I hate the word “evil.” It is absurdly overused. Virtually nothing is worthy of that term, to the point where I feel it should be entirely abolished from the public vernacular.
I hate the word “evil.” It is absurdly overused. Virtually nothing is worthy of that term, to the point where I feel it should be entirely abolished from the public vernacular.
A poem by my uncle, Greg Knight. Partly inspired, of course, by “I Am The Doctor.”
Who can blend faith
To take away
the night that blinds us?
Who wields the sword
To destroy the foes
from someone less?
Who frightens usurpers
of the light?
of eternal night?
Who commands the cosmos
with a word?
Until all his
enemies have heard?
A traveler of time
so bold and true
He is the Doctor,
Commenting on his costume, Peter Capaldi said: “He’s woven the future from the cloth of the past. Simple, stark, and back to basics. No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 percent rebel Time Lord.”
I like it. I like it a lot.
He was able to summon a sense of mystery, mischievousness and danger that none of his successors managed to the same degree, while also giving off a particularly avuncular vibe, by surrounding himself with a surrogate family. Hartnell’s Doctor felt like he could genuinely do something magical at any given moment.
So, personally, I feel that this idea of Patrick Troughton laying the foundations of the modern Doctors is rubbish, even if Troughton remains ‘the Doctors’ Doctor’. […] Troughton built on the foundations laid by Hartnell, as did everyone who followed, but everything that the character is comes from the First Doctor. A friend of mine put it perfectly when he said, “We talk a lot about people defining the role. Hartnell defined it first.”
William Hartnell is the Doctor.
The screening of a new Steven Moffat show is an event like no other. Doctor Who and Sherlock both have this astonishing grip over the psyche of middle England, as seen by anyone who follows a lot of middle-class English people on twitter: these shows are completely prevalent, almost everybody seems to watch them, get really exciting about the fact they are coming up, etc. And then these people are usually almost universally disappointed. Because, of course – something that the sharper ones have worked out long ago – Steven Moffat’s shows are actually really shit and his worldview, utterly prevalent in all of them, is a really shitty one. And yet, there is still this deep drive in these people to discuss these shows; and they cannot abandon them, no matter how constantly disappointed with them they are. I want to work out why this is.
Interesting discussion. I especially like the assertion that Moffat is in fact an alien influence, and that the only way to get rid of him is through one of his own absurd plot twists. It’s like something out of The Mind Robber, except shit.
I was five when the show started. I don’t remember Doctor Who not being part of my life, and it became a part of growing up, along with The Beatles, National Health spectacles, and fog. And it runs deep. It’s in my DNA…
That is one sexy man. I hope Moffat is sincere in his desire for the show to “flip around a bit.”1 We’re pulling for you, Peter Capaldi. Whatever happens, it won’t be your fault.
Although even if he is, his competence is in question more than his intent. ↩
“Right, now I’ve shown Moffat the door, it’s your turn, darling. Get the fuck out.”1
“The look on his face just tells you that he’s going to eventually fix the new series.” — Ian Stewart
“I really want to be Peter Capaldi, but I know he can do a better job of it than me.” — Josef Kenny ↩
This was written by Josef Kenny. I just stole it and made minor alterations for clarity.
Doctor Who is a reflection of the culture in programme-making and showrunning that it originates from. It’s just that the current TV culture is not conducive to good Doctor Who. It can be done, but not with people like Moffat and the current BBC board of directors.
TV now is heavily invested in essentially just making a very long movie that never properly ends. It used to be more like an old-fashioned radio serial, but now it’s like a Hollywood movie. That’s just how TV is. Doctor Who isn’t emotionally-driven, so it suffers, because that’s all people know how to make, and even worse, it’s all people know how to market.
I like Doctor Who because it’s an enigmatic guy who nobody knows anything about, taking people from one time and place to another, and having to solve problems and deal with situations by casting them in either a historical light, or taking current ideas and extrapolating them either into the future or into an alien society different from ours. That’s why I like Doctor Who.
Sure, I like the TARDIS and I love seeing the proper TARDIS prop and howlarounds and Sid Sutton’s rainbow stars, but that’s not what defines Doctor Who, those things are just symbols of it. I like them because of what they suggest and what they represent.
Doctor Who isn’t a bunch of memes sandwiched together with contrived plots and unrealistic peril. It’s an educational TV show where you take people (frequently from Earth) to other places. It’s an adventure, not a drama.
Developing characters isn’t wrong. It’s not a problem. Most great TV shows and movies are based on it. But Doctor Who isn’t focused on that. The point of it is to expose ideas, not to develop characters over a lasting, overbearing arc.
The point of Doctor Who is that sometimes you get attacked by a giant shellfish.
The risk of this approach, though, is that the stories become skewed towards the smallest audience that any programme has: the obsessives. While any successful TV drama these days should generate fan fiction, it can not afford to become entirely fan fiction itself. Even shows as successful as Doctor Who and Sherlock should be aiming – especially given the accumulating publicity they receive – to introduce new viewers, and there were stretches of The Time of the Doctor and The Empty Hearse that must have been almost incomprehensible to new or casual consumers.
The guiltiest fans on the list? Moffat and Gatiss themselves.
Smith’s farewell turn is certainly the worst of the NuWho baton-passers. From the forced sub-Mork & Mindy shenanigans with cipher Clara’s cardboard family, to the eyeroll-inducing voiceovers, to the repetition of “Doctor who?,” to the Attack of the Killer Regeneration, it was pretty painful to watch. As Moffat checked off the boxes, explaining the lingering mysteries of Smith’s run (about the connection between the Silence and the exploding TARDIS, etc.), all I could think of was The Eight Deadly Words that doom all forms of storytelling: I don’t care what happens to these people.
But you know what? Matt Smith, man. In the middle of this train wreck, he does a bit with a severed Cyberman head that actually finds a heartstring. When Handles finally craps out and “dies,” Smith, in his late-middle-age makeup, calls his name a couple of times and stares at the thing. The look on his face evokes memories not just of the similarly robotic K-9, but also of all the other companions long gone. Another one, his face says. I’ve lost another one.
Fantastic article. Matt Smith was an absolute tragic waste of a Doctor, from one that started with so much potential. I think my favorite line in the article is “But you know what? Matt Smith, man.” Because I said that practically every day of my life.1
Soon I’ll be saying “But you know what? Peter Capaldi, man” with the same wistful sadness. ↩
The reality is that, while they share the same title, main character, and universe, the 1963-1989 Doctor Who and the current version are profoundly different shows. The original program was a narrative-based serial centered around cliffhangers. The current show is a character-based drama based on emotional bonds and epiphanies. In the old show, the Doctor solved problems; in the current show he helps people, and sometimes himself. As a result there’s less of an emphasis on the sorts of stories that defined the original series. Superficially they’re the same: Monsters threaten the peace, and the Doctor intervenes. But the nature of the intervention has changed from a cerebral solution to an emotional one.
More good stuff. The new series is not what I want. I want science and problem-solving. Unfortunately I’ve come to accept that I’m just not going to get it anymore.
Matt Smith was alleged to be inspired by Patrick Troughton’s portrayal, though the end result aligns far closer to a cut-price David Tennant. By his tenure, any perilous situation could be resolved by using his sonic screwdriver which was now indistinguishable from a magic wand. Doctor Who had completed its transition from a science fiction show with a scientist hero to a fantasy show with a wizard hero aiming to cynically tap in to the readymade Harry Potter audience. There is nothing wrong with Harry Potter: the stories are terrific children’s fantasy and the Vatican hates them (what’s not to love?), but Doctor Who’s aspiration to copy its formula, extending to asking JK Rowling to pen an episode (credit to her, she declined) is an indication that the new series and the classic series in essence share very little in common. …
I have seen more articles in line with my view of modern Doctor Who over the past few weeks than I have in the past few years. The world is finally waking up to the fact that this new monstrosity is not worthy of the name, and it’s making me very, very happy.
The whole article is excellent. Read the whole thing.
Whether you think it was justified or not, Russell T Davies had an intensely cavalier approach to Doctor Who canon. The most common valid complaint against him was that he simply mis-characterised existing characters. In reality, what Davies did was simplified the characters to their base elements, then boiled away all but one, which he turned up to eleven. He made them into caricatures of their former selves. With The Doctor, he removed almost everything else, took the danger, darkness, and snark, and turned it up to 12. To many, myself included, this characterisation felt dishonest to the original. In fact, the most common complaint against David Tennant’s Doctor, from those who have seen significant quantities of Classic Who, was that he simply didn’t “feel like” The Doctor for explicitly these reasons. Steven Moffat attempted to explain this drastic, and jarring, change in his personality. Simply chanting “Time War,” referring to an off-screen plot device rather than showing actual character growth is lazy and unsatisfying, so Moffat actually came up with an on-screen reason for it. The elixir that Eight drinks […] spackl[es] over these cracks in the canon. It explained the personality change The Doctor had to become this darker, more aggressive man to fight this Time War. He had to literally become a different person. It stands to reason that in the next regenerations, this would gradually wear-off and he’d become more like he was. While I can hardly explain why Ten was infinitely less Doctor-like than Nine, it fits perfectly that Eleven, possibly after seeing how far his “War” persona took him as Ten, forced himself to regenerate in such a way that brought him more in-line with how he used to be. The fact that Eleven feels many times more like The Doctors of the Classic series actually makes a good degree of sense with this in mind. It will be interesting to see how Capaldi takes on the character, keeping this theory in consideration.
I’ve had this sitting in my queue for a long time and wanted to finally post it.
It is with great pride and excitement that I launch the first version of a site I have been wanting to complete for a great many years: a comprehensive reference guide to the Doctor Who theme music.
This site aims to be the definitive guide to the theme, and was designed to cover the legacy of the original Doctor Who theme, composed in 1963 by Ron Grainer, realised by Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, re-imagined 17 years later by the Workshop’s Peter Howell, and further re-interpreted during the series’ run by freelance composers Dominic Glynn and Keff McCulloch.
We have made a conscious decision to omit the various subsequent versions of the Doctor Who theme that have been used in productions made after the conclusion of the original series. The magic of the original themes is, as far as officially-sanctioned Doctor Who is concerned, lost in this modern era.
While there are many resources available covering the facts and history of the themes, our site aims to offer something a little more practical: how the themes were made technically, and how the notation is designed to be laid out and the themes structured. Though we are only launching today covering the original version of the theme, you may be assured that all of the versions appearing throughout the original show’s run will be covered in time with the same scope and attention to detail.
The site is a collaborative effort between myself, my brother Ian Stewart, and our friend Josef Kenny. It is a labor of love, and we hope you enjoy it and find it a useful reference for working with the theme yourself.
This is the most meta, hyper-targeted-to-me joke I have ever come across on the internet, down to the filename.
In what has proven to be the single biggest discovery of missing Doctor Who episodes ever, nine lost installments from the Patrick Troughton era have been found and returned to the BBC.
Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 of 1967/68’s The Enemy of the World join the already-held third episode of the story, meaning that the entire six-part adventure is once more complete in the BBC archives. But that’s not all – Episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the following adventure, The Web of Fear, have also been recovered. With Episode 1 of the story already existing in the archive, the story is now five-sixths complete, with only Episode 3 remaining lost.
Between 1991 and 2011, eight episodes were recovered in total. In one day, we just got nine more. I’ve never been happier. The most tremendous find not only of my lifetime, but in all of Doctor Who history. What a momentous day.
I just finished The Enemy of the World, and what a brilliant story it was. The pacing, direction, quality of writing, and Patrick Troughton’s performance were just superb. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have this story back. Tonight, Enemy will sink in, and tomorrow… The Web of Fear.
If I had all of Patrick Troughton’s era laid out in front of me and I could have picked two stories to save, I’m not sure I could have picked two better than these.
What a wonderful gift for Doctor Who fans.
Rumors have been flying for months that an unspecified number of Doctor Who episodes, destroyed decades ago and thought to be lost, had been recovered. Fingers were being pointed in every direction, evidence had supposedly been dug up, and the internet reached fever pitch over it all. While I was hopeful at first, I quickly decided that the wisest course of action was to stay out of it and wait to hear something official.
Earlier this week, we heard something official.
The actual news will be revealed in a few hours, at which time I may post something more, but I felt it was important to say a few words about the circumstances surrounding the recovery of these episodes. All of this is speculation based on no special knowledge. I am only speaking as someone to whom Doctor Who has been very important for many, many years.
Outpost Skaro reported the following on its website:
But there is one important thing to say: it was confirmed to me that the rampant speculation and personal attackes (sic) that has been going on in some quarters of fandom has made the acquisition more difficult. … I asked how, and was told even discussing that would create difficulties. The story can be told, but not yet.
It sounds to me like this whole thing has been a clusterfuck. I think these episodes were found by somebody who may have their own (likely reasonable) priorities and concerns, and it’s very easy to surmise that becoming involved with the rather “passionate,” shall we say, Doctor Who fanbase has created some bad experiences for them over all this. Add to that possible financial motivations and, based on the nature of these rumors over the past several months, possible poor management of the situation by the BBC, and it sounds like this whole thing has come close to derailing itself because of politics and greed, and political reasons may be why we haven’t gotten all the recovered episodes yet and “there may be more on the way.”
All I want to say is that people should just cool their heads here and back off. We all love Doctor Who, and I know we all would give any number of limbs or internal organs to get some of these missing episodes back. But the fact of the matter is that these episodes either exist or they don’t (and it’s sounding like more may indeed still exist). They are likely not going anywhere. It’s highly unlikely that anybody will maliciously destroy these episodes, although I would say those chances are reduced even further if everybody could just remain civil about all this. The best thing fans can do to ensure the safe recovery of these episodes—which is something that everybody wants—is to back off and let the BBC do what they need to do in order to bring them home. We’ll get what’s left eventually, and nobody is helping by letting tempers flare and resorting to baseless speculation and personal attacks. This needs to stop.
Don’t make a difficult situation worse; just let the people who are involved in this situation handle it the way they’re supposed to. And hopefully by tomorrow, we’ll all have some more Doctor Who that we never thought we’d be able to see.
And maybe more after that…
Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable, if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset.
This week, Chris and Danny discuss Star Trek: Nemesis, the disappointing final entry in the original Star Trek franchise. Where did it go wrong? Why did they come up with these ideas? Who’s to blame? And is Nemesis the real reason that Star Trek died?
The final discussion in our Star Trek series.