Trick or Treat


Den of Geek with Director Rachael Talalay: You did bits of public shooting for “Dark Water” and “Death In Heaven.” Most of this is obviously shot indoors, but are you wary of public location shooting? Especially when you have such major spoilers to protect with this story?

When we shot outside in the two major public places – which I can talk about because of all the press – there were huge secrets to be kept.

We put out script sides that were incorrect. We published for the crew a script that was incorrect. The actors when they finally did the correct lines mouthed them.

We were outside St Paul’s Cathedral with everyone on their iPhone recording. I’m still shocked that the big spoilers, the secrets, have been kept until now. People were taking cameras and sticking them in the tent. Taking pictures of the sound man’s script! So I give huge credit to the team for figuring out a process! I so enjoy all the theories as to who is Missy and what’s going on!

How long have you been sitting on that major spoiler, the one that’s not broken?

Since April!

It all happened so quickly, me getting the job. I read episode 11, the morning it came to me, as I left for the UK. I read it on the airplane and I shrieked! The other day when we were doing ADR, adding in the dialogue, the ADR technician slammed the console and said ‘oh my God, really? Really?’

It was classic, and I thought yes, it’s going to work!

With this level of hype will it be a trick or treat?



Neil Gaiman:  “Whenever I’m in the UK, I sneak into meetings with [the production team]. They say, ‘Can you do another one?!’ and I say, ‘Yes! But not yet!'”

He continued: “Now I’m just sort of hoping that I can get one done while Peter Capaldi is still the Doctor, because it would be a very sad thing if I lost my chance to write for a grumpy, Scottish Doctor.”

When asked what he would like to write about in a potential third episode, Gaiman added: “I haven’t done an episode set on Earth yet, and I haven’t created a new monster.

“So there are boxes left to tick. And there’s part of me that feels… I haven’t scared anybody yet. I’d love to do something that sends adults behind the sofa too and makes them wee.” (Digital Spy)

Armando Iannucci, who made Peter Capaldi a star in The Thick of It, said the actor is “smart, funny and thoughtful” in Doctor Who – but “always hilarious” when he breaks into a run.

Iannucci said some of Capaldi’s most memorable moments in the BBC1 role had nothing to do with the script but “what he does with his pauses and his changes of tone”.

“He’ll just say, ‘Oh good’ or ‘You’d better go outside’ in this particular way and it sticks with you far more than the finest scripting,” Iannucci wrote in the latest issue of Radio Times.

“Is he a good Doctor?” asked Iannucci. “The Peter I know is the smart, funny, thoughtful guy – and I think he’s exactly what the Doctor should be.

“I’ll give you a tip though – watch him run. It’s always hilarious. Stop it, pause it and go back. It’ll be worth it every time.”

It’s in the nature of the Time Lord’s adventure through space and time that breaking into a trot and occasionally a full-on sprint is an inevitable part of the job.

Capaldi, who ran around a bit as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It, has not as much practice as his immediate predecessors, not least the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, who put in enough hard yards to justify this entire 50-minute compilation.

There are two episodes to go in Capaldi’s first season as the Doctor, with last Saturday’s instalment written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce watched by an overnight audience of more than 5 million viewers.

Broadcast slightly later than the 51-year-old programme’s traditional slot to make way for Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who’s consolidated viewing, including people who watch it recorded or on-demand in the following seven days, typically tops 7 million.

Iannucci said Capaldi had the “air of the classic Doctor”.

“His Doctor is a completely different character – from any previous Doctor, but also from Malcolm,” said Iannucci.

“I’ve watched every episode with my three kids – they’re 20, 15 and 12. They’ve been amazed by the transformation. The eldest has seen Malcolm Tucker but the others just know Peter from when he’s been over to the house.”

Iannucci said he was “worried that the 12-year-old in particular wouldn’t take to the idea of an older guy but they’re drawn to him”. Capaldi, now 56 and the 12th actor to take the role, is the oldest since the show’s original lead, William Hartnell.

“He’s funny in a bamboozled way,” said Iannucci. “And that allows Clara more space so they’ve become a proper, classic double act. He’s also the first Doctor to give off that air of the tremendous responsibility – which you never quite saw before … Is he a good Doctor? He’s how the Doctor should be.”

Former Doctor Who star Tom Baker said Capaldi was a “wonderful choice. Instantly one felt: this fellow comes from far, far away, he’s strange. An instant frisson. And what’s the word? Yes, got it! Alien, he’s an alien. I salute him.” (UK Guardian)

I have grown to love out grumpy, pragmatic, but loveable 12th Doctor.

And, I agree, some of his grumpier moments are hilarious.

I hope he’s around for awhile.

The 2014 ratings so far:

  1. Deep Breath 6.8m (overnight) 9.17m (final) 10.76m (L+7) AI 82
  2. Into the Dalek 5.2m (overnight) 7.29m (final) 8.26m (L+7) AI 84
  3. Robot of Sherwood 5.2m (overnight) 7.28m (final) 8.25m (L+7) AI 82
  4. Listen 4.8m (overnight) 7.01m (final) 7.80m (L+7) AI 82
  5. Time Heist 4.93m (overnight) 6.99m (final) AI 84
  6. The Caretaker 4.89m (overnight) 6.82m (final) AI 83
  7. Kill the Moon 4.81m (overnight) 6.91m (final) AI 82
  8. Mummy on the Orient Express 5.08m (overnight) 7.11m (final) AI 85
  9. Flatline 4.6m (overnight) 6.71m (final) AI 85
  10. In the Forest of the Night 5.03m (overnight) TBCm (final) AI 83

Dark Water: Preview

Den of Geek:

Er, we can’t say much about the first half of Doctor Who’s series 8 finale, save that Dark Water is setting up a hell of a final episode…

Crikey, it’s hard to know where to start.

It’s probably best to declare up front that the BBC has removed two brief but obviously hugely spoiler-y scenes from the preview version of “Dark Water” that we were allowed to see. It marked where the scenes were, and it’s blatantly clear why they’d been taken out. They’re right near the end, and they lead into what’s a very definite cliffhanger for the series finale, “Death In Heaven.” That said, the overwhelming majority of the episode was intact.

And crikey. It’s setting up, by the looks of it, one hell of a final episode. We’ll do our best to tell you why.

Doctor Who has had a patchy record of late with rounding off its series. The general feeling seems to be that series finales haven’t been a strength of the show for a while, and after the strength of series 8 so far, there’s some pressure to top it all off.

“Dark Water,” then, is part one of series 8’s farewell, and it’s an extremely tricky episode to write about without giving anything away. It’s 45 minutes that, for starters, begins its reveals very early on, and it’s one that certainly ups the ante on the relationship between the Doctor, Clara, and Danny.

Even before the title sequence has popped up, there’s something of extreme consequence thrown into the proverbial mix as well. If you’re scanning this review for plot hints of any kind, this is why you won’t find them: within minutes, there are big things to spoil, and we’ve no intention of spoiling any of them.

In contrast to recent penultimate episodes of Doctor Who, this is a surprisingly quiet one. There’s very little zipping around, and you’re not having threads woven around you until you lose track. Instead, that underlying confidence that’s run through Doctor Who series 8 builds to something. “Dark Water” keeps its storytelling clear, with Moffat’s taut script genuinely beginning to serve up big answers. Interesting answers, too.

Directed with the bare minimum of fuss by Rachel Talalay, the latest director to make her Who debut this series, she keeps things clean and focused, particularly when it matters the most. Her decisions prove wise, and she establishes and builds a tone that might just have you yelling at the telly as things escalate.

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are both brilliant. We think we can safely say that too.

Without knowing exactly what’s contained in the two brief missing scenes (although we can hazard a good guess), we can’t call for certain just how well “Dark Water” works or not. But we can say this: what we saw started well, and then turned the screw, leaving us utterly gripped by the end. It doesn’t get distracted. It doesn’t do any shark jumping. Instead, it ripples with skill and confidence, leaving us genuinely excited for “Death in Heaven.”

It’s best we don’t say another word, though. Everyone deserves to enjoy this one spoiler-free…


Character Arc

This Year, Doctor Who is Built Around A Character Arc, And That’s Major


This Year, Doctor Who is Built Around A Character Arc, And That's Major

Tonight’s episode clinches it: Doctor Who is doing a much more ambitious character arc than it’s done in years, even as the show’s “mystery” storytelling is drastically scaled back. Even with a few stumbles here and there, this is really major. You have to applaud the ambition, and a lot of the execution. Spoilers ahead…

In previous years, under both Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat, Doctor Who has mostly focused on mysteries and plot-based arcs, from Bad Wolf and Harold Saxon to the Silence and the Impossible Girl. Companions have gotten a bit of development here and there, including an arc of Rose Tyler realizing that the Doctor had previous companions and she will eventually be replaced. And Amy and Rory trying to decide whether to keep traveling with the Doctor or put down roots. And the Doctor has had bits of development here and there, including slowly getting over his Time War trauma and then getting “too big” and having to disappear.

This Year, Doctor Who is Built Around A Character Arc, And That's MajorExpand

But I’m hard-pressed to think of a season of Doctor Who that’s been so clearly built around a character arc as season eight, in which the central question is all about whether Clara is going to be another one of the Doctor’s good soldiers… or whether she’s going to be more of an officer, like the Doctor himself. And meanwhile, the season’s big plot mystery, that of Mystery and Paradise, is being deliberately kept on the back burner. Which is great.

We started the season with the Doctor questioning whether he’s a good man, and Clara questioning whether she wants to keep traveling with someone who’s so much meaner than the Matt Smith incarnation. And then Clara meets the Doctor as a frightened child, and we see a parallel between the formative experience that turned the Doctor into a monster-fighter and the similar experience that turned Danny Pink into a soldier. Clara’s caught between the Doctor and Danny, when the Doctor endangers their school with his high-handedness.

The thought I’ve had recently which I’m not sure what to do with is, why is Clara learning to be a Time Lord, like the Doctor?

Then to prove to Clara that he’s not a monster, the Doctor first forces her to make an impossible choice on her own (kill a creature inside the Moon, or risk killing Earth) and then shows her a situation where his manipulativeness is the only way to save people.

This Year, Doctor Who is Built Around A Character Arc, And That's Major

So there’s a general theme of the Doctor being a lying, cruel bastard, Clara not being entirely on board with it and seeing herself as his conscience, and the Doctor having contempt for soldiers while also turning people around him into soldiers. And Clara learning to understand, and accept, the Doctor. Most of all, Clara confronting a dark part of herself that’s not so different from the Doctor, which is pretty interesting in itself.

Invasion from Flatland

In <<the Previous episode>>, “Flatline,” all of this takes another huge step forward and a lot of the season’s themes really seem to “gel.” The Doctor gets trapped inside his shrinking TARDIS for most of the story, and Clara is forced to step up and become a surrogate Doctor — which puts her in the position of making the kind of tough calls the Doctor routinely makes.

She’s investigating a mysterious case of disappearances on a council estate (and how they’re related to the shrinking time machine), and she has to make the best possible use of the “local knowledge,” particularly a young graffiti artist named Rigsy. And then later, she’s corralled a small group of people who were doing community service, plus their incredibly unpleasant supervisor Fenton, and she has to establish herself as their leader. And, basically, lie to them.

Clara discovers that she’s actually pretty good at messing with people, and that she makes a decent “Doctor,” at least in that department. (She still needs the Doctor to build a gadget for her, and later to use the TARDIS against the episode’s monsters, once she tricks them into channeling power into it.) Meanwhile, Clara is also lying to her boyfriend Danny about her decision to keep traveling with the Doctor (and to the Doctor about Danny’s feelings on this.)

Basically, Clara is a way better liar than she had acknowledged — and as the Doctor says, lying is a crucial survival skill, but it’s also a really bad habit.

This Year, Doctor Who is Built Around A Character Arc, And That's MajorExpand

None of this is particularly subtle, but that’s okay — Doctor Who often doesn’t do subtle, and this is all in the service of exploring a character flaw of Clara’s, as well as showing how she has a lot more going for her than even she realizes. It’s sort of cute that the episode about two-dimensional monsters is the one where Clara takes a huge step towards being more three-dimensional herself.

Plus we’ve seen Doctor Who do the thing of “the Doctor is callous and mean and his innocent companions don’t understand,” as far back as the Hartnell era. (“The Massacre” comes to mind, but so does “The Daleks.”) We much more seldom see the Doctor’s callousness explored — and then see the companion realizing that she’s really the same, deep down.

Totally evil monsters

For the second week in a row, Doctor Who gives us monsters that really are just evil. (As opposed to misunderstood, or misguided.) The villains of “Flatline” are the denizens of a two-dimensional universe, trying to invade our 3D world. Their only knowledge of humans is based on our footprints and other contact with flat surfaces, so they start trying to pull us into their 2D world. (And they shrink the TARDIS by feeding off its external dimensions.) Later, these creatures (the Boneless?) start trying to study us, creating 2D images of human skin and a human nervous system.

Eventually, the Boneless (terrible name) become more aggressive, creating pseudo-3D “people” out of the skins of the people they captured earlier, and flattening doorhandles and things so that their victims can’t escape. Eventually, they trap Clara and her crew in a train tunnel, where the TARDIS gets run over. (And there’s a hilarious sequence where the Doctor has to move the tiny TARDIS out of the path of an oncoming train by sticking his hand through the doors and moving it Thing-style. Only to celebrate too soon.)

The great thing, this time around, is that the Doctor and Clara make a serious, good-faith effort at communicating with the Monsters from Flatland. After all, these creatures could just be trying to reach out to us, and might not understand that they’re killing us by squishing us. So the Doctor and Clara use pure mathematics, via sound waves — and the monsters respond first with the jacket number of the guy they just killed, and then the jacket number of the guy they’re going to kill next.

This Year, Doctor Who is Built Around A Character Arc, And That's MajorExpand

The fact that the monsters are basically nasty makes this all a lot more straightforward, like it did with the mummy, and it’s just a matter of outwitting them. Clara rams a train into them — and Rigsy nearly sacrifices his life, but she sacrifices her hairband instead, in a cute scene. And then she gets Rigsy to draw a flattened door handle that looks so realistic, the creatures pour all their dimensional energy into it to un-flatten it — thus giving power to the TARDIS, so the Doctor can banish them back to their dimension.

And once again, there’s a class dimension to all of this — the monsters are free to prey upon the people in the Council Estate because they’re living in public housing and the authorities don’t care. People like Rigsy have their creativity ignored and suppressed by completely awful authority figures like Fenton, who’s basically an unthinking jackass who keeps trying to undermine Clara. In an especially dark twist, most of the nice people in the story die, while the loathsome Fenton survives.

This Year, Doctor Who is Built Around A Character Arc, And That's MajorExpand

In the end, the Doctor gets to emerge from the TARDIS just in time to make one of his trademark shouty speeches about how he’s the Doctor and he fights monsters. Maybe he’s overcomepnsating, after Clara did such a good job of “being” him — in any case, this speech is probably my least favorite part of the episode, since I’d sort of thought we were over that now.

What does Missy want with Clara?

So this episode — and this season, in general — are all about Clara recognizing that she’s not just the Doctor’s conscience, she’s actually just as bad (or good) a game-player as he is. But the end of the episode does tie that character arc into the season’s fairly slender plot mystery — that of Missy “Misdemeanor,” the lady in charge of Heaven who’s spying on the Doctor. She’s observing Clara’s progress, and seems very pleased with her choice:

As we learned in the season opener, Missy was the woman in the shop who gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number so she could call him about her wifi troubles back in “The Bells of St. John.” And she’s apparently been grooming Clara for… something. Something that requires Clara to be more than just a standard companion, more assertive and ruthless.

An amoral Time Lord, a “Mistress” (instead of Master)??

Does Missy’s plan for Clara have anything to do with the fact that Clara went inside the Doctor’s timeline and became a kind of uber-companion to all of his previous incarnations, dying again and again? I’m guessing probably not — for one thing, that hasn’t been mentioned at all this season, and Clara doesn’t seem to remember it.

For another, I wonder if that even happened at all — the Doctor didn’t die at Trenzalore the way he was “supposed” to, which means there’s no future tomb on that planet, and thus no timeline for Clara to step inside. That whole business may have been erased when Matt Smith managed to regenerate into Peter Capaldi. (The other option is that the Doctor will, at some point in his future, go to Trenzalore AGAIN and get involved in yet another centuries-spanning war on that planet, which will result in his irrevocable death. But I highly doubt it.)

This Year, Doctor Who is Built Around A Character Arc, And That's MajorExpand

Anyway, I’m cautiously optimistic to see where this is all going — I hope that a season of character development for Clara doesn’t get turned at the last minute into a widget of some sort, as the “Missy” plot comes to fruition. As long as that doesn’t happen, this is very good stuff — a real solid character-based storyline in which the villainous masterplan is wrapped up with the process of Clara growing up and becoming more of a real person.

Some people have been saying that Capaldi is a welcome change but the writing on the show hasn’t changed that much — but I’d say that’s been disproved at this point.

I agree.


Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused ActorExpand

With the announcement of the Twelfth Doctor yesterday, there seemed to be a bit of confusion. “Well, it can’t be him”, people cried, “he’s been in it before!”. Turns out that this sort of thing is actually a pretty common trope in the world of Doctor Who. Let’s take a trip back in Time and… reused faces!

Nick Courtney

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Long before he made his first appearance as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in 1970’s Spearhead from Space (in fact, the character had actually been introduced as a Colonel in the Troughton serial The Web of Fear 2 years earlier), the dearly missed Nicholas Courtney played the no-nonsense Space Security Agent Bret Vyon in the 12-episode epic The Daleks’ Master Plan, broadcast in 1965. Battling the Daleks alongside The Doctor and his companions, Bret would eventually meet his end at the hands of his sister, Sara, convinced by the villainous Mavic Chen that he was a traitor. Those two names might just pop up in this list later…

Jacqueline Hill

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Jacqueline Hill, of course, is best known as one of Doctor Who’s original companions, Barbara Wright – who travelled with the first Doctor from An Unearthly Child (1963) to The Chase (1965) alongside fellow Coal Hill school teacher Ian Chesterton – but fans would have to wait 15 years to see her again in Doctor Who, this time as Lexa, the religious leader of the Deons in Meglos, marking the first (but not last) time a companion would reappear in the show as another character.

Mark Gatiss

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Not just content with writing for Doctor Who, Mark Gatiss also wanted to play a part in it – which he went on to do twice! First, as the tragic genetic scientist Professor Lazarus in 2007’s The Lazarus Experiment, where he appeared both in and out of makeup in order to show Lazarus’ sudden de-ageing, but also in a cameo role as the space chess player Gantok in the Series 6 finalé The Wedding of River Song – for which he was credited as ‘Rondo Haxton’.

Gatiss also appeared uncredited as ‘Danny Boy’, one of the Spitfire Fighter pilots who battled the Dalek saucer in his Series 5 story Victory of the Daleks - making him the first Doctor Who actor to star in an episode they also wrote.

Adjoa Andoh

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Continuing the trend of actors making appearances under heavy makeup and then without, Adjoa Andoh first came to Doctor Who as the wonderfully droll Cat-Nurse Sister Jatt, in 2006’s New Earth – but a year later, she would reappear (thankfully less feline) as Martha’s mum Francine, de facto head of the dysfunctional Jones family, popping up then and again across Series 3. She made a brief return as Francine in 2008’s guest-star-crazy series 4 finalé The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End.

Julian Glover

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Best known amongst sci-fi fans as the sinister, AT-AT piloting General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back, Julian Glover is no stranger to Doctor Who either. 15 years before his movie moment on Hoth, Glover appeared in the Doctor Who historical The Crusade, as none other than the famous King of England Richard the Lionheart. Glover would then reappear in arguably one of the greatest stories in Doctor Who, 1979’s City of Death, playing the triple-role of Captain Tancredi, Count Scarlioni and Scaroth, last of the Jagaroth.

Lalla Ward

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused ActorExpand

Speaking of City of Death

Lalla Ward first appeared in Doctor Who as Princess Astra in The Armageddon Factor, who turned out to be part of the Key to Time that The Doctor and Romana were hunting for in the series-long story arc of the show’s 16th season. Lalla would appear again just 7 months later in the following serial, Destiny of The Daleks, as Romana’s second incarnation. For the first time the show would actually acknowledge this reuse of an actor – apparently, much to The Doctor’s disapproval, Romana took a liking to Princess Astra’s appearance, so she decided to emulate it when she grew tired of her original form.

Eve Myles

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

In only the third episode since Doctor Who returned in 2005, The Unquiet Dead, the lovely Eve Myles played Gwyneth, a tragic Victorian maid who eventually sacrificed herself to stop the Gelth from invading Earth through a rift in time and space. A year later it would be announced that companion Captain Jack Harkness would star in his own Who spinoff, Torchwood, with Myles joining him as the audience-surrogate-turned-Welsh-badass Gwen Cooper. Myles would return to Doctor Who alongside her fellow Torchwood cast members – and once again the show would lampshade her reuse by having the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler remark on how Cardiff’s space-time rift passed on genetic traits via the wonderfully technobabbly term ‘spacial genetic multiplicity’.

Geoffrey Palmer

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

The first triple-role actor (technically Julian Glover would be but Scaroth/Scarlioni/Tancredi are, like Oswin/Clara/Clara Oswald, merely shards of the same character, rather than actual different characters) on this list, Geoffrey Palmer was also one of the first actors to play a role in both ‘Classic’ era Doctor Who and its 2005 counterpart. First having played the civil servant Edward Masters in 1970’s Doctor Who and the Silurians (perhaps most iconic in the utterly terrifying scene where an infected Masters begins to spread the fatal Silurian Virus across London), Palmer would then appear as the Administrator in The Mutants two years later. It would be another 35 years for the actor to return to Doctor Who – this time playing Captain Hardaker, the ill-fated pilot of the Starship Titanic in Voyage of the Damned.

Colin Baker

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

As last night proved, playing a part in Doctor Who doesn’t necessarily rule you out of playing The Doctor later on – but it wasn’t the first time it happened. In 1983’s Arc of Infinity, Colin Baker played the zealous Commander Maxil (or perhaps specifically, the Time Lord attached to Commander Maxil’s fabulous helmet), part of Gallifrey’s Chancellery Guard – and then a year later, he would bring a similar standoffishness to his portrayal of the Sixth incarnation of The Doctor.

Freema Agyeman

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Ah, yet another companion popping up as another character! Although not the first in the show’s history, Freema Agyeman was the first instance of this level of reuse occuring in Doctor Who’s 2005 revival. Agyeman played Adeola Oshodi in Army of Ghosts, the first part of Series 2’s finalé – a Torchwood One administrator killed and controlled by the Cybermen, before having her Cyber-implants gruesomely yanked out of her ear by Yvonne Hartman. Freema would return the following series as the new companion, Martha Jones – and would acknowledge her past role in the show in her first episode, 2007’s Smith and Jones, by telling the Doctor that Adeola was her cousin.

Jean Marsh

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Another triple role – and this time it’s an actress who spanned the whole of Classic Doctor Who. Jean Marsh first appeared in The Crusade alongside fellow listee Julian Glover as Joanna of England, Richard the Lionheart’s Sister, in 1965 – and later that year she would return as the short-lived companion Sara Kingdom (another sister character, as she was related to Nick Courtney’s Bret Vyon) in The Daleks’ Master Plan. Marsh would then return to Doctor Who one last time in its final year – this time as a villain, rather than an ally, appearing as Morgaine in 1989’s Battlefield (once again starring alongside Nick Courtney!).

Kevin Stoney

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Another triple-role, and another actor appearing both in and out of makeup – although in one of Stoney’s roles, that’s perhaps a little more discomforting to our modern sensibilities. Stoney first appeared in The Daleks’ Master Plan (which turns out to be quite the serial for reusing actors from!) as Mavic Chen, clad in makeup in an attempt to make the white actor look more stereotypically Asian. Stoney would appear again 3 years later, this time with no makeup, as the villainous Tobias Vaughn, head of International Electromatics and ally to the Cybermen in The Invasion. He then appeared one last time, again heavily costumed and made up, as Tyrum, Councillor of the Vogans in 1975’s Revenge of the Cybermen.

Chipo Chung

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

From one Beetle-based appearance, to another – just without the makeup! Chipo Chung first appeared as the bashful alien assistant to Professor Yana, Chantho, in 2007’s Utopia, before being cruelly killed off as Yana rediscovered his identity as The Master. She would return a year later in a slightly-less friendly role as the Fortune Teller on Shan Shen in Turn Left, who attempted to enthral Donna Noble under the control of the Time Beetle and the Trickster’s Brigade.

Karen Gillan

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

If The Daleks’ Master Plan is Classic Who’s haven for Actor reuse, then 2008’s The Fires of Pompeii might just become NuWho’s. Its first major reuse comes via Karen Gillan, who played a Soothsayer of the Sibylline Sisterhood that spied on The Doctor and Donna when they arrived in Pompeii. Of course, Gillan would then go on to play Amy Pond, companion to the Eleventh Doctor, from 2010 to 2012. But speaking of Pompeii…

Peter Capaldi

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

The man behind the idea for this very list, at last! Yes, last night it was revealed that Peter Capaldi will play the Twelfth Doctor, but it won’t be the first time the Glaswegian has shown up in the Whoniverse. A life long fan (Check out a Fanzine piece on Doctor Who’s opening titles young Peter wrote back in 1976, courtesy of Doctor Who News correspondent Matthew Kilburn!), Capaldi first appeared on his childhood show as Lucius Caecilius Iucundus, a marble seller from Pompeii, in 2008. A year later he appeared in spin-off series Torchwood’s breakout third series, Children of Earth, as John Frobisher, the civil servant tasked as humanity’s ambassador to the sinister alien group, the 456.

What will he bring to The Doctor though? We’ll catch a small glimpse of just that at Christmas…

Bonus Round: Bernard Cribbins!

Doctor Who and the case of the Reused Actor

Okay, so technically Bernard Cribbins hasn’t been reused in Doctor Who the TV show before, but are you really going to deny the bundle of wonderfulness that is the Cribbs-meister?

Didn’t think so.

Bernard Cribbins first appeared in Doctor Who (or perhaps more specifically ‘Dr. Who’) as Police Officer Tom Campbell in the second Peter Cushing Who film, Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D, replacing the character of Ian from the first film. 41 years later, Cribbins would enter the show proper, first appearing as Wilfred Mott in 2007’s Christmas Special Voyage of the Damned, before returning as a series regular in Series 4 the year after, with the loveable Wilf being written in as Donna Noble’s grandfather. In that year Cribbins would go eye-to-eyestalk with a Dalek once more, in The Stolen Earth, making him the only actor to ever face the Daleks on both TV and Film.

Funnily enough, he could’ve almost had a third role in the show – when Jon Pertwee left in 1974, Cribbins approached Barry Letts in the hopes of getting the part of the Fourth Doctor.

Oh, and Philip Madoc, who played not one, but four villains on Doctor Who… six if you count playing Brockley in Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., and The Master in the Big Finish audio play.

the 1st Doctor and The Abbot of Amboise

The 2nd Doctor and Salamander


Romana I and Princess Strella

Nyssa and Ann Talbot

Review: The Forest of the Night

Do I really have to say, Spoilers ahead, I mean really…












Well, the “the science is crap” crowd made it’s appearance at my house tonight as we watched this episode. And yeah, the science isn’t great BUT…

Last night I was a Penn & Teller Performance and Penn Gillette said in part, “Stop trying to figure out How we do it and just wonder a bit more about WHY we do it”.

Stop being that critical adult and just enjoy the fun of the episode. The wonder. They mystery. The fairy tale nature of it all.

Enjoy it for what it is. This isn’t PBS or The Science Channel for got sake.

I think I enjoyed this episode on different level because of going to see Penn & Teller last night.

The mystery. The wonder. The FUN. To entertain. To show you magic can exist. Just enjoy it.

“This episode is about as fairy tale as Doctor Who’s ever been and so I wanted to do something simple and direct built around the title,” Stuart told “I also drew slightly on a sideways connection with the musical into the woods, which got me thinking about old Broadway posters and a composition built like a theatre stage. It’s pretty much that with a touch of Brothers Grimm lurking around the edges… a bit like Doctor Who, really.–Writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce

So what if the science is crap, think about the wonderment of what are effectively Sprites saving mankind and be grateful for the adventure.

See from a different perspective.

A lot of this season has been about seeing things from a different perspective.

Seeing a Dalek from the inside reveals something about the Doctor too.

The Caretaker, seeing the Doctor in a new way.

Robot of Sherwood, seeing a Hero from a different angle (The Doctor) by using all the tropes of the Legend.

Listen, Just Listen. Thinking a monster in a totally different way, and also see the Doctor in a Different way, as a scared little Gallifreyan boy.

Time Heist, the Ocean’s Eleven James Bond Bank job that showedn the characters from a different perspective when they are thrown together with no memory of why and when it comes down to why, it’s not a Heist, but a Rescue. Now that’s a different Perspective.

Caretaker, seeing the companion and the double life of Domestic girlfriend and TARDIS adventurer. Also, how much the Doctor still cares for “pudding brains.”

Kill The Moon, see what the Doctor does, life and death, from the companions point of view. And what about the perspective of letting the creature live vs killing it. The perspective of life or death for it also and who gets to decide.

The Mummy on the Orient Express, see the illusion of the 1920’s train replaced by the perspective of a coldly clinical analysis of the Mummy and it’s modis operandi. Most noteable in the scenes where the Doctor says effective,”You’ve got 66 seconds to live so give me some data I can use to defeat it.

Give him the insight he needs. Give him the perspective.

And finally Flatline: 2D monsters in a 3D world. The Doctor Clara. What isn’t perspective in this episode.

Whether, the perspective I see will pan out in the end, we shall soon see.

But let’s all enjoy the ride first.

As the Doctor himself one said, there’s no point in being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes. :)


US TV network AMC, which aired Mad Men and The Walking Dead, is to take over the running of BBC America after a $200m (£125m) deal with the BBC.

BBC America is available in almost 80 million homes in the US via cable and satellite.

AMC has bought a 49.9% stake in the channel, while the corporation’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide will retain 50.1%.

BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie said AMC was the “ideal partner”.

“They are committed to the kind of high-quality, unmissable content that has already gained BBC America one of the most educated, affluent and tech savvy audiences in all of US television,” he said.

BBC director general Tony Hall said the deal would “help us reach new audiences in the US, strengthen BBC America’s position for the long term and create opportunities for the UK creative community”.

Quality drama

The broadcasters have already co-produced dramas including The Honourable Woman. “This partnership means we can produce even more top quality drama together,” Mr Hall said.

BBC America will be managed as a standalone channel within the AMC Networks portfolio, which also includes Sundance TV and more than 60 international channels.

But the channel will be run in line with BBC’s editorial standards and policies.

Ed Carroll from AMC Networks said: “Orphan Black and Doctor Who are just two examples of bold and original BBC America content that creates passionate viewers and fits well alongside AMC Networks shows such as Mad Men, Portlandia and Rectify.” (BBC News)

It’s that Time Again

When the TV season is almost over :( and we talk about…

The DVD and Blu-ray release of The Complete Eighth Series sees the Doctor and Clara encounter previously unimaginable wonders and horrors… The time travellers meet a fleet of Daleks as they attempt to rescue a stranded ship of human survivors, face ranks of Cybermen stalking Earth, go back in time and join Robin Hood in a fight with killer robots in Sherwood Forest, become outlaws when they break into the deadliest bank in the cosmos, face a Mummy on the Orient Express, discover a deadly horror dwelling on the Moon and meet the last man standing at the end of the universe.

The box set contains every explosive episode from Peter Capaldi’s debut series in the role and is also packed full of extras including:

  • DVD Exclusive: Doctor Who – Deep Breath Cinema panel session (1x 30’ feature)
  • DVD Exclusive: Audio Commentaries x 4 (episodes and participants TBC)
  • Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord (1×45’ feature with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)
  • Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion (1×45’ feature with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)
  • Doctor Who: Earth Conquest (1×45’ World Tour Documentary)
  • Doctor Who Exclusive (4×2’ cast interviews)
  • Doctor Who Extra (12×10’ behind the scenes)
  • FOXES – Don’t Stop Me Now (Music video from Mummy on the Orient Express).
  • This title will be released on November 17, 2014.
    Pre-order now.
  • Here’s the U.S. cover art for the DVD/Blu-Ray set:

  • This title will be released on December 9, 2014. First Details About The Doctor Who Season 8 DVD Set!

  • The US version:

  • And here’s your first listing of all the special features that come with it:

    • EXCLUSIVE footage from London Post-Premiere Q&A with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat
    • EXCLUSIVE Doctor Who episode commentaries for Into the Dalek,Robot of Sherwood, The Caretaker, and Kill the Moon
    • Behind-the-Scenes featurettes (12 total)
    • Doctor Who Exclusive (4 total)

    Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord (special with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)

    Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion (special with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)

    Doctor Who: Earth Conquest (World Tour Documentary)

    • Tour of the TARDIS
    • Doctor Who: Deep Breath Live Pre-Show & After Who Live (hosted by comedian and Doctor Who superfan Chris Hardwick)
    • FOXES – “Don’t Stop Me Now” (Music video from Mummy on the Orient Express)

Doctor Sherlock

Frank Cottrell-Boyce is used to bringing national institutions into the modern era. The opening ceremony he wrote for the London Olympics featured everything from Maypole dancing to the Queen skydiving. But this weekend’s Doctor Who episode, In the Forest of the Night, presented a unique problem to the celebrated children’s author.

By now we’re all used to Peter Capaldi’s cantankerous and cutting version of the Doctor (even if Clara hasn’t quite adjusted) but when Cottrell-Boyce was writing his script he was still an unknown quantity.

“Obviously we wrote all of our scripts before we saw him,” he told “We knew the story and this guy was going to be older, a bit grumpier, a bit sharper. The minute they had any footage of him they showed, but there’s an interplay between the writing and what he’s trying to bring to it.”

With that in mind, what tips and directions did Steven Moffat give about writing for Capaldi? “Well, I’ve had his voice in my head since Local Hero came out in 1980-whatever-it-was. I think the key note Steven gave was that whereas the other Doctors tell you what they’re doing, he’ll keep things to himself for a while. Matt would tell you everything, but [Capaldi’s Doctor] keeps the process to himself until he acts on it.”

It’s an approach that Boyce believes echoes another of Moffat’s hyperintelligent leading men. “I guess that’s more like Sherlock Holmes,” Cottrell-Boyce notes, “you know the wheels are turning in his head, but he’s not really letting you in on the process.” (Radio Times)



12 Doctors

12 Doctors, 12 stories, 12 jackets – a Doctor Who style celebration!

Authors including Neil Gaiman, Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson and now Holly Black have written stories to celebrate each Doctor in Doctor Who in 12 Doctors 12 stories which is being published tomorrow. This gallery celebrates the each Doctor’s actual jacket (and in most cases tie) with this set of iconic book jackets – plus quotes from all the authors involved on ‘their Doctor’.

You can win a gift version of all the the stories in 12 mini-paper backs plus 12 postcards in a TARDIS slipcase by emailing telling us why you should be the one to win it with “12 Doctors” as your heading by 29 October 2014

Plus read an interview with Holly Black on writing the 12th Doctor story starring Peter Capaldi


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