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Why ‘Neverwhere’ Could be The Next Dr Who

never

Hey Who nerds!

Those fine peeps over at Digital Spy have tossed up an article of mine, looking at what else could fill the ‘Dr Who slot’ now ‘Atlantis’ has bitten the dust.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Why Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere Could Be the Next Dr Who

After the news that another hopeful heir apparent to the Saturday Night ‘Doctor Who’ slot, Howard Overman’s ‘Atlantis’, has bitten the dust, I thought I’d take a look at what the BBC should try next .

The Return of Saturday Night Family Adventure

Not so very long ago, the idea of an early evening adventure show on BBC 1, on Saturday night no less, that the whole family would happily sit down to enjoy was seen as impossible.  That time had passed, the audience was now too fragmented, there’s just no way you could get people from eight to eighty to all sit together and watch the same narrative show.

Then the BBC took a risk. With big swingers like writer Russell T Davies and BBC Drama Commissioner Jane Tranter fighting its corner, that old, dead TV legend ‘Doctor Who’ lurched back into life… and it worked. People of all ages tuned in, the viewing figures stacked up, and ten years later it’s still there.

Go here to read the rest; GO NOW:

Neverwhere

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The Night of the Doctor

Night
Well, it’s now 357 years (approx) since the worlds bestest TV show ever EVAH began: ‘The Adventures of Mr Who, Physician.’ Let’s take a peek at one of my fave parts of the 50th bash, the return of the 8th Doctor:

McGann Rugged

‘I’m a Doctor, but probably not the one you were expecting.’

Just look at him there, dashing and rugged enough to make a member of the Westboro Baptist Church question their sexuality. Now unfortunately, I had the surprise of Paul McGann’s return spoiled for me. The mini-episode was dropped without warning, I had no idea it was coming; only when I happened to click on a certain website and laid eyes upon a picture of McGann’s manly fizzog illustrating their main story, with the headline ‘Paul McGann Returns to Doctor Who’ to really spell it out for the hard of thinking, did I find out. So going into this episode for the first time, there was no surprise reveal, I already knew, but in the end, this affected my enjoyment of the short video not one jot.

Fans had gnashed their teeth in fury at Moffat, enraged that, apparently, it was going to be a modern Doctor’s only love-in for the 50th; and here Moffat swiped their legs from underneath them like the expert Troll prodder he is. I like to think he laughed for a full hour after it went out, picturing all those double chins dropping within the first minute.

McGann is often seen as the hard-done-by man of Doctor Who. I think most fans wanted to see him, for however long, back on screen as The Doctor. Opinions on his TV Movie tend to verge from ‘wuz alright’, to ‘WORST EPISODE EVAH’ (I’m a fan); but most seem to concede that McGann himself shone in the role immediately. With that potential series being put down before it had chance to find its legs (phew!), that seemed like it was going to be all she wrote for McGann as the 8th Doctor, Big Finish aside. But no, we wanted him back. He deserved it, we deserved it, and boy did it feel good to see him up there BEING the Doctor again! And with considerably less shit hair! And a real jazzy new set of togs, too! Loving those boots, Paul.

And McGann is so much the Doctor here, cheeky, dashing, petulant, clever, and willing to lay down his life without a moment’s hesitation to try and save the life of a complete stranger. Yes, this is The Doctor we know and love.

Mcgann wasn’t the only returnee though, as up rocked the Sisterhood of Karn, from Tom Baker classic ‘The Brain of Morbius’. I don’t think anyone was expecting that. Personally I would have preferred The Kandyman, but each to their own.

McGann Regenerates

‘Charley, C’rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly: Friends, companions I’ve known, I salute you.’

The amount Moffat squeezed into this short, short episode is quite something; and the amazing thing is that it doesn’t feel rushed. We’re introduced to a potential new companion in Cass, and off she and the Doctor run, hand-in-hand; what fresh adventures await? Then the whole thing turns on a dime and you realise she isn’t a potential spunky new cohort for the 8th Doctor, she’s the thing that’s going to bring about his end. And then! And then, resurrection, and the Sisterhood, and a shrugging off, finally, of the Doctor mantle as he accepts his role in the Time War; and at last – regeneration. The end of McGann, of the 8th Doctor, and a hello to the War Doctor. Six and a half minutes, people; this all happens in six and a half minutes. Moffat don’t mess about here, son.

And good golly, how can something with a sub-seven minute runtime be stuffed silly with so many quotable lines??

‘Bring me knitting!’

‘Because the front crashes first, think it through.’

‘Four minutes? That’s ages, what if I get bored?’

‘Yes, I’m a Timelord, but I’m one of the nice ones.’

‘The keepers of the flame of utter boredom.’

‘Physician, heal thyself.’

Mental. It’s up there with the likes of ‘City of Death’ for quotability.

Almost-Companion Cass makes a brief but memorable impression. She’s set up as a classic Who companion; she’s strong, sparky, willing to put others before herself. As she grabs the Doctor’s hand we want her to run with him right into that TARDIS and to go get into trouble; but then she stops. By setting her up as such a classic companion, having her then rather die than be saved by a Timelord shows us exactly how far the Doctor’s race have sunk; how despised they are. It speaks volumes for the acts they must have committed; something that is then barely touched upon in ‘The Day of The Doctor’. The Timelords shown there seem a pretty decent bunch.

Of course, this McGann niblet just made people go even more crazy, demanding a return, further web-episodes, an entire TV series even; but should that happen? Well, no, of course not. A full on return to our TV screens would probably not be advisable; though I think if Capaldi ever runs into another Doc in an episode, it should surely be McGann. Tennant’s had his return, Smith’s just gone, and there’s no way Eccleston’s slipping on the leather jacket again. No, get McGann back, let him strut his stuff in a multi-doc episode, then leave it there. Plus, for those of you desperate for more from the 8th Doctor, there’s already a lot of stuff out there. ‘The Night of The Doctor’ essentially made his Big Finish audio adventures cannon. Those audio episodes ARE the 8th Doctor series, so go pick some up and give them a whirl.

Moffat has given the world of Doctor Who many treasures over the last decade (let’s all ignore the introduction of the term ‘Timey-Wimey’, hey?), and ‘Night of the Doctor’, in my eyes, ranks way up there. It sits nestled, all short and tiny and perfectly formed, next to ‘Blink’, ‘The Eleventh Hour’, ‘The Empty Child’, ‘Listen’, and all the other classic’s he’s penned.

Now please, someone, anyone, bring me knitting!

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Listen: or ‘HOLY CRAP-ON-A-CRACKER, IT’S AMAZING-!’

Listen

Listen…

LISTEN

Good Lordy Lord. As I believe the kids would say, ‘I can’t even?!?!’

Ladies and gents, we have a new classic on our hands. For me, this is one of the finest episodes of modern Who. In fact, of all Who. After the credits rolled I actually had to stand and pace the room, my insides were juddering; this was something special. With this episode, Moffat once again confirms why, when he’s firing on all cylinders, he’s one of the very best writers Who has ever had. Perhaps even the best. Yeah, you heard me Holmes fans..! (Yes, yes, Holmes is bloody brilliantly amazing too, alright?! They’re both champs! Holding hands (perhaps kissing) atop Mount Who)  He can just make any surrounding episodes look resolutely ordinary.

‘Listen’ is all about fear; more specifically it’s about childhood fear, fear of the nothing, fear of the illogical, fear of the dark and what might be quietly waiting in there, looking back at us. Childhood fears can be irrational, imaginary, and grip like a vice. They can bubble up and affect us as adults, you never fully leave them behind, and in the Doctor’s case it seems it can actually shape who you are and how you choose to live. The Doctor became a man who rather than give in to fear, rather than spend his life crying in the dark, will make a point of leaping into shadowed corners waving a stick around, just to see what might come slithering out. He’s learned to refuse to let his fear debilitate him, for the Doctor fear is a superpower. In this episode he can’t quite accept that his fear is potentially irrational, that he may only be afraid of the imagined, and so tries to put a face (or tentacle) to his terror.

listen clara

Now this won’t be for everyone, because there’s no monster at the end to clearly identify, only the monsters of the mind (OR ARE THEY?! *WOOOOOOOO…!*). No CGI or rubber creature to pull into the light and dispatch, the monster exists in the Doctor’s imagination (OR DOES IT?! *WOOOOOO….you get the idea). ‘Listen’ is basically an exploration of the Doctor’s psyche, into just what makes him tick. What makes the Time Lord scared? What makes him jump into the dark to see what’s there? This is absorbing, brave stuff for Saturday night family entertainment. Despite the fact Who fans like to trumpet the elasticity of the shows format, when it actually does attempt to step outside of it’s usual boundries, a section of fans don’t like it (Hello ‘Love & Monsters’..!). Well TOUGH.

Many complain that there’s no clear resolution to the episode, was there a monster or wasn’t there? Perhaps there was. Perhaps there wasn’t. Perhaps there was one under that blanket, but not outside the door, or vice versa. But you’re missing the point. As I said, this is about childhood fears, the fear of the irrational, for that to keep its potency it must remain forever under the bed, forever in the closet, forever just out of view and shrouded from the absolute. Maybe it was all in the Doctor’s head. Maybe it wasn’t. But the FEAR was real, and will remain so.

OH! And the Doctor himself? He’s amazing, and brave, and wonderful…. and he was also a small boy, alone in his bed, crying because he was afraid of the dark. What a wonderful thing to show children watching this show, that there’s nothing to be ashamed of, even a man as marvelous as the Doctor once wept whilst curled up alone and frightened in bed.

‘Listen’; it’s creepy, thought provoking, moving, clever, funny: in short,  it’s the very best of Who, and I love it. 

listen dan

So what did you think of Listen? And did you fall for it as hard as I did?

@DoctorWhoThing

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Underrated Matt Smith Era Stories

doctor-who-hitler

Those cool cats over at Cult Box have posted another article of mine, this time looking at underrated Matt Smith era stories (maybe you didn’t get that from the title). Here’s a sneak peek:

There are several justly celebrated stories nestled in Matt Smith’s time as the Doctor: people love ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, they foam at the mouth over ‘The Eleventh Hour’, and they positively fall down and have a joy-fit when ‘The Day of the Doctor’ is mentioned; but what about some of his other stories? The stragglers? The forgotten? Or even the downright despised? Here’s my little list of 7 underrated Matt Smith stories:

Beast Below

The Beast Below

It came hot on the heels of ‘The Eleventh Hour’, one of the very finest debut stories for a new Doctor and, for me, an all time classic.  Beast is seen by many, Moffat himself included, as something of a stumble. Now look, I’m not saying it’s perfect, I know there are several things that just don’t seem to make any sort of sense, but there’s something about this story that just does ‘it’ for me. For whatever reason I get a real Seventh Doctor era vibe off it, and that’s never a bad thing. Oh, and it’s also completely insane. A whole city riding on the back of a giant space whale? That is proper bonkers, but, for me, it works.

Okay! To read the rest, head on over:

Underrated Matt Smith Stories


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Doctor Who Reaction Vids

Reaction

Watching videos of people watching Doctor Who. What fresh insanity is this? Why do people make these vids and upload them to Youtube? Why do I watch them? Why are they so addictive?!

It seems absurd, the very idea of this strain of Who vid not only existing but that so many people make them and watch them, but since discovering the trend a few months back I’ve been eagerly hoovering up the best of them. Even watching some of them multiple times. I may be brain sick. But gosh darn it, they’re fun and moreish. Seeing people thrill to something you love is just FUN.

If you are going to delve into this weird and wonderful world, then here’s one to wet your whistle, the ChiqueGeeks latest offering, ‘reacting’ to ‘Last Christmas’. Enjoy (?).

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This Weeks Top Posts

tardis-blueprint.jpg

HEY!

What a week it’s been. Stuff happened! All sorts of stuff. You remember? Yeah. Here’s some of the site’s top posts this week, get clicking!

That’s yer lot. Have you spotted anything cool or interesting in the world of Who..?..? Let us know!

Laters you total Who Nerds.

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12 Things We Want To See in Season 9

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I’ve written a wee article for those bunch of nerds over at Cult Box, looking at 12 things I’d like to see in Season 9. Well. I only wrote 11, they added the 12th.

So thanks very much to them, and here’s a sneak peek at the list:

Female Writers

WELL FINALLY..! The news recently broke (after her agency added the info to her credits) that Torchwood writer Catherine Tregenna would be writing an episode of season 9. Yes, an actual lady-woman writing an episode of Who, the first during Moffat’s time in charge, the first since Helen Raynor’s Sontaran two-parter in season 4, and only the second female writer since the show returned ten years ago. If this turns out to be correct (and we have had writers announced whose episodes slipped through the cracks before) then this is obviously ace news.

Yes, yes, what matters most is the quality of the writer, not which sex they happen to be, but come on, one female writer in ten years looks terrible and reflects badly on the show. Tregenna writing an episode for season 9 is a step in the right direction. A quarter of season 8 being directed by women was a step in the right direction. Let’s hope there are a few more steps in that direction to come soon.

More Jamie Mathieson

Well this one’s a no-brainer. A new writer to Who and he knocked out two acclaimed episodes (‘Flatline’ & ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’) right out of the gate. Many were even anointing Mathieson as Moff’s heir apparent, which is perhaps a little quick on the draw, but you can certainly see why he excited so many. It’s rare to see a writer other than Moffat have not one, but two stories in quick succession so highly thought of. For me, ‘Mummy’ was only beaten by ‘Listen’ as the finest episode of the season, so surely he must be in line for a quick return?

To see the rest, head on over to the article at the nifty Cult Box:

12 Things We’d Like To See

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