Archive for the ‘Doctor Who’ Category

Ninety minutes with Doctor Who’s new show runner Chris Chibnall

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

The announcement of Chris Chibnall as the exec behind Doctor Who after Steven Moffat leaves has left many feeling dazed and confused… mostly because everyone remembers the Torchwood rush-job that was Cyberwoman, and forgets that he also wrote Adrift…. and launched Law and Order UK… and did Broadchurch…

So if you’re at all curious about what he could bring to Doctor Who, may I suggest this in-depth interview with him from Danny Stack’s ‘Scriptwriters in the UK’ podcast. Recorded in May last year it talks about his approach to writing, TV production, and show-running… Listen carefully and you can pull out themes and emotions that Chibnall likes to explore, and I suspect that offers a clue to what ‘his’ Doctor Who will be like.

I’m much more excited for NuWho after listening.

From The Sublime… To The Cliffhanger

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

I know there are a million ‘media/sci-fi/genre‘ podcasts out there, but here’s another reason to listen and subscribe to ‘From The Sublime‘… I’m making an appearance this fortnight!

FTS (because every good show needs to have a good abreviation) is hosted by Iain Hepburn, and works on a magazine-style format, with discrete topics introduced and presented as monologues from Hepburn and his “finely honed fighting force.” Yes, it’s ‘Nationwide for Nerds’, with just a little bit more attitude than Frank Bough.

Anyway, Hepburn asked if I would take a swing at a topic for the current episode, and I decided to look at the staple of genre television the cliffhanger, taking in the current season of Doctor Who, some of the classic series, Star Trek The Next Generation, and a few easter eggs hiding in the script (there’s a free badge for the first person to name them all).

It’s been fun being able to concentrate on ‘just the audio’ for once, and not worry about long term goals, website, promotion, or anything else. Let me know what you think!

Listen to the full show on the website, alternatively subscribe to FTS in iTunes or by RSS to get every episode.

The Amazon Review Doctor Is Starting

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Gotta love Amazon. They put the Doctor Who Season 8 DVD up for pre-order while Peter Capaldi’s first season is still being filmed) to grab the orders and lock them in. And everyone starts to review the DVD that isn’t yet available:

Personally, I think that a lot of the excitement about this series is motivated by nostalgia, but I must admit it’s one of the best out of the second 50 years of Doctor Who history… Although the decision to replace Jenna-Louise Coleman mid-season with David Tennant playing the same role is still regarded as highly controversial, his performance is spot-on and it’s great that such a talented actor got a second chance at playing an actual good role in the programme he loved so much… but I don’t want to say too much! All in all, a wonderful ride you definitely need to see.

As of this post, 27 reviews, 22 five star, 4 four star, and 1 one star.

Why do writers who hate a topic get assigned that topic in the mainstream media?

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Toby Hadoke addresses some issues he has with the media’s coverage of television, actors, terminology, and ultimately about the lack of respect for the profession and the art:

Revelling in ignorance about the medium you write about seems bizarre – especially when such ignorance is used to recommend somebody but, with a little implicit criticism, keep them in their place at the same time (and to what end – apart from to make the journalist look clever?).

Looking clever feels terrific when you’re reviewing something, and it’s fantastic if you can enliven your prose with a witty barb or sparkly turn of phrase … but these things now seem to have replaced the real reasons someone should be writing about their specialist subject. And what reasons are those? Because they love it! Because they are entertained by entertainers, thrilled by popular culture – inspired to put pen to paper and to place bum on seat.

All of the above examples simply wouldn’t happen in other industries… You wouldn’t pay a food writer who described an aubergine as a “sort of rubbish sausage” so why is popular culture often chronicled and scrutinised by the ill-informed and condescending?

If I replace ‘cult TV’ in this article with ‘Eurovision’, this is exactly how I feel every May with the coverage that comes out of the UK’s media about the Song Contest. With so many smart writers who know their topic online, surely theres a solution to be found that rewards the writers, the publications, and the readers?

Where is Matt Smith hiding?

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Because the only thing missing in this production shot from the 50th Anniversary ‘docu-drama’ is The Doctor meeting the Eleventh Doctor…

Adventures in Time and Space, 2013 edition

The Doctor Who origins documentary is the perfect cover… for Doctor Who

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

David Bradley will play William Hartnell (playing ‘The Doctor’, not ‘the First Doctor’, because Hartnell never played the character as able to regenerate until Tenth Planet) in the BBC’s dramatisation of the origins of Doctor Who. I’d assume they’ll have David Bradley in costume as Hartnell’s Doctor at some point, and there’s sure to be a ‘money shot’ of the original TARDIS set.

Which means if the 50th anniversary does need an appearance from another Doctor, and his TARDIS, would anyone notice the modern era team sneaking in with Matt Smith to do some filming at midnight? Alongside Bradley?

Social media marketing, through the medium of Asylum of the Daleks

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

This morning in Edinburgh? Just a solitary Scotsman standing in front of the excited audience asking us very politely “to keep it a surprise for everyone else.” When that Scotsman is Steven Moffat, addressing a lucky audience of Doctor Who fans getting ready to watch the season premier a week before its airing next week, trust is enough.

My thoughts on marketing after attending the ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ screening this morning are up on Forbes.

Delightful question in the review of the first Doctor Who episode

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

The space ship, for some unexplained reason, remained looking like a police box in the dusty desert. I hope this will be explained later.

The Guardian, 48 years ago, on the first episode of Doctor Who.

That would be Sock Puppet Rory, just out of shot

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Doctor Who’s Season six, in ten minutes, by the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.

The Doctor’s origin is actually laid out in The Mind Robber. Fact?

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

I’ve been following Philip Sandifer’s fanatastic blog as he steps through and analyses each Doctor Who story starting from 1963 (and its counterpart, Adventures With The Wife in Space on Tachyon TV), but his last post has just blown my mind. He’s up to the final few stories of Patrick Troughton, specifically The Mind Robber:

The primary threat in this story is that the characters will become fictional. This is, of course, a brilliant use of existential horror and one of the highlights of the story. But thinking about that from a remotely human perspective, it does not actually make any sense. The only way in which a person can meaningfully be threatened by fictionality is if they are already a character in a story. In other words, if they are already in some sense fictional and what is going on is not "becoming fiction" but rather "losing realness." After all, the story does establish that fictional characters cannot be destroyed, and at the end, for no explained reason, the Doctor and company avoid the explosion of the Land of Fiction. Why would this be?

The conclusion is pretty stunning, and I’ve been thinking about it for close to two days now, and I can’t poke any huge holes in it at all. Long time Doctor Who fans should settle down with a cup of tea and start reading with an open mind, because The Mind Robber is the origin story of The Doctor.

That’s fantastic.

Science fiction comedy quiz show podcast thing… The Thumbcast

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

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MP3 FileShow Notes – RSS Feed

Iain Hepburn and Craig McGill have a rather popular podcast – it takes a nice niche topic (in this case the world of Cult TV and Film), throws in some passionate people (Iain and Craig) and then they see what happens.

And this month, their podcast (The Thumbcast) decided to do something a little bit different. Rather than two blokes chatting around a microphone, they decided to create a comedy panel quiz show; partly because it seemed a fun thing to do, partly to get their mates involved, and possibly as a pilot episode for a new direction for the show.

For some strange reason, they decided that I would be a good panellist. The result is a rather good hour or so of entertainment.

Let them know what you think!

Picture of the Day – Doctor Who Muppets

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Paul Cornell is one of the writers on the latest season of Doctor Who (he does other stuff as well), and his blog is always a nice read. But part of his post today, and the accompanying picture, is gorgoeous.

And I was delighted to encounter, at the weekend, these puppets, made and operated by Julia Houghton and Jason Lythgoe-Hay, of the Tenth Doctor and Donna. Not for commercial purposes, mind: these are labours of love. I’ve only seen one other like this, the work of the fabulous Mrs. David in New York.

Tennant, Cornel, Donna

I’m the Doctor…

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Can I write about Doctor Who now? Good. I’m utterly amazed at the first three episodes in Season 29, now running on the BBC. And I’m even more utterly amazed at the zeitgeist building up around a TV series that had it’s debut episode on the day after the shooting of JFK. What’s more amazing is that this is a genuine family program. It’s not out and out sci-Fi (such as Battlestar Galactica or Stargate), nor is it a program aimed for the children (ahem, A.L.F.) but this is a program that you can watch with the whole family. and even the writers of previous episodes have been heaping on the praise.

Doctor Who, Martha Jones, Gridlock

God, I wish I’d written that. I wish I had the ability to write that! Utterly cherishable – so clever, so funny, and a beautiful celebration of wordplay and imagination. One of my favourite Doctor Who stories ever.
Rob Sherman (writer of “Dalek”) discussing ‘The Shakespeare Code’

Yes, let’s discuss the second episode, where The Doctor takes his new companion (Martha Jones) back to see the performance of “Love’s Labout’s Won” at The Globe in 1599). Pop culture references are always interesting to throw in, but here not only were they balanced between ones for adults (Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, Gale and Zemekis), sci-fi geeks (Bradbury, Grandfather Paradoxes_ but also for the kids in the And is there a final example of illustrating time travel to kids with The Doctor’s Harry Potter nod (“Wait till you read Book 7, oh I cried”).

And this was the second episode in a row we’ve seen a non linear time travel trick, with the resolution coming to the audience before the set up (the Tie last week, and yet another Queen chasing down Tennant’s Doctor). I can;t help feeling that this is setting up a plot point for later in the season, in a Murder She Wrote / Columbo style ‘to pull a gun in act three, you must show it inconsequentially in act one.’ I’m also pretty sure what combination of characters will be involved, but that’s later in the season, and I’m trying to be spoiler nice with Sci-Fi posts on this blog (cf Life on Mars and Galactica posts)

Doctor Who has, amazingly, managed to stand over pretty much every sci-fi genre, of ongoing threads, with Buffy Like Big Bads, to standalone Trek TOS style episodes. It’s trouncing every other Saturday night TV show, and it’s proving that a well crafted drama, even in the modern multi-channel environment, can become must see television and provide those water cooler moments every Program Director wants. It’s clear when you see the ‘reality’ shows that surround Who, and are programmed opposite Who getting half the audience numbers that people are rejecting the light and fluffy snacks of television and want somethign with substance.

As a final gem, when Gridlock’ airded, Doctor Who racked up 727 episodes. Star Trek only ever managed 726.

Who’s Coming To America

Friday, January 13th, 2006

And no I didn’t slip and miss a question mark – the latest series of Doctor Who has been purchased by the Sci-Fi Channel in the USA. While Sci-Fi has a nice press release, the BBC have went a little bit flag wavy happy

And the details are interesting as well. Doctor Who (with Christopher Eccleston) is going to air in the same slot as the new Battlestar Galactica – once the season finale fits from Ron Moore, it’ll be time for Russell T Davis’ to take over the week after. Yes it’s a Friday, commonly seen as the kiss of death, but Sci-Fi seem to have done quite well with the SciFi Friday slot, so let’s just see what happens.

But… Squeee!!!!

“Song for Ten” – Phil Spector, Doctor Who and The Christmas Invasion

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Ooohm the BBC are paying attention… a bit. Right at the end of “The Christmas Invasion” (David Tennant’s emergence as the Tenth Docotor on Christmas Day), when he’s choosing his costume and sitting down to his turkey there was a lovely pice of Phil Spector Wall of Sound ish music playing that sounded very Christmassy, slightly familiar, but no bugger online had any idea what it was. Beyond ‘gorgeous.’

So everyone started hunting. Lots of names bandied around (such as the Mull Historical Society) but the big clue was in the MP3 Directors Commentary published on the BBC website, where Exec Producer Russell T Davies let slip that the song was, in fact, an original piece by Murray Gold, composer for the new Series.

Ahhh! That means no hunting on the net is going to find a full version. It’s doubtfull there’s a full version anyway, it might just have enough to cover the 90 seconds it was needed for in the show. Pah.

But not all is lost. The BBC Doctor Who site has posted an interview with Gold, that features a link to a 30 second snippet of the track… which isn’t going to replace my audio grabbed version, but it’s a nice touch. Much like posting a clean version of the middle eight. Two things to point out. The first is when asked if it would ever be released, Gold said “If there’s ever an album of Doctor Who music from the series, I’m sure it would be on that.”

And secondly, the singer, Tim Phillips, has his own site, with more music, and he’s perfect for TPN Rock