another name. Part of this may be the fact that I (as new coeditor at that point) had never read Telos and therefore couldn't care less if RTP! resembled it in any way, shape or form. Hell, they are both New Zealand fanzines about Doctor Who. It would be impossible for them to be completely dissimilar. As a result of this regeneration and flowering people began to subscribe to the fanzine. The readership by 1999 had become evenly split between those in Christchurch and those who lived in the rest of New Zealand. It even picked up an overseas reader.
The feedback received during this period was generally good and despite some small problems RTP! continued to grow. People took the time to contribute something special for each issue. However it seems it was all too good to last. There was six months between issues 8 and 9 and things began to take longer and longer to come together for each issue. Things came to a head when I left for England in May 2000 after issue 10 was published. At which point news about the next issue became hard to come by and, as you all know, it eventually appeared that RTP! had ceased to be altogether.
Thank goodness for rebirth. For here we are, the third issue after the break and still gathering steam. But change, a complete rebirth, was needed to keep the fanzine moving away from the rut it was in. Many of the changes made to RTP! last issue were rather small and cosmetic. A general tightening up of the layout that was established in issue 10. With this issue however, and the arrival of a new logo curtesy of Peter & Bridget Adamson, it seemed appropriate to completely revamp the image of the entire fanzine. I don't think there is really any better way of showing that Reverse the Polarity! is back in the running once more."
- Alexander Ballingall
So here we are again.Being Guff Malkovich:
Another issue that combines all the subtlety of a sledgehammer with the wit of a drunken conversation.
In the four and a bit years that RTP! has traversed the line between bad and extremely bad taste, in the search for that something extra to give our readers, we have brought you the highs of the “Update” column, where we have revealed to the world the reality that is Matt’s inability to spell check. And we have brought you the lows of straight out plagiarism and wholesale theft of other peoples’ good ideas in the form of Pulp Who and others.
What does this say about RTP!? I like to think of RTP! as an expression of our enjoyment of that little known sci-fi series Doctor Who. So what if the effects were dodgy, the acting painfully awful and the scripting something left to be desired. The contents of RTP! have always struck me as a fresh and playful exploration of our continuing fascination with the series, one that doesn’t shy away from the series faults and instead builds them up as further reasons to enjoy the programme.
And the survival of RTP! is a testament to that enjoyment. The fanzine has embraced some of the most outlandish aspects of the series and the surrounding wasteland that is the public arena. We haven’t shied away from interpreting and expanding upon such elements as absurd villains and monsters, the never ending mill of fan rumour, public perception of the series and its fans, as well as the existence of this very fanzine itself. We have gloried in beating the series to death in all its forms because we know that as long as we continue to enjoy the series it will survive all that we can throw at it.
It is now the second half of 2002 and in less than eighteen months the series celebrates its 40th anniversary. As per usual rumours abound about the series making a comeback. It is also RTP!’s 5th anniversary in October and it has made a comeback. What does this mean? Well, it proves once and for all that Matt Kamstra, even if he is a very, very lazy bastard, can make good on his promises better than the Beeb. Make of that what you will ...
- Alexander Ballingall
Looking forward to beating his head against a brick wall ...
TSV #75 (December 2007)Read other reviews of the same issue here and here.
Seventy-five issue, twenty years, and a full-colour, wrap-around cover to boot. TSV clocks in for issue 75 with three main articles: a review of Series Three, a look back at the PDAs of the Fourth and Fifth Doctors, and a dig into the broadcast of Doctor Who in Singapore. Beyond this the issue is dotted with some smaller items, yet nothing from all of this leapt out as an immediate must read.
The best part of the issue was the follow up to the ‘Drabble Who’ challenge with some amusing entries and Amy Mebberson’s art additions to the fanzine. I feel that TSV still needs more art to help break up the pages of text that can sometimes be a little daunting to look at. Jon Preddle’s ‘Singapore Who’ took a little getting into, but proved interesting in the end. Will there be follow ups or are there no other screening histories that Preddle has access to?
The rest of the issue was something I came back to a little while later, Chris Skerrow’s review of the PDAs of interest to me primarily because I’ve only ever read about a half dozen of them. Unfortunately as a result of this lack or merchandise, Edwin Patterson’s guide to purchasing the stuff was of little interest, but I presume it to be a fairly accurate and comprehensive guide to spending your hard earned dosh.
I’m still not sure what I’m waiting for in TSV, but I keep feeling like some ‘zing’ is needed.
— Alexander Ballingall
It's official, Matt Kamstra is the laziest bastard in New Zealand Doctor Who Fandom!The Guff Revolutions:
In really old, not so ground-breaking news, Matt Kamstra has been named 'Laziest Dutch Prick in Fandom' in a recent DWB-S poll amongst spaced out garden gnomes (too many shrooms CAN be a bad thing). Not having compiled an issue since Alexander 'most of us just call him Joe' Ballingall left for foreign shores, most of us now believe that RTP! is dead, to be no more, just another failed New Zealand Doctor Who fanzine. But alas! Joe has succeeded in giving Matt an electronic kick up the arse and once again jump-starting the subversive Doctor Who subculture known as Reverse the Polarity! and it's adopted step-sister newsletter Neutron Flow (formerly known as Critical Mass).
Why this magnificent and award-winning magazine suddenly disappeared a little over one year ago is still somewhat of a mystery to contemporary history scholars and even Matt Kamstra himself. However, its sudden re-emergence has come as a shock to many, even causing the death of an elderly man in Waiwhakamukau. In an unofficial release to the DWB-S press on Friday night Mr. Kamstra had this to say about the matter: "impissedsofuckoffnleavemealoneyacommiebastard". Moreover, his publicist had this translation to offer: "Due to a heavy professional schedule and intense media pressure, my work has been seriously impaired. I do not wish to speak any further on the matter. Now f**k off."
Most importantly however, this reporter has discovered that RTP! is here to stay, and will in fact soon be published in Ware, Hertfordshire, England, and then in Kyoto, Japan, when Alexander 'Is my name actually Joe or Alex' Ballingall and Matt 'I'm surprised I can find anything in this joint' Kamstra move to the Orient to pursue careers in Asian boy bands! Sensational but true! More details are coming to light as we go to press, but by next issue we should have some early photographs and possibly a working title for the project. All this and a four page lift-out poster section!
In similarly ridiculous breaking news, Reverse the Polarity!'s website is soon to be upgraded after a two year hiatus. Tentatively renamed 'Saucer Smith's Psychedelic Magical Mystery Bus Trip' the site will feature a web-shop for subversive instruments and home made whiskey, reviews and articles from all three 'Saucer Smith' publications, and an extensive collection of amateur and professional porn courtesy of Paul 'sifty f**k' Maloney and his lovely ladies.
- Matt Kamstra