Return of the Zygon

Steven Moffat has come out to explain his reasoning to bring back the Zygons in the 50th anniversary special.

Moffat told Radio Times:

“Every year since I took over [Doctor Who] I’ve been trying to get the Zygons in and then I thought ‘Well, it’s the 50th…’

The Zygons are beautifully designed monsters, they are so wonderful… We barely changed the design at all because it was so good.”

He also added:

“Obviously the Daleks had to be there, the Daleks had to come to the party because they’re really scary and are part of the iconography of Doctor Who – possibly the central part – so we had to have them.

”And in a way it was fun to bring back Doctor Who’s biggest monster success ever, the Daleks, and then go to maybe the smallest monster success [the Zygons] – they were only in it once but everyone remembers them – great monsters, great outfits… and they have these nice whispery voices…”

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Moffat discusses Capaldi’s Outfit and Regeneration Limit

During an interview with Radio Times on October 13th, Steven Moffat stated that Peter Capaldi is in the process of searching for his 12th Doctor’s attire.

Moffat said: “I think actually right now – I think literally right now. [Peter] was texting me ‘I’m out with [the wardrobe stylist] at the moment, it’s going quite well’ and some descriptions of clothes I did not understand. If it’s not a suit…”

He also added: “He likes his clothes. he’s got very strong opinions about clothes, he’s very dashing.”

Moffat’s input on Capaldi’s attire will be minimal though: “I’ll just let them get on with it and it’ll be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ a the end. Matt [Smith] said ‘I should be a boffin, I think I need to go with the bow tie’ and I said ‘No, absolutely not, you’re not wearing a bow tie – that’s a cartoon idea of what Doctor Who is… Oh, you are going to wear a bow tie – you look incredible in it. And from that moment on he suddenly came to life, and he put the tweed jacket on and suddenly he’s leaping round the room with a biro pen and that was it – he was the Doctor.”

Moffat also decided to tease Whovians with a cryptic statement regarding the Doctor’s regeneration limit:

Moffat today confirmed of the Doctor, “He can only regenerate 12 times”, while simultaneously suggesting there has been a miscalculation of how many regenerations he has actually been through.

“I think you should go back to your DVDs and count correctly this time,” said Moffat, “there’s something you’ve all missed.

See the original floor plans from the very First Episode of Doctor Who!

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 Radio Times explains:

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.