56th Anniversary

Today is the 56th anniversary of this wonderful show we all love and we get a spectacular trailer for the upcoming series to mark it at the end of a week that’s started to ramp up the excitement for 2020.

It started brilliantly with that moving moment on Children in Need with Jodie surprising a young fan reminding us all that this is a children’s show and they are the most important part of the audience. The magic of that will stay with that young girl forever and anyone who moaned about it can jog on!

Then we get some guest star reveals and news that Chris Chibnall is already working on series 13, I tweeted that with news of this anyone who keeps moaning about “woke,PC, anti-man dr who” needs to stop watching, stop moaning and move on other things. Constantly hearing their whiny crap after every positive tweet or news story is so wearing and boring.

As for the trailer itself I loved it, was enough of a tease to whet my appetite and it looks as if series 12 is going to be as good as the last one

40 Years of DWM

So today marks the 40th anniversary of the wonderful Doctor Who Magazine, Sadly I didn’t read from the beginning and somehow missed its existence until I chanched upon Issue 90, by this time I’d been a Who fan for several years and the Radio Times 20th Anniversary Special was a treasured and much read item so discovering I could have something similar every month was amazing to me.

I have bought every issue since without fail as well as the various specials and over the years have managed to find the first 89 issues and various specials from those first five years and in some strange symmetry found the last handful of missing ones in a charity shop a few months ago which has given me the urge to start rereading at 1

It’s amazing that the magazine manages to find new things to say or show us new things (the recent Tom dressed as Jon pics for example) and is a testament to the wonderful people who work or have worked on the mag.

It also always seems to represent the best and positive side of fandom and even when critical never seemed to step into being nasty, this was especially appreciated by my young self during the 80’s when other fanzines were telling me that the show and stories I liked were horrible and implying we weren’t real fans for liking it (Sadly some things stay the same!)

Like many fans of my age I’m able to say the magazine has been a constant presence and now I’m old and boring I look forward to new DWM day and sitting with a big mug of tea, putting my feet up and devouring the latest issue.

Here’s to 40 more years and hoping I’ll still be reading then as a very old man!

Series 11: The Tsuranga Conundrum

Time for a Base under siege story and the first story of this season to feel average, I think some of the reason it feels that way to me is that the Pting’s design undermines its threat looking very Slitheenish, maybe if it looked a bit more feral or dirty it would’ve worked.

I enjoyed the beginning on the junk planet as once more we got some nice interplay between the regulars and the idea of the hospital ship under attack is a good one but takes a while to get going spending too long on The Doctor moaning which could’ve been spent fleshing out the guest characters a bit more as they feel a bit bland.

The conclusion though works better than the last story with the two threats being dealt with in a neat way and yet again the show looks wonderful.

Five episodes in to get the first one I found average is a good batting rate as every series has the odd average story and average Who can still be bettor than a lot of other TV.

Series 11: Arachnids in the UK

This was a story I liked the sound of before it aired and it didn’t disappoint as we reach the obligatory ‘bring the companion home’ episode.

Yaz gets to have a bit of development as we meet her family and it’s a nice change to see The Doctor just introduced as a friend and not some mad alien. It’s also good to see Graham’s grief being addressed and dealt with in a way that feels real.

The threat of the spiders is built up nicely and the scenes in the flat are nice and creepy including a grisly death with a few more to follow to help build the tension including poor Kevin!

The reason for the giant spiders makes sense and definitely makes the story feel like a spiritual successor to The Green Death.

Jack Robinson is a character very loosely sketched but one we all recognize. It feels like his story isn’t over, hopefully we get to see The Doctor lock horns with him again and maybe he’ll be a bit more fleshed out. The episode kind of fizzled out a bit with no big confrontation between The Doctor and Jack.

The episode looks as stunning as the previous ones, the show looks better than it has ever done, Jodie’s Doctor continues to impress me, she gets to have some lovely Doctorish moments showing her eccentric, compassionate and moral side, I really don’t understand the hate she gets, she’s playing a lighter Doctor than the Peter Capaldi but feels very simliar to both David Tennant and Matt Smith.

The ending with the four regulars was one I enjoyed, yet again it feels like four real people having a proper conversation with The Doctor treating them with respect and not just whisking them away, I hope we get a few years of this team!

Terrance Dicks: 1935-2019

Sadly today we learnt that Terrance Dicks had passed away and among fan websites and social media there has been an outpouring of tributes and I feel I should add mine.

My first book I actively bought was The Three Doctors, I bought it because Jeff Cummins beautiful cover drew me in and my child logic felt a book with three Doctors was bound to be three times as exciting and I wasn’t disappointed, Terrance’s prose drew me in and I was hooked on reading, I then discovered I had lots of books to catch up on telling me stories I never thought I would get to experience.

I haven’t stopped buying books since and all that is because of Terrance Dicks showing me that getting lost in a book was one of life’s joys. I know everyone is saying this but that’s because there’s a whole generation of fans who treasured our dog eared target books and I’m sure there are plenty of writers who started on their paths because of Terrance.

Also his contribution to the TV show shouldn’t be overlooked, his fingerprints are on everything over the 1969-75 period, along with Barry Letts he ensured Doctor Who would habe longevity and not just become a cult 60’s half forgotten gem.

Probably my favourite of his contributions was The Five Doctors, I was 7 when it aired and it was the most exciting story and even more thrilling was having the novelisation to read straight after, I can still quote huge chunks of it and it’s my ultimate Doctor Who comfort watch

Thankyou Terrance.

Series 11: Rosa

So Series 11 is following the old pattern of a historical setting for the 3rd episode but unlike some previous stories we’re not being taken far back and it’s certainly not going to be the jolly old runaround we normally get.

The four regulars have settled in nicely and there’s some lovely interplay and moments of humor between them, it’s lovely to have three companions who feel like proper everyday people who just get caught up with The Doctor.

It’s good to see the episode doesn’t shy away from the realities of the setting or using the derogatory language of the time or try to pretend it’s all different now The reality of the setting makes me as a viewer far more worried for Ryan than I have been before and you feel Graham’s heartbreak as he realises he has to be part of the history on the bus.

Some people use this as a example of this series being “too woke” (whilst somehow missing the fact the show always has been) whilst ignoring the fact that this episode is never boring or preachy and is a wonderful piece of drama that just happens to have the odd bit of sci-fi in it and I think it will end up being one of the highlights of Jodie’s time.

Series 11: The Ghost Monument

Sorry for the delay, yet again real life intervened but don’t take it as a slight on the new series as (spoiler alert) I’m really enjoying it.

We begin seconds after the closing seconds of the first episode, another nice Hartnell vibe! It’s good to see The regulars thrust into a new adventure straight off and I loved Ryan’s reaction to being on a alien planet, it also gave Jodie a chance to be very Doctorish straight away on the spaceship, to be honest she’d won me over in the first episode but it was good to see her start to develop her Doctor more. I think Graham may end up being my favourite and gets all the good lines.

The episode looks and feels so cinematic, it still feels as epic as the Moffat era just in a different way though it’s nice that we seem to have returned to stand alone stories where the universe and timestream aren’t at stake every week, stories can feel just as dangerous for the characters without universal threats.

The story feels very 60’s in tone which is no bad thing, I can imagine this as a 6 parter back then with different settings each episode (and one of the regulars would’ve slept through the ship voyage so they got a week off!! ) The two guest characters get fleshed out just enough to keep you interested and don’t take away from developing the regulars, they feel like real characters and their reactions also feel natural.

The idea of a planet wide killing experiment also feels very Terry Nation too continuing that 60’s feel, maybe Chris Chibnall had been binge watching the first few seasons! I liked the smothering cloth creatures and the solution to defeating them coming from brains not brawn.

I did start to groan when they were talking to The Doctor as it seems to be setting up a story arc about The Doctors mysterious past and that goes against the new feeling of this series.

We end with The Doctor finding the TARDIS and whilst it’s totally predictable it’s a lovely joyful moment and we get the obligatory redecorated interior scene, I wasn’t 100% convinced at first but it’s since grown on me.

Also was so good to see ratings only slip slightly (Always going to go down a bit) and for the critical response to be so good. The anti-female brigade have got quieter each week with the exception of a handful of idiots. Jodie just is The Doctor already and the casting of a woman is a resounding success and I suspect (and hope) we will have quite a few female incarnations of The Doctor ahead