First things first – we won’t have a newsletter for a couple of weeks as I (editor Christian Cawley) am taking a few away on holiday with my family. The timing couldn’t have been better, to be honest – the build up to the new series of Doctor Who is gathering pace, and by the time I get back and settled back into things I fully expect to be almost ambushed by the BFI preview of Asylum of the Daleks.
News-wise, don’t worry about us missing anything. I’ll be equipped with mobile computing technology to organise the news team, so everything else should run swimmingly!
This weeks’ newsletter features news about Amy Pond’s departure, an interview with Marc Platt and some Time Leech news!
- Top news stories
- Does Amy’s Departure Tie in with The Eleventh Hour?
- Matt’s Staying Forever!
- What We Know About Asylum of the Daleks
- Dalek Madness
- A Question of Colour
- From the Vortex: Ghost Light Writer Marc Platt Interviewed
- PodKast Preview
- Time Leech Update
Does Amy’s Departure Tie in with The Eleventh Hour?
During the current run of Doctor Who, we’ve become accustomed to story arcs and long term pay offs, be it plots including Bad Wolf, Torchwood, Mr Saxon, the Cult of Skaro or the Time War.
But all that was under the Davies era (as it is now known, amazing how that’s a retrospect era already, this show moves a mile a second!) and the Moffat era has moved the goalposts slightly. We still have our wonderful, intricate series arcs but they’re delivered in a truly madcap Moffat style, which is glorious.
Perhaps however, the biggest payoff is still to come. Not the Fall of the Eleventh or the Fields of Trenzalore or even Silence falling. No, it appears that Moffat has had an idea in his head for many, many years now involving Amy Pond’s departure from the TARDIS forever, something that appears in The Eleventh Hour that will become apparent in the last Pond episode in series 7. During an on stage interview, Matt Smith commented:
“There’s something coming up in the final days of the Ponds that was in The Eleventh Hour…there’s a shot in that. [Moffat's] been thinking about it that long. He always knew how she was going to… I’m saying too much already.”
We wonder what it could be. Was there a moment when Amy was on her own and something happened? Did Amelia, in her final TARDIS days, go back in time and do something very clever? Or did the Doctor do something even cleverer? We’ll just have to wait a few more months…
Smith also mentions the upcoming Christmas special with new actress Jenna Louise- Coleman and the Moffat scripts that the actors had to work with:
“I don’t know what he does in his mind…Just how does he come up with it? There’s a bit in the middle that’s just poetic. It’s so wonderful.”
Get ready for some wholehearted Christmas crying! Smith also talks about the possibility of Sherlock Homes appearing in an episode of Doctor Who in the future:
“I think [the Doctor] would just find Sherlock Holmes to be a bit silly, and I think Sherlock would find the Doctor to be really silly, so it could be very funny. But I don’t think it’s ever going to happen.”
If anyone’s interested in finding out how the Doctor and Holmes would interact, you can try and tack down a copy of the Virgin New Adventure All Consuming Fire, which sees the world’s greatest detective meet the Universe’s greatest!
Matt’s Staying Forever!
With speculation rife you can’t blame Matt Smith for wanting to confirm just how long he’ll remain in the role of the Doctor.
So while speaking to the Life of Wylie (via Blastr) about his forthcoming performance in the ‘austerity Olympics’ drama Bert and Dickie Matt share his thought process with us and revealed a little something about how long he’ll be in the role:
“…50 years. I’m loving making it. I think we’ve got one of our strongest seasons yet coming up. I really do. We go into the 50th year all guns blazing. And I’ll be around. So … that’s it, really.”
So it could be forever, fifty years or the end of 2013. I’m glad we cleared that up.
Whatever the outcome of Matt’s deliberations there’s still plenty of time left for more hijinks, more mystery and more drama as the stakes continue to elevate towards ‘the fall of the eleventh’.
So how long do you think Matt will stay in the role beyond Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary in 2013?
What We Know About Asylum of the Daleks
It’s time to get our facts and fictions in order now that we have been blessed with the title of the Doctor Who Series 7 premier title.
Things are still very hush hush regarding the new series, we’ve got old friends leaving, a new friend coming and the big half century birthday you may have heard about. But what else is there to know?
For example, we don’t know much about the first episode of the new series but the excitement is enough with the title Asylum of the Daleks. Every model of Dalek that’s been in the show will appear in this episode including the best Skaro invention ever, the Special Weapons Dalek.
After extensive deliberation, THE DOCTOR HAS SPOKEN. Matt Smith likes the sixties Dalek best.
— Steven Moffat (@steven_moffat) March 31, 2012
Arthur Darvill, meanwhile, teased:
@steven_moffat I could tweet several incriminating pictures of my favourites but I feel they may be…How do you say?. . . Spoilers?
— Arthur Darvill (@RattyBurvil) March 31, 2012
Written by the mad man with a box of pens, Steven “The Grand Moff” Moffat and directed by Nick Hurran, the episode naturally features the ring modulated tones of Nick Briggs and also guests David Gyasi (who appeared in Combat, from the first series of Torchwood).
The episode will be previewed twice. Once at the BFI on August 14th (or 18th, we await confirmation on this confusing detail) and a few days later at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival which runs from 23rd to 25th August.
Remember, much information is still to be confirmed officially, so don’t read too much into what is going on. Feel free to speculate, however…
The first episode of Doctor Who Series 7 has been named, alongside confirmation of the preview screening at BFI Southbank in London, one week before a second showing at the forthcoming MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television.
Taking place on August 18th, the BFI event will unveil Asylum of the Daleks for its audience before the episode travels north of the border the following week.
Announced by Dalek controller Nicholas Pegg on Twitter, the episode title hints at much more than what we saw on the cover of Doctor Who Magazine recently.
The title has been officially announced, so at last we can say it aloud: it was an absolute blast shooting Asylum of the Daleks! #DoctorWho
— Nicholas Pegg (@NicholasPegg) June 25, 2012
Of course, those of us unable to take the time to travel to either of these locations might just like to know when the episode is likely to appear on TV…
A Question of Colour
It annoys me. Does it annoy anyone else? Each time the Doctor goes to change the great British media starts proclaiming that the next Doctor might be black or a woman as if it’s a major issue.
And it’s not. Not really.
We’re talking about an alien who just happens to look vaguely human. That Gallifreyans mostly resemble humans on an anatomical level is coincidental at best. The similarity of humans and Time Lords is very much skin deep as Doctor Holloway found to her cost. So, given the fairly huge evolutionary coincidences that have led to the Doctor resembling a white British man for most of his life; would our suspensions of disbelief need to be stretched much further him to look black?
No is the answer you’re looking for.
The Looming method of Time Lord reproduction strengthens this argument considerably. If each Time Lord is loomed from DNA gathered from every member in it’s house then surely the possibility exists for varying skin tones within the house of Lungbarrow. Even without Lungbarrow we already know the Doctor must have a significant amount of varying DNA (or it’s Gallifreyan equivalent) to have expressed so many different bodies already.
That and we’ve already seen a regeneration that saw the recipient change the colour of their skin thanks to Mels regenerating into River Song. Rassilon has also been subject to changes in skin tonel; regenerating from Don Warrington (if you follow Big Finish) into Timothy Dalton. Gender isn’t an issue either according to Neil Gaiman in The Doctor’s Wife. If Neil Gaiman say’s it’s alright I’m inclined to believe him. Besides, Jenny was loomed from his DNA and she’s very definitely female.
Mind you fans have always had issue with change. I’m sure there were plenty of people were upset when Patrick Troughton took over the role in 1966, certainly my mother has never forgiven Jon Pertwee for replacing him. My old next door neighbour was distraught at the idea of David Tennant being replaced, although he also insists on referring to Matt Smith as the “third Doctor”. But that’s a whole different article.
A reasonably big deal was made when Mickey Smith began travelling with the Doctor. At last the Doctor had a black companion. Except that the Doctor’s first black companion was in fact Alison Cheney as played by Sophie Okonedo (The Beast Below‘s Liz 10) in 2003’s Scream of the Shalka. Even earlier than her was Roz Forrester, but she only appeared in the books, so a lot of people tend to discount due to uncertain canon. But given that the Doctor has been accompanied by aliens, robots, Gallifreyans, penguins and robot dogs surely a black (or indeed any colour of skin the universal die can roll) companion isn’t that big of a deal?
The thing that struck me most about Noel Clarke’s character was that he was the first non-chronologically challenged human male to travel with the Doctor since Harry Sullivan.
But I digress. The point is that it took to 1995 for the Doctor to travel with a more diverse representative, so how long before we can have a black, or even female, actor from being considered for the role without it being considered a big deal?
I’ve seen several names mentioned for consideration when it comes to playing the Doctor and there’s always a feeling of “oh he would have been fantastic” or “thank goodness we didn’t get them” when going over the various choices. Adrian Lester, Colin Simpson and Patterson Joseph (Bad Wolf‘s Rodrick) have all been considered at various points during the Doctor’s recasting. I’ll remain forever disappointed that Bleeding Cool’s prediction that Joseph would get the part turned out not to be the case. I recall being a little uncertain when a 26 year old virtual unknown landed the role instead, but that seems to have worked out alright. I have no strong feelings either way regarding Adrian Lester and I rather enjoyed Colin Salmon as Dr Moon in Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. Would any of them given Smith a run for his money in the role? I rather think Paterson Joseph might have and who knows, maybe we’ll get a chance to find out yet.
The last actor that got me excited when he expressed interest in the role was Chiwetel Ejiofor. When asked by Andrew Marr if he would consider the part answered, without any hesitation, that he would.
I loved him in Firefly and he amused me in Love Actually. He’s an actor that’s constantly nominated for awards whenever he picks up a script and I would be overjoyed to see him pilot the TARDIS.
Unless of course his American Gangster co-star Idris Elba is free. But then I think every show should have Idris Elba in it. I have done so ever since he appeared along side my other fantasy Doctor, Jack Davenport, in Ultraviolet.
But a lot of this is fairly redundant. As long as the producers continue to choose the best actor for the job and ignore CVs, age, gender and skin colour I’ll be happy with whoever plays the Doctor. And let’s not forget that the Doctor has been black before. You might not consider a sketch from the Lenny Henry show to be canon and the main villan of Thatchos may date the sketch considerably, but there is a certain satisfaction to watching Henry taking on the role. He may be mocking the Doctor, but you get the impression that he’s doing so lovingly.
So, the real question is not when are we getting a black Doctor, rather when are we getting the next one?
Back in 2009, editor Christian Cawley spoke to Marc Platt (pictured here with David Richardson (Producer), Russell Floyd (Gerry Lenz), Lisa Bowerman (director) and Nicholas Courtney (legend)) recently about a variety of topics – including his special serial The Three Companions which was released as an exclusive for Big Finish subscribers…
So Marc, tell us about The Three Companions, the 12-part miniseries spread over the monthly Doctor Who plays starting in April.
David (Richardson, Big Finish producer) got in touch with me last September and said that they had this idea to put out a bonus feature with the monthly series, ten 12-minute episodes. Which was going to be a bit of a challenge to keep interesting, I think that was one of my main concerns – a challenge with a cliff-hanger every ten minutes!
I’d done some Blake’s 7 stuff a few years ago which was released as five minute episodes so after that this was a sort of doddle… there are three blocks of four episodes each which was how I broke it down. David wanted a sort of Companion Chronicle but with three companions in it. David wanted someone from each of the early eras but also wanted to use Thomas Brewster, a recent character from the audios. We settled on Polly for the Second Doctor and Jo for the Third Doctor.
Katy Manning and Anneke Wills sounds like it could have been quite a casting coup!
Katy was quite keen, and she was great doing her previous adventure but without Jon decided she’d rather not do it… after we had a big think about it we settled on the Brigadier which required a fair bit of rewriting and threw a whole new dynamic on the thing. Nick Courtney was fantastic as he always is, nailed his lines the first time with all of this experience and everything.
The first four episodes are Polly’s story, the second four are the Brigadier and the final four are Thomas Brewster’s – they’re all telling each other these stories. In Thomas Brewster’s story the other two come together with him and there are links throughout the stories. Obviously Polly’s is a Second Doctor story and the Brigadier’s is a Third Doctor story whereas Thomas Brewster is on his own.
So for fans that dive in and out of the Big Finish range, tell us a bit more about Thomas Brewster.
He’s this artful dodger character that Jonathan Morris created for Haunting of Thomas Brewster and at the end of that Fifth Doctor story he goes off joyriding in the TARDIS and we pick him up again in The Time Reef where the Doctor catches up with him and discovers some of the chaos that’s been caused while he was going around on his own but this story is set before that, and is another earlier episode of his unknown adventures in the TARDIS. He runs into the Brigadier and Polly.
Pictured above: John Pickard (Thomas Brewster), Lisa Bowerman (director), Anneke Wills (Polly), Marc Platt (writer) and David Richardson (producer)
It must have been great with Anneke in the studio – I had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of years ago and she’s mesmeric company.
It was enormous fun to do, Anneke was absolutely splendid… she’s terrific, such fun and terribly concerned about the character. Sometimes you go back to the sixties and think you don’t know much about the character but you look at them and there’s all sorts of little clues to pick up on and you can build the character out of that and I think Anneke wanted her to be quite feisty.
I’ve got Polly as the head of a government office which reflects where she was when we first saw her in The War Machines and she gets in touch with the Brig and off they go telling each other stories and they run into Brewster. So there are three companions and one voice and I’ve got to make two hours of drama out of it!
We also have this linking character who turns up in each of the three stories… is he the same or is he slightly different… he’s played by an actor called Russell Floyd, and it all works beautifully. Other themes develop through the stories as well and you pick up clues and things and hopefully it all comes to an exciting conclusion!
The Three Companions is available on the monthly Doctor Who full cast audios beginning in April with The Magic Mousetrap – find out more at www.bigfinish.com
Many thanks to Marc Platt and David Richardson; photos are by Lisa Bowerman.
As a special treat, here is a preview of the topics for discussion in the next two Kasterborous podKasts.
This week’s discussion focuses on UNIT, from The Web of Fear through to Planet of the Dead!
Meanwhile in next week’s podKast, we remember the Ninth Doctor, as played by Christopher Eccleston in 2005, and discuss some of his episodes and recall the reception he received.
Those of you who purchased our Time Leech charity comic will be delighted to know that dispatch of the book commenced this weekend, so the majority of those purchased should have theirs by July 10th at a rough estimate.
To celebrate this, the comic will be available to purchase again from Monday (with revised pricing to take into account actual packaging and postage costs) and with just a few copies left they’re likely to sell out pretty quickly! We’ve got a couple of special sales planned, however, copies of the comic that will become hugely sought after…