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

Series 11: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

So finally after months of waiting Jodie’s Doctor has arrived and how refreshing that nobody barely knew a thing before transmission, I have tried to avoid spoilers every series but this was by far the easiest to do that, personally I think not knowing is a better way of viewing.

The episode opens with us meeting the new companions and immediately I warmed to them, they felt real to me and I liked that there were connections between them so they weren’t just three random strangers though sure it’s not just me that wished Grace was also going to be part of the regular cast.

Jodie’s entrance is handled well enough and she instantly feels Doctorish to me particularly in the sonic screwdriver creation scenes and whilst talking to the alien. I’m sure anyone who had genuine doubts about a female doctor have been won over (sadly the loud obnoxious male doctor only minority are a lost cause)

The story itself is slight but then that’s as it should be for a introductory episode, Doctor Who is full of homages and this time it’s the turn of Predator. The alien design is a nice one and wearing the teeth is a good touch and I have a feeling we may see them again, at least Chris Chibnall is keeping good to his promise that we get new monsters.

The show looks so good too, it feels very cinematic and grand in places though not quite as colourful as I maybe expected from the promo images.

Then we end with that wonderful new version of the theme kicking in, it feels fresh but so near to the original at the same time.

How lovely to have my favourite show back and on such great form, these next nine weeks are going to be fun.

Teasers

So over the last few weeks we’ve had a lovely teaser during the World Cup, wonderful promo images, the comic con panels and trailer. It’s starting to feel like we’re close to the return.

Allthough I’ve looked forward to every series as it’s arrived this one feels so fresh and different. I’m genuinely excited like a small kid again and from the little I’ve seen I have a feeling we’re about to enter a golden age of Doctor Who. I’m feeling all this from the little we’ve seen, Jodie just feels very Doctorish to me and it’s been so refreshing to not have to make a big effort to avoid spoilers for once.

Sadly there still seems to be a small section of fandom who are dead set against a female doctor and cross the line in how they express this particularly to the female fans. It seems they’ve missed the central message of the character they claim to love. Hopefully they’re a minority who will shrink even more once the show airs and everyone takes Jodie to their hearts.

Logo

What a lovely logo. Each bit of the new series I hear about makes me look forward to it even more. Much as I’ve loved the last few series Series 11 feels so unknown and exciting and I have the feeling we’re about to enter another golden age.

Twice Upon A Time

So we come to the end of Peter Capaldi’s too short time as The 12th Doctor which also serves as the end of Steven Moffat’s time in charge.

This feels very much like a epilogue rather than a story in it’s own right and on reflection I think it’s a shame they didn’t hold the final 2 episodes over until Christmas and we could’ve had a epic 3 nights of Who over the Christmas weekend. I suspect on rewatching in the future I’ll put all three episodes together.

  It’s a nice little story and seeing the first Doctor realise what he will become gives some great scenes though without wishing to jump on the bandwagon his sexism seems wrong, The first Doctor was never that overtly sexist and it seems the writing is confusing the character with the original actor, they should’ve stuck with jokes about guitars and Sonics similar to what they did with John Hurt’ s Doctor. Thankfully these bits are kept to a minimum.

The idea of The Testimony is a good one and whilst seeing the wonderful Bill Potts again is very welcome for one second when the first Doctor is offered to see her again I thought Susan was going to appear.Having said that Bill is marvellous and although the twist is obvious Pearl Mackie sales the whole thing well. The Captain is a bit of a one note character but it’s nice to enable Mark Gattis to have a goodbye role and channel his inner Brigadier.

The dangling good Dalek thread being picked up was a pleasant surprise and I loved seeing the old console room, it just feels so timeless and the opening morph from Hartnell to Bradley is also wonderful. David Bradley does a good job of portraying the first Doctor and captures many of the mannerisms that Hartnell used. How wonderful too that we get clips of black & white Hartnell broadcast on Christmas Day in 2017 and it just feels right. I’m hoping the blu ray may include some extra recreated Tenth Planet scenes too.

Then we come to the conclusion as the Testimony enables The Doctor to say goodbye to his three companions and he gets all his memories of Clara back though yet again Matt Lucas steals the scene. They give Capaldi some nice speeches to round things off even if they feel like he’s staying the obvious (I took it to mean learn from his mistake of starting off mean and rude!). Peter Capaldi has been a truly wonderful Doctor and one who I feel will be looked back on with much fondness and it’s sad to see him go.

Jodie’s short scene is good, I loved the fade from his eyes to hers and the “oh brilliant” line with such a look of glee is instantly Doctorish. I eagerly await her first episode though I think The Doctor needs to stop regenerating in-flight!

Is it the Autumn yet? 

The Look of 13

So the traditional new Doctor in new costume photo has been released. At first glance it looks strange which I realise is exactly the right response, she is meant to be a 2000+ year old alien, one that has previously wandered round with a stick of celery stuck on their lapel, a completely impractical 20 foot scarf and a coat of clashing colours.

So ignore the social media keyboard moaners, after all its only a costume, I’m more interested in her character. 

Deborah Waiting 1948-2017

Sadly Deborah Waiting who played Victoria passed away today. Victoria was part of a classic TARDIS team in the sixties and was part of some of the she’s high points.

My first memory of Victoria comes from that striking target book cover of The Ice Warriors and seeing her constantly referred to as the screaming companion back in the 80’s when I was discovering the she’s past. Unfortunately back then none of her stories existed in their entirety and unlike today there was no easy way to watch the orphaned episodes so my first time seeing her in action was 1992 when Tomb was returned and released on video. I was immediately struck by the chemistry between the three leads and her performance is so sweet especially in that wonderful quiet scene between her and Patrick talking about loss.

Since then we’ve been lucky to have 3 further adventures released on DVD and the others are there on audio so we can all enjoy her performances. I was never fortunate enough to meet her but listening to commentaries and watching dvd interviews made me feel like I had, she always seemed so down to earth, full of humour and friendly and today’s outpouring of tweets in tribute to her seen to back that up.

Doctor Who was lucky to have her.

Jodie Whittaker is The 13th Doctor

So a few hours ago thousands of Doctor Who fans sat through a tennis match waiting for the reveal listening  intently for Sue Barker to mention the word Doctor (and being disappointed when she did but only in reference to one of the players! ) I like also to think of tennis fans watching bemused as instead of hearing continued analysis they suddenly see the small promo! 

Then we get the short shot of a figure walking through a forest. I looked intently sure (and hopeful) that it was a woman and as she was revealed I gave a sigh of relief and a big smile.

Jodie Whittaker is completely the right choice. She just looked right as she turned round, instantly feeling Doctorish and now I can’t imagine any other person being revealed and can’t wait for Season 11.

Inevitably there has been the predictable response from a small minority decrying her swearing they won’t watch anymore but good riddance, I’m positive we have many new fans waiting in the wings.

 I tweeted earlier that anyone who has a problem with this has missed the point of the show. The show has always preached about acceptance and tolerance but some fans seem to overlook this. Also how great that a generation of little girls are going to have a heroine and role model and the little boys watching will also think strong women are the norm and always to be respected.