No Hanky Panky

There is an old line about Classic Who, “No Hanky Panky in the TARDIS”. Well, it seems like all things cyclical, that is back in fashion again.

He just want’s a mate. But not that kind….

Peter Capaldi has given his first proper interview about Doctor Who. There is one line from it that has gone round the world: there will be no hanky-panky aboard the Tardis on his watch. Capaldi is the same age as older fans who have often felt affronted by the pheromones that have been surging between the Doctor and his female companions since his grand return of 2005. “There’ll be no flirting, that’s for sure,” Capaldi said. “It’s not what this Doctor’s concerned with. It’s quite a fun relationship, but no, I did call and say, ‘I want no Papa-Nicole moments. I think there was a bit of tension with that at first, but I was absolutely adamant.”

 I think there was a bit of tension with that at first, but I was absolutely adamant.”

The Papa-Nicole comment relates to a series of 1990s Renault Clio car adverts which hinted at a romance between an older man and a younger woman, before they were revealed to be father and daughter.

Capaldi also had good news for those Doctor Who purists who believe the show’s storylines have become over the top.

“It’s going to be a bit different from what we’ve seen over recent years. A bit more gravity,” he said. “Some situations are more sombre and I think there are more rooted dramatic scenes. Over the past two or three years, which I’ve loved, there has often been a breathless vigour; we still have that attack, but we have another level of drama, another tone. And the scenes are longer.”

Capaldi recalled how his agent called him to tell him he had got the part when he was filming in Prague, and he spent the afternoon wandering around the city humming the Doctor Who theme tune.

“I just didn’t think it was something that would happen to me,” he admitted.

But the Glaswegian actor did not say yes to the part immediately.

“I didn’t want to be Doctor Who in a Doctor Who I didn’t like,” he said. “I had to be convinced the show was going in a direction I was interested in.

“I had to think carefully about the level of visibility. My life was blessed, but as soon as this happened I had paparazzi outside my house. People spoke to me before and recognised me, but nothing like this.

“I had to decide if I was ready to live with that, because once that genie is out of the bottle, it doesn’t go back in.”

It’s heartening that this actor will stand for as little nonsense as his Doctor, but you sort of suspect that whatever “tension” he’s referring to may be a little overstated. A lot has been said, of course, about these romantic frissons, but they’re a long way from being a status quo that needs to be challenged. The relationship between Rose Tyler and her Doctors was a tender, if entirely celibate, love story, while the main problem with her successor, Martha Jones, was that she was saddled with an unrequited love arc that prevented the character from ever really having a chance to shine. Far better was Tennant’s Doctor playing opposite Donna Noble as two best friends who would bicker constantly while doing absolutely anything for each other.

Doctor Who: David Tennant as The Doctor, Catherine Tate as Donna Noble  Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner so far has been less emotional but more romantic than that of his predecessors, and the epic love story of Amy Pond and Rory Williams was played through the prism of the Doctor – showing that this is what having a chaotic time-travelling space detective as your best mate can do to your relationship. The scene from 2012 episode The Power of Three, in which the Doctor and Amy are sitting on Tower Bridge, contemplating their time together while suspecting it may soon be up, is one of the most beautiful moments since the show’s revival. But it certainly wasn’t flirty.

Most of the time, when this sort of thing has been explored, it’s been a device designed to allow for hugely awkward comedic moments, and the advances rarely ever come the Doctor himself.

When Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald was introduced, there was a certain dance of boy-meets-girl to it, which didn’t always work. But really, you can look at all that as a precursor to what comes next. While it hasn’t always come across on screen, Moffat has said that Clara is intended to be something of a control freak, never more fun than when she’s juggling impossible situations like being the governess pretending to be the barmaid in Victorian London. More recently she’s had a sweet deal of it, coming and going to the Tardis on her little motorbike as she pleases, with the ever-so-slightly-smitten Doctor at her beck and call.

In words to echo that 50th anniversary special – no more. Now the space detective Clara had just got round to admitting she fancied is a gnarly Scot who looks a lot like Malcolm Tucker. And while I’m not buying the rumoured “nasty Doctor” approach, the official line is that this guy is going to be “trickier, fiercer, madder”. He’s just spent hundreds of years keeping watch over the planet of Trenzalore. He’s had time to ponder how he really, really isn’t a human at all, and he’s certainly not going to have any truck with whimsical Earthbound dating conventions just to keep up appearances. Faced with somebody like him as a travelling companion, going round the universe apologising for him while trying to hold down this teaching job she’s landed herself, Clara looks like she’s going to have a lot more to play with.

And that takes us to the truly interesting part of what Capaldi said. Moffat had previously promised that this series would see Doctor Who undergoing the “biggest change” since the programme’s 2005 revival, without really explaining that actually means.

Well, here is a hint from Capaldi: “We still blow a lot of shit up. That’s very important, but it’s going to be a bit different from what we’ve seen over recent years. A bit more gravity. Some situations are more sombre and I think there are more rooted dramatic scenes. Over the past few years, which I’ve loved, there has often been a breathless vigour; we still have that attack, but we have another level of drama, another tone.”

Are you excited? Let us know below – but no hanky panky, please.

Verity was Here

A plaque honouring the first producer of Doctor Who, Verity Lambert, has been unveiled at London’s Riverside studios, by the Doctor Who Appreciation Society

The plaque, which marks the achievements of Lambert as a Film and Television producer, will be on display at Riverside Studios until the venue closes for development in the autumn, when it will be placed into storage and then permanently mounted at the new Riverside media centre when completed.

Verity Lambert was Doctor Who’s first producer and the first female drama producer at BBC Television. She oversaw Doctor Who from her appointment in June 1963 until the autumn of 1965, guiding the series to a successful launch and laying down the framework of the series which still running today. After she left Doctor Who her credits and reputation continued to rise and she became one of the best known players in the industry. She oversaw such iconic productions as Adam Adamant Lives, Budgie, The Naked Civil Servant, Rock Follies, Rumpole of the Bailey, Edward and Mrs Simpson, Reilly: Ace of Spies, Minder, GBH and Jonathan Creek.

The plaque honouring Lambert was unveiled by Doctor Who’s first director Waris Hussein, in a ceremony attended by the two surviving members of the original TARDIS team, William Russell and Carole Ann Ford. The event included a screening of the drama based on the creation of Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time and a compilation of interview material, previously unseen.

Riverside studios in Hammersmith London, were used by the BBC from 1954-1974. Although the first Doctor Who stories were recorded at the nearby Lime Grove complex, the series used Riverside Studio 1 for a number of stories between 1964 and 1969. Verity Lambert produced stories recorded at the site include The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Rescue, The Romans, The Web Planet, The Crusade and The Chase.

Waris Hussein unveils the Verity Lambert Plaque (Credit: DWAS) William Russell, Waris Hussein and Carole Ann Ford with the Verity Lambert Plaque (Credit: DWAS)

The Tease

Is it just me or are these ads just get ting strange and not “enticing” as they should be??

Here’s a very exciting breakdown – courtesy of Doctor Who Magazine – of the 12 new episodes courtesy of Doctor Who Magazine which feature Peter Capaldi as the Time Lord.


Episode 1: Deep Breath – the only episode as yet named – by Steven Moffat

Concentrates on Clara trying to cope, mixed in with a truly terrifying monster. According to Moffat: “A really huge introductory show.”

Featuring The Paternoster Gang.

Episode 2: by Phil Ford

One where the Daleks get really nasty. “It’s actually quite a gritty Dalek adventure.”

Apparently, Peter showed up to watch the destruction on “his day off”.

Episode 3: by Mark Gatiss

A very funny one, says Moffat, where the Doctor meets Robin Hood.

Doctor Who secretly filmed with Peter Capaldi 

A “Time Lord in Tights”?


Episode 4: by Steven Moffat

The second of the series penned by Moffat. “A complete departure for me in terms of writing Doctor Who,” he teases. The story centres on a date and the Doctor having what appears to be having a ‘minor nervous breakdown’.

Episode 5: by Steve Thomson

Described as a ‘heist’ movie.

Episode 6: by Gareth Roberts

“Not unlike The Lodger episode,” explains Moffat. It blends comedy with some serious bits.

Episode 7: by Peter Harness

“Proper drama,” he adds. It references a past episode.

Episode 8: by Jamie Mathieson

A new mister features, with Foxes singing. “It looks stunning in a very glamorous way,” adds Moffat.

Episode 9: by Jamie Mathieson

Prepare to be properly terrified by this episode. He teases: “With one of our best ever sight gags in it.”

BBC New Doctor Who

What time (Lord) is it? It’s Capaldi time!


Episode 10: by Frank Cottrel Boyce

“A fairytale” but expect something quite different to the norm.

Episodes 11 & 12 by Steven Moffat

“It’s about Clara and the Doctor and how the way they interact might not be healthy for everyone around them.”

Ah, the anticipation….

Another Theatre Show

Steven Moffat said: “Last November the Doctor didn’t just conquer the world on television, he did it in the cinemas too. And like the show-off he is, he can’t resist another go – one taste of the silver screen is never enough.

“On August 23rd the new Doctor will begin his new adventures on BBC One and in cinemas all over the world. Movie-land beware – Capaldi is coming to get you!” (Digital Spy)


Fantom Events, the promoter for last year’s Theatre release says it will be on the following Monday, Aug 25th here in the States. :(

Apparently, they have a Soccer Match scheduled for August 23rd… :)


Titan Comics #1

I will not spoil anything, but lets have a small chat about Titan Comics first issue of the Tenth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor comics. Yes, I am using that verbiage Mr. Moffat. :)

The overall impression I was left with was, underwhelming and depressing.

But, on a good note, the tone and the “voice” of  The Doctor in question were very good. You could see and hear them. So, like any good “pilot” episode you have to give it some time to develop.

Tennant’s Doctor is Post-Donna Pre-Specials. Matt Smith Doctor is Pre-Last Pond Series but without the Ponds.

Both comics started out dark and depressing. Admittedly, the 11th doctor comic quickly switched into fairy tale mode but it still had the undertones of depression.

The 10th Doctor comic was very bleak, in my opinion, but it had hardly gotten started. It didn’t have the Doctor meet his erstwhile companion really until the last panel so there was much more set up in this one. But the companion’s family is not very likeable at all,a bit too self-obsessed. No wonder you’d run away with a mad man in this instance.

The 11th Doctor comic was full of whimsy as well as depression. But why, quite, the companion would run off is a bit weak. True, she really has nothing left NOT to go, but that’s not been the way of Doctor Who in the modern era, and is it really a reason. I mean, the only “joy” in her life is a mad alien? Really??

Maybe part of it is that I have a history of depression so I’m a bit closer to it than some people. The Doctor does seem bound and determined to make her see the “joy” in things again so maybe that is good enough.

Doctor Who helped me see the joy in life.

Ok, I’ll concede that point.

BUT the ending of the 11th comic was rushed and “BAM!” over with like that (unsatisfactorily) and it was on to the next adventure.

The 10th was building an arc.

Stylistically very different, but so were the Doctors. But again, the best thing was, that they “sounded” like the Doctors we know and love and that’s always a plus in an adaption of a TV series.

Overall, I would read  issue #2, but not that happy right out of the gate. The Anticipation was there, but it was deflated by all the grayness and depression that wasn’t really lifted up.

IMHO. :)

Den of Geek on Ten: The characters introduced in the story are a little too stereotypical for my taste: a hysterical and extremely religious abuela, an overbearing father who values money more than his daughter’s happiness, and a sister who just wants to get married. Gabriella is different, though. She wants to get out of her one-dimensional neighborhood and go to college to pursue her dreams. She is the light at the end of the tunnel for what is otherwise a generic Mexican neighborhood.

You Decide. You tell Me….


18 Ways

18 ways to tell if you’re a genuine Doctor Who superfan

If you always take a banana to a party and never blink when you see a statue, you’re on your way to being a proper, take-no-nonsense Whovian superfan, says David Prince

(Wales Online)

The Doctor trying to save the world with a Jammie Dodger

1. You find yourself saying random Doctor Who catch phrases such as Fantastic, Allons-y, Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey and Bow Ties/Fezes are cool, in any situation that you find yourself in.

2. You own more than one version of a Sonic Screwdriver.

3. You always take a banana to a party.

4. You always count the shadows.

5. You take an instant dislike to anyone that writes out Doctor Who as Dr.Who.

6. You smile at the thought of slipping a Doctor Who quote into conversations such as someone talking about how much they felt like they were living in a book they read, and you reply “We’re all stories, in the end.”

7. You offer Jelly Babies to people you hardly know. The same goes for trying to save the world with a Jammie Dodger (which are made in Cwmbran).

8. You cry a little inside when you realise that you’re still not ginger.

9. The Regeneration cycle hits you like this: New Doctor announced – “I hate this guy”. New Doctor’s first episode – “He’s Okay, I guess, but the last guy was still better”.  End of New Doctor’s first season – “Best. Doctor. Ever.” Doctor announces his departure – “No! There’s no way you can replace him!”

10. You see any big blue box in the street and can’t help but take a selfie.

11. In South Wales during filming you find yourself looking for the crew signs to watch them film the show and hopefully meet the cast.

12. You don’t blink when you see a statue.

13. Shop window dummies give you a chill.

14. Any time someone talks scientific – you mention something about reversing the neutron flow.

15. When introducing yourself you get the urge to say: “There’s something you’d better understand about me ‘cause it’s important, and one day your life may depend on it: I am definitely a mad man with a box!”

16. When consoling someone at a funeral you say: “Some people live more in 20 years than others do in 80. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.” Or this: “The good things don’t always soften the bad, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

17. When searching for clues you look exactly where you don’t want to look. Where you never want to look. The corner of your eye.

18. When thinking of your love life you believe in the saying: “One may suffer a world of demons for the sake of an angel.”

My 19th: You’ve been to England and Wales a total of 3 times, strictly for Doctor Who!!

This Ain’t No Fairytale Anymore!

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

Winston Churchill

Specifically chatting about incoming Doctor Peter Capaldi, Moffat revealed that “he’s not as immediately approachable and he’s not necessarily looking for your approval. I would like to restore the sense that when he says ‘Wait here, I’ll be back’ you really hope he’ll be back, but you’re not absolutely convinced… What he’s not doing is reassuring you very much”.

The impact of that is set to be felt by Clara too. “From a Doctor she could sort of control, because he had a crush on her, she’s landed with a Doctor who barely registers that she’s a girl. They’re great friends and all that but she has to be his human interface with everybody else”.

Moffat, in noting that it “feels more serious”, adds that “one of the watchwords we have this year is there are consequences for choosing to live like this. It’s not a fairytale… we want to make it feel that these adventures can hurt”.

If you have people back home, if you run away it’s going to have an effect on them. And it’s not necessarily always going to be lovely. And does the Doctor make you better?

I would like to restore the sense that when he says ‘Wait here, I’ll be back’ you really hope he’ll be back, but you’re not absolutely convinced… What he’s not doing is reassuring you very much.”

Meanwhile for Jenna Coleman’s Clara, there’s a new role that doesn’t seem to have been approached in Doctor Who for many years, “she has to be his human interface with everybody else.”

I think a style change is necessary once in awhile. As I have said before the #1 watchword of Doctor Who is CHANGE. The Doctor’s Change, The companions change, The TARDIS changes, the monsters change, the writers,producers,etc all change.

It’s the nature of the show.

It’s why 51 years later it’s still going.

Change my dear and not a moment too soon” as The Sixth Doctor once said to Peri.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

John F. Kennedy
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

George Bernard Shaw

Powerhouse WHO

The Day of the Doctor was the most-watched drama on BBC Television last year, with an average of 12.8 million viewing.

“BBC Wales produced arguably the biggest programming moment of the year –Doctor Who’s 50th
The figures are confirmed in the BBC Annual Report published today, which also reveals that 3.2 million requested the 50th-anniversary episode on iPlayer.

“while on iPlayerit was the most requested drama episode in 2013″

Doctor Who is listed as one of the global highlights of the year, with the Doctor Who special being shown on TV in 98 countries, with 3D screenings in 23 countries, broadcast in 15 languages, and selling 649,138 cinema tickets in 25 countries. Following transmission, the episode went straight to the top of the iTunes US and Amazon charts, illustrating appetite for the Doctor Who brand, which has 4.3m fans on Facebook.

BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, also reported on how well the series performs for the Corporation. The Day Of The Doctor sold more DVD copies in its first week than any previous Doctor Who title. Additionally, the returned classic Doctor Who episodes, The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, topped the iTunes TV chart in October. By offering fans exclusive products, such as limited edition box sets and branded apparel, the e-commerce business at has increased by 30.4%.

In North America the Doctor Who 50th-anniversary episode reached almost 4.5m viewers on the day and set a record for activity related to a televised event on Tumblr, surpassing the Super Bowl and MTV VMAs. The Doctor Who Christmas special premiere was BBC America’s first-ever audience over 3m.

BBC Worldwide reported that although revenue from consumer products in the US as a whole was marginally down, it outperformed the declining US DVD market. This was aided by Doctor Who 50th-anniversary programming, which also fuelled an 80.1% uplift in licensing, with total licensing revenue equating to over US$100m in retail sales. The one-day theatrical release of The Day of the Doctor delivered the equivalent of US$4.8m at the box office, making it the second-highest US box office hit on the night.

In Australia the Doctor Who 50th-anniversary broadcast reached 1.7m viewers, while the sales of Doctor Who DVDs increased by 59.6%. Live events included the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular touring three cities, and the 50th-anniversary episode screening was seen by more than 95,000 cinema-goers in 131 cinemas. BBC Worldwide Australia launched four Doctor Who pop-up shops and an online store.

In Latin America The Day of the Doctor was seen by 24,000 people in cinemas across the region.

Also Recently:

It was ten years ago today <July 18th> that director Keith Boak first called “Action!” to commence filming on a new series for a long-running, award-winning television programme that hadn’t been in front of cameras in the United Kingdom for almost fifteen years. With Doctor Who having been confined for many years within literature, audio and online adventures – and one US-based TV movie pilot that had failed to lead to anything further – it wasn’t difficult for many fans to feel that the show would never return to full production, even with the assurances from the BBC since 2003 that it would indeed be coming back to television soon – seeing would be believing…

Considering the intense media coverage of the casting of the new Doctor and his companion, filming itself started with minimal fanfare. Its new star Christopher Eccleston was hidden away in the depths of the Cardiff Royal Infirmary out of sight of public scrutiny; however, fandom ensured that even such an inauspicious beginning would be marked, and reports were soon appearing on Doctor Who News (in its earlier, “Outpost Gallifrey” incarnation!) documenting anything and everything to be witnessed from “Day One” …

Dave Shuttleworth: After looking at the streets listed as this week’s locations on the news page, I popped in to the Cardiff Visitor Centre, in Working Street. I figured there was no harm in asking whether or not they could confirm that Doctor Who was going to be filmed outside their premises and, sure enough, not only are the crew using the street, they’re using the visitor centre itself as a location, together with the pub next door (Toad @ the Exhibition).

The two premises are part of the same building – the old city library – and are being used as a police station. I went into the Toad for lunch (not bad and reasonably priced!) and got chatting to the girls behind the bar. They’re getting ready to let the Doctor Who crew use half the pub on Tuesday night from 7pm (the rest will be open to the public) and are quite excited about the prospect.

From there I walked out to the old Cardiff Royal Infirmary, which is a wonderfully ramshackle example of gothic decay – a great location! In the area at the front of the building was a group of about eight or ten extras, dressed as soldiers – camouflage gear, red berets and heavy rifles – together with one man dressed in a smart military uniform, with a cap (from the military police vehicle I spotted later, I would guess they might be ‘Redcaps’ but I didn’t recognise the insignia on the berets, which was sort-of T-shaped metal badge – perhaps a figure with arms outstretched?).

There were various film crew types wandering about and an awful lot of lighting/equipment vans and other lorries. Circling the site, there were lots of temporary ‘BBC Wales’ signs and I asked one of the chaps what was going on (I’m sure my pretence of ‘not being all that interested’ didn’t fool him for a moment!) and he said: “It’s the first day of filming on the new series of Doctor Who.”

Back round at the front of the building, some set dressing was going on at the hospital gates – a big ‘metal’ arch, painted black, with ‘ALBION HOSPITAL’ in gold letters, which were being dirtied down. From the safety of the other side of the road I watched for a while (I was desperate not to run the slightest risk of getting in the way or annoying anyone and it’s a very public place, so what the hey?) then went off to the cinema for a couple of hours.

When the film was over I couldn’t resist popping back for another look! By this time (around 4pm) there were a handful of police vehicles (basic markings – stripes and lettering, blank insignia – so not a specific force, apart from one that had ‘MILITARY POLICE’ on its bonnet. Maybe extra decals will be added later?) and the armoured car. Round the back of the infirmary were four extras, dressed as police wearing tactical gear (black combat stuff).

Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Dave Shuttleworth Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Dave Shuttleworth Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Dave Shuttleworth Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Dave Shuttleworth Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Dave Shuttleworth Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Dave Shuttleworth Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Dave Shuttleworth Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Dave Shuttleworth

Photos by Dave Shuttleworth

Paul Mount:

I managed to position myself surreptitiously near the main gates to the Hospital (renamed Albion Hospital) where a scene with a reporter was being rehearsed/filmed. I saw the material being played back on DV Playback equipment (thus ending the film/DV argument, I guess) and it consisted of the reporter uttering dialogue indicating that “Nobody is confirming if the body is alive or dead. Whitehall are saying nothing. The body has been brought here to Albion Hospital, the nearest hospital to the river. The roads are closed, the hospital has been evacuated.” There was some reference to a General Asquith, the body being human or alien and then the roads were closed again as a scene of a military police car and an ambulance driving through the gates was recorded. The general area was ‘decorated’ with London-style bus stops, one of which, I noticed as I walked right past it, was bearing a London street map the familiar red circle-style London Underground symbol.

The area was literally packed with people – technicians, production crew etc, presumably Keith Boak directing from the concourse area inside the gates. There were loads of black-clad police officers brandishing machine guns, the tank had been moved nearer the gates and there were quite a few other vehicles and extras in military uniform. I caught a quick glimpse of the script in the hands of one technician and while I couldn’t get close enough to have a good look I could clearly see dialogue and reference to one character speaking – Jackie.

Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Rob Stradling Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Rob Stradling Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Rob Stradling Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Rob Stradling Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Rob Stradling Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Rob Stradling Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Rob Stradling Filming at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, 18 Jul 2004. Photo: Rob Stradling


Photos by Rob Stradling

The scenes above were ultimately for Aliens of London, but a couple of days later the media finally caught up on events with widespread coverage of filming outside Howell’s Department Store and Queen’s Arcade in the town centre for Rose, including BBC News coverage live from outside the store, and more fans gathering to catch a glimpse of “their” show coming back to life for the 21st Century …

David Shaw: The Autons are back! After reading the tip-offs on Outpost Gallifrey (thanks), I travelled the 150 miles to Cardiff yesterday (Tues 20th July) with my 6-year-old daughter, Emma, in the hope of experiencing a bit of the magic of Dr Who’s return. We found the Working Street/St. John Street location quite easily, and wandered past the production team vans at 5.30pm. Emma was delighted to spot a familiar group of shop-dummy props in the back of one of the trucks, clearly indicating the return of the Autons! The street was then dressed to resemble 1950s(?) London; props were positioned: a red telephone box, Underground sign, red post box, London bus stop, gaslamps, two industrial metal dustbins and an Evening Standard headline display announcing “Proper rigmarole” (a la Web Of Fear). The sign of the “Sneakers” sports shoe shop was removed and replaced with a fictional “Classic Bride” pink shopfront. Wedding gowns arrived for the dummies as well as “C.B.” logo stickers for the shop windows. We were excited to realise that it would be the scene of an Auton breakout, as glaziers arrived to fit temporary glass windows! The exterior of the Toad @ The Exhibition pub was transformed into a police station, with new signs, an information board and a blue “police” lamp. We had followed two traditional 1950s-style London buses from the motorway into Cardiff earlier in the afternoon and were amazed to see them turn up in the Dr. Who street. In fact there was a range of vehicles: fire engine, Royal Mail lorry, Evening Standard van, two black London taxis and the two buses. We tried to keep out of the way and were allowed to wander up and down the street until after 8pm. A few of the workers spoke to us in a friendly manner, and no-one asked us to move away. As darkness fell, the area was closed off by the Police with “do not cross” tape, and some extras dressed as firemen arrived. We heard a few rehearsals and shouts of “Quiet please!” as some minor scenes were filmed. Since it was now 9.30 pm and it seemed likely that the main filming would not take place until the middle of the night, we left. We returned at 5am this morning, however, as dawn was breaking to find the clear-up in full swing. Significantly, there was shattered glass all over the pavement in front of the “Classic Bride” shop, and we watched as the props were systematically removed (all the vehicles had already gone). The Auton shop dummies were piled up in the street and then all props were put back into the trucks. Emma had a fantastic time – Dr Who is definitely back!

Filming at Queen's Arcade, 20 Jul 2004. Photo: Gareth Price Filming at Queen's Arcade, 20 Jul 2004. Photo: Gareth Price Filming at Queen's Arcade, 20 Jul 2004. Photo: Gareth Price Filming at Queen's Arcade, 20 Jul 2004. Photo: Gareth Price


Photos by Gareth Price

Anna Roberts:

Just got back from Cardiff city centre. I stayed for about half an hour from 10 pm on. … When I was there, they were filming outside the entrance to Queen’s Arcade using it as the entrance to a shopping centre. Again, it had been dressed to look like London, with an Underground sign by the entrance. It had also been prettified a bit with a couple of new, small iron lamp posts, but otherwise they didn’t seem to have changed any of the shop fronts… There were assorted vehicles about the area, including two red London buses (the Routemaster type – one was route 74 to Putney Heath for those who really like their details), a couple of black cabs, an Evening Standard van, post van, and what seemed to be a small fire engine. Plus a massive crane to light the scene. RTD was in attendance and they were filming a couple of scenes with a female actress, who was wearing blue trackie bottoms with what looked like Adidas stripes, a pink top/jumper and a blue denim jacket. She was also carrying a blue, sequined denim handbag, a mobile phone and a white A4 piece of paper/envelope. The scene consisted of the actress (likely NOT Billie Piper) walking across the road talking on her mobile, while a couple of the vehicles drove past and the best part of a dozen normally dressed extras carrying shopping bags milled about. I could hear most of the dialogue, and following a line about where are you, she was talking to somebody she referred to as darling (boyfriend). As best I can remember the dialogue it was “I can’t hear you, the signal’s breaking up. I’m just going to do some late night shopping.” Gripping, huh? A second scene was quickly rehearsed where the same actress ran back out of the shopping centre followed by a tightly packed group of the same extras marching oddly. I have a suspicion that this might have been put on for the benefit of the audience though as the crew then broke for a meal without filming it. Hope that keeps your appetites whetted.

Ten years on, and as filming continues apace on Peter Capaldi‘s first series there has been no diminishing of fan and media interest in the development of the show, and modern social media services such as Twitter now provide a rich source of both fan and public experiences of the Doctor Who production out and about. The new Doctor’s willingness to pose for photos with the public between takes has led to widespread interest whenever they are on the streets – yesterday being no exception when the TARDIS and its usual occupants were spotted on Queen Street, Cardiff during the morning (and duly featured by the Daily Mail). With the expectation of London featuring prominently for filming next week, the popularity of production will no doubt continue unabated (filming last took place in the capital for the 50th Anniversary special, The Day of The Doctor, and Trafalgar Square was ‘besieged’ by spectators!).


The currently confirmed broadcasts for the episode are:

Country Channel Date Time
United Kingdom BBC One 23 August time tbc
Germany FOX 23 August 9:00pm (European)
United States BBC America 23 August 8:00pm (Eastern)
Canada SPACE 23 August 8:00pm (Eastern)
Australia ABC1 24 August time tbc

Iconic Imagery

This is the official image released from this weekend’s shoot by the BBC, a single silver soldier framed in homage to 1968 Troughton-era story, The Invasion (see below).

Even I tried back in 2011 to match the shot, but was ultimately not that successful (I’m not far enough down the steps). The landscape has changed and I only had 5 minutes to run from inside the church, snap the pic and get back to the tour. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.
Such is the geeky pull of an iconic image.
West End Entrance. The iconic shot is from the steps across the street from the South side of the Cathedral that now lead to the Millennium Bridge (but not back in 1968).

Deus Ex Machina

Guest contributor Stewart McDonald (Doctor Who TV) on why the Sonic has become the deus ex machina of Who.




I have had my own bots of should-he or shouldn’t he with the Sonic Screwdriver because like many writers of the 80’s, when they git rid of it for a time it does force you to be more creative as a writer, but it does also slow down the action and today’s audience is not as forgiving of that as they used to be. So yes, it is a struggle. But like a good Deus Ex Machina at least this one has purpose that is more than just getting out of a situation because the writer wrote themselves unintentionally into a corner and could get out so they just blow it off and move on.. The Sonic is more deliberate than that. Just as the “Deadlock Seal” anti- Deus Ex Machina. :)

The Sonic is almost a “superpower” isn’t it?

The Sonic Screwdriver, as we all know, is the Doctor’s scientific device. It has helped him scan many things from ancient artifacts to people’s biology. It’s gotten him out of more scrapes than his quick thinking has. This has become more true lately, with the Sonic Screwdriver sometimes serving as a handy plot device to either get the TARDIS crew out of a quick scrape or as a convenient means to wrap up plot devices, turning off doomsday machines and unlocking locked doors.

Now, I’ve seen some articles and different viewpoints on the Doctor’s ‘magic wand’ and the most common criticism comes into Steven Moffat’s era with the much bigger and often much more used Screwdriver used by the 11th Doctor and soon, the 12th Doctor. It seems that the Sonic Screwdriver has become too convenient a plot device for writers to fall back on when thinking of a way to help out the Doctor. But is that such a bad thing? Why shouldn’t he be allowed to rely on a device that is arguably as iconic as the time travelling police box we all know and love?

Well, I think we should take a look…

An App For Everything!

To start off with, let’s step away from the show itself and look towards the reality we are submersed in every single day of our lives. Every. Single. Day. Smart phones. It seems to be that the current generations of the 21st Century are practically stuck to their iPhones and tablets with industrial strength adhesive, or perhaps the Wire is slowly feeding on their electrical energy in the brain. Let’s be honest, either situation isn’t exactly pleasant to suffer through.

In a world where technology is constantly evolving and becoming more and more of an effective tool in our daily routines, simply saying the words “I’ve got an app for that” couldn’t be closer to the truth even if it was a ten foot sign with big flashing lights telling you exactly where to go to get to the truth.

Applications for our phones are everywhere and they are practically compatible with every device and machine known to man. Thus, they make our lives less complicated and a whole lot easier. But as every changes and adapts to overcome the next great hurdle, why can’t the Doctor? Why can’t his trusty little screwdriver keep up with the times?

A Reflection of Reality

50th-trailer-totters-classicsonicMy point, in case its not that clear, is that as the Sonic Screwdriver adapts and changes, it starts to reflect our current society and technological advancements. The Sonic Screwdriver for the Doctor is what the smart phone is to we humans. It is small. It is an effective tool. It has become something that our fleeting lives depend on. I sometimes wonder if the writers were consciously thinking about that comparison when drafting the next episode, or were they just looking for a way to propel the story forward to the conclusion. Who knows?

As I look back through Doctor Who’s history, I find myself paying attention to how the Sonic Screwdriver was utilized. When it was conceived in the Classic Era, I find that it looked to be used as a futuristic piece of technology that was seemingly capable of anything. It was with the Doctor everywhere he went and its destruction at the hands of the Terileptils in ‘The Visitation’ caused the 5th Doctor considerable remorse:

“I feel as if you’ve just killed an old friend.”

Eric Saward explained the reason for killing it off as being done on the instructions of John Nathan-Turner because a device that could help out in any situation was limiting the story. And so, the Sonic Screwdriver was no more. But let’s be real, people. This is Doctor Who! Nothing stays dead forever.

When the show returned in 2005, the Screwdriver was a lot smaller and a lot more limited. the Doctor mainly utilized it for scanning equipment and repairing small robot dogs. This suited the times we lived in. Everyone had various bits and bobs and nifty little gadgets for different situations. A single device for everything was not something we seen a great deal of. The closest piece of technology I can recall being close to that was the universal remote. The Sonic Screwdriver is a useful metaphor for today’s time. It upgrades as we upgrade our computers and phones. It adapts as we adapt. the Doctor’s dependence on it increases as ours does. You get the idea.

Even when it gets fried in a scanner or eaten by a shark, the Doctor simply swaps it for a new one. I’ve done that too. My iPhone or my iPad breaks and I simply have it replaced for a brand new model. Usually the same model, but I’m not going focus on that.

The Deus ex Machina Problem

power-of-three-spoiler-pics-(9)Once we moved into the 11th Doctor’s era, the Sonic Screwdriver became the most simple way to keep the story going. It became quite the cheap trick to get the Doctor out of a jam. I’ll admit, when I sat down every Saturday to tune in to the next adventure, I actively expected the Sonic Screwdriver to save the day. When it wasn’t used, I was actually surprised and somewhat confused, especially in ‘The Crimson Horror’, where Clara and the Doctor both favoured a simple wooden chair to defeat Mrs. Gillyflower and to escape so they could rescue Ada. It was refreshing to see them using a more hands on approach to solve the problems they faced. However, the rest of the time it feels like a luxury not afforded to us as much as it used to be.

Too many times the writers rely too heavily on the Sonic Screwdriver. At first I didn’t mind, it was nice to see it become a more useful prop. Now it just feels like an overplayed song on the radio. You can’t go five minutes without hearing or being reminded of it. The worst offence I have seen of this has been narrowed down to three different stories:

The Power of Three: In this episode, the Doctor used the Sonic Screwdriver to call off a second wave of the small black cubes that were causing complete heart failure for anyone near them. He then waved it around a little more and brought all those affected back to life and subsequently destroyed the Shakri ship. If the Shakri was an ancient myth for the Time Lords capable of wiping an entire species from the cosmos, I doubt they could be defeated by a gangly man in a bow tie with a metal wand that lit up at one end.

Closing Time: There was only one big offence in this episode, which wasn’t as bad as the other two on this list. This is the episode that inspired this whole article. the Doctor uses his Sonic Screwdriver to disable a lonely Cybermat in the shopping centre. Later on, it comes to life once more and attacks an unsuspecting Craig Owens. the Doctor uses the Screwdriver as a gun, more or less, and shoots the Cybermat. Now I’m all for him having an app for almost anything, but essentially turning it into a projected energy weapon? That’s pushing it, don’t you think?

The Day of the Doctor: Along with many Whovians, I loved this 50th Anniversary special. Unfortunately, there was one part that annoyed me. When the Doctors trapped themselves inside the ‘Gallfrey Falls’ painting to sneak into the Black Archive. When a Dalek approaches them yelling, “EXTERMINATE”, they simply turned around and used their Sonic Screwdrivers to force the Dalek through the painting giving everyone under the Tower of London a jolly big fright. While it was an amazing spectacle, I didn’t understand how that was possible. You could just write it off due to them being in a painting, but that fees too easy. The War Doctor even made fun of their reliance on the trusty device, which left me a little cheated when they turned around and simply shoved a Dalek through a painting with their screwdrivers.

The Verdict (if you can call it a verdict)

The times are changing and so is Doctor Who. It has become a more modern show, with more advanced aliens and futuristic tech. However, as we become more dependent on technology, it has shown in the writing. I think it is about time that we started to rely less on the Sonic Screwdriver and more on unconventional means of saving the day. Now I’m not saying we go to the lengths that the Classic series did and ‘retire’ the device, but I do believe that writers should learn to use the screwdriver in moderation.

The Sonic Screwdriver is the deus ex machina of Doctor Who. While it is clear that it has become overused, the least I can do is understand why.

And embrace The Sonic. :)

From the Depths of the Wilderness Years:


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