Tag Archives: doctor who

Doctor Who: Thin Ice

Before I start muttering, it’s only fair to include the traditional warning:

While I’m not planning to go into a lot of plot details, it’s likely that the random mutterings that follow will reveal some things you might prefer not to know if you haven’t seen the episode yet, so in my usual way, I’ll include this warning:

Here be spoilers!

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Doctor Who: Smile

So, here we go with the second episode, but before I start wittering, it’s only fair to say:

While I’m not planning to go into a lot of plot details, it’s likely that the random mutterings that follow will reveal some things you might prefer not to know if you haven’t seen the episode yet, so in my usual way, I’ll include this warning:

Here be spoilers!

Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Pilot

It’s been far too long since we had regular episodes, so it’s probably wise for me to revive this old thing:

While I’m not planning to go into a lot of plot details, it’s likely that the random mutterings that follow will reveal some things you might prefer not to know if you haven’t seen the episode yet, so in my usual way, I’ll include this warning:

Here be spoilers!

Continue reading

Doctor Who – The Power of the Daleks

This came as a bit of a surprise when it was announced. Just when we thought we wouldn’t be getting any more classic Doctor Who releases (especially after the frankly shoddy job done on The Underwater Menace), this happened.

In a totally unexpected development, somebody decided to spend some money and recreate a missing story in animation. We’ve had missing episodes given this treatment before, but this is the first time a whole six-part story has been given the treatment. As complete soundtrack recordings and “telesnaps” – photos taken of the transmitted shows – are available, this isn’t an unreasonable thing to do. It’s just a matter of economics – animation still requires a lot of work by skilled people, so it’s not a cheap option. This means that if they’re going to do it, they has to be some hope of, you know, people buying the results. Now there’s a hard core of fans who will buy every release, but for a decent financial return, they need to appeal to a wider audience, which probably explains why this particular story was selected for the treatment.

For a start, it’s got Daleks, which is always a good start for appealing to the more casual viewers. But it’s also one of the most important stories in the classic series. Following on from The Tenth Planet, which ended with the Doctor collapsing and transforming. This was the point at which the series established that it could go on, and on…

Of course, it all depended on the new start – could Patrick Troughton replace William Hartnell and keep the audience? Well, in hindsight it seems obvious – of course the Doctor can regenerate (not that the word was used at the time) and be the same but different. But back then it was a bold step.

The fun starts with the new Doctor and his companions Ben and Polly arriving on the planet Vulcan (no relation to any other planets of the same name you might have heard of), which has mercury swamps (nasty), a base (of the traditional kind), a mad scientist (ditto) and a mysterious alien capsule which contains Daleks, who start off in a non-traditional way, by being very nice and helpful (you might spot a link with Victory of the Daleks here, not least in the metal maniacs constant cry of

I am your ser-vant

Which was doubtless the inspiration for

I am your sol-dier

many years later.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Daleks if they were nice, would it? It turns out that they’re making a whole new army of psycho cyborgs who have a more familiar cry of

Daleks conquer and destroy!

and of course a sideline in

Exterminate!

The Doctor has to deal with that, the suspicions of Ben and Polly and the machinations[1] of the people in the base. Lots of fun all round, really.

This has been made available on the BBC Store (download service), DVD and the rather nice limited edition dual-format steelbox thingy. This contains the story in black and white (an more authentic recreation of how the original might have looked) and in colour (less authentic, but hey) on both DVD and Blu-ray (in very unauthentic widescreen high definition).

There’s a small selection of special features – a making of documentary, picture galleries and some surviving footage from the original serial.

Overall, this release is a Good Thing. Let’s hope it sells enough to make it worth recreating more of the missing stories.

[1] Nice word that, don’t think I’ve used it here before

Doctor Who: Good and bad news

First the good news: the new season of Doctor Who starts on Saturday 15 April (same date in the US, other countries will no doubt be confirmed later, if they haven’t been already.

This will be Peter Capaldi’s third season, and it’ll be sooooo good to have him back after the echoing void of 2016, when all we had was one (rather good, it has to be admitted) Christmas special.

Now, we already knew that 2107 would be Steven Moffat’s last year running the show, and that Chris Chibnall will be taking over in 2018. What we didn’t know until it was revealed last night was whether Peter Capaldi would be staying on – it had been reported that he’d been told the choice was his. And now we know: he’s leaving. This year’s Christmas episode will be his last[1].

I’ll be sad to see him go – I’ve enjoyed having a Doctor who’s older than me for a change, and enjoyed a Doctor with a nicely darker edge to him. Not to mention the guitar and the late lamented sonic shades.

But. With Peter leaving at the same time as Steven, this can only mean one thing:

Absolutely, dementedly, massively over the top season end and insane Christmas special

Yes, I think we can safely predict that star and showrunner are going to go out with a very big bang indeed, which means lots of fun stuff to look forward to this year.

It also means that new showrunner Chris Chibnall gets to do a clean start in much the same way Steven Moffat did in err, wait – what? – 2010? can it really be that long ago? Well, apparently so.

More in the link:

Peter Capaldi announces he will stand down as Doctor Who at the end of the year

[1] Subject to returns in any future multi-doctor stories, of course

Doctor Who – The Return of Doctor Mysterio

OK, no major spoilers, just the usual first reaction thingy.

Fun. Lots of major silliness, great gags, yet another fiendish alien invasion attempt, and a proper resolution of the last Christmas episode.

And for anyone having doubts about the return of Matt Lucas as Nardole, yeah, you were wrong.  He turns out to be much more than a one-note comic character, and I’ll be interested to see how he develops in the new episodes starting in the Spring.

A more detailed thingy may follow when I’ve watched it again. Depending on tuit supplies, as always.

Doctor Who – The Complete Ninth Series Blu-ray

Hold on, Les, I can hear the legions[1] of Losing it unicorns regular readers saying[2], hasn’t this been out for ages? Has your tuit problem got even worse?

Well, yes. This did arrive at Losing it HQ back in March. But there was a problem. This is the year of no new Who until Christmas, so I needed to ration it. If I’d watched this early in the year, the wait would have been far too much to tolerate. I’d probably have started twitching, or posting complete nonsense[5] or something.

But now the year is coming to a close, it was time to watch the set. And I have.

I’ve muttered about the episodes previously, so I won’t do that again, so this is more about the extras. Though I should point out that the ninth series is bookended by Last Christmas and The Husbands of River Song, making it a wee bit longer.

Anyway, there are commentaries on some episodes – a far cry from the days when we were treated to in-picure commentaries or at the very least a commentary for every episode, mutter. The previously online Doctor Who Extra shows appear here, giving the traditional behind the scenes stuff, along with a few extra films (some overlap of material here, mutter) and a few deleted scenes.

So, worth adding to your collection for some great episodes, extras not so significant. Maybe hang on until the price drops a bit…

[1] For an arbitrarily small value of “legion”
[2] Please note, I don’t actually hear voices[3], this is a literary device[4]
[3] Even when people are actually speaking to me sometimes
[4] Possibly a rusty one with broken springs
[5] Oh, OK. Fair point.

Classic Doctor Who News

And it looks like good news. No, they haven’t found a secret cache of tapes, but there will be an unexpected release. The Power of the Daleks is being recreated in animated form and will be released in November – initially as a download, with a DVD to follow.

This is an early Patrick Troughton story, long since wiped, and as the name suggests, has got Daleks in it, so it’s something to look forward to. If it’s a success, perhaps more of the lost stories will get the same treatment, which would be a Good Thing. Though I might need a larger shelf if they really get into it.

Full details here:

Doctor Who News: The Power of the Daleks

Andrew Cartmel – The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax

I have to blame Ben Aaronovitch for making me read this – he’s been quite happily plugging his friend’s book on Twitter. And, well, I have to say that drawing my attention to this excellent novel almost makes up for the delay in publishing the next Peter Grant book. Note that I said almost, Ben[1] – you’re not off the hook yet!

Andrew Cartmel’s name was familiar to me, of course. He was script editor of Doctor Who during the latter part of the Sylvester McCoy period, and is credited for something some fans call “The Carmel Master Plan”, though I seem to recall him denying there was any such thing. Anyway, he was definitely responsible for starting to make the Doctor a little bit more mysterious.

And talking of mysterious, what we have here is a rather nice mystery. And that’s leaving aside the little detail that unless I blinked and missed it, the hero doesn’t actually reveal his name at any point. Though he does acquire a nickname at a certain point in the story.

Our hero is a pretty much failed DJ with an obsession with jazz, a large record collection and two cats. He’s dragged into a whole new life when a business card he’d made on impulse some time before offering his services as the Vinyl Detective (you want an obscure record, he can find it, that sort of thing) turns up in the hands of a woman who arrives on his doorstep.

After a quick test in which he succeeds in not finding a non-existent record, he’s set the task of finding an obscure jazz recording. And that’s when it all gets interesting. For a start, there are others looking for the same thing, and they can get a bit rough (and we’re not just talking about sneakily outbidding you on eBay).

Wild adventures are had, complete with Dramatic Explosions, travel to multiple destinations! Gratuitous sex and violence (though fortunately not at the same time)! Confusion! Misdirection!

And above all, the question of why an obscure recording would be so valuable. What is the secret of the message written in the dead wax?

Well, I’m not going to tell you, you’ll just have to read it. It’s well written, manages to be funny and thrilling and has that “I’ll just read one more chapter” quality that kept me awake far too late.

There does seem to be a Cartmel Master Plan after all – there are two sequels lined up for the next couple of years. I’m looking forward to them.

[1] Not that I’m expecting Ben to actually read this, that was more of a literary device thingy