Sadly we’re a bit later with the Kasterborous newsletter than usual this week, thanks in part to deadlines on other stuff (you don’t think I only write about Doctor Who, do you?) and to pulling things together for a very special project.
More on that in a few weeks time – in the meantime, a big congratulations to Steven Moffat for his special award at the Baftas at the weekend. It’s thoroughly deserved, in our opinion, to a man who has written some great shows over the years, not just Doctor Who.
Ever since the children’s TV series Press Gang I’ve been a fan, through Joking Apart, Chalk and Coupling and it makes perfect sense that he should be honoured in such a way.
Incidentally, we had a marvellous response to our advert for new contributors at www.cultbritannia.co.uk last week – thanks all who got in touch. If you’re interested in writing for the site, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Right, let’s crack on with the newsletter.
- Top news stories
- BBC “Shake Up” Series 7?
- Eccleston’s Departure: “I know what went on”
- Jenna on Location
- Karen’s Unexpected Ending
- Moffat Attacks ‘Fairly Stupid’ Fans
- From the Vortex: Thoughts of a Toberman
- Competition Time!
BBC “Shake Up” Series 7?
The structure of Doctor Who Series 7 has been something of a mystery to fans since last June when the entire future of the show was in baffled confusion for a few hours.
Since learning that the show would appear in the autumn – hopefully on dark nights – fans have expressed relief and satisfaction, but a recent interview with Steven Moffat has suggested that there is in fact more to it than moving the show to be in a more seasonally suitable time slot.
With five episodes due before Christmas, a sixth – introducing Jenna-Louise Coleman – for Christmas itself and then another 8 in 2013, the shape of Series 7 continues to fascinate and befuddle Whovians. And now it seems that the Moff wasn’t responsible for the decision…
“I don’t know, on this occasion, that the thinking particularly came from me, actually. I’ve always been open to anything that shakes [the series] up. I think that decision actually came from the BBC.
“But I’ve been well up for anything that we can do to shake up the transmission pattern, the way we deliver it to the audience and how long we make the audience wait, simply because that makes Doctor Who an event piece.”
Interesting words. Could this be tacit confirmation that the 50th anniversary episode will in fact form part of the Series 7 recording?
Or is it more about keeping the viewing public on its toes?
“The more Doctor Who becomes a perennial, the faster it starts to die. You’ve got to shake it up, you’ve got to keep people on edge and wondering when it will come back.
“So keeping Doctor Who as an event, and never making people feel, ‘Oh, it’s lovely, reliable old Doctor Who – it’ll be on about this time, at that time of year’. Once you start to do that, just slowly, it becomes like any much-loved ornament in your house – ultimately invisible. And I don’t want that to ever be the case.”
We’re not sure that this is exactly true – viewing figures certainly don’t back this idea up, which seems to be a case of creating facts to fit an agenda.
Eccleston’s Departure: “I know what went on”
Ninth Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston features in a superb interview in the Telegraph this week in which the actor chats about his love of the stage and his varied career.
Naturally there are questions about the reasons behind his quitting Doctor Who after just 13 episodes – a decision that he has never come clean about. Suggestions have been made that he felt conditions on the show were not what he expected , but he continues to maintain a dignified vagueness on the situation whenever asked.
“I know what went on and the people who were involved know what went on – that’s good enough for me.”
On taking the job in the first place, Eccleston believes he made the right choice.
“My conscience is completely clear. I’ve lived my life, particularly my working life, on the basis that I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror about the way I behave. It wasn’t a bold move, it was an entirely natural one. I’m hugely grateful to the children who to this day come up and talk to me about the show.”
A full read of the article is thoroughly recommended!
Jenna on Location
Jenna-Louise Coleman has begun her adventure with the Doctor this week as filming commenced on her first scenes as the new companion, reports Doctor Who News.
Jenna was captured leaving the Welsh manor Plas Llanmihangel House yesterday by fan Garth Bundy, who rather than revealing any Moffat-baiting spoilers caught the actress in her civvies, and not her official costume.
The eccentrically structured sixteenth century manor boasts amongst its finery; a thirteenth century Church and graveyard which perhaps confirms that this year’s Christmas special will be not only be a ghost story but a period tale – maybe, for the first time since Doctor Who returned, we’ll be getting a non-contemporaneous companion (well, not contemporary to us.)
Jenna’s first read-through for Doctor Who has already been recorded for posterity with the BBC’s official Doctor Who Twitter feed proclaiming:
History has been made! A new era begins! Jenna-Louise Coleman has just completed her first #DoctorWho read-through. One word. Brilliant!
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) May 21, 2012
Karen’s Unexpected Ending
With departures confirmed, replacements hired and new roles to promote, all that’s left to do is to enjoy the bittersweet moment where Amy departs from the TARDIS – and according to Karen Gillan, it’s a belter.
Speaking to Total Film from Cannes – where she’s been drumming up publicity for her upcoming role in Glasgow based rom-com Not Another Happy Ending – she’s promised that her exit will be ‘unexpected’ and ‘emotional’.
“I literally couldn’t read it without crying. It was the most highly charged read-through I’ve ever experienced. But I couldn’t have asked for a better exit. I don’t think it’ll be what people expect.”
Perhaps something else that people aren’t expecting is a Doctor Who movie. With the rumour mill crawling to a stop after David Yates first registered his interest in bringing the Doctor to the big screen Total Film took the opportunity (well, it is Cannes) to broach the subject with Karen:
“I think it would be great in a franchise-y sort of way. I’d look forward to sitting down and watching it.”
But would she get involved if offered a role?
“Oh, who knows? I guess you can only cross that bridge when you come to it!”
Moffat Attacks ‘Fairly Stupid’ Fans
If you were hoping that Doctor Who would tone down its complicated plots and pander to the confused chapter of its audience well, forget it.
An unapologetic Steven Moffat told BAFTA Guru that disgruntled viewers of Doctor Who should ‘pay attention’ and ‘think about’ his dramas:
“There’s been a weird backlash among, I presume, fairly stupid people about the fact the shows are complicated and clever, but they’re both huge international hits.”
Forget doing the ironing; there will be no passive viewing. Moffat wants open mindedness and not, reductive views of sci-fi and genre fiction:
“They follow intricately plotted soap operas all the time. It depresses me when people say, ‘It’s all far too clever’.”
Being ambitious and promoting intelligent engagement shouldn’t be seen as a fault; Doctor Who invites viewers to believe they are above average and vicariously rewards fans curiosity with rich, complicated stories; Sherlock fetishizes intelligence. Both should be spoken of as the best television this country produces.
While it isn’t particularly productive to label the minority of viewers left cold by Moffat’s clinical plots ‘fairly stupid’ it’s easy to empathise with his frustrations.
That doesn’t always mean his plots fit together well, or that all the ideas come off with the right balance of emotional heft and intelligent dexterity but as long as he keeps producing drama with that aim – they’ll always be an audience willing to engage with them.
But how long will he stay?
“The moment it’s time to stop on a show is not an ambiguous feeling – you just suddenly think, ‘I can’t do it anymore; I’ve had enough’.”
Brian Terranova recalls the striking discovery of the diaries from Klieg’s failed expedition to Telos to find The Tomb of the Cybermen…
It has recently come to our attention that Toberman, the servant of Kaftan, had kept a diary during his time on Telos. In fact he bought it for that very trip. It is our understanding that his master never took him anywhere and he suddenly became very excited about the thought of traveling to a new world.
The year is sometime after 2570; Toberman is not that specific in his writing. Women have apparently reverted back to a time when they are too delicate to do a “man’s” work and people can have other people as their “servants”.
The future does seem all-progress doesn’t it?
Now it is our pleasure to bring to you the final thoughts of the last servant in the galaxy.
“We made it here. Toberman is finally getting to see the universe. Toberman can taste freedom, but Toberman is not happy. Toberman’s pants are too tight, and people are yelling at Toberman to get off of the mountain that Toberman has just overcome.”
He goes on for a bit about how upset he is and after a while the writings become a series of nonsensical grunts and growls and “Hulk Smash” and so on.
“We are in the building, and it is wondrous, Toberman want to go see it all, but they make him stay with women. They think Toberman no better then a woman. Toberman is a slave… no: “servant.”
We get the understanding that Toberman has women issues as he devoted the next 12 passages to the matter, but once again we are not able to decipher all the writing, however, this snippet was found to be legible:
“I have the strength to crush all of their heads, but still they speak to Toberman as if he is a little girls. Toberman sad, and pants are starting to chafe.”
It is unclear just how upset that Toberman is in his present situation of being a slave.. er, “servant”, or if he is more upset about something else.
Curiously enough, passages 18 through 23 describe in full detail how the logic systems of the Cybermen base work, but as this is so inconsistent with the rest of Toberman’s writing, we will chalk this up to someone else picking up the wrong book.
“Mistress Kaftan pinch Toberman’s bottom today. Toberman sick of being boy toy. Toberman want to be free man.”
“Klieg pinch Toberman’s bottom today, Toberman wish he could bash Klieg’s skull in.”
Passages 26, 29, 34 through 39, and 42 all focus on this same sort of frustration.
But soon things take a drastic change.
“Toberman has been married. Nice men have given Toberman a big silver ring for his arm. Toberman will have to change his name to Cyberman. Change name? Again Toberman is thought of as a Woman! Toberman no change name! Toberman Smash!”
He continues in passages 48 and 49 about how the Cybermen were able to calm him down, although he thinks that removing part of his brain may have done this. But nonetheless he does not abandon his diary.
“Cyberman have sent Cyberm- TOBERman to kill humans. Toberman sees chance to smash Klieg’s head in now.”
“Toberman feel much better now. Klieg will touch Cyberm- TOBERman no more.”
“Mistress dead, Cyberman killed mistress… what will Toberman do? Toberman WILL DESTROY!”
Unfortunately this is where the diary ends, we understand that he could not write in the diary anymore after his death.
Thankfully his thoughts were persevered by a sole surviving Cybermat who picked his pocket and brought his diary all the way back to Earth for us to read and contemplate.
As you read this, the diary is being serialized and an autobiography is being written. Movies are being made about the man and the torment he had to endure, but nothing will ever have the impact the Diaries of Toberman truly hold. How could one man have worn pants that tight?
This week on Kasterborous we’re giving away a single license for Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock on the PlayStation Network. What this means is that if you have a PlayStation 3 and a connection to the PSN, you can use the code that we’re giving away as a prize to download, install and enjoy the game!
Unfortunately we can’t make this particular prize exclusive to the newsletter, but we CAN give you advance notice – so look out for news of this competition on Thursday, and the details that you will need to enter.
In the meantime – good luck!