Category Archives: Series 8

Doctor Who and the cult of historical celebrity

What do Marco Polo, Robespierre, Nero, Richard the Lionheart, Catherine de Medici, Wyatt Earp, George Stevenson, H.G. Wells, Charles Dickens, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Churchill, Van Gogh, Nixon, Captain Avery, Nefertiti and Hitler have in common?

The answer is, they’ve all met a mad man in a box. They’re soon to be joined in series 8, it seems, by Jack the Ripper, by Robin Hood, and Mark Gatiss has even teased the possibility of Jane Austen….

Doctor Who does love its meetings with historical figures, especially since 2005, when the “celebrity historical” became the vogue. It’s a headline-grabbing approach, probably done best in Vincent and the Doctor, which used Van Gogh’s synesthesia as a major plot point, and his presence as a USP. It does make sense to have a historical with a recognisable figure, as opposed to having unknown characters against the backdrop of historic events, but only really when it drives the story. For example, Hitler didn’t have a great deal to do with Let’s Kill Hitler, but you couldn’t have The Unicorn and the Wasp without Agatha Christie.

The thing is though….they’re running out of historical figures to use. Explorers, crusaders, Emperors, playwrights, inventors, gunslingers…..the list of famous figures from history has been ticked off, and many of those left might prove too controversial or divisive. I can’t see them doing Richard III somehow.

Hitler’s arguably the most famous or infamous person to have ever appeared in Doctor Who, but really he’s used as an eye-catching title and strapline for an episode about River Song. This is another of Steven Moffat’s wrongfooting titles, and a plot element that’s swept out of the way quickly, he’s quite literally thrown in a cupboard. On the other hand, it would be much harder to sell something like The Visitation these days, where you have rats and the great fire of London as the backdrop, but a made up character like Richard Mace at the forefront. This is why, despite lavish location work, stories like The Fires of Pompeii and A Town Called Mercy have to work a bit harder….the public do like their celebrities, and there’s no-one ‘famous’ in them, and they take place in locations that are either long lost to a volcanic eruption or in the case of Mercy, made up. In the case of Pompeii, the Doctor and Donna at loggerheads over whether to save the doomed inhabitants is the effective crux of the story. Mercy also deals with a moral dilemma, but if, say, Russell T. Davies had written it, I dare say he’d probably have made it more relatable and set it in Tombstone.

The thought of a Robin Hood episode strikes me as a good bit of fun. That Ripper-in-Fog thing has been done as far back as Talons of Weng-Chiang, and I’m pretty sure Vastra had just eaten the Ripper when introduced in A Good Man Goes to War, so we’d just have to see where Moffat goes with that notion.

The notion of Jane Austen…..just…why, really? It’s mostly been literary figures and royals or world leaders these last few years. The use of Agatha Christie in a Whodunnit, or Dickens in a ghost story is a good use of theme and character. I’m not so sure about Churchill. The use of Nixon in Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon works because of the setting and all the secret agent-y stuff with Canton and the White House. Jane Austen is a famous author of 18th century romantic fiction. I may not be a fan of Austen, but I can’t see it working. There’s no reason, dramatically or Who-ishly to do Austen, apart from a lack of other ideas for famous authors to do.

Perhaps the answer is in recent history. The 20th century is the dawn of real global celebrity, it’s full of untapped potential famous figures. It’s notable that the series has mostly swerved the 60s and 70s since the revival, especially the 70s. Hide could really have been set at any time in history, barring the oscilloscopes and tank tops. Victorian times have dominated, and the period from 1938 to the blitz. It’s perhaps time to do what Moffat and Gatiss must surely have already discussed at some point, and go meet Conan-Doyle. Maybe head to the 60s and meet the Beatles, or Martin Luther King. Do something underwater and creepy with Jacques Cousteau. Go daring and dark in the 13th century and expose Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General as a sinister alien. Just don’t do Sense-Sphere and Sensibility please.

Monday Morning News Round Up- April 21

Well, we might as well start this week with the big news or lack there of. Marco Polo was not announced.  This shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone, especially since most of those with source information had already started backpedaling in the previous weeks. So… Easter without Marco, what does that mean to the omnirumour? Check out my OmniMusings.

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But don’t confuse no announcement with a boring, unexciting week. It was far from that. We had an Underwater Menace surprise via facebook that was quickly taken down, and then there was that picture of Phil Morris in Sierra Leonne that he tweeted. So all in all it was still a busy week for the omnirumour, even if, once again, there was nothing solid that came out of it.

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Tom Baker Happy He Upset Other Doctors

Tom gave an interview at the launch of WHO on Horror and had something to say to those who criticized his Day Of The Doctor appearance.

Birthdays Everywhere!

Several Doctor Who alum celebrated their big days this week, including Louise Jameson, Camille Corduri and the big 10, David Tennant! Happy Birthday everyone!

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The Controversy of Talons Of Wang Chiang

Andrew Boland takes a look at the story and comes to terms with the controversy that comes from it.

An Update On TIMD

We celebrate our first month online this week, and take a look at how things have gone over the previous thirty or so days.

Series 8 Spoilers

Finally we have a new pic from the set and a four minute video that you can watch!

New Picture From The Set-Spoilers

New Picture from the set, it’s not really a spoiler but what I am going to say now is, so you know the drill. Turn away if you wish to be completely clueless…

 

 

First, here’s the pic

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Okay, now that you have seen it, the speculation is that it is from episode three, tentatively titled Robots Of Sherwood and that Clara is playing some sort of Maid Marion role from the Robin Hood mythology. What do you think?

Monday Morning Round Up- April 14

In case you missed any of the big stories over the past week, here’s a recap for you. Be sure to follow @troughtonsmydoc and see the news as it’s happening!

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First up we have to wish Peter Davison a very happy Birthday! He celebrated his 63rd birthday April 13th!

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Day Of The Doctor Up for a BAFTA and your votes can help it win!

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Ich Bin Ein The Doctor?

German Doctor Who fans are in for a treat. And what’s good for Germany could be good for the rest of the UK.

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New Doctor Who Comics!

The 10th and 11th Doctors are each getting their own new comic series from Titan Comics. Previews and preorders!

 

The Doctor Hits the Horror Channel

Doctor Who will start airing on the Horror Channel Friday April 18th! Check out the trailer. I would like to give a special mention to the good folks at the Horror Channel and all their fans who retweeted the heck out of my related tweets! Thank you!

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Looking For A Deal?

I stumbled across a great deal online and bought a bunch of Classic Doctor Who dvds. I just had to share it. I have no idea when it will end, so check it out soon!

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Podcastrovalva- Radio Free Skaro

Al gives you an introduction to Radio Free Skaro and shares how he got into one of the best DW related podcasts out there.

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Season 6 Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

New contributor Andrew Boland gives us his opinion on why Troughton’s last season is the greatest of the 2nd Doctor’s run!

Series 8 Spoilers!

Okay, you were warned, if you don’t want to know more DO NOT click the links. More on that Gatiss episode and also a list of possible episode names leaked online.

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Big News and No News in the Omnirumour!

We started the week out with nothing but bad news. Easter is off, they said. Maybe sometime in May or June. Hopefully. That led me to my poll, when do you think the next announcement will come. Haven’t voted yet? Come on over and add your voice. If you did vote, why not see what everyone else believes? So, we were prepared for a quiet few weeks before things might have picked up again. What we weren’t prepared for is T.I.E.A. to come out swinging!

So there you go, the news the rumours, the weird and the wild from the past seven days.

More on that Gatiss Episode- Spoilers

Ben Miller

Alright, so Steven Moffat just confirmed that Ben Miller will be appearing in an episode written by Mark Gatiss.

Here’s what Moffat had to say:

“Mark Gatiss has written us a storming villain for his new episode, and with Capaldi in the TARDIS, we knew we needed somebody special to send everybody behind the sofa. And quite frankly, it’s about time Ben Miller was in Doctor Who!”

So he’s going to be the bad guy. Now, if we are assuming that they are talking about the only Gatiss story that we have heard anything about so far, episode three, then what can we take from this? Previous reports state that the episode could be titled Robots of Sherwood and feature characters from the Robin Hood legend, so… Is Miller going to be a classic Robin Hood bad guy? Or an alien playing the part of one?

Monday Morning News Round Up- April 7

Welcome to April. If you were too busy to check these stories out as they happened, here’s a quick rundown on what you might have missed. Follow @troughtonsmydoc to get updates as stories are posted!

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Glyn Jones Passed Away

A writer and actor for Doctor Who, Glyn passed away a few days ago.

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Happy Fish Fingers and Custard Day!

It’s been four years since Matt Smith debuted as the mad man with a box. Here’s a reminiscence on that fateful day!

Introducing Podcastrovalva

Our newest segment where Al Miller talks about podcasts that he likes. Here’s his first about Podshock. Want to know more about Al? Check out his introduction.

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So Tired, Tired of Waiting, Tired of Waiting for … Who?

We have become accustomed to getting New Who every Easter weekend, but that’s not to be the case this year. And we’re tired of waiting.

April 1st Brings Out The Fools

Did you skip your online time April 1st? Trying to avoid heartbreak and agitation? Here’s the best of the Doctor Who related April Fool’s jokes.

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Omni Time!

Okay, it has been incredibly slow the last few days, so to pass the time check out our Omni When Poll. When do you think the next announcement will be.

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The DWMEDG on FB has almost reached a milestone. The group is sitting at 580 members. Haven’t joined in on the discussion yet? Why not?

 

And finally we have series 8 spoilers, spoilers spoilers. Nothing really major, just writers, episode names, that kind of thing.

More Info On Gatiss Episode

Spoilers abound from here on out, so this is your last chance to stay unaware.

We’ve already reported that Mark Gatiss is to write two episodes for Doctor Who and here’s some info on one of them. The third episode of the series, it’s rumoured to be called Robots of Sherwood and feature Tom Riley and Ian Hallard. Hallard’s character is apparently Alan-a-dale, one of the Merry Men.

Riley had this to say on twitter: