The TARDIS gets a bit mucky visiting all those planets, and the Doctor decides to take action.
The TARDIS is left alone once again…
Fifty years ago, television history was being made when the BBC managed to create an alien time machine inside the small confines of Lime Grove studio, for Doctor Who. And now, you can see the floor plans of that very set, thanks to director Waris Hussein.
It’s a miracle that Hussein, who helmed the very first Doctor Who story, managed to hold on to these plans for all these years. The plans show how the first episode managed to cram a school room, a junkyard, and the inside of the TARDIS, into a very small studio:
The four different color-coded circles represent the four cameras that Hussein was working with, in filming the entire episode in one go, with only a short break halfway through. Hussein told the Radio Times, “In those days, we shot continuously on four cameras with very few breaks in the tape. You had to know exactly what you were doing. It was almost mathematical in its strategy.”
Here’s just the section of the TARDIS control room:
The outline of the original control room follows exactly the outline and a weird kink in the studio perimeter. The “walls” include a 40ft artist cloth at the back, a long section of 28ft photo blow-ups of circular “indentations” and, lower down, a 12ft 4 “floating screen on casters” and of course the door section, which proved problematic during the pilot recording, as the doors refused to close.
The back of the set features a complicated structure containing the elevated scanner screen, perspex panels and what would later be identified as the fault locator. There’s also a curious mirrored column.
The central hexagonal control panel is surrounded by aluminium floor sections, alongside a “canopy suspended at +10ft”. This piece was so cumbersome, it would feature in few subsequent episodes. (For this November’s BBC2 drama, An Adventure in Space and Time, which painstakingly re-creates this Tardis set, Mark Gatiss told me the canopy will be rendered via CGI.)
All four cameras (colour-coded by Waris) peeped through the section of the set that was left unbuilt – aka “the fourth wall” – primed for the long scene that takes up the latter half of An Unearthly Child.
The original pilot was recorded 50 years ago on Friday Sept 27, 1963. For more of these drawings, and details, head over to the Radio Times.
Are you tired of playing the Tenth Doctor in a trenchcoat that doesn’t properly fit? No worries, ladies — the BBC has released an official, tailored made Doctor Who tenth Doctor trenchcoat that is downright smashing! Sure it’s a whopping $329.99, but it’s legit!
The Doctor and River Song are on the verge of being sacrificed to the Gods of rain in this Neil Gaiman-scripted Doctor Who mini episode. Naturally the Doctor devises an escape plan—though it’s not necessarily an elegant one.
Over on Gaiman’s Tumblr, he explains that this minisode started as a deleted scene from the episode “The Doctor’s Wife,” and was then drawn by Mark Buckingham as a three-page comic. Gaiman decided to rewrite the scene as a minisode, titled “Rain Gods,” featuring River and the Doctor for the Series 7 box set.
Some people have pointed that the credits say: “by Steven Moffat.” On Tumblr, Gaiman says that credit is erroneous.
When we are introduced to the Ninth Doctor, he is once again seen as a man of mystery. The last time we saw him he was going against The Master, but we don’t know anything about the Time War between the Daleks and Time Lords. It is also unknown exactly when his regeneration between the Eighth and Ninth Doctor occured. Recently, there has been some speculation as to whether there was another Doctor in between eight and nine that was doing stuff that subsequent Doctors were too appalled to discuss. A key aspect of the Ninth Doctor’s character is that he has experienced a lot and lost very much and as a result he carries a heavy burden on his shoulders. He starts off dazzled and defeated by war, and its not until he meets his compantion Rose Tyler that he begins to come out of his shell.
The ninth Doctor is no longer the lovable gadabout space traveler with a lavish fashion sense, he’s a veteran of war. The multicolor shirts, sparkling eyes and frock coats have all been replaced with a scuffed leather coat and a hard stare, with a ton of nervous energy. He is no longer on the run from the stifling self-regard of Gallifrey’s high society, he is just on the run, because he has nowhere else to go. So with a backstory like this, it was a masterstroke to cast Christopher Eccleston as the first Doctor in the reboot of the series.
Had the Doctor been the charming yet eccentric egghead from the home counties, the harsh reality of his time at war would have much more difficult to bring across to audiences. The Ninth Doctor has the least gentlemanly manner of all of his incarnations, because he’s been a soldier in a horrible conflict and was forced to end it by destroying everyone that was involved.
“It might be theatrical shorthand, but by giving the Doctor an accent rooted in the industrial heartland of the British Isles, Russell T Davies takes him out of officer class and puts him amid the rank and file of serving Time Lords, as if the Time War was so extreme it made even this eternally foppish flibbertigibbet look at himself in the mirror with such venom he had to become a hard-bitten working man just to get by.” (Source: BBC) Rose points this out when she asks, “if you are an alien, how come you sound like you’re from the north?” to which Nine replies “lots of planets have a north,” with a slightly beaten tone, as if called out.
This all comes out during the confrontation in the story, “Dalek,” a scene in which fear, anger, horror and glee are expressed, only to be replaced with sense of loathing for himself, the Daleks and hatred.
We have not seen this side of the Doctor until now. And at certain times he does not seem entirely sure about himself either. There are moments during this exchange when you can almost see him thinking “is this what I do now? That doesn’t seem right.”
Luckily, as usual, the Doctor finds a new companion that slowly helps to resets his spirit and level his mind. It’s nonsense to consider Nine without Rose, who shows him how to regain his sense of blance and warmth. In return, she gets to play with time (she get to meet her dead dad as well as reunite him with her mum), and destroy an entire race of Daleks. Their relationship is very symbiotic. So it’s fitting that this is the Ninth Doctor’s final act.
He takes his view of the universe (in the form of the time vortex) out of Rose’s mind, and somehow finally heals the embittered part of him. In a character arc for the ninth Doctor, all he has left to do now is let himself die, so that he can be regenerate into a significantly less traumatised and more posh Tenth Doctor.
A fantastic outcome all round.
And if you want more on the Ninth Doctor, Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited – The Ninth Doctor is on BBC AMERICA on Sunday September 29 at 8/7c.
The New Zealand Mint has produced a one-ounce gold coin to celebrate fifty years of the longest-running sci-fi television series, Doctor Who.
The front of the coin features an engraved picture of the iconic T.A.R.D.I.S. as well as a special 50th anniversary logo. The back depicts an engraved relief of the T.A.R.D.I.S. used by the Doctor to travel throughout space and time.
The coin has a nominal value of $200. Only 250 have been made and they are expected to go for $2,500 in the US (NZ – $3000).
“We think this limited edition Doctor Who one ounce gold coin will be snapped up in record time,” Mint chief executive Simon Harding said.
The coin has been issued as legal tender under the authority of Niue Island.
It seems that there is a new unwritten Doctor Who rule: Steven Moffat doesn’t always tell fans the whole truth. The Doctor Who’s showrunner and head writer admitted to the public back in the summer: ‘how do you know what is and is not in the anniversary? I’ve been lying my arse off for months — you know nothing!’ That is what fans should remember as they consider the latest murmurs and whispers going around the internet.
We Whovians work ourselves into such a frenzy of fan hysteria, not only are we extremely susceptible to winding ourselves up but we over analyze everything that comes out about The Day of the Doctor with forensic precision.
So in comes Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor with his cricket bat and decorative vegetable, father to Georgia Moffett (The Doctor’s Daughter) and David Tennant’s father in law. Thirty years experience as the Doctor. Not only did he say he is involved in the 50th anniversary, and although not specifically saying he is in The Day of the Doctor, he admits he has his own copy of the script with his name on it and everything. He knows exactly which buttons to press to get the internet talking.
Last week, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy were photographed (with passerby’s saying that Colin Baker and John Barrowman was there as well) outside the BBC TV Centre protesting that more old Doctors be featured in the 50th Anniversary Special. What could they possibly be planning?
These ‘classic’ Doctors might have a larger role in The Day of the Doctor than they’re letting on. Paul McGann has expressed interest in reprising his role as the Doctor since he only appearance was in the 1996 movie (although he has a large canon of audio work as the Doctor).
The video below features Doctors 6, 7 and 8, and it seems that they are bit disappointed not to be in the 50th. McCoy seems annoyed, Baker jokes that he might not pass as the sixth Doctor anymore and McGann just plays it cool.
The Doctor Who universe is cluttered with loose ends. However there are a few particular things that Whovians would love to see clarified. YouTube has become littered with fan mock-ups of the regeneration between the 8th (McGann) and 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston). It now seems that there is a transitional ‘Dark Doctor’ that John Hurt is playing but even so, many people would love to see the transition between McGann and Eccleston.
It does seem safe to assume that the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccleston is not involved. If he was then there would be no need for the substitute John Hurt fighting in what might possibly be the Time War.
One thing is for sure, that there will be additional surprises to come in the 50th anniversary show and it will be great to see more Doctors return, even if it’s just for a few fleeting moments, to ensure that The Day of the Doctor will truly be fantastic.
John Hurt isn’t the only Doctor Who Doctor that somehow got lost in the timestream. Before Chris Eccleston helped revive the series in 2005, there was another Ninth Doctor entirely, one that disappeared… until this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases.
Did you like last season’s episode “Cold War”? Then you may have positive feelings about “The Ice Warriors,” when the Second Doctor first encountered the titular aliens. Note: Two episodes of the serial were lost, but have been reconstructed for this release.
This modern animated Who — previously released as a web series — gets collected for DVD. Released in 2003, it was supposed to be part of official Who continuity, but the TV show revival effectively wiped it out, along with the original ninth Doctor, who was voiced by eventual Whovillain Richard E. Grant.