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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Posts Tagged ‘doctor who’

The Chauvelin Effect

Monday, April 21st, 2014

scarlet-pimpernel12Talking with my friend Isabel the other week, I wanted to put a name to the specific phenomenon of enjoying an actor in something, and retrospectively realising that actually they were in something else REALLY MEMORABLE AND SIGNIFICANT to you a long time ago, but you never made the connection that they were the same person. It’s like a kind of actorly deja vu only without any sense of remembering they are familiar and you have in fact seen them in things before. So the complete opposite of how I usually watch any TV/movies from Britain, which consists of pointing out all the actors who have been in Doctor Who, Press Gang or Carry On Movies.

I wanted to name the syndrome after Rupert Graves, as I am still frankly recovering from the retrospective shock of discovering that the actor who played Jolyon Forsyte (my favourite character) in The Forsyte Saga was the same actor who played the floppy-haired Freddy Honeychurch in Room with a View back in the distant 80′s.

Isabel, however, argued quite rightfully that actually this phenomenon could only be named for the experience we had both shared, of rewatching the classic Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour version of The Scarlet Pimpernel in the 21st century, only to discover that the reason we remembered Chauvelin as being really excellent and acting everyone else off the camera was in fact because he was played by SIR IAN FREAKING MCKELLEN.

I’ve had a couple of experiences of the Chauvelin Effect lately, so very glad that I now have a name to put to it when relating the anecdotes.

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Verity & Tansy’s Two Cents: Who’s In What?

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

veritywhosinwhat-300This week’s episode of Verity doesn’t have me in it at all!

The topic was ‘who’s in what’ and I think it’s inspired the most comments by listeners ever! Lynne was inspired to do a “My Two Cents” post, and I started composing mine almost as soon as I started listening to the episode.

The question was, what shows/movies/media have you chased up purely because of a Doctor Who connection?

I found the various perspectives really interesting, especially as the episode is balanced equally between those who started Doctor Who with the new version of the show, and those who have been watching it since they were ‘wee.’ Liz provides a treasure trove of which old movies to track down in search of Doctors!

Download or listen now (runtime 35:40)

Mrs Hudson from Sherlock, what are you doing with the Third Doctor?

Mrs Hudson from Sherlock, what are you doing with the Third Doctor?

Turns out that despite having watched Doctor Who my whole life, I’ve rarely gone hunting for Classic Who actors in TV shows or movies – I’m much more likely to have done that with the modern gang, in our post-IMDB reality. I did however spend most of my childhood being hit over the head by appearances of Doctor Who actors in unexpected places.

I am more likely to have deliberately sought out shows featuring Press Gang actors (yes Hotel Babylon I’m looking at you for hiring Dexter Fletcher) – though there are several actors appearing in Press Gang who I definitely saw in Doctor Who first, including Principal Winter and Duggan from City of Death. Oh, and Chrissie, AKA Winifred Bambera.

I think my lack of actively hunting classic actors is because it wasn’t exactly an easy thing to do back in the height of my classic Who fandom – I was much more likely to casually stumble across them. And by the time the Internet was available for the likes of me, I was already pretty well established in my ‘casual stumbling’ technique. (also let’s face it, a lot of the actors playing companions didn’t actually turn up in many other shows, at least in substantial roles)

And, you know, remembering odd connections between actors from British TV is kind of my superpower. I have often baffled people with my unfailing ability to remember exactly which Carry On Film featured that particular actor, or which long-forgotten BBC drama featured that actor now guest-starring on Absolutely Fabulous. Following them deliberately would be a bit of a cheat, wouldn’t it?
Having said that…

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Oods and Hobbitses Taste Delicious

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

January is a sea of birthday parties for me and mine, and we had an extra one to factor in this year – friends from Sydney came down for a holiday and took an opportunity to hold a Doctor Who party for their three year old daughter on the grounds that she doesn’t have any friends back home who know their sonic screwdrivers from their fish fingers.

Oh, you need a small group of boys and girls who are rabidly interested in Doctor Who? Why yes, we CAN help with that…

We ended up with four families, nine children, all in costume, plus a TARDIS play set and a ridiculous amount of Doctor Who themed food, culminating in a gingerbread TARDIS full of jelly babies.

I was called in to make Ood cupcakes on the grounds that figuring out cheats methods to do ridiculously complicated cake requests is basically my super power.

Some evidence:

-5

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Watching New Who: The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Tansy and Tehani love this season so much we’re making David do more work – we’re changing up our usual plan and reviewing each episode, in sets of two.

DW-pandoricaTHE PANDORICA OPENS

TANSY:
I always forget quite how much I love “The Pandorica Opens” until I’m watching it. The ‘cold open’ piece before the credits is especially wonderful. It’s fascinating how quickly this new mode and tone of Doctor Who has established itself in only a few months, so that the season finale is able to rely on nostalgia about the Eleventh Doctor and the friends he has made along the way.

TEHANI:
It’s quite amazing how much is packed into that beginning, and how lovely it is to revisit old friends in such a way. And they feel like old friends, even though we’ve really only just met them!

DAVID:
The whole setup of this episode is wonderfully done, not only do we get a refresher on some of the key players of the season, we barely have time to draw breath. River is wonderful, and we see her as this real James Bond type figure, absolutely dashing and fearless. And the reveal of the cliff face and the message was hilarious – It is certainly one way to get someone to return your calls!

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Gingerbread Dalek Season

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Gingerbread daleks are not just biscuits (or cookies if you are American). “Gingerbread daleks” has become a shorthand for me that conveys a) how ridiculously domestic I get in December, with the crafting and the cookie baking and the menu planning and the (gasp) cleaning; and b) the way that Doctor Who and Christmas have become interwoven over the last few years – in our house in particular.

If Daleks exterminate a forest of Christmas trees, does anyone hear them?

If Daleks exterminate a forest of Christmas trees, does anyone hear them?

It all started with a cookie cutter that my honey made for me by bending a teddy bear out of shape until it resembled a dalek. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! I can of course make dalek cookies at any time of year, but once you get a chance to make gingerbread daleks at Christmas, believe me, you never go back.

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Doctor Who and the Golden Fiftieth: A Master List of Essays [WHO-50]

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

WHO-50Happy Doctor Who Weekend!

To celebrate, and to distract myself as we wait another WHOLE DAY for the actual anniversary shenanigans to begin properly with real TV shows and everything, I’m putting up a masterlist of the 53 (yes, really) blog posts I made weekly over the last 12 months to mark each year since Doctor Who began in 1963. With extras for 1965 and 1996 because reasons. These essays were made with love, and while the weekly commitment was tough at times I am really glad I did it – it was an opportunity to think about and look at the show across its entire history and to get a lot of my stray thoughts down as well as celebrating so many of my favourite bits along the way.

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Verity! Episode 28 – One-derful, Hmm?

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

VerityEpisode28-300This week we battled the evil monster known as SkypeLag to bring you a podcast full of squee and surprise. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Tansy as we get happy about Who-things, gush about McGann, and find representative aspects where we least expected them. We cover our reactions to “The Night of the Doctor” and our impressions of “Planet of Giants” as a representative story for the first Doctor. Perhaps not a common choice, but one that made for a rollicking discussion!

^E

Also covered:
Erika watched (and LOVED) “The War Games”! Guested on The Incomparable! And wants to go see All the Whos in Whoville!
Kat enjoys the glut of new 8th Doctor gifs!
Tansy demonstrated excellent parenting by raising a child who loves “The Ice Warriors“! And plans to knit a Yeti!
Deb gives LI Who high marks! And did a squeeful interview for HeadOverFeels!

Bonus links:
“The Night of the Doctor”!
Tansy, Erika, & Lynne on Australian radio!
Tansy’s 8th Doctor recommendations for Big Finish newbies
Paul McGann on sale at Big Finish
BBC America’s wall-of-Doctor Who schedule

Download or listen now (runtime 1:31:52)

Watching New Who: Vincent & the Doctor/The Lodger

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Tansy and Tehani love this season so much we’re making David do more work – we’re changing up our usual plan and reviewing each episode, in sets of two.

1270794_1377541541048_fullVINCENT AND THE DOCTOR

TEHANI:
This is one of my very favourite stories so far. It always ALWAYS makes me cry (sometimes in different places), and I adore it for so many reasons, the guest actors Tony Curran and Bill Nighy being two of them.

TANSY:
I have an innate fondness for this story because of what it did for my daughter. Raeli must have been six or so when she watched it. I hesitated over showing it to her at first because of the darker themes of suicide and depression, but she took to it beautifully, allowing us to have a conversation about mental illness that was very important.

She also fell in love with Vincent’s artwork through this story. I sent her outside at a party once to play with chalks on the concrete and she recreated about four different Van Gogh paintings. With the Doctor Who twist on each, of course. It was a beautiful realisation, and her interest in art progressed from there – I later found her a gorgeous picture book called Vincent’s Colours which pairs lines from his letters to his brother with images of the paintings he is discussing.

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Anniversary Hijinks: Doctor Who Women on the Radio

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

romana-2-lalla-ward-baker-costumeI suspect there are going to be a lot of Anniversary hijinks Doctor Who posts over the next two weeks. Today I woke up to discover that I was on Radio National yesterday! ABC presenter Cassie McCullach asked me to talk to her about the history of women in Doctor Who, and we pulled in two of my fellow Verities, Erika Ensign and Lynne M Thomas!

The Who Girls:
50 years of women in the Tardis

We talked about various female companions on the show, our favourites and our role models, and how the show has changed in its portrayal of women. Cassie also threw in the talking point that this year is the 50th anniversary of James Bond as a movie franchise too, and asked us to reflect on how different the portrayal of women has been across the two different series.

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After Eight – Night of the Doctor

Friday, November 15th, 2013

He was the Doctor longer than anyone else, he came up against Cybermen, Zygons, Morbius, the Celestial Toymaker, the Meddling Monk, the Giant Spiders, the Krynoids, and his own people. He lost more to the Daleks than you could possibly imagine a Doctor could lose. Companions fell in love with him from time to time. He reunited with his granddaughter Susan, AND President Romana of Gallifrey.

The Eighth Doctor, in other words, has been around. Between the books, the comics and especially the amazing body of audio plays from Big Finish, this Doctor has developed in so many interesting directions that his single TV appearance in “the TV movie” felt less and less like you’d even put it in the top ten of his best stories.

Delightfully, and in a wonderful surprise move, Steven Moffat decided to do something about that, and so the special minisode Night of the Doctor was posted to the internet on what also happened to be Paul McGann’s birthday. Watch it before reading on!

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