Doctor Who – The Visitation

Doctor Who Story 119 – The Visitation

Written by

Eric Saward

What’s It About?

The Doctor fails to return Teagan to London by materializing about three hundred years too early. They encounter Richard Mace, a former actor turned highwayman, and a mysterious, abandoned manor house.

I like long walks
The Doctor threatens a Tereleptil as Mace and an android look on.
Source: The AV Club

Davison era seems to be the conflict between two visions: Bidmead and Saward. Bidmead attempted to redefine Doctor Who, to bring it in to a new era by re-inventing it. Saward looked back to what worked in the past and attempted to duplicate it. “The Visitation,” then, is about as influenced by classic Doctor Who as you can get . . . or more specifically, Robert Holmesian Doctor Who. In some ways, “The Visitation” owes much of its story to “The Time Warrior” (alien crash lands in Medeival England). Even Richard Mace is a character who could have been written by Holmes. All he needs is his double-act.

Apart from its formula, the major problem with this story, which is indicative of the problem with many of the stories in this era, is that there are too many companions. There just isn’t much for Adric and Nyssa to do, thus Adric runs from location to location, gets captured, and gets away. He doesn’t add anything to the plot. Likewise, Nyssa spends most of her time in the TARDIS, preparing a security set-up for break-in that occurs in part four, a break-in that really could have been prevented and wasn’t necessary. Especially when there is a whole village of plague-paranoid villagers who are not under Tereleptil control, Adric and Nyssa’s uselessness to the plot seems glaring. And when these characters (and, let’s be honest, Teagan) are held in comparison to Mace, the deficiencies are made more glaring. The guest cast is more compelling than the main cast, barring Peter Davison. This is frustrating because under Bidmead, these characters were given a great deal of potential. Even their circumstances for being with the Doctor (an orphan from another dimension, the last survivor of Traken who had her parents destroyed by the Master, a reluctant participant whose aunt was murdered by the Master) are compelling enough to give us interesting characters. Unfortunately, the show is still fairly plot-driven, and character development isn’t emphasized. And yet, Saward was aware of this on some level. Teagan and Nyssa share a tender moment as Teagan prepares (she thinks) to leave the TARDIS for good. I don’t say this often, but this story could have benefited from being longer, so long as we got more character moments and we were able to explore the fears of the townspeople. This story had enough pieces to work with, it just never put them all together. And just like the ending, this entire story is rushed, focusing on the more formulaic alien-invasion story rather than the real drama that was just underneath the script.

If nothing else, “The Visitation” is immensely watchable, but it truly isn’t anything groundbreaking despite having enough elements to be a great story.

My Rating


Life and Times Chapter 33 | The Writing of S.W. King

Over on my infrequently-updated personal blog, I reflect on the last year of my life. Topics include technical communication, historical criticism of the Bible, The X-Files, Doctor Who, role playing games, DC Comics’s New 52 (in brief), and my other blog King Reads King. It’s a long post.

Life and Times Chapter 33 | The Writing of S.W. King.

Blast! Fundraising Appeal

Blast logoMy in-laws run a wilderness camp called Discovery Ministries. It is a ministry that helps people overcome personal challenges and conflict. Being a ministry, it obviously focuses on placing trust in God while pushing people out of their comfort zones. They lead challenge trips, which involve hiking in the wilderness for day to a couple of weeks; facilitate group discussions and interpersonal conflict sessions; and offer retreat and camping facilities. At the core of their philosophy is the use of experiential education to bring about personal growth—mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I value their work. The United States is a country that has begun to lose its connection to the natural world. We are lost without our televisions or smartphones. We have difficulty relating with one another despite greater technological connectivity. And I feel that the church in the United States desperately needs growth—mentally, physically, and spiritually. I worked in a Christian book store and encountered many people who couldn’t deal with conflict. Many of the Christians I have encountered are passive aggressive—we kill with insincere kindness. We have also made our faith into one of head knowledge, often bypassing the heart (except when singing worship songs or reading Christian literature or feeling good about how much God loves us), especially when it comes to relating to people who do not share our beliefs. We like to box ourselves in a safe Christian bubble that constantly reaffirms our beliefs and (more importantly) our feelings. We have often ignored the practical aspects of Christ’s teaching: forgiving others, loving others, caring for others, and having mercy on others. We tend to proclaim what we think is best for the world, always within the safety our Christian bubble.

This is why I value the work of Discovery Ministries: they encourage Christians (and those who are not Christians) to deal with the difficulties of life by taking them out of their comfort zone. They provide an environment that fosters encouragement, growth, challenge, and forces people to actually relate to one another.

Next month I will be participating in a 24 hour hike-a-thon for Discovery Ministries. They rely on donations to pay salaries and maintain the facilities around the camp. They recently built a new office area. It is usable, but they do not have the money to finish it.

I’ve set up a fundraising page on Indiegogo. I’m hoping to raise $500 for the ministry. My hiking goal is 20 miles. I have a few incentives that I am offering, specifically writings that I have done. I would appreciate it if you check out the campaign and consider donating as much as you feel you can.


Doctor Who Overload?

Maybe you could say I’m not a true fan, but I find that when I read a Doctor Who novel, I go into a type of Doctor Who overload.

Yesterday I reviewed Michael Moorcock’s under-appreciated The Coming of the Terraphiles. From the moment I started the book until the moment I posted the review, I had an incredible amount of difficulty keeping up with my jaunt through the classic series. I think I only watched three episodes during the time. It has nothing to do with the quality of either the show or the novel. My mind just cannot handle too much immersion in a single arena.

This means two things:

  1. Now that I am finished with Terraphiles, I will resume watching the show.
  2. When I vanish from the blog for an extended period of time, it probably means I’m reading a Doctor Who novel.

Anyway, I should be getting back to watching the classic series. I would really like to finish the Pertwee era before the end of the semester.

And again, if you have a few dollars to spare, please consider supporting my friend’s Kickstarter for his Noir City comic. It has been an eight year long dream for him. You can be a part of making that dream come true.

Quick Apologies

I am currently without reliable/regular internet access. Until this is remedied (hopefully this week) the blog will be on vacation. Sorry for the inconvenience, although I suspect it bothers me more that it bothers you. Seriously, can you imagine nearly TWO WEEKS without internet access?

Introducing the Illustrious John Chambers

S.W. King wanted me to introduce myself before I started posting anything, so here it goes.

My name, as the title implies, is John Chambers and I am going to be a contributor to The Edwardian Adventurer. Mr. King is busy with school work and his other blog, so I offered to write a review of The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe since he has not yet done so. That will probably post next week. And, if I can come up with the money to subscribe to series 7 on iTunes, I may try to review that as well.

With regard to Doctor Who, I am a fan of the new series. I haven’t yet watched anything of the older series, although I am passingly familiar with the various Doctors. I like the scary side of Doctor Who, so I love stories such as The Empty Child, The Impossible Astronaut, and The God Complex. I already know Mr. King and I differ on some of our Doctor Who tastes, but I think that will add some nice variety to the blog.

Outside of DW, I enjoy horror films and am a huge fan of shows like The X-Files and Fringe. I also like mysteries and police procedurals like Monk and Nero Wolfe. I’m also addicted to Ghost Hunters, something my roommate Grant likes to make fun of me for. But I’ve always been fascinated with ghost stories and the supernatural. When I was a kid I would get the Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown books from the library. I’m addicted to YouTube videos of the supernatural and ghosts. I don’t care if they are fake or not, they still sent a thrill up my spine. I’m hoping to find some time (and money) to visit a hotel that is supposedly haunted. Ghost hunting would be a lot of fun, don’t you think?

Obligatory “You’ve redecorated; I don’t like it” Reference

Okay, as you may have noticed, I’ve been tweaking things a bit. For over a year now I have had an idea for The Edwardian Adventurer, but haven’t had the design skills or the time to play around with them. Last week, however, was my final day at the book shop, so I have had a week or so of creativity-infused hours. I still have quite a few details to iron out, but I’m largely excited about the direction.

You see, for most of the time I’ve been doing this blog, I have tried to find a way to make it different from all the other Doctor Who blogs out there. It started as a writing exercise, but once I started getting regular traffic, I wanted to differentiate the site. There are many sites that review the stories chronologically; based on DVD release date; and any number of other criteria. Within the last couple of years I have seen some really great Big Finish review sites pop up as well. And, sadly, I haven’t had much time for recreational reading (especially now that I’ve started King Reads King), so getting through the books has been much slower than I had hoped. Plus, I’m a slow reader, a procrastinator, and am quite prone to laziness. Let’s just get all the character flaws out right from the beginning.

Since returning to school last winter, I have wanted to utilize more of the design skills I have learned. I have also felt a greater desire to exercise my original passion: creative writing. It was the first degree that I pursued, and the bulk of my college career was spent in writing and literature classes. It was fun, but the job market didn’t exactly open up for me. So, I’m trying to find a tension between the two, and this blog will most-likely be the test subject.

The previous post was my first test. I’m leaving it up more as a preview of what I’m working toward. Since I started the blog, I have played with the idea of Doctor Who being a part of the Edwardian/Victorian Era adventure story tradition. The Doctor himself is an inspired creation on par with Sherlock Holmes, Phineas Fogg, and Allan Quatermain. While the show has strayed from this tradition (The Pertwee Era really doesn’t show as many of the Victorian roots), I still like to imagine The Doctor as having more in common with Holmes and Fogg than Fox Mulder and Jesus (Of course, all is forgiven if the writing is good).

I haven’t yet decided whether I should go back and rework early entries (read: completely re-write them for the new paradigm) or just continue onward. I may do a little of each as time permits. Suggestions are always welcome, just be gentle if you hate it.


A screen capture from Daniel Knauf's Haunted, which I hope to review soon. (Source: The Verge website. Copyright 2012 by The BXX, LLC.)

Of late I have found myself fascinated by ghosts.

I will admit that I am skeptical about the existence of ghosts, but I like to maintain an open mind. Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe; unlike Fox Mulder, I don’t automatically assume. But when I throw myself into a passion, I pursue it as if I do believe. I want to understand the mind of someone who does. I want to understand any topic from the point of view of an adherent. I want to understand.

In my extremely brief pursuit of a paranormal experience, I have found that stories are often more interesting than the actual experience. Stories of the Joplin, MO spook light are exhilarating and exciting. Sitting in a car on a county road, debating with friends over whether or not that light in the distance is a tower or a supernatural being, is not exciting. This summer I hope to engage in another investigation, although this is more for research purposes. I have an idea for a fresh perspective on ghosts, and by way of research I hope to visit a reportedly haunted hotel. If something interesting happens, fantastic! If not, the story is still interesting, I think.

Ghosts fascinate me from a narrative perspective because they symbolically illustrate the connection of the present to the past. History shapes everything, whether we see it or not, and ghosts are an interesting way to metaphorically show this. Typically, ghosts are used to show supernatural vengeance: the ghost seeks revenge for wrongs done to it; the ghost exists because the actions of someone caused it to be trapped in a supernatural existence; the ghost attempts to prevent (or perpetuates) a cycle of tragedy. Horror stories that utilize ghosts tend to be morality tales which show the consequences of actions. These actions may occur in the present day, but often have historical antecedents.

One of my projects this year—school and collaboration willing—is to do research for the aforementioned novel. I guarantee that if I encounter some sort of supernatural or inexplicable phenomena, I will share it with you. In the meantime, does anyone have a good ghost story?


I have decided to change the URL of the blog to

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Hunky Dory

The previous four months have been extremely difficult. I suppose balancing school and work will do that.

By way of clarification, I haven’t abandoned this blog (and perhaps nineteen days of non-activity is not enough time to warrant fears of abandonment); in fact, it has rarely been far from my mind. Time, however, has been difficult to manage. The good news is that the semester ends in just two weeks. During this time I will have one photo editing project to complete and one presentation to give. After that, I hope to get back to Doctor Who. I just ordered Doctor Who and The Silurians on DVD. New classic-era Doctor Who tends to excite me.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons. Copyright 2010 by Fletcher6)

Unfortunately, I have had to make a few changes in my podcast life. A year ago I was subscribed to multiple Doctor Who-related podcasts. While I enjoyed them immensely, I found they created within me a desire to consume more and more Doctor Who. This isn’t a bad thing, per se, but returning to school has put certain demands on the budget and time. Essentially, I no longer had time in my life for everything I once did (I am still following the Big Finish podcast, however, as I harbor the dream to one day write for them).

The path I am currently treading has dictated certain changes, and this blog may—at times—reflect this. I have, undeniably, be a fan of Doctor Who off and on since the age of three. Yet, the greater fanaticism in my life has always been with words. More recently this has shifted into a fascination with communication in general, not so much with public speaking, but with the transfer of ideas. To this end, I have been seeking a degree in professional writing. Much of the writing in the business world utilizes forms of technical communication. It is my hope that I can transfer the concepts and techniques that I learn to improve this blog. Hopefully it will lead to better writing as well, as some of my early posts were quite rough.

But I may play around with things along the way. Designs may change from time to time; I may write about non-Doctor Who, non-science fiction/adventure topics. I say all this just as a heads up. Some of you have been reading and subscribing to this blog for a quite a while, and I appreciate every one of you. I still hope to get through every episode of DW, and now understand this to be a task that will take much longer than I had anticipated. With this goal now becoming more long-term in nature, however, I can no longer maintain a single focus. This blog must also reflect, both visually and textually, the skillset I am learning.

I hope you stick around.