Gadzooks! It’s thigh-slapping farce and clashing egos all round as two legends cross sword and spoon. But how can Robin Hood possibly be real?

No castles, no damsels in distress, no such thing as Robin Hood!

It appears that Mark Gatiss didn’t receive the special memo from Steven Moffat. The one detailing how Peter Capaldi’s incarnation was to be a darker, more brooding, and intense presence than any previous Nu-Who Doctor. Robot of Sherwood (a not-so subtle pun on Robin of Sherwood) proved to be a decidedly mediocre romp from the pen of the normally reliable Mr Gatiss (surely the next showrunner when Moffat calls it a day?).

Whereas Deep Breath and Into the Dalek were stories only tellable with the Twelfth Doctor in place, Robot of Sherwood is easily adaptable as an adventure for any of the Doctors. It’d be perfect for Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor duelling with Roger Delgado’s Master, or Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor trading barbs with Anthony Ainley’s Master. Think The Time Monster or The King’s Demons, and then imagine the Master parading around a studio at the BBC as the Sheriff of Nottingham with his tongue firmly in cheek.

Doctor Who - S8 E3 Robot of Sherwood

For much of the time Peter Capaldi looks like a guest star in his own programme, mainly bitching about how happy Robin and his band are, whilst Jenna Coleman’s Clara goes all fangirl over meeting the legendary outlaw. For once the companion throws herself into an improbable tale more than the Time Lord. The frivolous scenes where the Doctor attempts to prove that Robin and his Merry Men are androids, robots, or replicants of some nature, through the taking of various samples, is another of those moments (as with the colour of kidneys line from The Time of the Doctor) that simply don’t work for the Twelfth Doctor. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s time for Doctor Who to go “Into Dalekness” in an exploration of the alien hearts of darkness beating within the Doctor and the Daleks.

Clara, be my pal. Tell me… am I a good man?

When Doctor Who previously lifted inspiration from Fantastic Voyage the life form that the Fourth Doctor found himself inside of in The Invisible Enemy was himself. Now, in the second adventure for the Twelfth Doctor, the Time Lord and Clara found themselves miniaturised and sent Into the Dalek. A Dalek so badly damaged by internal radiation leakage that it’s core programming had been overridden to place it on the side of the angels. As their original “birth” as instruments of ethic cleansing was due to radiation there’s a certain irony in radiation taking “Rusty”, as the Doctor dubbed the damaged Dalek, to a new level of evolution.

Doctor Who S8 E2 Into the Dalek

It’s an intriguing concept and one explored to the full by co-writers Phil Ford and Steven Moffat. It’s the first time that Moffat has taken a co-writing credit on Doctor Who. Given the amount of uncredited rewriting he must do to other scripts as showrunner his work with Ford must have been significant. Ford’s previous contribution to Nu-Who was another collaboration, The Waters of Mars with then-showrunner Russell T Davies.

The examination of the Doctor’s morality vs. the hatred of a species bent on racial purity has been a key theme of Dalek stories in Nu-Who. But is the Doctor’s loathing of the Daleks tainting his soul? Is his view of the Daleks no better than their genocidal view of all other races in existence? Is it possible that his crusade to rid all of history of the influence of the Daleks has made the Doctor no better than his archenemies?

Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Capaldi’s arrival as the more alien Twelfth Doctor heralds a darker, more violent, and potentially controversial, new direction for Doctor Who.

Well, here we go again.

As the eighth series of 21st century Doctor Who (hereafter known as “Nu-Who”, rhyming with “yoohoo”) drew closer and closer Steven Moffat harkened on to anyone and everyone who’d listen about the more alien and adult nature of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Combined with the promise of a more horror-orientated tone to proceedings, this evoked in longterm fans memories of the early Tom Baker “gothic horror” years – widely regarded as the series’ Golden Age.

Doctor Who - S8 E1 Deep Breath

Once upon a time the template for 21st century Doctor Who was the fast-paced, lavishly produced, Douglas Adams-penned romp City of Death. Now it seemed that the Doctor’s adventures would owe their heritage to the darkly humoured, violent and dramatic tales orchestrated by the popular and acclaimed Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes. Delivering classics such as Pyramids of Mars, The Robots of Death and The Talons of Weng-Chiang, this period of Doctor Who was also its most controversial, as the production team frequently crossed swords with moral watchdogs.

In recent years Moffat’s hype had been built upon rocky foundations. Little substance delivered from a multitude of promises. As his stewardship of Doctor Who continued Moffat’s deservedly award-wining early successes, such as Blink, faded away to be replaced by painful tripe like The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor. Despite the questionable quality of recent stories, the series’ popularity was at an all-time high in its 50th anniversary year and the more youthful and romantic Tenth and Eleventh Doctors were fan favourites. Would Moffat really go down a potentially dangerous path and alter so much of the format virtually overnight?

Incredibly the answer has been yes. A resounding fantastic yes. For once Moffat delivered on a promise. And how! The difference between The Time of the Doctor and Deep Breath is astounding. Whereas Matt Smith’s finale was a bloated incoherent leviathan, Capaldi’s debut delivered a gritty character-based drama. Read the rest of this entry »

Tying in with their broadcast of classic Doctor Who stories from the era of the first seven Doctors the Horror Channel have produced a fantastic infographic containing various facts. figures and trivia about the universe’s favourite Time Lord.

50 things a Doctor Who fan should know

After an absence of three decades Mad Max returns on 15 May 2015 with Mad Max: Fury Road.

From director George Miller, originator of the post-apocalyptic genre and mastermind behind the legendary Mad Max franchise, comes Mad Max: Fury Road, a return to the world of Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky.

Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannised by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.

Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) assumes the role of Max Rockatansky from Mel Gibson. Supporting cast includes Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster, Prometheus), Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Rosie-Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Dark of the Moon).

More information on Mad Max: Fury Road can be found at the official Facebook page and website.

Mad Max Fury Road teaser

On 8 September 2014 BBC Worldwide are releasing the Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition. Limited to 6,000 Blu-rays and 4,000 DVDs this limited edition collector’s set gathers together a whole of host of material from the 50th anniversary year of the much-loved groundbreaking science fiction series. 

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Limited Collector's EditionThe set includes four special adventures for the Doctor: the Series 7b finale The Name of the Doctor, introducing John Hurt’s War Doctor; the mini-episode The Night of the Doctor, featuring the return and regeneration of Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor; the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor; and The Time of the Doctor, Matt Smith’s final adventure as the Eleventh Doctor.

Also included is An Adventure in Space and Time, Mark Gatiss’ award-winning docudrama about the genesis of Doctor Who, and The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot comedy spoof, with Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and a whole host of Doctor Who alumni past and present.

Other ancillary material includes:

  • The Day Of The Doctor read through.
  • Trailers, cinema introduction and deleted scenes for The Day Of The Doctor.
  • Behind-the-scenes features on The Name of the Doctor, The Day of the DoctorThe Time of the Doctor and An Adventure In Space And Time.
  • Doctor Who The Ultimate Guide.
  • The Last Day mini-episode.
  • Tales from the TARDIS.
  • Farewell to Matt Smith.
  • The Science of Doctor Who.
  • 2013 Doctor Who Prom.

The official full length trailer for Series 8 of the revived Doctor Who has been released by the BBC. And for me there’s no excitement at all being generated for Peter Capaldi’s first adventures as the Twelfth Doctor. This is not good. Not good at all…

I’m the Doctor. I’ve lived for over 2000 years. I’ve made many mistakes. And it’s about time that I did something about that.

The TARDIS console continues to explode as it did in the teaser trailers. There’s dinosaurs outside the Houses of Parliament (to add to the dinosaurs inside?); Dalek saucers blasting away; robot knights; and the Doctor riding a horse in a Victorian nightshirt.

(The Doctor is wearing the nightshirt, not the horse.)

The Doctor’s declaration that he and Clara are about to go “into darkness” doesn’t bode well given how dire the Star Trek descent Into Darkness went… There’s a definite fixation on the darkness of the Doctor’s character – as there has been for every episode of 21st century Doctor Who.

The Mockingjay lives…

“I see into your soul Doctor”…

A second trailer for the return of Doctor Who on 23 August 2014 has been released. A whole 19 seconds this time compared to the previous trailer’s 15 seconds… And yet again I’m left with zero anticipation for the series’ return.

Aside from more damage being wrought upon the TARDIS console, and a look inside the Doctor’s anatomy, the trailer’s sole purpose seems to be the revealing of the Daleks returning to face Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Many have said that the voice sounds like Julian Bleach’s Davros from The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, but to my ear it definitely sounds like Nicholas Briggs, who’s done all the Dalek voices since Doctor Who was revived in 2005.

Here’s hoping that the Daleks are once more a force to be reckoned with and a classic along the lines of The Daleks’ Master Plan, The Evil of the Daleks or Genesis of the Daleks can be produced. Though it doesn’t seem likely given the recent scripting track record of Moffat’s era.

For 15 years Big Finish Productions have been producing inventive, entertaining and award-winning officially licensed Doctor Who audio adventures. In over 400 stories the universe of the Doctor has been expanded by a talented family of actors, writers, directors, sound designers, and many other behind-the-scenes geniuses. And the lunches are legendary…

Happy 15th birthday Big Finish

The first that the world knew of this new chapter in the Doctor’s adventures in space and time came with an announcement in the Gallifrey Guardian news column in issue 275 of Doctor Who Magazine, dated 10 March 1999:

WORLD EXCLUSIVE! Doctors unite for “canonical” drama. BBC approves new Doctor Who audio plays. 
Big Finish Productions, the company behind the recent audio dramatisations of the Bernice Summerfield New Adventures novels, has secured a ground-breaking licence to produce all-new, full-length Doctor Who dramas.

Released in July 1999 Big Finish’s first Doctor Who adventure was The Sirens of Time, written and directed by Nicholas Briggs (now the voice of the Daleks in the revived TV series). Uniting three of the original actors who played the Doctor: Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor), Colin Baker (Sixth Doctor) and Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor), the play was an immediate success and paved the way for Big Finish to redefine the possibilities offered by the Doctor Who universe.

Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor joined the fold in January 2001 in Storm Warning and, after many years of reticence, Tom Baker finally reprised his role as the iconic Fourth Doctor, commencing in January 2012 with Destination: Nerva and The Fourth Doctor Box Set. All five of the living 20th century classic Doctors subsequently came together in 2013 for The Light at the End, a special audio event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Read the rest of this entry »