The PodKast Doctor Who: The Macra Terror

Published on January 23rd, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

PodKast: Moffat’s “Plot Holes” & The Value of Missing Doctor Who Episodes

Kasterborous Doctor Who podKast

This week’s podKast features Christian Cawley and James McLean discussing Doctor Who plot holes and missing episodes, specifically how their value has changed from being worth less than video tape in the 1960s to making millions on iTunes in 2013.

We’re covering a lot of topics this time around, with topics as diverse as Tom Baker’s birthday and Paddington Bear to the amazing reaction to the previous podKast!

Sadly, Brian Terranova was unable to appear in this week’s podKast, but worry not as he may turn up later in the week…

Kasterborous PodKast Series 3 Episode 50 Shownotes

 

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About the Author

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




19 Responses to PodKast: Moffat’s “Plot Holes” & The Value of Missing Doctor Who Episodes

  1. David F says:

    Regarding the last scene of The Crimson Horror:

    I suspect that the scene (and Nightmare in Silver) was originally supposed to feature the Victorian children from The Snowmen, because the governess version of Clara was intended as the new companion. At the end of The Crimson Horror, it would have made sense for Clara to visit those children as she was already in their era. They would already know about The Doctor from The Snowmen and ask to travel with him (without the need for contrived internet searches).

    Maybe Gatiss and Gaiman constructed their stories around these two children, but Moffat then decided to kill the governess and use a modern version of Clara. And in order to make Gaiman’s story stand up, he created two children for the new Clara, and had to jam in that weird scene at the end of The Crimson Horror so that Nightmare in Silver would work.

    This is borne out by the fact he appears to have now ditched those kids and moved Clara to a school.

    Enjoyed this podkast a lot. Well made points.


    • Thanks David, glad you enjoyed. Got to agree with you, and at least it makes more sense than my previous theory that they were the result of a nasty challenge imposed on Gaiman by Moffat…

    • Jim McLean says:

      I’d agree with your point, it feels like a hasty amendment to try and bridge an already established structure to the contrary. I appreciate sometimes these things happen, but it was an example of a make-shift bridge which was beyond terrible.

      I think they’d have been better off with a throwaway line at the beginning of Nightmare in Silver with the Doctor being arm pulled by Clara into showing the kids some of the Galaxy and he promised somewhere fantastic and safe. It perhaps would have had a few question her motives, but if the point is noted and the story moves forward people I think would have accepted it.

      I think back to Ark in Space and you have that lovely line about Harry fiddling with the Helmic Regulator. A throwaway line that suggests their appearance was accidental. You could even have the Doctor having being showing off his TARDIS to the kids had a similar incident. Curiousity then gets the better of them as they venture out…

  2. skinnyblackcladdink says:

    one thing about the Silents – after Trenzalore, the Doctor must feel like a dick having instigated their sorta genocide back on earth.

    • castellanspandrel says:

      Inelegantly expressed, perhaps, skinnyblackcladink, but an interesting point!

      His apparent delight in persuading humans to kill them on sight, without actually knowing who they were, never did sit well with me. Seemed out of character.

  3. Howard Railton says:

    Once again classic examples of Moffat really not doing his job.

  4. docwhom says:

    No. That DW has no canon is an idea which lack courage. Those of us who are as hard as nails see that the courageous attitude is that DW definitely does have canon but that we should always ignore it. And indeed trample all over it in order to annoy the sort of people who deserve to be annoyed. If Hayley Cropper was still around, she’d be saying “get a pair of balls”.

  5. docwhom says:

    Moffat has a nice idea in the latest DWM. That the Cushing film are Ian and Barbara flogging the film rights to the story of their travels with the Doctor. Then, having seen how badly the Doctor was represented, they withdrew the rights to use their names in the 2nd film.

    Why is Christian reading out Moffat quotes in a Polish accent?


    • We’ve traditionally had a lot of Polish immigrants in the North East, particularly since WW2, so I obviously picked it up.
      ;)

  6. IGettings says:

    I believe Gaiman was told to include those bloody children. I think it was part of the Moff’s cutesy kid agenda :)

  7. richy555 says:

    Canon in Doctor Who are the television stories, all 241 of them and the various television off-shoots. Tennant’s post regenerative scene, Paul McGann’s Night of the Doctor, Time Crash etc. Everything else, books, audios, fan fiction is canon by choice. If you have the time, the money and the inclination to seek these out, spend your money on them and enjoy the product then it’s a personal thing to you. Nobody can tell you that a great audio is not canon if you think it is and rate it enough to be part of the larger canon.The reason this has become a talking point again now is the Paul McGann era on audio stopped being a personal canon when it was name-checked in the the series itself, in a way it was legitimized by Moffatt’s script by virtue of being televised, even if that was in a mini-sode, because those mini-sodes where considered canon before. No-one can dispute Time and the Rani as canon, despite what anyone has to say about it because it was a television script filmed and transmitted through the television medium, that makes it legitimate whether you remember it or like it. Spare Parts is a far superior story to Time and the Rani but is it official canon;NO, it’s a personal one and until it’s name-checked or referenced in the television series itself will always remain so. Just my humble opinion.

    • Jim McLean says:

      The only people who put that canon on the show, that the television is canon and the rest is extended – choose if you like – media is the fans. The BBC has never once stated such, nor have any of the producers of the show. The New Adventures range was listed as the official continuation of the television show. It’s canon, but like McGann’s half human mishap, or Susan naming the TARDIS, the content of events are subject to change and interpretation.

      If you personally prefer the rationale you offer, I think its a sensible way to absorb a franchise, but technically speaking, there is no canon beyond what extends to via the BBC License. In fact, as I said, there’s more evidence extended media is canon (New Adventures, Moffat’s nod to BF, RTD using New Adventures/BBC book legacy as basis for his initial series history framework to quite categorically say that it’s all canon. We’re just lucky the BBC is grown up enough not to bow to fandom’s demand for a silly tier of canon – pick what you like, ignore what you don’t.

  8. Gaz From Oz says:

    One of the reasons I think that Doctor Who and other TV shows from the 60s were not ‘valued’ in the way that they are today, and that may therefore have contributed to their being junked, is that television was still comparatively new then – even by the 1970s – and many of the people involved both in front and behind the camera originally came from theatre. Theatre is, by its very nature, ephemeral. Even the greatest of performances by the greatest actors in the most beloved and ‘valued’ productions live their time on stage and then are gone. They lived on only in the memories of those who worked on them, or saw them – and perhaps a poster or publicity still shot or two. The idea of an audience member wanting to come back and see that play again months or even years after it has finished was, and is still in theatre, clearly impossible and therefore wouldn’t even be considered. Part of the magic of theatre is that it only lives for that short time and then is gone. I can’t help but wonder if early television was not seen by those involved in its creation in the same light – as a performance where the audience just happened to be at home in their own living rooms rather than in a theatre – and that after the performance was over the actors and the production crew have a drink to its memory and look ahead to the next production.

  9. Russ says:

    Great podcast!

    If I may comment on the topic of plot holes… it seems to be fairly common to hear commentators in the who community refer to people who dislike plot holes in new stories as whiners or pedantic nerds (usually this labeling is done with some comically toned voice).

    Understanding that I may, too, be labelled as such after making the following statement, I’ll take the risk to get the opinions of my favorite who cast and it’s followers. (With the length this comment has grown to, who knows what pejoratives I’ll be bestowed.)

    SUMMARY: An end the TV Monarchy and how plot holes can hinder drama and creativity.

    Here, I argue that Plot holes are a problem when they:
    1) Substantially interrupt the flow of the narrative.
    2) Weaken the tone or power of a narrative.

    Example for (1): If you watch an episode and something occurs that raises a red flag of logic to the degree that you start paying attention to the script and not the story or the drama.

    Example for (2): How easily the time war was resolved in the Day of the Doctor (might) weaken the entire narrative about the time war.

    While, the canon is what each individual person wants to bring to the show is something I subscribe to… is it wrong to hold the writers of the show to play by their own rules? This is Moffat’s greatest error. He sets up rules constantly and then immediately breaks them a season or even an episode later. Much of the fun of Who is seeing how the things will work out logically or coincidentally for the doctor and Moffat sets up elaborate systems of rules and continuity and then ignores them. So, the viewer is left playing a game of chess where the rules change, without warning, according to the whim of one player. This removes nearly all dramatic tension and investment and is quite simply, boring.

    Here are just a few examples from “Day” and “Time of the Doctor” that took me out of the watching experience:

    1) When Gallifrey is taken away by the doctors into a painting it was said that all of the daleks will blow each other up with their stray laser blasts… in addition to this being insane, how can a viewer believe that ALL of the daleks and the timelords in the universe are on or near Gallifrey at that point? We have a huge war being wage all over the galaxy and the disappearance of a single planet ends it…

    2) Christmas, the town, has a truth filter, introduced by Moffat and then never used again, or mentioned again, even though the doctor lies.

    3) Near Christmas, an angel closes it’s grip partially around Clara’s ankle, but she doesn’t get taken… if it only would have used it’s index finger it could have had her, but it was just too greedy.

    4) What is the point of the Name of the Doctor if the Time of the Doctor completely reboots it immediately?

    5) Timelords are magic now and the energy from a single regeneration can destroy an entire fleet. How were they losing the time war again? Also, why were the entire defense of the most powerful races in the universe pretty much just laser rifles? (Moffat could have “borrowed” some ideas from ‘Death Comes to Time’)

    6) (Outside of Moffat’s own rule book, but pretty recent regardless) Clara survives a trip hanging on to the outside of the tardis although it’s implied that no one but Jack could do so in Utopia.

    I would argue that Moffat’s lack of oversight and editing on his own writing have allowed plot holes to balloon to a degree that makes the show very difficult to watch, as a piece of drama, as opposed to a production with highlights and many problems. He is a very talented writer, if he has oversight (e.g., his work under RTD). RTD relied heavily on the Deus ex Machina, but rarely tried to set up magic resolutions as anything but. Moffat goads the viewer into following his logical path to the resolution and then when the rug is pulled out and the resolution is… once again contradictory, illogical or MAGIC, it’s the viewers fault for taking things too seriously. Doctor Who has often been illogical (e.g., the Time Monster), contradictory (e.g., The Deadly Assassin) and relied on a Deus ex Machina now and then. However, rarely did it contradict it’s own rules in such a short span of time. It may not have explained the rules and been certifiably insane, but at least then it is easy to shut off one’s brain and just enjoy.

    To be clear, there have been some fantastic productions to come out of the BBC Who shop recently: Hide, Cold War, the Five(ish) Doctors Reboot and the incredible An Adventure in Space in Time… but nearly all else could have been much, much better with just a little polishing and oversight.

    Proposal:

    To resolve this I would like to argue that for Doctor Who to grow their needs to be an end to the creative monarchy for the TV show. No more single head of the show. What is needed is a structure similar to the classic era where a script editor, producer and writers were distinct roles. A way for people to have time to develop their creativity, as well as challenge and guide others in producing better, and more interesting, art and entertainment.

    Thoughts?

    • Jim McLean says:

      “SUMMARY: An end the TV Monarchy and how plot holes can hinder drama and creativity.

      Here, I argue that Plot holes are a problem when they:
      1) Substantially interrupt the flow of the narrative.
      2) Weaken the tone or power of a narrative.

      Example for (1): If you watch an episode and something occurs that raises a red flag of logic to the degree that you start paying attention to the script and not the story or the drama.

      Example for (2): How easily the time war was resolved in the Day of the Doctor (might) weaken the entire narrative about the time war.”

      Could number one be arguable? One might argue the lack of resolution at the end of Name of the Doctor was a plot hole as for some it did pull them out of the narrative for Day of the Doctor based on the expectation the former was a cliffhanger rather than a resolution. For others, given there is no direct necessity for Name of the Doctor to resolve given it had pretty much concluded all it’s questions, there was no interruption. There is certainly a narrative argument that the shift in situation was a red flag for many, though equally being the Day of the Doctor wasn’t set up as a direct continuation (and one could argue the minisodes weakened the need for resolution by moving the story on), is it a full red flag?

      “1) When Gallifrey is taken away by the doctors into a painting it was said that all of the daleks will blow each other up with their stray laser blasts… in addition to this being insane, how can a viewer believe that ALL of the daleks and the timelords in the universe are on or near Gallifrey at that point? We have a huge war being wage all over the galaxy and the disappearance of a single planet ends it…”

      I see you point, but there could be an argument that when you’re dealing with something so ridiculously big as the idea of a captured moment of time in a painting, all bets are off to the details. One could assume that the sheer magnitude of cause and effect would mean more than the single scene would be represented if not seen.

      “2) Christmas, the town, has a truth filter, introduced by Moffat and then never used again, or mentioned again, even though the doctor lies.”

      Yes, I agree.

      “3) Near Christmas, an angel closes it’s grip partially around Clara’s ankle, but she doesn’t get taken… if it only would have used it’s index finger it could have had her, but it was just too greedy.”

      I think we’re to assume – from Flesh and Blood – that Angels decide when they need nourishment and when they want to capture. Could be with the Doctor so close, it wanted to catch than eat, but I agree this is a very vague line the show has never addressed which makes it hard for the audience to totally understand the monster’s M.O.

      “4) What is the point of the Name of the Doctor if the Time of the Doctor completely reboots it immediately?”

      Not sure I get this one, I assume you means what’s the point of a big last spot of the Doctor to be unravelled so quickly? I guess you’d have to say that’s the impact and power of the Time Lords, even caught behind a crack.

      “5) Timelords are magic now and the energy from a single regeneration can destroy an entire fleet. How were they losing the time war again? Also, why were the entire defense of the most powerful races in the universe pretty much just laser rifles? (Moffat could have “borrowed” some ideas from ‘Death Comes to Time’)”

      This is a plot hole I think based on the sheer number of people who seemed to have been taken out of the moment by it – it was perhaps never sufficiently justified. That being said, you look at Japanese fiction, very little is justified. The ideology seems to be “if the event occurs, accept it by the fact it occurs”. We know the event caused the damage to the Daleks, but that doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s an event that would duplicate or could be duplicated. It could be a part of the contributing factors of the moment (regeneration powers charged by a crack in reality or something).

      “6) (Outside of Moffat’s own rule book, but pretty recent regardless) Clara survives a trip hanging on to the outside of the tardis although it’s implied that no one but Jack could do so in Utopia.”

      Could be argued I guess that the TARDIS is more in-tune with its passengers (perhaps since Doctor’s Wife” and tried to protect her, while it was keen to shake of Jack. Perhaps technically its impossible but the TARDIS personality changes the rules.

      I don’t disagree these are all issues, just offering some suggestions!

      • Russ says:

        Thanks for the feedback James – good points and fun to consider!

        Those were a few examples brought up in a conversation with my coworker who describes herself as a new-who fan, but not a Moffat fan. After trying to figure out why that was, the issues above came up as a large part of it. (e.g., biting off more than one can or is willing to chew, narrative-wise.) At least Moffat takes risks and anyone who greenlights the Five-ish doctors reboot should be cut some slack.

  10. David F says:

    Delighted recently to hear Mark Gatiss express my own feelings . . . That it’s really grating to hear people say “It’s not canon” instead of “It’s not canonical”. The adjective is “canonical”.

    Ah well, never mind. Some people come on forums to launch vendettas against Christopher Eccleston; others to claim Time of the Doctor is worse than The Twin Dilemma. At least my own bugbear is relatively small.

    • Jim McLean says:

      Nicely put lol.
      However English is an ever evolving language. Curiously, something as humble yet arrogant as television and film may actually bring a redefinition to the grammar. In other words, ten years down the line, canon maybe more canon to the English language than canonical is canonical. It’s how language changes, after all. :)

    • docwhom says:

      “Vendette” is the more proper plural form surely.

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