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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Posts Tagged ‘doctor who’

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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Watching New Who: The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

silurian_v4Tansy 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.

TEHANI:
Well, I’d completely forgotten what this one was about until Tansy nudged me violently. And so I dove into rewatching with quiet joy, which I can’t talk at all about because of David (hurry up and CATCH UP!) :)

Looking back, I can’t quite tell why I would have forgotten it, because there’s some great stuff here. I have a feeling I confused it in my head with “The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People” from season six, which is silly because I like this loads better…

TANSY:
This two parter, and “Cold Blood” in particular, is my least favourite part of the season. There’s a lot to like here – and I do like many aspects, particularly the return and redesign of the Silurians, a lot of the dialogue, and the chilling bookend of Amy and Rory waving to themselves, and then Amy alone after Rory has disappeared. Acting highlights include Meera Syal as Nasreen Chaudry (blatantly auditioning for a run in the TARDIS) and the lovely Stephen Moore as the Silurian leader. Not to mention Neve McIntosh playing two distinct characters excellently beneath what could be quite unforgiving prosthetics.

However…
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The Best Laid Plans

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

nano13So, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year which starts THIS FREAKING FRIDAY and I’ve had a completely scattered year with my available writing time shrinking and shrinking into nothing, and my momentum disappearing in a slow plume of smoke.

I had a brilliant plan to start getting up at 6am, to get a clear hour and a half of writing in before my ‘to do list’ brain kicked in and more importantly, the children woke up. I used to do a lot of writing at night but I’m just too tired these days.

It worked for two days. I finally got some serious fiction writing done without interruption! It was a bit of a struggle, and I wasn’t sleeping as deeply if I went to bed earlier, but I was sure it would all work out.

Then today when I got up I noticed that hmmm, it’s a lot lighter at 6am than it was two days ago. I guess that’s what you get as summer approaches…

And 4 year old Jem woke up at 6:14. Gah! Fail.

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Solving Clara [WHO-50—2013]

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

2013I’ve figured out something about Clara that makes her character, and the various permutations of her, work much better for me.

I liked Clara all along, but unfortunately the narrative presented us with a Clara Problem – which was that she was awesome in Asylum of the Daleks, winning hearts and fans as Oswin, only to be killed tragically. Then they did it to us again in The Snowmen, with a fabulous Victorian governess version of the character who again, was delightful, fascinating and short-lived.

The idea was to set up a mystery, but unfortunately it also had the effect of burning me out on the character, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Clara’s third introduction in The Bells of St John was fantastic, very well written and performed, and I liked her a lot. But I didn’t find myself as instantly attached to her as I have been to almost every other companion ever, and I suspect that’s because I had learned not to trust that a Clara, however witty and adorable, would not break my heart.

It didn’t help that I, like many fans, was completely and TOTALLY ready for a non-contemporary companion, for someone who broke the mould. Even if it was still another slender, young white actress in the role, surely it was time for a companion who didn’t come from contemporary London/southern Britain?

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Watching New Who: Vampires of Venice/Amy’s Choice

Sunday, October 27th, 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.

vampires-of-venice1The Vampires of Venice

TEHANI:
For me, this is one of the weaker episodes of the season. The writing touch is really obvious when you’ve just watched a bunch of Steven Moffat penned stories. I’m not usually one to look at the writing/directing combinations, but this season was interesting – the first five episodes were written mostly by Moffat, and directed by one of two directors. This is the first story not to have one of those three hands involved, and I think it shows. That said, director Jonny Campbell then goes on to do one of my favourite episodes ever, in “Vincent”! So, do I blame the writer? But Toby Whithouse also penned “School Reunion”! Maybe that’s part of the problem – a little too same-ish? Mostly I think it falls down for me in the dialogue and the strange juxtaposition between attempted humour that falls flat, and a very dark (at times) Doctor, which while definitely warranted in terms of the plot, rubs wrongly in the way it’s put together.

TANSY:
Heh I really like this one. It feels like more of a guilty pleasure than say, the Angels two-parter or some of the later episodes. Very high quality this season generally! But the combination of the gorgeous scenery and the banter makes it one that I will happily rewatch, over and over.

TEHANI:
Oh there’s stuff I like, but yeah, more I don’t, I think.

DAVID:
I actually thought the aliens were almost incidental to this episode. The real story is the interactions between the Doctor, Rory and Amy and they were the bits that I enjoyed the most!

Saying that, it is a lovely looking episode, and the historical backdrop was very well done. And, there are some great performances, most notably Lucian Msamati and Helen McCrory, who are both superb.

TANSY:
Croatia is very pretty. I find it amusing that they had to go there to find something that looked like Venice, because Venice itself is too damned modern these days. They managed to capture the feel of Renaissance Venice, though, and I appreciated the dig at Casanova, and the Doctor not wanting to meet him again – Casanova will ALWAYS be David Tennant, for me.

Anyone noticed by now how many monsters in this season have some kind of scary teeth? This is indeed the scary pointy teeth season. I do in fact recall fan speculation that ‘scary pointy teeth’ was the Bad Wolf of this season. Fandom cracks me up.

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The Power of Threes [WHO-50—2012]

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

2012

Amy: Every time we flew away with the Doctor we’d just become part of his life. But he never stood still long enough to become part of ours.

Except once. The Year of the Slow Invasion. The time the Doctor came to stay.

Steven Moffat does love a threesome.

The first few might have been coincidence. After all, the TARDIS teams for The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances and The Girl in the Fireplace were unlikely to be his choice.

And yet in both cases he got to write a story in which Rose and the Doctor took on a new travelling companion – the very companionable Captain Jack in Series 1 and the awkward but determined Mickey Smith in Series 2.

Blink barely featured the Doctor and Martha, but when Moffat returned to the show with a Doctor and Donna two-parter, he added a guest role to the story who was so interesting and significant that she seemed to count as a second companion: River Song.

There’s something about three in the TARDIS that really works. It allows the Doctor to be a bit more remote and alien, and also allows for some diversity among the companions.

Considering his past stories – and his history of throwing romance and domesticity into the mix – it isn’t a surprise that Moffat’s Who wasn’t just about the girl companion, but quickly became a story about three interlinked characters: Amy Pond, her boyfriend/fiance/husband Rory (AKA Mr Pond), and their Doctor.

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