The Doctor and The King of The ShadowKin.
For my Birthday.
Right above Clara’s name you can find her ex-boyfriend (and Coal Hill Maths teacher) Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson), while towards the left the Doctor’s own granddaughter Susan Foreman (who was a Coal Hill student in Doctor Who’s first ever episode An Unearthly Child back in 1963) can be spotted.
It’s like a big textual reunion – and we wouldn’t be surprised if there were a couple of other Who references among these names that fans will uncover as the weeks go on.
The Wright stuff
Speaking of An Unearthly Child, another character from that episode also gets a namecheck in the new series – though perhaps not one you would have spotted.
Back in the 1963 Doctor Who story, two teachers called Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton (Jacqueline Hill and William Russell with Susan Foreman actress Carole Ann Ford, above) joined the Doctor as companions, remaining with the Time Lord for various adventures before returning to their own time in 1965’s The Chase.
Since then the pair have been mentioned sporadically in the series, including a nod in 2013 anniversary special The Day of the Doctor which saw them credited as Coal Hill School governers.
In Class, though, only one (as of yet) gets the Easter Egg treatment, as RadioTimes.com discovered on the new series’ main school set as we stood in…The Barbara Wright building. Here’s hoping Ian gets his own building soon.
Miracle of the Hudson
And if you thought we were done with classic Who moments in the opening episode you’re dead wrong, because as we’ve noted elsewhere another figure from the original series made a reappearance – Tom Baker’s costume designer Laura June Hudson, who played the old lady Tanya (Vivian Oparah) runs into in a shop.
Fingers crossed for more such crossovers in episodes to come.
High school is hell.
Buffy said this 20 years ago.
It’s still true, even if its an Academy (upgraded from a School now) in Shoreditch in West London.
But this school dates back in the Doctor Who universe to the very beginning.
Coal Hill School. Now Coal Hill Academy.
All that temporal energy over the years has made it a rift in time & space.
So what we have is more YAF (Young Adult Fiction) Torchwood than Doctor Who.
Dark broody, mysterious and deadly, and definitely, brutal.
Some of this may be Spoilers So Be Warned.
“You Might Die Tonight” is an ironic title for a School Prom that is attacked by Shadowy Dimensional Creatures.
You do have the stereotypes, but they are also somewhat subverted.
The Shy girl. The New Girl. The Jock. The Weirdo. Oh, and a Teacher, who is most definitely NOT even remotely Giles. She is far more dangerous than that.
Oh, and one other thing is different. Blood & Gore. Lots of it!
The Jock has people killed right in front of him , and splattered by their blood in both of the first 2 episodes. So much so, he starts to have a bit of PTSD.
They aren’t the Scooby Gang that Buffy was.
They get rid of the bad guy in the 2nd episode (and the Monster who was killing people) but suggesting that the Monster eat the bad guy.
And it worked.
Not exactly a normal ending.
Oh, and the robot…🙂
Peter Capaldi’s Doctor makes an appearance towards the end of the first episode. Very cryptic. Very mysterious. Stops the Monster, for now, and announces that they are now the protectors of this rip in space/time.
It’s a bit awkwardly done. It’s almost as if Capt. Jack would have a been a better fit for the nastiness and the darkness. The death and mayhem is more reminiscent of Torchwood.
The Doctor’s unable to close the Hellmouth (yes, someone actually said that at one point) which got a much cruder name later on. This is not your mother’s Buffy.
It is more like Torchwood for youngsters.
Very raw. Nasty. Scary. Creepy. And unapologetic for it.
And it’s premiere was exactly 10 years to the day of Torchwood. So far it has more in common with it, than WHO.
Props to Greg Austin (Charlie), Sophie Hopkins (April), Fady Elsayed (Ram) and Vivian Oparah (Tanya) and to Katherine Kelly as the menacing Ms. Quill who is not a good person and much more an anti-hero/suppressed villainess.
Meanwhile Class, unlike any Who spin-off thus far goes full pelt in the other direction, making the Doctor (Peter Capaldi, above) actually appear and play a crucial part in the first story, eventually setting up the premise for the whole series (by giving the kids the mission of fighting off aliens) before departing to presumably return at some point in a future episode.
The reason for this more hands-on connection is obvious – without an actual Doctor Who character to build itself around like Torchwood or the Sarah-Jane Adventures had, Class needs to set out its stall as a show for Who fans in a more direct way. Basing it in a school that’s appeared sporadically over five decades and looked different every time is a weak link, with the majority of modern Doctor Who fans probably unaware of what Coal Hill even is. So it makes perfect sense that the series would be “blessed” by the Doctor in this way, and the fact that he sets up the premise is a neat, almost meta twist – Doctor Who believes in these kids, and so should you.
The call backs to Barbara Wright, 1st Doctor Companion & school teacher in 1963 at Coal Hill and the “late” Clara Oswald are inevitable though. But the anchor that stamps down and says this is still The Whoniverse is required.
Perhaps in the end watching Class WILL be a vivid flashback for many of what watching Torchwood exactly 10 years ago today was like. Enjoying a decent hour of television, sure – but vaguely wishing we could all just watch Doctor Who instead.
So we’ll see how it goes…Not a bad start for what is so far a Teen Horror show more than anything.
Yikes! how the years go by…
10 Years ago today.
This new story from Big Finish reunites some familiar names… Check out the full details of the 2 CD set below.
The Torchwood Archive
“Welcome, visitor. The Torchwood Archive provides a complete history of our Institute from its distant beginnings to the present day. When we founded our great enterprise in the year of our Lord 1879, we decreed that there should be a record of this achievement, stored at the very furthest limits of the British Empire. By visiting you are spreading that legacy, perhaps out through the skies. For now, I shall bid you a good day and welcome you to the Torchwood Archive. Do, please look around.”
The Torchwood Archive is a forgotten asteroid in the centre of a great war. Jeremiah is its first visitor in many centuries. He’s come to learn something very important. And the ghosts of Torchwood are waiting for him.
This month’s Doctor Who Magazine celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Doctor Who’s first ongoing spin-off series, when John Barrowman talks Torchwood…
Following Barrowman’s comment at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con that he was “working very hard” to return Torchwood to our TV screens”, DWM asks he what that was all about…
Every production company I go into, I’m not kidding, they say, Is there any way we could get Torchwood back up and running?. I’ve heard this so many times that I thought, I’m going to find out if we can do it.
I started planting seeds, dropping a few hints, and it did exactly what I wanted it to: it blew up and everyone was like, Oh my God, Barrowman wants to bring back Torchwood! Which, I’ve got to be honest with you, I really do. Because I travel around the world, I go to all these conventions, I see all these people – and I speak to all these production companies – who are desperate for it to come back.
ALSO INSIDE THIS ISSUE…
- ASK STEVEN
- THE POWER OF THE DALEKS
- answers readers’ questions, and reveals that the Doctor’s favourite alcoholic drink is lemonade.
A first look at the brand-new animation of the lost Second Doctor classic adventure
- CLASS PREVIEW
DWM asks writer
- to reveal what he’s got in store for us in new Doctor Who spin-off,
- THE ART OF THE DIRECTOR
- TIME TEAM
- THE SAVAGES
DWM celebrates a century of Doctor Who directors by tracking down four of the class of 2015 and interrogating them – in Part One of this in-depth feature.
Part One of a brand new comic strip adventure, written by Mark Wright and illustrated by Staz Johnson.
The Time Team stock up on pizza, booze and telly for this month’s episode, The Lodger.
The TARDIS lands on a planet which offers ‘a golden age of peace and prosperity’… But this apparent utopia comes at a terrible price, as this issue’s Fact of Fiction features 1966’s
- COMING SOON
Previews of all the latest Doctor Who CD and book releases.
Premiering on a Torrent near you in 4 days.🙂
Doctor Who Spinoff: Class — Latest News
We’ve got a synopsis for the third episode of Class. The synopsis for “Nightvisiting” teases the appearance of an alien that takes the form of lost loved ones. Ouch. Here’s the full, intriguing synopsis…
London is infiltrated by an eerie alien with the ability to morph into the shape of lost loved ones.
Tanya has an unexpected visitor come to her window in the dead of night – and she’s not the only one, as Ram and Miss Quill face their own startling visitors.
Confronted with these emotional encounters, the team must overcome the persuasion of this strange new threat, and battle through the streets to stop Tanya from being lost forever.
And here’s an image featuring Tanya that appears like it might be from “Nightvisiting”…
BBC America has posted the entire Class panel from New York Comic Con. Showrunner Patrick Ness and young cast members Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins and Vivian Oparah were on hand to discuss the new show. They’re all obviously very excited to be there, and even have a group hug after viewing the trailer together for the first time…
“I can officially say that I will be starting back on Doctor Who soon, so that’s one thing”, says Missy herself, Michelle Gomez…
A brief update, here, but an exciting one: Michelle Gomez has just confirmed that she will be returning to Doctor Who “soon”. Given that series 10 is filming right now, it doesn’t take much to put the pieces together and work out that she will be popping up in series 10, Steven Moffat’s final season as showrunner.
Gomez told Music.com that, “Weirdly, this is the sort of crunch week where I get to find out exactly what I’m going to be doing next.”
She added this: “I can officially say that I will be starting back on Doctor Who soon, so that’s one thing.”
Not a massive surprise perhaps, but we thought you’d like to know.
Also, there is an excellent interview with the Costume Designer for Tenth Planet in the latest Doctor Who Magazine
It was …Saturday 8th October 1966, that we were introduced to one of the all-time classic monsters of Doctor Who. The Cybermen had arrived.
The Cybermen were the invention of Kit Pedler and the current story editor Gerry Davis. Pedler had been brought into the series to add a bit of scientific rigor to the scripts. A scientist from the University of London, he had already come up with the idea of the War Machines, the story which ended Doctor Who’s third series.
Pedler’s concept of the Cybermen came after a conversation with his Doctor wife, discussing what would happen if a person had so many prostheses that they could no longer distinguish themselves between man and machine. The story was developed with Davis, with the original Cybermen hailing from Earth’s long lost sister planet, Mondas. The first Cyberman costumes were designed by Sandra Reid (Alexandra Tynan née Reid), who used cloth, rubber diving suits, tubing, golf balls, cricketers’ gloves, and silver-painted Doc Martens boots to create the look.
The Cybermen were an instant success and a sequel was commissioned for broadcast later in the season. They would return for three more stories during the second Doctor’s era before taking a rest from the series. A one-off appearance with the Fourth Doctor was followed in 1982 by their return in the acclaimed story Earthshock. From that point on they would be a regular feature of the series with their most recent appearance being in the 2014 story Dark Water/Death in Heaven.
The costumes may have changed over the years, the voice refined and the back story enhanced, but the concept of the Cybermen remain unchanged. The ultimate evolution of the human form, where metal and steel replace flesh and blood and inconvenient emotions are consigned to history.
On that early October evening in 1966, as viewers around the UK were enjoying the arrival of the silver menace, in a small Television studio in west London another drama was playing out. The end of an era was occurring. A much-loved actor was recording his last scenes in a popular long-running television series. William Hartnell was leaving Doctor Who.
It had been debatable whether the actor would actually make it to his last contracted episode. In the summer, Hartnell had agreed he would leave the series in the autumn, his deteriorating health making the weekly pace of the series impossible to manage. He has spent much of August holidaying in Cornwall, fishing and relaxing. In September he would return to record just one more story.
Hartnell had maintained regular correspondence with the production team throughout his break. His last story would be directed by Derek Martinus, known to Hartnell from his previous work on the series, and he was keen to involve the actor as much as possible. He wrote to him in Cornwall with the latest news about The Tenth Planet, including changes in the production week, which would now run Tuesday to Saturday each week.
We’ve got a very good supporting cast for you, including Bob Beatty as General Cutler. It would be very useful indeed if we could have a read through of all four episodes on the first Tuesday morning…. If we do this, it shouldn’t be necessary for you to come in until after lunch on succeeding Tuesdays.
Hartnell was delighted with the casting of Robert Beaty, an actor he knew from working on the TV series Dial 999. He was pleased with the late Tuesday start, as he needed to travel up from his home at Mayfield in Sussex. However, he was keen to show he was still very much in charge and, in a letter to the Director, he pointed out worries about the rehearsal rooms being used.
One important factor to me, at this boy’s club, there are two Ping-Pong tables in the outer room where I like to sit and compose my thoughts, therefore, I would ask you to forbid the rest of the cast playing at these tables within our working hours
By the end of September, recording on the first two episodes of the story had been completed and the cast was assembling for the week-long rehearsal of episode three when it was clear someone was missing. William Hartnell was ill, too sick to attend. He had to be quickly written out of the episode, with story editor Gerry Davis rewriting the script to render the Doctor unconscious for the entire episode.
Derek Martinus wrote to reassure the actor
Please don’t worry about the show. Gerry has been very clever and managed to write around you. Everybody sends their warmest regards and we all hope you will be fit to do battle one last time
Hartnell did return the following week and after the four-day rehearsal, the team assembled at Studio 1, Riverside studios on Saturday 8th October where he would record his final episode. By far the most complex challenge of the day was to record the transformation of the First Doctor into the Second, so this was taped first, and Doctor Who history was written between 6.30pm to 7.00pm when the first regeneration in the series history was recorded. Anneke Wills remembers the event
The meeting between Bill and Pat was quite extraordinary. It was like two gentlemen very politely meeting each other. Pat was suitably humble and it was very pointed moment. I think Bill’s ego was quite tickled by the fact that he was being replaced by someone of the caliber of Pat Troughton
The woman charged with achieving the transformation was Vision Mixer Shirley Coward
The first I knew of the regeneration was when I arrived in the studio that day and they said we are going to change William Hartnell into Patrick Troughton. Nobody was exactly sure how they were going to do it, so it was a matter of the studio engineers and the cameramen just trying out things
After a supper break, the rest of the episode was recorded from 8.00pm to 10.15pm, incurring a slight overrun.
And with that, the Hartnell era was over. The last scenes had been recorded, a new Doctor was now installed. A small farewell party was held at producer Innes Lloyd‘s flat and then Lloyd drove him home to Sussex.
William Hartnell would live until 1975, but his progressive disease meant he would not work regularly again. He had a small run in a pantomime the following Christmas playing Buskin the Fairy Cobbler in Puss In Boots. He would briefly return to Doctor Who in the 1972 story The Three Doctors, but by then his health was so poor all his scenes were pre-filmed in one day.
…the character he created is known and loved around the world. His legacy lives on.