Sixteen months on from the last non-Xmas episode of Doctor Who, the two grumpy middle-aged Scotchmen in charge return for their swan-song. A third one – Ricky Young – is just pleased there’s no other songs involved, especially ‘River’ ones, in season-opener ‘The Pilot’.
So that was Season 9 of Doctor Who, then. Ricky Young punches a diamond wall in the face, and wonders if the shredded knuckles were worth it.
James Moar on a show about a scientific genius, his plucky grandson, and their horrible, horrible adventures (now on your British space telly).
Ten years ago today, a much-loved, oft-maligned and thoroughly-cancelled television programme returned to the BBC. Join the writers of MostlyFilm as we trace the new history of Doctor Who…
The BBC’s Sherlock ended its long-awaited, if brief, run last week. Yasmeen Khan argues that despite accusations of self-conscious fan service, it remains compelling viewing.
As The Doctor faced up to fifty years in the spotlight and the end of his regeneration cycle, the BBC went on an all-out Who binge. Ricky Young picks the bones out of the buffet.
By Ricky Young.
From the moment the 11th Doctor crashed into Amelia Pond’s garden while still wearing the 10th Doctor’s suit, Doctor Who has existed in a dream-world. The very first person he met was unhooked from reality, without origin or backstory, sitting on a crack in time and ready for her first chapter title; she wasn’t a real girl, she was The Girl Who Waited. From that point on, we’ve been shown a woozy and off-kilter version of reality, where things only made sense if they really, really had to, and exists a million miles away from the council estates, shopgirls and urgently-flickered news-broadcasts of the previous era. Doctor Who has certainly never been world you visit for unflinching docu-realism, of course, but the self-conscious focus on ‘stories’, meta-stories, and the consequences of myths and fairytales has led to an airless and looping feeling where nothing moves forward, nothing changes, nothing ends and nothing ever truly dies.
When MostlyFilm last talked about Doctor Who, immediately after the loud, deeply-unsatisfying semi-mystery that was the departure of the Ponds, we hoped that fans of loud, deeply-unsatisfying semi-mysteries would have had their fill by now, and that the audience, the actors, the production team and show-runner Steven Moffat could move on from loud, deeply-unsatisfying semi-mysteries into a new and exciting phase of The Programme That Can Be Anything. (After all, we’re not haters for the sake of it – we thought S5 was pretty damn good.)
What fools we were.
Season 7b existed as little more than another loud and deeply-unsatisfying semi-mystery, its final moments setting up yet another loud and probably deeply-unsatisfying semi-mystery as a 50th birthday present. Shh, though. MostlyFilm has angered the show-runner before, and an angry Steven Moffat isn’t anything we ever want to experience again..
Continue reading Trans-mundane Emanations
Gareth Negus reviews the new biography of Doctor Who producer, John Nathan-Turner
Becoming, and more particularly remaining, a Doctor Who fan in the 1980s was – with hindsight – an odd and sometimes uncomfortable experience. Of course, some might say being a Doctor Who fan at any time was rather odd, but the 80s were the decade during which the programme fell from public favour and was regarded as an embarrassment by the BBC.
A biography of John Nathan-Turner, the man who produced the series throughout that decade, would seem to be about as niche as niche publications get. It’s easy to imagine a book on Russell T Davies or Steven Moffat on the Waterstones shelves, but Nathan-Turner was known for producing Who and pretty much nothing else. BBC lifers – of the sort which Nathan-Turner had apparently thought he would be – might enjoy the gossipy anecdotes and tales of the inner workings of Television Centre in decades past, but that’s probably not a large enough group to make a bestseller.
Yet Richard Marson’s new book, JN-T: The Life & Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner has had a fair bit of press coverage. Unfortunately, that’s largely thanks to the chapters detailing the sexual exploits of Nathan-Turner and his partner, Gary Downie, which – though not, by any stretch of the imagination, in the Saville league – occasionally sound dodgy enough that you think people should have been disciplined, if not fired. The pair regularly propositioned Doctor Who fans for sex, including many who were under the then age of consent for homosexuals (though they would be legal under today’s laws). One incident, described on page 194 of the book, is a clear case of sexual assault experienced by the author himself.
By Dene Kernohan
The Digital Intermediate process, known as DI, has been around in cinema for over a decade now. Basically, it is the transfer of filmed material to the digital realm, allowing for total control of the image in post production, especially with regards the colour palette. Traditionally it is an expensive process (10 years ago, around $200,000 for a feature film) and involved scanning the film in its entirety. But as film itself has become all but obsolete, this part of the process is unnecessary and digital grading has become more widespread.
Continue reading Digital Grading: cinema and the blue rinse brigade