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January 22nd, 2016
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

It’s official. Steven Moffat will be stepping down as Doctor Who’s showrunner next year, to be replaced by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall from Series 11 onwards.

Steven – who has helmed the show since 2010 – is currently working on his final full series, to air in Spring 2017, which unfortunately means that fans will only be getting a Christmas Special this year. Chibnall will then take over the reigns with his first series due to hit our screens in 2018, although it is unclear whether or not incumbent Time Lord Peter Capaldi will also be accompanying the transition.

“It feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m only just starting work on the scripts for Series 10, but the fact is my timey-wimey is running out,” Steven said. “While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe to keep the TARDIS warm. It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I’m beyond delighted. For Series 11, Chris will be the new showrunner. And I will be thrown in a skip.”

Meanwhile, Chris – who has previously penned such classic Doctor Who escapades as 42, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three, as well as various episodes of its spin off Torchwood – described his next venture as “a privilege and a joy”. He continued: “I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was four years old, and I’m relishing the thought of working with the exceptional team at BBC Wales to create new characters, creatures and worlds for the Doctor to explore. Steven has achieved the impossible by continually expanding Doctor Who’s creative ambition and growing its global popularity. He’s been a dazzling and daring showrunner, and it’s clear he will be going out with a bang. Just to make my life difficult.”

Chris Chibnall confirmed as new Doctor Who showrunner. What do you think?

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September 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Every Whovian has favourites; a favourite Doctor, a favourite companion, even a favourite sonic screwdriver. After all, a show spanning 51 years with 12 different leading men is bound to create different eras and categorise viewers, just take the classic ‘Who’s your Doctor?’ debate for instance. But, perhaps more important than the Doctor or companion is the show runner – the writer who moulds and shapes the characters we love and oversees the many adventures of the Doctor. And they’re no longer merely a name at the start and end of each episode, but instead they are at the forefront of all things ‘Who’. With this in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising that one of the most persistent and divisive debates amongst fans concerns Russell T. Davies (2005-2010) and Steven Moffat (2010-present) in a ‘Who wrote it better?’ argument.

Trying to compare Russell T. Davies (hereafter RTD) with Steven Moffat is like trying to compare a Dalek with a Cyberman; both are timeless in the history of Doctor Who, both fulfil their purpose excellently but, pit them against each other, and eventually one will come out victorious. I feel the comparison between both writers must be handled on two different levels; they must be judged both on their individual writing ability and on their ability to manage and oversee a series of Doctor Who successfully.

So, how do you decide who you prefer? We’ll look at the latter point first. Fulfilling the role of Head Writer is entirely different to writing the occasional story; it comes with the pressure of managing other writers, making a series of episodes fit together cohesively and, ultimately, deciding the direction that the show will take under your reign, to name but a few of the responsibilities. It’s whilst considering how well both writers fulfil this role that my favourite became evident to me, and I realised Doctor Who show runners don’t come any better than RTD. I’m completely in love with the show under both writers and it would have been a lot harder to choose between the two had it not been for series 7, which sadly had me temporarily wishing for RTD’s return. Of course this is all down to personal taste but for me, this series was lacking in good quality, enriched scripts and character development, which all resulted in a rather underwhelming entrance for new companion Clara Oswald. Moffat’s episodes were, as usual, outstanding but a series needs more than just a good opener and finale, it needs good substance running through it, something that series 5 and 6 had in abundance which makes it all the more puzzling as to why Moffat didn’t sustain this throughout this series.

Something that was always existent in the RTD era was a clear plot line that was relatively easy to follow. I don’t want Doctor Who to be ‘dumbed down’, of course I want it to maintain an element of mystery, but an approach that Moffat seems to have developed recently is leaving gaps in stories which creates an element of confusion. For example, we’re increasingly thrown into already established relationships and expected to imagine the history that the Doctor may share with these characters as opposed to actually learning about it, such as Queen Nefertiti and John Riddell (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship) and Tasha Lem (The Time of the Doctor). As an audience, we feel unsure about what to make of them, which, for me, ultimately results in their insignificance. How can we as an audience invest in a character that we hardly know? I’m struggling to think of any characters in the RTD era that felt unfamiliar to me as that was something he was so unbelievably skilled at, making us invest in the simplest of characters because we felt as if we knew them, a philosophy that he appeared to have imposed on his ‘underwriters’. However, one thing that really worries me about Moffat’s leadership is his seemingly slipping standards regarding what constitutes a good script, judging by the stories he approved for filming (again, I’m talking specifically about series 7). Dinosaurs on a Spaceship seemed to rely solely on the exciting title and advanced CGI to impress viewers as the story was virtually non-existent, whereas Nightmare in Silver had scary Cybermen but failed to back them up, making use of cliché, stereotypical teenage lines such as ‘put me down I hate you’ (Angie) which was entirely ineffective and unrealistic.

I also feel the fundamental features of the Doctor’s character were slightly lost during this series which is something that should never happen. For instance, there’s the killing of Solomon in cold blood and the friendship between the Doctor and famous hunter John Riddell in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship which both seem completely out of character. That, paired with the Doctor’s unsympathetic response to the murder of Mr. Sweet and his disrespectful reaction to the victims of The Crimson Horror, creates an element of inconsistency in the character who has always shown such mercy, even to the worst of enemies. I find it hard to believe that the man who offered Davros mercy in Journey’s End would go against all his morals to get back at someone as relatively insignificant as Solomon. Of course, I’m all for the character of the Doctor developing and changing but the circumstances in which he went against his morals didn’t seem convincing enough. Although these episodes were not written by Moffat, the responsibility still lies with him. I might be wrong, but I wish Doctor Who was Steven Moffat’s sole priority and that he didn’t have commitments to another big BBC show so that he could perhaps dedicate a bit more time to re-drafting those poorer episodes.

On their individual writing ability, however, I would say the two are virtually inseparable. Both have the power to create alien worlds but do so with the element of humanity that Doctor Who is so famous for. In fact, Moffat may even have the edge here with his knack for creating terrifying monsters and complex plotlines that RTD simply doesn’t share (e.g. Melody Pond – WHO SAW THAT COMING?!). As writers, neither can be faulted; to name but a few, RTD’s triumphs include The Parting of the Ways, Doomsday, Midnight and the epic End of Time, whilst Steven’s credits include the infamous Blink, Asylum of the Daleks and the gas mask thriller The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. Both Russell and Steven just ‘get it’- the effortless interweaving of sci-fi with the romanticism and domesticity of humanity is what sets our show apart from every other of its kind and they seem to capture this wholly and completely. For example, alongside the terrifying insanity of the Daleks in the Asylum runs the heart-breaking truth about Amy and Rory’s relationship and her inability to have the children that they both so desperately want. Similarly, RTD’s Love and Monsters sees the Abzorbaloff as merely a backdrop to the blossoming love story between Elton and Ursula. As writers, they can make any situation feel familiar with common themes and emotions, from creating timeless monsters such as the Weeping Angels and The Flood, to unforgettable characters such as Rose Tyler and ‘the Ponds’.

I know it may be hard to believe after reading this, but I do in fact love Steven Moffat as a writer and it’s a love that’s increasing with every new episode of series 8. The good thing about being a Whovian is having different opinions and expressing those opinions with the common goal of wanting Doctor Who to be the best it can be. My favourite show runner is Russell. T. Davies, yes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the show under any other writer. Every Whovian has a favourite and there can be only one – RTD is mine, who is yours?

July 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Having only climbed on board the TARDIS in the summer that Season One of New Who finished, I never had to survive the long winter that the diehard fandom did, between Paul McGann and the arrival of Rose. If you just went by Wikipedia you’d be under the impression that Doctor Who simply vanished between 1996 and 2005 and if we’re talking television screens, it did.

Keeping everyone tided over was the huge expanded universe instead. Books of Doctor Who have been going since the sixties – the novelizations of the episodes are famous and often collectible – but during the Wilderness Years they were all that fans had. There’s a massive phantasmagorical world of Doctor Who out there to be found in the extended universe – especially in the novels that came out prior to the return of the show, when the BBC began to clamp down on some of the more madcap ideas. And in 1999, Big Finish arrived, and have been going pretty much ever since, producing full cast audio dramas featuring all the surviving Doctors of the original series of Doctor Who.

I’ve listened to a good range of them, but this article is about my favourite piece of Doctor Who merchandise, which can only be Big Finish’s spin-off series Jago and Litefoot.

If you don’t know who Jago and Litefoot are, then you need to immediately find yourself a DVD of The Talons of Weng Chiang (1977). It’s hands down the best classic era Doctor Who episode (in my opinion, though quite a lot of polls agree), in which Leela and the Fourth Doctor turn up in Victorian London to investigate a mysterious Chinaman by the name of Li H’sen Chang, performing on the stage of the Palace Theatre for enraptured audiences and his strange pig creature the Peking Humunculous. Plus Leela versus giant rats in the sewers.

In the course of their investigations, they encounter two men. The first, Henry Gordon Jago (Christopher Benjamin) is the verbose, blustery impresario of the Palace Theatre. The second, Professor George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter) is the gentleman pathologist who aids them. About midway through the episode, the pair meet, team up… and that’s the beginning.

Apparently the pair were so good together that a spin-off series was considered at the time. It’s a shame it never happened, but Big Finish fixed all that when they started their own audio series. And, as I’ve said, it’s hands down the best thing Doctor Who has produced bar the show itself.

This is Doctor Who aliens and monsters loose on the streets of gaslamp London in the guise of gothic horror. Think Tooth and Claw, The Unquiet Dead or The Snowmen. Dickensian, shot through with Doctor Who weirdness; Sherlock Holmes with vampires, séances, fish monsters, fairies. It’s a rollicking, melodrama of series that takes total delight in the ridiculousness of its concept, throwing every ghost and monster at the pair it can think of.

And when I say ‘pair’, that’s the real triumph, because Baxter and Benjamin are absolutely brilliant. They sound as if not a day has passed since they were on set, and have effortless chemistry and charm. They’ve kept the series leaping and bounding (and creeping and skulking) for seven seasons now, with and eighth on the way. Plus, after a few seasons there’s a delightful guest star with the return of Leela, which is worth a good few laughs as the Mistress of the Sevateem tries to figure out Victorian manners.

The list of writers is full of old familiars from the world of Doctor Who publishing, and they all do an admirable job. My highlights of the series are The Theatre of Dreams in which Jago and Litefoot encounter a tricksy harlequin at the Palace Theatre, The Man at the End of the Garden by Matthew Sweet in which a fictional goblin fairy makes an appearance right out of a children’s tale, and Swan Song in which the timestreams of the Palace Theatre become mixed, and echoes of the future starts seeping through. Plus, in the latest series, in the episode The Monstrous Menagerie by Jonathan Morris, there’s a stegosaurus hoofing it around Victorian London, which is how we’d all have preferred Dinosaurs on a Spaceship to end, really.

So that’s my recommendation: Jago and Litefoot by Big Finish. And by extension, the myriad world of spin-offs and stories, because if the only Doctor Who you know is the show, then there’s so much you’ve missed.

Editorial written by Matt Cresswell

June 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Our beloved Doctor saves the universe on a regular basis and he does it with style but he doesn’t always leave with his morals intact? Everybody knows that the Doctor has committed some questionable acts, the Time War being the obvious one but he always find a way to fix what he has done, there are consequences or he shows remorse. There are some things, however, that The Doctor does that are incredibly questionable which have no consequences and he seems to have no qualms about perpetrating. So is the Doctor a person we should look up to or is he a ‘what not to do’ guide that we should heed the word of?

On the surface, the Doctor is a good, pure person who helps all those in need. He is the epitome of a dashing hero; he’s got the clothes, he’s got the hair, he’s got the attitude and he stumbles into a bad situation only to fix it. But he doesn’t fix it by pulling out a machine gun, he doesn’t blow things up or kill people unless completely necessary. He uses his mind. The Doctor manages to save the day by using his incredible smarts to stop a doomsday device, or an invasion and sometimes he even manages to save someone from themselves such as in the case of Kazran Sardick (‘A Christmas Carol’, 2010). The Doctor needed Kazran to help save his friends and everybody else on board the ship that was falling from the sky. The Doctor could have engineered a situation such as the one in ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’ (2013) where he created a fake danger to motivate the Van Baalen brothers but he didn’t. The Doctor saw that Kazran wasn’t the villain he thought himself to be and then changed Kazran’s timeline to stop him turning into the person he hated: his father. The Doctor eventually succeeds in saving both his friends and a seemingly horrible man from different but equally painful dooms. ‘A Christmas Carol’ shows the Doctor’s innate capacity for compassion. He changed a complete stranger’s entire life because he saw a twinkle of light shining in the rest of the dark. The Doctor’s compassion is often his main motivator in saving people. He feels empathetic towards people who have had hard lives or people he can see the good in. This is a good trait for the protagonist to have as it can teach the audience to sympathise and empathise with other people and understand what they have gone through.

As mentioned before, the Doctor is a genius and he regularly uses his brains to help people. He is probably one of the most intelligent if not the most intelligent person in the universe. Most heroes in television series or movies are essentially jocks-they are muscly, conventionally good looking and they generally shoot first and ask questions later. The smarter people are relegated to secondary or background characters and they are often made fun of. This presents a bad image that being smart isn’t ‘cool’; that smart people aren’t the heroes, they help the heroes. The Doctor is a completely different hero. He is intelligent, goofy but he has a certain degree of ‘cool’ that doesn’t come with the smart characters in other television series. He shows the audience that it’s alright to know what happens when you know the laws of physics back to front and to speak a different language or in the Doctor’s case, every single language known to the universe. The Doctor gives nerds like myself and many other people someone to rally behind, someone to look up to and to model ourselves after.

However, for the many good traits the Doctor possesses, he also has many shortcomings. As mentioned before, the Doctor’s compassion is given to anyone who will accept it but it seems that his compassion is only triggered in the beginning while he is with his companions. As exemplified by many episodes such as ‘The Waters of Mars’, ‘A Town Called Mercy’ and ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’ (the killing of Solomon was quite a dark turn in an otherwise reasonably silly and jovial episode) and of course the cataclysmic moral minefield of the Time War, the Doctor can sometimes sacrifice compassion for an extra dollop of anger and a smattering of vengeance. It’s almost as if the companions are the Doctor’s carers, he needs them to keep him in line or he’ll become the something similar to the War Doctor. When the Doctor is alone he seems to favour a tougher brand of justice rather than the peaceful, forgiving saviour that helps all when he has friends with him. But while this personality trait is obviously a bad one, it can still send a good message to the audience: that no matter how hard anyone tries, no one is perfect and that’s a good thing. The Doctor can help us understand that while we have traits in us that we don’t necessarily like, it doesn’t make us bad people as long as we recognise their negative impacts on us and those around us and the Doctor normally does.

So in conclusion, the Doctor, in my opinion is a fantastic role model. He not only is a righteous, compassionate person, he also makes mistakes like anybody else. The Doctor shows us that we might not be perfect but we are who we are and as long as we strive to be good people, we will be the best we can be.

Editorial written by Joshua Gardiner

June 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s I was different. Different to the other kids and this seemed to be a bad thing. I was bullied a lot and instead of wanting to learn about my interests and hear my opinions, the people around me poked fun at me and invited the whole class except me to their birthday parties until they were forced to include me by their prodding parents. Instead of just listening to me, teachers just wanted me to shout and make more noise even while telling my classmates to be quiet.

I made my own world in my head and escaped to within my mind as much as I could until I was dragged back into reality. I loved travelling into the worlds of fiction because no one could reach me, though I did sometimes get confused about what was real or just pretend (The X-Files made me afraid to sleep during alien abduction hours).

After a relatively unhappy trudge through school and sixth form and a few false starts at nearly every college in my town I was free from the tyranny of formal education but by then I was in my twenties and in the start of nearly a decade long, roller-coaster relationship with my first boyfriend. On top of the confusion of being bombarded by glossy women’s magazines telling me how to handle my man, metaphorically and literally, I had unknowingly been enduring an early menopause. I was mentally unwell a lot in my twenties and I retreated to the comfort of my cosy shell, with its many padlocked door and ocean of a moat.

But then there came a knight. A knight in a blue wooden box. I’d known a little about his world because I’m British and I love a little shop, and many of them had those brightly coloured boxes of Doctor Who delights, but they didn’t quite pull me into the Whoniverse back then. This time, in 2005, it was different. Once Christopher Eccleston had finally managed to lure me out from behind the sofa and I grabbed onto the Doctor and Rose’s hands, I discovered a new world.

I wasn’t new to the concept of fandom, I had been a Buffy fan, but that had only led to isolation in a house full of merchandise and a bank account drier than the Sahara. Doctor Who was stirring up a longing for more than just collecting, there was a temptation to connect with other fans. So, I found a forum about it and I slipped through the front door and settled in the corner listening to all the rampant debates until I found a way I could help. My way in was to amateurishly but determinedly transcribe the Doctor Who proms, interval monologue by Justina Robson. People were happy with my contribution which made me happy. Then there came a new beginning for all of us as we moved house to Gallifrey Base and I decided to try my best to contribute more to forum life.

As well as finding my voice on the forum I had unlocked some of the padlocks and shrunk the moat and stepped out of my shell into an enthusiastic YouTube career, first with my anything goes channel, CuriosityRocks, and then, to welcome Matt Smith, my Doctor Who themed channel, Whoventures. I had found the courage to let people see my inner world.

It was the Doctor, I think, who gave me the realisation that I maybe I could loosen the cork on my bottled up personality. Here was a celebrated and loved hero who I could see myself reflected in, from the little quirks to how it feels inside my head.

The importance of food’s texture…

‘Did you ever have one of those little cakes with the crunchy ball bearings on top?’

‘Do you know those things? Nobody else in this entire galaxy’s ever even bothered to make edible ball bearings. Genius’ (Fear Her)

‘I hate yoghurt. It’s just stuff with bits in.’ (The Eleventh Hour)

Disregarding fashion trends and preferring individuality…

Rose: ‘Aren’t you gonna change?’

Doctor: ‘I’ve changed my jumper!’ (The Unquiet Dead)

‘Yeah it’s cool. Bow ties are cool.’ (The Eleventh Hour)

‘It’s a Fez. I wear a Fez now. Fezzes are cool.’ (The Big Bang)

‘Glasses are cool’ (The Girl Who Waited)

A little kid in a grown up’s body…

‘The Muppet Movie. Love that film.’ (Tooth and Claw)

‘Dear me. I’d better get going. Things to do, worlds to save, swings to swing on.’ (The Power of Three)

‘I want to go to the pub right now. Are there video games there? I love video games.’ (The Angels Take Manhattan)

Loving shops…

‘No shop. I like the little shop.’

‘Nice place. No shop, downstairs. I’d have a shop. Not a big one. Just a shop, so people can shop.’ (New Earth)

My steering has never really been switched on…

‘Early days. Steering’s a bit off.’ (The Eleventh Hour)

I can’t resist the little fiddly things…

‘Nice action on the toggle switches. You know, I do love a toggle switch’ (Hide)

A bit of a hugglemonster…

‘Just stand there, because I’m going to hug you. Is that all right?’ (The Impossible Planet)

How words bounce around inside my skull and jump off my tongue like popping candy…

‘So, Physics. Physics, eh? Physics, Physics, Physics, Physics..’ (School Reunion)

‘I like that. Allons-y. I should say Allons-y more often. Allons-y. Watchout, Rose Tyler. Allons-y. And then, it would be really brilliant if I met someone called Alonzo, because then I could say Allons-y Alonso, every time. You’re staring at me.’

‘I like the word, toggle. Nice noun, excellent verb’ (Hide)

When I get so excited that the words all spill out at a mile a minute and attack people’s ears with a multiple thought pile up…

When the Doctor hitched a lift in Charles Dickens’s coach (The Unquiet Dead)

‘I’m riffing. People usually stop me when I’m riffing or carry on without me.’ (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship)

The excitement travels through my arms…

War Doctor: ‘Are you capable of speaking without flapping your hands about?’

Eleventh Doctor: ‘Yes…No’

The frustration of being talked to when I’m trying to concentrate or calm down..

‘Stop talking. Brain thinking. Hush.’ (The Vampires of Venice)

‘Stop talking to me when I’m cross’ (Amy’s Choice)

What people have always thought about me…

Craig: ‘Has anyone ever told you that you’re a bit weird?’

The Doctor: ‘They never really stop.’ (The Lodger)

What means the world to me is that the way the show can express what my mind can be like if you could climb inside it and experience the world through my eyes.

DoctorDonna: ‘Brilliant! Fantastic! Molto bene! Great big universe, packed into my brain. D’you know, you could fix that chameleon circuit if you just tried hotbinding the fragment-links and superseding the binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary (gasp) I’m fine. Naaah, never mind Felspoon, d’you know who I’d like to meet? Charlie Chaplin!  I bet he’s great, Charlie Chaplin, shall we do that? Go and see Charlie Chaplin? Shall we? Charlie Chaplin? Charlie Chester?  Charlie Brown, no, he’s not real, he’s fiction, friction, fixing, mixing, Rickston, Brixton’ (Journey’s End)

‘Not easy is it, being clever. You look at the world and you connect things, random things, and think, why can’t anyone else see it? The rest of the world is so slow.

‘Me, I make these connections.’ (The Sontaran Stratagem)

Though I’m not as brave as the Doctor or quite the genius he is, and I don’t think any one person should be a role model, he has taught me to value what makes me different and to find the confidence to share my passions and creativity with the world. So I’d just like to say…

Doctor, you’re fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So am I.

Editorial written by Helen Beeston

August 6th, 2013

As previously confirmed the Series 7 soundtrack is due out this autumn and Silva Screen have revealed it’ll be available to buy and download from 9th September!

The 2 disc set will compile an array of Murray Gold’s popular music heard across the latest series. It’ll initially be released as the gatefold wallet, shown below, which will be limited to 5,000 copies. After that the packaging will be the traditional double jewel CD. Its track listing has also been announced – what do you think?

Disc One

1. They Are Everywhere
2.  Save Us
3. Dalek Parliament
4. Oswin Oswald
5. Towards The Asylum
6. A Probe In The Snow
7. Amy And Rory Together
8. The Terrible Truth
9. Dinosaurs On A Spaceship/Pterodactyls
10. Brian
11. Take A Ride On Tricey
12. Make Peace
13. Welcome To Mercy
14. Out West
15. Gunslingers
16. The Salvation Of Kahler Jex
17. Our Little Town’s Prosecutor
18. Cubes
19. While We Waited
20. Brian’s Log
21. New York New York
22. I Am You
23. Melody Malone
24. Little Angels
25. My Husband’s Home
26. Hide The Damage
27. Almost The End
28. Together Or Not At All
29. Goodbye Pond
30. Cumbria 1207
31. Monking About
32. Spoonheads
33. Clara?
34. A Turbulent Flight
35. Bah Bah Biker
36. Up The Shard
37. I Might Change My Mind

Disc Two

1. The Leaf
2.Something Awesome
3. Market Day
4. Merry Gejelh
5. God of Akhaten
6. The Speeder
7. Never Wake
8. The Long Song
9. Infinite Potential
10. Always You, Never A Replacement
11. Cold War
12. Skaldak
13. I Am A Ghost
14. A Machine That Makes Machines
15. Crimson Horror
16. Sweetville
17. Thomas Thomas
18. Hedgewick’s World
19. Tiberian Spiral Galaxy
20. Upgrade In Progress
21. The Dream Of Cyberia
22. What A Brain
23. Can’t Win
24. Your Orders Come From Me
25. Other Good News
26. The Impossible Girl
27. Cyber Amy
28. The Emperor’s Wife
29. Some Wednesday
30. To Save The Doctor
31. A Letter To Clara
32. What Is His Name?
33. A Secret He Will Take To His Grave
34. Trenzalore
35. I Am Information
36. Pain Everlasting
37. Remember Me

Bonus iTunes tracks:
38. Glasgow
39. Whisper Men

Will you be adding this to your collection? Which tracks are you most looking forward to?

See the latest Doctor Who products on sale now via our merchandise section!

With thanks to Silva Screen!

January 30th, 2013
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

It’s been confirmed that David Bradley will be portraying William Hartnell in BBC Two’s upcoming documentary about the origins of Doctor Who.

The actor, who last year appeared in the series as Solomon in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, will take on the role of the First Doctor in the one-off 90 minute drama, which has been written by long time Doctor Who contributor Mark Gatiss. An Adventure in Space and Time will document the story of the genesis of the show as it turns 50 years old.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” David commented. “I first heard about the role from Mark while watching the Diamond Jubilee flotilla from the roof of the National Theatre. So when he asked if I would interested, I almost bit his hand off! He has written a wonderful script – not only about the birth of a cultural phenomenon, but a moment in television’s history.”

David Bradley will be joined on screen by Emmy Award-winning actor Brian Cox as the BBC’s then Head of Drama Sydney Newman, while Jessica Raine – soon to guest star in Series 7: Part 2 – will be producer Verity Lambert. Waris Hussein, the director of the original Doctor Who adventure An Unearthly Child, will be played by Sacha Dhawan.

Mark Gatiss said: “What a cast! I’m utterly delighted that everyone’s favourite Time Lord will be in such brilliant and stellar company – we have a terrific team who can’t wait to tell the surprising story of how the Doctor started his journey through time and space…”

The drama is “part of the BBC’s blockbuster celebrations” commemorating the landmark year – its filming starts at the beginning of February at the Television Centre in London.

Share your 50th anniversary hopes and dreams in our dedicated discussion…

January 7th, 2013

We are delighted to be able to bring you our interview with Doctor Who director Saul Metzstein!

Saul joined the crew in Series 7 and already has memorable and acclaimed episodes to his name. He helmed Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and A Town Called Mercy, as well as the show’s accompanying Pond Life adventure, plus the most recent episode The Snowmen. With two more episodes yet to air this year, Saul has very kindly taken time out to chat to WhovianNet exclusively about life on the Doctor Who set.

He discusses his own encounters with dinosaurs, Gunslingers and killer Snowmen below.

Q. Firstly how did your involvement with Doctor Who come about and were you a fan of the show before you joined the crew?
A. I’d worked for BBC Wales before so they knew me already. I directed an episode of the first series of the reboot of Upstairs Downstairs. I think it was that, plus the fact I’d directed 2nd Unit on the new version of Dredd – with a lot of VFX shooting – that made the producers interested in hiring me.

I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with modern Doctor Who. I watched Doctor Who as a child, the Tom Baker years, but hadn’t really seen it since then. Of course I made a point of watching lots of episodes before meeting the producers. I watched the whole of Series 6, so I became a big admirer of Matt Smith’s acting and Steven Moffat’s writing. But I think somehow the format felt very familiar to me anyway.

Q. Have you always had a passion for directing? Were there any particular directors that inspired you as you were growing up?
A. I think I was about sixteen when it occurred to me that directing might be a fun thing to do. I always liked films – I’m of the generation that really noticed filmmaking when we saw the opening shot of Star Wars with the little rebel craft being chased by the Imperial Star Destroyer.

There have been lots of directors that have inspired me, although I don’t think it is very discernible in my directing style who they are. Fellini, Tarkovsky and Bertolucci were early favourites. Kubrick too. Ernst Lubitsch later on.

Q. Your first Doctor Who episode was Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. What was it like to work on such an ambitious story which relied so heavily on CGI?
A. Well, I think one of the reasons that I was hired to do that episode was that I was relatively experienced with complex CGI, but technically it was a fairly tricky episode to make. Having said that, the producer, Marcus Wilson, and The Mill – the company who did the VFX – had already discussed Dinosaurs on a Spaceship as being a sort of showcase for the next level of Doctor Who episodes well before I was hired.

The dinosaur sequences were storyboarded by me and Andrew Wildman, storyboard artist, so the actual filming is logically structured. Having said that, I was amazed that we got so much out of the riding on Tricey scene – it was a lot of shooting in a short space of time, and was a mix of a CGI dinosaur and a big half-dinosaur rig/puppet.

Q. As Doctor Who enters its 50th year, what would you say are the factors that have contributed to its ongoing success?
A. It is a genius format because it is fantastically flexible – it can be set anywhere in the universe at any time in history. Plus, with regeneration, there are different ways of casting and playing the Doctor. It is never going to run out of story permutations, and anything can happen.

What I personally particularly like is the way Doctor Who can make dramatic, sudden shifts in tone, and that the stories are all laced with humour.

Q. One of the distinguishing features of Doctor Who is its variety of genres and styles, so was this something that particularly appealed to you about working on the series?
A. It positively encourages crazy, baroque filmmaking – most TV is stylistically very safe compared to Doctor Who. I would never want to direct a standard police drama or a hospital drama where the style of the programme had been set years earlier.

Q. Speaking of its ever changing genres, you also worked on the Western adventure A Town Called Mercy. What was it like taking Doctor Who out on location in Spain for the filming of this episode?
A. All directors deep down want to make a Western, so yes, it was great. One of the fun things about shooting in Spain was that, because there were these sets already there and because the weather was consistent, it was like shooting in an enormous outdoor studio. It’s quite different from shooting Victorian England in Cardiff, where there are all these modern things that you have to avoid looking at. It was also great to be able to work on an enormous scale.

I think the crew loved shooting in that heat – there was a lot of sunburn. Having said that, we returned to a particularly wet summer in Wales, which wasn’t much fun.

Q. You also helmed the most recently aired episode, The Snowmen, which introduced Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion. Did you approach this episode differently knowing her arrival was marking the start of a new era for the series? Did you watch it on Christmas Day?
A. We shot The Snowmen just after shooting an episode from the 2013 series, so the tricky thing was remembering that The Snowmen was (sort of) her introduction to the series. But Jenna had already shot other episodes, so she wasn’t really new to it.

The trickier introduction was the new TARDIS set. A big, complex set requires quite a bit of getting used to, both for the crew and for the actors. Also, I was determined to make a really special shot for the first time you see the new interior. I convinced the producers to let me do this Stedicam shot in which the camera comes off a crane and follows the Doctor and Clara into the set, through the doors of the blue box. It is the shot that finally shows that it really is bigger on the inside! They were fairly resistant to me trying to do it because it was costly and slow to do, but in the end they were really in to it. The Mill pulled out all the stops to make it beautiful and seamless.

Did I watch it on Christmas Day? Absolutely!

Q. Doctor Who is becoming progressively more ambitious and movie-like – what techniques are used to achieve this stylish filmic look?
A. Doctor Who like most programmes and films nowadays is shot on Alexa cameras, which give a lovely cinematic look, almost as good as 35mm film, and that helps.

I was lucky enough on all but one of my episodes to work with the most experienced Doctor Who cameraman, Stephan Pehrsson, who has a great eye and understanding of the programme. Stephan shot Toby Haynes’ episodes in Series 6, which are really stylish, and, for my money, some of the best Doctor Who episodes ever.

I like to keep the camera moving as much as possible to make the whole programme feel fluid. Every day we have Stedicam and a crane and two complete camera crews, and that helps too. A lot of the credit has to go to the shooting crew, in particular Joe Russell the camera operator and Gary Norman the grip.

Q. We’re often hearing stories from the cast and crew about the generally great atmosphere behind the scenes…
A. Oh no, it’s all terribly hard work and completely joyless (he lied).

Q. What advice would you give to any aspiring directors out there?
A. Firstly, just go and direct – even at a very small scale or without any budget. Even if the projects don’t turn out very good you will have learnt an enormous amount.

Secondly, watch lots and lots of films – and don’t just watch films like the ones you think you want to make. Be adventurous, you won’t regret it.

Thirdly, develop scripts. It’s all in the writing.

Q. Finally, what projects have you got in the pipeline, Doctor Who related or otherwise?
A. I have two episodes of Doctor Who that haven’t been aired yet – neither is quite finished, but both should be quite soon.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Saul for answering our questions!

December 28th, 2012
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

2013 will kick off in style with the first Doctor Who Magazine of the new year exploring the new look TARDIS!

Issue 456, published on Thursday 10th January, features an exclusive tour of the Doctor’s iconic spaceship following its regeneration in The Snowmen. The festive adventure is also reviewed inside, as the magazine explores the mystery of new companion Clara Oswald, and Steven Moffat answers questions from the fans. Plus, director Saul Metzstein takes us behind the scenes with dinosaurs and snowmen.

See the latest Series 7 headlines to discuss all the developments as and when…

See the latest Doctor Who products on sale now via our merchandise section!

October 29th, 2012
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

To celebrate the release of Series 7: Part 1 on DVD/Blu-ray today, we want to know your favourite moments so far!

Although it was only five episodes, you can’t deny there was plenty of twists, turns and drama. When the Doctor returned in Asylum of the Daleks, he found himself facing off with every Dalek ever in a soufflé story of epic proportions. Then Team TARDIS encountered Dinosaurs on a Spaceship – and the Doctor encountered… Rory’s dad! Next up, a trip to A Town Called Mercy introduced us to the Gunslinger…

Back on Earth, it was the ‘Year of the Slow Invasion’ in The Power of Three, and then the moment we’d all been dreading arrived as Amy and Rory’s Raggedy Man adventures reached their bittersweet end in The Angels Take Manhattan. And so the nation wept.

So, although it was short but sweet there’s plenty of highlights to choose from! Discuss…

See the latest Series 7 headlines to discuss all the developments as and when…

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