April 21, 2014

Extremely Cool Yeti & Cybermen Footage from the 1960’s!

British Pathé, the organization that filmed visual reports that were shown in the cinemas in the days before television and early days for television (at a time when lots of people did not have regular access to a tv set), have uploaded its collection of 85,000 films (spanning the years 1896 to 1976) on to youtube.  There are a number of cool archive finds for Doctor Who (not missing episodes themselves unfortunately) including this one from 1968 that features a Cyberman and Yeti at the 1967/68 Schoolboys’ and Girls’ Exhibition at the Olympia. There is also some cool colour footage of Jon Pertwee with this then-wife Jean Marsh (which I did a post on this site a number of years ago). There is a lot of other cool footage not-related to Doctor Who amongst the 85,000 films that have been uploaded, but as this is a blog dedicated to Doctor Who, we trust you won’t mind if we just point out the Doctor Who stuff here. 

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April 05, 2014

Spring is in the air

And I like what Jenna Coleman has done with her hair.

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March 20, 2014

50 Glorious Years: Epilogue - To Our Children’s Children’s Children’s Future

Where do things go from here for Doctor Who, for the next 50 years? Well we know it starts with Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor (let’s not get into a tedious numbering debate - at least, not here, and not yet). The wonderful thing about Doctor Who is that one feels it really could go anywhere, and that, even if there are stops and starts, it will indeed last another 50 years and longer. Which would mean that not only will many of the original fans from the 60’s be outlived by the shnow, even fans like myself (who may be described as being from the 1980’s) won’t get to see all future Doctor Who stories that will be made. Which is why it is always great to see new generation after new generation to get into the show, because, unselfishly, we know that Doctor Who is such a great show, a fantastic idea and such an important role-model and hero as the main character, it is important that future generations enjoy the character long after we are able to do so on this mortal coil. As for what technological innovations might be around decades from now for new episodes to be made in…....well that’s something to have fun imagining.

Another question is whether fans will get a chance to see all of the old stories that we haven’t been able to, in one form or another. As either episode recoveries and animations seem to happen every year lately, and as technology continues to improve, the chances of us being able to sit down and watch Doctor Who from beginning to the present day seems more and more likely, and far more so than it ever did. Just like the notion that there is a new generation of fans who may never know what it is like to watch The Mind of Evil in black and white (and may not ever know what it was like to dream for decades that one day we could do so), there one day might be fans who will never know what it is like to have to listen to a missing story soundtrack without any moving images whatsoever. Well, it’s a nice dream to have, for both Doctor Who’s past and Doctor Who’s future.

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March 02, 2014

50 Glorious Years: Episode 51 - 2013

The 50th Anniversary year was a fitting celebration for the Golden Anniversary of the greatest television series of all time. It is debatable what the biggest highlight of the year was. In might have been:

- the colour footage of William Hartnell and the other Doctor’s integrated into The Name of the Doctor.
- the introduction of John Hurt as a Doctor from the past we never knew about.
- the live announcement of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor.
- the announcement of the recovery of the 5 missing episodes of The Enemy of the World and 4 of the 5 missing episodes from The Web of Fear, with pretty strong rumours for more missing episodes to come.
- the surprise return of Paul McGann to the role, allowing us to see his regeneration at last in The Night of the Doctor.
- the 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor generally.
- the surprise appearance of Peter Capaldi’s eyes in The Day of the Doctor.
- the appearance of all of the Doctors in The Day of the Doctor.
- the surprise return of Tom Baker, on screen with another Doctor at the same time for the first time ever
- The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot
- the regeneration of Matt Smith into Peter Capaldi in The Time of the Doctor;

or, something else entirely. Maybe the entire year. What dear reader, do you think?

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February 23, 2014

50 Glorious Years: Episode 50 - 2012

In years to come 2012 might be seen as the calm before the storm. Just six new series episodes were shown in 2012, ahead of the big anniversary year that was to follow a year later. Amy ended her record-breaking long run as a new series companion (two and half seasons in a row) departing at the same time as Rory (literally departing to the same time) while Jenna-Louise Coleman (as she then was) made her debut in two different parts, neither of which were exactly the companion role that she would start to play in earnest in 2013. Out of the 6 stories this year, no less than three featured principle photography overseas, a much higher percentage than normal for the show. The series maintained its popularity in the UK despite the fewer episodes while the series gained in popularity in North America.

And then up next….....

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February 17, 2014

50 Glorious Years: Episode 49 - 2011

If it is possible to pinpoint a year where Doctor Who became mainstream in the United States, then it would have to be 2011. With the programme having moved from the Syfy (or however it is now strangely spelt) Network to BBC America, and with the series being filmed with principal photography in the US for the first time, it seemed like Doctor Who finally pushed into the US mainstream. It had been threatening to do so back in the mid-1980’s, but ultimately did not thanks to the sabotage of the programme by BBC management at the time. With Michael Grade and Jonathan Powell safely out of the way, and with a seemingly more deliberate attempt to court the US market within the content of the programme itself than had ever been the case before (barring the 1996 TV Movie, that is), the path was clear to make the show much more of a household name in the United States. Doctor Who would soon be featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly (in 2012 - the first UK show to do so, but as a result of the breakthrough which had occured in the previous year or two) and it several of its regulars (Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Alex Kingston) would feature on US network television talkshows.Heady days indeed!

Ironically the 2011 season - Matt Smith’s second - featured the most complex and arguably mainstream-unfriendly content to date, but it worked with audiences nevertheless and maintained Doctor Who ‘s strong ratings run and popularity on either side of the Atlantic (and for that matter, the Pacific).

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February 09, 2014

50 Glorious Years: Episode 48 - 2010

2010 was “The Year We Survived RTD” for Doctor Who. Only a few years later it is easy to forget that there was some uncertainty (within fandom and within the BBC) that Doctor Who could still thrive or even survive without Russell T. Davies at the helm. The RTD & Tennant era’s had ended on a high in popularity, making it all the more impressive that a new showrunner and a virtually unknown actor in the lead role could pick things up where the previous era had left off. Doctor Who didn’t miss a beat with an entirely new cast, other than the occasional appearance of Alex Kingston as River Song (who had only featured in one previous story in 2008) - a testament to the skill of Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, as well as Steven Moffat and the rest of the new production team.

Doctor Who had 15 new episodes in 2010, a high for the new series that hasn’t been matched before or since. The Matt Smith-era had begun…

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February 02, 2014

50 Glorious Years: Episode 47 - 2009

2009 saw Doctor Who taking a short break, but not a complete one. The original production team led by Russell T. Davies, that had been working flat out since 2004 (and on more than one television show, given the spin-offs) needed a break and a new team (to be led by Steven Moffat) that was going to come in needed time to get up to speed for their first season. The result was the broadcast of just 3 60-minute episodes in 2009, although a 4th made in 2009 was broadcast on New Year’s Day 2010. That New Year’s Day episode would be the final episode for David Tennant’s Doctor in his regular run, and the final for Russell T. Davies (still the case to this date). For the only time in history, Doctor Who‘s spin-off series would actually have more episodes and more screen time than their “parent” series within a calendar year. The Sarah Jane Adventures third season consisted once more of 12 30-minute episodes (including one story that featured David Tennant playing the Doctor in it, the first time ever that the Doctor had appeared canonically in another television series). Torchwood had what most consider to be its finest season, a 5 60-minute episode run on consecutive nights for a season and story dubbed Children of Earth. If that wasn’t enough, another spin-off series debuted in 2009 in the UK - this one was called and starred K9, though it wasn’t made by the BBC and thus direct references to the series were not allowed, somewhat separating the series from the franchise. The pilot episode was shown in 2009, but rest of the series would air in the UK and internationally in 2010. For long time fans however, it seemed somewhat surreal that 28 years after Doctor Who’s first spin-off, K9 and Company was broadcast, both K9 and Sarah Jane would each be the starring characters in their own separate television series!

In 2010 Doctor Who would be back in full flight, with a new Doctor and full set of episodes once more. But that, as they say, is another entry…..

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January 26, 2014

50 Glorious Years: Episode 46 - 2008

2008 was possibly the most successful year in the tv charts for Doctor Who. Series Four - also Doctor Who‘s 30th Season, broadcast during its 45th year, gave Doctor Who its first ever chart-topping episode, with Journey’s End finishing at #1 for the week it was broadcast. This final episode of the season was as close to an anniversary episode as the new series had received - every companion from the new series (and one from the classic) being brought back to fight the Daleks and the return of Davros. This was the last of four regular runs of 13 episode seasons for the new series broadcast at the same time of the year each year, with Doctor Who surprisingly not enjoying the same regular annual broadcast pattern since then.

Before the 2008 Christmas special, The Next Doctor, was broadcast, David Tennant had announced his departure from the role…......

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January 19, 2014

50 Glorious Years: Episode 45 - 2007

2007 saw unprecedented success for Doctor Who. The emergence of Torchwood in 2006 gave Doctor Who its first regular-series television spin-off - season one debuting in October and finishing up on January 1st 2007. If that wasn’t enough, January 1st 2007 also saw the debut of a second spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, naturally starring Elisabeth Sladen. While Torchwood was an attempt at an “adult” series and not meant for kids, The Sarah Jane Adventures was the opposite (not that adults couldn’t enjoy or didn’t watch). Both spin-off series became successes in their own right, each going at least four seasons. The Doctor Who franchise was now at its largest, particularly if you were to add the documentary/magazine series Doctor Who Confidential, Totally Doctor Who and Torchwood: Declassified to the mix, it meant 6 different television series related to Doctor Who were being made and regularly aired.

What of the “parent series” (as some called it at the time)? It was so successful that in just its third season it already had a completely different regular cast than it had in its first season, and just kept marching up the ratings. Not too many series can say that. In fact, it is difficult to think of another series that can claim this, and yet it is traditional for Doctor Who (the classic series had done the same thing by its fourth season just over 40 years earlier). Its another example of what a truly unique show Doctor Who is and always has been.

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