Posts Tagged ‘ Gallifrey ’

50th Anniversary Retrospective: “The Day of the Doctor”

Doctor “I could retire and be the curator of this place.”
Curator “You know, I really think you might.”
Doctor “I never forget a face.”
Curator “I know you don’t. And in years to come you might find yourself…revisiting a few. But just the old favourites, eh?”

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Whenever I watch Doctor Who, it has almost entirely been from the sofa of whichever house I happened to be living in at the time, although I do have memories of my childhood viewing technique of lying down on the floor, elbows under my head, with chin perched on my hands. Most of the time, viewing was a solitary experience. My parents, to this day, don’t really get it, and my brother was never a fan. I married in 2002 (during the wilderness years), over a year before the show’s triumphant return was even announced and nearly three years before “Rose” was broadcast. My wife had no idea what she was getting into, but she has enough taste in good television to sit and enjoy the new show with me. Having said that, I’m still not sure I could convince her to sit down and watch “Image of the Fendahl” or “The Romans” or somesuch. Given all this, it was beyond my comprehension to think that I would be watching the 50th anniversary special by leaving the “Official 50th Celebration” at the Excel with a bunch of other fans, many of whom were in Doctor Who costume, getting a cable car across the River Thames to the O2 arena, where we would watch the episode with 775 other fans on a screen 22-metres wide in glorious 3D. Not only that, there were more than 1,500 cinemas worldwide showing the same thing at the same time as it was simulcast in 94 countries and dubbed or subtitled into 15 other languages, watched by nigh-on 13 million people in the UK and who knows how many elsewhere. Not bad for kid’s show. But what to make of it all? The brief was not exactly a simple one: write an episode of the greatest television show that the world has ever seen that celebrates its dazzling, fifty-year heritage; that impresses dedicated fans of all ages as the centrepiece of the anniversary celebrations; that appeals to a large slice of an audience who have a take it or leave attitude to the show (the fools!); and paves the way to securing another half-century of Whovian goodness. It would not have been many people’s first response to this challenge, which had indeed been laid at the feet of Steven Moffat, to say, “Right. Let’s bring back the Zygons”. Continue reading

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“The Name of the Doctor” – Review: Redux

War Doctor “What I did, I did without choice.”
The Doctor “I know.”
War Doctor “In the name of peace and sanity.”
The Doctor “But not in the name of the Doctor.”

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Following a couple of duff episodes and, if I’m being brutally frank, a below-par Series 7b in general, one could be forgiven for thinking that all of everyone’s attention behind the scenes had been so drawn to the impending 50th Anniversary that some of the other episodes may not have got the attention they deserved. However, “The Name of the Doctor” was everything I could ever have wanted it to be. That is despite the fact that it didn’t really have much of a plot of which to speak. Essentially what happened was that the Paternoster Road gang were kidnapped by the Great Intelligence (and his Whispermen henchmen) and taken to the much mentioned Trenzalore, luring the Doctor and Clara to follow them against the Doctor’s better judgement. The reason being that Trenzalore is the location of the time-traveller’s grave amd time travellers should never, ever visit their own graves (Obviously?!). Once there, the Richard E Grant character jumps into the Doctor’s timeline (they don’t have bodies) to disrupt the Doctor’s history, and Clara jumps in afterwards to put it all right again. As if that wasn’t enough, the Doctor then completes the hat-trick by jumping in as well to rescue Clara. Continue reading

“The End of Time: Part 2” – Review: Redux

Doctor “I don’t want to go”

The End of Time Part Two

The king is dead, long live the king! In this case, the former is Russell T Davies and the latter Steven Moffat who wrote the final, post-regeneration minute or so of RTD’s swan-song opus, “The End of Time”, shown in two parts on Christmas Day 2009 and New Year’s Day 2010. Now that we see the baton being well and truly handed over it is a good moment to dwell for a moment on my little re-analysis of these early years of the Doctor’s resurrection. The 60-episode era really does stand up well. I went in to the process a little unsure about what I might find: would the magic still be there after eight years? Would Eccleston and Tennant compare favourably to Smith, or would Moffat’s fairy-tale take on the mythology outshine its predecessor? There will be time enough for that another day, but in isolation this was as perfect as something so diverse could be, and the end of Tennant, the end of Russell T Davies, and “The End of Time” were wrapped up as perfectly as anyone could’ve hoped. Continue reading

“The End of Time: Part 1” – Review: Redux

Doctor “Even if I change it still feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away… and I’m dead.”

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As the world holds its breath waiting to find out which episodes that the BBC is going to announce have been returned to the Doctor Who archives, it falls to me to continue with this marathon of new episodes. And so it is that I fire up the old Blu-ray and get to grips with “The End of Time, Part 1”. Together with its second part, this was a massive tapestry of plot threads that needed to be woven together and developed into a coherent whole, it might just have been the most complicated Doctor Who tale of all in the five years of Mr Davies’ stewardship that we have enjoyed. It began with Wilf, the adorable Bernard Cribbins acting his socks off to widespread if not unanimous praise, being drawn into a church during a choral performance. A mysterious woman, played by Claire Bloom, appeared and talked to Wilf in portentous and somewhat vague terms about the Doctor. This was the first of a number of visions that this woman made to Wilf before finally being revealed as a Time Lady in the service of (but rebelling against) the Lord President of Gallifrey during the climax of the adventure. Continue reading

“The Last of the Time Lords” – Review: Redux

Captain Jack Harkness “Used to be a poster boy when I was a kid, living in the Bo-shang peninsula… tiny little place. I was the first one ever to be signed up for the Time Agency, they were so proud of me. The Face of Bo they called me”

Last of the Time Lords

And so this marathon reaches another milestone with the end of Series Three and “The Last of the Time Lords”. Even though it seemed loved and loathed in equal measure within the picky world of fandom, the broadcast secured some very positive viewing figures that we all now seem to take for granted from these finales and fairly widespread acclaim to boot.  Even the BBC invested a little extra in this televisual treat by commissioning an extra 8 minutes of the show in order to save some scenes from the cutting room floor. Whether this was a wise decision remains open to question. Continue reading

“The Sound of Drums” – Review: Redux

The Master “This country has been sick, this country needs healing, this country needs medicine – in fact I’d go so far as to say that, what this country really needs, right now, is a Doctor.”

The Sound of Drums

A three-parter in new Doctor Who is unheard of, although the older fans among us may remember the occasional 6 x 25-minute stories of old that equate to much the same duration. The result is that “The Sound of Drums” might sit a little uncomfortably between the opening shocks of “Utopia” and the thrills and spills that undoubtedly await us in the finale, “The Last Of The Time Lords”, tomorrow. So, for an episode with neither a beginning nor an end it is a little unusual, but it still manages thrills a plenty. Continue reading