One of my geek culture holy grails, which I have never been
able to find online, in an age when I’ve been told anything is available online: when Doctor Who was initially shown in the US on PBS in
the late 1970s and early 1980s, they included introductions to each episode by
Diana Rigg, filmed in a studio, describing the episode you were about to see. They were very similar to the ones Diana Rigg gave before Inspector Morse or Poirot episodes later on.
Diana Rigg was visibly drunk in them, with the testy,
annoyed expression of someone who didn’t want to be there. But either because
she was drunk, or didn’t care, or (most likely) given a bad script, her introductory
summary of the episode had absolutely no
resemblance to the episode you were about to watch. It was like every
episode of this era opened with a drunk and annoyed Diana Rigg telling you a
strange, rambling, detached story of her own, that was in no way like the
episode you were about to see. It was extraordinary.
One of her more lucid summaries was that the Cybermen were returning to
their own home planet of Voga to destroy it before it could be used against
them. I suppose that’s…sort of…like the plot of “Revenge of the Cybermen”, in
much the same way that taking your friend out for a nice drive is “sort of like” ramming
your friend with your car, in that the same three things are there in both
stories, but they’re doing different things.
During the 1990s, a decade when Doctor Who was canceled, you had to read the “New Adventures” novels. The traditional villains like Daleks didn’t appear; rather, the books focused on new enemies and humorous and idiosyncratic science fiction concepts. Bernice Summerfield, a sidekick introduced in these books, regularly tops fan lists of the best TARDIS crewmembers ever. She’s basically the Mara Jade of Doctor Who.
Marco Polo, a Doctor Who serial that no longer exists apart from audio and still images.