Into the Dalek premieres in:

Friday, 29 August 2014

Doctor Who: Listen Synopsis Released

The BBC have released the synopsis for Steven Moffat's greatly anticipated episode, Listen:

When ghosts of past and future crowd into their lives, the Doctor and Clara are thrown into an adventure that takes them to the very end of the universe.
What happens when the Doctor is alone? And what scares the grand old man of Time and Space? Listen!

Doctor Who: Into the Dalek Preview Clip Three

See the two previous clips here.

Introduction to Doctor Who: Into the Dalek

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

2 New Clips From Doctor Who: Into the Dalek Released

The BBC have released two new clips from the upcoming episode, Into the Dalek. The first is an extension of the "Am I a Good Man?", used in the trailers where it reveals The Doctor's reaction. The second is an extension of the "I'm his carer" clip, showing the Dalek asking for help.

Into the Dalek airs this Saturday at 7.30pm.

Around the World in Twelve Days with the Twelfth Doctor - World Tour Summary

Doctor Who: Robots of Sherwood Air Time Confirmed

The BBC Media Centre has confirmed that Robots of Sherwood will air on 6th September at 7.30pm and finish at 8.20pm.
In a sun-dappled Sherwood forest, the Doctor discovers an evil plan from beyond the stars and strikes up an unlikely alliance with Robin Hood.
With all of Nottingham at stake, the Doctor must decide who is real and who is fake. Can impossible heroes really exist?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Doctor Who 'Into the Dalek' 10 teasers

Over the course of this series we will be offering each week 10 teasers related to the upcoming episode.

10 Teasers for 'Into the Dalek':

  1. "Rusty?"
  2. Aristotle
  3. Remember the Doctor went for coffee?
  4. "Bolt Hole!"
  5. "Are you my Doctor?"
  6. Listen out for references to The TV Movie and Amy's Choice
  7. A cut-scene would do just nicely...
  8. "Welcome to the most dangerous place in the universe"
  9. We finally see someone die on screen
  10. "You're one of my hobbies"

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Doctor Who Into the Dalek Next Time Trailer

Into the Dalek airs 30th August at 7.30pm.

Deep Breath - Full Review

When the actor playing the Doctor changes, there are two ways to go on the overall tone of the show – Steady As She Goes or And Now For Something Completely Different. Over fifty years, the tone has changed with the Doctor six times, and stayed the same five.

Now it’s changed seven times.

The opening shot of the Tyrannosaurus is, in the final analysis, probably there because Steven Moffat’s inner eight-year-old stamped his foot and said ‘Want more dinosaurs!’, and refused to write anything until the scene was agreed. Having it vomit out the Tardis is a pseudo-comic way of getting our heroes into the action and reuniting them with the Paternoster Gang. The explanations both for it being there and then (to use a Douglas Adams riff) suddenly not being there any more, are spurious and have more than a whiff of balderdash about them (yes, yes, taking things too seriously, only a TV show, yadda yadda yadda). The point is, none of this matters a jot. The opening of Deep Breath keeps you glued to the screen, waiting, just waiting, to see him. To hear what his first proper words will be, and see how he is, and who he is now.

If Eccleston was the Survivor, Tennant the Chatterbox and Smith the Nutty Professor, from his first explosive “Shush” and his slam of the Tardis door, Capaldi gives us the Schoolmaster incarnation of the Doctor. The eccentric schoolmaster, to be sure, but nevertheless one in front of whom you wouldn’t want to admit not doing your homework.

His first five minutes of gibber – everyone sounding English to his ears, and Clara, no longer the enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a sweater that’s just slightly too tight but now “Thingy, The Asking-Questions One – is largely  that: post-regenerative gibber to launch the Doctor with a comic vibe, as seen in Tom Baker’s first story and David Tennant’s, though it does indicate a more alien, spikier presence in the Tardis. He winds himself into a frenzy, collapses – annnnnd cue credits.

And what credits. Anyone else think that if you strapped Steven Moffat down and sawed the top of his head off, those credits are what you’d find going round his brain? Fabulous, dark, immensely complicated and very…erm…timey-wimey. And then, for reasons which undoubtedly make sense inside that skull, set to a mid-80s retro version of the theme.

And so to the new territory. The Doctor is put to bed almost immediately…
Well alright, maybe that’s not exactly new – Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann and David Tennant all spent at least part of their first story asleep, recuperating. With Capaldi, that makes six of the twelve. But the speed with which the new Doctor is up on his feet and Being Weird is a shot in the arm compared to Tennant’s largely recumbent first episode. Capaldi channels a little McCoy, but much more Pertwee, in refusing the door on the grounds that it’s boring (anyone else fall in love with the Twelfth Doctor on this line?), climbing out of the window  and liberating a horse on which to make his dashing escape. Pertwee’s wheelchair chase is gleefully updated, and the new Doctor is clearly not averse to a bit of action heroism. Can we put the ‘old man’ schtick to bed now please, it’s tired and needs a rest.

Of course, the technical villains of the piece here are the Clockwork Droids – a sister crew to the Madame Du Pompadour’s masked monsters. It’s a reasonable certainty that no-one ever wrote to the production team begging ‘Please, please, please bring back the Clockwork Droids,’ because there’s something inherently and fundamentally naff about their villainy. But what they are, both times, are excellent carriers, both of real-world satire and of character development for the Tardis crew. In The Girl in the Fireplace, they were essentially a satire on rigid bureaucracy – they have an idea, and they stick to it, and people get killed when they get in the way, because the idea cannot be wrong. Here, they’re a properly Doctor Who stab at organised religion and dogmatic belief – their quest for the Promised Land being the reason that presumably, over time, millions of people have died (the skin balloon is a particularly nasty, Philip Hinchcliffe idea, no?). Here though they do get a deepening – there’s something so pathetic, in the true sense of the word, about their mission, their belief, their desperate goal, that they do make us feel sorry for them (and indeed, for their real world analogues who believe in killing people to get to Heaven), while still abhorring what they do in pursuit of that goal.

And as a vehicle for character development, they can’t be beaten. Whenever Capaldi is on screen here, if you’re looking anywhere else, you’re missing the point. He plays the post-regenerative journey straighter than anyone since Tom Baker – he’s a bit barmy and unpredictable up to the scene with the tramp, exploring the physics and philosophy of regeneration, and seeding the idea of the importance of his previous appearances in Who and Torchwood – “Do you know this face? I think I do…” while in the same scene, delivering one of the episode’s signature comic monologues, tackling his Scottishness – “I’m Scottish? Ahhhh, good, I can complain about things” – his age, and those eyebrows – “those are attack eyebrows!” We also see the Twelfth Doctor’s determination to get his way – “Give me your coat!” – though we later learn he’s exchanged the Eleventh Doctor’s watch for the tramp’s clothes, which suggests he’s not about to enforce his way, so much as bargain for it with everything he’s got – including a death stare from those attack eyebrows.

Once he and Clara meet back up, Capaldi’s Doctor is essentially fully formed, but the scene in the restaurant shows how the two work together – more gibber and bicker than Clara had with the Eleventh Doctor - and is then brilliantly undercut by the following scene, when in a shocking move, and with a selfish rationalisation that feels alien and new, he leaves Clara in the clutches of the Droids and skips out, only to rescue her minutes later in a gruesome disguise and with a momentary homage to Eccleston’s first appearance.
He leaves Clara alone with Half-Face Man, in clear and present danger, till she gets the Droids’ plan from him – one of five standout scenes for Clara in the episode, each one of which adds a piece of her personality, overlaying the Clara we know (heavy on the feisty, light on the believability) with a young woman whose world, whose every certainty about the man she followed through time and space has been shattered, blown to pieces. In particular, her heart-to-heart with Jenny about love and change and how to accept it, and her spitfire contest with Vastra over the value of a face and an appealing physicality bring the grown-up out in Clara, so when she’s alone with Half-Face Man, although she’s terrified, she’s able to bring her classroom history to bear and face him down. Arguably, there’s a degree of the Doctor testing her here, in McCoy and Ace style, to see whether she’s still any good to him in his new incarnation.

The end of the story has the schoolyard game element common to many Moffat stories – notsomuch don’t blink as don’t breathe – determining the survival of the Paternoster Gang and Clara, while the Doctor does his new and particular thing.

There’s that moment in every Doctoral debut where he shows what he’s about now. Tennant had “no second chances,” Smith had “basically…run.”

Capaldi’s self-statement scene is positively breathtaking in its intensity, offering the villain a drink before having to kill him. The war of words over the Promised Land, is comic to a degree, but also desperate, a Doctor almost begging to be saved from the thing he knows he’ll have to do. The grunting physical confrontation is another departure from the Smith incarnation, and feels more visceral even than Tennant’s sword-fight for the planet. Capaldi’s snarled dedication to the people of earth too is more angry and proud than Smith’s chat to the Atraxi, and less grandstanding than Tennant’s “It Is Defended!” – it has the air of a Glasgow pub on a Friday night, a kind of “Oh aye, is that right, pal? How you gonna reach the Promised Land with no teeth?” certainty – I will kill you if you make me. The possible double-cross leading to Half-Face Man’s plummet to earth feels shocking, but shouldn’t – Rule 1, remember: The Doctor lies. And that look – the look from the trailer: a haunted man flicks up his eyes, and who knows what those eyes have seen or known?

That’s who this Doctor is. The Schoolmaster with secrets in his soul. He’s a man we like, a hero we love, but we wonder, in that look, if he’s still all there.

Annnnnd then, just at the peak of its perfection, the production team loses faith that they’ve done their job and sold us the new Doctor, crowbarring in a call from the last incarnation, because without it, Clara, for all her fine words, can’t find it in herself to see the Doctor beyond his body. It’s a peculiar reaction, particularly for Clara, parts of whom have seen the Doctor as an old man, as a short man, as at least a podgy man, if not a portly one. And it weakens the storytelling unnecessarily. Yes, some fans will punch the air at the call, but a year from now, ten years from now, it will look like a moment of weakness and insecurity. Though it’s worth noting the importance of “I never said it was your mistake.” The line shows us what the Eleventh Doctor was doing with Clara in those “Ding dong!” and “I shall glance at a manual” moments – he was fooling himself. He was letting himself think he was young again, because he had a young-looking body. He has an older body now, and he’s not fooling himself any more. He’s not Clara’s boyfriend. The Fairy Tale era is dead.  

But with Clara’s faith in the Doctor at least partly restored by the phone call, and a unilateral hug administered, off they go, the Schoolmaster Doctor and his schoolteacher companion, to find out more about each other and their new relationship.

The End.

Except of course it isn’t. There’s a bolted-on Moffat story-arc. There’s the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere swanning about in ‘The Promised Land,’ talking about her ‘boyfriend’ defeating the Clockwork Droids. Oddly, this arc, which was clearly intended to make us all go nuts with speculation, feels less effective than practically anything in the story to which it’s attached. We wonder briefly about River Song of course, but suspect there’s something new and tortuously Moffat-flavoured waiting for us over the course of the next twelve weeks. 

Deep Breath, taken as a whole, delivered a re-trodden enemy, and an agreeable satire on religious immobility of thought. It delivered a dose of pathos at the mental exhaustion and dullness such thinking breeds. But let’s not kid ourself this one was every about the plot. Because more, much more than this, it handed Capaldi and Coleman a blazing two-hander, that has raised issues and stamped the personality of the new Doctor all over Saturday nights again. He is different, and the tone of the show is different too – more grown-up, more hard-eyed and punchy.

Take a deep breath, everybody – we’re heading into darkness.

Doctor Who Extra - Series 8 Episode 1: Deep Breath

Doctor Who Extra Returns Behind the Scenes Content - Will It Live Up To Expectations?

So it was recently announced that a new series, Doctor Who Extra, was being launched for behind-the-scenes content. But are we getting our hopes up over what will be a minuscule change? This is a short overview of the history and a couple of things to bear in mind.

The issue over behind the scenes content started a few years ago when Zai Bennett wrongfully axed Doctor Who Confidential, just before The Wedding of River Song aired. Outrage! Not only did a Twitter campaign start up, which developed a full-blown petition, but some of the producers, such as Moffat, spoke out against it. But alas, it was all unsuccessful.

But then, the BBC announced they'll be Confidential-esque content for Series 7. Woo! Saved!

But while this was better than nothing, we were left rather disappointed. We all still missed Confidential since just an average of 3-4 minutes per episode barely allows it to go into proper detail on how they made anything specific.

But now? Through the BBC's efforts of making more iPlayer exclusive content a reality, we are getting an upgrade to 10 minutes as standard for all episodes, but with the two previous specials, The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor, being 13:09 and 12:39 respectively, how much of an upgrade would this really seem?

If they treat it well, it could actually be a decent upgrade and back to Doctor Who Confidential's level. Length doesn't always equal quality and while the full-length Doctor Who Confidentials were around 30 (and then 45) minutes, these were filled with a lot of fluff (namely fan-made-esque highlight reels) and the cutdowns usually were around 10-15 minutes, not much, if at all, longer than the stated time for Doctor Who Extra

Having said that, I doubt they will do it that well. Judging from the latest Behind the Lens videos, they'll include a usual 30-60 second introduction and 30s credits, which can take up 10/15% easily. After all, maybe Zai Bennett had a point. How do you keep up a behind the scenes show without going over the top on repeating the same content? So the question detailed and well thought out is the content? How much of it is just interviews with the cast on their backstory?

Put your thoughts in the comments.

It's Today - Doctor Who Series 8 Launch Deep Breath Teaser!

Doctor Who Deep Breath Preview Clip