Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Celestial Toymaker - "I don't think this funny at all."

BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - The Celestial Toymaker - Details

Season 3, Story 7 (Overall Series Story #24) | Previous - Next | Index

A sensible reaction to being shown this story.
Quotes pulled from other blogs pretty much suffice to cover this one, so I'll refer you to the Additional Resources below. I watched the reconstructed episodes and the final surviving one. All the way through. It was brutally tedious. The experience is rather like watching two children who don't know how to play chess, play at chess, making up rules as they go. And one of them cheats. Also, they're white supremacists.

If arm-twisted to find one positive note, it would be that in Episode 3 Dodo mentions the single imaginative element of this story: that children could think of their toys as having lives of their own when we're not looking. It's not original, but it could have been the seed of a perfectly lovely episode of Doctor Who geared more towards children than most. The story utterly fails to deliver anything even remotely interesting around that idea though.


Episodes 1-3 are reconstructed, the fourth survives. Would trade it for any other lost episode sight-unseen.

Additional Resources:

Tardis Wikia Entry

Wikipedia entry

chakoteya.net transcript

Sandifer post
The Ark and The Celestial Toymaker, though? Not canon. Plain and simple. I flatly refuse to let these two into the clubhouse. Doctor Who is not a show in which reactionary imperialist ideology wins the day. It's not a show where the Doctor fights racist caricatures, unless he's fighting someone for producing them. It's not a show about xenophobia and racism. It's just not. And stories that try to make it into one are far, far bigger violations of what the show is about than most of what constitutes a canon debate. The fact that there are far more fans outraged about the fact that the Doctor maybe was in love with Rose than there are about the fact that in 2010 [side-eye at Big Finish here] we're still using a racist caricature as a recurring villain is, frankly, disgusting. This is a real and major failing of Doctor Who fandom, and one of the few points over which I feel kind of dirty being associated with it.

*deep breath*

OK. So, really, with this blog, it's my sincere intention to remain positive about Doctor Who and try to find the best in stories. And it's been two in a row that I've just had to throw my hands up and admit are really, really upsettingly not good.

Wife in Space post
Me: ... Anyway, the other Bentham wrote this review where he said The Celestial Toymaker was bloody brilliant. And on paper, it does look pretty good – a weird godlike being who can bring toys to life (that’s very Doctor Who), who had a grudge against the Doctor, all within this surreal, dreamlike landscape. Well, it sounded fabulous, so it was easy to believe.

Sue’s gobsmacked. She can’t get her head around this.

Me: And then, in the 1990s, people finally got to see the surviving episode, and that’s when doubts began to creep in. The doubts subsequently turned to disappointment, and then the disappointment turned to loathing. I think the consensus now is that The Celestial Toymaker lies somewhere between paedophilia and genocide.
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