Peter Capaldi

Doctor Who: The Complete History #1 by Eddie McGuigan

 

Doctor Who: The Complete History

review by Eddie McGuigan

A new partwork is on the market for the Doctor Who fans who really need to know the nitty gritty of the series. Unlike some new merchandise, this series of publications revels in the history of the whole series, and looks at the minutae of how the programme itself was made.

eddie mcguigan hero-books tumblr_nuep06WVtC1qd82nyo5_1280 2

When I was young there was a hallowed book called The Making of Doctor Who by Terrance Dicks. It was the Bible for Who fans, and Doctor Who: The Complete History is this and then some. Drawing inspiration from Doctor Who Magazine’s many detailed examinations of individual adventures this series goes into each story indepth. Not so much an Encyclopedia Britannica as an Encyclopedia Whotannica. It’s a catch all, go to, all encompassing know-all guide to the series from An Unearthly Child to Series 9 and beyond.

Eventually this will be in chronological order and sit on a shelf in your house with a nice jigsawed spine detail, but volume one – at a bargain price of £1.99 – concentrates, probably tactically, on one of the more popular modern day Doctors – David Tennant – and features his arch enemies, again, no doubt tactically, the Daleks.

In this issue we get five adventures – Gridlock, The Daleks Take Manhatten, Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment and 42. It might be argued that quality wise these stories are not the more popular, but that doesn’t stop contributor and editor John Ainsworth giving them the deference each story is going to get in this range.

For each tale we get an Introduction, the story, preproduction notes, the production, post production, publicity, broadcast, merchandise, cast and credits and a profile. Along with this we have sumptuous pictures and photos and some very, very impressive artwork, along with the occasional piece of conceptual art, and little vignettes, for instance box outs about “connections to Bad Wolf” and other pieces of trivia information.

From a boy who was brought up on The Making of Doctor Who and who devoured any reference material he possibly could on the series, this is an incredible piece of work – both in individual volumes and what no doubt will be an incredible complete series. Of course, there is always a chance future stories will change the canon of previous ones, but this series cleverly allows for that, and embraces the whole series – even the front cover design utilises Jon Pertwee’s logo and the old Target design along with the hexagonal livery known for the new series.

One thing that is being fed back to me by fans is the price – most issues are going to cost £9.99 a shot, meaning this is a pretty expensive piece of merchandise, but I’d urge that to have everything in one place like this, at easy reach, is something that I for one would not be without and the cost in itself is relative to the work that’s put in each volume. It’s a monumental job completed with love, care and affection. These sturdy issues are very much value for money.

Issue one is available now at a cut price of £1.99 and is very much worth looking at!

 

Doctor Who Magazine #491

THE FIRST FOUR EPISODES OF THE NEW SERIES OF DOCTOR WHO, PREVIEWED  IN DWM 491!

Doctor Who Magazine #491 Full Cover

Doctor Who Magazine exclusively previews the first four episodes of the new series: The Magician’s Apprentice & The Witch’s Familiar and Under the Lake & Before the Flood

Under the Lake and Before the Flood form Toby Whithouse’s first two-part Doctor Who story – and it hinges on time travel – and fairly mind-bending time travel at that. While plotting and writing, did Toby ever come to regret taking the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey route?

“Oh never, I loved it! I’ve always wanted to do a timey-wimey episode,” he says. “In fact, it was going to be a lot more timey-wimey, but we lost some of that before we started filming. It’s enormous fun to deposit something in a script, then have the reason for it happen later.”

This is also the first story that Toby’s written to star Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.

“I think he’s the most ‘alien’ Doctor we’ve had since the show came back,” says Toby. “Even though the essentials of the character remain the same – his heroism, his brilliance, his enthusiasm – he feels to me like much more of an outsider than Chris Eccleston or David Tennant or Matt Smith were. He’s more strange and otherwordly. That’s really interesting to play with.”

  (more…)

Series 9, Episode 1 – The Magician’s Apprentice

Doctor Who is a huge monster.
Doctor out for a stroll
It’s a behemoth of a beast with layers and layers of extraordinary continuity and history. It is an antique and a shiny new gadget all at once. The Magician’s Apprentice (BBC1 19th September at 7.45pm) manages to be all these things in the first fifteen  minutes. A planet hopping, continuity fest, Easter egg filled whirlwind that goes from this planet to that station to this planet, all of which we’ve visited before and all of which we’ll recall with a thrill of fanboy squee. You’ll recognise the style from such episodes as The Wedding of River Song with the planet hopping info dump/mystery building scenario as someone trails the Galaxy looking for the Doctor.

(more…)

River Song Returns

River Song

Its been a couple of days now since the news of River Song’s return to (television) Doctor Who hit. Following hot on the heels of the recent Big Finish announcement, its safe to say its a good time for fans of the character. The announcement of her return taking at least this fan by surprise, given that same Big Finish announcement.

We’ll have to wait to Christmas to find out what her return will entail. Will her appearance in Name of the Doctor be explained? Fortunately, there’s something decent starting on BBC1 shortly that’ll help kill the time. 😉

Click after the break for the full press release. (more…)

Series Nine Preview, by Eddie McGuigan

eddie mcguigan

 

Regenerations have hung heavily over Doctor Who for a while now it seems. Ever since the Doctor was warned about Trenzalore we’ve head multiple Doctors, his death – more than once – secret incarnations, the end of a regeneration cycle and, spectacularly, the beginning of another. But that wasn’t the end of the story. This new regeneration harks back to the “classic” archetype; alien, difficult, rude, grumpy and, well, old. And just when the Doctor himself is getting used to being less matinee idol and more renaissance man, his best enemy goes and shows up in a skirt and his best friend is reincarnated as a zombie cyborg.

 

Identity and the perception of it has been a theme for a long, long time in the series, so much so that now it’s almost a trope, a signature of Moffat’s Second Age, and Series 9 – BBC1, 19th September – continues these themes and plays with those perceptions.

 

There are lots of returns in the new series. Returning old enemies – some you know about, some you don’t. Returns to places as well. Returning friends – both old and new. Return of the roundels as the console room gets a tweak! Return of the crazy hair as Peter Capaldi is finally allowed to express his Doctor without being shoehorned into “as far from Matt as possible”. Return of the two parter and therefore the return of the cliffhanger. And, of course, the return of the Master.

 

Episodes one and two hark back to many classic Who episodes – many, many Who episodes – in which the Doctor and Clara face threats from many sides – but perhaps not one side you’d automatically think they would – and explanations are forthcoming about the Master’s survival – both from s8 and perhaps before. He’s not become a She randomly.

eddie mcguigan

 

Identity and perception are again important in Ep 3 – prepare for a surprise, one of many this season –  and writer Toby Whithouse gets his teeth into a meaty 2 parter. But even your perception of two parters will be stretched this year. This series should really be seen as a 12 parter – the episodes mostly all link, and themes and events resonate across the series in a much more insidious way than the usual “Bad Wolf”esque arc.

 

No clearer is this shown in the “two parter” The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived – whilst these are indeed two parts of the same story, they are written by different writers and have very, very different feels. And both include a character the Doctor will have a very significant history with!

 

Much more traditionally a two parter is the Zygon story Invasion of the Zygons/Inversion of the Zygons by Peter Harness. This is an action adventure far more in tune with old school Who, or indeed, RTD’s era, in which the Doctor and UNIT battle a worldwide Zygon invasion. Again, though, identity and perception are important, as the Zygons epitomise this series main conceit. Don’t let the familiarity box you in though!

eddie mcguigan

 

The last third of the series is much more experimental. Mark Gatiss gets to go spooky and scary and all out horror, at last, with a very clever, if by now not new, twist on the series which might even not have credits! A brilliant Halloween Special, this could be Mark’s best to date.

 

Episode Ten is a divisive one which will probably blow fandom apart, and has cleverly snuck itself under the radar until now. Well done Episode Ten!

 

The two part finale falls into this “no it really is a two parter!” style with two very distinctively different episodes, one of which had Peter Capaldi exhausted! Alone he may be, but, as always with the Doctor, he’s never really alone, is he?

 

I’ll leave ep 12 hanging in the air, I think, as the “returns” trope is turned to 11 and we’ll be left with our heads whirling with events and locations.

 

I am very much looking forward to s9, and I’m loving the way it’s subverting what we know and trying different things. I can’t wait to get into reviewing it! Stay tuned!

eddie mcguigan

Doctor Who Magazine 490

STEVEN MOFFAT PREVIEWS THE NEW SERIES OF DOCTOR WHO, EXCLUSIVELY IN DWM 490!

Doctor Who Magazine 490 Cover

Doctor Who Magazine spoke to the show’s executive producer and head writer, Steven Moffat, to give us a taste of what’s in store over the next 12 episodes…

“Why not start with a blockbuster?” says Steven of the two-part opening story, The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar. “Why leave it till the last two weeks? So yes, it’s like starting with a finale, and having a big, grand, movie-sized story, as opposed to a 45-minute story.” (more…)

Doctor Who 2015 Yearbook

LOOK BACK ON AN AMAZING YEAR FOR DOCTOR WHO, WITH THE 2015 YEARBOOK!

Doctor Who 2015 Yearbook

The latest Special Edition of Doctor Who Magazine reviews an incredible year for the programme, its spin-offs and licensed merchandise. Highlights include our first major interview with the show’s executive producer, Brian Minchin, in which he reflects on Peter Capaldi’s first year as the Doctor and looks forward to further adventures with the Twelfth Doctor. (more…)

The Skaro Review: Last Christmas, by Eddie McGuigan

Last Christmas

reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

 

The Doctor Who Christmas Special is now as big a part of the festivities as any BBC series has ever been. There is a generation of children who have never known it not to the case.

 

I know for us gnarled old veterans of the Dark Times it’s difficult to believe that the Special is still not a new fangled phenomena, but it’s not, it’s now as Christmas as The Top of the Pops Special or The Queen’s Speech.

 

But as it becomes so, so the expectations on it become greater. They can’t just churn out any old nonsense; they have to balance something that is Christmassy enough to be, well, Christmassy, Doctor Who enough to be, well, Doctor Who, and generic enough to keep the attention of Granny Muchy and Great Aunt Matilda as they sit farting discretely and digesting their turkey. Now, it’s fair to say, they probably get it as much as the breathless explanation little Johny gave earlier of Grand Theft Auto, but nonetheless it has to at least aim at that particular snowman.

 

It’s fair to say that in the past it’s been a little hit and miss. The Runaway Bride with its filmed-in-a-heatwave-but-here-are-some-baubles paid nothing more than lip service to the concept and The End of Time may have had a Christmas tree or two in the background, but the story itself was more important. That’s not to say these were bad episodes, not at all, but since Steven Moffat became showrunner he’s drenched the Christmas Special with Christmassiness by the bucket load, aping, with absolutely no shame such Christmassy tropes as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Victorian chocolate box Christmases and even that standard, A Christmas Carol. Last year’s offering went so far as to set the whole thing in a town called Christmas. The Moff definitely lets you know it’s Christmas.

 

Last Christmas is no different. It is, without a doubt, the most Christmassy Christmas Special of them all. It’s set at Christmas, in the snow, is all about wishes and dreams, has our old friend Merry Christmas Everyone not only take pride of place but danced too, with Noddy Holder crying out in dolby stereo, and has as its guest star none other than Santa Claus.

 

And make no mistake, this is Santa Claus. The hero of Christmas. With a sleigh and flying reindeers and elf helpers. Far from worried parents having to field questions about how Santa is an alien from Fla’Chant’Ra 5, Nick Frost cheekily fields questions about the absurdity of his character with verve and class, answering some of the curve balls parents have no doubt had to field this year. On flying reindeers: “Of course reindeers can’t fly, it’s a physical impossibility!” And, after a beat of superb comic timing: “That’s why I feed them magic carrots!” Frost is superb. He’s cocky, cheeky, clever, absurd and funny as well as heroic, kind and relevant. He’s more than a cipher and more than a caricature. We get a fully rounded Christmas spirit filled real man. The real Santa.

 

The rest of the crew on the polar base Clara and the Doctor find themselves on – that’s a long story, by the way – are likeable and believable. None are too precious but neither are they particularly stand out, but they don’t need to be, as the big characters are what this episode is about. Most underwritten is, surprisingly Michael Troughton’s Professor Albert, who, when we first meet him, is absolutely doing a vocal impression of his dad.

The story of this episode is difficult to explain without giving too much away. And it’s a long story… Santa crashes on Clara’s roof, the Doctor appears, takes her to a Polar Base under attack by something called Dream Crabs, which latch onto people’s faces and slowly digest them whilst psychically inducing a dream state to subdue their victims. But is everything as it seems? When all seems lost, Santa pops in to save the day, but, again… that’s a long story.

 

The main thing about this episode is the relationship between Clara and the Doctor. It’s been… well, “some time” since they last met, but both have missed the other, and they fall back into their old team with little effort. Clara still takes no nonsense from the Doctor, who himself is a lot more open and less abrasive. In fact, this is Peter Capaldi’s most accessible and likeable turn as the Time Lord. Both regulars have tempered their performances and there is a love and warmth between the two characters that, whilst hinted at a lot over s8 was never properly explored. But oh how it is here.

 

One thing Steven Moffat is often criticised for is being more a concepts man than an emotion man – it’s a common perception that RTD did the emotion and the Moff does the plots – but here Steven out RTDs RTD with a superb study in friendship, love and second chances. There are some achingly beautiful scenes in this episode, and again, like the rest of s8, it doesn’t skirt the awfulness and horror of some of the situations they find themselves in or they remember from times gone by.

 

Also in keeping with the rest of the season (and make no mistake, Last Christmas, more than any other Christmas Special is very much episode 13 of s8 and shirks none of the tropes and themes from that here) is the development of the Doctor, despite his best efforts, he’s a lot more cheerful here, but also willing to walk away and forget the humans when he thinks the job is done.

 

Capaldi and Coleman are superb in this episode. I’d go so far as to say this is Capaldi’s best performance as the Doctor and (possibly) Jenna’s as Clara. Both are likeable, heroic, rounded and eminently watchable.

 

For continuity hounds, big questions left hanging in Death In Heaven are answered, including Clara’s fate – and then some! There is also a continuity thread from the main season in the derivative moments which ape old episodes or movies – Time of the Doctor is heartbreakingly mirrored here in a beautifully touching scene, and films from The Thing, Alien and A Nightmare on Elm Street are referenced, some even in the dialogue.

 

Director Paul Wilmshurst continues his fine work from Mummy on the Orient Express by balancing comedy, drama and horror whilst dousing the lot with liberal sprinkles of Christmas spirit and Murray Gold does a wonderful job helping all the winks and references be underlined with a subtle and heartwarming score.

I honestly can’t fault this episode. It’s as good as the best Capaldi episodes to date (Flatline and Mummy FYI) and the best Christmas episode ever. It manages to be a Special whilst also being a clever episode of Who that compliments its audience with intelligence and attention.

Series 8 DVD Launch

OK I’m going to say…..Frank Skinner is my new hero!

Well Doctor Who has always been my hero but he has serious competition right now.

By not only being a charming and witty host, Mr Skinners passion and knowledge of Who really came to the fore.

Series 8 DVD Launch

What other TV host else would quip after Peter Calapdi’s revelation that he had turned down the chance of auditioning for the 1996 Paul McGann movie’

 

YouTube Preview Image

 

…’Imagine all the Big Finish’s you would have done by now’

delicious and hilarious which sums up my day very well…..

 

cue titles and run VT

dum dee dum… dum dee dum….

BUNNY GALORE AND THE MONDASIAN CYBERMEN

(more…)

The Skaro Review Death In Heaven Reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

The Skaro Review

Death In Heaven

Reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

 BEWARE: SLIGHT SPOILERS

 Death in Heaven

In part one of the finale, the theme was death and the afterlife, and this is taken to the nth degree here with the Master’s evil machinations in full flight… although her actual motives are not what you think. A CyberArmy is released on the world… and the world takes selfies. “We have to warn everyone!” UNIT cries “The world just went weee…,” the Doctor informs it.

 

So with the dead rising in newly upgraded bodies, much to Seb’s glee, and the Master’s plan unfolding, we find out more about the afterlife in general and the beliefs in it through out Man’s history. “She’s a Time Lord. She must have a TARDIS somewhere… so a LONG time…” the Doctor tells Kate. (more…)

Page 2 of 512345
Outpost Skaro © 2014 Frontier Theme