Time Lord Tees

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19 November 2013

To celebrate Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary the new issue of Radio Times (on sale from Tuesday 19th November) features 12 different collectable covers each with a different Doctor and monsters from their era, with 26 pages on the iconic show inside.

The first cover can be seen to the right with three covers being unveiled every day from Saturday 16th November to Tuesday 19th November on the Radio Times DiscoverTV app.

Radio Times DiscoverTV is a new daily TV and radio recommendations and discovery service; helping you discover your new favourite programmes today wherever they are - on TV, catch-up or on-demand.

Available on iPad and optimised for iOS7, Radio Times DiscoverTV is a freemium app with a 30-day free trial of the premium features. A free limited service is available without subscription with easy-to use, 14 day customised TV and radio listings, by provider and location, and basic programme information. Download for free here.

What's in the 50th Anniversary Special Issue?

Why you can't destroy the Doctor, by Steven Moffat
The show-runner writes exclusively for Radio Times on a cultural legacy so strong that it even endured a 16-year television hiatus. Not that he would ever let that happen again, of course…

Retrospectives of each Doctor
From the first Doctor, William Hartnell, to the 11th, Matt Smith, we examine each Time Lord's era, taking in companions, villains and using exclusive archive interviews with the actors themselves. It’s the ultimate guide to the mad man in a box.

Interviews with Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt
It’s not all about the past, though, for The Day of the Doctor is coming. Radio Times talks to Matt Smith and David Tennant about acting together – “Have I just woken out of a dream?” asks the tenth Doctor – while screen legend John Hurt (the War Doctor) tells us why he wasn’t a fan of the 1963 series. 

Interactive issue
The issue is not just packed with great Doctor Who words and pictures, it also contains a treasure trove of interactive content, such as video, 3D pages and detailed guides. To access the interactive content, simply download the free Blippar app to your smartphone or tablet; then open the app and hold your device over the interactive symbols.

Start with the cover to reveal an exclusive video message from the 11th Doctor, and the opportunity to create and star in your own Radio Times Doctor Who cover to share on social media.

Inside, there’s even more, including a comprehensive episode-by-episode guide for each Doctor, animated and video Doctor Who content, over 100 pictures from the Radio Times Doctor Who archive, a gallery of all Radio Times's Doctor Who covers, plus exclusive 3D content.  

An exclusive shot from The Day of the Doctor
The tenth Doctor and Joanna Page’s Queen Elizabeth I look rather cosy, don't they?

My love of Doctor Who, by BBC Director General Tony Hall
The DG writes exclusively for Radio Times about how he fell in love with Doctor Who in 1963 and is now thrilled to be the man in charge at its height. He even tells a nifty little tale of how he once flew the Tardis…  

Interviews with famous Doctor Who fans
Charlie Brooker, Jonathon Ross and Jo Whiley are among the stars sharing their favourite Who moments in extracts from Steve Berry’s book, From Behind The Sofa.

Win the Doctor’s actual bow tie!
And finally, as if we haven’t spoilt you lot enough, we’re also giving readers a chance to a win a money-can’t-buy prize: the bow tie worn by Matt Smith’s Doctor on screen.

Twelve collectible covers
View all 12 covers in our gallery, below:

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 +  Buy this issue of Radio Times as well as past issues from CompareTheDalek.com!

[Source: Radio Times]

18 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 322: The Sea Devils, Episode Four

Dear diary,

I had to double check against the screen captures on the Tragical History Tour website, but I think the model submarine in this story could really stand up against the one they used earlier this year for the shots in Cold War. Oh, sure, the newer model has a bit more detail to it, but I’m really impressed by the work on the one in this story - it looks absolutely fab on screen.

Thankfully, that seems to be a note I’m making about a lot of things in this story. The opening to the episode gives us more of the sequence with a single Sea Devil on the beach, and I made a point of noting down just how great the mask looked shot on film. I thought it was going to become another one of those times where I simply waffle on about wishing the whole programme was shot on film (and don’t get me wrong, I still do wish that. I’d love to see the submarine shots rendered in HD. You could almost substitute the shots from Cold War and no one would really notice!), but then a little later on we get to see the mask close up in the studio, on video, and it still looks pretty good!

I’ve never really given much thought to the look of the Sea Devils before. Because I’ve never seen the story, my only real frame of reference for them has been the action figure - and I’ve never been all that fond of that one. The sculpt itself is pretty good, but I seem to remember always thinking that the paint job on it was a little too ‘flat’ for me. It always looked like plastic, whereas I’d have liked it to have more of a sheen - as indeed they do in this story. Seeing the creature advance across the beach gives us plenty of opportunity to see the full costume, and it really is something a bit special. It shouldn’t work, really, because it’s just a basic lizard-looking suit covered by a tatty string vest, but there’s something rather brilliant about them.

I’m pretty impressed by them turning up on the submarine, with a great effect of the melting door the herald their arrival. That shot towards the end, as the Doctor peers out from a porthole in his diving equipment and sees a creature heading towards him is great, too, and I think I would have actually preferred that as the final shot. Almost as soon as they started raising the machine back to the surface, I knew that the Doctor would be absent. Now I’m interested to see how close Episode Five comes to Doctor Who and the Silurians. The Doctor was captured by the creatures in that story, too, so I’m keen to try and spot some parallels.

We also get today what might be the scene I was waiting for yesterday, with the Sea Devils rising from the ocean. Is this the famous, iconic bit? Surely not? I get that they’re trying to swell the numbers a bit, but seeing a group of the creatures walk out of the tide and onto the beach, before we cut to what appears to be the start of the shot as they rise from the ocean itself threw me a little, as did the light of the scene. It seems to have been shot at dusk, but it just made the picture look a bit grimy. In my head, after years of hearing about ‘the shot where the Sea Devils rise from the ocean’, I’d imagined five or six of them coming out of the water and onto the beach in daylight, and in a long static shot. If this is what all the fuss is about, then I’m sorry to say that I’m really a bit let down.

Thankfully, it’s not enough to ruin the story for me, and I’m finding myself enjoying it more and more. I spent the first couple of episodes expecting UNIT to show up on the scene, before remembering that this is the one present-day-Earth story in which they don’t feature. I’m glad in a way, because Captain Hart and the Navy are fulfilling all the same roles that we’d usually see inhabited by the Brigadier and his men. While you could pretty easily swap any of these characters out for our regular UNIT crew, it feels fresh to see something a bit different - even if it’s only down to the uniforms being a different colour to the ones I’m used to.

18 November 2013

The BBC have released a preview clip for An Adventure In Space And Time, featuring Sydney Newman (Brian Cox) and Verity Lambert (Jessica Raine).

You can watch the clip below:

Watch the official trailer for An Adventure In Space And Time, below:

+  An Adventure In Space And Time will broadcast on BBC Two on 21st November at 9:00pm.

+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

17 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 321: The Sea Devils, Episode Three

Dear diary,

I’m finding that The Sea Devils is almost the exact opposite to The Curse of Peladon for me. At the end of those four episodes, I found myself with little to write because I simply wasn’t enjoying it. Here, it’s tricky to say anything because I am enjoying it! I simply want to hurry over onto the next episode.

If I’m being entirely honest, I don’t quite know why I’m enjoying The Sea Devils so much. Today is probably the perfect example - the shot of the creatures rising from the ocean to swarm the beach is one of those iconic Doctor Who moments, up there with the Daleks on Westminster Bridge, or the Cybermen outside St Pauls. I’ve never actually seen this scene, though (what? Oh, stop judging me. It’s from a Pertwee story, and you all know my thoughts on the era from before I started on this marathon…), and I’m assuming that the end of today’s episode isn’t it.

It felt like everything was in place. The Doctor and Jo have been cornered on the beach. On one side, they’re blocked in by a mine field. In the other direction, a carful of the prison’s guards has just pulled up (for all the good they’d do. Just how easy was it for Jo to break in and free the Doctor? This is supposed to be a high security prison!). Behind them, the Master and Trenchard have arrived with their new Sea Devil remote control. Ahead lies the crashing waves of the ocean as the machine is switched on, calling the creatures to the shore…

And then a single Sea Devil pops his head up from the water! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it still looks quite good - I’m always slightly impressed that the costumes can survive the pressures of being submerged underwater - but I’d amped myself up for something more exciting, which I can only assume comes later on in the story? It’s an interesting new angle on the whole ‘wishing I knew less about the series’ complaint that I often find myself making, in that I’m not sure if there is a scene with many Sea Devils walking out of the water, of if I’ve just assumed there is, and this is that famous shot of the creatures rising from the waves? No spoilers, please, I’m looking forward to finding out.

I need to wonder a little bit about the prison here, too. I’ve already commented on the seeming inefficiency of the guards (overpowered by Jo twice, Overpowered by the Master… their training isn’t the best!), but I’m more concerned about the facility as a whole. Is the Master their only prisoner? There’s not been any mention of other prisoners at all, but I’d assume there must be some to warrant having so many guards on the staff. I assumed that we’d see the Master stirring up some kind of prison revolt (well, he has got prior form…) but now I’m not so sure.

I’m also not sure that I fully understand his plan - but then, what else is new? He claims that he wants to help the Sea Devils reclaim the Earth as they were once its rightful rulers (another direct link to Doctor Who and the Silurians. I’m not sure where I got it in my head that the connection was made later), and he seems to want to see the Human Race wiped out simply because it’s a species that the Doctor is so fond of. Is he just out for revenge, now?Is this like his plans with the Nestenes, where they can destroy the world and he can then rule the empty rock? He may be in charge of things in the prison now, but he still doesn’t seem to have any real idea of his ultimate goal…

17 November 2013

After the hugely popular reaction to the recent minisode, DWO caught up with The 8th Doctor, Paul McGann, for an exclusive video interview.

Speaking to DWO Editor, Seb J. Brook, Paul talks about The Night Of The Doctor, keeping secrets, future appearances, his costume and more!

Below is a transcript of the interview, and you can watch the video itself at the bottom:

Obviously it’s great to see you back on our screens again, how hard was it keeping it a secret?

That was tough, keeping it a secret! What’s actually slightly disappointing is when you realise you can’t keep a secret now. And you know it should have gone out next week, but they had to put it out this week because someone was about to put it out.

When did you film it?

We shot it in May.

That’s a long time to keep a secret!

Yeh, it wasn’t easy. I mean a couple of mates knew - family knew, and I’m pretty good at keeping a secret, but of course so many people work on something, you know, technicians and everybody else, and publicity people, you know, I’m not pointing the finger, except I’m saying, somewhere along the line, someone couldn’t resist pressing send.

A couple of days ago we were seeing still pictures from the episode going out before it had gone out, so Steven Moffat presumably thought “I’ve gotta do something”, so we released it.

But it all worked out ok in the end, didn’t it?

All’s well that ends well! But also, I was getting tweets back in July, and there were people saying things that they could only have known - so you can’t keep a secret!

Well one of the big questions we’re getting at the moment is that it’s been even more popular that even the fans thought it would be. It had everything they wanted for the past 6 years of Doctor Who stories in about 6 minutes…

…Well yeh and also, I suppose, it reconciled a narrative gap.

It did, yeh, definitely, but this is the thing, people are wanting more now…

…people are always want more! There are people here today saying “when are you gonna do a series”

Well that’s the thing, they want to know if you were offered to do a mini series would you do a mini series? 

Well, it’s like with the mini episode - if they send you the script and it’s good, you’ll do it. So, you know, these things are only as good as the material. So the real question is if the material was good enough and if you were available, you’d do it - cos it’s a Who!

Now you just had a birthday didn’t you?

On that day!

On that day! I mean, what a great present?!

So I regard it as Steven Moffat’s birthday present to me!

That’s great! So I imagine we’re going to have an action figure of you now in your new attire!

That costume in the mini episode, I think looks cool. Proper Time Lord!

It was an evolution of the one you had on-screen in the 1996 TV Movie.

Yeh…distressed, as they used to say in retail! Yeh, yeh, distressed! Yeh, it looked good, I thought.

Fans are saying the way you picked up The Doctor was seamless, you’ve evolved since doing the Big Finish stuff and it’s almost as if we’ve had three series of you on screen anyway because your Doctor has evolved through the audios.

Well I think that’s fair. Since doing the Big Finish’s, of course, I’ve been in it, I’ve still been part of things, so in a way it was easy - I’m glad you think it was seamless. Still, having said that, going on screen is a whole different thing.

Was it a bit surreal?

Yeh! Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss was there, a few people were there, you know, and everyone’s a fan as well, of course, and everyone was really excited to see it. (And probably sneakily trying on all the gear while I wasn’t looking).

Did you honestly think you would ever come back again?

Well not after…well, how long has it been? 17 years. After 10 years I though if they’re not going to ring me up now, they’re not going to ring me up.

You look pretty much the same though…

…keep talking! (smiles).

Well your hair now is actually half the length of the original wig you had in the series…

…I don’t wanna talk about it! (smirks) Bad memories! (looks at recent photo of the 8th Doctor) Well, I suppose, yeh, I could just about get away with it.

Well thank you very much and I hope you had a great birthday, and here’s hoping this isn’t the last time we’ve seen you on screen as well, honestly, it was a real treat for everyone!

Well, with Doctor Who you just never know…you never ever know, do you…

Watch DWO's video interview with Paul McGann, below:


Fans have started a petition to get the BBC to sign up McGann for a live action series. Show your support and sign the petition

+  Follow @PaulJMcGann on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter.

(With thanks to the Showmasters team)

[Source: DWO]

16 November 2013
 a

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 320: The Sea Devils, Episode Two

Dear diary,

It’s odd to think that this serial is written by Malcolm Hulke and directed by Michael E. Briant, and yet the whole thing feels so much better than Colony in Space did. I made a note yesterday to talk about the direction of the episode, but it somewhat got lost under lots of other praise for the story. Today, we’ve got even more examples of something interesting and new being done with the direction - it really looks very different to normal.

The best example is probably the Doctor being chased through the fort by a Sea Devil, where the camera angles really help to sell the moment. By the time he and Jo chase the creature back through the same corridors, the cameras seem to have slipped a little, and we’re veering into Batman territory…

My one complaint with the direction is probably the way that the Sea Devil’s initial reveal has been handled. Throughout the first episode, we’re given plenty of shots of a scaled hand creeping into view, over the side of a boat or around a corner on the fort. As the episode goes one, we were given more-and-more glimpses of the creature - shot from behind, or moving through the corridors hidden by shadows. I was rather hoping that we’d be in for a repeat of the situation we had for Doctor Who and the Silurians, where we were teased by the creature for a while, before it finally steps into the room and reveals itself to us as part of a cliffhanger.

The final reveal of the Sea Devil does mimic the earlier example by being about the creature emerging into a room… but it’s done simply with the creature wandering through a doorway, and doing something of a double take when it sees the Doctor. Even the attempt at communication from our Time Lord has nothing on the earlier ‘Hello, are you a Silurian’ exchange. It’s a shame that after some nice build-up, they seem to decide that it’s gone on for long enough and simply give us a full view of the creature.

I am surprised at just how linked to Doctor Who and the Silurians this story is. I’ve always known that it’s a follow-up tale (and that the creatures team up together to fight the Fifth Doctor further down the line), but I think I’d always assumed that it was something applied retroactively to the story by fans further down the line, eventually leading to Warriors of the Deep as one of those ‘fan pleasing’ ideas from the 1980s. Here, though, we’ve got references to ‘those creatures in the caves’, and Jo even gives us something of a potted history of the event. The Doctor uses the opportunity to correct a few mistakes made in the earlier story, too, though I’m not sure that calling them ‘Eocenes’ will ever catch on…

Elsewhere in the story, I find it slightly odd that the Master goes to all the trouble of getting a naval uniform, hiding in the back of a car to sneak onto the base… and yet doesn’t bother to use one of his clever masks. They were all the rage last season, and they were pretty infallible, but here he accidentally allows himself to be seen. I suppose you could argue that he’s not expecting the Doctor and Jo to be there, but in yesterday’s episode he noted that the Doctor will be interested by the boats disappearing, and then finds out that he’s been directly told about it. Surely the Master should have pieced it together? It just seems a shame that he’s still managing to make silly little mistakes when he’s been coming across so well.

16 November 2013

The BBC have released the clip from 'The Day Of The Doctor', which featured as part of last night's Children In Need schedule.

You can watch the clip below:

+  Click Here to donate to Children In Need!

+  The Day Of The Doctor will simulcast worldwide on 23rd November, at 7:50pm GMT.

+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

15 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 319: The Sea Devils, Episode One

Dear diary,

It’s always a good sign when my notes seem to keep making reference to how much an episode feels like it’s from Season Seven. Right from the opening of the episode, with the submarine under attack, through the look of the setting, the Doctor’s outfit, and the similarity of the Sea Devils to the Silurians, the last twenty-five minutes have felt like they could have come from two seasons ago.

Even the Doctor seems to be perfectly in-keeping with his Season Seven appearance. Quite apart from the fact that we’ve ditched the red jacket (which has become more-and-more common for his Doctor over the last few stories), his whole attitude is very much in line with the earliest version of his Doctor. He’s full of charm when he’s caught inspecting the charred lifeboat, and grins with a smile that couldn’t fail to sway even the most dedicated of security forces. When he doesn’t need to resort to such pleasantries, he’s back to being aloof and above it all, suggesting that he doesn’t carry any of his official UNIT papers because it’s a load of ‘bureaucratic nonsense’, and being keen to jump right in and investigate before his colleagues can be brought onto the scene. Maybe his trip to Peladon with Jo has given him a liking for working alone with a companion once more?

I’m also actually pleased to have the Master back again! By the time we’d reached the end of last season I was - quite frankly - sick of him, but having now had a couple of Master-less stories on the trot, it’s nice to see him being brought back into the fold. It’s good to see that it holds the continuity with the end of the last season, too, with the Master in custody. He’s also back to being the suave version of the Master. He and the Doctor make small talk like two perfect gentlemen, and then it’s right down to business as it’s revealed that he’s running things from behind the scenes. There’s plenty of parallels between the two Time Lords as they piece together the idea that the sea fort is at the heart of the current mystery, and we even get to see him enjoying an episode of vintage British television in the form of The Clangers.

(While I’m on the subject, here’s another opportunity to look at when the UNIT era is set. I’ve heard people talk of the venetian blind TVs in this story as an indication that the story is set somewhat in the future - and yet the Master still needs to specify that he’d like a colour TV set. BBC2 started broadcasting in colour from the start of July 1967, and BBC1 had been gradually switching more and more of its content over to colour since late 1969. While many people would still have been watching in black-and-white by the time this serial was broadcast, it seems strange to think that they’d predict a ‘futuristic’ telly but not think of colour as simply becoming ‘part-and-parcel’!)

Aside from that opening attack on the submarine, the first ten minutes of the episode are all taken up by the Doctor and the Master having a catch up. I’ve spent the last four days complaining about too much talking and not enough action, but for some reason I’m completely riveted by the pair of them. Delgado and Pertwee really are so perfectly suited to each other, and it’s nice to see them given another opportunity to square off against each other. It also gives me hope that the episode may not end up being too padded out - a worry now that we’re back to a six-parter. If we can spend this long on the set up and still keep it interesting, it bodes well for the rest of the tale…

15 November 2013

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and to help out Children In Need along the way, DWO are thrilled to announce that our FREE-to-download, hour-long, full-cast Doctor Who audio adventure; 'One Fine Time Lord', is now available to stream or download!

One Fine Time Lord - Synopsis:

“History Will Be Written”

Gallifrey: The Ancient Times. 

Long ago, Time Lord society honoured its oldest surviving member, the last of the ‘great’ Lords of Time.

One man had sought to bring about peace across the planet by uniting the houses at war and introducing a ‘non-interference’ policy, thus ushering in a new era of harmony. His name - Lord Archeron.

But with his life’s work “almost complete” he strikes up a partnership with a young boy who marvels at this man’s legacy and an uneasy friendship ensues with the mighty sage.

Soon however, the ancient Time Lord will reveal his true ambition for the people of Gallifrey and the boy must make the ultimate decision. The price for peace across the planet might be higher than anyone expected...

Join the most powerful story in Time Lord history.

Listen to the adventure:

You can also download 'One Fine Time Lord' by clicking here.

Whilst we have made the audio adventure FREE, our purpose is to raise money for Children In Need, so we please ask that if you enjoy the adventure (and even if you don't), please donate whatever you can afford to Children In Need directly on the link below. Your donations really do help change lives, not just in Africa, but in the UK too.

+  Donate to Children In Need: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008dk4b

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

14 November 2013
 Day 318: The Curse of Peladon, Episode Four

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 318: The Curse of Peladon, Episode Four

Dear diary,

You could almost be forgiven for thinking that this might be Jo’s final story in the series. It’s her seventh story, which gives her almost twice as many as Liz, and equal to Victoria and close to Zoe. She’s suddenly become a very useful asset to the Doctor, providing the solution to many of the problems they’ve faced in this story, from finding the tunnel in Episode One to helping keep the peace as best she can. Oh, and then there’s a love story.

I said back at the start of the story that I was hoping Jo would be kept front and centre throughout, and I think it’s fair to say that she’s been pretty well-served in that respect. What’s lovely is how real her personal story throughout the last four episodes has felt. You can really see Jo and King Peladon falling for each other, and the final scene in which he asks her to stay and she has to decline without giving a valid reason is genuinely heartbreaking. That they get to part with a kiss is a lovely touch, and it helps to flesh out the characters even more.

Right back at the start of The 50 Year Diary, I expressed surprise at just how three-dimensional the companions were. There’s something of a myth that’s built up over the years that all the new series companions are fully formed while all the classic ones were merely ciphers. I’m constantly waiting for the standard to drop, but on the whole I’ve not been disappointed. Victoria was something of a blip, but all the companions so far have had a quality to them that I’m surprised to see, and I think it’s another benefit of watching through in order like this.

A lot of my good feeling toward this episode seems to be born from the last five minutes of it. The conversation between the Doctor and Jo about how they arrived on Peladon at this precise point in its history was welcome, as I’d been wondering earlier on how the Doctor had managed to bring them here. It’s nice to see that Jo’s wish to get back to Earth next is echoed by the Doctor. I’ve not really been keeping track of his character’s evolution over the last few stories, but I think we’re seeing a shift now.

The first few stories of this era saw him desperate to get off the planet and return to his wanderings in time and space. Now that he’s getting occasional trips out courtesy of the Time Lords, he seems to be finding himself a bit more settled at UNIT. It’s something that still has a way to go (and I’ll try to remember to keep an eye out for it as I move forward), but I think we’re seeing a very definite change in his persona, and it’s for the better.

I’m also pleased to see the arrival of the real Earth ambassador at the end of the story. It’s something I thought was going to be a bit of a plot hole - and at one stage I even wondered if the Doctor was the real ambassador, set in place by the Time lords themselves. It’s interesting to note how different the Third Doctor is in his assumed role when compared to his Second incarnation during The Power of the Daleks. There’s never been a more clear contrast between the pair!

I’m looking forward to moving to another story, though. The Curse of Peladon simply hasn’t captured my imagination in the way I was hoping it might, and having had a break from him for a week or so, I’m looking forward to seeing the Master again. I’m all for the series trying to break up the monotony of Earth-based a bit, but hopefully the next one will be more to my tastes…

14 November 2013

The BBC have released the special red button minisode 'The Night Of The Doctor', in which Paul McGann (The 8th Doctor) is finally back on our screens, in 7-minutes of what we can only describe as must-see-TV!

You can watch the minisode below:

+  Rate / Discuss 'The Night Of The Doctor' in the DWO Forums!

+  The Day Of The Doctor will simulcast worldwide on 23rd November, at 7:50pm GMT.

+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

13 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 317: The Curse of Peladon, Episode Three

Dear diary,

Over the first half of this story, my biggest complaint has been that it’s simply too ‘talky’. Almost every scene boils down to the cast (some of whom are dressed in mildly amusing alien outfits) talking at each other, while not a lot else happens.There’s a scene in today’s episode, for example, where the various delegates of the Galactic Federation debate the merits of leaving the Doctor to his fate. It should be a great scene in which Jo finds herself facing a wall of opposition while trying to save her best friend’s life… but I just sort of watched it without engaging.

Equally, today’s episode has shown that when it’s done well, a dialogue-heavy scene can be absolutely brilliant. I’m thinking specifically of the exchange between Jo and King Peladon, in which she asks for his support and he tells her that he can’t give it, before asking for her hand in marriage. If you were to strip away the fact that David Troughton is wearing such a sparkly purple costume, this could very well be a scene from any period drama between a king and his love and set in a castle.

It’s helped, too, by Katy Manning turning in her best performance to date. She’s never been bad in her role, but she’s never been as good as we see here. I’ve heard people hold up her attempt at saving the Doctor’s life in The Dæmons as her golden moment (and, indeed, I believe it was scenes from that story which helped her win the job during auditions), but for me, this episode sees far and away her best acting, and it’s the first time that I think I’ve ever seen Jo as a proper grown up.

It’s a shame, then, when we see her blunder in to the tunnels and interrupt another of the Doctor’s experiments. During Episode One, I said “we’re a million miles away from the character who was introduced at the start of last season”, but suddenly we’re given a scene that’s almost identical to her very first! It feels like they’re trying to use this story to give Jo the space and freedom to grow as a character, but then every so often they need to resort to giving her that traditional ‘companion’ dialogue, so that the Doctor can explain his clever plan to the viewers at home.

It’s quite fun watching the Doctor put together this clever plan, too. Seeing him tinker with odds and ends to create the device he needs is so very right for this incarnation (there’s an image on the DVD cover art for the story that’s taken from this scene, and it’s just looks like the Third Doctor in his natural habitat!), and then it’s good to see him using this device to hypnotise Aggedor (and Jo!)

But I wonder if he’s also one of the things that’s stopping me from engaging with this story. It feels odd to not see this Doctor grounded so much in the Earth. Even during his last excursion from the planet we were in a time that looked even more like the 1970s than the actual 1970s do! For all he may look right tinkering around with technology, the Third Doctor simply looks a little out of place around these corridors and tunnels.

It is nice to see him engaging in the fight sequence at the end, and even though I knew it was a stunt man in the overhead shots, it took me a little while to actually notice it. It’s good to see him refusing to kill his opponent at the end, though I worry that it may come back to haunt him yet. In all, I’m still just not taken by this story. I’m hoping that Jo’s sudden prominence as a character may make her vital to the conclusion, and that it may be enough to give the tale a last-minute surge…

13 November 2013

With just ten days to go until 'The Day Of The Doctor', some more video interviews and promotional images have been released.

A selection of new images can be seen in the column to the right and the video interviews can be watched, below:

David Tennant on the Evolution of The Doctor

3 Questions With Jenna Coleman

The first promo picture from the 7-minute minisode 'The Night Of The Doctor' has been released, which you can see below (Sisterhood of Karn, anyone?): 

+  The Day Of The Doctor airs on 23rd November at 7:50pm on BBC One.

[Sources: DWOBBC America]

12 November 2013

Doctor Who Magazine have sent DWO the cover and details for Issue 467 of DWM.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, Doctor Who Magazine 467 is the biggest issue ever, at 116 packed pages! It also comes complete with a very special 1960s-themed mini issue, which imagines how DWM might have celebrated the series' first anniversary. PLUS! There's also a set of 12 amazing art cards, featuring all 12 Doctors, and NINE free audio downloads of Doctor Who stories!

Also inside this issue:

+  Matt Smith and David Tennant – two Doctors interviewed together!
+  The Day of the Doctor – a preview of the 50th Anniversary Special, with exclusive new photographs!
+  Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) interviewed!
+  An Adventure in Space and Time – huge behind-the-scenes feature!
+  A fascinating feature on Anthony Coburn – Doctor Who’s greatest unsung hero!
+  An Unearthly Child – the draft scripts of Doctor Who’s very first episode revealed!
+  The Watcher’s Guide to Anniversaries!
+  The Wonder of Who – a guide to Doctor Who’s supposedly 'indefinable magic'!
+  The Five Doctors – a fascinating guide to Doctor Who’s 20th anniversary adventure!
+  Mary Peach – the guest star of The Enemy of the World reacts to the story’s recent recovery!
+  Production Notes – showrunner Steven Moffat is joined by someone from his past…
+  John Smith and the Common Men – a special anniversary comic strip!
+  The Time Team watch Last of the Time Lords and Time Crash!
+  The Watcher’s 50th Anniversary Quiz!
+  Competitions, puzzles, and much more!

+  Doctor Who Magazine Issue #467 is out on 14th November, priced £7.99.

+  Subscribe Worldwide to DWM for just £85.00 via CompareTheDalek!

+  Check Out The DWO Guide to Doctor Who Magazine!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

12 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 316: The Curse of Peladon, Episode Two

Dear diary,

The oddest thing about this story is that I keep thinking how much greener the Ice Warriors look here than in their last few appearances. Yeah, yeah, I know that they’ve only ever shown up in the programme during the black-and-white era, but I never imagined them as looking this green before. I wonder if I’ve been thinking of the Cold War colouring, in which it’s more of a muted aqua-green that the all-out version on display in this story?

I’m really loving the struggle between the Ice Warriors and the Doctor, though. The idea that he’s so sure they’re in the wrong based on past encounters is nicely played against the idea that they equally suspect him or wrong doing. Having been involved in Doctor Who fandom over the years means that I’m well aware that the Ice Warriors are an innocent party in this story, but that gives me a nice platform from which to watch the action unfold.

For example, it’s noted early on in the story that the various races of the Federation have all had violence in their history, but that they now keep it under control - a nice foreshadowing of this revelation later on in the story. I’m looking forward to the Doctor’s reaction to the change in lifestyle for the creatures, though I’m suspecting that they may string it out a little bit first, with Jo trying to convince him. Certainly, tension seems to be creeping in among all the delegates now.

Sadly, I’m still just not all that into things. It feels just like The Dæmons, in that there’s nothing inherently wrong with the story, but I’m just not getting hooked in the way that I should be with Doctor Who. This episode is still very talky in places, and I can almost feel my attention beginning to wander as the scenes go by.

I am enjoying the involvement of Alpha Centuri, though. It’s one of those creatures from Doctor Who history that you’re always vaguely aware of. I often group the character together in the same box as the Moxx of Balhoon. When the new series was starting up in 2005, there were loads of images around of the Moxx, so people just sort of knew he was there in the series somewhere. Equally, I think the same is true with Alpha Centuri (although one person when told I was now doing this story responded by calling Alpha Centuri the ‘dick in a cape’…).

There’s just something about the character’s voice that really makes me smile, and I’m rather impressed with the costume, too. I’ve always assumed that it was a fairly basic creature, with everything pieced together as best they could. Actually, it’s really well made. There’s a few moments when the head has to turn, and it just looks good! Usually things like this would leave me complaining that it doesn’t quite work out, but no! Hooray! I think if this story wants to do better in my estimations, we need more of Centuri!

11 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 315: The Curse of Peladon, Episode One

Dear diary,

Ah, Peladon. This is another one of those stories that I’ve never seen, and I’m in two minds about. On the one hand, I’ve always liked the idea of the Third Doctor making two trips to the planet during his era (for the same reason I enjoy the Tenth Doctor returning to New New York a season after his previous visit). There’s a moment in the Sarah Jane Adventures episode Death of the Doctor in which Jo and Sarah both reminisce about trips to Peladon and get very excited by the very fact that they both visited the same place at different times. That whole scene paints the place as very romantic, and a lovely memory for the pair.

On the other hand, I can distinctly remember my friend Huw reaching the mid-Pertwee era in a marathon of his own last year and suddenly losing the will to continue. When I told him this week that I’m about to start on this story, he rolled his eyes and groaned. It’s hardly the most encouraging of signs, is it?

I don’t think things got off to the best of starts with today’s episode, either. I’m visiting family this week, which means I’ve seen today’s episode on a screen several times larger than I’m used to. The only other episode of the marathon I’ve watched on a screen this size was The Underwater Menace Episode Two. In that instance, I was thrilled to be seeing it on a larger space! The print was in a shocking condition in places, but that just added to the charm of the whole thing! Today, I spent the first five minutes wondering if the restoration work on this story had just gone terribly wrong somewhere. It was all terribly over-exposed, and I could barely make out what was happening in some places. Thankfully, after a while the screen seemed to figure out what was wrong and corrected itself, giving me a far better image than the one I had been watching. A quick check online tells me that The Curse of Peladon is one of the worse-off prints in the archives, so I’m guessing that didn’t help.

Once I was past all of that, though… I was just a bit bored. A lot of this episode seems to just be people standing around talking at each other. To some extent, I don’t mind this. It’s exposition, and it’s necessary to get us up-to-speed with events. Since Jon Pertwee took over the TARDIS, we’ve only had a single story set away from Earth, and even that had a tag scene at the start and the end to give us some context to the adventure. Here, we get a name-check for Mike Yates to explain why Jo is all dressed up, but other than that we’re almost entirely removed from the setting we’ve come to expect from the programme. It needs some exposition to save us from being completely lost at sea.

But then it doesn’t stop. We get long conversations about the legend of the planet (which seems to be coming to the fore in some kind of Scooby Doo-like plot), about ‘protocol’, about the Galactic Federation, about the Ice Warriors, about King Peladon’s ascent to the throne… it just goes on and on. I’m hoping that now we’ve got all of this out of the way, the next three episodes can be all about action and adventure to make up for it.

It sounds like I’m being unfairly harsh on the episode, and in some ways I am. I decided that I just couldn’t forgive it after the entrance of the Ice Warriors was somewhat badly handled. I’m a Doctor Who fan. I know that the Ice Warriors are a part of the Peladon stories (they’re so intertwined with the stories that - along with Alpha Centuri - they’ve been a part of every Peladon story, on telly, in books, and on audio). Despite all this, as today’s episode played out, I completely forgot that the lizard men from Mars would be putting in an appearance.

Therefore, when they do show up for the first time, about three-quarters of the way through the episode, I should have been really excited! A great surprise-that-I-knew-was-coming-but-forgot-about, if you know what I mean. Sadly, they first appear as bumbling down a corridor as the Doctor and Jo first emerge into the castle. An Ice Warrior is shot from behind as it waddles along, and it just left me thinking ‘oh yeah, they’re in this…’

The whole situation worsened as I recalled how well their appearance in The Seeds of Death was handled - teasing the viewer of their presence because you knew they were there, but they just wouldn’t show you! A real shame. It’s odd, and I’ve never noticed it before, that after Pertwee’s first two seasons featured no returning monsters from the 1960s, we now get two in as many stories! The Ice Warriors weren’t shouted about quite as much in the pre-publicity, but they’re very much in the same boat as the Daleks - they’ve both fought the Doctor on multiple occasions in the black-and-white era before vanishing from the screen for a few years. Here’s hoping that my interest will perk up as the story goes on, and that they’re not wasted here in the same way the Daleks were during the last story.

I can’t just complain, though. The scenes between the Doctor and Jo are lovely, and just like various Doctor/companion teams of the past, they’re quickly becoming able to salvage any situation for me. Jo’s been given plenty of opportunities today to prove her worth, and we’re a million miles away from the character who was introduced at the start of last season. It’s Jo who finds the tunnel into the castle, and it’s her intervention that helps out when they’re put under pressure from the members of the Federation. I’m hoping that - with her posing as a princess in a story featuring a king - this can become her story and really let her shine throughout.

The sequence of them climbing the mountain up to the castle looks fab, and it’s one of the best-looking bits of the episode. The Restoration Team website tells me that it’s a film-clip donated by John Ainsworth, reinserted into the rest of the footage, which likely helps with the quality - so thank you, John! The downside is that it doesn’t help the rest of the story - when we cut from the Doctor and Jo on the rain-lashed cliff face directly to a (rather drab looking) BBC studio set it doesn’t half lose some atmosphere…

11 November 2013

CBBC is celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who with the launch of an exciting Blue Peter competition, which will give children the chance to design a brand-new device for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who.

The competition, which will be launched on the Doctor Who: Blue Peter Special on Thursday 21st November, is a must-see for all young Doctor Who fans. Viewers aged between six and 15 will be asked to design a new sonic device for either Sontaran Commander Strax, Madame Vastra or Jenny Flint and the winning gadgets will feature in the iconic science fiction series next year.

There will be three eligible age categories for the competition - six to eight years, nine to 11 years and 12 to 15 years. All entries will be considered by a panel of judges which will include Blue Peter editor Ewan Vinnicombe, Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat, Doctor Who producer Nikki Wilson, Doctor Who’s brand account manager Edward Russell, CBBC presenter Chris Johnson, Blue Peter series producer Ellen Evans and Michael Pickwoad, production designer for Doctor Who.

Winners will be announced as part of Blue Peter’s Christmas show on 19th December. The designer of the winning device will be invited to Cardiff to see their gadget being used on the Doctor Who set, with three runners up each receiving a special framed picture including their competition entry and a signed picture of the actor they designed their device for.

Competition details will be live on the Blue Peter website following the launch on the show on 21st November.

Ewan Vinnicombe, editor of Blue Peter, said:

“Blue Peter and Doctor Who have collaborated many times over the history of both series and we felt that the 50th anniversary was a great opportunity to celebrate that and give our young viewers the chance to use their imagination and really get involved in the show. We can’t wait to see what great ideas they come up with for the new devices and to see them in action on the Doctor Who set.”

In addition to the exclusive competition, Blue Peter will also be broadcasting two live episodes dedicated to Doctor WhoDoctor Who: Blue Peter Special on Thursday 21st November and a Doctor Who: Blue Peter Party episode on Saturday 23rd November.

Presenters Barney Harwood, Lindsey Russell and Radzi Chinyanganya will be joined by aliens and monsters in the studio and the audience will be challenged to design their very own alien live on air. Viewer questions will be answered by Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, and in true Blue Peter style there will be a very special themed ‘make’ as the team shows the CBBC audience how to make their very own cushion (to hide behind) and some tasty - if slightly scary - Dalek cupcakes.

[Source: BBC Media Centre]

10 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 314: Day of the Daleks, Episode Four

Dear diary,

Almost as soon as I realised that Day of the Daleks was a story in which people come back from the future to prevent a certain chain of events from happening, I knew that the guerrillas would be the cause of that particular time line. It’s a strand of science fiction that’s reared its head time and time again over the years, in everything from The Twilight Zone (in a story that sees Hitler killed as a baby, and then replaced by another child… who grows up to become the ‘Hitler’ we know from history) to the third Harry Potter book.

There’s a risk that this story could suffer from being based around such a well-known concept, but I’ve rather enjoyed it. Watching the Doctor piece everything together is fun (obviously he’s not read The Prisoner of Azkaban by this point!), and I was even slightly surprised that they’d managed to overturn everything by the end of the story. For a while, I suspected that they’d tie this Dalek occupation of the planet into the one from Season Two, and simply gloss over the fact that this back story doesn’t fit the one we were given way back then. It’s good to see that it’s not the case, and that the Doctor is able to save the day in the end.

I’m disappointed by how much the big ‘Return of the Daleks’ has been wasted in this story, though. The production team at the time really went to town to shout about the return of the Doctor’s greatest enemies, but then they barely feature throughout the entire story. Perhaps the biggest shame is that Pertwee only gets to direct a single line at his foes, when he warns them that they can’t succeed in their plans. Over the years, many of the actors to play the Doctor have commented that they really didn’t feel that they ‘owned’ the role until they’d faced off against the Daleks, so it’s a shame to see that Pertwee’s first meeting with them is a bit wasted.

Even away from the Doctor, these Daleks feel like a bit of an anti climax after nearly five years away. As a fan of the programme, I’m well aware of the ‘Three Daleks and some Ogrons’ battle at the end of the story. Knowing that I was planning to watch an episode of this story in its Special Edition form, I was almost tempted to do so for this one, in the hope that it could improve the scene. As it is, I decided that part of Doctor Who’s charm is that we get the invasion of a world peace conference by three Daleks and a couple of gorillas. The highlight is surely when one of the Daleks gingerly opens the back door to the house, and slowly moves inside, with all the charm of a neighbour calling in for a cup of tea.

When I think back to the Dalek stories of the 1960s, the moments that stand out to me are when they’re at their most impressive. The Dalek production factory from Power. The Egyptian massacre during Masterplan. Even that first shot of the plunger headed towards Barbara. The Dalek image from this story really should be the sight of them filing out of the tunnel interspersed with the Ogrons – in many ways it’s designed to be similar to that shot from Power. Even this doesn’t quite work for me, though. The implication throughout has been that the gold Dalek is the top dog, but they re-use this prop in the sequence a few times, just as they do with the standard grey drones. The ultimate effect is that having only three of them becomes even more obvious.

I’m also surprised to see that the ending to this story is pretty much the same as the ending to the last story – the main building around which the action has been set is blown up. Once again, it’s a very good effect (I’d probably go so far as to say that this shot, along with the destruction of the church in The Deamons count as the best effects shots of the 1970s so far), but when you’re watching the stories in quick succession, it does rather feel like de ja vu.

It sounds like I’m really having a moan about today’s episode. Almost everything I have to say about it is broadly negative. And yet, I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s the kind of episode that I can simply switch off and watch. I don’t need to pay much attention to the plot, because I know what’s happening. For today, it’s all about watching UNIT get blasted by the Daleks. It means, though, that I’m in a bit of a tricky place today.

When I give my rating out of ten to an episode, it’s based simply on gut instinct. I usually declare my score out loud to the flat as the end credits roll, almost as a way of cementing it in my mind. The last three episodes have all been a ‘7/10’, but I’ve enjoyed this one more than the last few episodes. It’s certainly not an 8/10 (it just doesn’t feel like an 8/10), so let’s call it a high…

Mind you, UNIT’s not going to be tasked with any more peace conferences, I’m guessing. The last one saw them lose a missile that could start a Third World War, and even if they’ve managed to save the delegates from death, they’ve failed to spot a man in the basement of the house with a bomb. Having failed to find the Doctor and Jo hidden in the same location a few episodes ago, you think that really someone should have a word with the Brigadier about what this ‘security’ work involves…

9 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 313: Day of the Daleks, Episode Three

Dear diary,

Over the last week or so, people have been getting in touch with me about this story. I've had messages on Twitter, via the 50 Year Diary's Facebook page, and even one text from a concerned friend. All of this correspondence centred around one key issue - ensuring that I watch Day of the Daleks as the original version. I remember the hype surrounding this story's release a few years ago. 2|entertain released a teaser at one stage that said something about a title which would bring an exciting new dimension to the Doctor Who DVD range. Guesses varied from a rerelease of certain stories post-converted into 3D to a release of Dimensions in Time on DVD (I'd buy it. And before anyone else asks, yes it will be getting an entry when the time comes!)

Two years have passed since this story's DVD release, and time doesn't appear to have been all that good to it, because all the messages I received told me to make sure that I steer clear of the 'Special Edition' version of the story, because it's basically pants.

To tell the truth, I'd not even considered watching it any other way than the original broadcast version. I'm not in any way desperate to make this a 'pure' marathon that sticks only to the original versions of the stories (and I'd made a mental note to watch at least one story with new effects switched on), but I'd not even thought about seeing this version in its new, 21st century glory. Of course, once everyone started getting in touch to make sure, it completely settled it. I'd have to watch the special edition.

I've held off until now. Episodes One and Two have been watched via 'disc one', and thus have been the regular versions of the episodes. Today, though, I decided to switch things up a little, and go for the enhanced version. I think I decided that it wasn't for me about thirty seconds into the cliffhanger reprise, when the Dalek-revealing cliffhanger I praised yesterday was smothered by some overpowering CGI materialisation effects. It was probably the perfect example that just because you can add CGI to something doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

After that, I can't really say that the differences really made an impact on me. The sparks and bolts during the trike chase (I know the Third Doctor's a man of action but a trike? Really?) were a nice touch, and certainly made it look a bit more action-packed than the original version, but it didn't really mean all that much to me. As you'll have no-doubt ascertained from that last sentence, I have been back to watch the original version so I could compare the differences, but I only skipped through to key moments.

One thing that I thought looked better in the Special Edition was the Doctor's mind scan. In the original, we get a few still photos of the Doctors flashed up on the screen, and in one instance on a Hartnell photo, you can see where they've failed to frame it properly. That same image also comes across as having a bit too much contrast on - which is an issue I seem to recall that photo having in an early issue of Doctor Who Magazine, too! Obviously the BBC Photo Library didn't have many good-quality copies!

The Special Edition replaces it with clips of the Doctors taken from other episodes instead, and they make a bit more of an impact for me. It's the first time, really, that we've had any kind of flashback like this so blatantly, and I think the moving images made it seem all the more special for me. I wasn't expecting to see the older Doctors, but worried when they flashed up on screen that I might get a nostalgic pang, and long for the days when I could accompany the Doctor down into the Underground or to the Cave of Skulls.

If anything, though, I'm rather liking Pertwee again in this story. I can't describe it (and believe me I've been putting off the writing of today's entry in the vague hope that I'll suddenly find a way!), but Jon Pertwee here looks better than he ever has as the Doctor. There's something about his style in this story, with the shirt slightly undone and looking a bit tired that really works for the character, and it helps to sell the threat of the situation just that little bit more.

That's good! Of course there's a big threat! It's the return of the Daleks - the Doctor's arch enemy! - after almost five years away from the programme! And yet… they're hardly in it. We've had a couple of minutes of Daleks huddled around in a small room (with a single brief excursion to the tunnel), and that's it. I'm hoping they're going to be a big part of Episode Four, or something will have really gone amiss…

The voices surprised me today. I'd completely forgotten that Nick Briggs had re-recorded them for the Special Edition, and about half way through their brief appearance today, I worried that I might have been mistaken yesterday and that they had remembered a ring modulator! So ingrained in my mind is Briggs' Dalek voice that it just feels natural when you hear it!

It's back to the regular edition to round out the story tomorrow, but I'm glad I've taken this little side-step into an alternate reality. I love that the DVD range has been able to include little curiosities like this within the releases, as they help to make the story of Doctor Who just that little bit richer. I think I'll be sticking with the originals from now on, though…

9 November 2013

The BBC have released a second trailer for 'The Day Of The Doctor', which aired on BBC One just after 8pm this evening.

You can watch the trailer below:

Another trailer is due to air tomorrow on BBC One.

+  The Day Of The Doctor will simulcast worldwide on 23rd November, at 7:50pm GMT.

+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

9 November 2013

Due to a leak earlier this morning from BBC Latin, the BBC have released the first TV trailer for 'The Day Of The Doctor'.

The trailer, which runs at 41 seconds, is the first to show actual footage from the episode, and is believed to be the trailer that aired at Comic Con earlier this year.

You can watch the trailer below:

+  The Day Of The Doctor will simulcast worldwide on 23rd November, at 7:50pm GMT.

+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

8 November 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 312: Day of the Daleks, Episode Two

Dear diary,

One of the special features on the Day of the Daleks DVD is a clip from Blue Peter, in which Peter Purves talks about viewers having 'long memories' to remember him ever being a companion in Doctor Who. They go on to talk about receiving a lot of letters asking if the Daleks will ever be returning to menace the Doctor again, and as the three props from this story circle the studio, we're teased that if enough people keep on asking, they just might be there on the Doctor's next adventure.

Purves also says that the Daleks have 'created probably a greater impact than any other monster before or since' within film and television. I'm wondering about these 'long memories' though. As I said yesterday, the four-and-a-half years between The Evil of the Daleks and this story is a really long time, and I'm wondering how many of the younger audience members would have remembered the Daleks at all? Are any of my readers of a vintage that they can remember this story first airing? Were you excited to have the Daleks back, or was it just some monster from the Doctor's past?

(Incidentally, there's another special feature on this DVD in which a class of children receive a Dalek model they've won in a Radio Times competition. The reporter asks - if they're all so scared of the Daleks - why they wanted one in their classroom, and the response effectively boils down to 'it was our teacher's idea… Obviously there were at least some children not all the bothered by the return of the pepper pots.)

It would seem that the programme makers have forgotten all about the Daleks, too. People often talk about this story having somewhat dodgy Dalek voices, and while I can't say that I particularly noticed yesterday, it's definitely obvious today. The voices have been created in the studio, and they've forgotten to bring a ring modulator (even the Daleks on the Blue Peter clip got that right!) It;s almost as though the voices are being provided by people who half remember what a Dalek is supposed to sound like, but hasn't bothered to check. Thus we get them soun-ding out ev-e-ry syl-a-ble, some-times to the point of mad-ness.

It's not all that over powering, because the creatures barely appear in today's episode either. They're playing a really long game with us in this story, but now that Jo is in the 22nd century, and the Doctor has encountered a Dalek in a tunnel (in a great cliffhanger. The effect of the Dalek suddenly appearing is very well done - it's a shame that this wasn't our first sight of them after all this time), I think we're headed for more Dalek action.

One of the sad things about this episode is that we seem to be back to UNIT not really knowing what they're doing. 'We've searched the house and the grounds' Captain Yates tells the Brigadier when reporting the disappearance of the Doctor and Jo. They can't have searched very thoroughly, though, can they? The missing pair were in the cellar the whole time! Added to that, you've got a pair of guerrillas running around the property, too, and you've got a group of actual gorillas running around in the grounds at intermittent intervals!

7 November 2013

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 311: The Day of the Daleks, Episode One

Dear diary,

One of the things that I keep banging on about in relation to this marathon is the idea that it makes me experience Doctor Who in a set order. When I look at the DVDs on my shelf, I can see that there's Dalek stories pretty regularly for the first four years, then a gap followed by another four years of solid Dalek tales, and then they come intermittently for the rest of the 20th century series. They're all just 'facts'. Watching everything in order from the start means that I get to really experience those gaps… and that makes them seem all the more bizarre.

The gap between The Evil of the Daleks and this story is around four and a half years. That's just about equal to the distance between the first broadcast of Planet of the Dead and the publication of today's entry. That feels like a huge amount of time! From my point of view in the marathon, I last saw a full Dalek story in late June, and so much has happened since then.

I think I've always just found it strange that after so long away from the series, the Daleks suddenly come trundling back in once again, and finally establish themselves as a key part of the Doctor Who formula. Over the last four seasons, they've proven that the Daleks aren't entirely necessary for Doctor Who to survive any more, but now that they've turned up once again they're forever ingrained as a key factor. Maybe the same would happen if they'd brought back the Voord in the early 1970s? Maybe not.

Over the course of the 1960s stories, I found myself falling for the Daleks. I'd never really been a fan before, but suddenly I could completely understand their appeal. Making their return here and now sadly reminds me why I was never fond of them in the first place - the Daleks in the colour stories always tend to look a bit tatty. In some ways, I shouldn't be all that surprised. Parts of the Dalek props used here have been turning up ever since the first Dalek story in 1963, so they've been through a lot since then, but all the same it's a bit of a let down. Such a song and dance was made about their return to the series that I'd rather hoped they would look fantastic, at least in their first colour appearance.

Still, it's probably not fair for me to really judge them yet. In traditional Dalek style, they don't properly arrive until the cliffhanger for Episode One (though we do get a brief glimpse of the gold version about half-way through the episode). Everything else on display, I'm rather enjoying. The Doctor still comes across as a bit pompous (the cheese scene is often cited as an example of this characteristic), but he's back to being somewhat nicer to Jo. She gets to have some fun scenes with Benton and Yates, and Nick Courtney has plenty of chances to do his 'exasperated' acting.

In some ways, it feels like we're back to the kind of story that I enjoyed so much in Season Seven. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but it probably doesn't hurt that the Doctor's got the console out of the TARDIS again and there's a scene of time displacement not all that dissimilar to the one from the opening episode of The Ambassadors of Death. It does lead me to wonder, though… When do UNIT settle down into a HQ?

I've always thought of UNIT as having their HQ in an old country house. It's where they're based in The Three Doctors, for example, and the same lab set turns up in Planet of the Spiders and Robot. I'm sure I've read somewhere that the house in Pyramids of Mars is the same one (or becomes the foundations to the UNIT version at least). When they appear under St Pancras for Spearhead, I assumed that it was because they were still new and waiting for a permanent location. The rest of that season sees the Doctor setting up shop on a temporary basis wherever they happened to be that week. Season Eight then gives us several very different looking settings for them to work from. And now today we seem to be set inside a castle of some sort, judging from the architecture! It looks quite nice and all (though the Doctor's still painting his doors with that horrible green paint), but it just seems odd.

I'm glad to have the pepper pots back, no matter how beaten up they might seem. I'm hoping that the next few episodes will help me rekindle my love for them - and for the series as a whole…

 

7 November 2013

BBC Consumer Products have sent DWO the cover and details for the Doctor Who DVD release of An Adventure In Space And Time.

This fantastic one-off drama travels back in time to 1963 to see how the beloved Doctor Who was first brought to the screen.

Actor William Hartnell felt trapped by a succession of hard-man roles. Wannabe producer Verity Lambert was frustrated by the TV industry’s glass ceiling. Both of them were to find unlikely hope and unexpected challenges in the form of a Saturday tea-time drama, time travel and monsters!

Allied with a team of brilliant people, they went on to create the longest-running science fiction series ever, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

An Adventure in Space and Time is written by Mark Gatiss, executive produced by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner and directed by Terry McDonough. David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Broadchurch) plays the lead role of William Hartnell while Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife, The Woman in Black) co-stars as the first ever producer of Doctor Who, Verity Lambert.

The stellar cast is joined by Sacha Dhawan (Waris Hussein), Lesley Manville (Heather Hartnell), and Brian Cox (Sydney Newman). A must see drama for all Doctor Who and drama fans alike.

Special Features:

•  Leaflet featuring programme images and an exclusive foreword by writer and executive producer Mark Gatiss
•  William Hartnell: The Original
•  The Making of An Adventure  - narrated by Carole Ann Ford
•  Reconstructions:
-  Scenes from An Unearthly Child and the pilot
- Regenerations 
-  Farewell to Susan 
- Festive Greeting
-  The Title Sequences
-  Deleted Scenes 
- The Radiophonic Workshop
-  Verity's Leaving Party

The disc also contains English subtitles for the hard of hearing, audio description and audio navigation.

The main feature contains a 5.1 soundtrack.

+  An Adventure In Space And Time is released on 2nd December 2013, priced £13.99.

+  Preorder Now from BBC Shop.

[Source: BBC Consumer Products]

7 November 2013

The BBC have released a new promotional video featuring Matt Smith encouraging fans to use, share and support the #SaveTheDay hashtag.

+  The Day Of The Doctor will simulcast worldwide on 23rd November 2013, at 7:50pm GMT*.
*Time to be confirmed. 

+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

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