Monthly Archives: March 2016

Comic Creator

Clicking or tapping on an app’s title will take you straight to the store, and prices are correct at the time of writing. If you see “IAP” that means the app uses in-app purchases.

Doctor Who: Comic Creator

Apps

Android :Doctor Who: Comic Creator (Free + IAP)
Aimed at children, although Whovian parents will have a lot of fun with it too. This BBC app gets you creating digital comics starring various Doctors, companions and aliens, with a simple interface and a mix’n’match monster creation tool. Fun creative play for kids (of all ages).

Also: APPLE

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/doctor-who-comic-creator/id1083403621?mt=8

Tragic

Fansided.com: It is generally thought that the Doctor is the loneliest character on Doctor Who. However, given his ability to travel through time and space, that may not be the case. Instead, he is the most tragic character on the show.

The Doctor is a tragic figure in Doctor Who. Let us face it, with his incredible life span, ability to regenerate, and affinity for humanity, he is cursed with the knowledge that most of those who he befriends will die long before his time is done. As Ashildr pointed out, that is one of the downsides to immortality, or, in the Doctor’s case, a lifespan measuring thousands of years.

i do think one of the more tragic lines in WHO was in “School Reunion” when he said Rose could stay with him her whole life, but she could his, because he will outlive her no matter what.

And considering how close he was with Sarah Jane, Jo, Ace, Rose,Amy, etc. He still picks up another one knowing it WILL end shortly (by his time scale). It’s big like having a Goldfish in a bowl and when it dies getting another and another and another.

Even his “wife” River, though part Time Lord and long lived will never outlive him.

That is tough.

And yet, while the Doctor does not typically travel back in time to see his former companions, with the notable exception of the Tenth Doctor looking to see Rose once more before his regeneration, that does not mean he cannot revisit old friends.

Cynically, it mean the BBC can’t or won’t afford it. 🙂

His relationships with Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and even the Brigadier, amongst others, encompassed different incarnations based on the novelizations, audio plays and television episodes.

Perhaps this is what makes the Doctor such a tragic character. Not only does he have to face the reality that all of his human friends, and friends from across the universe, will die during his lifetime, but he has the ability to go back and visit them periodically if he so desires. Unfortunately, in doing so, he has to live with the knowledge that while he gets to see them living once again, at his next step, these friends may be long since dead.

And then there are the rules of Time Travel itself.

In a way, giving the Doctor this ability and having him befriend humanity taps into the core desires of people. If given the chance, everyone has that one person they would want to go back in time to visit and have one last conversation with. The Doctor can do that, at least theoretically.

True. Also people you’d just love to meet in general. Sometimes, not even people. I would love to just see the raw natural majesty of the Dinosaurs. It would be rough, but beautiful. But not on Asteroid Day, though.

Yet, that opens up a completely different set of issues. While the Doctor can have that conversation, it also leads to the possibility of wanting to keep going back, to make it virtually impossible to let go. Perhaps this is why he refuses to go back and check in on his former companions – reliving the moment that they parted ways, either through the demise of the companion or from when they left of their own accord, is far too much for him to handle on a repeated basis with the same individual.

Always moving forward, never looking back.

It is said that those who smile the most harbor the most pain, and that those who attempt to shield others from turmoil may well be fighting the largest battles. The Doctor is certainly not an exception.

Another Guiness

And we don’t mean beer.

capaldi-Guinness-World-Record-2016-300x200

Last week saw Doctor Who racking up yet another Guinness World Record. This time for — deep breath — ‘Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Doctor Who Characters’

A total of 492 Doctor Who doppelgängers, Daleks and Oods were among those who took part in Mexico City, during La Mole Comic Con.

Peter Capaldi was joined by Executive Producer Brian Minchin to support the record attempt, with the pair both in Mexico to celebrate the premier of Doctor Who, Series 9 on NBC’s Syfy channel.

There some chatter about an attempt to break it at Phoenix Comicon in June. 🙂

 

Expansion

Houston Press (I’m sick again 😦 )

Doctor Who is very unique in the fact that it has one of the largest expanded universes of any franchise in the world, and yet there is simply no dividing line between canon and non-canon. Not a definite one at any rate. The nature of the show means that’s things which should be completely incompatible, such as “Human Nature” being both a Tenth Doctor television story and a Seventh Doctor prose story, actually could be the same thing. Missy showed us that in “The Witch’s Familiar” when relating a memory of a previous encounter of The Doctor’s and he cycled throughout his First, Fourth and Twelfth incarnations until she settled on the one she liked for the tale. Doctor Who is a non-linear, multi-dimensional story as told to an audience that understands time and space only in one direction.

That aside, there’s an order of importance to the narrative. Think of the television show as The Bible and the assorted spin-offs in audio, prose and comics to be Biblical apocrypha. All entries are gospel, but some are more gospel-y than others. There’s plenty to write off in the novels that were written for the various Doctors between 1989 and 2005 as probably not things that would have been approved if a show had been in production at that time, especially among the Seventh and Eighth Doctors. On the other hands the post-2005 novels are rather clearly intended to supplement the show, and references from a few of them have actually made it into episodes.

The weird thing is that Steven Moffat has been systematically dismantling the walls between the various spin-off worlds ever since he stepped into the role of showrunner, and now we’re seeing a giant unification of the spheres among all media that no one seems to be acknowledging is happening. In this year when we get no new series it would be a great time for fans to check out a massive amount of Doctor Who that is all becoming as legit as the show itself.

The first thing that happened was “Night of The Doctor” where Paul McGann gloriously returned to the role of the Eighth Doctor to film his death and regeneration into the War Doctor. Not only did it fill a hole in the life of The Doctor always talked about but never seen, it also canonized the Eighth Doctor’s adventures in the Big Finish audio stories when he toasted past companions Charley Pollard, C’Rizz, Lucie Mille, Tamsin Drew and Molly O’Sullivan before his death. This in effect made the ten years-worth of adventures in the medium the Eighth Doctor’s official timeline, and if his adventures are canon, why not those of, say, the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe or the First Doctor and Oliver Harper.

There’s an even more profound down-series effect from what “Night of The Doctor” did. One of the greatest stories of the Eighth Doctor’s audio adventures was “Zagreus,” which essentially served as Doctor Who’s unofficial 40th Anniversary special and featured appearances by every single actor who had appeared in the audio stories thus far, including archived audio of Jon Pertwee. In the course of that long, amazing story, the Eighth Doctor gets a glimpse into his swirling timelines, seeing his own current incarnation traveling in space in time in alternate dimensions. References in this scene include allusions to his Doctor Who Magazine comic adventures – until “Night of The Doctor” considered the most likely true timeline between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors – as well as adventures from his line of Virgin novels, which by succession would be history of the Seventh Doctor in his Virgin New Adventure novels, including Human Nature, that line succeeded. The point being that in two steps was united every single bit of Doctor Who lore in a swirling mass of time and space that both has and hasn’t happened as well as maybe not happening the way we all remember it. No wonder The Doctor’s memory is so bad.

It’s nothing compared to what’s happening now, though. The lines between the revived series and the classic series as continued in Big Finish is getting more perforated by the month. Big Finish was granted the right to use modern monsters like the Weeping Angels for classic Doctors, and Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill is bringing a whole new set of stories narrated by him about the various post-2005 Doctors. John Hurt is building a new legacy for the War Doctor there, as are David Tennant and Catherine Tate returning for more fun times with the Tenth Doctor and Donna, as is River Song meeting various of her previous husbands in a new audio series of her own. Plus Torchwood is back, and how long really will it be until Matt Smith and Even Christopher Eccleston are lured into the studio. Big Finish is actually producing more new Who than Nu Who right now.

Now, it’s about to get really wibbly-wobbley. Hardcore Doctor Who fans should know of Bernice Summerfield. She first joined The Doctor as an ally in the Virgin New Adventure novels, and has remained an important part of the larger Doctor Who canon. She’s had her own series at Big Finish even before any Doctor did due to rights issues, and has taken on classic villains like Sutekh and the Ice Warriors both with and without The Doctor.

The latest announcement is that Summerfield will be traveling to the Unbound Universe, where many alternative version of The Doctor exist, including a female one played by Arabella Weir. Remember, through the actions of the current television showrunner all the happenings at Big Finish in Doctor Who are at least partially canon. The same Seventh Doctor that appeared in the classic television show is the same who will take on the Sycorax and meet River Song in an upcoming audio story, who is the same Seventh Doctor who has traveled with Bernice Summerfield in at least two possible universes, and it’s that Bernice Summerfield who is now walking into places where anything is possible. Will she encounter the Shalka Doctor, condemned to a fictional no man’s land when the revived series trumped the animated one? Will the Cushing Doctor finally find a place? Will the mysterious figure The Other take stage?

Doctor Who fractured into many different worlds when it was cancelled in 1989, and the 1996 movie only furthered the fracturing. Now, after more than a decade of trying to right the timelines and bring things to heel, it looks like a universal Doctor Who canon might actually be happening right under our noses. An almost unlimited library of stories is now all part of the same story with only minor breaks at the edges. I can’t think of anything that sums up Doctor Who better.

Sad News

I somehow missed this story. My sincerest condolences.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of David Tennant’s father, The Very Rev Dr Sandy McDonald.

Born: November 5, 1937
Died: March 17, 2016

Sandy, who was a former Moderator of the Church Of Scotland, passed aged 78, after a long battle with lung disease at the Erskine Care Home for ex-servicemen in Bishopton.

McDonald had been a regular on television in the 1980s, co-presenting the religious-affairs programme That’s The Spirit! In 2006 he appeared alongside his son David in Ready Steady Cook, and two years later he had a cameo role in Doctor Who. “I think they must have been short of someone,” he said. “They very kindly invited me to play the part of a footman.”  When Tennant received a National Television Award in 2015 he dedicated it to his father –“an inspiration and a role model.”

Born in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, to Jessie Helen Low and Alexander M. McDonald, Sandy worked in the timber industry as a trainee manager from 1952-1958. During that time he took a break for two years when he was called up to do national service with the Royal Air Force. Whilst there his duties included operating the ground radar for the 617 Dambusters. After that he continued his wor in the timber trade from 1958 until 1962 when he responded to God’s call and decided to train for the ministry, studying theology at the University of Glasgow and at Trinity College in Dublin. He graduated later with a BA from the Open University, which subsequently granted him a Doctorate, in honour of his work as Moderator of the General Assembly.

Sandy served as an assistant minister at Merrylea Parish Church in Newlands, Glasgow, before being called as minister to St David’s in Bathgate, in 1968. As chaplain to the town’s British Leyland plant, he spoke out for workers during a period of industrial action.

In 1974 he became minister of St Mark’s Oldhall Parish Church, Ralston in Renfrewshire, Paisley, where he helped found a young ministers’ fraternal group that still meets today as part of the Presbytery of Paisley. He served as President of the Glasgow and Paisley Battalions of the Boys Brigade. He had a BB badge on every jacket he owned.

One of his passions was for the Church’s Summer Mission, which every year took hundreds of young people to the seaside.

As General Secretary of the Church of Scotland’s Board of Ministry, from 1988 until his retirement in 2002, he was an advocate for ministers. During his tenure ministers’ stipends were raised, benefits were improved and ministers were encouraged to see themselves as uniquely qualified professionals.

A natural media personality, Sandy co-presented STV’s religious magazine programme ‘That’s the Spirit’ during the 1980s, and was a guest on other religious shows.

Many fans of David will know of Sandy from his on screen appearances alongside his son on shows such as Ready Steady Cook and Who Do You Think You Are? He also made a guest starring role on The Unicorn And The Wasp, an episode of Doctor Who.

In early 2015 Sandy disclosed he was fighting the degenerative lung disease pulmonary fibrosis. He spoke out for the “right to die,” despite the Church’s official position against the proposal.

Also that year he appeared on a tribute video at the National Television Awards to praise David as he collected his Special Recognition Award. David subsequently dedicated the award to his father saying he was ‘an inspiration and role model’.

Sandy was married to his late wife Helen for over 40 years before her passing in 2007. He leaves behind three children, Karen, Blair and David and nine grandchildren.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/revsandymcdonald

11 years ago today

The Return of a TV Legend happened 11 years ago today.

So it’s sorta the Doctor’s Other Anniversary. The anniversary of re-birth.

“Rose” was broadcast, complete with Graham Norton bleed-over to a public (https://vimeo.com/81533272) that hadn’t seen the show since the 1996 TV Movie and hadn’t been a regular BBC show since Dec 6,1989. (The BBC would make Graham infamous again in 2010 with a promo crawl at the end of an episode).

It started with “A New Dimension” before the appointed hour. A very Fan-y made history of the TV show. To remind those people and kids that this show was on before. 🙂

Narrated by future 10th Doctor David Tennant.

Ah, years of BBC bootlegs was born. 🙂

You know, with dial up at the time it took 24 hours to download the episode… 🙂

The excitement I felt was off the charts. Though as I have relayed before I was the recipient of a friend’s bootleg 3 weeks before the broadcast so by the premiere night I had already seen it and was not very impressed. The 2nd viewing was much better. Expectations were probably too high that night in early March 2005.

It will be around another year before Series 10 but we wait patiently.

So break out that copy of “Rose” and relive 11 years ago when The Doctor and his TARDIS appeared again.

 

Now that’s Scary

Over the years, David Tenant’s Doctor Who has fought numerous villains, from Cybermen to Daleks, but he never took on a threat quite like his next opponent: internet trolls.

In a new novel by Jenny T Colgan, the Tenth Doctor will be faced by hundreds of internet lurkers, the story revolving around aliens feeding off of their web-based hatred. 

Titled In The Blood, it will be the first novel to feature this iteration of the Doctor since 2009. He will, as you may have suspected, be accompanied by Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate in the show.

“I wanted to write an exciting Earth-set adventure for the Tenth Doctor and Donna, and I thought, what would strike you, if you’d just arrived here, at this point in our history?” Colgan told Radio Times. “You’d probably be a bit amazed at how much pointless bile people send over the internet – this amazing tool we have, this amazing source of infinite knowledge and so on, getting used for so much abuse. It’s really mind-boggling.

“The thing is, I’m a Doctor Who fan, obviously, and 99.999% of fandom is absolutely lovely – I can’t stress that enough – but a tiny proportion are quite aggressive, and that’s puzzling to me, because it’s the antithesis of everything the Doctor stands for. So the book is looking at modern rage, how pent up people can get. It’s pent up anger that the virus feeds on, all that frustration with nowhere to go.

“When the trolls first start to die, people are not that concerned – people who’ve been bullied so much they’ve had to change schools aren’t that sympathetic. But of course the Doctor doesn’t see it like that at all. A life is a life to him.”

Sounds quite bizarre really. Still, not the weirdest Doctor Who story. In The Blood will be published by BBC books on the 12 May.

Synopsis: All over the world, people are ‘ghosting’ each other on social media. Dropping their friends, giving vent to their hatred, and everywhere behaving with incredible cruelty. Even Donna has found that her friend Hettie, with her seemingly perfect life and fancy house, has unfriended her. And now, all over the world, internet trolls are dying…

As more and more people give in to this wave of bitterness and aggression, it’s clear this is no simple case of modern living. This is unkindness as a plague.

From the streets of London to the web cafes of South Korea and the deepest darkest forests of Rio, can the Doctor and Donna find the cause of this unhappiness before it’s too late?

An original novel featuring the Tenth Doctor and Donna, as played by David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

in-the-blood

The Best Month of My Life

How long does it take to watch every episode of Doctor Who?

How long does it take to watch every episode of Doctor Who?

By Radio Times staff

Are you a Doctor Who fan? We mean a real Doctor Who fan… a dyed-in-the-Tardis-seen-ever-episode-that’s-ever-been-made Doctor Who fan?

Yes? Well congratulations, it turns out you’ve essentially spent a full calendar month watching your favourite show from start to finish (and that’s if you only watch every episode once!)

Indeed, those of you who have watched all the episodes of Classic Who from Hartnell through to McGann, and then sat down to the nine series of new Who screened from 2005 to 2015 have enjoyed a whopping 28 days 7 hours and 50 minutes of Doctor Who, according to tiii.me. That’s like spending all of February awake with Doctor Who on the TV.

The 26 series (and specials) of classic Who are the biggest part of the viewathon, taking 21 days 22 hours and 30 minutes to get through.  But even those of you who are only fans of the modern show since Christopher Eccleston brought it back under Russell T Davies have still spent 6 days, 9 hours and 20 minutes (or just under a week without sleep) keeping up with adventures in space and time.

The ‘good news’ is that the total time won’t be going up for a while with no series of the show slated for 2016, so plenty of time to slip a quick month of Doctor Who in to remind yourself just what you’re missing.

The A-Word

A young Doctor Who fan with Asperger interviews Christopher Eccleston about autism drama The A-Word

By Paul Jones   (Radio Times)

 

Gerard Groves is a talented young filmmaker. He describes himself as being on the autistic spectrum. And he is a huge Doctor Who fan, whose love of the show began with Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston.

So landing an exclusive interview with Eccleston about The A-Word, his new BBC1 drama about autism, and then editing a film about it must have ticked a lot of boxes for Gerard…

Gerard’s early obsession with Doctor Who will be recognisable to many fans, and it’s also what sparked his interest in filmmaking.

“I was watching Doctor Who back in 2005 when Christopher Eccleston started and it was his portrayal of the Doctor that really got me into it,” says Gerard, now 19. “It was halfway into series one when I started making these films and when my whole childhood started revolving around his portrayal of this one character on TV.

“Back in the day, I did all kinds of different films… I did a series of films as a kid called Cat Who. Basically, due to my lack of available friends who wanted to be in a film on the internet – this was back when it was ‘what the hell’s YouTube, this weird thing? We don’t want to be on the internet’ – I ended up roping my cats in to being the companions to my Doctor Who, so I filmed these cats and added the voices in later.”

“After spending a year obsessing about that one thing, especially as a 7/8 year old, I think it kind of gets burnt into your brain, and into you as a person, and it holds that very special place for you, almost like how a parent or a granddad or someone close to you would. It’s funny how TV can do that.”

Gerard is not alone. Doctor Who is now a global phenomenon and there are millions of fans of all types, shapes and sizes around the world. But Gerard says that in his experience the show holds a special appeal for those, like him, on the autistic spectrum.

“Doctor Who’s got a big audience – but especially an audience of people on the autistic spectrum,” he says. “I don’t know what it is about Doctor Who exactly but I was volunteering at the Doctor Who Festival a few months ago and what I noticed there was that there was a huge, huge autistic spectrum fanbase. And since Christopher Eccleston is not only a big name in [The A-Word] but also a big name in the Doctor Who world, so I thought he’d be a really good person to talk to; it kind of ties it all together.”

Eccleston doesn’t do a huge number of interviews (in fact, Gerard’s was the only one he did for The A-Word aside from the official BBC Q&A) and he doesn’t necessarily have a reputation as being particularly forthcoming. So what was he like?

Let’s just say Doctor Who fans scared of having their illusions shattered needn’t worry…

“He was absolutely lovely. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking to,” says Gerard.

“You often hear the phrase ‘don’t meet your heroes’ but it couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was scared going up to interview him as you see in the film… but he was so lovely and so warm. He was happy to talk about his role and he was happy to talk about my experiences [as someone on the autistic spectrum] and he reacted to it, you could tell he listened – in his eyes and in the way he spoke and in his reactions.

“He’s just a very genuinely nice man. I think he’s caring and I think his work means a lot to him; that when he hears how his work’s impacted someone it means a lot to him. He’s always thinking about his work but I think what that boils down to is thinking about people, and how people work. And I suppose when you’ve got someone whose job is people, and taking on those roles, you’re going to get someone who’s really nice and a people person.”

And how was it for Eccleston? “You got me then,” he tells Gerard at the end of the emotional interview. “You got me crying…”

Watch Gerard’s exclusive interview with Christopher below and see for yourselves.

But as someone on the autistic spectrum, what did Gerard think of Eccleston’s new drama, penned by Peter Bowker, which follows a family who discover that their child is autistic? Having seen the first two episodes, Gerard says that at times “it was like staring into a mirror”.

“Watching it was a really bizarre thing. I had goosebumps all up my arms. It was like staring into a mirror or watching a biopic of my life. Some of the moments in it that the family have were just so representative… I was thinking ‘I can relate to a lot of those moments from my childhood’ and ‘this is maybe what my mum was going through’, that kind of thing.

“It was really nice to see it all being represented in such a positive and real way. I think it’s very easy to fall into those pitfalls of doing something negative and dreary and showing someone that’s in distress, and a family being stressed out. But that almost becomes voyeuristic and a very negative way of doing something. I think it’s better to show the fun moments too, and that’s what I really loved about the show.

“All the characters could have their own spin-offs – that’s how you know a show’s really good, they’ve all got those dimensions to them. And each of them have their own funny moment. I was sat through this show with goosebumps, with some moments very close to the bone but then others where I was really laughing.”

The A-Word starts on Tuesday 22nd March at 9pm on BBC1

Prime WHO

“Doctor Who” is headed back to Amazon, with the e-commerce giant announcing a multiyear pact with BBC Worldwide North America that makes Amazon Prime Video the exclusive U.S. subscription streaming home for the modern version of the sci-fi series.

The first eight seasons of “Doctor Who,” along with all holiday special episodes, will be available starting March 27, to Amazon Prime customers at no additional charge.

Peter Capaldi accepts Guinness World Record for Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Doctor Who Characters

Peter Capaldi accepts Guinness World Record for Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Doctor Who Characters

By Paul Kirkley

Monday 21 March 2016 at 11:44AM

Peter Capaldi was on hand to witness a world record-breaking gathering of Doctor Who’s friends and foes.

The Twelfth Doctor accepted the Guinness World Record for Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Doctor Who Characters at the La Mole Comic Con in Mexico City on Saturday (20th March).

The day saw a total of 492 Doctor Who doppelgängers gathering in the same time and space, with cosplayers dressed as everything from the TARDIS to the Time Lord himself, as well as a menagerie of monsters including Daleks, Oods and Weeping Angels.

The Sibylline Sisterhood, from 2008’s The Fires of Pompeii, were also there to keep their eye on the record attempt:

Capaldi and executive producer Brian Minchin were in Mexico to celebrate the premiere of Doctor Who season nine on NBC’s Syfy channel, and visited the convention to lend their support to the epic record attempt.

Doctor Who is no stranger to Guinness World Records. It is officially recognised as the planet’s Longest-Running Science Fiction TV Series, while a new book, Guinness World Records 2016 Blockbusters!, boasts a whole section dedicated to the show and its fans.

Featured record-breakers include Largest Collection of Doctor Who Memorabilia (2,021 items belonging to Ian O’Brien from Manchester), Most Expensive Dalek (£36,000 paid for an original 1970s prop) and Most Popular Doctor Who Story (Fifth Doctor adventure The Caves of Androzani, which has an IMDB rating of 9.3 out of 10).

The coveted prize for Largest Dalek Sculpture, meanwhile, was awarded to British firm Snugburys Ice Cream, who spent 700 hours constructing a 35-ft, six-tonne replica of the Doctor’s mortal enemy out of straw and steel. (Hands up who would have preferred them to make it out of ice cream?)

A hearty well done to all. Although we can’t be the only ones to have noticed that, if Peter Capaldi had brought along a certain red-lined jacket, the weekend’s total could have been boosted to 493…