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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

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

Big Tenth

I’m sick yet again. So…

The Doctor & Donna ride again…

When it arrives in May, The Tenth Doctor Adventures, Volume One will feature three stories with Tenth and Donna: Technophobia, by Matt Fitton, Time Reaver, by Jenny Colgan, and Death and the Queen by James Goss.

 

Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Matt Smith team up for first ever joint convention appearance

By Huw Fullerton

Yearning to recreate the Doctor Who team-up glory days of The Day of the Doctor? Got several hundred dollars, plane tickets to America and a hotel booking in New York burning a hole in your pocket? Then you’re in luck – because former Doctors Matt Smith and David Tennant will be appearing together for a special convention appearance for the first time ever.

The pair will appear together this April at pop culture convention Wizard World in New York, the first time the two Doctors have attended such a public event together.

Their appearance will include a panel plus photographs with fans and autographs.

Tickets for a photo or autograph start at $150 (£105), while anyone hoping to snap a picture with both Doctors and see everything they’re up to will be looking at $850 (almost £600).

Still, if fans are worried that’s beyond their budget, there’s plenty more Doctor Who stars attending the conference to try your luck with, including Tennant and Smith’s companions Billie Piper, John Barrowman, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, with mutual wife Alex Kingston also popping by for a quick “Hello Sweetie”.

It’s just a great big Tardis reunion really.

I can neither afford to go, nor do I have the time off to go.

The following video is hilarious…

Ce La Vie.

 

Post Super Bowl

Know what I was doing during The Super Bowl?
Playing Lego Dimensions Doctor Who.

Got past the glitch that had stalled the game last weekend. Then saved the progress and had another glitch.

I love the game dearly, probably the best games ever. But the glitches are very annoying.

But I have The Twelfth Doctor, Cyborg (from the Teen Titans), Smeegal (Lord of The Rings), Batman, and a Cybermen just to name a few in the same game!

Way too much fun.

Game review: Lego Dimensions Doctor Who Level Pack is about time

Oh, and the game isn’t cheap either. So like many things, this hobby isn’t cheap.

But neither has my trips to England or Gallifrey One on THIS Friday… 🙂

Doctor Who Level Pack - you can almost taste the jelly babies

Haven’t gotten to this stage yet. But I’m closing in on it.
Metro Magazine UK:Although the bottom line here is that the Doctor Who Level Pack is great, and if you have even a passing love for the good Doctor it’s probably the most affectionate homage to the series you’ll ever get as a video game.

It should be pointed out first of all that each of these themes are in the main game as well, including a Doctor Who level. But buying the Level Pack is the only way to play as The Doctor, or use K-9 and the TARDIS. And before you ask which Doctor the answer is all of them. Each one of the 13 Doctors, including John Hurt’s War Doctor, is in the game as their own minifgure, complete with dialogue from the show, their own unique TARDIS interior (even the Jules Verne one from Paul McGann’s TV movie), and their own era appropriate version of the theme tune.

When you die you can chose to regenerate as the next one in line, and many have heir own unique props such as Patrick Troughton’s recorder or Peter Davidson’s cricket bat. Developer Traveller’s Tales are obviously huge Doctor Who fans and at least two of their previous games have featured unofficial cameos of the TARDIS, as well as a Weeping Angel in Lego Batman 3. But here they’ve been able to go all out, with references and characters from the show’s entire 52 year history.

Doctor Who Level Pack - the black & white TARDIS even has glued on wallpaper
Doctor Who Level Pack – the black & white TARDIS even has glued on wallpaper

What makes the level itself unusual is that using the TARDIS vehicle you can actually travel to the same areas at different points in history, which is used for a couple of neat puzzles involving the passage of time. To do this the TARDIS has to park on special plinths, which are actually dotted around in other levels of the parent game and give access to some surprise homages to other TV franchises not in the rest of the game (we’re trying not to spoil anything).

The downside to all this is that there isn’t really any story – just a sequence of largely unconnected scenes that end with the Daleks being defeated, again. The Doctor Who level in the main game was like that too though, and like all the Level Pack levels there’s a lot of reused assets and backdrops between the two.

What sells the Doctor Who Level Pack though is the hub world, which is gloriously indulgent in terms of its fan service. It’s a series of connected worlds that include two time zones for London, as well as Mars, the Dalek homeworld, and others. Each has the usual range of mini-quests and secrets, most of which are based around recreations of famous episodes – from the first Silurian episode of Nu-Who to 1967 classic Tomb of the Cybermen.

The hub also features voiceovers from Michelle Gomez as Missy, who isn’t in the story levels, as well as Jenna Coleman, Peter Capaldi, and Nicholas Briggs as the Daleks and Cybermen. Whether we’ll ever get a standalone Lego Doctor Who is unclear – the series probably isn’t quite popular enough abroad to justify that yet – but this will do very well in the meantime.

Who Wars

http://www.cultbox.co.uk/features/lists/star-wars-actors-in-doctor-who

http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows//blog/2015/05/6-great-minds-moments-between-doctor-who-and-star-wars

I think one could argue they both have science fantasy and mythological and fairy tale style formats.

Doctor Who and Star Wars are much closer than, say, Star Trek is to Who. Star Trek is a very structured world and very military (even though they don’t like to admit it).

Doctor Who and Star Wars are more fantastical than that.

Who Is The Only Actor To Appear In Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who?

Answer: Deep Roy

There is only one actor the world over who has achieved the Sci-Fi trifecta of appearing in the three biggest Sci-Fi franchises on earth. Deep Roy, best known to modern movie goers as the face of the Oompa Loompas in Tim Burton’s 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reboot of the Willy Wonka franchise, has appeared in Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who.

He appeared first in Doctor Who, playing Mr. Sin in the 1977 story arc “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”and a Posicarian delegate in the Doctor Who story Mindwarp. He then appeared in 1983’s Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi as Droopy McCool. Finally, he sealed the trifecta with his  Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek:Beyond (2016) appearance as Keenser.

In addition to his roles within the three mega franchises, Roy has always appeared in other Sci-Fi movies and shows such as The X-Files, Planet of the Apes, and Flash Gordon.

 

The Story That Never Was

Storyboards from the 50th Anniversary show of Doctor Who reveal the Ninth Doctor’s role if he had made it into the episode as originally planned.

Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston obtained storyboards from comic and storyboard creator Andrew Wildman at a comic convention, showing the Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, in three scenes.

Wildman attributed the changes to the scenes to Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat.

“My run on the show spanned three Christmas Specials and most of Matt’s final season include his ‘regeneration’. That was me pretty much done other than the huge privilege of being asked to work – albeit in a small way – on the 50th Anniversary special,” Wildman said.

“There were going to be three Doctors in this one. The current, 11th Doctor and the previous two. Ok, so it didn’t quite work out that way in the end as we all know. Contracts are an odd thing and in the end show runner and writer supreme, Steven Moffat, had to come up with something… slightly different. At my time of working on the show however it was three ‘modern age’ Doctors and the current assistant, Clara.”

Andrew Wildman, comic creator, animator, TV producer and storyboard creator was one of the people who worked on the show, and has released a collection of storyboards that he sells at shows, for The Day Of The Doctor and Nightmare In Silver. I picked up a copy at the Geek Comic Con.

In introduction to the former tells us

My run on the show spanned three Christmas Specials and most of Matt ‘s final season including his ‘regeneration’. That was me pretty much done other than the huge privilege of being asked to work – albeit in a small way – on the 50th Anniversary special. There were going to be three Doctors in this one. The current, 11th Doctor and the previous two. Ok, so it didn’t quite work out that way in the end as we all know. Contracts are an odd thing and in the end show runner and writer supreme, Steven Moffat, had to come up with something… slightly different. At my time of working on the show however it was the three ‘modern age’ Doctors and the current assistant, Clara.

Nip in and take a peek behind the curtain. You may be a little surprised at what you see.

And I was, as well as scenes we do remember, we also get aspects we don’t.

IMG_0012

Like Clara popping a wheelie on her runup to the TARDIS.

Then we see the barn on Gallifrey, but instead of the War Doctor played by John Hurt, we get The Ninth Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston. And instead of The Moment played by Billie Piper, we get a young girl…

IMG_0013

And from that point onwards, the Tenth Doctor seems to take the narrative role of the Eleventh…

IMG_0014

…after a trip through the time portal…
IMG_0015

…and bumping into the Tenth Doctor played by David Tennant…
IMG_0016And two Queen Elizabeth The Firsts…

This is just a smattering of the boards. You can find the rest at any convention that Andrew Wildman attends…

Andrew Wildman will be appearing at Worcester Comic Con 2016(August). Worcester, UK.

 

Remembering Lis

sladen

Today, February 1st would have been her 70th Birthday had she not tragically died in 2011 on break from filming The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Still the best companion ever, even after 40 years of competition.

The warmth. The charm. The gravitas. The Class. The fun. The cheek.

She was and still is, the greatest, at least to this Who fan.

She was so good she got her own TV show and it was #1 on CBBC for the entire run of the show. Now that’s presence and star power when 30 years after she was WHO.

Generations of people mourned her loss.

I only ever saw her once at a convention in Chicago in 1983. I will always regret I missed her last appearance at Gallifrey One due to working two jobs at then time.

As I have previously relayed I returned from England for the very time that Sunday Night. Got up on Tuesday morning after all that Jet lag to find out she’d passed away.

Broke my heart. Still does.

Utterly brilliant.

My Sarah Jane: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x16az5f_my-sarah-jane-a-tribute-to-liz-sladen_shortfilms

Sarah Jane Smith: No. The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it’s a world, or a relationship… Everything has its time. And everything ends.

Rose Tyler: What do I do? Do I stay with him?
Sarah Jane Smith: Yes, some things are worth getting your heart broken for.

And Lis was worth getting your heart broken for.

 

 

Jump In

I have gotten this question before myself. Where do you start with a show that has 52 years and 35 seasons?

It’s hard enough to catch up if I’m a season behind.

I personally like the choices by the author below but I would also add :

ARK IN SPACE (1975)

The episode I started with, thjough starting with Episode Two after the main titles like I did is not recommended.

It is an excellent story (bubble wrap aside). It gives you all the basics about the Doctor, Time Travel and the characters, it just will explain some of the other nuisances later.

It’s a classic “base under siege” story also. But it has a lot going for it the plottinga nd the writing and the writing is what can hook people on Classic WHO.

The next story after it is “Genesis of The Daleks”. How’s that for a second bite of WHO?

Then you get the Cybermen in the Next story. Not at their best but still solid. Then The Zygons…And the “Golden Age” of Hinchcliffe/Holmes “Gothic WHO” and the Fourth Doctor and Sarah.

It’s a good start.

So, you want to get in to Doctor Who? Well, you’ve made a fantastic, life-changing choice.

But with 52 years’ worth of material to go through, where is the right place to start?

With almost a year until the BBC’s long-running sci-fi drama returns, it’s not too late to catch up – well, depending on how much else you want to get done this year!

Let’s look at some of the best points in space and time to jump into the vortex as we explore the pros and cons of each story…

 

1. ‘An Unearthly Child’ (1963)

Doctor Who An Unearthly Child Susan Barbara Ian

Of course, the very beginning would seem like a good place to start. This story kicks things off with the First Doctor (William Hartnell) back when we didn’t know that regeneration would be a thing. It starts us in a classroom with a young woman, Susan (Carol Ann Ford), who has knowledge of the extraordinary, but not the commonplace.

Her teachers, Ian Chesterson (William Russell) and Barbara Wright (Jaqueline Hill) follow her home. And where is home? A junkyard. But it’s what is inside that really counts, isn’t it? And inside is the TARDIS.

But here’s the thing: the First Doctor is not a merry man, to put it diplomatically, and he doesn’t take too well to two humans barging in on his TARDIS, or, for that matter, his life.

Pros: You start from the very start. You won’t miss a single reference, in theory.

Cons: You have a lot of catch up to do. It would take around 2 weeks of non-stop watching to catch up, and we’re not sure that even The Last Centurion could go that long without sleep.

2. ‘Spearhead from Space’ (1970)

Doctor Who Spearhead from Space Autons

This is the Third Doctor’s (Jon Pertwee) first story. Aside from that, it is also the first story in colour, which can make watching the classics a bit more palatable for younger audiences.

‘Spearhead from Space’ features the return of UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, later just the Unified Intelligence Taskforce), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicolas Courtney), and introduces companion Liz Shaw (Caroline John).

In the previous story, ‘The War Games’, the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) was forced to regenerate and also exiled to earth by his people, the Time Lords. This total change-of-pace makes it a great place to jump on.

Pros: Stories with new Doctors often do a lot of explanation. Also, it’s still early days – it hadn’t even been around for a decade yet!

Cons: Starting with Pertwee’s Earth-bound era, it’ll take some time for newcomers to really experience the full scope of the show.

3. ‘Rose’ (2005)

Doctor who Rose London Eye

The first episode of the show’s 21st century revamp drops you with a bubbly shop girl named Rose (Billie Piper) and a brooding Doctor (Christopher Eccleston). They don’t sound like the best match, but let me assure you, they are.

Pros: This is where a lot of new fans jumped on, with writer Russell T Davies cleverly opting to name the Ninth Doctor’s run ‘Series 1’ rather than ‘Season 27’ so as not to scare off newcomers. Acting more as a pilot than the 1996 TV Movie (which actually was a pilot for a potential US series), ‘Rose’ seems specifically designed so that one does not need to have watched the classic series to understand things, jettisoning much of the baggier mythology. Because of this, it explains all the basics at breakneck speed. It even tells you what TARDIS stands for.

Cons: The story itself is generally not regarded as a classic by fans, who clearly can’t appreciate a burping wheelie bin when they see one.

4. ‘The Eleventh Hour’ (2010)

Doctor Who Eleventh Hour Amy

A blue box is hurtling over London as a floppy-haired young man dangles from its door before disappearing into the distance. If you’re going for bombastic spectacle, it’s a perfect opening.

Cue a young Scottish girl named Amelia Pond who just asked Santa for a policeman to investigate the crack in her wall and perhaps the most charming introduction to a companion in the show’s history.

Even if its actual threat is forgettable, ‘The Eleventh Hour’ is a thoroughly engaging story, establishing a new Doctor (Matt Smith), a new sidekick (Karen Gillan), a new showrunner (Steven Moffat replaces Russell T Davies) and a new “dark fairytale” tone.

Pros: You start with a whole lot of “new” and an accessible Doctor and companion to ease you in.

Cons: Having missed the Ninth and Tenth Doctors’ eras, you’ll be a bit lost when you get to the 50th anniversary year’s episodes.

 

 

 

5. ‘The Snowmen’ (2012)

Doctor Who The Snowmen Clara

Following the departure of the Ponds, Doctor Who returned on Christmas Day 2012 with a new title sequence, a new TARDIS set, a new look for the Doctor and a new companion.

While not as immediately accessible as ‘The Eleventh Hour’, ‘The Snowmen’ is certainly the best jumping-on point for fans who want to get up to date with the story of current companion Clara Oswald as quickly as possible.

Pros: It’s a really fun festive story and the ending will leave you desperate to know more about the mysterious Impossible Girl.

Cons: This is not technically Jenna Coleman’s debut, following her surprise appearance in Season 7’s opener, ‘Asylum of the Daleks’. However, a couple of lines of dialogue and a flashback will recap all you need to know.

This one was my least favorite choice, personally.

So there you have it. Now go binge watch it. 🙂

 

 

NTA Nomination

still sick… 😦

Doctor Who has made the shortlist for Drama in the 2016 National Television Awards, which takes place live from the O2 in London on 20th January. The show is up against: Downton Abbey, which saw its final episode top the ratings on Christmas Day; Broadchurch, whose third series with former Doctor David Tennant will be shown this year; and Casualty, now entering its 30th year on television!

Votes may be cast via the NTA website until midday on Wednesday 20th January 2016, with the ceremony itself broadcast live on ITV from 7:30pm.

Vote Early. Vote Often. 🙂