This week’s third Kasterborous newsletter marks a slight change in the way we do things. While last week we managed to overcome the distribution issues of the first issue, it has come to our attention that some email clients are not correctly receiving messages. The result is that for some of you there are not images or active links in the newsletter.
Clearly this is not ideal, but we’ve come up with a solution.
The only way around this is to provide a HTML option to those of you who require it, so hello if you’re reading this on the website!
Also it is worth mentioning that a few of you have been unable to view the previous newsletters at all, or have dropped a line asking for them to be sent. The best way around this is for you to head to www.kasterborous.com/category/newsletters where you will find our newsletters to date!
So what’s in store this week?
- Top news stories
- Is the Statue of Liberty a Weeping Angel?
- The Old Dalek Paradigm Survives
- Doctor Who’s New York Photo Album
- Glenister Feels Like a 12 Year Old “Burke”
- Karen and Arthur’s Exit
- From the Vortex – ACED!
- The Valeyard Reviews the Christmas Special
- Competition Time
- Interview Exclusive! We quiz Paul Cornell
Don’t Forget Your Copy of Time Leech!
Before you head off to the rest of the newsletter, however, please don’t forget about our current fundraising effort.
This week the PDF and CBR version of the 30 page Time Leech adventure will released on Kasterborous, enabling readers of the site to download the comic to read in electronic format for 99p, with the proceeds being split between the AICR – Association for International Cancer Research, a cancer charity that has David Tennant as its patron – and Children in Need.
Meanwhile in May the print version of the all three parts of the strip will be released.
If you’re unaware of Time Leech, this is a comic strip project written by Christian Cawley and Brian Terranova with artwork by Justin Abbot and Rick Lundeen, which appeared in 3 parts from 2009-2010. Part one appeared in print in issue 1 of the Vworp Vworp! fanzine, and this project represents the first and only time that all 3 installments will be found in one place.
This is a limited print run – once Children in Need night has passed, no more copies will be printed, the funds will be split and sent to the two charities.
You can pre-order the print version for £4.99 (including p&p) if you live in the UK or £9.99 overseas (again including postage) from Kasterborous right now. Please note the p&p free option is a limited pre-order offer – once the pre-order stage is over, copies will be dispatched for £2.99 (subject to revision) – so get your orders in now!
Is the Statue of Liberty a Weeping Angel?
Warning, ladies and gentlemen – spoilers be here.
Well, speculation mainly – and then a little bit of spoilerific material, cleverly hidden away so that you don’t read it accidentally.
First of all, let’s take what we know about Doctor Who Series 7′s big event, the departure of Amy and Rory. As confirmed at the Doctor Who Convention by Steven Moffat, the TARDIS travellers will face the Weeping Angels, someone will die, and the whole shebang will take place in New York.
Those Weeping Angels, the quantum-locked statues, cleverly feed on the time differential when they touch someone who is then thrown back in time.
And what is the most observed statue in the world?
That’s right. The Statue of Liberty, which previously featured in a plate shot in the early scenes of Daleks in Manhattan. Now, this is purely speculation, but what if…? After all, it’s a very good reason to shoot Doctor Who in New York.
Filming has already begun on this episode/episodes, with recent shooting taking place in Wales prior to be big money shots over in New York city; shooting their should begin this week.
In other New York news, meanwhile, there are indications that one Rory Williams might want to pack a razor for his next trip in the TARDIS.
The Old Dalek Paradigm Survives
It seems that the Doctor needn’t have bothered looking too hard for surviving Daleks after the Time War, a number have been living harmless lives of retirement here on Earth for a number of years!
After The Sun joined part of the BBC’s appeal to find surviving Dalek props to be used in a new episode of Doctor Who this year for a multi paradigm Dalek story (stop dribbling and keep reading!) they also found some other Daleks that are owned by fans of the show.
Some are original props from the show and others have been repaired from all sorts of Dalek bits (how very Parting of the Ways). Dalek Winston, a rather royal looking blue and gold creature, is a particularly popular model that has been used for thousands of charity events since it was built by fan Mark Dean of Norwich, including The Sun’s Help for Heroes.
Dalek props from as far back as 1973 have been kept in pristine order in garages, ready to help fight the bad fight against the last child of Gallifrey, some are even kept in schools as a possible threat to keep children doing their homework (although how a Dalek got through a CRB check causes the mind to boggle).
With so many different designs available, we wonder which ones will make it into the finished episode. Might we even see an appearance of a special weapon Dalek if one can be found?
The excitement continues!
Doctor Who returns to BBC One later this year.
Doctor Who’s New York Photo Album
New York, Central Park and everyone with a set of eyes and a camera phone have been capturing the exploits of the Doctor Who crew as they complete scenes for the Ponds swansong with several media sites grabbing their own snaps of Matt, Karen and Arthur.
At the fan end of the spectrum Rubronc014 uploaded footage of the Doctor running across a bridge to YouTube where the Eleventh Doctor received a hearty round of applause of his efforts (talk about being easily pleased.)
The Mirror caught the Doctor playing gooseberry as Amy and Rory shared a smooch before snapping a candid moment between Amy and the Doctor sat on an unfurled picnic blanket clutching a very interesting book (more on that later.)
Io9 continued the media-wide anatomy of a picnic by snapping several shots of the trio in and amongst the rocks of Central Park – just what is it with that book?
Confirming the title of just what the Doctor is reading lately SFX has the slightly spoilery answer: Melody Malone.
So is River Song the titular character of her own gumshoe series? It was more than likely that the Ponds daughter would be present for their final trip in the TARDIS but just what part will she play?
In case you were worried about the lack of driving in the current series ScienceFiction.com can at least confirm that when she does return River will indeed be driving.
A casting call went out throughout New York looking for a photo double for Alex Kingston with the added requirement that she be able to drive.
So maybe we’ll be getting a classic noir style race through Cardiff’s equivalent of the Streets of New York (The Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy Building has already stood in for a stateside location currently suffering from a Weeping Angel infestation.)
Glenister Feels Like a 12 Year Old “Burke”
Well this isn’t something you see everyday – someone regretting their appearance in Doctor Who! While Martin Clunes has previously expressed discomfort with his role as Lon in Snakedance (and let’s face it he did look a little silly, despite being awesome) this is something of a rarity.
However star of Hustle Robert Glenister (brother of Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes star Philip) has revealed to the Radio Times that he hates signing photos of himself as Salateen in Robert Holmes’ last great Doctor Who story – also Peter Davison’s swansong – The Caves of Androzani.
I probably shouldn’t say this, but about 30 years ago I played an android in a Doctor Who story called The Caves of Androzani. I still get people outside the stage door with that picture of me looking about 12 and I am appalled at myself every time I see it.
I looked like a complete burke and wish I never had to see it again.
Now it might be that Glenister is completely unaware of the passion fans have for this story. Back in the last Doctor Who Magazine story poll, this story of android doubles and lifespan-increasing drugs – with added Phantom of the Opera thrown in for good measure – finished in first place. Thanks to Graeme Harper’s marvellous direction, this is a rather stunning serial which still looks good 28 years later.
But on the other hand, Robert Glenister sounds as though he is dissing a story in which he got to play two parts, that of Salateen and his android double. Better still, he was rather excellent in the dual role, particularly as the android.
Either way, someone send him a copy of The Caves of Androzani!
Karen and Arthur’s Exit
It’s going to be blubber buckets at the ready this year, as fans of Doctor Who prepare to bid goodbye for a final and dramatic time to Amy and Rory Pond.
The TARDIS twosome has lasted longer than any other companions to stay at the Doctor’s side since the show returned in 2005. However, Doctor Who is all about change and renewal, the Ponds would never have been able to stay forever and now it’s time to get ready to enjoy their last hurrah. And Matt Smith is rather looking forward to the challenge of making it as memorable as possible!
The actor has promised an “incredible” exit for the companions that have been there with him since his regeneration started and commented that:
“We did the read-throughs for episodes one and five and they are extremely extraordinary.”
But while we still wait with eager anticipation for whatever Steven Moffat has concocted in that clever brain of his, we can also start to get very excited about the impending arrival of the successor, Jenna-Louise Coleman who climbs aboard the good ship TARDIS at Christmas 2012 and will bring a new energy and direction for the Eleventh Doctor.
Whilst everything looks set to change this year, Matt took a moment to confirm that he has no plans to leave Doctor Who just yet, as he has plenty to do for the foreseeable future with the role.
So, big changes, new directions but same old lovable Eleventh Doctor, it’s a win-win-win situation really!
Dorothy? Moose? McShane? Ace! The girl who found herself caught in the time storm, met the Doctor on Iceworld and continued to storm time and space. The Doctor’s last best friend, a girl with a scarred past and an uncertain future. So much was promised with the introduction of Ace. But did she deliver?
When casting a new regular in a long running television series, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
1.The new regular should appeal to the viewers en masse.
2.The new regular should in particular appeal to 14+ males, particularly if she is female.
3.The new regular should be able to scream.
4.The new regular should not, under any circumstances, be Bonnie Langford.
To be fair to Bonnie, she is attractive and she can scream. The whole “Doctor Who as Royal Variety” argument will be addressed at a later date. Sadly though her casting was misguided, an attempt to break the shackles of typecasting. Only John-Nathan Turner could have thought her casting appropriate. Only the viewing public and the fans combined could have changed his mind. Add to this the audience initial flat reaction to Sylvester McCoy, and the casting of Ace could not have been more important.
Although not a teenager, Sophie Aldred had the look of a girl in her late teens; perhaps in later years the Doctor would have met Ace in a nightclub. In 1987, Ace was waitressing on a trading post, Iceworld. Over the next two years, we would see a slow development from excitable teenager to tortured young woman…
When next we saw Ace, she accompanied the “Professor” to London 1963. It was here that her development began. In retrospect the plan is visible – to turn Ace into a warrior. As the Doctor’s enemies became more cunning, he needed to arm himself; rarely a carrier of weapons, who else could he choose but an affable, angry teenager? Who could be more perfect to mould into the perfect companion? So it began, with her baseball bat now supercharged thanks to the Hand of Omega, Ace was given the confidence to go up against the Daleks, and later in the season the Cybermen.
Following the horrors of the Greatest Show in the Galaxy and the Destroyer in Battlefield, Ace’s next lesson was more personal. To face the monsters of the Universe, she first had to face the monsters of her past. But why? Why had the Doctor chosen this particular companion? Why had he resorted to this kind of tactic? Rarely in the past would he allow his companions to walk into danger, so why start now?
The only possible explanation is that this was a mechanism to compensate for the Doctor’s seventh persona’s shortcomings. Lacking height, wit and presence, all he had was tactical nuance, his intelligence and this new best friend. Without bending the rules, how could he hope to fight evil?
We never learnt from the television series if Ace was a willing participant in her casting as a Time Warrior. What we did learn though was of Ace’s background, her arsonist past in Ghost Light, her frail relationship with her mother in Fenric, and the love she had for her friends in Survival. We also learnt in the end how happy she was to travel with the Doctor.
Rumour has it that Season 27 would have seen Ace left on Gallifrey to train at the Academy. Of course, Season 27 never occurred in this form, and Ace continued her travels with the Doctor for the best part of 5 years in print. Here her character was developed even further, becoming a screwed-up, hard-drinking soldier, haunted by her time away from the Doctor as a Space Marine. Eventually she became the Doctor’s longest running companion, only leaving when the opportunity came to live in 19th century France, as prophesised in Silver Nemesis. Or was she killed?
Giant insects sent by the mysterious Threshold in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip captured Susan, Sarah, Peri and Ace. Previous DWM strips had followed the continuity of the Virgin New Adventures – possibly to their own detriment. Here was an opportunity to forge a new “DWM continuity”, and they pulled this off with a bang, albeit tragically. Ace’s death allowed the others to escape, but it was a truly shocking end to the life of a popular character.
Levelled at the character of Ace in the past have been accusations that she was a poor stereotype. This is probably true in Season 25. By the shows final season, she was an interesting young woman. Her initial conception was undoubtedly imperfect, but then it can be argued that every 80s companion was an attempt by JNT to be a bit too clever. Other than Turlough and Peri, Ace is the only companion from this period to have any impact.
Ace was the last on-screen travelling companion for the Doctor. Therefore whatever we think of her and the period of the show that she inhabited, she will always represent Doctor Who to an important number of fans.
Yes, I’m very much aware that I’m a little late with this judgement.
Not all of us have time to sit around moping about our favourite television program not being on early enough. No some of us have worlds to conquer and civilisations to crush under our heels.
Well we could have. In theory. Instead I’ve found myself trapped in a Type 1 Moffat Paradox with only the pickled head of John Barrowman and a copy of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ for company. Although more entertaining than the non-pickled version there is only so much entertainment value involved with torturing disembodied heads, so eventually I moved onto reading the opening volume of C.S. Lewis’ opening volume on his metaphor-heavy endorsement of the Judeo-Christian faith. 615 reads of said volume go by with nothing even vaguely interesting happening. During the 616th reading a the pickled head of John Barrowman silently transforms into a 1960 television set.
I look up from the now well worn copy of my book, after they’ve just shaved the lion’s head in what is arguably the darkest scene in the book. Just as I’m about to return to the imminent sacrifice the television sparks into life and last years excuse for a Christmas Special begins.
Oh well, the sacrifice will keep until after I’m sure.
From the very beginning it’s obvious that Moffat himself must have been stuck in this self same paradox as even the title makes no attempt to disguise where the story line of this episode comes from. Still, I suppose we should be thankful he chose the lion as the theme rather than pickled heads.
It’s a rather tepid affair. Aside from an all too brief appearance of some visitors from Androzani. I have fond memories of that system, even if it was the scene for a premature regeneration. But a Time Lord simply doesn’t discuss these things in public. It happens to all of us at some point.
It tries very hard to be cold, harsh and ultimately terrifying, but in the end it has the same end effect you would hope to achieve if the Power Rangers were to take on Pinocchio.
Just where has this sudden preoccupation come with celebrating Christmas? We went for well over a thousand years without celebrating it properly, why start now? Did you ever see my first incarnation sitting down and having Christmas dinner with Ian and Barbara’s parents? No, you didn’t. Because that would have just been silly.
Yet it seems to have become a yearly occurrence. At least this year he’s picked some random family to celebrate it with, I don’t know what I would have done if he’d spent it with the Ponds.
I persist on watching in the rather vain hope that Moffat might follow the themes from the book and have my younger self shaved and sacrificed on a stone table, but alas I remain disappointed. The final blow of course being when after everything calms down he decides to go and visit the damned Ponds after all.
Still, at least I won’t have to worry about that happening next year. How do I know that?
No sooner have the end credits finished when the start credits begin all over again. Just as I’m contemplating hurling the hard copy of the source material I’m relieved to hear the sound of my old TARDIS finally breaking through the Type 1 Moffat Paradox. I should have known Lord Stormageddon wouldn’t let me down.
“Time to go, Sir?”
”Yes, and not a moment to soon, Alfred.” Still, at least there’s a decent amount of time until my next engagement.
This week’s competition winner will receive a copy of The Eye of the Jungle, a BBC/AudioGo release on CD featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory and read by David Troughton.
To win a copy of this adventure – set in the Amazon rainforest – email us with the subject line: KING PEL! and we’ll announce the winner in the next newsletter…
Last time around we gave you the chance to win a copy of Shada, Gareth Roberts’ novelisation of the Douglas Adams lost TV serial.
Congratulations, then, go out to Callum Coghlan! Please drop an email to email@example.com with your preferred postal address.
Paul Cornell enthuses over Gareth Roberts’ Doctor Who books for Virgin and the BBC, which explains just why the author was perfect to adapt Shada…
Gareth (Roberts) of course. With Gareth’s Tom Baker books, ‘The Missing Adventures’, they were almost a genre in themselves. It’s kind of like he got to reinvent the Graeme Williams years. People say those books are pastiche; no they’re not, they’re Gareth’s world! They’re the Shakespeare Code. They are as far from the Graeme Williams era as the New Adventures were from late Doctor Who.
Paul Cornell was speaking to Gareth Kavanagh, July 19th 2007.
That’s all for this week – hope you enjoyed it, don’t forget Time Leech and the competition, and I’ll see you again next week!