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.

 

 

 

Cyberman Design

Oh my word. Oh my giddy aunt. Take a look at the bonce on this shiny beauty:

cyberman-by-matthew-savage

 

Designed by Matthew Savage, a concept and storyboard artist, this Cyberman head is PERFECT.

And Matthew has gone one further and designed the full suit for you to salivate over:

 

cyber01

It blows the Cybermen designs we’ve seen in the modern series out of the water. I thought the redesign for ‘Nightmare in Silver’ was an improvement, especially the mask, but just like the previous take they emphasise the robotic. There’s no sense of there being remnants of a living creature inside those suits. To portray them simply as stomping robots robs them of what they are supposed to be. It reduces the horror, the social commentary of their origin; it robs them of their fear factor. Savage’s design I think rectifies this nicely.It’s not a clunky robot, it’s not a derivative Iron Man costume, you can feel that it’s a suit being worn over SOMETHING. Something that wants to make you just like them.

With so recent an update there’s probably no way the Who production team would consider another change so soon, but we can dream.

Interview: Blogtor Who

Cam-pic-200x200Blogtor Who is the website of male adult person Cameron K McEwan. Not only does he run the successful Who-site, but he has also branched out into books and documentaries, with the rather spiffing ‘Who’s Changing: An Adventure In Time With Fans’ having recently been released on DVD, and ‘The Who’s Who of Doctor Who’  now available to buy in all seven remaining book shops.

 

MELOkay, serious question 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..?

I like Mel. Well, Bonnie Langford at any rate. Adric’s dead already, though dying twice would still not make up for his utter awfulness. And there’s no way Adam, due to his feebleness, would even get to a cliff.

What on Earth made you decide to set up Blogtor Who?

I used to a blog about TV (like a proper blog, not like what I do now) and I realised most of it was just taken up with Doctor Who. It occurred to me that some readers might find it slightly annoying (as some people, would you believe, don’t like Doctor Who), so I created a space for it by itself.

ScarothMy earliest Who memory involves Peter Davison and a corridor (narrows it down, that); what’s your earliest memory of the show?

It’s a very vivid one. The cliffhanger to Episode One of City of Death – the reveal of Scaroth – stayed with me for years.

The Kandyman can, or the Kandyman can’t?

He can’t. Or certainly, he shouldn’t be allowed the opportunity to.

boomtown-dinnerDoctor 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?

Lots of people have a go at lots of different things. It’s quite easy to find any part of Doctor Who that some “fan” has derided. I have a huge soft spot for Nightmare of Eden. I think it’s great despite the terrible production and performances (and it is, actually, a superb idea). I’m  also very fond of Boom Town which loads of people seem to dislike. Great stuff from Christopher Eccleston and Annette Badland in that one.

The U.S.  plops a pile of money into Who on the caveat that an American is cast in the lead; who’s the least objectionable choice?

Jonny Lee Miller. [Laughs] In all seriousness, I would have absolutely zero issue with an American playing Doctor Who. Kat Dennings would be sensational.

!Hugh_Grant_12th_DoctorGreatest coulda-been actor who was never cast as The Doctor?

Hugh Grant.

How did your new Who Documentary, ‘Who’s Changing’, originally come about?

I was working on another project with my good friend and producer, Elisar Cabrera, when we had a break and chat one day (about a year ago) about working together again. We’re both Who fans so that seemed like the natural thing to do as I’d made a few documentaries at university. I’ve been fascinated at the shift in the fan demographic for the show, and that’s what we tackled.

Is there a particular Who writer, from the classic series, the modern series, or even the novels and Big Finish, that really stands out for you? Even someone who you think has been overlooked a little?

From the classic series I really love the work of Robert Banks Stewart – Zygons and Seeds are just outstanding. Very simple but very effective. In the “modern” era, I adore Russell T Davies but I also love Phil Ford (who is getting another story this year, which is great news) and Richard Curtis did an amazing job on Vincent. Would love to see him write another.

doc-cushingLet’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 gunna’ be, hm?

William Hartnell and Peter Cushing. :)

‘Ghost Light’, freaky, ambitious classic, or a big ‘ol pile of ‘What the heck?!’?

Like almost everything post Davison in the Eighties, it was balls. Utter balls.

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 love Hartnell the best so it would have to be one of his. Probably, and slightly predictably, The Daleks’ Master Plan. Mainly as there are SO many eps to that one. More Billy H to drink in.

Favourite classic era Who eps, and why?

The Five Doctors. It’s got lots of Doctors in it! It’s got lots of companions in it! It’s got lots of baddies in it! Also, the MIND PROBE!

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. Such a genuinely chilling beast. Real mind games can be played. Failing that, the Terileptils – they could be realised brilliantly with today’s money.

RTDIt’s fantasy-land time; pretend there’s no one out of the shows reach – who would you get to write a Doctor Who story for the next series?

Honestly, Russell T Davies. The show misses his heart, warmth and his ability to immediately connect an audience to a character. But if we’re talking someone new, JK Rowling would be fantastic. A female voice in Who is sorely missed.

Team Dalek or Team Cybermen?

I’ve never been a fan of the Daleks, or scared by them. Whereas the Cybes in Earthshock really made an impression on me as a youngster.

Donna_and_the_Time_BeetleFavourite modern Who episode/episodes, and why?

Midnight and Turn Left are the two episodes where I pretty much loved the show as much as I ever have. That was the pinnacle of my love for Doctor Who. Two very different stories that tested the show’s format. And did so perfectly. I still cry at Donna’s Circle of Mirrors scene. An amazing score from Murray Gold.

If we fight like animals, will we die like animals?

Only if you overact.

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..?

Two words. One is Female. The other is Doctor.

PLUG SOMETHING YOU CAPITALIST PIG:

Book. DVD. Website. Pigs.

Writers Overdue a Return

Moff Gat

 

Some writers, like Mark Gatiss or Gareth Roberts, seem to be almost permanent fixtures. Others, like James Moran, or Barbara Clegg, seem to pop up only to be quickly left behind. In this post I thought I’d single out six Doctor Who writers (3 new series, 3 classic) that since writing ace Who stories for your telly-box have been left in the shows wake; writers that I would love to see work on the TV show once again.

 

Marc PlattMarc Platt

‘Ghost Light’ featured in the classic runs final season. If you’re a clever, sexy sort, it’s one of the finest Who stories ever broadcast. If you’re a meanie with a hump and a butt for a face, it’s one of the worst things ever inflicted upon Who-manity.

Platt is still actively involved with Who, writing numerous Big Finish audio plays, including ‘Spare Parts’, a much-lauded Cybermen tale that was apparently the initial inspiration for ‘Age of Steel’. Why Rob Shearman was asked to write Dalek for the show, which was inspired by his own Big Finish audio ‘Jubilee’, and yet Platt was not is something you’ll have to ask RTD. (You have that sort of relationship with Davies, yes?)

 

0_Rona_Munro_HeadshotRona Munro

Munro wrote ‘Survival’, the final story broadcast during the shows classic run. She has since gone on to have quite the lauded career, writing numerous plays and films, including such gritty fare as Ken Loach’s ‘Ladybird, Ladybird’. She seems to have shied away from fantasy and sci-fi since her brief dalliance with Who, but I’d still love to see her brought back into the fold to see what more she’s now capable of.

Also, if Moffat calls her up, he’ll increase the number of female writers used in his era by 100%. Which would be nice.

 

AaronovitchBen Aaronovitch

He wrote ‘Remembrance of The Daleks’! The moment the Classic show took a sudden lurch upwards in quality again.

He’s currently pumping out a rather fine series of novels that focus on Peter Grant, a police officer who also happens to be an apprentice wizard, fighting all manner of weird and magical beasties on the streets of London.

 

Robert_Shearman 

Robert Shearman

‘Dalek’ was the first 100% classic story broadcast in the first season of New Who. No farting aliens or burping bins to get past, just pure excitement.  Since then we’ve had precisely zero new episodes from the man who wrote it. I can only assume that this has mostly been his own choice, as why the heck wouldn’t you bring him back? But come on RS, get to it again!

 

Matt_JonesMatt Jones

‘The Impossible Planet’/’The Satan Pit’ is one of the stand out stories broadcast during the Tennant era. Thrilling, dark, even a bit on the scary side, so you’d expect it’s author to be a shoe-in for a return, right? Nope. Since that one story in season 2 of New Who, Matt Jones has been absent; in fact, checking his IMDB page, he doesn’t seem to have done much TV writing at all since, mostly focusing on producing the likes of ‘Shameless’ and ‘Skins’. I think this is a great shame, as he showed with his one Who story that he was a writer worth another look.

 

Paul_cornellPaul Cornell

‘Human Nature’. ‘Human Nature’. ‘Human Nature’. He wrote ‘Human shitting Nature’. Get the fucker back on board!

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have I missed anyone you think is due a comeback?