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Capalday is coming!

Over the last couple of weeks, the media circus for the launch of Series Eight of Doctor Who has gathered apace, as August 23rd looms. Such has been the level of coverage, it would be quicker for TIMD to report what’s not been reported, but in brief…..

Tour!

Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and Steven Moffat have been jet-setting around the globe on their promotional world tour. Here’s Peter and Jenna in Seoul.

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Rumours!

Jenna Coleman is rumoured to be leaving in this year’s Christmas Special. The BBC cannot confirm or deny this, and Jenna herself has been cagey about her future in interviews, stating that she takes it a year at a time. Sound like she’s leaving to you? You decide.

More Leaks!

Following the leak of the Series Eight premiere, Deep Breath in unfinished workprint form, episodes two and three (Into the Dalek and Robot of Sherwood) then leaked to file sharing sites in the same form in rapid succession in the last week. There is talk on forums that episodes four, five, and six have also now been leaked.

We’ve already talked a little about the danger of leaks, after the scripts of the first five episodes recently found their way into the public domain, but, people, just wait. These episodes are unfinished and watermarked. They have unfinished effects, gaps, and they’re in black and white! Much as we abhor a vacuum, Doctor Who starts again on Saturday!

Some of TIMD’s friends have seen Deep Breath already at the Cardiff screening. We’re envious, but from what we hear, what’s coming will be well worth the wait.

Titles!

It’s been revealed that the new titles for Series Eight are based on an excellent fan-made effort by Billy Hanshaw. Speaking at the New York screening of Deep Breath, Steven Moffat said: “Hanshaw created this title sequence, put it up on YouTube. I happened across it, and it was the only new title idea I’d seen since 1963. We got in touch with him, and said, ‘OK, we’re going to do that one.’”

The credits also feature a new arrangement of the theme tune by Murray Gold. Billy will receive a credit for his concept in the new series closing credits. You can see Billy’s original below.

More Titles!

The BBC have announced the full titles, plus writing and directing credits for the whole of Series Eight. Interestingly, Steven Moffat has a number of co-writing credits this year, perhaps as a transparency measure by the BBC.

Moffat’s predecessor Russell T. Davies frequently wrote the final draft of other writers’ scripts, but only took credit for this on the 2009 specials. Whether this means Moffat has rewritten other scripts uncredited in the past is unknown, but it’s an interesting new policy. Here are the titles:

Episode 1: Deep Breath
Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Ben Wheatley

Episode 2: Into The Dalek
Written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat
Directed by Ben Wheatley

Episode 3: Robot Of Sherwood
Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Paul Murphy

Episode 4: Listen
Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Episode 5: Time Heist
Written by Stephen Thompson and Steven Moffat
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Episode 6: The Caretaker
Written by Gareth Roberts and Steven Moffat
Directed by Paul Murphy

Episode 7: Kill The Moon
Written by Peter Harness
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Episode 8: Mummy On The Orient Express
Written by Jamie Mathieson
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Episode 9: Flatline
Written by Jamie Mathieson
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Episode 10: In The Forest Of The Night
Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Directed by Sheree Folkson

Episode 11/12 Dark Water/Death In Heaven
Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay

See you on the 23rd!

Stuart

Interview With Stuart Milne

Did you know that Stuart Milne reviews stuff? If you’ve ever been to his blog (appropriately titled Stuart Reviews Stuff) you would indeed have known that. Recently Stuart collected all of his Doctor Who reviews from the entire classic era and put them out as an e-book. I had a chance to talk to the opinionated man about his book and Doctor Who.

Troughton Is My Doctor: Your blog Stuart Reviews Stuff has been around for a few years now, how did you get started reviewing stuff?

Stuart Milne: At the end of each year, you always see these “Best of” review type articles and TV shows. I found that when I looked back on the movies I’d been to at the end of the year, I’d draw a blank on the ones I saw between about January and March. So I decided to start writing down my reviews of the movies I’d been to based on that. Initially it was just something to share with my friends as we tend to have wildly differing ideas on what makes a good film. But one day after I wrote an article on the Doctor Who audio, The Holy Terror, I noticed my readership suddenly spiked, and since I was about to start watching Doctor Who from the start again, it seemed like an fun thing to do. People were interested in reading my thoughts on it, and I was happy to share those thoughts.

TIMD: And that naturally culminated in an e-book collecting all your Doctor Who reviews…

SM: Absolutely. I knew from quite early on that an ebook would be my ultimate goal. It’s not that I wanted to make a load of money from them – if I had then I wouldn’t have put them up on the blog as I wrote them – but I just thought it’d be a nice achievement to look back on. I’m proud of it.

TIMD: What’s your favourite Doctor Who story?

SM: Now that would be telling. I have my own rankings of all the Doctor Who stories that will be released in my second book.

TIMD:  Fair enough, but let me ask you this, was your favourite story also your favourite to review? Or did you have another review (even though it might not be your favourite story) become your favourite to write?

SM: A large part of the reason for me wanting to actually review Doctor Who was that I felt certain stories have been badly maligned by the received wisdom of fandom. The likes of the Keys of Marinus, Revenge of the Cybermen and The Underwater Menace all get rough treatment from fans of the show, mainly because it’s the done thing to be critical of them. The biggest example of that for me was The Gunfighters, which is a story I absolutely adore.

TIMD: Well we agree about that, I think The Gunfighters is a riot!

SM:  When I got round to reviewing that, my aim was to show how ridiculous fan views of it were. At the time, I found reviews of it on Amazon that said stuff like “I enjoyed watching this, but I know it’s a bad story so I’ll give it 2 stars”. That doesn’t even begin to make sense. So I feel I got my love of the story across, and what’s more, the nature of that review shaped the format for all the other ones I’d write in the future.

TIMD: Do you have a favourite Doctor or era in the shows history?

SM: Again, I don’t want to give much away in terms of my overall rankings of the stories, but here are some statistics for you…In the 1960s, there were 50 stories. Of those 50, only 4 rank in the Bottom #50 of my rankings, with 18 featuring in my Top #50. Compare that to the 1980s, which conveniently also had 50 stories in it. Of those 50, a massive 20 feature in the Bottom #50 and a paltry 3 feature in the Top #50.

So I think it’s clear that the 60s was a better time for the show than the 80s.

TIMD: On your website you review of Enemy Of The World and Web Of Fear after seeing the newly recovered episodes and compare your new opinion to what you thought before, going on just the reconstructions and surviving episodes. How awesome was it to really see those stories for the first time?

SM: It was fantastic. Literally, it was a dream come true. I remember loading up the trailer of the Web of Fear and just thinking “This is a….mazing” when the “new” footage appeared. I’ve been holding out hope for missing episodes to be returned since I was about 6 years old in the 1980s, when I read about the missing stories in the 25th Anniversary book. These are exciting times to be a Doctor Who fan.

TIMD: How do you think future recoveries will impact the opinions we have of missing stories?

SM: It depends on the story, I suppose. If there’s a lot of existing footage/pictures from the story, then that won’t have as much of an impact as one where the footage doesn’t exist. Web of Fear is a great example of that. We knew most of the sets from Episode One, and a lot of the story was just the characters talking in those same sets. So I don’t think many people’s opinions were changed. It would be the same if episodes of The Moonbase, The Invasion, The Crusade or the Reign of Terror showed up.

Enemy of the World was a completely different situation though. We only had the sets from Episode 3 to go on, so everything about the other five episodes felt new, fresh and interesting. And moreover, scenes like Salamander smoking his cigar and going down to the bunker were completely lost to any reconstruction.

TIMD: What about one story that, if seen in full, would change fandom’s opinion of it for the worse? One for the better?

SM: I think people assume Fury from the Deep is a better story than it actually is. People talk about it like it’s one of the all time classics, but I wonder whether they’ve actually watched the reconstruction. For me, it seems as though it’s six episodes of people having a conversation at a gas plant. And – and I could be wrong about this – the most iconic moments still exist in the form of the censor cuts.

Similarly, I’ve never understood why fandom desires the return of the Tenth Planet episode 4. The only bit that matters still exists. The other 23 minutes are just an extension of a boring story.

As for one for the better, I think that there are some stories that fly under the radar with people being indifferent to them because they’ve got nothing to go on. I reckon stories like The Savages, The Smugglers, The Highlanders and The Myth Makers would be held in higher regard if they were to be seen in full.

TIMD: Is there a story that you would like to see more than all the rest?

SM: It’s got to be either the Myth Makers or Marco Polo for me.

TIMD: This is book one, covering the entire classic era, but you another book planned…

SM: Absolutely. In Book Two, I deal with the Modern Era of the show, from the Christopher Eccleston Era onwards. Like I said earlier, that book is the one that ranks all the stories from worst to best, so anyone who had read any of my reviews should buy that one.

TIMD: When can we expect that to be released?

SM: Well in theory, I could release that tomorrow if I wanted to, but seeing as we’re under a week away from the Peter Capaldi season beginning, I might well hold off until that has finished and include his stories in the book and the rankings too.

TIMD: So what do you think of Capaldi?

SM: I’ve not seen any of his episodes yet, even though I know there have been leaks. Call me a traditionalist, but I’d rather watch it on TV in its proper intended quality than watch dodgy screeners.  But without having seen him, I’m still very excited about it. Capaldi is great in everything he’s appeared in, and I’d like to think Doctor Who will be no exception.

TIMD: Where can fans find your e-book?

SM: You can find my book over on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it, even if you don’t agree with my thoughts on your own favourite story.

Thanks Stuart for taking the time to talk to us, and good luck. Can’t wait to hear what he thinks of Series 8! If you want to stay in touch with all things Stuart Milne, you can follow him on twitter @SGMilne , check out his blog and don’t forget about that book!

Deep Breath

Vacancy in the Tardis?

The Daily Mirror is reporting that Jenna Coleman will be leaving her role during this years Christmas special. Coleman has been playing Clara Oswald for the past 18 months. Their sources have stated:

“The conversations about Jenna’s exit have started, and a plan is in place which is being ironed out.”

“It was very much a mutual decision.”

“It’s important to keep the series moving and fast-paced, and the time is just starting to feel right and the feeling is that it could be a perfect Christmas storyline.”

So a week before we get to see Capaldi’s debut episode we already know that his companion in leaving at the end of the season. What do you think about the news? Will you be sad that she’s gone? Or are you excited to see who comes next?

Menace

Planet 55 Never Started UWM Animation?

The Underwater Menace seems to be the lynch pin in the entire omnirumour and that’s why information surrounding the animating of the missing episodes is such a big deal. Well, hold on to your hat because Planet 55, the studio thought to be animating episodes 1 and 4 has recently released a statement on their Facebook page.

There have been many queries about Planet 55 Studios’s work on ‘Doctor Who’ and whether we are doing any more. To date, Planet 55 Studios has completed work on three ‘Doctor Who’ animated reconstructions for BBC Worldwide’s DVD range: “The Reign of Terror”, “The Tenth Planet” and most recently “The Moonbase”. We really enjoyed creating those but they are the only ‘Doctor Who’ stories Planet 55 Studios have worked on and there are no plans to work on any more. At the moment the company is focused on animation projects completely unconnected to ‘Doctor Who’.

So there you go. But it does raise a few other questions. Were they never commissioned to do UWM in the first place? This would go against everything that we had been hearing for the past 7 or 8 months. Why then did they wait this long before making a statement regarding the UWM animation? Why not put us out of our misery months ago? There are still plenty of ways you could parse that statement, but to me I find it pretty unambiguous.  Throw in here that we have a fairly recent Doctor Who Magazine article stating that UWM would be out later this year. What then? Recons? That has been suggested over the past couple of weeks, but there is still no evidence of a UWM dvd with recons on the horizon.

So for now it seems like the Underwater Menace remains in limbo, with episode 2 being the only episode of Doctor Who still awaiting a dvd release. How much longer will the fans have to wait?

Deep Breath

Deep Breath Screening Live Tweet

Well we are less than 24 hours away from the premiere of Deep Breath tomorrow in Cardiff.  Several of the admins from the Doctor Who Missing Episode Discussion Group on Facebook, and good friends to boot, procured tickets for the show a few weeks ago and will be at the screening. They will be doing a non spoilery live tweet of the events taking place before, during and after the screening .

So if you are like me and unable to make it out to the screening, but you want to get all the news as it’s happening, (non spoilery of course) give them a follow on twitter and stay tuned because it all starts in less than 24 hours.

Night

Moffat: More Online Doctor Who

During an interview with SFX magazine, Moffat talked candidly about the prequels and minisodes that have been a staple of his tenure:

“I think we now have to accept that online stuff isn’t a spin-off anymore. We used to treat it as a spin-off that maybe some people would watch… But then you suddenly realise something like ‘Pond Life’, which we took much more seriously, had an audience of over six million. You think oh wait, that’s a TV show! That’s just a TV show and a lot of our audience make no distinction between that and the TV show. Same with ‘The Night of the Doctor’.”

Further insight on the Night of the Doctor:

“What I think is quite exciting about all that stuff is you’re allowed to do a six minute episode. I actually think ‘The Night Of The Doctor’ is one of the best ones we’ve done, and I don’t think it would be improved by being 45 minutes long. What more storytelling do we need? Arguably always the problem with the regeneration show is everybody’s just waiting for the bit when he dies and regenerates – so why don’t we just do that bit? You don’t feel that you’re short-selling it at all.”

No more prequels or minisodoes though…

“We’ll certainly do some more. We’ll do more prequels and stuff. I’ve been in to talk to the channel controller of iPlayer and say ‘We need proper money for it’, and they’re very keen. And we don’t call them prequels, we don’t call them minisodes, we just call them Doctor Who. That’s all they are. As I say, why not do an episode that’s ten minutes? Or an episode that’s half an hour? It depends what it suits.”

I can’t wait to see what sort of Doctor Who online episodes we get in the future! You can read the full interview on the SFX website or in their latest issue.

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Series Eight takes over the press: Capaldi, Coleman, Moffat, Gatiss, Wheatley, Minchin speak

As July ends and August begins, the publicity campaign for Series Eight continues in earnest, with a variety of interviews and in-depth features published in The Sunday Times, Empire, SFX, and Entertainment Weekly over the last week. Here are some choice cuts from the above, which are all available now.

On the show’s direction:

Steven Moffat: “It was time to change. Certain things we were doing a little reflexively. Some of the humour was getting a bit glib. One of the hardest things to notice is when your new idea has become your old idea and it’s time to get rid of it.” (Empire)

Peter Capaldi: “We still blow a lot of shit up. That’s very important, but it’s going to be a bit different from what we’ve seen over recent years. A bit more gravity. Some situations are a bit more sombre and I think there are more rooted dramatic scenes…. we have another level of drama, another tone. And the scenes are longer.” (Sunday Times)

Jenna Coleman: “It’s amazing how different it feels. It’s darker. The limits feel like they’re being pushed more in terms of the danger and the dread. It’s scarier, that’s for sure. A producer once told me this is the hardest job because you’re creating characters and telling stories while always on the run. But Steven’s changed the format quite a lot. We have much longer scenes now.” (Empire)

Ben Wheatley: “For me, they’re back to classic Who, or the mid-Tennant adventures, where you’d tell a story and move on to the next one, less tied up in the final machinations of long plot arcs.” (Empire)

On the New Doctor:

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Capaldi: “He’s more alien than we’ve seen him in a while, and he is less patient with the foibles of human beings. Somewhere in the regenerative process, human beings have lost their charm for him. But they begin to work their magic eventually.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“It can become a kind of franchise where it’s not a real character at all but just an amalgam of elements that people think are Doctor Who: a scarf, a bow tie… I wanted to be the actual Doctor Who. (Empire)

Wheatley: “Capaldi’s his own man but there are elements of Baker and Troughton and Pertwee. He’s inherently funny but inherently brooding and complicated, as a performer and a man.” (Empire)

Mark Gatiss: “I’ve seen quite a bit of him and he’s absolutely fantastic. Peter’s just got this amazing, fierce, funny, slightly alarming quality to him – he reminds me a lot of Alastair Sim, actually. You’re not quite sure where you stand with him; he’s very funny, but he’s got this glint in his eye and I think it’s a terrific run of episodes.”

“The brilliant thing about Doctor Who is that it’s always changing like the central character – not just the face of the actor, but the direction of the show. David and Matt were both wonderful, but both were very human Doctors and I think it’s time to remind people that the Doctor isn’t always like that. He’s that sort of Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee and even Christopher Eccleston style actually: it’s someone who’s not immediately going to be your best friend and can be quite abrupt and rude.” (Islington Herald)

Capaldi’s casting

Capaldi:“I wouldn’t have thought it would be me – because of my age. I would have thought they were automatically heading younger. I’m technically too young for the part, because he’s over 2,000 years old.” (Entertainment Weekly)

Moffat: “I did say, ‘No, we probably won’t end up with another quirky young man. I didn’t think there was any space around Matt to have another Doctor of that kind, because he sort of sums up what you could do with that. I very very quickly, very quickly just thought about Peter. There is no right age to be the Doctor.” (Entertainment Weekly)

On Clara’s relationship with the Twelfth Doctor:

Coleman: “With Matt’s Doctor [Clara] felt quite safe, really, she knew she’d be caught if she was in danger, but this guy is a lot less human-friendly and a lot less patient. He’s more removed and inaccessible. You can’t quite access him in the same way.” (Empire)

Capaldi:“There’ll be no flirting, that’s for sure. It’s not what this Doctor’s concerned with. It’s quite a fun relationship, but no, I did call and say, ‘I want no Papa-Nicole mo–ments.’ I think there was a bit of tension with that at first, but I was absolutely adamant.” (Sunday Times)

On Clara, and Danny Pink:

Coleman: “It’s like seeing a control freak out of control. She has a boyfriend and she’s a schoolteacher and then she travels around the universe with The Doctor. She’s trying to live those lives separately and not let them collide.” (Entertainment Weekly)

Brian Minchin: “He’s (Danny) a teacher at the same school as Clara. Clara decides she’s not going to leave her life behind to go travel in time and space. She’s starting a relationship with Danny so she’s going to keep both lives going at once.” (Entertainment Weekly)

On Capaldi’s costume:

Moffat: “He wanted to be quite stark, stark and skinny. A stick-insect sort of thing. Clara actually calls him a grey-haired stick-insect at one point. We had some hilarious pictures of Peter just dressing up. It was all coming from him because he’s really into his clothes. I didn’t feel qualified to go and chat too much about it. Certainly the costume didn’t go anywhere until I shut up. The thing I’ve learned about showrunning is you need to know the bits you’re bad at!

“I’ve got certain things that I’ll say – I don’t want anything in that costume that I have to write into the script. I don’t want people saying ‘But why are you dressed as a circus clown?’ I want him to walk into a pub, a restaurant, a space conference, an army base and nobody stares at him.

“There was an issue simply because it’s quite dark as a costume and it’s a show that largely takes place in a tunnel. I kept saying ‘We are going to be able to see him, aren’t we?’ I suppose the red lining helps, when the flaps are open.

“I think there’s always something a little bit formal about the Doctor. Oddly enough in this series, for whatever reason, he seems to be wearing different outfits far more often than the Doctor normally does. He’s got his basic outfit but he’s in a spacesuit in one of them, and he’s a caretaker in another one and then he’s all dressed up in a later episode. He does vary it a bit. And he mixes up the basic costume, hugely. We’ve tended to see the white shirt version in public but actually the one I like best is when he wears the jumper under his coat. I think he looks like a submarine commander, like an old sailor or something. It makes him all rugged and handsome!” (SFX)

Jenna Coleman on Series Eight guest stars:

Keeley Hawes

“She’s great. She’s playing this naughty but nice, really sexy villain who kind of kills you but with a sweet smile.”

Foxes

“She’s really cool, I know her personally as well. I don’t actually know how much I can say about it but it’s a very clever way in which she is brought in and—what can I say?—there’s music!”

Frank Skinner

“He is a huge, huge, huge Doctor Who fan. We’d do scenes between me and Peter and then you’d often just see Frank basically soaking it all up and just really really enjoying being on the TARDIS and the whole experience. It was funny to have a proper, proper fan who really does know everything about Doctor Who folklore.”
(Entertainment Weekly)

Capaldi’s monster wish list:

Capaldi: “Axons appeared as these kind of god-like creatures, but underneath they were festering bags of flesh. I’d love to see a modern version of that. I’d also like to see—this is really one for geeks—the return of the Mondasian Cybermen. They came from the planet Mondas and first appeared in The Tenth Planet. They were absolutely terrifying, with cloth faces. That was really creepy.” (Entertainment Weekly)

Moffat:“I always thought the Axons had a natural resemblance to a BAFTA. “We’re not bringing those [The original Cybermen] back, because they look like boys with sweaters pulled over their heads. But Peter and I are not having a fight about which Cybermen are better.” (Entertainment Weekly)

On rumours of the return of The Master:

Moffat: “There’s always that rumour. It didn’t come from us.” (Entertainment Weekly)

Doctor Who News and Opinion

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