Farewell, Twelve


In a bit of, “well, bugger” news, it was revealed today that Peter Capaldi will be leaving the role of the Doctor on Doctor Who.

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This saddens me. While some of the stories have been absolute garbage (including one of the worst stories ever in the series’ history), I did always like Capaldi as the Doctor, especially during season nine, where he sort of settled down into the “ageing rock star” kind of character rather than the grumpy old man.

I had really hoped he’d stick around for the new showrunner, Chris Chibnal, to take a stab at the character. It would have been interesting to see what could have been done. But the ratings have been down, and I’m sure Chibnal wanted to bring in new blood, so there you go.

On the plus side, this frees up the character, and the actor, to come be a part of Big Finish. Hopefully that’ll happen sooner rather than later, but as long as it happens at all, I’ll be damn happy.

Meantime, let the speculation begin as to who will be the next Doctor. I’ll tell you this: it probably won’t be a white male, and my personal preferences would be either Idris Elba, Alexander Siddig or Helen Mirren, if she’s still interested.

Sic Transit John Hurt – 1940 – 2017


Well, this one is a bit of a surprise.

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1940 – 20117

Yes, Sir John Hurt, legendary British actor, has died at the age of 77.

Hurt was born in England in 1940. He began acting as a young boy, and started working his way up. He began appearing in films starting in 1962, and went on to star in a great many. Some were great, like Alien, and some were King Ralph.

To me, of course, his most important role was in Doctor Who, where he turned up as the mysterious War Doctor, a role he basically owned from his first few seconds on screen. He went on to reprise that role in a series of four audio stories by Big Finish.

Up to this point, the Doctor actors had all died in order. Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee. It was inevitable that wouldn’t last forever. It’s just sad that the pattern broke so soon.

Great Big Finish News!


Two rather nifty announcements from my favourite British company! First off, UNIT Assembled. It’s going to feature Kate Stewart and Osgood, as is expected, but will also have Jo Grant, Mike Yates, and Sgt. Benton. Plus Sea Devils! Excellent.

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I’m not that into the new UNIT crowed, but I certainly like the concept of this story. I hope it’s good!

The other bit of news features volume two of the “Classic Doctors, New Monsters” concept. The first story they announced was the Fifth Doctor against the Racnoss; an alien species that interests me so little I keep forgetting they’re the ones in it.

But today’s announcement is that we’re also getting the Fourth Doctor up against the Vashta Nerada, previously seen in the first River Song episodes, “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”. I wasn’t crazy about them, either, as they seem wildly over-powered. But we’ll see what Big Finish does.

Either way, pretty neat stuff!

Just a Reminder


New Doctor Who Christmas special in about five weeks.

And then the new series in April! Roughly. Hopefully a good new series.

As for this clip, eh, it’s a bit out of context and not that great. The episode has potential, but in general the Christmas specials haven’t impressed me much. We shall see, though. Perhaps this one will be an exception.

A Great Rumor Confirmed!


It’s been confirmed that the BBC is releasing an animated version of “Power of the Daleks”! All six parts are to be animated, and aired over the course of six nights.

This pleases me to no end. I recently watched the story, and while I didn’t hate it, I couldn’t help but think it would be so much better in something other than still-photo reconstruction form.

Now this is being done because a: it’s the first story with the Second Doctor, b: it has the Daleks in it, and c: It’s the 50th anniversary of this story. That’s a pretty rare combination that happens in exactly zero other stories.

Still, this gives me hope. If they’re willing to animate the six missing episodes of this serial, maybe they’ll finally go back and do more animated versions of missing episodes. Some serials, like “The Crusade”, are only missing two. Surely that would be one third the cost.

On a side note, I was getting ready to rip BBC America a new one. I was scanning the program guide, and saw  that on several days, anywhere from 18 – 20 hours of programming is Star Trek: The Next Generation, with occasional movies like First Blood and Anaconda thrown in for good measure. From time-to-time they even seem to find room for actual BBC programming, but it’s clearly an afterthought. My hope is that this is a sign that they’re learning, and will refocus on what they should.

A Stupid Doctor Who Rumor


It’s a general rule of thumb in the news business that when see a headline with a question mark, the answer to the question is almost always “no”. For example: Will Matt Smith be permanently returning to the role of the Doctor on one of the upcoming seasons of Doctor Who?

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No.

This is a very stupid rumor that I saw when I woke up today. The idea is that Capaldi is leaving soon (is he? There are rumors, but no evidence), and that Smith is willing to return to the series. Therefore, we’ll have the first ever un-regeneration to take place on screen, and Smith will come back as the Doctor.

So this isn’t going to happen. Not only is it not going to happen, it’s something that shouldn’t happen. It would be a huge step backwards for the show.

Now I know that there are those who dislike Capaldi and drool over the idea of Smith returning. I like Capaldi quite a bit, but I can understand the desire to go back to something you once loved.

However on a creative level it would be a terrible choice. Going backwards is almost always a bad move. Among other things, it shows that you’ve run out of ideas. Much better, if you dislike Capaldi, to simply hope that they cast someone new soon that you like better.

But there’s no real reason to think that’s going to happen, either, and I hope it doesn’t. I hope Capaldi stays as the Doctor for at least the first year of the Chibnall era. I’d like to see what he can do as the Doctor in hands that are not those of Moffat. I’m no Moffat-hater, mind you, but even I can see that he’s clearly burned-out and should have stepped aside long ago.

So basically, don’t get your hopes up too high for this. Smith probably will return as the Doctor at some point, but that will likely be in audio form for Big Finish, and that’s just as it should be.

 

Yay, Confirmation!


I wrote last month that there was a story that Big Finish had inked a deal with David Tennant and Catherine Tate to bring back the Tenth Doctor and Donna in audio form. Well, today came confirmation from Big Finish that this is, in fact, happening.

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David Tennant portrayed the Doctor on screen from 2005 until 1 January 2010, returning to play alongside Matt Smith and John Hurt in the 50th Anniversary special The Day of the Doctor in 2013. Catherine Tate made her debut as Donna in December 2006, and after a series and two festive specials she made her last appearance alongside David on 1 January 2010. Their on-screen partnership is generally regarded as one of the great high-points of the enduring science fiction phenomenon.

‘I still remember the sense of joy I had when I heard that David had been asked to play the Doctor,’ says Big Finish executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery. ‘We were all so pleased for him — as we knew how much Doctor Who meant to him. And now David comes full circle, back doing Doctor Who with Big Finish — except that this time he’s playing the Doctor! It’s the same but different — it’s wonderful to have him back!’

I really am extremely happy about this news. Donna was the best of the Tenth Doctor’s companions. Rose during their voyages was terrible, and Martha was just sort of “there”, being vaguely punished for not being Rose. But Donna…Donna was a lonely, insecure woman, who had no real direction in her life. She grew and changed during her time with the Doctor, often acting very much like an ordinary person would when thrust into extraordinary circumstances. This made her eventual fate at the hands of Russell T Davies all the more irritating.

But ignoring that ending, I’m very much looking forward to this. Big Finish has proven time and again that they have some of the best writers Doctor Who has never had, and hopefully they’ll correct some of the flaws with Tenth’s characterization that sometimes made him so frustrating to watch. But even if that doesn’t happen, I’ll at least get some more stories with one of my favorite characters, and that’s no bad thing!