Sources: When Steven Spielberg Didn’t Direct Doctor Who, and the 1996 TV Movie

An article from December 1993 when Steven Spielberg was still potentially looking to get involved in a Dr. Who production. This is where the animation of a spider Dalek comes from, because they did get into early production before the whole project fell through.,

In 1994, a female Doctor was a possibility being considered. As we know, this did not pan out, but it would have been interesting to see what they did.
What was Steven Spielberg thinking about doing for Doctor Who? Well, it seems he was intending to stick to classic storylines, though we do not know exactly what that means or what it would have looked like.
And of course here we see how long the idea of a female-led Dr. Who movie in the 1990s lasted. Which is unsurprising and this iteration of a Doctor Who movie never got made anyway.
And here we see the end of Steven Spielberg’s version of Doctor Who, which as previously stated would have starred Eric Idle and also Pamela Anderson. Though it does come with an introduction to the idea of a cheaper TV movie…
An announcement of the budget and some of the actors who were being considered for the role of the Doctor for the TV movie that did end up getting made… with Paul McGann in the starring role.,
Fans lost it over a kiss, I can’t imagine their reaction if this had happened! As we know there were still multiple kisses, and a lot of subtext with Eric Roberts’ Master.

We still have never had even an implied sex scene to my knowledge on screen with any Doctor.

And here’s a quote from The Mirror’s interview with Jon Pertwee (who played the Third Doctor) a couple months before the TV movie came out, on the Doctor having sex: “It goes against the spirit of the original series but it was obvious when they cast a handsome young man they would involve him in romance. I don’t know what kids will make of it. It’s a sign of the times I guess,” sighs 76 -year-old Jon Pertwee. .!
An article about Paul McGann that was published 3 months before the movie aired. Tt again hints at a romantic relationship, and has Mcgann drop the half-human line well before the movie came out. McGann also mentions how he was initially reluctant to take the role.,_Doctor%3F
One more pre-release article. This one covers a lot of the same ground but does specifically discuss how fans might react to the slick look and better sets. In the future, we’ll post some reviews and articles about the fan response to the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie.

Episode 14: End of the World

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of transphobia, body dysmorphia and eating disorders

We jump back to modern Who with the 2005 episode End of the World.  As Rose jumps 5 billion years into the future to witness her planet be consumed by fire, we witness the continuing attempts of Russell T. Davies to make Doctor Who work in modern TV.  Does this attempt work better for us than his pilot episode? WILL ANYONE SURVIVE? ARE THERE KITTENS? (There aren’t.)

Daleks Aren’t Robots!? is a podcast in which two Whovian friends take two non-Whovians on a deep dive through the show from the very beginning.

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This Episode on Buzzsprout:

Look for us where all podcasts are found! Also in the hearts of children everywhere. Their dark, evil and wicked hearts of darkity-darkness and ravenous TARDISes.

Podcast Contents Include

Editor’s Note: The following are my original notes for the podcast, slightly edited for readability. They’re very far from the full contents of the pod, though.  – Kari


The Doctor takes Rose to the End of the World, 5 billion years in the future, which is the worst idea for a first date ever. A bunch of rich people are watching the sun go nova, but one of them sabotages the space station they’re on. Rose gets stuck in a room while the Doctor saves the day.


  1. The Doctor is the star of this episode… to the detriment of every other character in it. It seemed super familiar to me but I couldn’t place it, and then I realized what it reminded me of: Twilight. In this episode specifically, the Doctor is Bella Swan and the other characters only exist to develop his character, to tell him how great he is and to flirt with him, unless they’re bad guys. Then they exist to be killed by him.
  2. I think it’s from the way that they basically hired fans of the Doctor to write the show. And they were fans of the Doctor, so at least in this episode, they did a fanfic, putting their OC version of the Doctor center stage to show off how cool he is. Like Twilight, it’s basically a canon fanfic, and not a good one. Every version of the Doctor I’ve seen has been arrogant, but the show KNEW it and didn’t frame it as a good thing, and allowed him to get his comeuppance from time to time. This show or at least THIS EPISODE doesn’t know it.
  3. I do like the characterization here of the Doctor as childlike and a bit giddy. He does murder someone on screen though, with nary a lampshade to be seen…
  4. After a whole episode setting up Rose as our POV character, in this episode she gets damseled hard at about the halfway mark and is reduced to lying down and whimpering while she waits for the Doctor to save her and everyone else. It’s not just that it’s kind of sexist, although it is, but it’s also bad writing. You spent that long setting up a POV character for the audience and then sidelined her to create a second POV character who is then incinerated? Sure, Ian. Sure.


This episode seems to have issues with women.

  • Jabe, the tree, exists to flirt with the Doctor, to feel sorry for the Doctor, and then to sacrifice herself so the Doctor can be a hero. It’s a shame, because her design is neat and she seemed like an interesting person. It almost seems like Rose was supposed to help the Doctor at the end but they replaced her with Jabe at the last minute or something.
  • Raffalo, the plumber, chats with Rose a bit but then is killed by the plot.
  • Cassandra, the “Last Human,” is heavily female coded but says she was a “boy.” She is racist. Her main trait is that she’s vain and has gotten plastic surgery so many times she’s just skin stretched on a rack with some makeup on it. On the bright side she did convince me to up my moisturization regimen, so there is that.
  • Jackie only appears for a few minutes but still manages to talk about how Rose should get her money back for something and tell her to pick her up a lottery ticket, because the greedy poors want the moneys, I guess.
  • The Steward is not a woman, but the plot kills him off pretty quickly to show that the spiders are a murder weapon for sure.


  1. The Setting IS the characters in this one, mostly, and they are actually pretty great designs. Some of them look a bit silly, yes, but the designs are different and interesting, and it’s good to see the show taking advantage of its newly-acquired budget of more than pocket lint. The trees look really cool, and so did the giant face. One thing–Rose says they’re very ALIEN aliens and I just thought: no they’re not, they’re just people who look a bit funny. The plumber in particular was just like anybody but bluer.
  2. The observation room set Rose gets stuck in looks cool, and so do the images of the exploding earth and the sun. The engine room is a little bit dodgier, as it seems to be mostly composed of bad CG. It’s not bad enough to hurt my suspension of disbelief though.
  3. They do mention that there was a war and the Doctor’s planet was destroyed, and he’s the last son of Krypton I mean the last Time Lord. (Doctorgirl is gonna be a thing, right? Is there a Bottle City of Gallifrey?)
  4. The future is SUPER classist, and plumbers have to be given permission to talk even after being asked a direct question. And the motive for the crime here is money. Somewhere Marx is crying. They could imagine a future without religion but not without capitalism? Religion predates capitalism, guys.
  5. The three songs they bring up as “classical,” which are meant to be a joke? They’re all three actually really good pop songs. Sorry, but Tainted Love, Toxic and Disco Inferno are all pretty great songs in their own right, so that doesn’t read as a joke anymore.
  6. They explain the Tardis translation thing, which is nice.
  7. Psychic paper is stupid.


  1. Is Lady Cassandra a trans woman or what? What’s with the boy stuff? Queer coding villains, bleh.
  2. Were those dwarves or children?
  3. What WAS the budget on this?
  4. Do any of these alien groups come back or were they one-shots? I liked the trees a lot, I hope they come back. (Editor’s Note: The trees do not. 😦 )
  5. How much of this was Giant Rat of Sumatra stuff? It’s an incident mentioned as an aside in a Sherlock Holmes story and then never brought up again–are they going to do a fanfic thing and backfill it for continuity porn? I hope not. I don’t mind a little of that but sometimes a giant rat is better not explained.

Sources Include

General Info

Short Crespallion Actors

North/South England Material, Accents & Class Issues

Trans Issues in Doctor Who: Cassandra

Rose and Jackie’s Character

Russell T. Davies and Religion

Sources: Dalekmania Strikes in 1964 Britain!

So to start, here we have one of the guest stars of The Daleks, who really did not get that much screen time and many people probably do not remember. She would later get bit roles appearing in some Hammer films, but Wetherell is most well-known a small role in “A Clockwork Orange.”,
Here’s a nice touch– the BBC donated two of the Daleks to a children’s home so children could, I guess, roll around pretending to be Daleks. It’s great that they didn’t just dispose of them, though the production probably regretted it when they did indeed bring the Daleks back.
One of the donated Daleks is shown being played with by some of the children at one of the homes.
Here, the BBC publicly started realizing they could market the Daleks. It’s interesting that they come right out and claim that they completely own the design of said monster.
As you can see, it was no time at all before people started making their own versions of Daleks or Darlek in this case, This one was even useful! Also neat that this article also thinks that Daleks are Robots.
A rather rare thing–a picture of Carole Ann Ford with her daughter, paired with a nice story about having her daughter watch the show.
As is seen here, the public demand was so intense that Verity Lambert agreed to bring the Daleks back. For the first monsters to appear in the show, they made an impressive impact on the British public.–_The_Daleks!

Episode 13: Planet of the Giants

The Dalens Aren’t Robots team returns to the First Doctor and the group that started it all: Susan, Barbara, Ian and the Doctor, plus the ever-beautiful and half-starving TARDIS. 

As it turns out, size DOES matter, but maybe not in the way you’re thinking. Who will hold the idiot ball this time? Listen and find out!

Daleks Aren’t Robots!? is a podcast in which two Whovian friends take two non-Whovians on a deep dive through the show from the very beginning.

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Theme: Garage – Monplaisir

Podcast Contents Include

Editor’s Note: The following are my original notes for the podcast, slightly edited for readability. They’re very far from the full contents of the pod, though.  – Kari


The Tardis has a malfunction, with the doors popping open and everyone having to shut them by force. They land and start exploring, finding a bunch of dead giant bugs, including an ant the size of a doberman. They eventually work out they ARE on earth, but shrunk to the size of an inch high. They split up and have to look for each other a couple times.

There are some full-sized humans in this episode. Forrester, Farrow and Smithers. Forrester is a businessman, Farrow a safety inspector and Smithers a scientist working on a new pesticide. Farrow finds the pesticide works but TOO WELL–it kills EVERYTHING, including beneficial bugs like bees and earthworms, and persists in the environment afterward, making it unfeasible as a pesticide. Forrester has been producing the pesticide for a year and will lose everything if it’s not sold, so he kills Farrow, which the Tardis Team sees. Smithers finds out about the murder, but he doesn’t realize the pesticide is bad, so he agrees to help Forrester cover up the murder of Farrow.

This means the Tardis team can’t just ask for help–even if the humans could understand their tiny high pitched voices one of them is a MURDERER and isn’t gonna want witnesses no matter what size they are. They also work out that the pesticide is unworkable–and Barb touches it before she realizes it’s on a piece of grain she’s picking up. Unfortunately she does not tell ANYONE and holds the idiot ball instead. UGH.

The Tardis team tries to call the cops about the murder, using a GIANT TELEPHONE but they can’t be understood with their high pitch. They set up an explosion to burn down the lab, which doesn’t really work but does wound Forrester, just in time for a policeman to come in and arrest him, because he ALSO tried to get away with pretending to be Farrow on the phone even though he sounds nothing like him, AND Smithers has worked out that the pesticide is bad and is determined to stop Farrow anyway.

The team gets back to the Tardis and the Doctor manages to restore them to their original size, which cures the by now VERY ill Barbara because… SCIENCE! I guess. and the Tardis starts to materialize again!


  1. Barbara gets the worst treatment in this one, and she holds the Idiot Ball. It’s super unfortunate. She touches the poisoned grain, which isn’t unreasonable, but then she doesn’t tell anyone she’s touched it when she finds out it was poisoned. There’s no real reason given for this either, and it sucks. She even faints, although I’m willing to attribute that to getting poisoned rather than being a wimp.
  2. Ian also carries the idiot ball a little bit early on, in that he sees a giant seed thing with a bunch of text including “Norfolk” on it and can’t concede he’s tiny, even when he and Susan find the matchbox. Otherwise he does pretty well, and serves as the muscle and tries to illuminate some of the science.
  3. Poor Ian’s actor when he’s in the matchbox knocking back and forth. It’s hilarious and terribly fake but he’s doing the best he can with what he’s got!
  4. Susan doesn’t have a huge part here but she’s plucky and smart. She catches on to the fact that they’re tiny first. She climbs the drain spout. She does get a bit upset when Ian is picked up in the matchbox, but not to the point that it’s unreasonable.
  5. The Doctor has shown so much character growth here. He gets very snippy at everyone early on, but he apologizes SINCERELY to Barbara without being made to, and he voluntarily opts to look for Ian when he gets taken up in the matchbox.
  6. It is however HILARIOUS when he says he can’t expect sympathy from a murderer. WE’VE BEEN WATCHING THIS SHOW, MY DUDE.
  7. Also the Doctor has a cape now and it’s great.
  8. The Tiny Tardis is freaking adorable. I love that they use the miniature for the Tardis and it looks kind of silly and like it’s a miniature, and then you find out IT IS.


  1. There’s a cat, and at first I thought that was going to be the main antagonist, but the cat is not. Pretty cat, though.
  2. The plot with the guest stars is absolutely inspired. It adds a lot of complication to the story and gives them another reason not to just ask for help.
  3. Forrester is a murderer, and he’s pretty threatening, but also not very smart, as he assumes he can pretend to be his victim easily.
  4. Farrow is the one who’s been charged with testing the new insecticide, and he finds that it works–but TOO well. It kills EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. He tells this to Forrester, who says he’ll be RUINED financially if they publicize that the pesticide is a bad one. Farrow won’t budge and says he’ll turn in the report with the truth in it. Forrester shoots Farrow.
  5. Smithers is another scientist who’s absolutely desperate to get the new pesticide out, because it will enable them to feed more people. He doesn’t know that the new pesticide kills ALL the insects and Forrester lies to him about it. Smithers decides rather than allowing Forrester’s murder of Farrow to derail their pesticide, he will help Forrester cover it up so that they can get the pesticide out and feed the world. When he finds out the pesticide is bad he tries to act.
  6. Smithers and Forrester seem like a couple. They stand super close to each other and Forrester is the worst boyfriend.


  1. The science in this one is ridiiiiiculous so many times. From the pressure on the Tardis shrinking them, to the “fact” that Barbara’s tiny body is “too small” to fight off the insecticide. Also, I don’t think they get bio-accumulation thing quite right–they say the scientist has made the pesticide “everlasting.” rather than pointing out it persists through the food chain (like some real pesticides do, such as DDT).
  2. The setting is glorious, though. Things blown up to giant size are great. Sometimes they use rear projection and sometimes not. The bugs BASICALLY look like the bugs ought to look like. The “giant sink” set is pretty great, and the giant bit of grain is a cute prop.


  1. I really like the story in this episode. It’s a lot better than “honey I shrunk the tardis crew.” By adding the murderers as a plotline it gives you an added element of danger. The episode isn’t fast-paced but it steadily builds the tension, with a ticking clock in the form of Barb getting poisoned.
  2. How did they do the effects? What was their budget like?
  3. Where does this fit in with DDT/Silent Spring, which basically kills everything AND bio-accumulates?

I really liked this one. It’s slower-paced but the tension keeps building and building.

Sources Include

Episode 3 and 4 Ian Levine Official Reconstruction

Sources: What Did People Think of Doctor Who in 1963?

Here’s an example of an article written before Doctor Who came out, detailing the setup and the people behind the show.
The reaction to JFK’s death led to the first episode of an Unearthly Child being aired again the following weekend.
A brief but interesting scientific-minded comment on the first episode of Doctor who, referencing an educational show hosted by Professor Hermann Bondi of E=mc2. ,
Here’s a rather amusing review from Variety where the writer messes up the relationship between Susan and the Doctor, referring to her as his daughter. This reviewer certainly does not seem impressed by the first episode.

A discussion of the very iconic Doctor Who theme and how it was made! Of course it would be decades before Delia Derbyshire would get the public acknowledgement she deserved for her work on the theme. It wouldn’t really get widespread attention till after her death in the early 2000s.! ,