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Poll: Rate & Review The Celestial Toymaker

Poll
Question: Rate the story
5/5 - Absolutely amazing - 0 (0%)
4/5 - Really Good - 3 (23.1%)
3/5 - Not bad, not great - 9 (69.2%)
2/5 - Not impressed - 1 (7.7%)
1/5 - Shockingly bad - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 13

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Author Topic: Poll: Rate & Review The Celestial Toymaker  (Read 64 times)
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« on: January 13, 2013, 11:50:42 am »


For this weeks story we held a competition where the winner could choose the story of their choice for inclusion into The Infinite Quest. That winner was Tardis-Console who chose the missing First Doctor story, The Celestial Toymaker.

The travellers arrive in a strange domain presided over by the Celestial Toymaker an enigmatic, immortal entity who forces them to play a series of games, failure at which will render them his playthings for all eternity. The Doctor has to solve the complex Trilogic game while Steven and Dodo are faced with defeating a succession of apparently child-like but potentially lethal animated toys in contests such as "blind man's buff", musical chairs and "hunt the key".

The Doctor finally overcomes the Toymaker by imitating his voice in order to complete the Trilogic game from within the TARDIS, which then dematerialises as his foe's universe is destroyed.

The Celestial Toymaker was the seventh story of the third season of Doctor Who. It was famously the story that almost wrote William Hartnell out of the series. Producer John Wiles' original idea for dispensing with Hartnell's services was to have the Doctor disappear as Hartnell during the Trilogic game, then reappear as another actor.

The larger truth, however, was that it was a serial that had, unlike most others, been shaped by two different production teams. Along the way it had generated unusual criticism from rights-holders of other properties including Wiles' own boss who were concerned that their characters were being unhelpfully, if not illegally, used within the production.

In fact, "The Final Test" was the only Doctor Who episode forced to have a continuity announcement to protect the BBC from legal action on behalf of a copyright holder.


The next story will be posted on Sunday January 20th
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 04:49:13 pm »

I'm going to start the voting off on this one with a three. This story is sort of a mixed bag. On one hand we have an excellent and original idea, a brilliant antagonist and some great characters, but on the other hand it is drawn out quite long with not a lot really happening. As a result of the pacing I think a lot of potential tension is lost. I also think some of the games were a bit on the weak side. We are meant to believe that The Toymaker is practically impossible to beat, and yet Dodo and Steven manage it pretty easily, not because they are super bright, but because the games and players are so flawed. It hardly makes him seem like a mastermind. I think that this story would be wonderful if it was made shorter, perhaps a two parter, with a tighter script and more challenging challenges. And perhaps more of an explanation about the trilogic game. Despite seeing the recon numerous times I still have no idea what it is or how you play.
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 04:49:37 pm »

Just to add, too, the score for this serial I think is brilliant. One of the best of the Hartnell era.
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 09:46:12 pm »

Only two episode in so far, but I think I already know how I will be voting. It's been ages since I've listened to this though so I will wait until it's done before voting.
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 10:59:48 am »

One of those stories that is set outside space and time with practically supernatural antagonists. It's a personal thing but I'm not keen on this idea. Wasn't keen on The Doctor's Wife, and had mixed feelings about The Mind Robber (despite its many good points). The Doctor is off-screen most of the time, so you couldn't really say much about Hartnell's performance here. I wasn't too fussed about the Toymaker either -- too fairytale-ish. Most of the good points actually come with the minor characters and a general atmosphere of creepiness. I'll give it a 3
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 11:02:22 am »

Ok, I've finished now and scored it a four. This story isn't one of the absolute best missing stories, but I think it's reputation as one of the worst is unfair. It isn't without it's problems, most of which, I think, stem from the fact that it is a very visual story with very little visual left, but I think the ideas behind it are really good and the overall plot is a good one. When you are forced to listen as apposed to watch, you really pick up on the incidental music, which for this story is brilliant. We are also given a brilliant character with The Toymaker who I would love to see return.
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 04:16:27 pm »

For much the same reasons as PP, which I wouldn't have put as well, I too have given it a 3.
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 08:20:24 pm »

As the years go on, this story seems to become less and less well regarded. I remember years ago how people would rave about it, but these days it's pretty much mocked for how 'bad' it is. I really don't think it is, though. I think the biggest problem that this story has is that, as Ex points out, this story is very, very visual. From costumes to sets to the games etc, it really is one of those stories that you have to see to get the full enjoyment from. Unfortunately, the fact that we can't seems to take a lot of the fun out of it.

The plot itself is so adventurous and fresh for the show that I think they could have taken some really crazy ideas and just run with it, but at times it felt quite constrained, perhaps by budget or imagination or even someone higher up telling them to rope it in. It just felt like there was even more story in there and potential ideas just waiting to get out.

The characters are great, though the voice of Clara grates on me every single time I watch the recon. I love Cyril. He's this weird camp joker who looks like he'd be quite fun but he has this air about him that makes it seem like he could murder you at any minute. He is one of the few characters where they really get that tension and menace right. The Toykeeper is also brilliant and one of the classic villains who I would most love to see return in the new series.

In all I've given it a four.
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 09:20:38 pm »

I've given it a three, though I thought about four.  The Toymaker is a great character and the concept's fantastic, but the flaws are much as specified so far - the Doctor being central but largely absent, the games not being challenging enough, and Stephen and Dodo being a bit inconsistent.  I agree with Exterminate that it probably suffers more than most of the lost stories from not having full visuals.
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 11:02:30 am »

I've gone with a three but I felt like I wanted to go higher, I just couldn't justify it.

This is the first time I have seen/heard anything of this story. I knew the premise and thought it sounded cool, but the difference between premise and execution can sometimes be huge and I think that this is where this story fell down. Perhaps it is because I couldn't see anything for most of it, or perhaps it is because the script just wasn't good enough, but there was a lack of tension and drama in there. The games could have been so much more. They could have made these innocent childrens games seem so sinister and scary but they were very weak and having Hartnell out of action for half of the story also didn't help. The ideas were great, they were just poorly realised.
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 02:10:56 pm »

Well it was interesting, I'll say that much. My first full classic. Perhaps not the best one to start off with because I couldn't see half of it and I found it distracting not having anything to watch other than the pictures.

As for the story I quite liked it. It was slow moving and I got a bit lost with some bits of it, but I think the idea of having to play childrens games for your life a very cool idea. I've rated it a three.
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 11:50:50 pm »

This story has a lot of pros and cons and most of them have already been listed above so I won't go into them all, but based on what is good with the story I've given it 3/5
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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 12:16:35 pm »

So much pressure this week. Choosing a story was hard. I've never seen this so I could have picked a bad one for everyone to watch. Fortunately though, I don't think I did and I have given this a score of 4/5.

Recons are harder to stick with. With no moving action, or voiceover descriptions like you get with audios, it is easier to get distracted and I think I was a bit guilt of this early on, but fro about episode 2 onwards I was really into it and enjoying what was going on. I think that some of the story felt a bit dragged out and as PP said perhaps would have fitted a smaller number of episodes, but overall I was really happy with it. I liked the characters and the overall plot, and it's definitely one I can see myself revisiting. I just wish we had all the episodes.
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2013, 10:24:19 am »

The ideas, as everyone is saying, are good ones, but this story just doesn't execute them well enough and I can't mark highly on ideas alone. The Toymaker was good and I think there is a lot of life in the characters and this story could have been brilliant, but I think it falls short. I'm going with 2/5
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2013, 07:01:54 pm »

Three for me. Equal parts good and bad and not enough of either to sway me one way or another.
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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2013, 02:42:56 pm »

Without any real reason for it, I had massive expectations for this story. I think I read the plot and had a general idea of it and liked the idea so much that I stuck it up on some pedestal as though it was going to be the best thing ever. Unfortunately, I think having such high expectations was sort of the undoing of my enjoyment because I was quite disappointed with some of it. There were things in there that were excellent but the whole thing felt rushed and uneven. I've given it a 3/5, which I'm thinking may have been a bit generous. There was stuff in there that I liked quite a lot but there was a lot in there that I thought should have been done better.
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