March 02, 2005

Barnes Common Comes To Audio

Leaving aside that TV show thingie, the one Doctor Who release I’m looking forward to this year is the MP3-CD release of David Whitaker’s 1964 Classic Doctor Who In An Exciting Adventure With The Daleks read by William Russell. I loved Whitaker’s prose retelling of Serial B as a 14 year-old reading my first Doctor Who book, and I still think this is one of the all-time great Doctor Who novels. To actually hear Ian Chesterton narrating it will be an absolute delight. Plus the MP3 version will include Arnold Schwartzmann’s interior illustrations as well!

The Official BBC Website has just put up an extract. (Scroll to the bottom—noting the Alistair Pearson comment on the way—to hear it) It’s an older Ian Chesterton narrating than I envisaged as a fourteen year old, but it’s still very, very, exciting.

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March 01, 2005

I am the Mastermind and you will obey me

mastermind.jpgThe official BBC site reports today that there’s going to be a Doctor Who edition of Mastermind. Mastermind, for those who are unaware, is the coolest quiz show ever where a person sits in a chair for two minutes with a spotlight on them while being buffeted by questions (selected by experts) on a specialist subject of the contestant’s choosing. (This is followed by the ‘general knowledge’ section, which makes the upper level questions of Millionaire and Jeopardy seem like nursery school fare)

Usually, the specialist subjects are things like “The Reign of King George II” or “The indigenous birds of Wiltshire”, but Doctor Who has been a specialist subject on Mastermind, most recently in 2004. The official site had the questions (and answers) from last time, which frankly, wouldn’t have put DWIN’s resident trivia king Luca Di Rocco into a sweat. These were, in fact, considerably harder than the questions given to a contestant who used the series as his specialist subject in the 1990s. Then again, that particular time the questions were set by John Nathan-Turner.

The notion of a Doctor Who edition of Mastermind pleases those of us here at the Doctor Who Blog immensely. We can’t wait to find out what the specialist subjects are, though we’re hoping for “Season 18”, “The collected works of Terrance Dicks”, “Women in the Bryant/Sherwin era” and “The Peter Darvill Evans period of the New Adventures”

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February 28, 2005

The Times, they are a-changing!

CarolBillie.jpg Its fascinating to see how Doctor Who has reflected the changes that have occurred in society over the past 42 years of its existence.  Take for example the above two photos.  The first shows Carole Ann Ford posing for what would have been considered a “Gentlemen’s Magazine” a year or two before she appeared as the first “Doctor Who girl”. The photo on the bottom is of the latest “Doctor Who girl”, Billie Piper, a preview of a photoshoot she is doing in a “Men’s Magazine” called Arena (the “readers” of such would not be considered “gentlemen”, presumably).

The photos of Carole would have been considered quite revealing in their day, and it is doubtful she would have posed for them a year or two later when portraying a 15 year old girl in a children’s television programme. One could imagine quite the scandal erupting at the BBC if she wore something close to what Billie is wearing in her pic. Ford herself has indicated that she got into trouble with some parents when after leaving Doctor Who she portrayed a prostitute on television in a late-night time slot.

The difference to today is quite dramatic - Billie Piper is also playing a teenage girl in the series, which hopes to attract many kids, and yet it would be very surprising if the production team weren’t very pleased about the extra publicity such a photoshoot will bring to the show.  And it’s difficult to imagine that there will be too much controversy when the full photo shoot appears.  Especially when photoshoots like these nowadays are a dime a dozen.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

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February 26, 2005

One Month Away…...

We’re only a month away from the anticipated debut of the new series of Doctor Who on the BBC. When that happens the world of Doctor Who and how we view it, will change forever.

Are you ready? 

Like the ultra-fanatical, mega-infinitive, insane fan that I am, I’ve been trying to prepare ever since they announced that Doctor Who was coming back.  More specifically, since last October I have been re-watching and re-listening to Doctor Who, in chronological order, from the beginning, one last time, before the new series, the new era and the new order begins. My goal was to get through every television story (including listening to all episodes currently missing from the archives and the original Shada but not Dimensions in Time), almost every Big Finish audio (save a few that are either (in my opinion) crap and/or I don’t consider “canon”) and all three radio serials, from An Unearthly Child to The Next Life before I get chance to watch Rose.  I decided early on not to read the original novels that have come out since Survival as part of this marathon, for three reasons. Firstly the original plan was insane enough as it is and adding this would ensure that I would not get to the end in time, secondly I wanted to (and have been for the first time in 15 years) re-reading the Target novelisations instead and three, the books don’t count anyway, so why bother?

I expect to see Rose shortly after its UK transmission (either through a CBC broadcast expected 10 days later or if necessary through other means). With little over a month to go, I don’t think I’m going to make it.  I’m currently in the middle of Season 15, and about to watch Underworld next, in all of its never-to-be-repeated CSO glory.  Am I going to put off watching Rose until I get all the way through to The Next Life? No. I may be an insane fan, but I am not stupid.  However, I do think I am going to get to The Next Life by the time the new series has finished broadcasting in Canada, that way I can head straight into a repeat viewing of the first season of the new series as soon as I’ve finished with the original series stuff.  Which completely ignores the fact that I’m likely to re-watch each new series episode I am in possession of about 20 times each anyway before The Partings of the Ways part two is shown in Canada.  Which will sort of ruin the whole “Doctor Who from beginning to present” idea of the marathon.

But at least I’ll be prepared.  Well, sort of.

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February 25, 2005

BLUE!

As you may have noticed, or not, the banner has changed…  regenerated, if you will.  This will be happening periodically…  why?  Why not!  We here at Blog Enterprises (a subsidiary of DWIN International) want to keep things fresh…and as a certain doctor once said:

“Change, my dear. And not a moment too soon.” 

doctorwhoblogbanner green feb 2005small.jpg

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February 24, 2005

Bloggers Empire

Big Finish have had great success with their Dalek Empire spin-off series, and are hopeful of duplicating that success in 2005 with a Cybermen spin-off series (though it will not be called “Cybermen Empire”).  I would like the speculate as to what other group of monsters/aliens/enemies from the original series would also be ideal for another spin-off series, following in the Dalek Empire vein. Here are my choices, in order of suitability for audio.

1. Zarbi Empire As the Zarbi can only make annoying, loud beeping noises they are well suited to an avant-garde, expressionist audio series. I would suggest a 6 part series, with the following titles: Resurrection of the Zarbi, Zarbi War, Death to the Zarbi!, Zarbilee, The Genocidal Zarbi, and finally, Time of the Zarbi.

2. The Functionaries Empire.  Again, as they can not talk, one would think that a story about their uprising against President Zarb would make an ideal audio series.  One could bring in David Warner and Derek Jacobi in to do one’s best grunting.

3. Peladonian Champion Empire.  As every champion of the Ruler of Peladon is apparently unable to speak, an audio series about them is crying out to be made.  We could hear them play bubble hockey using the adapted remains of Arcturus’ life support machine in order to determine who is the true champion. Mark Gatiss and Simon Pegg could play the mute grunters who are vying for the top.

4. Sensorite Empire  It’s down on the list since they can actually speak, making them less suitable for audio.  A two story series would do, the first entitled Return of the City Administrator and the second, featuring a guest appearance of Carole Ann Ford as Susan, called Flip Flap.

5. Rezzie Empire Once again, they can actually talk so they are well-down on the list.  Little did the Doctor know that when he left Paradise Towers that the Rezzies would take control and become the real Power in the Tower (the name of the first release in the series).

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February 23, 2005

the empire of glass

omnicosmology.jpgSpeaking of Doctor Who-themed music… You’ve all been waiting for a band that takes its song titles from Doctor Who books and audios, right? I know you have. The Empire of Glass is that band, with titles like Zamper, Father Time, Interference (book 1 & 2), The Holy Terror, The English Way, and some that are a bit more obscure. Their influences include “Dr Who: Snakedance” and “molecular science”. So there you go.

The music itself is mostly ambient chillage with spoken lyrics. It’s nice enough, but nothing very special - although I’ve only heard the first album. But who cares about that, they have a song called An Unearthly Child!

And while I’m on the subject, Blectum from Blechdom’s Robophobic has some samples from Robots of Death.

Mix it Up

There’s no end to what fans do to celebrate their fandom. Some write, some draw, some make videos.  There are websites, poems, paintings, and sculptures out there being created by fans.  I’ve just recently happened upon a website that deals solely with remixes of the Doctor Who theme.  I’ve always enjoyed hearing new variations on the Doctor Who theme.  I guess the Mark Ayres “Variations” release back in the 1990s was my first introduction to DW remixes. In fact I don’t think I knew what a remix was back then!  Since then I’ve heard rock/pop covers (KLF), string quartet compositions (Foreplay), and dance club dubs (Orbital) of the theme…and there are more out there, it’s amazing.  Some are good, some are terrible.  I guess if I was musically gifted, I too would set out to rework the theme, and play with it.  Why not?  It’s a bloody cool track.  Check out the following links for a quick audio fix: 

music copy.jpgMetalhead?
Hip Hop
Odd but I like it
Clubland

“The website was created to pay tribute to Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire’s influential and timeless theme, with amateur (non-commissioned and non-profit;) remixes, electronic or acoustic, faithful or pisstakes, of the theme.” http://whomix.trilete.net/ 

And I say right on. 

I wonder how they will rework the New Theme… or are have they already hit the mark?

(5) Comments

February 22, 2005

The Gallifrey (One) Chronicles

In summary: Great con. Great fans. Not much news. Lousy dealers room.

gallifrey-g16logo.jpgThe Sixteen Swashbucklers of Gallifrey One, the sixteenth iteration of what is North American fandom’s most significant and largest convention happened last weekend. Those Doctor Who Bloggers who were there intended to make postings from the con floor (or more appropriately the floor of our hotel room, where we retired after a long night’s drinking) but we never did. Partially this was because we never got around to it. Mostly it was because—although the con itself was excellent—there wasn’t much to say in terms of newsworthy stuff.

Two new series writers were there, Rob Shearman and Paul Cornell, but they couldn’t really say very much. Although representatives from BBC3’s Doctor Who Confidential, BBC Radio 2’s Project Who and even the CBC were there to shoot footage of the con and interview attendees and guests alike, the makers of the new series did not evidentally deign to send any promotional material along to show the assembled masses. This meant that while everyone had the new series on their lips, there wasn’t really much in the way of new information to discuss. Which was a shame as everyone else, it seems, were ready to court North American fandom in its finery…except the people who had the most good will to gain from it.

While many fans have a wait and see attitude toward the new series (especially American fans because they don’t know where and when it will air and if they’ll see it at all anytime soon) you can’t help but sense that there is a lot of enthusiasm out there for Who right now. Sales of Enlightenment at the DWIN table were brisk, and the conversations in the panels and in the bar had an excitement this blogger hasn’t seen in a while (compare this to, say, 2003, when the only big news was Shada on BBCi and you can see a marked difference).

The only other disappointment was the Dealer Room. The Gallifrey One Dealer Room is usually among the best anywhere, but this year, while the same purveyors of goods were present, there wasn’t anything new to sell. It was bizarre: no new books (fiction and non-fiction, I wanted to pick up Andrew Cartmel’s Script Doctor and was denied), no new audios (no sign of the BF February 2005 release and I’m still bitter that I couldn’t pick up the MP3 version of William Russell reading Doctor Who and the Daleks) and, more criminally, no new DWMs. It’s ridiculous to me that more care wasn’t taken to ensure a whole box of DWM 352 and 353 weren’t brought. They would have been sold instantly.

None of these deficiencies are the fault of the con itself, though. As ever, Shaun Lyon and his army of organizers put on a first-rate convention, with some great guests and some fantastic programming. Gallifrey remains to be one of the best opportunties for a real international fan community to come together. And next year’s con, with the new series actually transmitted will be even better, we are sure.

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February 21, 2005

Get a Doctor!

Get a Doctor!.jpg As the series approaches it’s amazing how an image here and there (leaking out from the ether) can really excite a fan.  All of the images I’ve seen so far have been great, but they’ve all been of the a similar (muted & posed) tone. This new one however gives us our first look at the darker side of the New Doctor Who…and a bit of the range this series, and this Doctor might (will?) have. 

I’ve cropped down this image so as to delete any spoilers.  This image of the Doctor however says way more than I would dare describe here and now…without going into context of story, spoilers and emotional raison d’Ítre.  At least now we *know* there will be an emotional range to this character, and that this fine actor will in fact be pulling all the stops. 

It’s also a nice glimpse of the future… and things to come.

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