Archive for July, 2013

The Colin Baker Era

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

You may not like the stories, you may not like the coat (although I never thought it as bad as others have called it), one thing is clear: Colin Baker enjoyed playing the part immensely. Here was a man who was willing to rub ‘dirt’ on himself, get tied onto a careening cart, and even pop onto an exercise bike.

But, more than that, he was a Doctor of action. And he doesn’t shy away. When faced with the Cybermen, he knows that it’s all out or nothing. Laser probe to the chest unit, destruction of the TARDIS… even picking up a gun and shooting the Cyberleader! Whether lowering himself into a Kronton Time Corridor or facing off against a huge fly, he’s ready to put himself into danger. And make those hard choices. Mothballing Shockeye? He went there. Putting his TARDIS on the line to protect Karfel? He did that. Genocide an entire species? If he must…

He was also a Doctor of temperament. Okay, it was supposed to be post-regeneration issues, ironed out over an episode or two, but it became a defining characteristic. What it meant was that you couldn’t trust the Doctor from one moment to the next, to see things how we do… he became more alien. In The Trial of a Time Lord, Matrix fabrication or no, what we see on screen could well be the Doctor as himself. This Doctor makes the audience uncertain, edgy, and thus made for better television.

And the Doctor loved his words. Many florid speeches, loving correction of the way Peri spoke, and a flourish for the dramatic with his oration. “Nevermore a jumblejack” immediately comes to mind. This also ramped up in The Trial of a Time Lord where, courtesy of Pip and Jane Baker, words went flying like they were cramming whole dictionaries into sentences. What this does show is that the Doctor uses more than action to outwit. Head in a noose? Only afraid he won’t be able to get his point across. At the point of a gun? Never more loquacious. Facing his own mortality? More than once, at that, and yet he continues to think past it (okay, after a bit of a moan). And he had more than enough banter to fend off the Valeyard.

“Old Sixy” (as he now refers to himself) has had quite the renovation post-series, and yet the television stories do show a Sixth Doctor in fine form, ready for whatever call to action comes along.


Fast Return – June 2013

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Yeeeeahh, that month. Well, here it is/was! 

June 2013! The month that Doctor Who Fandom broke? Or was it the month the Anniversary celebrations toppled off their heels down the catwalk steps as the departure of an incumbent Doctor was leak- er, hastily announced? Maybe a bit of both.

It’s the hazard of over-managing your secrets, maybe. Nature abhors a vacuum, they say. And betwixt the announcement of Matt Smith’s hanging up his fez and today there’s been an ample amount of void-filling. So much so that you could base an RTD Dalek or Cybus episode scenario on it, in fact! But what does all this mean? Well, read on…

One of the big issues is that in an absence of hard, factual news, flimsy, insubstantial news will be concocted or agreed upon. Nothing too wrong wth that if your business is obfuscation and distraction leading up to the main event, MAYBE, but this is June. Six months to go (or fewer, if you’re of a mind to correct my maths.) And the problem with fake or simply false news is, the more it proliferates, the more frustrated those hungry for actual announcements get. Modern media, including social media, feed into the game, substituting ‘scoops’and ‘exclusives’ for fact-checking and generallly outsourcing verification to the huddled, impatient masses. And selling advertising. Oops. Witness:

Africa 90. It wasn’t a Live Aid follow-up! No sir. Look, it’s not too recent any more and lord knows the rumour had had more deaths and resurrections than Davros – it’s the Borad of missing episode rumours! The story that, allegedly up to ninety classic episodes were found in recent years in Africa, shipped to the UK and left a paper trail of freight manifests so compelling it took in Ian Levine and prompted a literal roller-coaster ride in unofficial missing ‘sodes forums is not the stuff of legend, if not actual fact. Was it a hoax generated by brilliant but truly evil fans with a couple of years up their sleeves? Apparently. Were we all furoius and broken-hearted when the collateral extended beyond those it was intended to ensnare? Probably…

…but was it also the single-most nail-biting thing to have unfolded over the Anniversary year to date, eclipsing even the official show in its twists and turns? You betcha. 

Let’s say this now: 2013 has been a stink-fest for actual new, exciting Who-related news. You can keep your stamp sets and minted coins; thirty days (oh, correct my maths, go on!) on from the reality of Smith’s successor disappearing in the fug of bookie charts and Entertainment page sidebars, fake rumours are all we have left.

That and well-intended competitions for booty.

Heh. Oh, The Book Depository. Well-intended askers of questions for Dr Who booty. How many episodes of Doctor Who were deleted, you ask? Even Richard Molesworth would have difficulty with that one – and said as much! They’ve since changed the competition question, but ho ho, it’s like Who Created the Daleks all over again!

McGann Tweets! yes, the Eighth Doctor starting making birdlike noises back in january of this year, and while we can’t possibly reproduce his first tweet (though it is a classic of modern inflective), he’s quite follow-able. Here’s his shout-out to an erstwhile nemesis:



Here’s his exchange with an erstwhile incarnation on the latter’s birthday (happy 70th Colin!)



And then later in the month a fan went and just asked him if he’d be in the anniversary special, and he twerted this:



What to say, eh?

Big Finish brings you More Hinchcliffe! This we like the sound of. Hell, anything that evokes the Tom Baker of old without comedy Kraals we like the sound of.

Look, I said this was old news. Fake Anniversary trailer:  Breakdown: Genius!

But to play us out instead and fresh from ComicCon, here’s Karen Gillan as a slaphead.

Ooh, missus!