Posts Tagged ‘mark gatiss’

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. (more…)


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.

Ever been utterly convinced that you did something? Totally without a shadow of a doubt that you’ve undertaken and completed an action? There’s no chance that you’re mistaken and didn’t do it? Yep, me too. And how many times has that proven to be a falsehood and you didn’t do it? Yep, me too – loads of times. In the wake of Sherlock Series 2 I wrote down predictions for Series 3 and blogged them. Only it seems that I didn’t. Can’t find it anywhere on this blog. Wonder where it went? Anyway, in the wake of the finale of Sherlock Series 3 here’s what I wrote about what could happen with the (then) yet-to-be-made next set of episodes. And at some point when my full writing mojo returns I’ll hopefully write about the latest trio of adventures (which were nowhere as good as the preceding six adventures). Personally I feel that my ideas are better than what was eventually broadcast:

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are such little teases…They get the nation all worked up about the potential death of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes in The Reichenbach Fall. Only after the story aired did they mention that Series 3 had been commissioned at the same time as Series 2. You can’t fault them for the ability to build up audience anticipation. So what could be expected from the third series of Sherlock? Here’s a few of my views.

Firstly, let’s start with a viewpoint that is likely to be considered borderline blasphemous by admirers of the series. The third outing for Sherlock should be the final one….

Finished with the screams of “No!” and the rending of garments? There are practical and dramatic reasons why this is a valid point. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are two of the busiest actors around and between them seem to be appearing in every other film in production. Likewise Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss aren’t exactly short of employment. The Grand Moff has at least two more series of Doctor Who to tackle and Gatiss is writing and acting all over the place (and I for one would not be surprised at an announcement in the future about him taking over as the Doctor Who show runner from Moffat). Coordinating all those schedules must be a nightmare.

So if the next series was to be the final one what should be done with it? Let’s have four stories and bring the total produced up to a nice round number of 10. Though a trilogy of trilogies has a certain ring to it.

Which stories should act as the foundation for Series 3? In the original canon The Empty House was the tale that resurrected Holmes after his supposed demise at the Reichenbach Falls so it would be eminently logical to use elements from this. Apart from the revelation that Holmes is alive, there is a mysterious murder with a unique air rifle and a fine villain in Colonel Sebastian Moran. Originally Moriarty’s chief of staff perhaps Moran could be re-imagined as a veteran of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts – possibly a former associate of Watson’s and accused of war crimes that the good doctor supplied evidence for.

Another fine villain in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s rogues gallery is Charles Augustus Milverton, who appeared in the story of the same name in the collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Milverton is a repulsive master blackmailer who has no compunctions about ruining lives and reputations if his financial demands are not meant. Possibly this could tie into The Second Stain, another story from The Return of Sherlock Holmes and which involved blackmail in connection with stolen government secrets.

The Sign of the Four would make a fine series finale. Not only is it the best of the four novels in the original canon with a complex tale of revenge,  a boat chase down the River Thames and a quest for a vast treasure trove, it also features Watson finding himself a wife in the form of Mary Morstan. For my own part I believe that Sophia Myles would make a fine future Mrs Watson.

Other stories ripe for the plundering include The Musgrave Ritual.

Following on from the release of the official synopsis for The Empty Hearse, the second and third episodes of Sherlock series 3 each now have a synopsis:

The Empty Hearse
“Two years after the devastating effects of [Series 2’s finale] The Reichenbach Fall, Dr John Watson has got on with his life. New horizons, romance and a comforting domestic future beckon. But, with London under threat of a huge terrorist attack, Sherlock Holmes is about to rise from the grave with all the theatricality that comes so naturally to him. It’s what his best friend wanted more than anything, but for John Watson it might well be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’! If Sherlock thinks everything will be just as he left it though, he’s in for a very big surprise…”

The Sign Of Three
“Sherlock faces his biggest challenge of all – delivering a Best Man’s speech on John’s wedding day! But all isn’t quite as it seems. Mortal danger stalks the reception – and someone might not make it to the happy couple’s first dance. Sherlock must thank the bridesmaids, solve the case and stop a killer!”

His Last Vow
“A case of stolen letters leads Sherlock Holmes into a long conflict with Charles Augustus Magnussen, the Napoleon of blackmail, and the one man he truly hates. But how do you tackle a foe who knows the personal weakness of every person of importance in the Western world?”

Sherlock lives on New Year’s Day 2014 9.00pm BBC1

The Doctor meets Sherlock Holmes. This is a quite extraordinary fan made crossover between Doctor Who and Sherlock.

“Months after an encounter with a mysterious ‘Doctor’, Sherlock becomes obsessed with discovering more about this impossible man… until the man makes an unexpected return.”

Sherlock lives on New Year’s Day 2014 9.00pm BBC1

The BBC has confirmed that Sherlock series 3 will feature in the Radio Times Christmas issue, so that means a transmission date for the first episode, The Empty Hearse, between 21 December 2013 and 3 January 2014. Some speculation has New Year’s Day as the transmission date. Sherlock has traditionally broadcast on a Sunday so that gives 22 December and 29 December as possible transmission dates. Whatever the truth it means that #SherlockLives and within five weeks Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman’s Dr John Watson will be back on our screens.

The official synopsis for The Empty Hearse:
“Two years after the devastating effects of [Series 2’s finale] The Reichenbach Fall, Dr John Watson has got on with his life. New horizons, romance and a comforting domestic future beckon. But, with London under threat of a huge terrorist attack, Sherlock Holmes is about to rise from the grave with all the theatricality that comes so naturally to him. It’s what his best friend wanted more than anything, but for John Watson it might well be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’! If Sherlock thinks everything will be just as he left it though, he’s in for a very big surprise…”

Sherlock Lives

Rumours have Sherlock series 3 commencing on 1st January 2014. Episodes are:

1. The Empty Hearse (by Mark Gatiss, based on “The Empty House”).
2. The Sign of Three (by Stephen Thompson, based on “The Sign of the Four”).
3. His Last Vow (by Steven Moffat, based on “His Last Bow”).

In the books Watson has a moustache but let’s hope Martin Freeman loses that growth under his nose fairly quickly.

Dame Diana Rigg channels her inner Bond villain to unleash The Crimson Horror upon the world in Mark Gatiss’ hybrid of Victorian penny dreadfuls, steampunk and Catherine Cookson.

Doctor Who - The Crimson Horror

The Crimson Horror deserves kudos for daring to experiment with the established Doctor Who format as the Doctor and Clara are introduced late on in proceedings with their involvement established in sepia-tinged flashback sequences akin to those used in the movie version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. For the first third of Mark Gatiss’ enjoyable romp, which combined late-1970s Bond über-villainy, the North England-based Catherine Cookson sagas and the lurid air of Victorian penny dreadfuls, centre stage belonged to the popular Paternoster Gang. Following on from their appearance in The Snowmen, the trio of Madame Vastra (the Silurian from the dawn of the human race), Jenny Flint (Vastra’s wife and maid) and Strax (the trigger-happy Sontaran who’s always looking for an excuse to eradicate human scum – preferably with grenades) once again demonstrated their suitability to head up the next Doctor Who spin-off. And whilst the wait for The Paternoster Gang continues Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart and Dan Starkey will return in the Series 7b finale The Name of the Doctor.

Chief guest stars for The Crimson Horror were the legendary Dame Diana Rigg (most famous for her portrayal of the iconic Emma Peel in The Avengers and currently gracing Game of Thrones) and her real-life daughter Rachael Stirling (Tipping the Velvet). Gatiss penned the mother and daughter characters of Winifred and Ada Gillyflower specifically for Rigg and Stirling after appearing with them in theatrical productions All about My Mother and The Recruiting Officer respectively. Mother and daughter seized their roles with gusto and delivered performances that rank amongst the best in this Series 7b of Doctor Who. When the plaudits for best guest actors are dished out in the Doctor Who Magazine poll at series end it’ll be a crime if the family Rigg don’t feature prominently. Diana Rigg merely had to stand there to outact Jenna-Louise Coleman, who doesn’t seem to act too differently between being in a trance and being normal – all wide-eyed and silly grin. The Crimson Horror wasn’t Stirling’s first encounter with the Time Lord as she starred opposite Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor in the 2012 Big Finish audio adventure Trail of the White Worm. (more…)

After an absence of nearly 40 years the Ice Warriors make a triumphant return to Doctor Who as Cold War pays homage to the base-under-siege stories so prevalent in the Patrick Troughton era.

Cold War

It’s an Ice Warrior. A native of the planet Mars. And we go way back…WAY back.

In the pantheon of Doctor Who monsters the Ice Warriors rank alongside the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and Weeping Angels in terms of popularity. Yet, inexplicably the reptilian Martians had been absent from televised Doctor Who since 1974’s The Monster of Peladon, the penultimate outing for Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. With their lumbering gait and supposedly barely audible utterances of dialogue current showrunner Steven Moffat viewed the Ice Warriors as the epitome of the archetypal naff Doctor Who monster and was reluctant to resurrect them for a 21st century audience. In fact for naff Doctor Who monsters examine the likes of the Mandrals from Nightmare of Eden, the Tetraps from Time and the Rani and the Slitheen from Aliens of London/World War Three. Inept lumbering creations and cautionary tales in not how to design monsters.

Thankfully Moffat’s friend and fellow Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss felt differently and across several years fought tooth and claw for the return of the Ice Warriors. With Cold War Gatiss not only succeeded in bringing the Ice Warriors back in style but has also restored them to glory in the same way that 2005’s Dalek made the creations of Terry Nation a cultural icon once more. (more…)