Hide & Eat

Matt HappyAhh, a love story, I love a happy ending!

 

Crooked

 

 

 

As soon as you go I’m going to eat Alec and Emma. Chew their faces down to the bone and poop them out into a ditch.

 

 

 

 

Emma HideWhat?

 

 

 

 

CrookedNothing. I said nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alec HideIt sounded like you said you were going to eat us as soon as the Doctor left..?

 

 

 

 

CrookedOkay, you two are just sounding sort of crazy. It’s a happy ending, I’m back with my lovely lady friend, all’s good. Chillax, already!

 

 

 

 

 

 
Doc Clara Hide leaveMarvellous! Lovely romantic twist ending, our work here is done, b-bye!

*They Exit, Front Door Shuts*

 

 

Alec Hide…So… do you think you and your lady will-

 

 

 

 

CrookedGet in my mouth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alec Emma scared*I’ve pooped my pants-!*

Gateway Stories

50 WhoThere’s now over fifty years worth of Doctor Who rattling about, so what to do if you want to try and hook that friend of yours into watching that has never seen the show before? Do you show them an easy ‘jumping on point’, like ‘Rose’? Or perhaps you forget about that and just show them what you consider to be a classic, like ‘Human Nature’, and hope that its quality will be enough to ensnare your prey?

Stop straining that flabby brain of yours, nerd, I’ve done your work for you; ain’t I a sweetie? Using my own thinking-smarts, and those of my sexy Twitter followers, I’ve collated a complete and total FOOL PROOF* list of stories that I think might be enough to turn a non-fan to the Who-side:

Modern Who

11th HourThe Eleventh Hour

This would be my number one choice. Easy. Not only is it clearly a shiny, lovely piece of brilliance from Steven Moffat, but it’s a story in which everything is new. A fresh off-screen creative team flexes its muscles, whilst on-screen a new Doctor and a new companion capture our imagination. It’s a fresh start that’s not looking back, rather setting up things for the future. Even the look of the thing leapt up and pulled the show forward. If you can watch this and not want to see what happens next, you may not be human (maybe you’re a large dog in a human suit). Clearly I’m not alone in this (yeah, yeah, completely obvious) choice; Twit-folk like    and    and  and  and   and  and  and… and… basically loads of people agreed with me. What a clever, facially fabulous bunch.

BlinkBlink

Who author Jenny Colgan (@jennycolgan) tossed this one into the ring, and many lined up to agree.  ‘Blink’ seems to be a popular choice for many, but obviously it’s also an odd choice in many ways as it barely even features the Doctor or his companion. It instead focuses on Sally Sparrow, who exists only in this one episode. But it has several things going for it, not least of which is its sheer quality. Quality above all else is going to hook a new viewer into wanting to watch another episode. It also introduces The Weeping Angels, the most popular new series monster.

girlThe Girl in The Fireplace

This one was the top choice of Andrew Ellard (@ellardent), and he could be onto a winner with it. It’s sci-fi! It’s historical! It’s a romance! It has scares, and clever stuff, and funny bits, and… well just about everything. Almost all of what modern Who can be is encapsulated in this one story.

Go Classic..?

Now I wouldn’t personally use a classic series story as a gateway episode. Perhaps to a very young child, otherwise I think you’ll be on far safer ground with a story from the modern series. BUT! If I had to go classic, then the one I would plump for is:
dalek remRemembrance of The Daleks

It’s a blooming Dalek masterpiece from the pen of Ben Aaronovitch, which jump-started the McCoy era and lead the charge for a final two terrific years of the classic series. It’s exciting, it looks great, there’s a terrific TARDIS team at the centre who clearly love being together, juicy questions about race and fascism to ponder; in short: it’s brilliant.

But others thought differently, @SDElsden reckons Tom Baker classic ‘The Robots of Death’ is the one to turn a non-fans head, @AlphaOod insists Pertwee’s debut, ‘Spearhead From Space’ is the obvious choice,  would point people towards ‘The Horror of Fang Rock’, whilst @MarkTrevorOwen says that the Douglas Adams penned ‘City of Death’ has never failed for him.

Start with P-Cap!

DeepDeep Breath

A new Doctor, a new start… and a new jumping on point? Perhaps ‘Deep Breath’ will be the gateway story for thousands of new fans, intrigued by an actor of Capaldi’s renown taking over the reigns…

 

Looking over this I’ve realised that all of the modern episodes chosen are by Moffat. So… maybe just show them one of the best Moffat eps and job done..?

Which adventure do you think makes the ideal ‘gateway story’?

*may not actually be fool-proof.

‘Buried Treasure’

doctor-and-clara1907. A field somewhere. Probably Cumbria.

Billings was crouched in the dirt at the bottom of a five foot deep trench, methodically scraping layers of soil aside with a trowel. The others had long since called it a night, the uncommitted swine; sleep was for the lazy as far as he was concerned. He knew there was something down here, local people spoke of a falling star crashing to Earth and burrowing into the ground. Nonsense of course, but most tall tales have a basis in fact and Billing’s was certain something was down here, and he refused to stop until he uncovered just what.

Yes, he was sure that this would be a significant find, something that would finally make his name back at the-

… the thought remained unfinished as his trowel scraped against something solid. His heart beating fast, Billings took out his brush and swept the dirt aside to reveal… words?

‘Free for use of public.’ Said Billings aloud.

Within thirty minutes he’d uncovered the whole surface area of the buried object. Doors. Blue doors. The thing must have been nine or ten feet long.

‘It’s a police box. Why on Earth would anyone bury such a thing?’

‘Well, it’s a bit of a long story.’ Came a voice. It was a man’s voice, slightly muffled. It was, Billing’s was unhappy to realise, coming from within the police box itself.

‘You’re going to have to shove the doors open!’

Billings blinked twice.

‘I..? Could you repeat that?’

‘The doors, give ‘em a shove, I’m on lockdown in here ‘cos of the power drain, give them a stamp and they might dislodge!’

Billings faltered, unsure what to do.

‘Come on then, stampy-stamp time!’ Came the voice once again.

‘Right. Right then.’ Billings breathed in and out heavily, then kicked down with the heel of one boot. The police box doors beneath him swung inwards, Billings leaping back at the last second to prevent himself from falling inside.

He staggered backwards until he was pressed up against the trench wall, the ladder to his right leading to sanity. A moment passed, a long, silent moment, and then something poked out of the police box: a hat.

It looked like a fez, but seemed to be adorned with hundreds of tiny red, blue and green jewels.

Finally a young-old face appeared. ‘Trowel man, man with a trowel, thank you for digging up my TARDIS.’

Billings jaw flapped wordlessly for a few seconds before the power of speech finally returned. ‘You are… welcome?’

‘Am I? That’s good! So often when I turn up places things are trying to eat me or shoot me with lasers, or shoot me with lasers and then eat me.’

‘You are… welcome.’ Said Billings once again, his brain cowering back inside his skull as the man pulled himself fully out of the Police Box and stood before him.

‘You’re late!’ Said the man.

‘Yeah, it took me a couple of days to track you down.’

Billings turned in surprise to see a short, dark-haired woman in unusual dress clambering down the ladder to join them.

‘A couple of days? A couple of days! I’ve been down here for-’ The man checked his watch. ‘Ninety three years!’

‘No…’

‘Yes!’

‘Ninety three?’

‘Ninety three! And eleven weeks! Almost!’

‘Right.’ The woman seemed to be contemplating the best thing to say next. ‘Oops..?’

‘Oops? Do you have any idea how bored I got?’ Said the man.

‘Bored enough to cover a fez in rhinestones?’

The man snatched the fez from his head and shook it at the woman. ‘Yes! Rhinestone bored!’

‘What else did you rhinestone?’

The man smiled and softened. ‘Ooh, a jacket, some mugs, a scarf, part of the console, she didn’t like that, shoes, bow tie naturally-‘

‘-Naturally.’

‘-Hat stand, chair; ooh-! And my underwear! … that was a bit of a mistake in retrospect. Trowel man, never cover your underwear with rhinestones; the chafing..!’

Billings threw down his trowel. ‘Enough!’

The strange pair stopped and turned to him, surprised. ‘What’s up with trowel man?’ The woman asked.

‘You can’t be in there, down there, under all of this Earth. That is an impossibility! Or at best a gross improbability.’

‘But I was, you just dug me up, so rather a stupid thing to say.’

‘You’re being rude.’ Said the woman to the man.

‘Am I? Yes, sorry, I suppose being on your own for the best part of a century makes you lose your social niceties.’

‘I said I was sorry.’ Said the woman.

‘Can you please, one of you, explain to me what is happening here, before I go completely stark raving mad!?’ Said Billings.

The man rubbed his hands together. ‘Right. Sorry. Long story short, partially invisible trans-dimensional TARDIS eating monsters from before the dawn of time. Actually from before, before the dawn of time-‘

‘-Basically really, really, really ancient and weird.’ Said the woman.

‘-Really weird; they snuck into my TARDIS, hunkered down inside the console-‘

‘-had babies-‘

‘-babies hatched, ate bits of her insides, emergency phase shift, actually two emergency phase shifts, underground, knackered ship, ergo: shiny rhinestone fez. Ergo, am I using that word right? Love that word. ‘Ergo’. That about cover it?’

‘More or less.’ Said the woman. ‘Though you completely missed out what happened to me.’

‘I’m the Doctor by the way, and the small person next to me who I’m furious at is Clara.’

‘Hello!’ Said Clara

‘And you are?’

Billings looked at The Doctor and Clara, a pair of grinning, impossible fools.

‘I am… considering a long holiday and then a change of vocation, good-bye.’ Billings made his way quickly up the ladder and out of the trench.

‘You left your diggy trowel thing!’ Called the Doctor from below.

‘Keep it!’ He strode onwards, not turning his head back even for a moment, already looking forward to forgetting the whole, worrisome affair.

Doctor Who Magazine: Do You Remember The First Time?

DWM 184I grew up in Carlisle, an English town so far north that at various times in its history it actually used to be in Scotland. Let that sink for a moment…

Good God…

ANYWAY- we were an isolated, grey skied sort of a place and as I went about doing whatever it was northern children did at the time (staring at dry stone walls, standing near sheep, drinking foamy pints of bitter), I lived in blissful ignorance of the existence of a certain magazine. And that magazine, was Bunty. Also, Doctor Who Magazine.

DWM aceIt was when I made a trip one fateful day to my local corner shop that I first discovered DWM (as all the cool kids refer to it as). I probably went there that morning to check out the latest issue of The Beano, or to pilfer a few packets of wrestling stickers (HEY, you needed a fat wad of WWF stickers for swapsies at break time or you were nuthin’, and I didn’t have sticker-buying-cash just laying around: DON’T YOU DARE JUDGE ME). That’s when I saw it peering at me from the magazine rack; a monstrous Cyberman, forcing its way out of its tomb. DWM issue 184.

The existence of such a magazine was a shock, why had the world conspired to keep this thing from me?! That afternoon I convinced my Mam to give me the money to buy it and I hungrily poured over its pages. THEN DISASTER: next month the shop didn’t have it. I went in every day for weeks in case it turned up, but nope. I didn’t actually ask the person running the shop if they were going to have it, as the very idea of talking to them was terrifying; far better to skulk and accept that DWM’s magical appearance was a mysterious one-off, never to be repeated in my life time. Only then it wasn’t! A few weeks later and there it was again, locking me in to a lifelong relationship with this magazine to a (at the time) deader-than-corduroy TV show.

DWM 352It became every bit as important to this Who fan as the show itself. You watched the video’s, you read the Virgin New Adventures, and you toddled off to the nearest shop that stocked it and bought DWM. You’d immediately turn to the news section to see who was being rumoured as the new Doctor for when/if the show returned to our screens. More often than not it was TV magician Paul Daniels, or TV hairy man David Hasselhoff, so highly thought of was the role post-cancellation.

It was in DWM that I first learned that they were making a new special, The Dark Dimension, to feature all the surviving Doctors! And where I discovered, the very next month, that the project was already dead. There was none of your internet then, so DWM was where you got your news.

DWM COVERBut the news section is really the least important part of DWM, it’s the articles, the analysis, the interviews and reviews, the wealth of archive photo’s. It was and is, even in the internet age, a vital and joyful resource for all Doctor Who fans.

I still own my first issue, issue 184 (it currently lives inside a bag in an attic in Birmingham, of all places), and I still look forward to each shiny new issue.

 

So, do you remember the first time..?

 

DWM va

Interview: Jenny Colgan

J ColganJenny Colgan is a mysterious international mystery woman of mystery who has gone by many names: Is she actually Jenny Colgan? Or perhaps Jenny T. Colgan? Or even J.T. Colgan ? Who is the real Jenny? Why does she lurk behind so many different names? Just what is it she’s hiding from?  I’m not saying she’s left anyone inside an old sack at the bottom of a lake and is now attempting to evade the law as she leaps from identity to very similar identity, that’s for others to decide. I asked Jenny ‘The Sack in the Lake Murder’ Colgan some questions about Doctor Who.

Okay, serious questions first; Mel, Adric and failed companion Adam are hanging by their fingernails from a cliff edge- who do you help up, and whose fingers do you quietly tread on whilst no one’s looking..?

Adam. Seriously, you’re on the biggest, best, brand new show on earth. With the chance to be a new fricking companion. And you blow it SO SPECTACULARLY you can practically see them writing you out live on air. Unbelievable. Mel was too fleeting to feel more than a plot device, and I didn’t really mind Adric. As an annoying, whiny kid I always quite liked the fact that the Doctor let an annoying whiny kid travel with him on the TARDIS. Same reason I liked Donna.Donna

When did Doctor Who first barge its way into your Mind Palace and then point blank refuse to leave?

There’s loads of fans exactly the same age as me (including David Tennant), because we were all 8 when City of Death came out. That’s the first one I remember being utterly gripped and engrossed by, and that whole series is good. When I knew it was the best thing ever was Warrior’s Gate; it felt like living a dream in real life. I liked it as much as Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is to say: a lot. Logopolis broke my heart.

Dark HNot only are you best known as a writer of romantic comedy novels, but you’re also an actual real life woman, still something of a rarity when it comes to Who writers! How did you come to write your first Doctor Who novel, ‘Dark Horizons’; was it difficult to get your chance?

No, I just bugged them a lot and still do. I pitched constantly, and they would say, well, you know, Romantic Comedy novelist, we can’t have any snogging or sex or romance in it and I’d say noooo, none of that. So I wrote a Matt Smith novel without any of that stuff, whereupon on the actual show he proceeded to do basically nothing else but snog people for the next three years, occasionally pausing to get married or take off all his clothes.

CHALLENGE TIME: Victoria screaming at you at point blank range for 37 minutes, or explaining the ins and outs of Ghost Light to a four year old until they fully grasp it: MAKE YOUR CHOICE!

Me and the 8 year old watched Ghost Light recently. But I did tell him before we sat down: don’t ask me any questions, okay? I rather like Sylvester McCoy, I don’t think he’s the Doc who did for it. So, Ghost Light please. It’s evocative.

MarthaDoctor Who fans hate a lot of things with a fiery passion about the show they love; what’s a generally derided element (story, Doctor, monster, outfit, WHATEVS) that you actually think is ace, skill and super nifty?

I don’t think Martha gets enough love. There was too little Martha and too many other annoying Joneses in that arc. I did pitch (unsuccessfully) a Martha/ Mickey divorce novel. They’re dealing with a hasty, ridiculous marriage where they both actually really wanted other people. Then she has to do dangerous UNIT medical stuff with a new Doctor and deal with all of that too, can you imagine, when the person you love changes so completely? Well, it was very interesting to *me*. Mind you I also pitched the Doctor-Donna/ Rose post- show human life-adjustment sitcom, so don’t listen to anything I have to say.

RTD MOFFDo you have a favourite Who era, or do you love it all as though it was the very flesh given life from your sex junk?

I think it’s almost a point of pride that you can’t like all Who; if you do, then the show is going awry, because it should always be different and always explore. Anyone that liked every single Doctor Who would make me very suspicious.

IMO Russell & Steven working together on modern Who simply made some of the best television there has ever been; the Douglas Adams and the Key to Time eras in classic Who meant a lot to me.

You’ve now written twice for Matt Smith’s Doctor, would you like to have a go at Sweary McMurder-Eyes himself, Mr P-Cap?

I couldn’t possibly comment *winkswinkswinks*

Silence inDo you have a favourite modern series episode, and why?

Silence in the Library/ Forests of the Dead. I just never tire of watching it. It’s before River got annoying, and it’s just exquisite; always surprising; full of ideas; wonderful sets and characters; clever; scary; tender without being mawkish, and it puts you right through the wringer. And such gorgeous writing, from the big stuff:

“Not one line. Don’t you dare! It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s not over for you. You’ll see me again. You’ve got all of that to come. You and me. Time and space. You watch us run!

To the small:

“It’s a screwdriver. It works in the dark.”

If it’s on, I’ll always watch the whole thing again, like Terminator: it just goes from good bit to good bit.

As a child stuck way up north in Carlisle, where science fiction was routinely chased out of Cumbria by torch wielding farmers, I indulged my Who-love more or less isolated from wider fandom; how involved in sci-fi fandom were you growing up?

Oh I felt terribly isolated (I grew up in Ayrshire, so we’re not far apart). Being a girl then made it even worse. It’s cool for girls now but back then I was convinced I was the only one on earth. Even as I got older it was my ‘comedy quirk’, rather than a totally acceptable thing to really love the show.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s not all about the TV episodes, what’s your favourite bit of non-television Who ‘stuff’?

I like my tattoo. Otherwise, and I apologise to BBC Worldwide, who send me lots of lovely things, I splashed out on one of those very expensive handmade River Song journals and all my story notes, pitches, sketches and plans go in that and I would not like to lose it.

Since the return of Web and Enemy, the rumours have continued to swirl about what else might be out there; if you could pick one missing (or partially missing) story to have returned, what would it be?

I will be completely honest: I’m not that interested in stories before my Doctor (4) , I’m just not a completist like that.

Sally WainwrightNeil Gaiman would have been a writer on many Who fans fantasy wish list; is there anyone (apart from me) (and you) you’d be interested to see tackle an episode?

Sally Wainwright, obviously. She seems a natural Russell style writer. Jane Espenson- they MUST have asked her, surely. Joss. Aaron. And actually I’d like another Richard Curtis, I thought his was utterly charming.

Is there anything from Classic Who that the modern series has yet to bring back that you’d like to see it tackle..?

The Mara.

Do you have a favourite Doctor Who writer? (TV, audio, books, whatever!)

Paul & Gareth.

The Kandyman can or The Kandyman really, really can’t and, what’s more, definitely shouldn’t?

I am nearly half way through my lifetime, if I am really lucky. I have never seen it and I suspect I never will: I’m running out of time.

mary-tammWho’s your Doctor and companion? You can choose more than one, if you’re weak.

I loved scary first Romana. Now THERE was an equal. Although if we’re going the opposite way, I really crushed on Nyssa too, even though she fainted any time something scary turned up, or would wander off on holiday for a month or so. But you can’t deny the 10/ Rose chemistry. It’s like they didn’t want it to happen, but they couldn’t help themselves. Lovely stuff. I thought 11 and Amy had great chemistry too, before Rory came along and ruined it by lying lifeless on the floor 300 times.

Do you think you’d like to tackle a scripted piece of Who; say a Big Finish audio for example?

I’d love to, they haven’t asked me yet, but I’d absolutely adore that. I’d love to do a 5, all hands, Tegan, Nyssa; Adric taking a kicking. Four people in the TARDIS is such a tricky dynamic that I’d love to have a shot at it.

Team Master or Team Rani?

Old Master > Rani > new Master

McGann startLet’s assume magic is real and not only can you now fly and turn some wine into even more wine, but you can pick any two Doctor’s, living or dead, to team up for a new episode; who’s it gonna’be, hm?

Like everyone else, Paul coming back gave me the most humongous thrill, as well as making me sad at how good he could have been. Plus I liked the last season DT when he was really really bad, like in Waters of Mars. So DT being bad, and Paul egging him on, for some proper mischief. I just want to see more Paul McGann Who now really, that wasn’t nearly enough.

Doc DIs there an era of Who that, whilst watching it, makes you want to push your finger into your brain to make all the bad feels go away?

I know this will sound terribly daring and pushing the envelope but I truly wasn’t a one for ye olde Baker C. I know, controversial, hey? I don’t even like my non-Who friends seeing pictures of him. And I didn’t much like Jon Pertwee being stuck on earth. Where are we this week? OH EARTH VERY GOOD. My eldest likes him though. He has a cool car and he does kung fu.Also I know it all had a lovely happy ending in real life and all the rest of it, but the Doctor’s Daughter I find really embarrassing.

Congratulations, you’ve just been put in charge of Doctor Who and can make whatever changes you want to it; so what’s your big move? Strand the Doctor on Earth again? Cast a Woman in the title role? Bring back K9, but also add his nephew, Scrappy-K9? Or something else..?

Traitor companion. Constant jeopardy and side-switching, Homeland style. Turlough the whole thing up a bit, I’m slightly over people who think he’s awesome.

Doctor-Who-Into-the-Nowhere-300Promote something you capitalist pig!

OOH do buy Into the Nowhere please. It is a full-on, rollicking Matt and Clara story, with my take on Clara. www.tinyurl.com/intothenowhere

Thanks Jenny!

Interview: ‘Radio Free Skaro’s’ Steven Schapansky

Steven RFSSteven Schapansky not only has a second name that you have to type out very carefully (and then double and triple check) but is also one of the three hosts of Radio Free Skaro, a weekly ‘Doctor Who’ podcast that makes walking to work on a Monday slightly less horrifying. He also co-hosts The Memory Cheats, in which a classic Who story is randomly chosen each week for he and Josh to chat about as well as their age-addled memories will allow. It’s ace, even if they were both COMPLETELY WRONG ABOUT ‘GHOST LIGHT’. I emailed Steven a bunch of questions- THIS BUNCH:

When did Doctor Who first lay it’s cold, clammy hand upon your shoulder and refuse to loosen its grip?

I first saw Doctor Who when I was about 8 or 9. It was on a friend’s TV for just a very few seconds, and involved Tom Baker walking around the TARDIS console. Oddly enough, that was enough to get me to seek it out and I started watching it fairly regularly over the next couple years. But it was Season 18, and particularly “Full Circle”, that got me hooked. Tom Baker’s regeneration at the end of “Logopolis” genuinely shocked me. It was a formative moment of my childhood. I’ve never looked back.Doctor_Who_Full_Circle

Doctor Who fans hate a lot of things with a fiery passion about the show they love; what’s a generally derided element (story, Doctor, monster, outfit, WHATEVS) that you actually think is ace, skill and super nifty?

You know what I genuinely love? OB videotape. No, it’s not as nice as film, but Doctor Who locations were usually only shot on 16mm, not the much cleaner 35mm, so it didn’t look that good to begin with. At least OB videotape was consistent, and I love watching The Mysterious Planet, not entirely sure which scenes were shot on location and which weren’t.

Was there ever a time that you wandered from the one true path? I know when I went to University suddenly I was more interested in things like beer, sleeping as late as possible, and watching Neighbours twice a day than buying every copy of DWM, or completing my VHS collection.

I honestly never have. I’ve never not cared about Doctor Who, but for a few months in the late 1990s, I didn’t go out of my way to watch it. Does that count?

RFSRadio Free Skaro is one of the highest profile Dr Who podcasts, but what on Earth made you start the thing in the first place all those hundreds of episodes ago?

My co-host Warren and I worked side by side in a boring job at a TV station in the early 2000’s, and we were delighted to discover that we were both Doctor Who fans. He suggested that we could do a “podcast” about Doctor Who (I had never heard of a podcast then), and a few months later, we just started blabbing about Doctor Who for an hour a week. It took us a couple of years (and an additional co-host, Chris) to finally figure out what we wanted to do with the show, and now we’ve been going for eight years. Eight years! It looks ridiculous when you see that number in front of you.

Is there anyone you’ve yet to interview who you’d love to get on the show?

Oh my heavens, yes. The obvious ones are Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies. We’ve tried on several occasions to get RTD, and we’ll continue to do so. Peter Capaldi sounds like he would be a fascinating interview, as well. Because of my love of Season 18, Christopher H Bidmead has long been a target, too. 

timeSay three nice things about Timelash.

1) Colin Baker
2) Tinsel
3) Er…hand puppet aliens?

Do you have a favourite Dr Who writer from the first fifty years of the show? You can include Big Finish or Who novel writers!

I hate that Robert Holmes makes this such a slam dunk, so I’ll go with either Steven Moffat or Chris Boucher. Moffat constantly surprises and entertains me, and we were robbed of the prime years of Boucher, with the best parts of Blake’s 7 being his input. 

It’s a sad fact that one day soon ‘The Memory Cheats’ podcast will come to an end, are you at all tempted to tackle, say, ‘The Memory Cheats: The RTD years?’

After eight years of Radio Free Skaro (with no end in sight), the idea of a finite podcast is appealing to me. But you never know. My co-host Josh and I might miss it enough to want to carry on! 

Next time a McCoy era story comes up, can you make Josh say nice things about it?

No promises.

 romWho’s your Doctor and companion? You can choose more than one, if you’re weak.

Mary Tamm. Oh, Mary. She was my first companion when I was 8 or 9 and had a massive crush on her before I even had any idea why I should have a crush on her.

Doctor? I was all about Matt Smith for the past four years, but now I am so excited for Capaldi, he’s my favourite before I’ve even seen a full episode of his. No pressure, Peter.

Favourite New Who episode/episodes, and why?

The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone is hands down the best two-parter, and possibly the best story period, done since The Caves of Androzani. Horror, intrigue, tension, comedy,stunning direction, and brilliant performances, including the very first episodes shot with Matt Smith as the new Doctor. He was electric.

girlIs there a Dr Who story, or character, whose popularity makes you scratch your head?

The Girl in the Fireplace. The Doctor’s love affair with Madame de Pompadour comes out of left field, a week after he almost professes his love to Rose in “School Reunion”. And the Doctor just leaves Rose and Mickey on that spaceship full of clockwork droids while he “takes the slow path” with Pompadour! He also completely forgets how the fireplaces work and condemns her to a lonely death as a result. And then everything in that story is forgotten the week after. It’s inconsistent nonsense. 

It’s not all about the TV show, what’s your favourite bit of non-television Who ‘stuff’?

“Doctor Who: A Celebration”, written by Peter Haining for the 20th Anniversary was my first big book about Doctor Who and was my first step into a larger world. 

advLet’s assume magic is real and not only can you now fly and turn some wine into even more wine, but you can pick any two Doctor’s, living or dead, to team up for a new episode; who’s it gonna’ be, hm?

William Hartnell and Matt Smith, purely to see a real life re-creation of THAT scene from “An Adventure in Space and Time”. 

What baddie that has yet to be featured in the modern series would you like to see back? No, you can’t go the easy option and say The Kandyman, pick something else.

Sil would be awesome in the new series. He was never actually properly evil towards the Doctor, just greedy about his own interests. I think he should enlist the temporary help of the Doctor in a dispute with the Collector from “The Sun Makers”.

Are there any missing or partially missing stories you’re hoping will turn up next?

All of them! Who would have put “The Enemy of the World” at the top of their most wanted list before we saw it and realized how incredible it really is? Maybe “The Space Pirates” as actually awesome. Who can tell?

 caveFavourite classic series story/stories and why?

The Caves of Androzani, for all the (many, many) reasons that everyone else has written and talked about its greatness since 1984. Maurice Roeves doesn’t get enough credit, though, as he was magnificent as Stotz, so there’s one more reason why it’s the best story ever made. 

Congratulations, you’ve just been put in charge of Doctor Who and can make whatever changes you want to it; so what’s your big move? Strand the Doctor on Earth again? Cast a Woman in the title role? Bring back K9, but also add his nephew, Scrappy-K9? Or something else..?

I think it would be fun to do a season where the Doctor has lost the TARDIS, and he has to spend a few episodes trying to track it down. Part treasure hunt, part Key to Time season, part Red Dwarf VI.

RTDNeil Gaiman would have been a writer on many Who fans fantasy wish list; is there anyone you’d be interested to see tackle an episode?

Yes – Russell T Davies! I think it would be great to have him write an episode without the yoke of the entire show itself on his shoulders.

 Okay, plug something:

I only have podcasts to plug, it seems. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to them, we did profiles on each producer’s era leading up to the 50th anniversary last year on Radio Free Skaro, with guests such as Rob Shearman, Toby Hadoke, John Williams, Richard Molesworth, and so forth. Episodes 383-387, 389-393 of Radio Free Skaro. And thanks for listening!

Radio Free Skaro | The Memory Cheats

Columbo: Given The Shaft (of Androzani)

Columbo 1‘Lemme jus’ get this straight in my head here, Morgus: so the elevator doors opened up, the President, he steps in expecting the elevator to be there, but there is no elevator, and so he just falls to his death. That sound about right, Sir?’

 

 

Morg talk‘As you can see, detective, a tragic but blameless mechanical failure.’

 

 

 

 
Morgus to camera*TO CAMERA*He believes me, he MUST believe me*

 

 

 

 

 
Columbo 2‘What’s that, Sir?’

 

 

 

 

 

Morg talk‘Just… talking to myself, detective.’

 

 

 

 

 

Calumbo3‘Yep, yep, my wife is always telling me off about that.’

 

 

 

 

 

Closer Look: Frontios

Frontios (2)Frontios. Mother shitting Frontios. That crap is LAME, yo.

I really want Doctor Who Thing to be a beacon of positive Who joy, celebrate rather than tear down, but what the hell, this sucker’s got it coming…

Up until recently I had never seen this Peter Davison story, and I have to say it was a bit of a struggle to get through. I mean, just take a look at these big-eared goons right here:

Trac 3

Look at the face on this prime prick:

Trac face

 

Tractators. GUH.

People designed these things. People who knew the limitations of their resources designed, fashioned and then handed them in-  and then the show only bloody went and used them. I sometimes think the old monster designers had the memory of a goldfish, so often did they decide to tackle designs clearly way beyond the shows obvious limitations. I mean, applaud them for their ambition, but a little common sense every now and again, chaps! I hate it when people bag on a classic era story because of the effects or the dodgy costumes, for the time most of it was pretty darn good and I can usually see past all that, it’s just part of the shows charm – but really? These fart knockers right here?:

Tractators

Okay, so I’m a hypocrite (with great hair and a sweet smile) I get annoyed at others for slating shonky classic Who monsters and now here I am doing the same thing. But it’s not just the way they look (and they look, as we now all agree, like pure arse-gravy), but the way they move. They’re almost completely inflexible, with their tiny T-Rex arms flailing hysterically. They employed dancers to play the creatures, then plonked rigid costumes over them; because they be smart and clever and inter-department communication was clearly working well. To say they drag down an already shaky story, as they shuffle arthritically around, is an understatement. They certainly can’t be the mythical, terrifying creatures that Turlough is losing his damn, freaking, spittle-flecked  mind over.

And the way they’re revealed on-screen for the first time, oh boy; it really is beautiful. Ron Jones, the stories director, was really on his game here. No, I’m yanking your plank, it’s mystifying. They just turn around and shuffle stage-right. I’m sure it’s supposed to be a shocking reveal; that these things just emerged as if from nowhere! But it’s executed with heroic, awe-inspiring, stand and salute ineptitude

These shuffling turds live underground and bore the tunnels using a machine that needs a humanoid placed in it Zombie-like to work. Why? You may well ask. Damned if I know. Seems a bit of an odd requirement to build in.

frontios2.jpg turlough T-t-t-t-Tractator’s!!!

Alright, enough of them, what else? Oh yes: The TARDIS blows up. Rather than end the universe, as in the Matt Smith era, it just sort of disappears in a puff of smoke, as though some low rent magician just turned it into a bunny. Now you would think this might be something of a big deal to The Doctor and his companions, and they certainly sell the poop out of it. Well, Davison reacts as though he’s just been told lunch has been put back an hour. This should be a huge thing, but our three regulars don’t seem all that fussed to be honest. Don’t matter. We’ll just stay here forever, no biggie.

Everyone seems to more or less forget about the explodey-wodey (I’m so sorry) TARDIS, until they stumble across a piece underground, which for some reason has become part of the wall. But all is not lost for the errant Time and Space Machine, for an arse-faced creature with the power to very, very, ve-e-e-e-ery slowly pull a man downwards through loose soil is now able to pull together all the disparate pieces of the TARDIS and put the thing back together again with the power of its mind (and tiny waggling T-Rex arms), good as new.

And OH GOD, I almost forgot the scenes in the lab, with people killing time attempting to get to it to retrieve something or other (it doesn’t matter what), or walking back and forth across it.

So, positive’s… well, the idea of being physically pulled into the Earth is a nice, scary notion; and one that the modern series would toy with in ‘The Hungry Earth’. The human characters thinking the danger is above, when it’s really below, that’s kind of neat, but that’s just about where the plus points start and end for me with this one. Not since a recent re-watch of ‘Planet of The Spiders’ did I so desperately fight the urge to eject the DVD half-way through.

A brief glance around and about at other reactions to this story seems to suggest I’m missing something when it comes to Frontios. Perhaps the script itself is decent, I dunno, let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, but it’s been put on screen with all the skill and artistry inherent in a sack full of week old whale bile.

Frontios? It can Fronti-fuck-off.

A New ‘Dark Doctor’?

Capaldi FaceThere’s been some chatter on the internet (where the nerds live) (also free naked people) (AND BINGO!) that Capaldi’s Doctor is going to be dark.  A bad-tempered meanie and a right nasty so-and-so. Goodbye to the friendly, whimsical sort we’ve had recently, hello to a cold-hearted, no-nonsense git. He’s not your friend. He’s not to be trusted. He might call you rude names.

Now this hasn’t just appeared from nowhere, it’s been highlighted right from his first brief appearance in ‘The Day of The Doctor’, when his furious eyebrows appeared in close-up and put the screaming willies up viewers worldwide. Moffat then stirred the pot further by stating of Capaldi’s Doctor that he “goes back to being the trickier version of the Doctor, the fiercer alien wanderer” and “He is different and it’s time to stop play-acting. He’s not apologising, he’s not flirting with you – that’s over.”

And now come the first two teaser trailers, full of dark, foreboding visuals and dialogue, Capaldi’s Doctor himself asking Clara to ‘be my pal and tell me, am I a good man?’ It all seems to point to a harsh, dark new persona; perhaps he’ll take a leaf from Colin Baker’s book and attempt to throttle Clara early in his first episode? Because we all know how well that went down…

Capaldi ExplBut… but no. I don’t buy it. Moffat knows who the Doctor really is, Capaldi knows, and a full on dark, mean bastard of a portrayal is just not him. I expect Capaldi may be a bit more to the point, a bit more ruthless, rude even, but nasty? No. This Doctor, like all the others, will have light and shade, though perhaps the switch will have been flipped away from the more whimsical aspects that infused Matt Smith’s take on the character, or Tennant’s romantic hero version, but you can bet those aspects will still be present in the mix somewhere.

Clara and CapaldiI think what we’re going to see, in feature-length opener ‘Deep Breath’, is a new Doctor who will start off more ‘unknowable’ than either Smith or Tennant were when they first appeared. More secretive and curt. Rather than a Doctor who is presented from their first moments on-screen as someone to love and trust, he’ll be more erratic and awkward. But fear not; he, Clara and the viewers at home will, by the episodes end, see him for who he really is. He’s the Doctor. A mad man with a box.