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Welcome to the News & Reviews section here at Doctor Who Online! This is where you will find all the latest Doctor Who related news and reviews split up into easy to use sections - each section is colour coded for your convenience. The latest items can be found at the top, and older items follow down the page.

Archived news and reviews can be accessed by clicking on the relevant area on the News / Reviews Key panels to the right.

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14 January 2015

Filming has begun in Cardiff for series 9 of Doctor Who and includes a star-studded guest cast. The new series will be back on BBC One in Autumn 2015.

The episodes currently being filmed are written by Toby Whithouse (The Game, Being Human), produced by Derek Ritchie and directed by Daniel O’Hara (Silent Witness 2015, The Game, Being Human).

Steven Moffat, lead writer and Executive Producer, said:

“An amazing guest cast for a brilliantly creepy two-parter by Toby Whithouse. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are back in Cardiff, back in the box, and back in action - for one of our scariest adventures yet!” 

On set filming for the new series, Peter Capaldi added:

“The adventures begin again for myself and Jenna and I’m delighted to be back filming my second series of Doctor Who.”

Paul Kaye who played Thoros of Myr in the third series of Game of Thrones joins the Doctor Who cast for the two-part episode. A comedian and actor, Paul is also well-known for being the voice of Vincent the fox on the puppet-based BBC comedy Mongrels.

Commenting on his role, Paul Kaye, said: 

“As a kid of the 1970’s, the two shows you always watched were Top of the Pops and Doctor Who, they were unmissable. I actually wrote a song called ‘Looking for Davros’ in my first punk band and I sang it like a demented Dalek. I got to present TOTP back in the mid ‘90’s and landing this role in Doctor Who completes the dream double. Peter is a perfect Doctor and I’m loving every minute of the experience, even the five hours in make-up. What a treat, best 50th birthday present ever!”

Also starring in the episodes will be Morven Christie who recently played the role of Amanda in the crime drama Grantchester and featured in Death in Paradise (2014) and Twenty Twelve.

Arsher Ali who played the part of Malik Suri in the critically acclaimed The Missing (BBC One) takes up a role in the guest cast alongside Colin McFarlane who appeared in Eastenders as part of the Who Killed Lucy Beale? storyline.

Recognised for her theatre and TV performances, actress Sophie Stone appears in the show for the first time. Sophie was the lead actress in the play Woman of Flowers and has appeared in Midsummer Murders and Casualty.

Also joining Peter Capaldi (The Doctor) and Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) and confirmed for roles in the double episode are Zaqi Ismail, Steven Robertson and Neil Fingleton.

Further guest cast for series 9 will be released over the coming months.

[Source: BBC]

7 January 2015

Speaking in a recent interview with Radio Times, ex-Doctor Who show runner and head writer, Russell T. Davies, discussed his reasons for ruling out a return to writing for the show anytime soon, as well as why there shouldn't be a 10th anniversary this year.

When asked if he would like to write for Series 9, Davies replied with a polite 'thanks but no thanks' when approached by the BBC:

“Someone from the branding team sent me a very lovely email saying do you want to do something. I don’t know what they imagined - a talk or a convention perhaps. I just said no, to be honest. A programme can’t have its fiftieth and then it’s tenth. I think that’s just confusing. It's marvellous and glorious; let it carry on.”

When asked if he would ever write another episode of the hit show, Davies replied:

“Wouldn’t that be nice? The lovely Steven invites me every year to come and write one. And I love him and I love them and I love watching it, but here I am, moving on. I love Doctor Who with all my heart but nothing is more important to me than my own stuff.”

Davies’ latest project is Cucumber, Tofu, Banana, a three-pronged project examining gay life in modern Britain.

+  Cucumber, Tofu, Banana will be shown on Channel 4, E4 and 4oD in January 2015.

[Source: Radio Times]

23 December 2014

DWO’s spoiler-free of the Doctor Who Christmas Special, Last Christmas:


Make your list and check it twice, it’s that time of year again where Doctor Who goes a bit festive.


It feels both very strange and incredibly brilliant to be diving into a Doctor Who Christmas special so soon after the end of a full season, but it also helps to tie the story closer to the events of Peter Capaldi’s first set of adventures in the TARDIS, dealing in particular with the fallout from the explosive finale last month. While fans waiting to see how the Doctor and Clara will resolve their sad breakup won’t be disappointed with the truth finally coming out - in scenes where Capaldi and Jenna Coleman show just how perfectly they play opposite each other - there’s plenty else to keep you entertained here.


Last Christmas is perhaps the scariest Christmas special that the programme has ever given us. It’s certainly in keeping with the tone of Series Eight on the whole, and there’s one or two moments in here which will make you jump - even if you know they’re coming. It’s not just about the scares, though: there’s a great mystery to solve at the heart of the episode, and while there’s plenty of Doctor Who stories that serve to make children too scared to go to bed, Last Christmas is the one that’ll make them scared to wake up again.


People have speculated that a special starring Santa and his elves, with reindeer and the North Pole - the actual North Pole, it’s stripy - is a sign of the programme becoming more child-friendly than some episodes of the latest run have been, but that’s not necessarily the case. There’s still plenty of humour and fun to be found in the sometimes dark situations that play out in this North Pole base, but the arrival of Father Christmas doesn’t exactly herald songs and lightness. Last Christmas feels more like a great Doctor Who idea that just happens to have some Christmas trappings attached (the use of Santa, especially, is very well woven into the narrative) than a story that’s been specifically designed to go out at Christmas. That said, it’s perfect viewing for after dark on a lazy Christmas Day.


We’ve already mentioned Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, but it’s worth repeating just how wonderful they are here. They’re certainly up there with the very best Doctor/Companion pairings that the show has ever seen, and you can’t help but realise how lucky we are to have two of the best performers in Britain devoting their talent to our little show. But then there’s the rest of the guest cast, too! Michael Troughton - son of Second Doctor Patrick - finally chalks up a Doctor Who appearance, alongside Faye Marsay, Natalie Gumede, and Maureen Beattie, as the main players for our adventure. They’re each given their chance to shine, and as the realities of their situation become clearer you can’t help but feel your heart break for each of them in turn.


Then there’s Nathan McMullen and Dan Starkey in the roles of Santa’s elves, providing some much needed comic interjections. Can we have them back next Christmas, too? Of course at the top of the tree we’ve got Nick Frost as Santa. We get the opportunity to see him being the traditional Jolly Saint Nick, all ‘ho-ho-ho’ and greetings-card ready, but for much of the special, Frost delves deeper than that, to find the real (or otherwise) person hidden beneath the traditional hat.


And as for those of you wondering wether we’ll be seeing more of Clara, or if this really is her last Christmas… it’s a long story.



Five things to look out for:


1) “It’s all a bit dreamy-weamy”

2) “I’ve got three little words. Don’t make me use them…”

3) Happy Easter!

4) The Doctor has never seen the movie Alien.

5) “That noise! I never realised how much I loved it…”

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]

18 December 2014

Speaking at yesterday's press screening at the BFI for the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special; Last Christmas, Steven Moffat confirmed the title for Episode 1 of Season 9 of Doctor Who.

The episode is titled 'The Magician's Apprentice' and will begin filming, together with the rest of Series 9, in January 2015, for an expected airdate of Autumn 2015.

[Source: BFI]

25 November 2014

The BBC have announced the title of the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special; Last Christmas.

The special is rumoured to be at least an hour in length and is written by Steven Moffat and directed by Paul Wilmhurst.

Along with the announcement, two new promo pictures were released (pictured-right), which depict The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) and two Elves; Wolf (Nathan McMullen) and Ian (Dan Starkey).

During the BBC's Children In Need television appeal, a special clip from Last Christmas was aired, which you can watch in the player below:

Check out the teaser trailer in the player, below:

+  Last Christmas will air on Christmas Day, Time TBC, on BBC One.
+  Donate to Children In Need, here

[Source: BBC]

12 November 2014

The BBC have been in touch with DWO with the first official promo image for the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special.

The image, which you can see in the right-hand-column, features The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Santa Claus (Nick Frost).

They also gave us some information about a special preview for the special, which will form part of this Friday's Children In Need TV programming on BBC One.

Viewers will be able to tune in from 7:30pm to watch the preview.

Check out the trailer out in the player, below:

+  The Doctor Who Christmas Special will air on Christmas Day, Time TBC, on BBC One.
+  Donate to Children In Need, here

[Source: BBC]

9 November 2014

On Tuesday, DWO attended a screening of Death in Heaven in Cardiff, which was followed by a Q&A session with Doctor Who Showrunner Steven Moffatt, Executive producer Brian Minchin, and Visual Effects Supremo Will Cohen. During the course of the chat, the trio reflected on the making of Season Eight, discussed the epic season finale, and even started to look toward the future… 


Doctor Who is a very emotional show. Do you focus on that when writing? What’s at the forefront of your mind when creating an episode?


Steven Moffatt: To try and make sure that nobody’s talking about watching anything else! You need to find an emotional through line to very story, because everything else about Doctor Who is so mad. It’s all monsters, and CGI, and explosions, and running. Nothing wrong with any of those things, they’re all my favourites, but you also need for it to be about something, and that I think is what makes it work.


What made you turn the Master in to a woman?


SM: I’d never written a Master story, and there had been a number of Masters in the show from the amazing Roger Delgado through to John Simm, and I could never think of a way to do it which was interesting.


And then I thought, if you could smuggle her in to the show in plain sight and then land that one… and then once and for all absolutely establish in plain sight, so nobody has any doubt about this whatsoever: yes, Time Lords can do that… it just expands the show a little bit.


You get old time fans saying ‘no! You’re not allowed to do that…!’


And what about Disney fans? She’s Mary Poppins!


SM: Mary Poppins has always been evil!


I don’t know why. To be honest, it was a gimmick at the start - there’s nothing wrong with a gimmick - and I was really fiddling with how on Earth I was going to write it. 


Michelle Gomez was on the list for a different part, and she’d been offered another part but couldn’t do it. But then I thought ‘Oh my God, that’s it!’ Michelle is so genuinely barking… I thought there’s never going to be a dull moment on screen! I’ve known Michelle for a long time, because she was married to Jack Davenport who had done Coupling. So I’d known her, I’ve gotten drunk with her, and she actually is like [she is on screen]. That’s toning it down.


So is the Master gone now?


SM: Yes


I was delighted back when the wonderful Anthony Ainley was the Master back with Peter Davison, and he would definitively get fried, or incinerated, or destroyed at the end of each story… and he’d turn up at the beginning of the next one and basically say ‘I escaped’. I had no problem with that! 


So… observe how I’ve avoided your question! What are the chances?


This is the first time that the Master has worked with the Cybermen…


SM: Oh, but the Master has met the Cybermen before. Would you like me to list them?


But why the idea to team them up?


I’ve never written a Cyberman one, and when I was a kid, I absolutely loved the Cybermen. They were my favourite. I mean, the Daleks were really my favourite, but I pretended that the Cybermen were my favourite to make myself more interesting. Which absolutely doesn’t work.


I’d always wanted to make them creepy and scary. I was aware that there is kind of a problem that the Cybermen are brilliant at standing there, and brilliant at breaking out of tombs, fantastic at breaking out of tombs - they’ve been doing that since 1967 - but when they stand up and actually arrive… they’ve a monotone voice, no facial expressions, and no emotions. That can be tricky. You sort of want to put them with somebody who can be the interface. But I love Cybermen. 


I don’t even know why they’re great. The absolutely indispensable part of the Cybermen is that they’ve got handles there… I mean the idea of removing them would be heresy… But what are they for


But I do adore them. Especially an old show called The Tomb of the Cybermen, which I’ve ripped off many times, it’s just perfect Doctor Who. Glorious Doctor Who


If you bring the Rani back, would she be a man?


SM: What, still? I don’t know! I’ve never been quite sure if outside of the circle of Doctor Who fans, if she’s really a character that people know about. I don’t know. I don’t think that people who have real lives - not like us - would really recognise that character. The Master, everyone seems to know about the Master, but I’m never quite sure about the Rani. But… I could just be bulls******g! I said I wasn’t bringing back the Master right at the start of this series - just a straightforward lie! But it’s a good idea… the Rani as a man is quite…!


In this season, you really explore who the Doctor is. Was that part of the reaction to bringing in a new actor to the role?


SM: Well, it was sort of two things. I thought it was time to do that. Before we discussed who was going to be the new Doctor, I was thinking ‘it’s getting all a bit cosy’. The Doctor is a reliable hero, and he’ll turn up and be fantastic. Matt Smith was incredible at doing that, but I thought it was a bit cosy and reliable. So, the reason that I did what I did in Matt’s last episode - to trap him on a planet for a thousand years, and remind him that everybody else will die around him, he’s not anybody’s boyfriend, he’s not really one of their playmates, he’s something else entirely - meant that you could go somewhere else with it.


From the Doctor’s point of view, he’s had a long break in his travels. If you asked him… I think he’d be quite surprised to discover that there’s an early Saturday evening adventure serial about him. I suppose that would come as a shock to anyone. But he doesn’t think of himself as a hero, you’ve got to give him something to play.


He’s great, as Peter has started doing, turning and looming into the camera for a ‘hero reveal’, and if you’ve got actors as the Doctor of the calibre that we’ve had since the very beginning of the show, then you’ve got to give them something to play. Not just falling out of planes… though that’s good too…


What does it feel like to see everything you’ve written come together in to an episode?


SM: What does it feel like? It feels absolutely brilliant. That’s how it feels. There are things I’ve experienced in life which don’t get old - quite a few, actually! - and that is definitely one of them.


It can be murderously difficult getting all the bits together, but genuinely, it is joyous. It’s wonderful. Absolutely terrific. I haven’t got an ounce of cynicism in me about that process.


I think it is… utterly thrilling. And if that’s something you want to do, don’t let anyone tell you ‘you know that really is a proper job, and you have to work very hard, and it’s probably not as exciting as it seems…’ yes it bloody is! It’s Doctor Who stories! It’s brilliant. I do not ever get tired of that.


Is that true for Brian and Will, too?


WC: Completely inspiring. You can have a really bad few days, but you look at it, even tonight, just to hear what everyone else has done, all of it coming together is hugely inspiring.


BM: I find it quite addictive, because you get to tell such huge stories, on such a big scale. You know how much people care about the show and you really want it to be as good as it can possibly be. Everyone wants it to be the best ever, and we get amazing writers, amazing actors… it’s a fantastic feeling.


What was the first episode you made of Doctor Who?


SM: Well, the first one I wrote, when Russell was running Doctor Who, was called The Empty Child. It was a little gas mask boy, crying for his mummy. And the first one when I was Excessing it, was The Eleventh Hour


Well, The Eleventh Hour was the first one that went out - the first one with Matt Smith in. The first one we actually made was the Weeping Angels one, The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone


That seems ages ago to you, doesn’t it? That’s really appallingly old. My kids were saying ‘we’re watching one of the old Doctor Who’s, daddy!’ and I was thinking ‘brilliant! They’ve finally taken my advice! Which one is it?’The Girl in the Fireplace. That’s not old!


All these episodes are really complex. How do you plan them? Where do you plan them? Do you have a lair? 


SM: I should have a lair… Maybe something underground… Sorry, I’m distracted now thinking about designing my lair…


Yes, you do plot out… actually, do you know, one thing we did this year is to not write things down. Get to the point where you have memorised every episode you’re going to do, and what’s going to happen, where Clara is, where Danny is. We never really had a document, really. It keeps it flexible in your head.


I have this fear when I write things down, that having written it, I will stick to it. I don’t really want to. I want to think it’s still flexible. But I’m definitely getting some work done on that lair…


Do you ever make very, very, very late changes? On set even? How down to the wire?


SM: We don’t make huge late changes, because you can’t. It’s a huge, military show. Down to the wire…? Oh my GOD, yeah! 


How much do you listen to fan’s feedback?


SM: It’s an interesting question. There was a little Doctor Who fan in Scotland, who wrote in repeatedly, to the point that the BBC complained about him. We recently cast him as the Doctor… Never let anyone tell you it doesn’t work! That was the most successful letter-writing campaign in history!


It’s a hard one. As most Doctor Who fans would be the first to say that they are not typical members of the audience. And the voice of the fan is in my head - I sit awake at night worrying about UNIT dating… You don’t even know what that means! Personally, I think Captain Yates was dating Osgood.


I think, I keep saying this, there’s the ‘fans’, and there’s the other 100% of the audience. That’s what you have to make it appeal as; a huge mainstream hit. I do believe it’s true that that’s what they want Doctor Who to be. They don’t want it to be a minority thing, they want it to be a huge thing. That does occasionally mean that you make decisions fans don’t like as much. But, I tell you the truth: you listen to a good idea.


Out of all the planets the Doctor has visited, which is your favourite? 


Will Cohen: One of Steven’s planets… Silence in the Library is one of them! We won an award for it! There’s this wonderful awards do in America, in Los Angeles, and they voted that as the best environment in a TV show, which was real honour for us. It was the first time we’d won for Doctor Who and we were chuffed.


SM: Just to do with the ingenuity of our former producer Marcus Wilson, there was a time when we were filming Asylum of the Daleks and the Doctor’s running around on top of a snowcapped mountain.


The reason I love that is nothing to do with the snow or anything like that, but because Marcus was out shooting the cowboy episode, A Town Called Mercy, and he looked out of his window and thought ‘hang on, there’s snow up there! Instead of doing that in the studio, I’m just going to phone up the Doctor Who production office and send them out!’ I thought that was just an example of brilliant producing.


WC: I’m very fond of Gallifrey, too, when we went there for the Time War. To go over Arcadia…


SM: But what about the one we’re going to do for the first story next year…?


You can’t just say that! Can you tell us any more?


SM: No!


Next year also marks ten years since the programme returned to our screens. Are there any plans to celebrate that?


SM: If you think about it, isn’t it quite a complex message to put out there; ‘do you know that show that was 50 years old a little while ago, and we wouldn’t stop going on about it? Well, now it’s ten…’


I could be lying. My worry is always… my worry about the 50th, which seemed to come off, and people seemed to be really really happy, is how many times are you going to have a huge celebration of the show? You have to stop applauding yourself at some point, I think.


Brian Mincin: I think, between about 50 and 60, you start celebrating in fives, don’t you?


Through series 8, the theme is people ‘dying… but not really dying’. That’s something you can see a bit of in your previous episodes; in Silence in the Library they weren’t dead they were in a computer, for example. We haven’t seen much final ‘before their time’ death…


SM: Were you watching that episode?


Exactly! There were lot’s of surprising deaths in that. Is that a theme that will continue? People dying before their time?


SM: Dear God! I was told directly by Russell ‘you’ve written six episodes of Doctor Who and not killed anyone’ - he meant fictional characters! - so, I don’t know. Do you know what? I’m sentimental. I am, I’m sentimental, and I actually quite like people not doing - in real life and in fiction!


If I watch a show and somebody dies, I always want them to come back to life at the end. Like in The Lion King! Where’s his dad? Ever since that damn film Bambi, I’ve been saying ‘fiction has control over death’! Bring nice people back!


How did you arrive at Peter Capaldi’s costume as the Doctor?


BM: When Peter was finding his outfit, I think he tried on every form of clothing that was possible. We were getting these hilarious photos of different versions of what the Doctor could be. He was very single-minded in his attempt to try on every different outfit in London…


SM: The ones he didn’t like, he just stood in the photographs like [grumpy expression]. But the ones he did like he did [strikes a ‘Doctor’ pose]!.


BM: He didn’t quite go back to the very first one he tried, but close.


Who made the final decision on the costume? Was it Peter Capaldi?


SM: Yes. We all loved it, it looked great, but the job of that costume is to make Peter Capaldi feel like the Doctor. I think it’s total nonsense to impose a costume on somebody. They have to sort of find it, make it part of their Doctor.


Obviously, we turned down the clown suit… And the gorilla mask… we’d ask him to think again…


What’s happening with River Song?


SM: Well… She’s dead!


You will admit that it’s a troubled relationship which begins in that way. Which goes from death, to a wedding where one of them is a miniaturised version of themselves in a robot duplicate… it’s not normal. Where can we go from there?


I said to Russell, he was just asking what was going on because he does, I said that I think that’s it, and we’re not going to do that again and he said ‘Noooo! Noooo! Capaldi and Kingston! It’ll be a sex storm!’


So when you see an episode called ‘Sex Storm’, written by Russell T Davies… I don’t know. She was a great character, I loved her, but I always worried that you might be bringing something back who’s day is done. Said he. As the Executive Producer of the 51-year-old show…!


Does the Doctor have a name?


SM: Well… he must have one. But it cannot be known by anyone. His name’s the Doctor, that’s the name he’s chosen.


But yes, in the fiction of the show. At some point he had a name that for whatever reason we may speculate on, he has completely abandoned. But you know, I wouldn’t feel entitled to make one up. I pretended I was going to once by calling an episode The Name of the Doctor, but surprisingly enough it was a lie!

8 November 2014

Viewers who stayed tuned right to the end of tonight's Series 8 finale (Death In Heaven) were treated to a special preview trailer for the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special.

In the trailer, we see The Doctor at the North Pole, with Nick Frost who seems to be playing Santa Claus

Check out the trailer out in the player, below:

+  The Doctor Who Christmas Special will air on Christmas Day, Time TBC, on BBC One.

[Source: BBC]

6 November 2014

DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of episode 8.12: Death in Heaven:


It barely seems possible that we can already be at the end of Peter Capaldi’s first season as the Doctor - and what a ride its been! Death in Heaven is certainly the perfect capstone for the entire series, tying together threats that have been running since Deep Breath at the start of the run, and even a few that stretch back further, in to the eras of earlier Doctors.


Doctor Who Online went to get a preview of the episode at a screening in Cardiff on Tuesday evening, alongside a number of fans of the show. The atmosphere at the event sums up, we think, the general reaction to the whole of Series Eight this year. There was laughter (sometimes raucous, always in the right places), gasps of shock, and even a few teary eyes in places. If killing off regular character Danny Pink in the prattles to the last episode set this story up as one where anything could happen, and no one is safe… well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.


The next statement is probably quite predictable - that series regulars Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and Samuel Anderson are on fine form, and - as they’ve done almost every week of the run - continue to raise the bar to a whole new level. There are times when Peter’s Doctor will absolutely break your heart, and he plays it beautifully. On equally fine form is Michelle Gomez, now revealed to be the latest incarnation of the Doctor’s arch enemy the Master. Any quibbles people had about making such a drastic change to the character will surely melt away when you see her squaring up to our Twelfth Doctor - the pair are electrifying, and it’s safe to say that the Gomez incarnation will be topping several people’s lists as ‘favourite Master’. Oh, and did we mention - she’s absolutely bananas.


Director Rachel Talalay - who’s helmed both episodes of this finale - provides us with some stunning visuals, and some of the best action sequences that the programme has ever given us. There’s moments here where you genuinely could believe that you’re watching a multi-million dollar hollywood blockbuster, and yet it’s all been realised on a modest TV budget. We’ve heard it said time and time again over the years that the Doctor Who team are some of the hardest working and most skilled people in the industry, and it’s never been more in evidence than at times during this episode. You can really sense the labour of love that’s gone in to making it, and it’s worth every little bit of effort.


You may have noticed that we’re trying to give away as little as possible, and that’s because the full impact of this episode comes best when you sit down not knowing what to expect. We could wax lyrical about the reference to [X], or a cameo from [Y], or reveal that the Doctor… well, anyway. Death in Heaven is Doctor Who at its finest. Action packed, emotional, funny, and a little bit silly. What more could you want?



Five things to look out for:

“There is no Clara Oswald. I invented her. I made her up.”

2) “Something for your bucket list…”

3) “He’s on the payroll…”

4) A new title sequence.

5) “Didn’t you think to look?”

[Source: DWO, Will Brooks]

29 October 2014

DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of Episode 8.11: Dark Water:


It’s (almost) the end, but the moment has been prepared for…


It doesn’t seem possible that we’re already starting out on the finale to Peter Capaldi’s incredible first season as the Doctor, having been from the banks of the River Thames, via Sherwood Forest, the Bank of Karabraxos, Coal Hill School, The Orient Express (in space no less), and now onto our final destination: the Underworld.


For the first time since 2011’s The Rebel FleshThe Almost People, we’ve got a Doctor Who story told in two parts. In some ways, it feels as though they’ve slightly lost the knack for telling such stories, and you occasionally get the impression that this is really all one big prequel for next week’s episode proper. Here, we’re simply watching as all of the pieces are moved into the right positions, and we’re brought up to speed with everything we’ll need to know to fully appreciate the events of the final episode proper. To that end, don’t be surprised when several clips from the ‘Next Time’ trailer last week don’t surface here, because it’s not their time yet.


That’s not to say that Dark Water isn’t a good episode in itself, but it very much does feel like only half the story, and it’s difficult to truly judge it without seeing the second half. There’s plenty to keep your attention glued to the screen here, though, and you’ll need to be paying attention to really make sure you’ve got everything you’ll need going forward. By the time the opening credits have started, you already know that this is an episode that won’t be playing it safe, and that it really could go anywhere from this point - there’s no guarantee that everyone will be making it out alive.


It’s also very much a finale designed to perfectly cap off the adventures that we’ve been seeing across this year’s stories - and it wouldn’t have anywhere near the impact it does without them. We welcome back Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink once more, and get to see the next stage of his relationship with Clara, and it’s this which is central to the plot. Every scene they’ve shared together so far has been building towards this, and it’s the type of story that needed an unbroken run of episodes to really evolve. Even people who aren’t huge fans of the couple will surely feel a few pangs of emotion at their situation.


But with these 45 minutes, the stage is set, most of the players are in place, and we’re in a good position to really see the series out with a bang next week. Probably best not to go in to this one expecting all the high energy and excitement of the trailers so far, though, because we’re not quite there, yet…



Five things to look out for:


1) “I don’t deserve a friend like you…”

2) Seven Hiding Places.

3) The Twelfth Doctor finally gets a chance to do some Tenth and Eleventh Doctor-style kissing…

4) It’s not a fish tank.

5)“The time line disintegrates. Your time line.”

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

22 October 2014

DWO’s Spoiler-Free preview of episode 8.10: In the Forest of the Night:


Doctor Who has always featured character arcs. Go right back to the very beginning of the programme in 1963, and watch as the Doctor changes across his adventures with Ian and Barbara. Compare the man they find in the Junkyard at Totter’s Lane with the one that they’re lazing around with at the beginning of The Chase two years later, and you can track his journey along the way rather easily. They’re not always so prominent in the ‘classic’ era of the programme, but they’re there, from Jo, to Tegan, to Ace. Once you reach the 21st century period of the programme, the focus has been shifted much more to the characters, and every season is crammed with lovely character arcs, right from the start.


That said, it’s a real delight watching the arcs unfold across Season Eight this year. I’m not talking about the little hints and glimpses that we’re getting of ‘Missy’ and the ‘Promised Land’ scattered through the stories, I mean the story of our three regulars - the Doctor, Clara, and Danny. It’s been great watching their story unfold over the last ten weeks, and it’s rather brilliant that every story this year has managed to turn and evolve their relationships to each other very definitely, without ever making it feel forced, or hitting you over the head with the point. In The Forest of the Night continues this tradition, giving us perhaps a greater glimpse at Danny’s real character than ever before, and putting him under the spotlight in the same way that last week’s Flatline did for the Doctor.


A lot of the praise for how well all of this is working needs to be laid at the door of the three lead actors in this series - Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and Samuel Anderson. It really is becoming increasingly difficult every week to find new ways of saying how brilliant the three of them are, and there’s not letting up in this episode. The only way to describe it is to say that we got chills at DWO when watching a scene of the Doctor and Clara together, because you simply know that you’re watching two masters at work. Simply stunning.


But what of the story itself? There’s been a lot of buzz around Frank Cottrell Boyce joining the programme with this story, especially after the seasons’ other new writer - Jamie Mathieson - has provided two very well received episodes for the run. Boyce doesn’t fail to deliver, giving us a story which manages to play on various fears, and do so while presenting us with logical explanations for them. The characters are all absolutely nailed, and the idea at the heart of the story - that the world wakes up one day to find the entire planet shrouded in a thick forest - is completely right for a Doctor Who tale.


Another new face joining the series this week is director Sheree Folkson, who comes in all guns blazing, and managing to make the forest look gorgeous in every shot. It’s amazing how just a few scatter objects that we can relate to as ‘every day’ - a traffic light here, one of Trafalgar Square’s lions there - can help to create the idea that we’re still very much in the heart of the city here, while also feeling remote and trapped. The use of light in this episode is especially nice - playing through the trees in every scene to create something really rather magical.


Five things to look out for:


1) “I can fight monsters, I can’t fight physics…”
2) All of this has happened before…
3) “A tree is a time machine”
4) Another London landmark gets destroyed
5) "You. Have you got a name, at all?"

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

17 October 2014

DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of episode 8.9: Flatline:


Since Doctor Who was revived in 2005, most seasons have featured a cheaper episode, to free up money for more expensive sequences in the other stories of that year, and a ‘Doctor-Lite’ episode, in which the Doctor’s involvement is paired right back, allowing the regular cast to work on two episodes simultaneously, and ensure that there’s enough footage in the can for our Saturday nights. Flatline is perhaps unusual, as it feels in some ways like both a cheaper episode and a ‘Doctor-lite’ adventure… but it’s not really either.


The episode has clearly been designed to only require two-or-three days filming from Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, confining him largely to the TARDIS, but his presence is absolutely vital throughout. You never get the sense that this is in any way ‘Doctor-lite’, even though it fits the brief of being so. Of course, this does mean that Jenna Colemen gets a real chance to show us what she’s made of this week - leading the adventure and taking charge of the guest characters to investigate a mystery and save the day. It would, perhaps, be fairer to call this episode ‘Clara-heavy’.


Our ‘hook’ this week can perhaps be boiled down to just two words - ‘Killer Graffiti’. While the concept of the paintings being such a sinister presence through the episode could lead to comparisons with the 2006 episode Fear Her, the story here is different enough to stand on its own two feet, and manages to make the concept rather terrifying in places. How can you escape from something that can follow you through the walls, the furniture, and the floors?


But Flatline isn’t really about the Killer Graffiti at all - it’s an examination of the Doctor’s character, his true character that we’ve been seeing more and more of this season, now that he’s ‘lifted the veil’. Picking up on the themes of episodes like Kill the Moon, in which Clara gets to see what it’s like having to make a big decision on behalf of millions, or Mummy on the Orient Express, where she learns how you have to handle people to get the best from them in ‘end of the world’ situations, this story is about again letting her get inside the Doctor’s head, and have a taste of what it’s like to really be him.


As has become standard for the programme this year, the Direction is simply beautiful, and there’s some lovely locations on display. Filming in Bristol has allowed a slightly different feel to the Cardiff exteriors we’ve become so used to over the years, and this story does stand out from the pack in this respect. Sadly, the special effects are more of a mixed bag this time around - with some elements looking absolutely fantastic, while some other areas could do with a little more work, and seem more distracting than enjoyable.


A vital episode for the narrative of Series 8, a chance for the regulars to shine (as always), a simple concept twisted into interesting new directions… but perhaps an episode which is less than the sum of its parts.


Five things to look out for:

“Are we really hiding from Killer Graffiti?”

2) “Don’t give me an ‘ish’.”
3) “I’m the Doctor. Doctor Oswald… But you can call me Clara.”
4) There’s a hint about how much the TARDIS actually weighs.
5) “Lying is a vital survival skill.”


[Sources: DWO; Will Brooks]

11 October 2014

Before tonight's episode (8.8: Mummy On The Orient Express) airs, the BBC have released a short, behind-the-scenes clip from Doctor Who Extra, featuring a glimpse at Foxes song which will feature in the episode.

The singer can be seen performing a jazz version of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now', before getting to explore the TARDIS set.

Check out the video in the player, below:

+  Mummy On The Orient Express airs Tonight at 8:35pm, on BBC One.

[Source: BBC]

8 October 2014

DWO’s Spoiler-Free preview of Episode 8.8: Mummy on the Orient Express:

“An Egyptian goddess loose on the Orient Express, in space.”

Fans have been wondering for four years if we might get to see the Doctor catch up on his phone calls and finally head off to the Orient Express in Space to ward of an Egyptian goddess. While this episode doesn’t contain a goddess, it does provide us with an ancient legend, an Egyptian mummy, and the Orient Express. In space.

Let’s start on the design for this serial, because it really is one of the strongest of the season so far. The various production departments have really gone all-out to recreate the look and feel of the Orient Express in the 1920s, from costumes to the train carriages themselves. There was always a risk that a story set in such a confined location as a train would end up lacking the visual impact of something like Robot of Sherwood, or Kill the Moon, but Mummy on the Orient Express really holds its own. Director Paul Wilmshurst returns for a second outing on Doctor Who - having made his debut last week - and again proves himself to be one of the programme’s strongest current directors. I’d wager that there’ll be a few kids having nightmares about the mummy stalking towards them, one foot dragging along the floor…

Making his debut in the series this week is writer Jamie Mathieson, who makes a strong start for his first outing in the Who world. Mathieson’s script manages to blend humour with darker moments, and this work perfectly for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, who has perhaps never struck that balance as effectively as he does here. There’s something almost joyous about watching him piece together the mystery of the mummy, and lie awake at night, talking to himself in the absence of a companion. The episode deals somewhat with this incarnation’s coldness, but we get to see him enjoying himself again, too, showing off to a carriage of people, or waxing lyrical about the area of space they’re flying through.

Stepping in to a temporary companion role this week is Frank Skinner, a self-proclaimed Doctor Who fan. In the announcement of his casting, Skinner made reference to (1964 serial) The Sensorites, and he’s spoken on chat shows in the past about his desire to appear in the series. You can really sense how much Skinner is loving being on the set, getting to work with the Doctor to save people’s lives, but you never get the impression that he’s there simply to appease his wish to be part of the programme - he’s perfectly cast in the role of Perkins, and by the end, you almost want him to tag along in the TARDIS full-time!

Five things to look out for:

1) Would you like a Jelly Baby?
2) “Goodbye to the good times…"
3) “The real wonderful is through here…”
4) Don’t stop me now…
5) “I’m not a passenger. I’m your worst nightmare.”

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]

3 October 2014

DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of episode 8.7: Kill the Moon:

This year’s season of Doctor Who has really showcased the way that the programme can change and adapt its style each week. We’ve had comedy with Robot of Sherwood, action with Into the Dalek and even a bank job in Time Heist. What do we get with *Kill the Moon, then? Well… a feeling of dread, mostly.

That’s not a negative comment - it’s not a feeling of dread that the episode isn’t good - it is - but large swathes of this episode are imbued with that ‘pit of your stomach’ feeling that makes you a little bit uncomfortable. It could be the spider-creatures lurking in the shadows, or a moon base filled with cobwebs, it could be the mystery of the moon’s real purpose, and it could even be the way that the Twelfth Doctor behaves.

Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has been quite unlike his immediate predecessors. He’s not the cuddly, human-loving Doctor we’ve come to know over the last ten years or so, and he’s stopped pretending to be our best friend. That’s perhaps never highlighted better than in this episode, in which he decides that it’s simply not his place to get involved. With each week, you can see Capaldi finding new facets of the character, and this week we get to swing between him being cold and uncaring, to excitement as he figures out what’s really going on.

If our Doctor is on fine form again in this episode, then the same is certainly true for Jenna Coleman in the role of the companion. Clara has been through a lot with the Doctor since his regeneration, and the cracks in their relationship are beginning to show. Coleman gives it full throttle in this episode, at times proving her best performance to date. Clara might struggle to get along with the Doctor after this adventure, and it’s not hard to see why…

It’s also time for our annual trip abroad, this time returning to Lanzerote (previously used for location sequences in 1984’s Planet of Fire), which is doubling up as the surface of the moon. It’s a very striking location, and it’s hard not to fall in love with it a little - perfectly representing our closest neighbour in the stars, while also transforming it in to something creepy and dangerous. Director Paul Wilmshurst has crafted a beautiful pallette for the episode, and his work here only serves to add to the tension, keeping you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next little bit of terror…

Five things to look out for:

1) There’s shades of 1968’s Seeds of Death in here… beyond it being set on the moon…
2) A description of how the Doctor senses ‘fixed points’ in time.
3) “What’s wrong with my yo-yo?”
4) Two rules: “No being Sick. No Hanky-Panky.”
5) “The future is no more malleable than the past.”

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]

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