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Enjoying Doctor Who

12docs

I like Doctor Who. I enjoy watching it. I mean,  I really look forward to watching it. I go into each episode hopeful that it’s going to be a good one. Thinking about the show brings a little joy to my tired, battered little heart. It may not always be the ‘best’ show on TV, but it’s always my favourite. I watch because I love it. All of it. Oh sure, there are some eras I prefer over others, and I’m not blind to faults, but every season has good stuff in it. Even season 24.

I just fucking love Doctor Who.

I know, to some sections of Who ‘fandom’, those opening few sentences WILL NOT COMPUTE. Doctor Who is something they love part of. A show that they now endure because…. because…? Because there is that part of it they used to love. And they hope it’ll be just like it was again for that specially selected period of time. But a little heads up: it probably won’t be like that again. Not quite. It can’t be. It’s not just one thing this show, it’s been made by too many different people, people who must bring themselves to it. Who must steer the ship in a slightly different direction.

So some fans claim it as their favourite show, but because it won’t conform to their specific taste anymore, they feel like they are justified in ‘hate watching’. In identifying themselves as a fan, but then putting nothing but negative thoughts about the show out into the world. Retweeting others who share their opinion in an attempt to show they very rightness of their opinion. “Look! Look! Someone else on Twitter didn’t like it, therefore I am right and justified!”

I popped onto the festering boil that is Gallifrey Base (I know, daft of me) just to check something I already assumed would be true. For each of the two recent episodes, there are threads titled ‘General Praise’ and ‘General Disdain’; two guesses for with thread gets the most action? People want to moan. Pick at. Belittle. Pretend what they just saw was the worst abomination ever created. Nothing bad, or illogical, or underwhelming, or just plain shit ever went down on their show for the period they deign praiseworthy. But NOW? Fuck me, the show can do no right. It’s an end to end crap-heap.

What happened to the pure joy of sitting down to watch this daft, fun show?

Let’s be clear, just like in the 80s, there are people who consider themselves fans who would dance a delighted jig and laugh in the faces of people who watch if the show were to be cancelled. Because then that would somehow be proof that they were ‘right’. Not that Who doesn’t work for them anymore, but that it was objectively terrible. They point at the ratings joyfully each week and make claims of the audience deserting the show. They WANT the audience to desert the show. They’d rather the show died than carry on as something that has stepped outside of their own personal tastes. Selfish? Entitled? You betcha. They don’t enjoy the game anymore so want to take the ball home. Doesn’t matter that it’s not their ball and plenty of others are happily kicking it around.

Doctor Who fans can just be THE WORST.

I’d like to think if I ever became so curdled, I’d step away from the show, because why put myself through it? ‘Oh, the old if you don’t like it you shouldn’t watch it anymore argument. How shallow, how silly, how…’ SHUT UP. Watch it if you want. Complain and complain if you have to. But by gosh, it’s a strange way to want to carry on.

In our bid to poke at, critique, bash, highlight ‘problems’, and declare it imperfect, many of us forget to simply revel in the sheer joy of this daft, scary, goofy, bold, unique show. We think it’s more important to scold its imperfections, or decry it for failing to squeeze into the tiny mold we decide it best fits in. In our rush towards the disdain, we give short shrift to the praise. Too much ‘I want it to do this and it won’t’, and not enough taking the show as presented.

No, jerk, I’m not saying we should not critique the show. Just realise that Who not being exactly like you want it to be does not automatically mean it is terrible.

Now maybe I’m easy. There is no era of the show that I would ever put the word ‘Hate’ close to. All of it has moments to treasure. Stories to cheer for. Yeah, I even like BOTH the RTD era and the Moffat era. I KNOW! Incredible. I am a special and unique flower.

Watching Doctor Who should be fun. If it isn’t for you, then that sucks, but it can’t always be what you demand of it.

‘I just want my show back!’ Some of the slack-jawed miseries screech as they stamp their feet. Sorry, bub, but it’s not your show.

Oh, one more thing: I fucking LOVE Doctor Who! It’s often silly, often scary, sometimes it’s even brilliant. I hope I always have more joy than misery for it.

@doctorwhothing

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The MUST SEE episodes of Modern Who

10docs

Doctor Who has been back on our screen for ten years now (or more, really a lot depends on when you’re actually reading this) (For example, if the year is ‘now’ 2047)(Or 1937), and boy-oh-boy have we been treated to a wealth of ace new Who over that time. There have been a few brown smears here and there too (someone should really have a word with Mr Moffat when he brings up the name ‘Steve Thompson’ yet again), but they are far outweighed by the ace.

Recently there have been a lot of ‘Top Ten Episodes of Modern Who’ type lists. Only ten? These people are lightweights. I’m going to pick out the two must-sees from each season of modern Who. Plus some more tossed in on top.

Others have had their chance to point out what they claim to be ‘the best’, now here’s The Doctor Who Thing list. Which yes, MAKES IT DEFINITIVE. Take a peek, and if you rabble don’t agree, you can go straight to Hell. A Hell made of poo.

SEASON ONE:

9 and rose

The glorious return of Doctor Who! Many thought that nobody would be interested, that no one would watch, perhaps forgetting that the McGann TV movie pulled in a large audience when it was shown. Yes, okay, I was one of those worried that no one would watch, apart from you sad nerds, and me. STILL a super strong run. Sure, we had the Slitheen and burping bins to contend with, but it’s still one of the most satisfying seasons of new Who. And oh by gosh, how thrilling would it have been if they’d been able to keep that regeneration under wraps?

Dalek

POW!! As I may have mentioned elsewhere (I totes did), ‘Dalek’ was the first ten out of ten episode of new Who for me. I’d enjoyed all the eps before it, to a greater or lesser degree, but this was the first one to really blow me away. The fact the writer has not since worked on the show is a bloomin’ tragedy. How on Earth did the make those pepper pots a credible enemy?! By taking them seriously, and trusting the original design.

The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances

“Are you my Mummy?” The Grand Moff, smashing it for six first time out to bat. Before the series aired, I had serious doubts about Mr Moff being involved, but he proved me wrong immediately. Straight away he gave us something creepy that seeped into the public consciousness. Oh, and I like to think I have a strong stomach, but when Victor Meldrew began his transformation? My goodness but did it disturb.

SEASON TWO:

10 an rose

And so Tennant swaggers in, helping to stamp the shows place into many new viewers hearts. In retrospect, this season now feels a little like a slight wobble. It’s certainly the season that would sit at the bottom of any list of new Who seasons I were to make. That’s not to say it’s ‘bad’, or doesn’t contain its fair share of cracking episodes, but it feels slightly lesser compared to Eccs year, and fails to reach the highs we would get in the next two Tennant seasons.

The Girl in the Fireplace

Moffat’s first bit of ‘timey-wimey’. Clever, scary, and full of emotion (b-b-but Moffat doesn’t do emotion, RTD does!), this is a bit of a cracker and shows so much of what Who can do squeezed into one episode.

The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit

“The Beast and his armies will rise from the pit to make war against God”. Genuinely unnerving at times. A real sense of stepping into a terrifying place that must not be uncovered. Even the bloody Ood are great, in their first story. One of a very few stories that actually has the power to scare grown adults. Wonderful.

SEASON THREE:

10 martha

This season is probably notable for three main things, that the show would go on without Billie Piper just fine, the first appearance of the modern series defining new monster, The Weeping Angels, and the introduction, to new series fans, of the Doctor’s arch nemesis, The Master. AND OH MY GOD THAT MOMENT IN UTOPIA! THE WATCH! YANA! GAAAAHHHHHH!! Yes.

Human Nature/Family of Blood

Adapted by Paul Cornell from his own Virgin New Adventures novel, this is amazing, scary, emotional stuff. And boy, was Baines a terrific, creepy baddie. And that ending! The Doctor’s cruel punishments. Yes plz. Why has Cornell not been back since?!

Blink

“Don’t even blink.” The Weeping Angels take to the stage for the first time. Some quite like this one, so I’ve heard.

SEASON FOUR:

10 and donna

Tennant’s last season, and the return of Donna. This was my fave 10th Doc/Companion combination, and a nice freshening up of the relationship after the love story of the Doc and Rose, and the unrequited love of Martha. Two mates, travelling through time & space, fighting monsters.

Silence in the Library

“Spoilers”. I recall thinking the Donna season was  ‘fine’ up to this point. Oh, I was enjoying things, and loved the Doctor/Donna partnership, but this story really took things to a whole other level, as so often happens when Moffat’s name is up front as writer.

Midnight

Boy, a real belter this from RTD, delving deep into the ugly side of human nature and the pack mentality. And who knew a woman repeating what you were saying could be so shiver-some? I really like many of RTDs episodes, but it would have been great to see him dip into this well a few more times.

SEASON FIVE:

11 Amy

CHEAT TIME – This one gets three in recognition of it being THE BEST MODERN SEASON OF WHO.

Seriously.

It is.

I AM CORRECT.

What a glorious year for Doctor Who. This is when things could have gone completely tits up. RTD and Tennant had left the building. Would the show be able to survive? Uh, OF COURSE.  And so we got that Doctor, with those companions, the tone, the new Showrunner unleashed from single stories to run riot on a whole season; and it all rests upon the shoulders of three titanic stories:

The Eleventh Hour

It’s just beautiful. And the finest introduction story for a new Doctor ever. It just fills me with a giddy joy. The stakes were high with this one, new Doctor, new head writer, new producers, new companion, new, new, new. The opportunity for this to be ‘the great stumble’ were sky-high. Of course, they bloody nailed it. Amazingly so.

The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone

The best Weeping Angels story so far.

YOU: “Wait..! The best?! Wuh-Wuh-What about ‘Blink?!” *Puffs on asthma inhaler*

ME: “What can I say, I’m a sexy, handsome rebel.” *Puts on shades and revs motorcycle*

Yes, obvs, ‘Blink’ is amazing, but you know what..? I liked their second appearance even more. No, it doesn’t lessen the Angels. Hush now. It’s Moffat off the leash again, and I love it.

The Pandorica Open/The Big Bang

“We’re all stories, in the end.” STILL the best season finale we’ve had, this. God, but it’s thrilling, big, confident stuff. And I love how we go from the big, noisy, colourful Pandorica and its epic series of giant cliffhangers, to something that feels much smaller. And the Doctor, crumpled, by young Amelia Pond’s bed. Beautiful.

And to think that mixed in among these episodes were the likes of The Lodger, The Beast Below, and Vincent & the Doctor. Incredible stuff.

SEASON SIX:

DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11.2

Alright everyone, hows about you layoff season six, yes?! We cool?! This season comes in for some serious stick, and it’s easy to see why. It’s not, I would argue, because there are loads of dud episodes contained within, no, it’s entirely down to the heavy arc nature of the run. This is the risk you take if you have a heavy arc season. If the arc, for whatever reason, doesn’t quite satisfy, or doesn’t seem to stick the landing, the whole season is tainted by association. Because let’s be real and funky-fresh for a second: there is LOTS of very good Doctor Who in season six. Don’t let the squashed ending or lack of satisfying emotional follow through on the River revelation blind you to that.

But which are the two stand outs?

The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon

Remember when you watched the first episode of season 6 for the first time? BLOODY HELL! I was astonished, surprised and thrilled and had to watch it all over again as soon as it was finished. No one but Moffat can write Who like this.

The Doctor’s Wife

Neil FREAKIN’ Gaiman, yo. Good lord. This is a beautiful story. My fave moment? The end, the Doctor happily twirling around the console. THE FEELS. To have a talent such as Gaiman working on our little, daft show is incredible (and, uh, proof positive with his next story that even the greats can stumble and fall into a fresh, moist pile of bottom droppings).

SEASON SEVEN:

DOCTOR WHO BEHIND THE SCENES IMAGE

Season seven. Bit of an odd fish. Despite the Clara mystery kicking off right from episode one, it really does feel like two separate seasons. The Pond farewell tour, and The Impossible Girl series. And sandwiched in between, a Christmas special..! This can make season seven feel bitty, not a satisfying whole. Despite this lack of unity, there are lots of good episodes lurking within.

Episodes like:

Hide

Yeah, the happy sappy ending is a little disappointing (just let a scary-ass monster be a scary-ass monster already!), but otherwise this is a lovely, spooky thing. And those scene’s in the forest with the Crooked Man are creep-tastic.

The Name of the Doctor

That pre-credits sequence alone is worthy of a round of applause. The Doctor catching River’s hand, another round. That Hurt reveal, my hands are now starting to ache from all this clapping. It’s just good stuff, and sets us up wonderfully for:

50th Anniversary

50

The Night of the Doctor/Day of The Doctor/Time of the Doctor

There was so much room for disappointment with this one. Really, the chances of ‘failure’ were exceptionally high, Moffat must have felt immense pressure. And then he only went and pulled it off. (read what I had to say about ‘Night’ here) A glorious trio of treats. Yeah, I know some of you aren’t keen on ‘Time of’, but you’re wrong, dog-food face!

SEASON EIGHT:

12 & Clara Crouch

Season eight is remarkable. It’s remarkable because, eight full seasons in, it delivers perhaps the most consistent seasons since the shows return. And it’s also remarkable because it feels so different to the Matt Smith years, but is helmed by the same head writer. Somehow, with the introduction of a new Doctor, Moffat was able to shake up his game and deliver something fresh. Something with the flash and bang of his own run, combined with the focus on character and emotion that characterised much of RTDs run. Well I suppose this must have pleased many of those who loved RTDs run but constantly yak on about Moffat being the Devil who should be sacked immediately because fan entitlement, right? Ha-ha-ha-ha, no. Of course not. Because those people are nuts.

Deep Breath

I wrote about Capaldi’s first episode here, and my admiration for it has only grown with each new viewing.

Listen

IT’S AMAZING. Some people don’t agree. These people are clearly Koo-Koo. I love this story. It’s scary, exciting, beautiful, and more besides. In any list of my favourite Who stories, it would make a strong case for being number one. Go HERE to read me gush some more.

CONCLUSION:

There have been LOADS of awesome Who episodes. Far to many to make it onto this list. Oh, and that it’s quite clear I’m a shameless Moff fan-girl. SHAMELESS!

So these are the correct answers, but what would you put on your (probably (definitely) wrong) lists?

@DoctorWhoThing

Doctor Who Thing Facebook

pssssst: Out of the Specials year? Duh, it’s ‘Waters of Mars’, dummy!


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A Decade of ‘New Who’

Eccs

Well, I didn’t see this coming ten years back.

When Doctor Who first returned, my greatest fear was that it would immediately fail. I didn’t have any worries about the content, that I would dislike it, that it would be a big pile of TV-Poop, I just didn’t want to see it linger unloved for a season or so and then be  shuffled off-screen once again. Unloved. Unwatched. An embarrassment.  If that had happened, I don’t think we would have seen it come back for a long, long time. Perhaps not at all in my lifetime.

Of course, quite early on the announcement came that it was being commissioned for two further seasons, so I could rest easy. Whatever happened, I was getting three full seasons of new Who. Since that point, I’ve never felt the need to worry or obsess over the shows safety. There’s been no point where it’s failed to pull in a substantial audience and left itself open to questions about its future (whatever some dumb-dumbs might try to make you believe).

TEN YEARS. Which TV Shows last ten years? Especially on UK telly? Especially-especially UK sci-fi/fantasy?! It’s outlived three shows created to sit in its place during the off months, and still shows no signs of slowing down.

I was recently on top-dog Who podcast Reality Bomb discussing (badly) ten years of new Who, and I commented that the moment where the new series really bedded in for me, really made me feel like I was going to be all in on this newy-new version of my beloved show, was ‘Dalek’. There’d been tone issues for me once or twice before this point, ol’Burpry Bin, Cartoon-Plastic Mickey and farting Slitheen, but with ‘Dalek’ came an episode I wanted to hold tight.  It seemed perfect, and did what many thought impossible; it made the Daleks a credible threat to new viewers. It didn’t even try to radically overhaul them, it trusted the original design and instead just wrote a damn fine episode. (Also, the swiveling mid section, THAT WAS COOL AS HECK, why did they forget that so quickly?!) I enjoyed much of what came prior, but this was the first one to truly blow me away. And, of course, then we were treated to the likes of ‘The Empty Child’, ‘Fathers Day’ and ‘The Parting of The Ways’.

(Speaking of ‘The Empty Child’, if you’ve read any of this blog, or my tweets, then you may have been able to read between the lines and guess I’m something of a Moffat fan, but when he was first announced prior to season 1? NOPE. Oh, I enjoyed his comedy work, but I just could not understand how that guy was now writing for Doctor Who. The ‘Coupling’ guy? Mr ‘Chalk’?! Welp… what a dummy I am. From his first story, he knocked it out of the park, and is now way up there with my favourite Who writers. From ‘The Empty Child’ to ‘Blink’ to ‘The Eleventh Hour’ to ‘Listen’, he’s written some of the finest Who we’ve ever had.)

TEN YEARS..!..!

Sorry, still rolling that number around me bonce.

(Yes, this post is something of a ramble)

RTD, Eccs

So why has it managed to survive for so long? What were the early decisions that allowed a wide general audience to grab hold of our show again and hold it tight to their hearts?

Firstly, RTD really nailed what Who needed to become in order to thrive in the modern TV landscape. All of time and space, monsters, adventure, laughs and scares were all well and good, but you needed more than that. You needed characters that LIVED. Cutouts wouldn’t do, a lack of a real interior life, we needed characters we believed in, that had an emotional life and relationships that made viewers care. That made them invested in these crazy adventures.  RTD knew this and so we got a war damaged Doctor, and a companion in Rose that people could relate too, that had wants, needs, a disappointing life and, quite importantly, a family.

Many classic Who fans often derisively dismissed this fleshing out, the focus on the companions none-TARDIS life and family, as ‘soap’. These people should be avoided at all costs. 

Next, RTD made sure this was still a show for all the family. It would have been very easy to have made the show for adults, it’s probably what many classic Who fans would have done. It’s what I would have done. We’re all idiots. That would have been a HUGE MISTAKE. RTD knew this, part of the shows magic was that it was a show for everyone. Not just kids, not just adults, but all of us.

Well done RTD, you clever man.

My last high-five is to the man who sometimes feels like the half-forgotten man of Modern Who, Christopher Eccleston. When he was announced as the Doctor I was knocked for six. For so long the part had been seen as a bit lightweight, whenever names for new Doctor’s were raised in the press, they’d mention the likes of magician Paul Daniels and hairy lifeguard David Hasselhoff. They were mocking the role, basically. And then Eccs was announced, a serious, respected, ‘real’ ACTOR. This was a statement of intent. This show was not a joke, it was here to be taken seriously. I’ve no doubt that his involvement turned many peoples heads and allowed them to give the show a chance. He gave it some extra legitimacy.

Many bemoan the fact he left so swiftly, and seems reluctant to return, or even really talk about the show, but PHOOEY to them. He did what was needed, did it brilliantly, and we owe him a lot.

On that same podcast I mentioned earlier, I chose a defining moment in modern Who. No, it’s not from a Moffat story, I like other episodes and writers too, ya jerk. It’s from that first season. It’s the cliffhanger to ‘Bad Wolf’, the penultimate episode of the season. That exchange between the Doctor and a Dalek, that stirring, heart in mouth back and forth encapsulates so much of the show and of the Doctor. It’s a chaotic, brave man, willing to throw himself headfirst into the jaws of almost certain death without weapons or a plan in order to help out another. I’m not ashamed (okay, I’m slightly ashamed) to admit that I literally punched the air during it. I have not done so before or since. Because that reaction’s kinda weird. But yeah. This moment pulled it out of me.

TEN YEARS……….

Happy birthday Doctor Who. Still the best story world ever, ever.

Here’s to many more.

@DoctorWhoThing

Doctor Who Thing Facebook


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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