research and facts
images and misc
archives of long ago
12th November 2007 - DoctorMaster
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.
21st October 2007 - Donna
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
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
9th October 2007 - Watching All Doctor Who in Order
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
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
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
Thumbs up to The Ark.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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!"
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.
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
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
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!
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!"
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
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.
9th June 2007 - Blinkin' Brilliant
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.
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.
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.
Angels were amazing, and frightening. The scene where the light was going on and
off is an instant classic.
please, Mr Moffat! Please carry the series on after series four. Pretty please
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:
"SAXON IS YOUR MAN."
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?
2nd June 2007 - The Family of Blood
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.
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
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.
is merely idle speculation. We are a long way away from even thinking about series
five when the current series hasnt 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."
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?
spin, we love it.
28th May 2007 - How Bad is Series three?
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
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
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
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.
26th May 2007 - Thoughts on Human Nature
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!
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.
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.
26th May 2007 - *Potential Series 4 Spoiler*
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.
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!
my God, we did it, we travelled in time!" Ouch.
25th May 2007 - *Possible Spoiler for Tomorrow*
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 dont think McGann counts which I think is hilarious.
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.
19th May 2007 - After 42
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.
10th May 2007 - Doctor Behaving Badly
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?
10th May 2007 - Achilleos
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.
29th April 2007 - After Evolution of the Daleks
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.
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
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?
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!
22nd April 2007 - After Daleks in Manhattan
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
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.
16th April 2007 - RT spoiler
The Radio Times cover.
what an unbelievably massive spoiler. I can't believe they have shown so much!
14th April 2007 - After Gridlock
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.
that's enough of that tired old rant. Back to Gridlock.
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...
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...
and I loved all the references to Gallifrey, quoting Susan's lines from The
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?
12th April 2007 - *Anti-spoiler alert*
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.
11th April 2007 - TV Times
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!
8th April 2007 - After "The Shakespeare Code"
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?
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.
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.
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...
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
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.
27th March 2007 - After Smith and Jones
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
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!
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.
18th March 2007
been playing around with Planet of the Daleks episode 4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBD3UJa4xEs
9th March 2007
new series starts four weeks tomorrow! I honestly think this may be the strongest
series so far. I can't wait.
16th February 2007
Just a little edit I've been working on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-ccYWcUpgM
11th February 2007
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.
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
Within Little Britain there are a lot of references to Doctor
Who, some incredibly obvious, some very subtle. Here are some:
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.
Two - Episode 1
As Andy is being taken for a walk in the park, one of the lads shouts
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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