Daily Archives: Sunday, 10th Oct 2010

The Sarah Jane Adventures – Series 4

I don’t seem to have posted much about the Sarah Jane Adventures. It’s been running on Children’s BBC for a few years, and developing nicely. Each series has had six two-part stories, many of them written by people who’ve also done good work for Doctor Who, and featuring a mixture of new and old monsters. There have been guest appearances from David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and dear old Nicholas Courtney reprising his role as the Brigadier, which was quite lovely to see.

Anyway, no less than the fourth series is about to start on CBBC. It will be on Mondays and Tuesdays at 5:15pm. The Monday episode will be followed by something called Sarah Jane’s Alien Files, which should add some value.

The third series will be out on DVD next month.

The Doctor will be going to the strangest place ever…

Well, it’s a moderately long wait until the Doctor Who Christmas Special[1], but already we’re being given hints about the 2011 series. It’s already been announced that this will be split into two blocks – seven episodes starting in the Spring, ending with what we’re told will be a massive cliffhanger, then a bit of a wait before a return with six more episodes in the Autumn. This is, apparently a Cunning Plan by Mr Steven Moffat Sir, which gives him twice as many key episodes, and dodges the usual summertime ratings droop.  Or, as he puts it, it means that the wait for the next bit of Doctor Who becomes a bit shorter. It would be nice if BBC budgets and the laws of physics allowed for more than thirteen episodes in a year, but this split might just work….

But the new news is that the 2011 series will open with a two-parter set, and partially recorded in the US[2]. The story will be set in Utah in the late 1960s, and will involve the Doctor, Amy, Rory and the still mysterious River Song up to, well something.

And River Song is going to be very significant in the 2011 series. Mr Steven Moffat Sir has suggested that we’ll finally learn who she really is. And there’s still the little matter of the suggestion that Silence Will Fall, now that we’ve got over the Pandorica opening thing.

BBC News – Doctor Who series will begin in the Utah desert.

[1] Which is now completely and thoroughly traditional
[2] And there was me talking about the US-set, but Canadian-filmed TV Movie earlier today

Weight and Stuff Report – 10 October 2010

Dearie me, still heading upwards.

Here’s another picture from the Saltwell Park sculpture thingy. This one, called Origin, was cunningly concealed at one end of the main grassed area of the park. Unless you went right up to the bushes, you’d probably never have known it was there.

Origin

Origin

42 Day!

People all over the internet thingy have been getting quite excited about today’s date, which in both sensible and crazy furriner format is 10/10/10. Now it’s not that remarkable, as it happens every century. Next year we’ll have 11/11/11, and so on and so forth.

But today does have more significance. Because 101010 is the binary form of the number that is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. Yes, today is, as this helpful site points out:

42 Day

42 Day

And while we’re remembering Douglas Adams (as if we could forget), there’s some news on the forthcoming TV version of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. It’s going to be on BBC Four, apparently. Cast details from ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.

Doctor Who – The Movie (Special Edition)

As I mentioned when I muttered about the Revisitations box set, I’m going to give each of the DVDs its own post, as I get round to watching them. As each one comes with a moderately large collection of extras, this may take a while, as there’s some other stuff I need to watch as well.[1]

As I hadn’t seen the 1996 TV movie for quite some time, I decided to go for this one first.

The Story

OK, this one does take some liberties with series continuity. The Eye of Harmony has been moved from Gallifrey to the TARDIS, which makes little sense, the Doctor is half human[2], which makes no sense whatso-bloody-ever, and the Daleks get to execute the Master for his crimes and are quite happy for the Doctor, who they’ve never really seen eye-to-eyestalk with, to pop over to Skaro to pick up what’s left of him, which makes even less sense.

But if we ignore all that, we do have a story that works in parts. It’s got the Doctor arriving on Earth, regenerating, and having to fight off yet another of the Master’s Terrible Plans[3], and saves the world with the help of some newly-acquired friends. Compared with the classic series, it’s all a bit actiony and shock, horror, the Doctor kisses his companion! Now there’s something you wouldn’t see these days. Oh, wait…

There were apparently some reservations about having Sylvester McCoy appear for the regeneration scene, but personally I was glad to see him there before he regenerated into Paul McGann, who made a good first impression.

While this was made as a TV movie (due to the agreement with the part of Fox that was putting up loads of money), it was also intended as a pilot for a new series (due to the licence agreement the BBC insisted on). While it got a good audience in the UK, it failed to excite the US enough, and so it remained a one-off, and once again it looked like the end for the Doctor.

The Extras

But if you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with all that and you’re possibly wondering why you should by a new DVD when you’ve already got the one that came out in 2001. Well, here’s why. There’s loads of new stuff on here, which require a second DVD in the box. And some of them are well worth having:

  • The Seven Year Hitch – This is the most significant new feature. It’s a major documentary on how Philip Segal struggled to get Doctor Who back on screen. It gives an insight into the inner workings of both Hollyweird and the BBC. This was a project that very nearly didn’t happen several times, but despite numerous setbacks, Segal kept trying.
  • Who Peter 1989-2009 – More on the relationship between Doctor Who and the BBC children’s show Blue Peter.
  • The Wilderness Years – lots about the books, comic strips and audio dramas that kept Doctor Who alive during that slight[4] gap in the TV series. Good stuff.
  • Stripped for Action – the Eighth Doctor – given that slight gap, Paul McGann’s version of the Doctor remained in the comic strip in Doctor Who Magazine for a long time indeed. This tells the story of how those stories developed.
  • Tomorrow’s Times – The Eighth Doctor – Nicholas Courtney (yes, the Brigadier himself) presents a piece on how the press reacted to the TV movie.

And there’s lots more – effects shots, music bits, marketing information, and more. And in addition to the original commentary by director Geoffrey Sax, there’s a new one, recorded last year with Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy, moderated by voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs. I haven’t heard that yet, but it should be at least moderately interesting…

[1] I may talk about that later. Or not.
[2] On his mother’s side, apparently
[3] And I mean that in several senses of the word
[4] It just seemed like forever