Creepy Mechanical Men

This weekend was the fourth of the BFI‘s Doctor Who 50th anniversary celebrations. It was the turn of the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, and the story chosen to represent his era was Robots of Death.

After a brief a introduction from Steven Moffat, who described the story as “perfect” and this era of the show as “the best era, apart from all the other eras which are equally as good”, there was a surprise guest: Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) read a speech about his love of the Tom Baker era. A brief clip of Lis Sladen from an earlier BFI event was shown, a touching way to make sure her presence was felt.

“Robots” itself was cracking. I’ve seen it lots of times before, but the presentation on the large screen was great. I hadn’t realised how downright cheeky Leela is in this story, she’s almost cocky. The costumes are fabulous if utterly impractical and the robot masks spooky. The tension really ramps up in part three as the body count gets higher.

Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Philip Hinchcliffe at the BFI screening of Robots of Death

Halfway through the story, Mat Irvine gave us some insights into how the visual effects were managed in the BBC at the time “Robots” was being made.

The panel afterwards was fantastic. The smallest panel of the season so far, it featured Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer), Louise Jameson (Leela) and Tom Baker (The Doctor). Tom was on grand form, his stream of conciousness was hilarious and random. He also talked a little about his relationship with Lalla Ward, which I haven’t heard him do before. Philip and Louise both managed to get more than a few words in edgeways, which was no mean feat.
Assorted Doctor Who podcasters after the BFI screening of Robots of Death

Afterwards a large group of podcasters reviewed the screening for another special episode of the Doctor Who Podcast, which will appear on-line soon. Chatting and sharing pizza with other fans makes the screenings even more fun. The Doctor Who Podcast special recording from the “Mind of Evil” BFI screening is still available.

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