Tag Archives: Doctor Who. BBC

Do you ever look in the mirror and think, I’ve seen that face before?

Where do you start with “Deep Breath“? That’s the question isn’t it? The début of Mr Peter Capaldi as the famous Time Lord finally hit our screens on Saturday. Of course, for many out there the episode was already available thanks to Marcelo Camargo and his lackadaisical approach to keeping his copies of the episodes safe.

With a new Doctor comes a mix of emotions, ranging from excitement to  trepidation and sometimes even denial (fangirls and David Tennant/Matt Smith anyone?)
The main thing that always swirls around my head however is just happiness that the show is back. Aside from the 9 years between the Eighth Doctor and the Ninth Doctor, eight months is the longest we’ve had to endure a Doctor Who free television while waiting for the new Doctor to hit our screens since the show returned (unless of course your head canon counts Rowan Atkinson as the real Ninth Doctor).

When the episode started I’m sure that many people around the globe inhaled for the titular “Deep Breath”. With Capaldi’s first appearance in the episode I’m sure many people, as I did, exhaled with joy upon realising that The Doctor was here.

Without spoiling the episode for those who haven’t yet seen it (Why the hell have you not?) there are a few things I want to commend.

First of all there’s the seriousness that instantly comes from Capaldi. Even when he’s inserting the humourous tones he still exudes a serious vibe, of course that was expected.

Secondly there is the dynamic between Clara and The Doctor. Whilst I had no doubt about how well they would work together, there were doubts thrown about by others. Especially after the fantastic chemistry that Jenna and Matt had previously. For me, the restaurant scene with Capaldi and Jenna was the perfect example of how well these two will work together this season. I did feel a very strong “Four and Sarah Jane” vibe from them at certain points throughout the episode.

Thirdly, the man on the phone. It’s such an obvious thing to do to bridge the two regenerations but why it has never been done before now is the question. While it does sort of spoon feed the audience that “this is the same man” it was a wonderfully written scene.

Another side note is that it was great to see the husband of the late great Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) on screen in Doctor Who once more. For those of who missed it, Brain Miller portrayed the tramp that the Twelfth Doctor had a rather wonderful interaction with.

There is one thing that I’m not too sure on however and that’s the new title sequence and theme song. It’s too early to tell whether or not it’ll grow on me because I’ve always been the same with new arrangements of the theme. This version of the theme reminded me of the McCoy era, I wasn’t too keen on that version either so perhaps that’s why I don’t like this one.

The main thing is that Doctor Who has returned. After 241 days of waiting we have the new Doctor firmly on our screens. Roll on next week with the Daleks.

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One Less Gruff Billy Goat

The idea of fairy tales is one full of intrigue and mystique, almost all of us will have read a fairy tale at some point in our lives and without question every one of us knows of a fairy tale character. With the smallest amount of legerdemain the entire premise of a story can change, heroes can be either unlikely children or charming princes, villains can be witches or trolls. The possibilities within fairy tales are endless and the message is always one of hope.

The very first fairy tale that I can remember from my childhood was ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. The premise is that three goats, discovering that where they live no longer has any grass for them to eat, set out to find new pastures so that they can become fat. However, their journey must take them across the river, where dwells a troll under a bridge. The first goat passes over the bridge but gets stopped by the troll who threatens to “gobble him up” (gobble him up is one of those lines that makes me laugh for no apparent reason) however the goat persuades the troll to wait for the second goat because he’s bigger and more of a meal so the troll lets him pass. The second goat comes along and the same thing happens as before and so then the third goat enters. I’ll stop it there, because I think that most people know how ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ ends, if you don’t then go and Google it.

Of course all fairy tales end with the standard “happily ever after” although recently I read “Arabian Nights” which is a collection of Asian fairy tales and they end with “they all lived happily until there came to them the One Who Destroys All Happiness” which I found odd yet poetic. ‘The One Who Destroys All Happiness’ meaning Death, the Grim Reaper as he’s also known. I was slightly taken aback at first, here were some fairy tales full of hope and suddenly they were cementing the fact that nobody lives “happily ever after” because death catches up to everyone.

The very first fairy tales are attributed to Aesop who lived in Ancient Greece around 620–564 BCE (slightly before our time I imagine). The power of fairy tales is so strong and so resilient that over two thousand years later some of Aesop’s’ tales are still being told to this day. I’m sure you will have heard of at least one of them, the main one that I can think of right now is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. That story became so popular that two hundred years after it was written it became one of Zeno’s paradoxes (Google them, extremely interesting and thought provoking, the Arrow paradox is my personal favourite)

The Brothers Grimm famously wrote some of the most celebrated fairy tales in our history. Two German brothers, who were academics and even lexicographers, crafted some of the worlds greatest imaginary and magical characters. Although The Brothers Grimm did centralise their fairy tales on more darker hues they still resonated through the years with so many different people, even psychologist who felt the need to analyse them.

The fairy tale is an escape from reality, like most forms of entertainment. I do believe however that fairy tales give more power to the reader and open the imagination slightly more than any other form of literature and I’m saying that as an avid science-fiction fanatic. Whether it’s something written by Alexander Afanasyev or Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tales have the power to take you to a place where good almost always wins. The fairy tale is a door to the unknown world of endless possibilities where life feels good, Walt Disney realised that and that’s why he cashed in on so many popular fairy tales.

Nowadays people don’t write fairy tales, it’s somewhat a thing of the past which saddens me. My Dad used to make up fairy tales for me each night and they always made me so happy. They were tales of a young boy called Billy who lived in a house with a green roof. Billy went swimming with sharks and had magic powers, he loved ice cream and was my hero. My Dad doesn’t remember how any of those stories went and I was too young to retain the proper memories of them which is a crying shame because I would love to remember them in full.

The power of fairy tales will live on because they should live on. Albert Einstein once famously said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Can anyone really disprove that? Fairy tales are more than just true and not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. Every fairy tale has meaning and every single one is based on the same idea, the idea that peace and happiness can exist no matter what stands in your way.

“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.”Charles Dickens

Back to business…

For just over a month this blog has sat in silence, not a peep, not a hint of anything new. There are a number of reasons for this, the main one being that in my mind I am either in one of two moods. The first one is where I have too much to say and so could write for days on end, compiling novels from my thoughts. The seconds is where I have nothing that I deem interesting to say, no matter how hard I try to string words together they just aren’t interesting enough to write. For the first two weeks of this blog being quiet, I was in the latter mood. I could not think of anything worth writing, and as much as that is one of my two moods, it’s a very rare occurrence. I never find myself struggling to write or indeed come up with ideas for something to write. I have however returned to write down the inner workings of my mind, for you to read, whether you find it enjoyable or not is a different matter.

With Doctor Who off of our television screens, I often find myself at a loss of what to watch. I have my usual light viewing shows such as Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (which is a new addition) and The Walking Dead. I do find myself lacking that “addictive” viewing that I get during the series’ of Doctor Who, that is until January comes around and the road to Wrestlemania begins. I suppose that my childhood obsession with wrestling will always be with me, I figured that if I reached 25 and was still interested in it then it would be a lifelong thing. I’m well past 25 now and it still excites me, especially between January and April when Wrestlemania rolls around.

Last night I watched “Insane Fight Club” which followed the Glasgow wrestling promotion “Insane Championship Wrestling”. I’ve not been to an ICW show in just over a year and it pains me that I haven’t been but something always comes up and I can’t make it. However last nights show proved what I’ve been saying for years ICW are on their way to the top.

I read yesterday that Kevin Smith is to return to writing comics, this time for a Batman meets Green Hornet 12 issue run. For me, two of my favourite comic book story arcs have been written by Kevin Smith – the Daredevil arc “Guardian Devil” and the Batman limited arc “Cacophony” so hearing that he’s returning to write another arc is exciting.

Speaking of Kevin Smith, today the Jay and Silent Bob UK Tour was announced. I have to say that I’m extremely disappointed that Scotland isn’t on the tour. It’s something that happens regularly with touring acts, they announce a UK tour but leave Scotland out. It gets frustrating after a while and eventually it will get to the point where I stop caring.

This years seems to be passing by far too fast, something that isn’t new. Every year passes fast but as year arrives they seem to disappear quicker than the one previous. It reached a point the other day where I started looking back at previous years and thinking to myself “that was 16 years ago” or “that was 20 years ago, it only feels like 2 years”. It’s scary how quickly time passes, soon it will be gone and I’ll be a decrepit old man roaming around the streets talking to myself about the days when Ipods and Ipads were popular.

On a final note, as most people will know I’m not the mst patient when it comes to waiting for American shows to air over here (I can’t even wait 19 hours for the Walking Dead) so it should come as no surprise that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is always on my Wednesday morning “to do” list. This weeks S.H.I.E.L.D was an excellent episode. I love anything with Asgardians, the trouble these days is that with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I was worrying that Thor would be the only one to get any sort of exposure and so it was great to see Lady Sif and Lorelei this week. Lorelei has always fascinated me as a character and seeing her brought to life was brilliant.

Geez some haggis doll….

This year is a big year for Scotland. We have to make a decision on whether or not we become an independent state. I don’t get involved in politics for one simple reason…….it’s a corrupt society. In all honesty up until about 10 minutes ago I was undecided on how I would vote.

Instead of delving into a plethora of “for and against” arguments, I’m just going to leave this picture here……the picture that helped me make up my mind.

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So many episodes.

This year I set myself the challenge of watching every available episode of Doctor Who including the reconstructions of missing episodes. I first had the idea back in February and decided that I wanted to be finished by November 23rd, in time for the 50th Anniversary episode. A total of 701 episodes resulting in many many hours in front of the television with some Irn-Bru and the occasional baked potato.

My first experience of Doctor Who was when I was a tiny little boy no more than 4 or 5, I was visiting my Nana and Papa and I think if I remember correctly it was my Papas idea to watch it. As clear as day I still remember that VHS case coming out and within a couple of minutes the titles for Sylvester McCoys “Curse of Fenric” flying across the screen. Men in a raft opened the show, the mist rolling across the water as they made their way into a cave at the side of the ocean, what was this I was watching? Moments later, she appeared, the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in the form of Sophie Aldred. 5 years old and I knew I wanted her as my girlfriend. From that moment on I was hooked. I watched as much as I could when I could, from VHS recordings straight from the television that my Papa had in abundance and shop bought VHS’s from John Menzies (who remembers that shop?)

Sylvester McCoy was my introduction to the series and when I discovered Patrick Troughton my little fanboy heart fell in love. I’ve not stopped watching since that first VHS. Then for the first time in 1996 I got to watch a brand new Doctor Who with the rest of the world. Paul McGann was bringing the Doctor back and I was elated. I remember sitting in front of the television, legs crossed, eyes fixated as my hand dipped in and out of a giant bag of crisps. Doctor Who was back and who knew maybe it would stay? I hoped it would, like so many others I loved this show. Alas it didn’t come back and once again it disappeared into the void. I think that it was around this time that I started reading some of the novels, personally I don’t think I would have been given them had it been known what was contained in some of the writing. Some of the graphic nature contained in those novels definitely wasn’t suitable for anyone under the age of 18 but I didn’t care it was a Doctor Who fix for me, the Doctor was still going on adventures and I still knew about them.

In 2005 when the show came back I was like a giddy schoolgirl. I waited and waited, when the episode “Rose” leaked online a couple of weeks before hand I resisted, I wanted to enjoy it with everyone else as much as I was tempted I managed to refrain. By the time the end credits rolled on the 26th of March 2005 I was over the moon. Christopher Eccleston was ‘fantastic’ and even Billie Piper had won me over. The new TARDIS interior? Wow I was impressed, even the Autons were back. I had just witnessed the most triumphant return I had ever seen.

This year, 701 episodes, a good few Big Finish audios and a couple of novels and I think it’s safe to say I’ve had my fair share of Doctor Who in 2013 and I can’t get enough. I just finished watching “Inferno” which now leaves me one more serial to watch and I’ve watched every episode in the space of ten months. I decided I would watch the Curse of Fenric last, after all it was my first and I’m a romantic at heart.

In 15 days I along with the rest of the world will sit in front of a screen and watch the Day of the Doctor, the 50th Anniversary episode and I am so looking forward to it. On top of that the BBC is throwing a ton of shows at us in the next two weeks to celebrate and I’m just happy that I can continue my Doctor Who fix.

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Doctor Who – Top Ten Episodes

Choosing your top ten Doctor Who stories is a pretty tough job, with 239 television stories to choose from it gets rather difficult. Choosing number 10 is always easy, it’s always that episode that you know should be in your top ten but you don’t love it that much and choosing your number 1 is easy because that’s just your all time favourite story. Choosing numbers 9  through 2 is quite another story. The other problem you face is that there’s ten to choose and currently 11 Doctors which ultimately means you’re going to leave at least one Doctor out (unless you choose a multi-Doctor story, but lets be honest are any of them top ten worthy?) It’s a difficult task and one which should not be taken lightly, after all a top ten list on the internet is set in stone. Once I choose this top ten, it will be a reference point for anyone wanting to quiz me on my favourite Doctor Who episodes.

I did debate with myself whether or not to choose any Big Finish stories in this list and decided that I should probably leave that for another list so as not to confuse people who’ve never heard a BF story, the same goes for novels. So without further ado, here is my top ten Doctor Who Stories.

 

TEN – The Doctors Wife

I really really wish I could put this higher up my list, it has Neil Gaiman writing it and he is by far my favourite author. Not to mention we get a new enemy and someone who, for a while, you truly believed could put an end to the TARDIS. Matt Smith utters one of his best lines as the Doctor when House tells him that he’s “killed hundreds of Time Lords”  Matts line? “Fear me, I’ve killed them all” it doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, that line still gives me a chill. All in all a very deserving number ten.

 

NINE – The Time Warrior

The introduction of Sarah Jane Smith to the TARDIS. I could really just leave it like that couldn’t I? Truth is that there’s so much more to this story than just the debut of Sarah Jane, there’s also the introduction of the Sontarans in one of the best reveals of the classic series.  The end of part one sees Linx take of his helmet and turn to the camera revealing a hideous alien who was just terrifying. I remember watching that on VHS when I was younger and being terrified and to this day it still hold that little bit of terror for me. Jon Pertwee at his best.

 

EIGHT – An Unearthly Child/100,000 B.C

Where it all began. 1963 introduced the greatest television show in history to the world and it all started here. Totters Lane, a policeman, a grumpy old man, a teenage girl and two teachers. I rarely see this in a top ten list and I can understand why, it’s in black and white and the production values are extremely low but I love it. I can definitely count it amongst my most watched Doctor Who episodes ever. Back then we had a completely different show, there were no Time Lords, no Gallifrey no mythology. Everything was just brand new and exciting, nobody had any idea that 50 years later we would still be watching this show and that it would have such an incredible history to it. The plot for this serial is genius, I love it. It’s always a tie between this and The Aztecs when I want to watch some good old Hartnell.

 

SEVEN – The Ultimate Foe

A controversial one I know, how many people would put a story from Trial of a Time Lord on their top ten? Well I just did! Why? It’s easy, overall TOAT was poorly written and wasn’t strong at all no matter how you look at it. Aside from this being Robert Holmes final script which sadly he passed away half way through writing, I really think that this gave Colin Baker a fairly decent final story, although nobody knew at the time that it would be his last. When people think of Colin Baker it’s fair to say he gets a lot of flack but ultimately it was more the writing of his stories that made his run so miserable. In my opinion  this was as good as it got with the Sixth Doctor. Let the abuse begin for where I’ve ranked it but for me it nailed it. The revelation of who the Valeyard is, the return of the Master, the creepiness of being inside the Matrix, some of the paradoxical stuff we were thrown. It has all the makings of a classic and for me it just is.

 

SIX – The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances

Moffat haters calm down. I think we can all agree that this was the pinnacle of Christopher Eccleston’s series. It took us to the second world war, introduced Captain Jack, had some truly terrifying moments with those damn gas masks and “Are you my mummy” still creeps me the hell out.  This is an story about the consequences of peoples choices and I thought it was perfectly written and the acting just nailed it for me. This was when Christopher Eccleston became the Doctor in my eyes.

 

FIVE – Human Nature/Family of Blood

“Here Russell, what do you want me to do with my episodes?” – “Erm, how about you turn the Doctor human?” – “Won’t that piss of the fans?” – “Do it so he’s only a pretend human”
That’s sort of how I imagine the conversation going between Russell T. Davies and Paul Cornell when planning Series 3. Of course Paul Cornell had written the 1995 novel “Human Nature” which the story was adapted from so I know the conversation didn’t go like that, but it’s nice to imagine. Weird that for me, I think that David Tennants best story as the Doctor is the story where he’s not actually playing the Doctor. I could have put Blink in here and truthfully I love Blink but it’s just not one of my top ten. Human Nature and Family of Blood just nail it for the tenth Doctor, scary ass Scarecrows, the girl and the balloon is something from the nightmare of a child and Baines is one creepy little man. A great resolution as well and one that sort of sticks a tiny lump in the back of your throat.

 

FOUR – The Caves of Androzani

A man in a gimp suit and Peter Davisons swan song. It’s both heart wrenching and slight funny at the same time. Sharaz Jek just cracks me up every time I see him but when you delve into the story he’s a very complex character. When I first saw him I thought this was going to be it, this is going to be the man that kills the Fifth, he’ll do something truly evil and kill him…………..if you haven’t seen it yet I won’t spoil it. There is a great scene ( I think anyway) with Peri and Jek. It’s often rated as one of the top Doctor Who stories and who would disagree with that? It’s just a shame that Peter Davison’s run wasn’t more like this because then it would truly have been brilliant.

 

THREE – The Enemy of the World

Oh how I leaped for joy last month, when the BBC announced that they had found and were about to release The Enemy of the World. My excitement level went through the roof, my heart started racing and my palms were sweating. I had heard the audio tracks and saw the one episode that was remaining but I had been waiting years for this. It immediately goes in at number three because it’s Patrick Troughton at his best. A dual role and a fantastic performance as both Salamander and The Doctor. Patrick Troughton is my Doctor and finally getting to see this work of art was like all my Christmases coming at once.

 

TWO – The Deadly Assassin

You give me anything that adds to Time Lord mythology and I’ll just lap it up. If you’re looking for a story that really bulks up on that mythology then you can’t do any better than The Deadly Assassin. The Master, The Matrix, a dead President, regeneration limit and more. This episode truly added to the essence of Doctor Who. It’s Goth feel was fairly typical of the stories we were getting back in the days of good old Tom Baker and it was just fantastic.

ONE – City of Death

My all time favourite Doctor Who serial. It never moves from this top spot and many contenders have tried to knock it off. Romana II is my ultimate companion, if I could have any companion round for a Sunday roast it would be her. I just wish that I had gotten to see Romana II and Troughton together. Alas Romana did her travelling with Tom Baker and this story is just the best I’ve seen. Appearances from John Cleese and a tremendous cast ensemble. A perfectly written story with a good few twists and turn thrown in. Some great cliffhangers, some amazing one liners and the Jagaroth! The Jagaroth are amazing and I wish that somehow they would come back into the modern day series. Scaroth just blows me away and the ending is nicely suited. Duggan! Duggan is the single greatest character ever written for this show that wasn’t a companion, he loves to hit things and he’s just hilarious. City of Death is my number one and it deserves it without a shadow of a doubt.

 

So there it is, my top ten Doctor Who stories. Sadly Sylv and McGann didn’t make it into the top ten and it’s not because I didn’t want them there because I love them both. It’s just that McGann only had one on screen story and lets face it, it wasn’t great (his acting was spot on but the story itself wasn’t) and Sylv just didn’t have a story for me that sits in the top ten. Remembrance of the Daleks just sits outside at number 11. Not long now until Day of the Doctor and perhaps, just maybe it will take one of these top ten spots.

The age old question………

When speaking about Doctor Who amongst friends there’s always one question that comes up. The answers are always interesting and varied. The question is of course “Who is your favourite Doctor?”

For some it’s Tom Baker, without a doubt the icon of the Classic Series and possibly Doctor Who as a whole. A 7 year run as the Time Lord with various companions, a variety of stories and of course the Key to Time arc. Baker was the essence of Doctor Who for so many years and his following hardly wavered after his subsequent departure from the show that transformed him into a household name.

For others, they’ll say that their Doctor is David Tennant. DT’s recent trip in the TARDIS arguably took Doctor Who to heights that wasn’t dreamed of when it was recommissioned back in 2003 and returned to the screen in 2005. Taking over from Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant is commonly voted as the most popular Doctor in polls by fans all across the world.

Many people will tell you that their favourite Doctor is William Hartnell, the man who started it all. They might tell you that it’s Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Eccleston, Jon Pertwee or even Paul McGann with his very short screen time but with his amazing audio adventures. Or they could be swayed in the direction of the more recent incarnation of Matt Smith who without a doubt has brought a crazy and childish persona and made it work in such a wonderful way.

If you were to ask me that age old question however, I would tell you without any hesitation that Patrick Troughton is my Doctor. The original childish persona, the original crazy Doctor. His storys are fantastical and energetic and his portrayal of the Doctor opened the door to the possibilty of the 9 actors (soon to be 10) who followed him. He was the first regeneration and the greatest of them all. Getting to finally watch “Enemy of the World” only cemented that for me. I will argue until I am blue in the fact that Patrick Troughton is greater than any other Doctor and I will refute any evidence that you can show me that says otherwise. Tom Baker may have been the most iconic but without Troughton he wouldn’t have had that opportunity, none of them would have.

It’s an interesting concept, that the same character divides so many of us. A lot of people forget that essentially all those wonderful and talented actors were portraying the exact same man. So I suppose the question “Who is your favourite Doctor?” should be made redundant because technically there is only one Doctor it just so happens he’s had 11 different faces.

Lost but found

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So we got the announcement finally, 9 of the lost episodes of Doctor Who have been found. After 45 years The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World have been found. Personally I’m ecstatic about the finds especially The Enemy of the World. It’s a story I’ve been dying to see for as long as I can remember. Patrick Troughton facing off against…….Patrick Troughton? The excitement has been surging through my body since it was announced at midnight. 

The episodes are now available to stream on iTunes but I’m going against my better judgement and waiting for the DVD release in November. Why? Simple…

I am dying to sit down and watch them but I want the extras I want the documentaries and the full experience, I want the physical DVD so I can smell it when it comes through the post. I want to sit down, slip the DVD in the player, sit back and properly enjoy it. This isn’t like waiting for a new film to be released that you haven’t seen, you don’t have to worry about spoilers because I know exactly what the story is, this is simply getting to enjoy something that I’ve waited for for so long. 

The rumour is that there are more episodes to follow and who knows if that’s true or not, I’m just happy we’ve got we have. There are no doubt a plethora of happy fanboys today and I hope they’re lapping it up. 

Right now however, I’m going to go and put on The Green Death and watch as Jo Grant makes her exit from the TARDIS.