Audio  Ha, OK.  Even before listening to this, I had the opening paragraph of a review in my head, about how this was yet another bold new era for the Doctor, presumably somewhere around the DWM comic strips judging by the costume on the cover perhaps set right at the start of the Big Finish audios before Shada, even.  Then spoiler happens and I'm of the opinion that Big Finish are just fucking with me personally.  So the "placement" section at the bottom of this will probably be longer than usual, but it might be worth staying away until you've had a chance to hear this.

Even without the costume, you can somehow tell this is a much earlier Eighth than the Lucie, Dark Eyes era (for want of a better description) and the Time War.  Having shaken off the events of both the novels and comics (in my headcanon), he's the slightly tigerish, adventurous figure who doesn't yet have the weight of the multiple deaths and estrangement that he experiences in the audio years on his shoulders and still very willing to collect passengers, especially, as Audacity is here, in dire need of saving.  It just shows you what an asset McGann is that he can recreate all of these subtly different versions of the character.

Of course, he's intrigued by Lady Audacity Montague, of course he is.  Apart from her gung-ho, fearless, feminist attitude, she's from a period before technology which means he's able to impress her with future technology and other kinds of spectacles, to impress her, as she calls him on early in their second episode together.  She's in the lineage of companions that includes River, Lady Christina, Trix and Fey, the kind who can get along perfectly well without him but take a shine to the Time Lord and his magic box for whatever reason and find a mutual understanding, if not love.

The Devouring

Follows the Rose/Storm Warning playbook of introducing the companion first and whatever madness has been let loose with the Doctor's gradual introduction.  The Devouring, an alien species obsessing over another being who happened to look in their direction is perhaps a metaphor for stalkers and how they can consume a person's whole life.  Writer Lisa McMullin has RTD's facility for sketching in but making meaningful side characters which means the scenes in the foe consumers everyone Audicity's been in contact with are even more horrible.  

The Great Cyber-War

Good, bold title as the Doctor finally visits a period which has been hinted at throughout the franchise, notably TV's Revenge of the Cybermen apparently at random (although we know it is really the TARDIS taking him where he needs to be).  Now we have an explanation for why gold of all things was so damaging to Cybermen, why they sounded so emotional in the 80s episodes despite saying that they'd drained themselves of emotion and how Voga ended up orbiting Jupiter.  It's all about as convincing as these grace notes usually are and it won't be the last time the Doctor finds himself making history.

Writer Tim Foley doesn't shortchange the action either, this is a six-episode (in old money), multi-location, cast of dozens epic with rich characterisation across the board, which also knows that all most of us really want or need from a Cyberman story is for one of the metal monsters to clench his biker-gloved fist and say "Excellent" with a mid-Atlantic accent as though they have bucket on their head and for the Doctor to shout "It's a cyber mat!" when required.  It's all good, clean tremendous, straightforward fun I'm glad we're hearing more of it in these releases.

Placement:  Ha, well.  As I said in the introduction, I was all ready to drop this before Shada, but then Charley appears at the end in Tibet, the Doctor having dropped her there for a bit, much as he did with Sam at Greenpeace and my brain turned to soup and began pouring out of my ears.  Assuming this is chronological, Charley sounds more mature than in her first season so I'm assuming this is supposed to be somewhere close to the start of the second season unless more information comes to light, like all of this is actually set after The Girl Who Never Was or the Doctor's jumped back into his own past and selfishly picked up Charley before an earlier version of himself was supposed to.

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1984.

In 1984, Liverpool hosted an International Garden Festival, which the introduction to the accompanying guide book describes as "a five-month pageant of horticultural excellence and spectacular entertainment [...] the country's greatest event since the Festival of Britain."  Imagine the Chelsea Flower Show, but large enough to also include the Echo Arena, the Globe Theatre, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Ideal Home Exhibition and the sort of exhibits you'd find in the Millennium Dome.

Over the opening period, I must have visited with my parents and school around a dozen times and some of my favourite childhood memories were of exploring the parks and gardens, of watching the nightly piper on the hill, of seeing The Spinners and other groups in the "amphitheatre".  The first half hour of a programme about the gardens is on YouTubethe time when Roland Rat visitedGardeners' Worlda bootleg of a Western Promise concert which has some excellent shots of the ampitheatre and this slideshow of images.

There was also a BBC Children's Exhibition, next door to the Vine Garden and opposite the English Country Kitchen.  Given my age back then, it's impossible for me to remember anything from the display, but fortunately the guide book text lists everything.

BBC Children's Exhibition

Designed by William Gillespie & Partners.

Exhibition: Lawrence and Gerry Design Group.

Sponsored by B.B.C. 

Children’s broadcasting introduced a new and exciting element to the lives of young people.  The reassuring voices of Uncle Mac and Aunty Kathleen were as memorable to  those who grew up with them as the visual drama of Dr. Who has become to the television generation.
This exhibition commemorate sixty years of children’s broadcasting by the BBC, using photographs and videos of past programmes as well as exhibits from the productions currently on the air.
It provides a trip down memory lane for former Children’s Hour listeners, many of them now grandparents, for whom Muffin the Mule, Andy Pandy, and Mr. Turnip will evoke early television programmes.
Visitors enter this world of fantasy and fiction through pergola shaped like a television screen.  The central exhibition, in a series of colourful hexagonal marquees linked around a courtyardm is complemented by striking forms as Dr. Who’s Tardis and K9 menaced by Daleks and a Blue Peter Galleon.
There are more favourites: Postman Pat, The Magic Roundabout with Florence, Zebedee, Dougal and Ermentrude, Paddington Bear, The Wombles. Posh Paws and Humpty from Playschool.  Jackanory's old kaleidoscope machine will be on show. Visitors will also have a chance to operate video cameras and a BBC computer.
Outside broadcast to take base from time to time in a small arena which also serves as a play area with giant Play School playblocks as the centre please.
Here are some excellent shot of the Doctor Who display (are they original props?).  This video has shots of The Magic Roundabout display as well as the red dragon which was the winner of a Blue Peter competition which Biddy Baxter herself wrote about in the festival guide:

Blue Peter Competition Garden

Designed by Theodore Gayer Anderson

Sponsored by: Blue Peter - BBC. 

19,940 viewers entered Blue Peter's competition to design a special Festival Garden - with a difference.  It didn't have to be full of flowers but anything calculated to amaze, delight and intrigue the estimated three million visitors to the International Garden Festival. We were after good ideas rather than brilliant drawings and we never dreamed would receive such imaginative and well thought out suggestions. They ranged from a Bangers and Mash Garden with gigantic foam rubber sausages and a baked bean stepping stone path, to gardens, especially for the disabled including one with a class on mushrooms sheltering the displays each with two sides, one for sighted people and the other with exhibits blind people could touch.
The Design Co-ordinator, Rodney Beaumont, joined us for the judging and decided the entries were so good some of them should be displayed at the BBC Children’s Programs. Jubilee Exhibition.  They included the nine First, Second and Third prize winning designs in the competition's three age groups.
The judges were unanimous in their decision to award the Overall Top Prize to 14-year-old Theodore Gayer Anderson’s spectacular red dragon.  He's bound to give us a great deal of pleasure.  For us he’s the highlight of the festival - make sure you don’t miss the experience of walking through the dragon's head, along his back and down his right hand leg!
Biddy Baxter, Editor, Blue Peter, 10th of February. 1984.
Theodore, now Theo, went on to become a sculptor major enough to have his works listed on the Saachi Gallery website.  He seems to have been descended from Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, whose name lives on at a museum in Cairo which was his home there until 1942 when he was forced to leave Egypt due to ill health.  The Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me was partially shot there in the reception hall and rooftop terrace.  During earlier ownership, the building was known as House of the Cretan Woman which inspired a book of stories translated by Major Gayer-Anderson which has subsequently been restored by Theo and republished.

The site has subsequently been a contentious place with various successive councils and developers offering differing plans as to what to do with it.  Needless to say, many balls were dropped in the subsequent years and although part of the original garden has been open to visit at various times, what could have been a huge, ongoing crown jewel for Liverpool is now largely hidden behind a large wooden wall, barbed wire and menacing security signs.  As of last September the council were seeking a new developer for the site but if history has taught us locals anything, it's unlikely that anything as glorious as the original festival will be its replacement.

Anyway, now for something a bit more positive ...


"It was not the most comfortable of parts. I’m vegetarian, so the scene where we ate a sheep raw was pretty yuck."
[The Guardian]

"At the height of the Cold War, the BBC devised a programme schedule to be transmitted from the bunker in the event of a nuclear attack."
[BBC Sounds]

"Threads first aired on September 1984 on BBC2."
[Off The Telly]

"Given what we know about the life expectancy of human beings, it is entirely likely that the Queen Mother will snuff it within the next few years."
[side eye emoji]
[Off The Telly]


"Ian McNaught Davis examines and explains the changing world of the office and shows how new technology is altering how people work."
[BBC Computer Literacy Project Archive]

"This series examined one important aspect of computing - robotics - in other words how the computer can monitor and control things. Again there was a mix of real world examples - many from America, practical demonstrations and a "hands on" approach to coding."
[BBC Computer Literacy Project Archive]

"Following the two successful Making the Most of the Micro - Live! 'specials' in 1983, BBC2 transmitted MicoLive, a regular magazine series to keep people up to date with technological developments. Fronted by Ian McNaught Davis, Lesley Judd and Fred Harris, MicroLive ran for three years."
[BBC Computer Literacy Project Archive]

"BBC Radio 4 programme entitled 'The Paper Clip Spirit' in which Murdoch McPherson looks at resistance to the Nazi occupation in Norway, 1940-1945."
[Imperial War Museum]

"BBC Radio 4 programme entitled 'Bandits-The Anti-terrorist War in the Malayan Jungle' in which Charles Allen recalls the period of the Malayan emergency, 1948-1956."
[Imperial War Museum]


Elstree – ATV & BBC
"Thorough history of the studio, which the BBC took control of in 1984, with plenty of archival photographs and plans."
[TV Studio History]

"Special luncheon in Broadcasting House, Belfast, last weekend for veteran broadcasters from here, as part of celebrations to mark 60th anniversary of BBC Northern Ireland. Attended by WD Flackes, Eric Waugh, James Johnston (tenor), Malcolm Kellard, Cecil Taylor (HPNI) and Joseph Tomelty (actor)."
[BBC Rewind]


"Sarah Greene interviews Mike Ellis of the BBC Special Effects Team (and the father of Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis) about some of the enormous practical special effects used in the show. Simon Groom interviews some of the programme's young human stars, John Shackley, Jim Baker and Ceri Seed."
[BBC Archive]

"It is almost thirty years since we made the BBC adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s books Coot Club and The Big Six on the Norfolk Broads."
[Sophie Neville]

"Oh, hello there. Now where were we?"
[Dirty Feed]

"It’s the 6th February 1984 in studio TC4, and Rik Mayall is having a circular saw aimed at his knackers."
[Dirty Feed]

"Two episodes of Star Trek were shown in 1982; Operation -- Annihilate! and an unscheduled showing of The Savage Curtain. Apart from that the series had been off the air since May 1981. The longest gap since the BBC began showing Star Trek in 1969."
[Space Doubt]

"Composer Elizabeth Parker demonstrates some of the techniques she used to create the memorable soundscapes, effects and theme music for David Attenborough's natural history series The Living Planet, at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.  This clip is from General Studies, originally broadcast 23 May, 1984."
[BBC Archive]

"The BBC Radiophonic Workshop creates music and sound effects for over 200 BBC programmes each year.  Brian Hodgson explains how new technology has enabled the studio to cope with the extraordinary demand for its services.  Composer Malcolm Clarke demonstrates how essential sound effects to Doctor Who, and how quickly they can be added. Elizabeth Parker discusses working for an entire year to create over 5 hours of sound effects and music for the David Attenborough series, The Living Planet."
[BBC Archive]

"We used real wolves for the Roman camp part. They were meant to be attacking – but they kept running away with their tails between their legs."
[The Guardian]


"On the 8th May 1984, at 9:15pm1, something very odd happened on BBC2. As Mike The-Cool-Person sat at the kitchen table, discussing the gang’s laundry situation, The Young Ones briefly flashed to the end caption of Carry on Cowboy. It then flashed back as though nothing had happened. “Dirty duvet, dirty mind.”, says an oblivious Mike."
About a freeze frame controversy related to The Young Ones.
[Dirty Feed]

"This is my first foreword to a BBC Handbook. It has been a year when the need for decision about new technology and the pattern of broadcasting in the future has been insistent and dominant. In television, satellites will provide the opportunity te offer additional channels to the nation overnight; whilst cable favours the development of specialised and local services. In radio, we have to consider how best to use the resources and frequencies likely to be available in the 1990s to strengthen national and international services as well as local and community radio."
[World Radio History]