Back when Peter Davison was playing that mysterious time traveler, the Doctor, he had a lot fewer tricks up his sleeve — and he couldn't rely on the sonic screwdriver to get him out of jams.
In this clip from one of two newly released Doctor Who DVDs, Davison vents about what he sees as the overuse of the sonic screwdriver on the new series. Davison's Fifth Doctor actually lost the sonic screwdriver early on in his tenure, thanks to an unusually clever alien adversary. And he basically argues that it's too much of a get-out-of-everything-free card. One wonders if this topic ever comes up in Davison's family chats with his successor and future son-in-law, David Tennant, who was one of the biggest sonic screwdriver addicts of them all.
But that's not all we learned from watching the new DVDs of "Kinda" and "Snakedance" — we learned the meaning of existence, too. And Peter Davison's secret songwriting career. Read on for more.
And yes, that's Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) doing a commentary track on "Snakedance" — the three stars of most of Davison's episodes together again and making fun of the ludicrous special effects. The commentary track on "Snakedance" is one of the more entertaining ones we've heard in recent years, partly because the cameraderie and goofiness of this long-standing team shows through.
We made no exaggerated claims in our intro — if you watch "Kinda" and "Snakedance," you will understand the meaning of existence. "Kinda" and its direct sequel are a weird attempt at encapsulating Buddhist concepts on Doctor Who — something producer Barry Letts had tried to do in the early 1970s in a very different way. Written by Christopher Bailey, a playwright who was fairly new to television, both stories feel very much like stage plays on screen, with some very stylized characterization and some very playful storytelling. If you were a fan of early 1980s theater by the likes of Caryl Churchill, Alan Ayckbourn or even Tom Stoppard, these stories won't feel totally foreign to that aesthetic.