Another month and another stellar line up of the great and the good of the Whoinverse gather to share their love for a quintessential episode in the Second Doctor’s reign – we are of course talking about the BFI Southbank screening of the certified classic The Tomb of the Cybermen – and again Radio Times’ Patrick Mulkern was on hand to capture events as they unfolded.
Now, there was a little diversion before the main events when recently outed Who fan Frank Skinner joined BFI hosts Justin Johnson and Dick Fiddy on stage.
So just how big a fan is Frank?
I’m the lowest of all creatures, the celebrity fan…Having watched Doctor Who all my life, I still don’t know much about him. Even now Matt Smith can do one of those looks into the mid-distance and you think, ‘He’s seen so much…’
Up next was current show runner Steven Moffat who was only too happy to talk about the moment the episode scared him away from the Doctor:
Patrick Troughton is sheer magic as the Doctor… Everything we do in Cardiff… is out of love for the show you’re about to watch. I’m never more of a fan than when I work on Doctor Who, attempting to re-create what you’re about to see.
Then to the episode itself; an absolutely terrifying masterpiece that still has the power to creep its way under your skin to this day.
A technical hitch brought Michael Troughton to the stage to share his personal experience of his father’s craft:
And then it was over; the panel of selected guests including Anneke Wills, Director Michael Ferguson and Michael Kilgarriff took to the stage to offer their opinions on their time with the Doctor.
Wills, who worked with the First and Second Doctors, spoke of how here attitude towards the First Doctor, William Hartnell had changed after reading his granddaughter’s biography:
It’s an opinion shared by Director Michael Ferguson, who rates Troughton as:
Keeping the theme of comparing Patrick with his predecessor actor Michael Kilgarriff, who’s played several monsters in Doctor Who – an Ogron in Frontier in Space; the giant Robot; and the Cyber Controller twice (in Tomb and in Attack of the Cybermen nearly 18 years later) recalled watching Hartnell in panto in Ipswich in the 60s shortly after he’d given up the role:
It’s a rather introspective note to leave the celebrations on but with there can be no doubting that whatever his feelings towards the show at the end of his tenure – he helped the show become what it is today.
And that’s the pleasure of these amazing BFI screenings; the chance to look, chart the course and evaluate the collection of contradictions that go into making the show exactly what it is.
Sunday 10 March will see the premiere of the Jon Pertwee 1971 classic, The Mind of Evil in its newly coloured-restored form.