Daleks, the TARDIS
and Other Stuff.

A Sort of Blog from 2007
I used to occasionally write waffley nonsense about various pointless things from the world of Doctor Who, which, like most things on the internet are of no interest except to the person who wrote it. And that's not even the case here. The pages remain for posterity.

Some random thoughts and discussions from years gone by


creative things


research and facts


images and misc


archives of long ago


Monday 12th November 2007 - DoctorMaster

It's been all over the news that John Simm is going to be the next Doctor but I think this is tabloid nonsense. Main reason being that David Tennant is already going to be in the next two years' worth and probably a film too, plus the year off will allow him to do other things if he's feeling the strain. Secondly, RTD already tipped Harry Lloyd as a future Doctor if he gets his way. And if RTD isn't still in charge when the next Doctor is cast, then how can anyone know it's going to be Simm at this point? A load of guff methinks.

Sunday 21st October 2007 - Donna

I shocked and disappointed that people are being so negative about Donna coming back. I am first to admit I wasn't sure about her being cast in The Christmas Invasion, but following the episode everyone I spoke to (and lots of online fans) all said they were pleasantly surprised by her. How quickly everyone forgets!

And don't forget that when we first saw her she was trying to follow the incomparable Billie Piper. When I re-watched The Christmas Invasion following The Last of the Timelords, I felt Catherine Tate was an absolute revelation and so superior to Martha it was quite incredible.

So, just let her prove to the doubters (again) that she is better than expected.

Tuesday 9th October 2007 - Watching All Doctor Who in Order

I've been watching every Doctor Who in order for the last couple of months. The reason it hasn't been on my blog was because I had been intending to do a page devoted to the whole experience. I stopped writing that page for two reasons: Firstly it was taking up a lot of time putting down every little thought I had, and secondly when I sent a couple of my closest friends the stuff I had written up the end of The Keys of Marinus, they didn't bother to read it. So if my close friends didn't find it interest, then who would?

However, for a couple of reasons, I changed my mind. So if you have time on your hands, you can read about me watching all Doctor Who in order here.

Wednesday 11th July 2007 - The Ark

I decided to watch The Ark and, frankly, thought it was brilliant.

Well, actually, I thought it was about 60% brilliant. The first two episodes, although being a bit cliched in that rather cheesy 60s B-movie style of dialogue (do people really say "How can this be?" in real life?) were quite amazing.

Due to the whole concept of having two stories in one, the first two episodes rattle along at a decent pace, which is rare for a Hartnell story. The idea of stacking the whole of humanity into a spaceship and sending it off to the stars because of the doomed Earth was not an over-used idea back then. It has since been recycled in some form in the likes of Ben Elton's novel Stark, the film Silent Running, and in later Doctor Whos: The Ark in Space and in Russell T. Davies's Utopia (which even shares the similarity that the destination planet is not all it's cracked up to be). The natural end of the world is also covered in The Ark, complete with dramatic image of the smouldering Earth falling through space, to meet its destiny with the sun - something which was rehashed and contradicted in the new series in Russell T. Davies's The End of the World.

The first episode establishes the Ark quite nicely, although it's unfortunate that so much is given away. It might have been a more exciting and confusing opening if the Doctor, Steven and Dodo hadn't been offered any clues about where they'd landed and the viewer didn't know that the Monoids were in the jungle and therefore link the jungle to the spaceship. But that's a minor gripe and I'm looking at it with the hindsight of someone who knows what the episode is about already.

The story on apace and there's the virus outbreak, imprisonment of the Doctor, internal politics and layering of the plot details as we learn about the building of the statue. The trial takes place, Steven falls sick and the Doctor saves the day. All this could easily have been dragged out to four episodes in any normal story, but it's all wrapped up nearly in fourty five minutes.

Then the next brilliant twist comes along. The TARDIS leaves, and turns up again straight away in the same place. And then we get one of the best cliff hangers in the show's history. The giant human statue, which it was established in the previous episode would take 700 years to build, has been completed, but has the head of a Monoid instead of a man! Sheer brilliance.

This links back to what I was bemoaning when I was talking about the new series cliff hangers going over-the-top to try to get a reaction. At the end of The Sound of Drums, it was just a case of piling on more and more strife for the Doctor in as many different forms as possible. At the end of The Sound of Drums we had the conquering of Earth by mysterious aliens, the capture of Martha's family, the incapacitation of The Doctor, the murder of half a billion humans, and so on. That means that next time, RTD will have to have twice as many people killed, the Doctor shot and dying on the floor, two evil villains to defeat, and the whole universe on the verge of destruction.

However what makes more compelling viewing is not a "how are they going to get out of that one?" situation, but an even which turns an otherwise stable situation completely on its head. When you get to the stage of watching the Earth being decimated, you start to care less because the size of the threat is so immense that it puts your life in perspective. If half a billion humans are murdered then getting anything positive out of the situation is a victory, such as at the end of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. The invasion has happened, there's nothing you can do about it. The victory is in reclaiming the planet through overcoming adversity. If a magic wand had been waved, and history had been changed so that the invasion never happened, you'd feel cheated because it's not staying true to overcoming the odds. The Last of the Time Lords was a total cheat because everything the characters went through became null and void, and it made the cliffhanger a very cheap one. And before you all start shouting Day of the Daleks at me, that story was built around the whole paradox. The twist was built into the resolution of the story. The story was not about the conquest, it was about avoiding it.

Anyway, I digress.

The cliffhanger of The Ark took a stable, simple situation which had been resolved happily with out heroes exonerated, and completely flipped it. I think the best television leaves you wanting more, of which Lost I think is unparalleled in its brilliance, and makes you suddenly go "What the....?". If the twist is clever, the viewer should be left pondering the implications and baffled by the next direction the story will take.

A brilliant way of illustrating the two types of cliffhanger - one cheap and one clever - is by examining a nearly identical setup. At the end of an episode of both The War Games and Caves of Androzani the Doctor is up in front of a firing squad. In the first one it's a fairly cheap trick where the gunshot you hear isn't one of the executioners. But in the second, not only is there no trick to the firising squad whose bullets do indeed find their mark, but the manner in which the situation is resolved has already been foreshadowed if you look carefully for the clues. Not only that but it also leads the Doctor and Peri into the next stage of the plot. Quite brilliant.

I digressed again.

After this excellent start, the Ark does seem to go slightly off the rails. I personally rather like the Monoids, although they get a bad rap for their hair and eyes. They're still a half-decent alien race and have a bit of history and something unusual about them. However the B-movie style becomes unbearable as they explain vast chunks of the plot in a way that only someone speaking to the viewer at home would ever do. It puts me in mind of a great example of bad diaglogue Terry Pratchett used to use as an example of how not to do it, which would start with a man saying, "As you know, your father, the king..."

The writers of this story apparently deligated the scripting duties for the final two episodes to their eight-year-old children, and certain scenes are rather laughable. The attempted explanation for the Refusians being invisible - a solar flare robbed them of a physical form and they can't even see each other - and yet somehow they built nice chairs and a vase or two. And the moment when the Monoid releases he's blown the whole gaffe - is priceless, but not in a good way. A whole batch of scenes in episode three seems to have been written for an audience 20 years younger than for the previous two parts.

But all in all, this whole story, despite its flaws, deserves much praise. It is a format which has never been used before within one single story, although something similar happened in Face of Evil and particaruly between the two Russell T Davies stories The Long Game and Bad Wolf which even rehashed the idea of the Doctor's damage to the timeline causing humanity to become despirited and become controlled by another alien race.

Thumbs up to The Ark.

Sunday 1st July 2007 - The Last of the Time Lords

A few plot holes to ponder: How come Jack could suddenly break his chains that day? Why are his evil captors even bothering to feed him if he can't die? How come it took to Doctor twelve months to come up with the amazing plan to steal the Master's laser screwdriver? If the Master was keen enough to kill the Doctor by putting a bomb on the back of Martha's TV, then why did he keep him alive once he'd captured him? Why keep Martha's family alive at all? Have the Master and the Doctor literally not left each other's company in all that time? It looks like no-one has gone anywhere in the last year.

And all those questions were raised just in the first five minutes.

The Earth has apparently been conquered but it's never explained quite to what extent. If the Toclafane now outnumber the number humans following the decimation, then how are the humans allowed the freedom to have a resistance movement which helps Martha? She may have her handy invisibility but none of the other good guys do. TVs don't work, but there is electricity. Do cars still run? Do planes? Did Martha cross the Atlantic in a rowing boat? Or did she swim?

More to the point what are the Toclafane actually doing on Earth? And how is floating about on Earth any more exciting for these balls than floating about at the end of the universe? I may have missed the point of it all somewhere.

Next, a Toclafane balls gets opened up, and inside is a person's head. I can't even begin to try to find any logic in this twist, beyond its shock value. I don't care how problematic a society gets, there's no point at which a bunch of humans with no hope and no skills wakes up one morning and decides that the best possible course of action is decapitation.

Perhaps I fell asleep, but why exactly was the Master aiming missiles at other planets? He could send his rockets to detroy them, but was there a follow up to this plan? Did he have a space fleet with which to invade? I recall something about black holes? Maybe I was alseep. Or dreaming.

Then the Doctor gets shrunk. My cringe-o-meter was going off the scale. A bad idea done well. An interesting idea done badly. A bad idea done badly. Chose your option. For me, it was embarrassing to watch, and it took away some potentially engaging scenes between the Master and the Doctor. Instead, Simm was trying to act against a CGI character from Harry Potter.

Then Martha gets captured and taken on board the Valiant. What was the point of this part of the plan? She had this complicated syringe gun subterfuge, so that she would get stitched up by a woman whose son they knew had been captured? Why not just surrender to The Master? Once on the Valiant all she did was explain to him how he was going to be defeated. Well if that's the cliche we're dealing with, then I'm sorry but you're not allowed to poke fun at other old Doctor Who traditions, such as the villain explaining his evil plan to the Doctor (as was mocked in Utopia).

Next we're supposed to believe that Martha has been walking the Earth telling people how great the Doctor is and that everyone she spoke to took this on board, and remembered it, and beleived it, and that Martha managed in all that time not to twist her ankle. And what's more the Doctor managed to predict the building of the missile fleet a year in advance so that he could tell Martha when people needed to all his say name together. That's an impressive piece of foresight. Or maybe the Master did actually explain his evil plan after all.

We discover that the love of all the people in the world rejuvinates the Doctor (and handily removes the cage or he'd have been squished through the bars). Our hero floats across the room, offends various religions, and finishes by crying his eyes out whilst cuddling his oldest enemy.

Good or bad. Inspired or hilarious. Whatever that scene was, it wasn't good old Doctor Who in my eyes. I know, I'm just an old stick in the mud, but I like a little less deus ex machina and a little more hard work involved in saving the day. And no, Martha's wandering doesn't count as hard work because a) we didn't see it and b) it's utterly implausible.

The reverse-the-polarity trick on the ArchAngel network was a pretty neat idea, but to use it to rehash the ending of the apalling Fear Her didn't work for me. It could have been used to some conventional and therefore more plausible ends, such as removing the Earth from the mollification field (as has been hinted at) and therefore putting the humans in control of their own destiny.

As I squirmed in my seat, wishing our Time Lord hero would stop crying, I reflected on how this character had been so changed from the direction of the old show. I know the Doctor's personality differs in each regeneration but surely this isn't the same man who made a witty quip after he threw the Master into the Eye of Harmony the last time they met? Perhaps I should be a little more fair and think back to the heady days of The Sea Devils when the Doctor went to visit the Master in prison. Maybe that's the secret message RTD is sending me with his Clangers reference and perhaps I just need to open my mind a little. But really, it doesn't matter how much post-rationalisation you try to do, if you don't like it when you see it, then that's that. It's not my fault that I don't like it, I just don't.

Then, shortly after the Doctor calls the Master's bluff by saying that he knows he would never kill himself, the Master kills himself. Good job he didn't chose that option five minutes earlier and take the Earth with him.

Jack turns out to be The Face of Boe. Oh dear. Head in hands time. Even the lead-in to this twist is so contrived it's unbearable. We suddenly learn Jack's from a place with the the syllable "Boe" in it. He has a face which people liked. That face gets bigger over the next 200,000 years (and he gives birth at least once). And now we have to believe when The Doctor first bumps into Boe in The End of the World, for some reason Jack doesn't go "OH WOW! Doctor it's meeeeeeeee! Long time no see!! Look, I'm a massive head now!!!"

And then the Titanic comes through the wall of the TARDIS. I'm sure we'll get some quick explanation about the rift weakening the TARDIS or something.

So I didn't enjoy this finale, I'm afraid. I have to admit some non-fans did think it was wonderful and said that anyone who wants the plot to make sense is asking too much. Well pardon me for expecting something that makes sense from the most hyped television programme currently on television boasting some of the most talented writers around.

Tuesday 26th June 2007 - Rewatching Daleks in Manhattan

I watched Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks again (I hate these flipping two-part titles an' all!), determined to like it, and I just can't. It has so many crap bits in it. Just like The Sound of Drums, the whole thing didn't hang together for me. The plot just jumps around and nothing really makes and sense. Everything is so cheesy and the accents are irritating.

People often say that Pyramids of Mars has plot holes, but only in terms of the unlikely situation at the outset. Once you just accept that the rocket is aimed at Mars and Sutekh is operating things from Egypt then everything else basically makes sense. The setup is unlikely but as long as you accept it, then scene-by-scene the story flows perfectly and each stage of the plot is logical and you just get caught up in the adventure. You don’t need to question any particular scene because it progresses naturally, like you're walking through it. That's what I crave in some of these new series stories, like The Sound of Drums. It just feels like it needs a fresh eye to be cast over them and for someone to smooth them out.

Daleks in Manhattan had nothing smooth about it. The setup is fine, because it's not particularly interesting - The Daleks are hiding in New York converting humans - Simple. It's how the story then unfolds which is the let-down. The set-pieces don't seem to connect up, and every third scene is a clunker. The gamma radiation turns into lighting somewhere! The lightning-conductor scene at the lift is just crazy. The speech where the black guy gets exterminated is so cheesy. The final confrontation in the theatre is misguided. I cringed at the scene where Tallulah meets Lazlo in the sewer with this supposedly touching scene as she chats to her pig man bloke. And then they try to go off together at the end because they're in love!

The whole idea of taking Doctor Who abroad should be a glorious opportunity to show our hero in and around famous landmarks. But because they had opted not to take their actors to film in New York (although weirdly they did take everyone else, and even Totally Doctor Who managed to get out there) there was a very artifical feel to the setting. All the major moments, such as looking out across the river, relied on dodgy green screen, and the overall result was to lessen the impact of this great setting.

I find it very ironic that they insist they don't have the budget to create a realsitic alien world, and yet there they are attempting to recreate another society in a foreign land with fake architecture using CGI, and filling it with alien-looking pig creatures. Might as well be on an alien planet, for my money.

Sunday 24th June 2007 - After The Sound of Drums

Okay, every fan on the internet loved The Sound of Drums ... except me. I didn't hate it, I didn't even dislike it, I just don't happen to think it was very good in places. I noticed over on OG that anyone who dared to say they didn't like it got a load of abuse and they were told they were wrong for not thinking it was the best story ever. So I feel I should explain, at some length, why I personally didn't feel this episode worked.

I think the best way to explain my feelings is this analogy: The script was giving the viewer loads of and loads of mouthfuls of yummy snacks to gulp down, which you end up feeling a bit sick after, whereas I prefer episodes to feel like one big delicious meal which you sit back afterwards and feel really happy about (that's how I felt about Blink).

The Sound of Drums was filled with great 'moments' without the overall story being coherent or smooth. This may sound slightly contradictory but even though there was loads going on, at the same time nothing really happened. It had all these strands, like The Master's satellite network, Martha's family getting kidnapped, the Master and the Doctor talking again after so long, the unexplained Toclafane, the Lazarus device ageing the Doctor and the TARDIS having been cannibalised... underneath it all there wasn't any solid foundation. It was just a series of unfortunate events.

As I watched I kept finding that one moment I would think, "WOW! That was cool!" (like when the bomb went off in Martha's flat) and then a moment later I thinking, "Er, hang on a minute... does that make sense?" (So why was there a bomb on the TV?). But this script rushes you along so fast you're not supposed to think about it.

And when you ask yourself what the story was actually about... Well it was the Master teaming up with some aliens to destroy the world. Not the most original idea. At least in all the Pertwee stories which had the same plot it was the nature of the baddies which made it interesting, e.g. the Sea Devils and the Autons were exciting. But what have we got this time? Droids from Star Wars with the voices of the Gelth who aren't apparently real aliens.

So that's a broad critism I have - The episode itself had a weak framework filled with crowd-pleasing moments which didn't actually link together properly.

In specific terms, the episode got off on the wrong foot with me due to the hugely disappointing resolution to the previous week: The Master had stolen the TARDIS! Has there ever been a more shocking cliffhangar?

But at the start of the following episode the Doctor gets out of it in two seconds. I felt really cheated. I knew that resolution was on the cards because of the foreshadowing of Jack's "space hopper" however it should have taken longer. Everything is too easy for The Doctor. And in an odd twist of editing, we were then shown the flashbacks showing the Doctor figuring out a way to use Jack's Time Agent Device to leave.

As usual now, The Doctor just waves his magic wand an the problem goes away. Pop, they're back on Earth from the year 100 trillion. No fuss. No Drama. (And similarly, Jack's device is later suddenly also a teleport and they pop onto the aircraft carrier.)

This is all part of the ethos of speeding the narrative along. But if the most awkward of problems gets solved in the most elementary of ways, it's getting to the stage when you think it might be better when a problem occurs to just show a caption: "Two hours later..." and pick up the dialogue with the Doctor saying, "Well that was tricky, but we made it!"

Another unattached strand of story was the Doctor getting aged.

In The Daleks Master Plane The Daleks' Time Destructor aged the first Doctor by a hundred years but it had very little effect on him. As each incarnation of the Doctor must be at least 100 years old anyway, it was a very odd spectacle to discover the Tenth Doctor ages like a human whereas his predecessors did not.

The whole idea just seemed so forced, trying to make a backwards reference to The Lazarus Experiment because so many previous episodes had made a big thing about Mr Saxon. However, the reference thrown in here had little or no bearing on the Lazarus episode itself. We're supposed to believe The Master put all that money into a project of rejuvination just so that he could reverse and miniaturise the technology and make a gun which aged people to death? If you're going to have an unnecessary and pointless weapon, why not bring back the Tissue Compression Eliminator?

I suppose it's a problem like with the "Bad Wolf" scenario, that RTD has given the viewer so many scraps of information and invited us to think about it, we have so many clues that the solution is bound to be far less interesting that what has been theorised by fans. I was hoping that the explanation of the Lazarus Experiment would be a moment in which the audience would say "Of course! That's why Saxon funded it! We should have realised!" - But instead it was a case of, "Oh... How random."

And at the very climax of the episode, I felt that the script was trying too hard to just add more, and more, and more bad things happening to the Doctor. Make him old, threaten Martha's family, add an invasion, destroy the TARDIS, and then have the Master say GET OUT OF THAT ONE!

The Law of Diminishing Returns says that the more you put in each time you try to pull the same stunt, the less you get out. And it applies here quite significantly as each time a new race comes to destroy Earth, the death count and size of threat has to go up.

The previous week's cliffhangar had been immensely powerful because of the potential consequences of the reborn Master having a TARDIS to wreak havoc. The threat of death from the attacking Futurekind was much less important. But this time it was just death threats galore and the end of the world (again).

I absolutely love the Rogue Traders track normally but unfortunately its use didn't work for me here at all. Maybe it was because I was watching with my dad and I just felt a bit young and embarrassed about the state of pop music, but to have a celebratory track over a nasty ending, didn't even work as a counterpoint. And I cringed again when Mrs Saxon started dancing to it.

So those are my general reasons for not thinking this was a glorious and flawless piece of television.

But I'm not saying I hated it, don't get me wrong.

Simm was brilliant. I loved his complete psycho portrayal of the Master. It had to go somewhere different, not just a return to the sombre black figure. I think even with Jacobi's skills, the classic version of the Master could have become quite hackneyed with his subdued evilness.

I did love the conversation between the Doctor and the Master, that was really interesting. The Master talking about the drums in his head was brilliant and scary. I loved seeing Gallifrey even if the young Master had the worst haircut since Patrick Troughton. I loved the bit which took the piss out of all the crazy theories about the Doctor and the Master being brothers (also a dig at the first draft of the TV Movie). But this just goes to show all the best bits were for the fans. Having spoken to my non-fan friends who watched it, none of them had anything good to say about it.

And just going back to my previous (joke) comment about setting everything on Earth in season four... If you think about it, we have now got UNIT re-introduced, and the potential of a recurring villian... Maybe we are on course for a return to the Jon Petwee era!

Sunday 17th June 2007 - After Utopia

Ohh well I have to hold my hands up and say I was wrong. The obvious answer was the right one after all. It was him and he is now off to the past! However I have to be smug and say that I was right about the Master being hidden as human with his own watch.

I really enjoyed Utopia. Well, the ending at least. Imagine sitting through that if it wasn't building up to the reveal of the Master! It would just be arather awful filler story about pointy-tooth people chasing the Doctor around an unconvincing quarry.

D'you think the quarry was made to look as cheap and awful as possible so that RTD could say "Look how badly we do alien planets! We must set everything on Earth next year!"


Sunday 10th June 2007 - Top Ten Update

I've revised and updated the Fan's Favourites since Blink did so well, and in doing so it made me think about the end-of-season finales and how sadly the forthcoming episodes of season three will no doubt displace some classics from the top ten.

If I may be cynical for a moment, the next three will lack the divine characterisation and atmospheric charm of The Empty Child, and they will lack the phenomenal story structure of The Impossible Planet. They will have plot holes you can drive busses through, but to make up for all this they will rely on thrills, crowd-pleasing set-pieces, revelatory plot twists and shock moments to take the audience on a rollercoaster ride. Not great Doctor Who adventures, but still good telly.

Saturday 9th June 2007 - Blinkin' Brilliant

There must be an article with that headline. Well I cant speak highly enough of Blink. It was tight, clever, funny, brilliant, scary, ususual, thought-provoking and just generally as good as this new series has been.

The episode reminded me a great deal of the Red Dwarf episode Future Echoes, but that's no bad thing. I have said elsewhere on this site that investigating time travel is not always a good idea, because Doctor Who is about the adventures rather how they get there. But this story (like City of Death), breaks every rule and gets away with it.

The lack of Doctor was not really felt, but due to the brilliant way in which he was scattered throughout, the blow was softened anyway. Martha was not missed either, I'm afraid, Sally Sparrow was amazing. It goes to show how you can have a short, cute blone girl, and still be totally different to Rose. Sally is, just as Stephen Moffat said, the best companion Doctor Who never had.

The Angels were amazing, and frightening. The scene where the light was going on and off is an instant classic.

More, please, Mr Moffat! Please carry the series on after series four. Pretty please

Sunday 3rd June 2007 - Utopia Speculation

I am of the opinion that Derek Jacobi as "The Professor" in Utopia is a red herring. If people think that he regenerates into the Life on Mars bloke then that makes no sense if Utopia is set in the far future. I apprecaite that if he is a Time Lord then he may have a TARDIS, but we as an audience have already been introduced to Saxon in the present, albeit in passing. So to put him in the future and then back in the present, well that doesn't work for me. The only way they could be linked would be if Jacobi is the future version of Saxon, not the other way around, that means we see the demise of Saxon before we first meet him. But honestly, I think we're being lead down the garden path. I mean, calling him "The Professor", one of the Doctor's own monikers thanks to Ace, surely it's far too obvious?

So what about Saxon?

The Chamelion Arc got me to thinking this is perhaps another way the Master could be around, without the Doctor knowing. The Doctor always said he'd know "up here" if there was another Time Lord around, but what if the Master was hidden as human? Then that fits the facts we know too.

However then I got to thinking, we've had this phrase:


Now, if you think about it, if we take that as a message to the viewer, literally... Saxon is OUR man? Our man is the Doctor! Fits in with the theory that he's the Doctor from the parallel universe. Maybe he came through when the Daleks and Cybermen got sucked through the other way?

Saturday 2nd June 2007 - The Family of Blood

Lovely. Really enjoyed it. Interesting and heart-warming and brilliant. I have to say that so that my next comments don't make you think I hate it.

Is it so hard to write a story which makes sense? Why did the Scarecrows die when machine-gunned after we'd already seen the farmer put his hand through one with no effect? Why did the Doctor not need his Chamelion Arc to change back into a Time Lord? Surely it was just his mind in the watch? How did the Doctor defeat all the aliens without any bother at the end? Why couldn't he defeat them before coming to Earth and prevent all those deaths? And how come the aliens only lived for three months, until the Doctor decided to punish them, then they became immortal?? And why did the aliens have a dozen switches all around the door of their ship which, if you flick them all down, does it blow the ship up? That's like the handbreak of your car being next to a button which sets fire to your petrol tank.

I'm sure Mr RTD would throw the book at me for daring to pick holes in the plot of story which was all about emotion, love, choices, humanity, heroism, etc, but I'm sorry, if you can't make your story hang together against the tiniest of scrutiny then it totally undermines the enjoyment of it. Sometimes major plot holes slowly start to occur to me when I think about it afterwards, but a lot of the above jumped out at me as I watched the episode, and made me think about the inadequacies of the narrative when I should have been blubbing my eyes out. New script editors please.

Friday 1st June 2007 - Cancellation after Series Four?

Is Doctor Who to be cancelled? The Sun and Sky News reckoned so. So the BBC released a statement which said... er... they aren't denying it. Which means yes.

“This story is merely idle speculation. We are a long way away from even thinking about series five when the current series hasn’t ended and we have yet to start filming series four. But the BBC has a long-term commitment to Doctor Who. We are approaching the climax of a brilliant third series, and work on series four gets under way from next week."

Quite impressive how much they managed to dance around the subject, labelling it "speculation" and so forth without actually saying it's not true. And how can they be committed to the long term whilst simultaneous not thinking beyond next year?

Ahh spin, we love it.

Monday 28th May 2007 - How Bad is Series three?

A friend of mine yesterday said to me how he liked the first series of the new Doctor Who but everything after it had been terrible. I thought that was unfair, but started to mull it over. When I think of highlights of new Doctor Who my first thought is of The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit from series two.

So I thought to myself, is there any way of doing a more scientific check? Audience figures are no use as they just tell you what the weather was like, so I decided to use the "rate this episode" threads on Outpost Gallifrey. I know its at the mercy of the fickle fans but when 4000 people rate something with a mark out of five its a pretty good statistical sample to gague something.

So what was the outcome?

Series One accounts for 50% of the top 10.... Series One is generally higher everywhere on the chart than Series Two and Series Three has five out of the eight episodes so far as #22 and below!

And it's interesting that Human Nature is top of the entire list - the only thing which doesn't truly originate as a story concept for Series Three because it was an acclaimed book first, so they couldnt really go wrong in adapting it.

What also interests me is the fact that this set of results is different to the top ten produced when readers of DWM were asked to rate the best new series stories. I think when people are asked to grade stories in order it changes things. My set of OG data shows basically what percentage of people said this was the best Doctor Who gets.

Overall a fascinating little insight into the show. See the full table here.

Saturday 26th May 2007 - Thoughts on Human Nature

An alien group will stop at nothing to hunt down the person they seek. Their prey is another alien who is forced to use cunning means to take human form and hide on Earth to escape their detection. However the human disguise is not fool-proof and alien traces are discovered, allowing the enemy to home in on their target!

Yes folks, that is indeed the plot of Smith and Jones. A tad short-sighted perhaps for RTD to open his season with a self-penned episode which mirrored the plot of a New Adventures book he loved so much that he asked the author to adapt it for later in the season! And so we also get Human Nature which is thankfully so different and so wonderful a piece of television that it exposes Smith and Jones for the shallow nonsense which it was. (Yes, I did like Smith and Jones but anyway, that's not the point.)

My only slight grumble with what was otherwise a near-perfect episode was that if a Time Lord can change every cell of his body naturally by regeneration, why not have the human transformation as an extension of that, i.e. a specially-modified kind of regneration, rather than use some random new piece of hardware to do it? But that is real nit-picking.

Oh and also, that bloke collecting at the door got shot right in the spuds which I thought was unfortunate.

For me,
this was right up there as one of the greatest pieces of Doctor Who writing ever alongside Talons of Weng Chiang.

I loved the moment where the Doctor, sorry, Mr Smith gave his parents names as Sydney [Newman] and Verity [Lambert] and the cricket ball was pure fun for fans! Brilliant.

Saturday 26th May 2007 - *Potential Series 4 Spoiler*

More rumours about
Freema leaving due to the production team being disappointed with her acting skills. To be honest, I'm not sure that if this was true, they would be so tactless as to let it be known so that the tabloids could pick it up.

I don’t mind Martha too much, but I'm not infatuated with her like I was with Rose. Billie Piper had a certain rare charm which you see only occasionally in people, let alone in actors. I think Freema had an impossible act to follow but it doesn't help that she can't always deliver those lines too well!

"Oh my God, we did it, we travelled in time!" Ouch.

Friday 25th May 2007 - *Possible Spoiler for Tomorrow*

I heard on the grape vine that tomorrow's episode will feature a drawing showing the face of the Eighth Doctor as played by Paul McGann. I'd love that. There are loads of people who don’t think McGann counts which I think is hilarious.

Up until now, despite the TV Movie being up to its eyes in Classic Series continuity, there hasn't been anything in the New Series which directly links to the TV Movie.

Saturday 19th May 2007 - After 42

God, previews and all that crap annoy me. We'd seen the escape pod get jettisonned on the season three trailer, so we knew that plot thread in advance. We'd seen the baddie space-suit thing in the same trailer, and there were no proper monsters to surprise us. Plus the episode was called "42", and so straight away you know it's going to be set in real time, so within the first two minutes you know exactly what the entire episode will contain. God knows what people thought who hadn't avoided the "Next Time" trailer too! I avoid everything I can so that each episode is fresh to me.
Anyway, aside from the episode holding no surprises, it was merely "okay". I didn't really like the atmosphere and how horrible the whole thing was. Those scenes with the Doctor being taken over were horrible and probably scared kids witless. It certainly made me feel uncomfortable. It was very obviously trying to recapture the success of "The Satan Pit", but without the plot.
I like Doctor Who because it's warm and familiar and a bit cheesy. Tonight's episode wasn't bad, but it's not what I go to Doctor Who looking for. Doctor Who for me is about excitement and adventure with some monstrous fun thrown in, whereas tonights episode was focussed on tension, discomfort and stress. If I want that, I'll watch "24" but I suppose, if you're watching an episode which is a reverse of that very TV Show's title, it should be expected.
Funniest thing is, I wrote the idea for this episode as a short story (it was actually a drabble) ten years ago, with a dying star sending out a distress signal in its pulses.

Thursday 10th May 2007 - Doctor Behaving Badly

Trivia question. Which two actors or actresses, have appeared in both Doctor Who and Men Behaving Badly? And for a bonus point, how does a former flat-mate of Gary's have a very tenuous link to the series?

A Bit CrapThursday 10th May 2007 - Achilleos

I've been attempting to do a piece of new artwork in the style of Chris Achilleos but it is really not going very well. I know in my head what I want to achieve, but it's just not happening for me.

I don't know whether I can bother sticking with it, or if I should give up.

Sunday 29th April 2007 - After Evolution of the Daleks

Not one of my favourites, I have to say.

I'm also going off David Tennant's Doctor a little. I really disliked the bit at the start where he said, "Hello, its me surprise, boo, etcetera..." I thought that was awfully delivered. He's so annoyingly cocky and sure of himself, without any humility. I don't like it! The Doctor needs to be shown to be struggling to be winning his battles a bit more, but everything he does it seems like he's already sorted the solution - Usually a very dodgy one - before anyone else gets worried.

There was no tension at all in the scene where the human Daleks surrounded him, because he's already revealed in an earlier scene that part of him was in them, so you knew well in advance they wouldn't obey the Daleks. Where was the tension? Terrible scripting.

Could it be time for a new Doctor? Not just due to Tennant's gritted-teeth acting but due to the way they are writing this Doctor. Reboot that character again maybe?

I didn’t watch the trailer for The Lazarus Experiment because I already know too much about it. I was annoyed that I'd had elements of the "Evolution" plot spoiled through photos I'd seen for the DVD cover. I hate spoilers!

Sunday 22nd April 2007 - After Daleks in Manhattan

I think if I hadn't known so much about the episode it would have been much more enjoyable. But thanks to that unfathomably big Radio Times spoiler picture and leaked info, we knew almost everything that was going to happen. I think RTD must have regretted the "human Dalek Sec" photo the minute he approved its use.

I loved the little tribute to "Death to the Daleks" where they were on the top of the tower but I can't say I loved much else about it.

Monday 16th April 2007 - RT spoiler

The Radio Times cover.

Well what an unbelievably massive spoiler. I can't believe they have shown so much!

Saturday 14th April 2007 - After Gridlock

I have mixed feelings about Gridlock. I enjoyed the setup and it was nice to see a kind-of alien world, but it erks me that RTD seems to be petrified to leave the [New] Earth setting behind. The classic series so often took us to alien civilizations where we learnt about their struggles and the help they got from the Doctor. But the new series hasn't had that. We've had the episodes set in the year 5 billion but they are a cheat, just a future human society on a planet made specifically to look like Earth (but still filled with 20th century devices!), and with the occasional blue-faced man, or a cat person thrown in. It doesn't allow us to reflect on how other alien societies might function, or how planets looks on the far side of the galaxy, which was fundamentally what Doctor Who explored, and one of the greatest joys. Okay, so the budget in the old days meant that alien worlds tended to look a bit naff, but who can watch "The Daleks" without expressing awe at first sight of the Dalek city in the distance? Or the marvellous opening shot of Marinus with its glass beach and acid sea? Tomb of the Cybermen may not have the most exotic location footage ever, but imagine how much of Doctor Who's rich history is expunged if you remove anything not set on or around Earth. By all means, Mr Davies, centre your stories around humans, but don't deny them trips to planets like Telos, Peladon, or Calufrax.

Anyway, that's enough of that tired old rant. Back to Gridlock.

Despite knowing it was going to be the Macra, thanks to the unsurpressable rumour-mongers, I still enjoyed first seeing them in the fog. A really nice reveal. But there was a strange kind of structure to the story. It had an odd buildup and then a big deal made of being separated from Martha, and once again a really quick solution to the problem. It was always enjoyble in the old series where the problem was multi-layered and the Doctor and his team had to solve a problem in stages with the final solution being completely logical. But apparently to liberate this civilization someone just needed to open the roof. The Face of Bo, being this incredibly powerful and wonderful chap either hadnt thought of it or hadnt been able to in twenty-five years! What lazy script-writing! But it's only a show for kids, so any old explanation will do, I suppose...

But anyway, the ending gave us some lovely questions and things to ponder. There are no other Time Lords and yet the Doctor is not alone? The truth is somewhere in between? Could this Mr Saxon be a future incarnation of the Doctor? Or the Doctor from the parallel universe? Then again, the Doctor has talked about his family rather a lot recently. Perhaps the Doctor's human mother shows up? That would explain how he isn't alone and yet there are no more Time Lords...

Oh and I loved all the references to Gallifrey, quoting Susan's lines from The Sensorites.

Last point ... and I don't want to always come across as a moaner but does Confidential have to be so filled with clips from the show we watched a few seconds ago? By 9pm you end up feeling you've just watched the same thing twice, which puts me off a repeat viewing in the short term as I feel like I know the episode too well. Couldn't they just restrict the footage to behind the scenes, and the occasion moment from the episode for comparison purposes?
Rathern than endless rehashing of the episode we've just seen?

Thursday 12th April 2007 - *Anti-spoiler alert*

In the forthcoming TV Times David Tennant has "no idea" what Art Deco Daleks is referring to, but he'd love to see some design sketches of that.... Which means he's either bluffing or its entirely CGI... Or there aren't any! I favour the latter. I think it's all rubbish.

Also... Why pig men again? I find that really odd, having just rewatched Aliens of London.

Daleks in ManhattanTuesday 11th April 2007 - TV Times

I've just finished a piece of artwork for the TV Times which will be in next week's edition. It was a revamped version of a piece of art I did for fun on this site, pictured on the right. I was basically just asked for that but as I had to rebuild it at 300 dpi anyway I took the chance to correct loads of things which I wasn't happy with. It doesn't have any bearing on what is going to happen in the episode!

Sunday 8th April 2007 - After "The Shakespeare Code"

Here I go, moaning again, like some ungrateful person who can't be happy to just sit and bask in the knowledge that his favourite TV show is being made again after sixteen years, and better still is adored by millions! What are fans for?

Last night's The Shakespeare Code I did enjoy, don't get me wrong. It was fun, and clever in places, brilliant in places, great setting, nice effects, strong script.... but... and this is a massive but.... I am getting really annoyed that "magic" does now persist in Doctor Who as an unexplained phenomenon.

I accept that Doctor Who historically hasn't been the most sound science fiction (now is not the time to mention The Creature from the Pit to me), and there have been stories in the past which strongly flirted with mystical powers, like Image of the Fendahl, but behind the likes of, say, The Daemons there was usually a spaceship hidden away powering things.

Whereas in The Shakespeare Code, there was no reasoning behind what was going on, and the Doctor just uttered "Oh its alien science" to explain it, despite there being no actual science, no technology and no logic behind it. The Carrionites (and humans too) were just saying words, and somehow the words made things happen. There wasn't a computer, or a circuit board, or a hidden generator which processed the words, or used them as part of an algorithm to open up space and time... it was apparently just the words! That is magic and it's nonsense and it doesn't belong in Doctor Who!

RTD's defence in Confidential was laughable. He said "We use numbers, and numbers can split the atom, or I can speak to Australia."... No, Mr Davies, I'm afraid you are incorrect. It is not the phone number which allows you speak to Australia, its the telephone... You know... the technology, the science, the circuit boards, that sort of thing. I agree, the phone number is vital too but it won't do anything on its own. You cant just chant numbers into thin air and expect Auzzies to hear you, but that is the equivalent of what happened with the Carrionites' words. That's magic.

Same gripe applies to the cauldron which was a view screen. There was no explanation for that whatsoever. It wouldn't have taken ten seconds for the Doctor to have checked underneath and found something alien and technological. It was crying out for a gag about being a liquid crystal display... but no... Sadly, it was actually a magic cauldron...

And while I'm thinking about it... why did the aliens appear as three women? And why were two ugly old crones, and one was young and pretty? And why, after she kissed that bloke did she turned old? As Colin Baker had the balls to say to a room full of fans, you can't scratch the surface of the new series plots, because they crumble to dust.

I don't want this to be all negative because I did enjoy the episode a lot. But like in Tooth and Claw so much fell outside of any rational scientific basis, so you have to put aside what it means to watch the usual Doctor Who and enjoy it on its own merits.

Tuesday 27th March 2007 - After Smith and Jones

Smith and Jones was great fun. Really good light entertainment. A tad silly in places. It's weird how grown up this series can be in terms of emotion and yet it suddenly turns into the most childish incarnation of the series we have ever seen. One moments its death and terror and the next the Doctor is wiggling radiation down in his leg and into his shoe... If they cut the sillyness out the show would be masterful.

I think Freema is okay. She looks like she'll have some screen presence and hold her own, but I just wish she was dead sexy like good old Billie!

I'm more concerned with David Tennant at the moment, to be honest. The face-pulling and up-and-down voice in the trailers is bugged me.

Sunday 18th March 2007

I've been playing around with Planet of the Daleks episode 4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBD3UJa4xEs

Friday 9th March 2007

The new series starts four weeks tomorrow! I honestly think this may be the strongest series so far. I can't wait.

Friday 16th February 2007

Just a little edit I've been working on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-ccYWcUpgM

Sunday 11th February 2007

A funny thing I came across recently which I'd forgotten I'd compiled. I had originally had grand ideas about a whole webpage devoted to this theme, but then I realised there wasn't enough material to write a page, and no-one really cared anyway.

David Walliams, co-creator, co-writer and co-star of Little Britain is a huge Doctor Who fan. In the semi-official world of Who he played both Quincy Flowers and Ned Cotton in the Doctor Who Big Finish Audio production Phantasmagoria.

It was for Doctor Who Night on BBC 2 that Walliams was allowed to let the fan in him run riot as he co-wrote three superb sketches with Mark Gatiss, fellow fan, co-creator and co-star of The League of Gentleman and writer for the new series.

Within Little Britain there are a lot of references to Doctor Who, some incredibly obvious, some very subtle. Here are some:

  • Radio Series
    A million board games are sold every day in the UK. One of them is called "Frobisher's Fingers" (Frobisher was a shape-shifting penguin in the comic strips)

  • The man who attempts to pitch new board games is called Matthew Waterhouse, and the head of the games manufacturer is called Mark Strickson. (The actors who played Adric and Turlough respectively).

  • Pilot Episode
    In the Dennis Waterman sketch firstly, there is a large early publicity photograph of Tom Baker on the wall and also in Dennis' new film "Lucky Runnings" it will feature Pete Davison - off the telly.

  • Season Two - Episode 1
    As Andy is being taken for a walk in the park, one of the lads shouts "Oi, Davros!"

  • Radio Series 2, Episode 1
    The old lady who works at the Church is called Mrs O'Mara (The acress who played the Rani was Kate O'Mara)

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