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24 November 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-Free Preview of episode 9.11: Heaven Sent;

Doctor Who has never been afraid to try out something new from time to time. We’ve had episodes that range from high comedy to full-on drama. We’ve had episodes told in real time, and just a few weeks ago the programme gave us its own unique take on the ‘found footage’ genre. It’s often quite special when Doctor Who tries to do something different with a format, and it’s fair to say that Heaven Sent ranks rather highly on the ‘different’ stakes.

For the most part, it’s 53 minutes of Peter Capaldi… and only Peter Capaldi. Oh, sure he’s being stalked by a rather nightmarish vision from the pits of his memory, but it’s not a particularly talkative nightmare, meaning that it’s up to Peter alone to carry the weight of the episode, and it’s to his great credit that you never once find yourself longing for someone else to show up and take some of the burden.

Steven Moffat’s script is filled with things to keep Capaldi chewing over - from the moments of darkness that he does so well, to showing off and having a ball. The Doctor is really put through the wringer in this one - repeatedly - and by the time the episode is finished, you’ll feel that you’ve been on a fairly similar journey yourself.

It’s the closest that Doctor Who has ever come to producing its own art house movie, and while it may risk feeling out of place on BBC One on a Saturday night, it’s a refreshing change of pace, and one which allows us to get a handle on the Doctor as a character - and this incarnation in particular - more than ever before.

The whole episode is really lifted by the return of Rachel Talalay to the director’s chair (having also helmed last year’s finale, Dark Water / Death in Heaven). In the hands of a less competent director, the story could run the risk of becoming formulaic and dull, but Talalay injects every shot with something of interest. Particularly of note is the way in which the TARDIS is shot here - the current console room has never looked better, and never looked bigger.

And at the end of it all, finally overcoming all the turmoil and the pain, the stage is truly set for an explosive finale.

Five things to look out for;

1) “As you come in to this world… something else is also born….”
2) The Brother’s Grimm.
3) “Don’t you want to know how I survived? Go on, ask me!”
4) Just how old is the Doctor, these days?
5) “Personally, I think that’s a hell of a bird.”

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]


24 November 2015

The BBC have unveiled the official synopsis for the, as-yet untitled, 2015 Doctor Who Christmas Special.

“It’s Christmas Day on a remote human colony and the Doctor is hiding from Christmas Carols and Comedy Antlers. But when a crashed spaceship calls upon the Doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy.

King Hydroflax (Greg Davies) is furious, and his giant Robot bodyguard is out-of-control and coming for them all! Will Nardole (Matt Lucas) survive? And when will River Song work out who the Doctor is?

All will be revealed on a starliner full of galactic super-villains and a destination the Doctor has been avoiding for a very long time.”

[Source: BBC]

19 November 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-Free Preview of Episode 9.10: Face the Raven:

It’s all been building to this. In many ways, Face the Raven is the first third of a three-part finale, and the events of this week’s episode really do serve as a kick-start to one of the Doctor’s most important journeys. But forget about all that! Forget where the Doctor might be headed in the weeks to come, and who might be standing alongside him, first we need to head to a hidden part of London that you’ve never noticed before, and share in an adventure with some unexpected friends.

Before being elevated to part of this season’s epic finale, new-to-Who writer Sarah Dollard pitched this episode as a standalone adventure, and it’s certainly not hard to see how it would have held up on its own as a great episode. The basic tale itself - imagine a part of the city you know that’s so ordinary that your eyes skirt right over it, missing the fact that there’s a whole unseen world inside it - fit’s so perfectly into the Doctor’s world that you almost wonder how it’s never come up before over the last 50 years.

And that’s certainly not the only great concept Dollard has brought to the table. There’s returns for old friends and enemies (you may think you know all of them, via trailers and preview clips but believe us when we say you don’t), including Joivan Wade (Rigsy, from last year’s acclaimed Flatline) and Maisie Williams, who returns for her third episode this season, and allows us a glimpse into how another half-millennium has evolved her immortal character. That is, perhaps, one of the most interesting parts of the tale - Doctor Who has given us immortal characters before, but we’ve never been able to check in on them quite the way we have with Williams, and her story isn’t done yet…

Perhaps the real heart of the episode, though, is the interactions between Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. They’ve grown to be one of those Doctor/Companion pairings which will be remembered as among the greats, and watching them here, when they’re both aware that one or both of them won’t be leaving this street ever again is absolutely heartbreaking.

Have the tissues ready, you need to be brave.

5 things to look out for:

1) “You think a Cyberman fears a merciful death?”
2) Some Torchwood tech has made it out of the Hub and into the hands of the Doctor’s greatest enemies…
3)“Name, species, and case for asylum quick as you like.”
4) “He’s got this whole secret room in the TARDIS.” 
5) “Who said you could give someone my number?”
[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]


10 November 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-Free preview of episode 9.9: Sleep No More:

When you’re whizzing up and down the time vortex fighting Daleks, and Ghosts, Fisher Kings and Zygons, you must get pretty worn out. Frankly, here at DWO we’re shattered after a walk to the shops, so Clara and the Doctor must be full-on exhausted. It’s all right, though, because we can always settle down and catch up on some sleep. Rest and refuel our bodies.

Oh, but what if you didn’t have to sleep? What if you could pop into a pod once a month, and come out fully rested for the next thirty days. Think of all the adventures you could have then, without having to collapse into a pesky old bed at the end of each day! Great, lovely! Now think of what an adventure sleep could actually be. Not just the dreams you’re off having in your head, but the very real battle against the monsters your sleeping body is fighting while you’re off in dreamland.

The big thing that everyone is going to be discussing when it comes to Sleep No More is the format. Doctor Who is no stranger to playing with different ideas (In the last decade, 42 gave us a real-time story, and in just a few weeks time we’ll be seeing an episode starring just the one character), and Sleep No More continues the trend by giving us a Doctor Who take on the ‘found footage’ genre that’s been popping up in movies for some time now.

Of course, though, it’s not just any old found footage story - and the ‘footage’ may not be ‘found’ quite where you expect it to. In proper Doctor Who tradition, there’s a lovely little subversion of the genre, putting a different spin on the expected tropes. Count the eyes.

With a small guest cast headed by the great Reece Shearsmith, there’s a danger of the episode feeling a tad lightweight after four linked stories on the trot, but Sleep No More serves as a decent slice of Doctor Who before we plunge head-first into an extended finale.

Five things to look out for:

1)Pay close attention, your lives might depend on this…
2) Terms and Conditions apply.
3)Not just Space Pirates!
4) Sleep is more than just a function.
5) “It’s like the Silurians all over again…”

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]

7 November 2015

Ahead of tonight's episode of Doctor Who, DWO interviewed Writer, Peter Harness, who penned this season's Zygon two-parter: 9.7: The Zygon Invasion & 9.8: The Zygon Inversion.

What was your earliest memory of Doctor Who?

My earliest memory of Doctor Who is “Destiny of the Daleks”, when I would’ve been three years old - which, in retrospect, strikes me as being a bit young for it! I remember a lot about the opening episode of that series, so it must’ve had quite an effect on me. The slaves, the rockfalls, Davros coming back to life. I still find it all a bit scary now. And I remember bits and pieces from every Doctor Who story since. 

Do you have a particular favourite episode from the Classic Series and the New Series?

It’s very hard to say, really. I think we all have personal favourites which we turn to, for various reasons, ahead of the real classics. And for me, they can vary depending on which mood I’m in. Having said that, I love “State of Decay” pretty faithfully. “Seeds of Doom”, maybe. “Kinda”. Don’t get me started, basically. We could be here all day. …As far as the new series goes, um - I’m a sucker for the Eccleston series, and I love Peter Capaldi’s first series, so take your pick from in amongst those.

Your Series 9 two-parter was quite epic in terms of story, setting and pace. It has arguably one of the best cliffhangers we’ve had to date for Capaldi’s Doctor, and we once again have another example of just how successful the Zygons are as a Doctor Who villain. As a writer, how difficult was it to get the right balance, and what was the hardest part to write of the entire story?

Well, it was a tough one to write. But they all are, usually for completely different reasons. I think the hardest part of the Zygon story was working out how to present the world of it in a coherent and interesting way. There were so many different ways for the story to go, and such a lot of backstory that I came up with and is never shown on screen (like how the Zygons were resettled, why Bonnie is called Bonnie, what really happened with the murders in Truth or Consequences, and - here’s one out of left field - how Courtney from “Kill The Moon” ends up as President of the USA), that it was hard to sift through all of that and streamline it into the narrative that you see on screen. But that’s how I like to do things - I like to play around, and explore the world and the characters, and their various possibilities, before I settle on what I think’s the best way of getting them through the plot. I think the hardest part to write was the concluding part, mainly, again, because there were so many different ways the story could have gone. I like what we settled on, though, although it hasn’t come out yet, and I’m still very nervous. 

Can we expect to see you writing for Series 10, and if so, can you give us any (spoiler-free) teasers as to what we might expect? Do you have any upcoming TV projects we can look forward to?

Hah! Well, I would love to write for series 10. And they know I’ll always do a Doctor Who, whether I have the time for it or not. So we’ll see. …As far as upcoming projects, there’s the final series of Wallander coming up, which I wrote and showran. I think there’s some lovely, sad stuff in there. But otherwise, I’m just going to get my head down and crack on with a couple of different things I’ve got in the pipeline. An adaptation or two, maybe, and a bit of original stuff at last. But as usual with these things, I’m not allowed to say very much. 

If you could take a round trip in the TARDIS, anywhere in time and space, where would you go and why?

I think I’d be rather afraid to go into the future, because I’m a bit of a pessimist. But I’d probably get drunk one evening and decide to go and look at how things turned out, in the hope that things work out okay.  

+  9.8: The Zygon Inversion airs Tonight at 8:00pm on BBC One

[Source: DWO]

3 November 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-Free preview of episode 9.8: The Zygon Inversion:

There’s always a worry in the back of your mind with a two-part story; will the second half live up to the promise of the first? It’s fair to say that last week’s The Zygon Invasion was met with near universal praise, and we’re glad to say that The Zygon Inversion doesn’t… um… invert that.

If last week’s episode was all about showing us the action of the Zygon revolution, with lots of death and destruction, this week focuses more on the individuals caught in the crossfire. We get to see some very real arguments both for an against the Zygon cause, and they come from a range of sources. People complaining that the Doctor keeps bringing up the ‘good’ Zygons without presenting any as evidence should be pleased to find that we get to check in with some of the less extreme viewpoints of our alien neighbours.

Peter Harness has crafted a story in these two episodes that follows in the footsteps of a great Doctor Who tradition; shining a light on current political issues, and refracting them through the eyes of the Doctor and those who travel with them. Many recent events are touched upon in this week’s episode, and it’s fair to say that it’s presented as a balanced view, giving us one of the finest scripts to come out of the programme for a very long time. In many ways, this feels like a throwback to the Russell T. Davies era of the programme, with a large-scale alien threat to modern-day Earth, yet with characters put front and centre against that backdrop of the end of the world.

It’s held up by some fantastic central performances at the heart of the story. Peter Capaldi gets what many seem to be describing as his ‘Doctor moment’, in a scene that really opens up the part for him, and allows him the chance to show us what he’s made of. It’s perhaps the most emotion that this incarnation has been allowed to show to date, and it’s because of that the the entire sequence is very moving and very raw. Praise should also be given to Jenna Coleman, who manages to make her Zygon duplicate a distinct enough character in their own right, to the point that on a second watch, I completely forgot she was even a regular - it’s one of the finest guest turns we’ve seen in a while!

And then, of course, you’ve got the fate of the Osgoods, but did you ever really think it was going to be that simple?

Five things to look out for:

1) "We will die in the fire instead of living in chains"
2) We find out the names of two important characters.
3)"Nobody wins for long"
4) Count your Osgoods.
5) This is toothpaste.

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]


27 October 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-Free Preview of Episode 9.7: The Zygon Invasion;

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Zygons, who first appeared alongside the Fourth Doctor in 1975’s Terror Of The Zygons, the opener to the programme’s original 13th season. They’ve long been considered one of the best monsters to have appeared in Doctor Who, thanks in no small part to a gorgeous design, and were chosen to make their big return to the Doctor’s world as part of the programme’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013. Now they’re back to celebrate their own anniversary, and they’re going about it in style.

The Zygon Invasion, along with next week’s instalment The Zygon Inversion, is the latest in this year’s abundance of two-part stories, and it amply proves just why it needs the extra running time. The Zygons here aren’t simply confined to Scotland, or London, or Elizabethan England, but are taking up arms on a truly global scale, with our various heroes - among them, the return of the current ‘UNIT family’ of Kate Stewart and Osgood - are scattered from London, to Mexico, and beyond as they try to avert a ‘nightmare scenario’ of humans and Zygons failing to live alongside each other in perfect harmony.

The 50th anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor left us with something of a loose thread - a room full of Humans (who couldn’t remember that they were Humans) and Zygons (who, equally, couldn’t remember they were Zygons) trying to come up with a diplomatic way of sharing the Earth between them. In amongst rewriting the history of the Time War and beetling about between different time zones, three Doctors were able to manoeuvre the pieces into place for this peace treaty to be signed. This episode very much picks up on that thread and shows us where the story goes next.

It’s framed with some truly lovely direction from Daniel Nettheim, giving each location a unique feel, and told through a glorious script by writer Peter Harness. He's cooked up a story which takes this classic monster and reimagines it for the world of four decades later. Everything that was scary about the Zygons in 1975 has been pushed and twisted to make them one of the programmes scariest foes, with abilities that seem impossible to beat. Think about everyone you’ve ever loved, and then ask yourself if they’re really who you think they are?

Five things to look out for;

1) "This is Clara Oswald. I'm probably on the tube, or in outer space. Leave a message!"
2) Pray you never need The Osgood Box.
3)“You operate it by titivating the fronds…”
4) Truth or Consequences.
5) The Zygons have evolved.

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

23 October 2015

Ahead of tomorrow's episode of Doctor Who, DWO interviewed Actor, Rufus Hound, who plays highwayman, Sam Swift in '9.6: The Woman Who Lived'.

What was your earliest memory of Doctor Who?

To be honest my earliest memory was probably seeing Sylvester McCoy as The Doctor and being thoroughly confused by the whole thing. Sophie Aldred as Ace though. I do remember that - but for entirely different reasons...

Do you have a particular favourite episode of the Classic Series / New Series - or both?

I only really came to DW because of Russell T Davies. I was an enormous fan of 'Bob and Rose', and 'The Second Coming' is probably my favourite TV drama of all time. So, even though I've now seen a few of the o̶l̶d̶ Classic episodes, I haven't seen enough of them to really 'have a favourite'. I do love Troughton as The Doctor though, more than the episodes I've seen him in (if that makes any kind of sense).

From the new series, Silence in the Library / Forest of The Dead take some beating, frankly. The Doctors Wife was incredibly good too, mainly for Suranne Jones' completely wonderful performance as The TARDIS and Gaiman's writing.

Your character, Sam Swift, was quite honestly one of the best guest cast members we have seen for a while. How was it combing your comedic skills with a TV show you have known and loved for so long, and was there ever an element of ‘OH MY GOD I’M IN DOCTOR WHO’!?

Christ - this answer is going to be long! Well, once I started to focus on being an actor (I haven't done any stand-up now for about four years) my agent asked me "Where are we going with this?" I only gave one answer. "Doctor Who." I realised that if I was going to do this as a career, then I wanted to be a part of the stories I most like being told. Top of the list, therefore, was DW.

So, various attempts to be seen for the show ensued, without much success. However, I then landed a role in Russell T Davies' 'Cucumber', which was cast by the same man that casts Doctor Who - Andy Pryor. 

The day after my episode of 'Cucumber' was broadcast, I got a call from Andy saying that he'd insisted that the top brass on DW watched my episode and that he'd had a call first thing that morning saying 'Offer him Sam Swift.' I was in a car park at the time and just started running around in a circle, whooping.

I got emailed the script that afternoon, and it honestly felt like he'd had been written for just me. He's a swaggering, joke-telling bloke who isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Reading the scenes that he was in, seeing the relationship he'd have with The Doctor... I was vibrating. 

My first day of filming, I was trying to act all cool, but then, in the first take, Peter Capaldi turned to me and delivered my cue and I just kind of lost it. In my head I realised "I'M TALKING TO THE ACTUAL BLOODY DOCTOR!!! ME!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!" It flipped me out a bit. Haha.

We’re soon going to be able to see you in ‘Beautiful Devils’, based on Shakespeare’s ‘Othello'. What can you tell us about your character Archie Hoffman, and what to expect from the movie?

I haven't seen any of it yet, but there are some brilliant people involved in making it, so fingers crossed. What was interesting to me was that by saying 'It's based on Othello', you immediately have a license to look at race/youth/hope/jealousy with an honesty that would feel overblown if you sat down and wrote it from scratch. 

The movie takes Othello as a musical prodigy, the songwriter in a hot band. When they get signed, the record label exec - Archie Hoffman - sacks Iago and thus, out of jealousy for the band's success Iago decides to tear it all down. I shot about five days on it, and the cast are all fairly young, but there's some brilliance in all of them. Hopefully, it'll be ace.

If you could take a round trip in the TARDIS, anywhere in time and space, where would you go and why?

I'd zip forward into the casting office of the next series of Doctor Who and spray-paint SAM SWIFT on the board marked 'NEW COMPANIONS'

+  9.6: The Woman Who Lived airs on Saturday 24th October at 8:20pm on BBC One

[Source: DWO]

21 October 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-Free Preview of Episode 9.6: The Woman Who Lived:

When the Doctor tried to wait around on Earth in 2012's The Power of Three, he managed to last about three hours before getting bored and feeling the need to whizz back off into time and space. He's over 2000 years old, but he fills his time with adventures and monsters and being really sort of marvellous. Imagine, though, being immortal and stuck on Earth permanently. Watching the world around you evolve and change, wither and die and flux... While you just stay still at the heart of it all.


That's very much the position in which we find Maisie Williams in The Woman Who Lived. When we left her last Saturday, she'd been an integral part of saving the day - and she'd given her life in the process. Brought back with some handy alien tech and made immortal, she was left behind while the Doctor swanned back off into time and space. A couple of days stuck in one Viking village was more than enough for him.


This week's story throws the Doctor back in to the world of the girl he left behind, and forces him to acknowledge that he doesn't always make the right decisions. Separated from Clara for much of the episode, the Doctor is forced to team up with the immortal girl on the hunt for a dangerous alien artefact, and despite all the running and robbing, the hanging and the fire-breathing cats, there's a very human story here between two people who are so close but so far from being a part of the species.


Perhaps less about action and monsters than last week’s episode (and even there they weren’t particularly at the forefront), The Woman Who Lived manages to walk the line well between some laugh-out-loud humour and some real, serious emotion. There’s a lot of deep ideas buried away in the library here, and finding out first hand what it’s like to live for so long is perhaps one of the saddest things the programme has presented us with for some time. 


If there's a standout in the episode, though, it's not in the emotional exploration of an eternal life - but rather in Rufus Hound's turn as the highwayman Sam Swift. There's often a bit of discussion generated around casting comedians in the series, but this is a character who simply couldn't be brought to life by anyone without the superb comic timing Hound brings to the part. It's safe to say that he's rocketed up the list of people we'd like the Doctor to bump into again!


Five Things to Look Out For:

1) “Don’t mind me, I’m just passing through like fish in the night…
2) You can’t just rip out the painful memories.
3) “How many Clara's have you lost?
4) The Doctor has been checking in on Maisie’s character…
5) “This is banter. I’m against banter.

[Sources: Doctor Who Online, Will Brooks]

15 October 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-Free Preview of Episode 9.5: The Girl Who Died:

For the first time since Doctor Who’s return to TV in 2005, the opening four episodes have given us two consecutive two-parters. But Steven Moffat implied that this year it wouldn’t be entirely clear what constitutes a ‘two part story’, and it seems that in making such a statement, he was talking about this week’s episode The Girl Who Died and next week’s, The Woman Who Lived. The titles seem to link up in the same way that the couple we’ve had so far this year did, and they both share Maisie Williams as a cast member (but not necessarily as the same person), but the similarities stop there. This week’s episode is very much its own self-contained story, pitting the Doctor against vikings again for the first time on television in half a century.

Every week we spend our time in these previews praising the likes of Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, so you can simply take it as read that the pair shine again in this episode. The Doctor and Clara continue to share a relationship matched only by the likes of Baker and Sladen, or McCoy and Aldred. Instead, we want to shine some light on another key component to the programme; series’ composer Murray Gold. Gold has provided the scores for Doctor Who since its revival, and seems to come alive especially in this episode, with a fantastic score that really stands out among his best.

It certainly helps to compliment the work of director Ed Bazzalgette, making his debut on the programme with this episode. As you'd expect by now, the historical locations look beautiful and manage to carry their own distinct flavour within the series - we’re as different in style and tone this week compared to last as you can imagine, and it works in the story’s favour. After a couple of episodes tamely trapped in tight claustrophobic corridors and gloomy overcast Scottish villages, we’re now somewhere bright and colourful and open.

The script helps to ring the changes, too, injecting even more humour into proceedings. The Twelfth Doctor continues to develop a fine streak in comedy, and watching him try to overcome all his hesitations about helping this village in a war against the universe manages to walk the line between the deep-rooted caring that even this coldest of incarnations has while also being laugh-out-loud funny in places.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s even some answers to a question that’s been plaguing fans for a couple of years, now…

Five Things to Look Out For:

1) “I’m not the police. That’s just what it says on the box.
2) When leaving the Spider Mines, make sure you’ve not picked up any ‘hitch-hikers’…
3) “Pick a direction. Fly like a bird.
4) The Doctor can still speak ‘Baby’.
5) “I know where I got this ____, and I know what it’s for!

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]

9 October 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of Episode 9.4: Before The Flood:

What a cliffhanger to leave us on! The Doctor trapped in the Dalek city with both his friends exterminated is one thing, but heading back in time and then appearing in the present as a ghost... That's something else.

'Before the Flood' acts as a nice counterpoint to last week's episode, wisely moving from the tight, claustrophobic confines of the underwater base and instead shifts part of the action to the village outside during the 1980s. There's something fun about watching all the pieces from last week's episode fall into place, and it's a tale perfectly suited to Doctor Who. There's moments reminiscent of 'Father's Day', or 'Harry Potter', as the Doctor and his makeshift TARDIS crew work to put everything in place and attempt to save the future.

Such a set-up also gives us the perfect example of how 'time can be rewritten', with events in the past directly taking an impact on the future, meaning that neither time zone is ever safe for long. Even in a lovely desolate location, you can still feel the creep of the oncoming threat - just as tense as last week in its own way.

As usual, you can take it as read that Peter Capaldi shines through this episode, especially in an opening scene reminiscent of last year's Listen, in which we're given a glimpse into the way the Doctor thinks, and an even clearer window into what it's like to be a companion aboard the TARDIS. It's perhaps the crowning glory of a brilliant script by Toby Whithouse, with every line of this scene in particular crafted to sound just right coming from Capaldi's mouth. It also gives the Twelfth Doctor the chance to do something that none of the previous incarnations have done... Here at Doctor Who Online, we're not ashamed to say that we've worn out our preview tape by watching these opening few minutes over and over.

The two-parter format which is prevalent this season really shows its strength across this story, with much more time given over to building the individual guest characters. Splitting them apart in this episode only serves to shine the spotlight on each character in turn. While those traveling alongside the Doctor are reduced to being stand in companions (though still given the chance to show their skills and offer their advice), it's really in pairing Sophie Stone's Cass and Zaqi Ismail's Lunn with Clara that we find the real meat. Watching Clara's transformation into someone who understands the way the Doctor operates and isn't afraid to do the same has been a key point since last series, and this episode really backs Clara to the wall. The Doctor sometimes has to be cruel to be kind, as it were, but the question remains; does Clara have what it takes to be the Doctor, once he's been turned into a murderous ghost?


Five things to look out for:

1) 'There's this man who has a time machine. Up and down history he goes, zip zip zip zip zip...'
2) Beethoven is a bit intense. And he loves an arm wrestle.
3) Who is the 'Minister of War'?
4) 'Here. Now. This is where your story ends.'
5) A new theme tune!

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

29 September 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of Episode 9.3: Under The Lake:

Having kicked off Series Nine with two weeks of Dalek action, gorging us with Daleks from all eras, Davros, Missy, UNIT, Skaro, and everything else, you might wonder just how the series plans to ramp it up from there. The usual format is to start small and then build week-on-week until you're given a feast of those proportions in the series finale, enough to keep you happy during the long break between seasons. When you start the year on such a high, it's tricky to top it.

Cleverly, the team haven't tried to top all of that with this week's episode. It sees the return of that Doctor Who staple, the 'Base Under Siege', presents us with a claustrophobic setting and a finite cast, and let's us take a moment to breathe.

That's probably the best way to describe Under The Lake - after two packed weeks, with more and more elements being presented to us with every twist and turn, this story allows us to catch our breath for a moment, and really get our teeth into a proper mystery. The Doctor and Clara have arrived at an underwater base in Caithness, Scotland, 2119, where the research crew have discovered an in identified craft on the lakebed. The remote location feels all the more isolated when the crew start being picked off one by one, and return from the dead to take out their former colleagues.

In the past, Doctor Who has always taken a fairly firm line when it comes to supernatural elements such as ghosts; there's always a scientific explanation behind these things. It's rather brilliant, then, to see the Doctor so thrilled by the prospect that he might have been wrong all along, and that death really is just the start of a new adventure. Once again, Peter Capaldi simply shines in the lead role. His incarnation of the Time Lord has struck the perfect balance this year, between a man who can be jolly and frivolous, and yet being totally oblivious to the people around him, and their feelings. Jenna Coleman's Clara is, therefore, totally perfect for him - their relationship really is best summed up by paraphrasing last year's Into the Dalek; she cares so he doesn't have to. Watching them bounce off each other here is a real joy, especially when they're allowed to share some quiet moments alone, and in years to come I think they're going to be looked on as a real golden pairing, in the same way as Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen, or Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred are now - a Doctor and Companion totally made for each other.

It's not just our regulars who shine in this episode, though. The small crew of the base all have their own distinct personalities and characteristics. Writer Toby Whithouse has clearly spent time thinking each character through, and ensuring that they're always true to form, so that even those who perhaps don't make it out of this episode feel fleshed-out. Perhaps the best example comes in the form of the base's deaf surrogate leader Cass (Sophie Stone) and her sign language interpreter Lunn (Zaqi Ismail). Though Lunn spends much of his time translating for us (and the Doctor - he doesn't do sign language in this incarnation, but he can do semaphore, if you've some flags to hand), he still has his own distinct personality which shines through.

A strong start to our second two-parter of the year, and with enough intriguing mysteries left to keep you glued next week...


Five things to look out for:

1) 'Keep calm, Doctor. You were like this when you met Shirley Bassey...'

2) Spaceship, or prototype weapon?'

3) The return of a Matt Smith-era alien.

4) 'It was my fault. I should have known you didn't live in Aberdeen'

5) 'Was it something she said? She does that. She once had an argument with Gandhi.'

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

19 September 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of Episode 9.2: The Witch's Familiar:

The Doctor's trapped - a prisoner of Davros in the city of the Daleks. His two best friends in all time and space - Missy and Clara - have both perished in the cold blast of exterminations, and the TARDIS has been destroyed. As first adventures of a new series go, the Doctor's not having a particularly good day, is he?

If you think that the series is going to go easy on us after that opening, though, you'd be wrong. The Witch's Familiar continues to take the knife and twist it in the Doctor ever further, playing on his grief over abandoning the child Davros out on the battlefields of Skaro, and using his compassion to engineer possibly the biggest mistake the Time Lord has ever made.

As with the first episode of this story, it's tricky to tell you very much without giving the game away. You don't want to know how the Doctor escapes Davros' clutches (though trust us when we say it is brilliant - even if Davros might struggle to see the funny side), or what lurks in the sewers beneath the Dalek City, biding time until revenge can be enacted. It's another episode which works all the better simply if you watch the doors in the city slide slowly open on each revelation.

What we can say is just how brilliant it is to have Julian Bleach back as Davros once again. Whereas The Magician's Apprentice confined him to a deathbed, this episode gives him a chance to really *live* again, and there's some lovely flashes of the mania he displayed back in Journey's End. There's very few privileges in Doctor Who greater than watching Peter Capaldi's Doctor and Davros slowly counter each other, playing a great game of chess with the Daleks, and ancient Time Lord secrets, as the pieces. It's quite easy to believe with this pair that they could have, in another life, been the very best of friends, and it's great to see them given so much screen time.

Also given a turn in the spotlight this week are the classic Daleks. Fans who were disappointed when 2012's Asylum of the Daleks left them as largely background cameos will no doubt be far happier with this - even the Special Weapons Dalek gets a chance to shout a bit! How very Dalek!

Five Things to Look Out For;

1) A character gets to pay homage to a sequence from the very first Dalek story from 1963.

2) Why did the Doctor *really* leave Gallifrey, all those centuries ago?

3) 'Where did he get the tea? I'm the Doctor. Just accept it.'

4) How does the Doctor always manage to win?

5) Mercy.

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

18 September 2015

The BBC has now officially confirmed that Jenna Coleman will be leaving Doctor Who at some point during Series 9.

Below is the official line from the BBC:

"However, it’s not been revealed exactly when Clara leaves and the question many are already asking is how will she part company with the Doctor?

Jenna Coleman made her Doctor Who debut on 1 September, 2012 as Oswin Oswald in Asylum of the Daleks. She returned on Christmas Day of that year, playing Clara and remained with the Eleventh Doctor from the following episode, The Bells of Saint John, onwards. She stayed on board the TARDIS for all of Peter Capaldi’s episodes to date and after filming for the last series finished, Peter commented, ‘Jenna has been absolutely brilliant. I think she’s wonderful in the show, and she’s my favourite companion.’

But Series 9 sees the Impossible Girl’s departure although the how, why and when are all questions we’ll have to watch the new adventures to find out…"

Earlier this week, The Mirror reported that Jenna has filmed her final scenes, and that they will be in the Christmas special.

Series 9 of Doctor Who airs this Saturday at 7:40pm on BBC One

[Source: BBC Doctor Who Website]

16 September 2015

BBC News have posted a news item, stemming from an original story by The Mirror that Jenna Coleman will leave Doctor Who this Christmas.

The report, which has yet to be confirmed by the BBC, states that Coleman has quit the role after landing a major role as Queen Victoria, in a £10Million drama for ITV.

It goes on to state that Coleman has already filmed her final scenes for the as-yet Untitled 2015 Doctor Who Christmas Special. 

The news may very well be true, and the timing would certainly be the expected stepping off point for Clara, but until the BBC have confirmed it, it's important to remember these are still just rumours.

[Source: BBC News]

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