Thank you, Infiltrator

Lately I’ve been revisiting old episodes of Doctor Who, in particular those featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor. Why? There is no good reason for spending time like this. Especially since my preferred Doctor to attend conventions dressed as was Peter Davison. But I’ve been watching these anyway and so there you are. I remember fragments from many of the serials, but I’m quite surprised at much of what I’m seeing. Did I really endure all of this?

(and of course there’s something wonderful and cheeky here that’s impossible not to adore. absolutely unpretentious determination to make something stimulating with too few resources – including decent actors – for what they were trying to accomplish. what we witnessed on our screens and what we could make in our parents’ homes with a crappy hand-held camera were not so far apart)

One of the worst series must have been ‘Horror of Fang Rock’. Are they really threatened by the Rutan? Really? Isn’t that like feeling imperiled by the distant presence of Jello? If this invasion really does present a danger to the human species, then the Doctor might do well to clear off and let Earth become a battle site for the Rutan and Sontarans to raze.

So I took great delight today in learning about an incident that I was entirely ignorant of as a fifteen year-old when it took place in 1987: the broadcast intrusion during WTTW’s presentation of ‘Horror of Fang Rock’. Here it is:

The gestures are absolutely disturbing. The semi-sensical phrases cut with bestial moaning make you wince while wondering what’s next. It’s funny when it’s on. It’s good that it ends. Whatever it is…whoever he is that made it and visited it upon unsuspecting Doctor Who fans in Chicago…the disturbance must have been a welcome interlude from ‘Horror of Fang Rock’.

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