I looked over the entire list of WHO threads... and none of them seemed appropriate for this post. So I decided, however reluctantly, to start yet another one. Ah well.  ENJOY!

 
 
 
You know how people often say their first Doctor is their favorite? I must be an odd case. My first Doctor was Peter Cushing. In fact, "INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D." (as it was listed in TV GUIDE) was my intro to the show, and that remains my FAVORITE Dalek story.

My first TV Doctor was Jon Pertwee. I'd seen "THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD", where he played an arrogant, egotistical horror-movie actor. The story was played for laughs. But you kind of wound up laughing AT him, because of his attitude. When I saw HIS name in TV GUIDE, my initial reaction was, "Oh, NOT HIM???" It took me a long time to get into his run. It wasn't helped by every episode being CUT for commercial time, and my generally having difficulty watching anything 5 times a week. It was also made worse by the fact that the local channel SKIPPED his debut story, "SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE". So it took me quite some time to figure out what was going on, and what connection, if any, this show had with the 2 movies.

I actually wound up liking Roger Delgado more than Pertwee. Go figure. To me, Pertwee didn't really start to grow on me until "DAY OF THE DALEKS"... and that's where my local channel STOPPED. Decades later I read Pertwee's first 3 years had gone into syndication at that time, but the Philly station only ran 2 years' worth-- from "THE SILURIANS" to "DAY OF THE DALEKS". Idiots.


So then in mid-1979, Tom Baker's first 4 years arrived. When I first saw a publicity shot of him, my first reaction was, "This LOONEY is playing The Doctor???" However, my reaction to the show itself was as different as could be from Pertwee's early episodes. By the end of "ROBOT, Part 1", I LOVED Baker's portrayal. Looking back, he was MUCH goofier in that initial 4-parter than later (at least, until Douglas Adams-- heh). But "fun" can go a long way.

I'd also read about the previous Doctors, and on seeing a photo of William Hartnell for the first time (still several YEARS before I ever got to see any of his stories), I realized, HE must have been the one Peter Cushing's stories were based on (however loosely). Actually, if you ever watch the movie "THE BOOGIE MAN WILL GET YOU", I think Cushing's Doctor is much closer to Boris Karloff's dodderly old scientist than Hartnell's Doctor.

Seeing a photo of Patrick Troughton, I also realized I'd SEEN Troughton in quite a few movies, without ever realizing it. As a character actor, he often effortlessly faded right into whatever role he was playing. All the same, I had a feeling his role as "Milantheus", the good wizard in "SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER", may have been similar to his Doctor. (As it turns out, I was right... except, Milantheus was more on the incompetent side.)

Tom Baker's character sometimes drove me nuts, because at times he seemed almost TOO incompetent, as if he was winning in the end only through DUMB LUCK. Years later I found that Troughton's Doctor put on an "act" of not knowing what he was doing, which Baker imitated. Except, with Baker, sometimes, the "act" was a little TOO convincing. (Sort of like some of the later "COLUMBO" movies with Peter Falk, in the late-70's.)


I never warmed up to Peter Davison. Colin Baker I liked MUCH, much more-- but the writing for at least half of his run was AWFUL. At the same time, I got to see the existing Hartnell & Troughton episodes. What a crazy time to be a fan of the show.

Then, all hell broke loose. Robert Holmes died, Eric Saward quit, Ian Marter died, Colin Baker was fired, and Patrick Troughton, who'd become an "ambassador" for the show, after never once attending a convention for many years, died.

And out of nowhere, seemingly, they cast Sylvester McCoy. I took to him IMMEDIATELY, before ever seeing any of his stories, just on the basis of an interview they did with him on PBS.

Almost everyone over the years has come down hard on Season 24, and no doubt, with good reason. Yet, despite that, I LOVED McCoy's work on those first 4 stories. Even with VERY dodgy writing, he managed to portray someone infinitely likable, he was FUN to watch, and yet, despite his appearing to be almost completely out of his depth, these hints of something more were creeping in. Was his character totally NUTS? --or was he, like Troughton, NOT what he seemed?

Then Season 25 came along, and... WOW. Not perfect by any means, but such a MASSIVE improvement, both in the plots, and the character development. It's my understanding that between seasons, JNT sat down with his new script editor Andrew Cartmel, his actors, and the writers, and bashed out exactly what they wanted to accomplish, and how they wanted to "develop" the characters.

Ace started out as someone I genuinely HATED in her first appearance. I mean, I liked her EVEN LESS than Tegan when she first debuted. Imagine my SHOCK when I got to LIKE her in her 2nd story-- and got to like her more with each successive story? There had NOT been this kind of character growth on the show since Verity Lambert's time.

By the time it was all over, I was in shock. Sylvester McCoy had become my FAVORITE Doctor. I still think half his stories needed MORE WORK-- but, like the 3rd season of "LOST IN SPACE", they were really trying harder.

Some people think the writing on his last 2 seasons was nothing short of brilliant, while he was completely miscast. I think it's the other way around!



Perhaps the most devious aspect of those 2 seasons are the way they tried to change the way you looked at the ENTIRE show in general. Hartnell's Doctor sometimes hinted that he'd been a "pioneer" among his own people. But by the time you got to Tom Baker, you got a very different impression-- one of an incompetent halfwit, who just barely graduated from the Time Lord Academy "at 50%" on his 2nd try. McCoy took things back to Hartnell. So-- which was the truth? What was the lie?

Andrew Cartmel has stated he wanted to bring "the mystery" back to the character. I'm not sure he ever figured out what the "truth" was, though. Some fans over the years have OVER-COMPLICATED The Doctor's history to the point where it's virtually impossble for any casual fan to make sense of it (and a LOT of this went on in the MOUNTAIN of original novels, many of them featuring McCoy's Doctor). I prefer to ignore all that, and only go by what we see on the TV.

In my opinion, both Colin Baker & Sylvester McCoy got SCREWED over by the BBC. 2 guys in the organization HATED the show, despite it being their BIGGEST money-maker world-wide. Those 2 guys wanted it OFF the air, because they, PERSONALLY, didn't like it. They succeeded. The show did return... but not until BOTH of them were long gone from the corporation.

It would have been nice to see either of them have longer runs-- but especially, if they'd gotten BETTER WRITING. I'm afraid with JNT in charge, THAT was an uphill battle. (Pardon my ramble!)

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Pertwee was my first Doctor, and I didn't take to him at first, either. It's funny, because watching his shows as they've been released on disk, I quite enjoy them, now.  Age brings a different perspective, perhaps.

I'm watching a pile of Pertwees right now, all back-to-back...

SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE

TERROR OF THE AUTONS

THE MIND OF EVIL

THE CLAWS OF AXOS

COLONY IN SPACE (severely edited)

THE DAEMONS

THE SEA DEVILS

up for tonight:  THE TIME MONSTER !

Sometimes it’s difficult to separate the Doctor from the show. [DISCLAIMER: I started watching Doctor Who just a few short years ago.] For example, although it took me a while to warm up to him, I think Tom Baker is one of the best Doctors, but I don’t particularly like most of the stories during his era.

My “first” Doctor was William Hartnell, and the commonly held belief that your first Doctor remains your favorite is certainly true in my case. Of course, not all of his stories were top-notch, either, but like Tom Baker who would follow him, his performances, shaky as they could be at times, transcended the show’s budgetary shortcomings.

I’m sorry to say that Collin Baker is probably my least favorite Doctor (that jacket!), but I agree with you he didn’t get a fair shake. In contention for least favorite is Peter Davison, which I also regret saying because he seems like such a nice guy. But what it all boils down to is that the Fifth Doctor is too bland and the Sixth is too arrogant.

Some of the more recent Doctors have been pretty good, too. ;)

I suspect this thread could work as a "general" DW discussion, not limited to any one story.

The following is a response to a post at the IMDB, from a new DOCTOR WHO fan who's heard so many bad things about Colin Baker, and is baffled that he's actually, somehow, enjoying his stories.  Hey, you can never tell!
 
 
 
 
Perhaps you're sensing, and enjoying, the potential of what's there, rather than what actually is. Or perhaps you're just enjopying certain elements, while ignoring others. I personally LIKE Colin Baker. I think he was quite talented, and from various interviews and articles he's writtem EXTREMELY intelligent, and very witty. To me, Colin Baker is not the problem. I see Colin as one of the show's primes examples of WASTED POTENTIAL.

Twice before in the show's history, outgoing production teams cast radical new Doctors and dumped them in the lap of an incoming production team. It happened with both Jon Pertwee & Tom Baker. If you compare each their 1st stories with their 2nd stories, it's shocking how different in tone they are. THIS is was should have happened with Colin Baker. This is what was SUPPOSED to happen with Colin Baker... except, John Nathan-Turner (personable master of the wrong, ego-driven decision) and Eric Saward (the man positively obsessed with mercenary soldiers and violent mass-murder onscreen) DIDN'T LEAVE. JNT was supposed to go at the end of the 20th season. Then, he was supposed to go at the end of the 21st season. Looking back, I rather imagine that's why "THE TWIN DILEMMA" was done as the 21st season finale, instead of the 22nd season opener. That, and the fact than nearly every story in Season 21 was nasty, downbeat, excessively violent and hopeless... and "THE TWIN DILEMMA"... wasn't.

Colin got SCREWED over. First, BAD costume. That THING he wore would only work as a JOKE, and then, only for one story-- one EPISODE, tops. (See "ROBOT" Part One.) Then, there's the WRITING. This REALLY was the killer. You have, alternately, MORE obsession with the show's history ("continuity"), far too much for any casual fans just tuning in to be able to follow; you have him constantly ARGUING with his "companion", something that never should have gone past his regeneration story; and you have an EXCESSIVE amount of darkness, hopelessness, nastiness, sickness, perversion, SADISM... all of the above.

One thing Colin had WAY over Peter Davison, was a sense of humor. Had much of what I just listed been played FOR LAUGHS-- and I understand "VENGEANCE ON VAROS" started out as a comedy (BEFORE THEY CUT ALL THE JOKES OUT!!!), it might have gone over much better. I mean, look at "PARADISE TOWERS". (No, really. I'm not kidding!) One reviewer online noted that that story was SO sick, if it hadn't been played almost totally for laughs, it would have gotten more complaints than "THE DEADLY ASSASSIN". (And remember, that story led to Philip Hinchcliffe getting fired when the show was high in the ratings. Colin Baker's 1st season caused the show to get YANKED off the air for 18 months, and only brought back in a totally castrated form.)

Oddly enough, the DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE comic-strip gave us a completely different approach to Colin's adventures. The comic featured much more fantasy, imagination, and whimsy. Oh yeah, and a talking penguin. And I have read repeatedly that the Big Finish audio adventures with Colin are all far better-written than any of his TV adventures. (And the same goes for Bonnie Langford. Though that probably didn't take much to do in her case.)


Despite all I've said, I do enjoy watching Colin's TV stories... to a degree. Certainly MORE than Peter Davison's. But I usually come away feeling they could have been a LOT better than they were. Well, all except "TIMELASH". That was SO bad, on every single level, it never should have gone before the cameras.
From the IMDB, a thread discussion "best" and "worst" regenerations.  I got carried away, as usual.
 
 
 
I can only imagine what it was like to go from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton. I suspect that must have been a TOTAL SHOCK to viewing audiences.Not only did they recast the part, instead of finding a similar actor, they went with someone who looked NOTHING like the one he was replacing, and wrote him as different as possible. I would think going from Hartnell to Troughton had to be MUST more jarring than from Jon Pertwee to Tom Baker. (Perhaps having an Earthboudn story with UNIT and the Brigadier was a "safety gap" to help audiences over the transition.) Of course, I haven't seen any stories from Troughton's 1st season at all- but I also have read that he "toned it down" quite a bit a few stories in. Not unlike how Tom Baker "toned it down" between his 1st & 2nd stories. (And then "toned it down" even more after Harry left, and then again, when he met Leela. IF ONLY Colin baker had "toned it down" after HIS debut. A change in production teams RIGHT THEN, and he might have been allowed to.)


"SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE" has been a favorite of mine since I firet saw it... in the mid-80's. Do you how how stupid it is that Channel 17 in Philadelphia SKIPPED it completely when they got the show in the early 70's? (Along with everything in Pertwee's 3rd season after "DAY OF THE DALEKS") Glad I'm not the only one who noticed he was "doing" Troughton for the whole story. He got all serious-- and far less likable in "THE SILURIANS". I guess that's when the frustration of being STUCK on Earth finally began to sink in. Note how he lightened up a lot in his last couple seasons.


"ROBOT" can't be too bad... after the initial shock of Tom baker's goofy-looking appearance (my only previous Doctors were Cushing & Pertwee), I came to LIKE his Doctor immensely after only his very 1st episode. It took 2 whole seasons of stories before I got to like Pertwee!


"CASTROVALVA" must have seeme dlike a good idea at the time... but looking back decades later, I've come to feel Christopher Bidmead was much better as a story editor than as a writer. Both "LOGOPOLIS" and "CASTROVALVA" are over-loaded with little continuity references for long-time fans of the show, which are never spewlled out properly for casual viewers. Both also suffer from bizarre story structure, and "technobabble" which almost requires seeing them 2 or 3 or more times to really "get" what the heck's going on at times. And then there's The Doctor. Pertwee & baker both recovered after about an episode apiece. It took Davison 4 episodes to get himself together, and even then, there's almost no hint at what the "new" Doctor is really like. And when you go from that straight into "FOUR TO DOOMSDAY" (which was recorded first), it gets worse, not better, because "FTD" just makes it obvious that nbobody had a clue where they were going with this "different for the sake of being different" SO-CALLED "Doctor".


Apart from trying to strangle Peri, I LIKE "THE TWIN DILEMMA". But I know, I'm the only one... 3 years of a "Doctor" who was thoroughly ineffective, followed by a much more aggreessive, pro-active "hero"... albeit one who's written far too unstable (and some might have thought TOM Baker was "unstable" when he started). I really wish that whole business about Colin being such a totaly loose cannon had worked itself out by the beginning of his 2nd story. Again, with a different production team, we might have got it. See DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE's comic-strip for how things COULD have gone so differently.


"TIME AND THE RANI" is, like "MARK OF THE RANI", a story that... well, doesn't seem to have a plot!!! Honestly, what were Pip & Jane thinking-- if at all? The insane behind-the-scenes circumstances really ruined any chance of this working that well (I was rather shocked to learn that Colin was supposed to be in this one-- and GET KILLED at the end-- and he refused to come back to do it!) All that aside... the FIRST time I laid eyes on Sylvester's Doctor, I INSTANTLY took a liking to him-- even faster than I had Tom Baker. Yes, I'm talking about the "goofy" side of him, not the later "mysterious" side. I think McCoy's "goofy" side is what MADE his "mysterious" swide work so well-- because, just LOOKING at him, he's the last person in the universe you'd ever expect to be so devious and sneaky. I wish he'd gotten better writing... but then, that goes for Peter Davison & Colin Baker as well. (What would a McCoy story by Terrence Dicks or Robert Holmes have been like?

There are quite a few over-long WHO stories that can be described as "runarounds", as the plot goes in circles as a way to pad it out (quite like FLASH GORDON'S TRIPS TO MARS). I remember the 1st time I saw it, thinking "FRONTIER IN SPACE" was perhaps the only WHO "runaround" where I didn't mind so much. Even so, had it been 4 or 5 episodes instead of 6, I bet I'd have liked it a lot more.

PLANET OF THE DALEKS followed on, and was another 6 parts. In effect, since the 2 stories are connected, it seems an attempt to recreate THE DALEK MASTER PLAN, which was 12 parts plus a separate prologue (13 in all).  I think part 3 of PLANET... was only available as a B&W copy in the 80's, so my PBS station ran it as a movie with the B&W part MISSING!!! (So it's one of 2 Pertwee episodes I've still never seen.)

The last 2 days:
THE TIME WARRIOR
INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS
 (pts. 2-6)
DEATH TO THE DALEKS  (only a 4-parter, but still cold have been better at 3)

After falling completely in love with Jo all over again (that's 2 runs in a row she had that effect on me), Sarah's kinda funny. She was my absolute FAVORITE female character on TV for the whole of the 80's, and yet, the last time I watched my collection, she was one of the only girls on the show who didn't affect me at all. (It's as if I somehow "got over her"...)

She starts with such a fire in her and a real chip on her shoulder, all bull-headed and getting herself into so much trouble (starting with suspecting The Doctor to be the baddie in her debut story), before drastically lightening up by her 3rd story, and becoming so much nicer, more likable, and almost frantic at times. Lis Sladen may be an Aquarius, but Sarah feels more like a Gemini (borderline-schizo). There's moments in her first 2 stories where she makes Jo seem much smarter than she is, but beginning with her 3rd, there's moment where she begins to seem smarter than THE DOCTOR. I think that, coupled with her firery temper, is what made her and The Doctor such a great team (much like The Doctor and Romana II).

People always say your first Doctor is your favorite, but my first was Peter Cushing, followed by Jon Pertwee, then Tom Baker... and my favorite is Sylvester McCoy!  (Go figure)  I only recently read that after Colin Baker was fired by the BBC, the producer (JNT) specifically went looking for "a Patrick Troughton type". Boy, did he find one!!  Even so, those IDIOTS who were so hell-bent on driving the BBC's #1 BIGGEST money-maker worldside OFF the air tried to prevent McCoy from being hired. I think they were just determined not to approve ANYBODY, they just wanted to use every excuse they could to screw the show over. Anyway, despite a rather dodgy 1st season (after all this time, I do like "PARASIDE TOWERS" and "DELTA AND THE BANNERMEN"-- there, I've said it), I did like McCoy from the very first. I tend to think his GOOFY side is what makes his "mysterious" side work so well. You just don't expect someone who looks like THAT to be dangerous.

Over time, I came to realize that Patrick Troughton was my 2nd favorite, and Tom Baker, my 3rd.  Crazy, huh?  (Peter Cushing might be higher on the list, except he only did 2 stories, and they're not exactly part of the same continuity! Although, his 2nd film remains my #1 FAVORITE Dalek story, bar none.)

A good friend of mine has offered the opinion that Roger Delgado would have made a better Doctor than Jon Pertwee.    Grin If you watch the scene in "THE CLAWS OF AXOS" where he's messing about with The Doctor's TARDIS, you can see what he means.

Tom Baker was my first encounter with Doctor Who, and of all episodes, his first. I had no idea what I was getting into with this sometimes arrogant, sometimes teaching, often matter-of-fact alien in a blue box. But I loved it. It was such a complete departure from the repeats of Star Trek & less-than-amusing Lost In Space, confusing Time Tunnel & others (Batman doesn't count here). The strange into music would confuse my mother, "What is that noise?! THAT'S music?! for a CHILDREN'S show??" But she soon understood my utter fascination with the show. Sometimes a half-season would repeat twice, even thrice before the remaining season would play, and years before the heart-breaking final episode & Doctor #4's regeneration. Again, my heart cried out when the Sonic Screwdriver was destroyed.
It would be decades, with scant news of subesquent regenerations & companion changes, before the TV movie aired on American stations. After watching it, I understood why that version of my beloved programme (yes, when such a show reaches THAT level of reverence, it deserves the classical entitlement) never saw production, never mind actual airing.
It was more years still before "SyFy" aired the new series with Christopher Eccleston, Doctor #9, and I watched it. New actor, new stories, new companions. THE MAGIC WAS BACK! It didn't take long for me to fill the gaps (borrowed & rented DVDs, YouTube clips, official & fan sites, ect.), allowing me to experience nearly all of the Doctor's incarnations. I am proud to say, even though I may not dress up, own a toy K-9 nor a Sonic Screwdriver, I AM A WHOVIAN. And yes, if a strange man wearing a bow tie showed up in a strange blue police-box & offered to show me the Universe, I'd leave a note for my folks & be off in a double-heartbeat.
(A side-annecdote; One of my most prized possessions comes indirectly from Dr. Who. It was the first airings of Genesis of the Daleks with Tom Baker giving Davros a right headache, as my mom noticed his lengthy scarf. She asked me to it's full length--and with so little accurate info available at the time--I gave her what measurements I knew of. She offered to knit me a scarf from the scraps & leftover wool from her other afghan projects; I agreed & some months later I was presented with THIS. My own non-regulation, non-official pattern Dr.Who-inspired scarf. It's 17 ft 9 in long, 10 in. wide, weighs a few pounds, and I love it dearly. I've brought it to ICON, my local sci-fi convention often, & gotten smiles, applause, even offers of CASH for it. It's served as a neck-warmer, a lap-warmer/hand-warmer, head-rest and pillow. But I'll never part with it. I plan to be interred with it. Why? because not only was it inspired by one of my all-time favorite shows, my mom made it.)

That is an awesome scarf.

GENESIS OF THE DALEKS

(Just posted at someone's blog)

"Re Davros being the evil Doctor, one thing to notice is that he is explicitly the scientific advisor to a military organization. So it's not just that the series is using the Hartnell-era signifiers of being a scientist: it's also taking on directly the heart of the Pertwee era, the idea that a scientist can spend their time mainly hanging out with the military and not have that go wrong."

BRILLIANT observation!

As for the story... This was only my 4th Dalek story ever. (After "INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D.", "DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS", and "DAY OF THE DALEKS", in that order.) Definitely mind-blowing. What it MOST reminds me of is DARK SHADOWS' 1795 sequence, or, "The Origin Of Barnabas". It's a TRAGEDY seen by someone thrust back in time, where NOTHING anyone does can avoid in inevitable BAD ENDING for all concerned. The big difference is, DARK SHADOWS took 6 months to tell theirs, DOCTOR WHO only 6 weeks.

I can't really criticise this story. Except, on a level of personal taste, it's EXTREMEMLY painful to sit through. It's a NIGHTMARISH HORROR. It's one of those things like Bill Cosby described, where you can watch over and over, and each time, you keep HOPING the characters will NOT keep making the same mistakes. But of course... they do.

I've seen this story, essentially, TOO MANY TIMES. 2 years ago, I decided to watch my entire WHO collection again, from start to finish. Even the "bad" ones. Even the ones I CAN'T STAND to watch anymore. Even... THIS one. And the WHOLE time I was watching, 2 years ago, I kept thinking... I'll probably never watch this one again.

I just watched "ROBOT", "THE ARK IN SPACE", and "THE SONTORAN EXPERIMENT". Tomorrow night: "REVENGE OF THE CYBERMEN". I know it's irrational of me... but I really LOVE that one!
PROFESSOR WAGSTAFF'S TIME MACHINE  (1978)
 
Just watched this for the 3rd time.  A friend I used to work for apparently taped it for me (with some precision) off Prism, a cable service he had but which I didn't.  (He also tediously got me all 26 episodes of THUNDERBIRDS 2086 over the course of a year or so-- imagine handing the tapes back and forth that many times!)
 
At the IMDB this is listes as "A STITCH IN TIME" (1978), but when Prism ran it, the tirle had changed to PROFESSOR WAGSTAFF'S TIME MACHINE (with some of the tackiest title lettering imaginable-- didn't match the rest of the credits, making it obvious the title had been changed after-the-fact).
 
Definitely a "kid's film", this seems to have been inspired by some of the DOCTOR WHO comics from the early 60's.  You've got an eccentric inventor and 2 young school kids he befriends who help him with his experiments, trying to perfect a time machine, which keeps blowing fuses and going wrong.  Sort of a kids' low-rent version of THE TIME TUNNEL.
 
The star, of course, is Patrick Troughton, looking like he stepped out of the 19th century (even though it takes place in 1978).  I just checked the IMDB, and the recurring villain of the piece is played by Jeff Rawle.  I thought he looked familiar-- turns out he played "Plantagenet" in FRONTIOS!
 
Something else I found out searching the IMDB, (but which nobody at the site on either end seems aware of), the main character was named after Groucho Marx' character in HORSE FEATHERS-- "Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff".  (Troughton's character is "Professor Adam Wagstaff".)
 
Also in the cast is Ronnie Brody, who seems to have appeared in an endless string of comedies, including several CARRY ON films and some BENNY HILL.
 
It's very silly, but as it seems to be growing on me I guess it's not bad.

Yesterday I saw PYGMALION for the first time.  I've seen MY FAIR LADY 3 times, but this is the first time I saw the original film, the one without the songs.  And Leslie Howard was amazing to watch!  In some scenes, he reminded me a lot of Peter Davison from the show CAMPION.  Which is to say, he reminded me of how Peter Davison's Doctor should have been-- but never was.

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