Last night Jodie Whittaker made her debut as the thirteenth incarnation of that iconic Time Lord known as The Doctor. And despite eighteen months of negative comments, criticism and bile from those who disliked the idea of a female lead, the first episode, The Woman Who Fell to Earth was watched in the UK by 8 million people. At this point, popular opinion appears to be broadly positive and the franchise has weathered the storm. Naturally, there are some fans who have elected not to continue watching and there are those who intend to remain in the wings spouting disproportionate criticisms because they feel that something has been taken away from them. However, churn is a common facet of all industries and TV entertainment is no different. The BBC may well lose some long-time viewers due to this casting change, but I think it will gain far more new ones. I say this with some confidence because I too have chosen to return to the Doctor Who fold.Read More
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Following hot on the heels of the financial success of its predecessor, Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. landed in 1966. Directing responsibilities once more fell to Gordon Flemyng, who was reunited with Peter Cushing reprising the role of the Doctor and Roberta Tovey as his younger granddaughter Susan. Neither Roy Castle nor Jennie Linden were available so Bernard Cribbins (Tom Campbell) and Jill Curzon (Louise) were brought in as replacements.
The film opens as bobby on the beat Tom patrols a night-time London street and encounters a jewellery shop robbery in progress. Attacked from behind by one of the crooks he stumbles injured toward a police box further down the street. This surprisingly gritty opening scene is somewhat unexpected in a ‘U’ certificate sci-fi film. Director Flemyng underscores the sequence with the deceptively soothing strains of Bach’s Toccata and fugue in d minor and it provides a pleasingly dramatic jolt to the pre-credit proceedings. Arriving back in London in the year 2150 A.D., the Doctor and his three companions step out of T.A.R.D.I.S. into a ruined and rubble strewn landscape which looks more like blitz ravaged London of 1940-41 than of anything remotely futuristic. Amongst the dust and debris there are prominent advertising hoardings for ‘Sugar Puffs’ (an early example of British product placement on screen) and as the characters repeatedly pass by them the camera lingers just for a second or two longer than absolutely necessary.Read More
Back in the mid-sixties, when the world was in the grip of Beatlemania, Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg of Amicus Productions invested in a different ‘mania’ that was sweeping the UK. Acquiring the rights to bringing Terry Nation’s creations to the big screen, they freed the Daleks from black and white TV’s and unleashed them in glorious full-colour Techniscope. At home on the telly, the first Doctor was being played by the wispy white-haired William Hartnell. Even though he could time-travel, Messrs Subotsky and Rosenberg didn’t feel Hartnell could cross the pond and brought in the venerable Hammer stalwart Peter Cushing who was better known to US audiences.Read More
This afternoon, the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker would be the thirteenth incarnation of the Time Lord, Doctor Who; the first woman to be given the role. Quite predictably, the internet went into meltdown, with cheers from some quarters and howls of derision from others. I make no bones about the fact that I got a great deal of Schadenfreude from this. Why exactly? Well we’ll come back to that point a little later. First off let me say that I really don’t mind about this casting decision. From what I’ve seen, Jodie Whittaker is an extremely competent actor and if given robust and engaging material, will excel as the new Doctor. I have no axe to grind here, either from a lore or a socio-political perspective. If the shit fits, wear it, is what I say.Read More
Idle speculation is a national pastime in the UK. Be it about the gender of the next royal baby or who’ll be managing some ailing football club, we’ll happily spend an inordinate amount of time and energy pondering such matters. Is such conjecture based on factually accurate data and a knowledgeable insight of the matter in hand? Unfortunately, not. The only requirements necessary to express an opinion are a rudimentary grasp of the English language, access to a web enabled device and a pulse. The latest matter to arise that offers the public an opportunity to indulge in some fevered speculation, is the news that Peter Capaldi will be quitting the role of Doctor Who at the end of the year. Therefore, who exactly would be the thirteenth incarnation of the Doctor.Read More