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.
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
Few things are certain in life, but one thing is for sure: Zoë Ball cannot start a sentence without preceding it with that weird teeth-sucking-then-“er” sound she makes. As a nation, we had forgotten quite how annoying it could be. But on Sunday night, for reasons likely to be forever lost to all of space and time, she was chosen to introduce the bizarre one-off special Doctor Who: Live – The Next Doctor, and we all got to be really quite irritated by it again, together, as one.
Yes, Peter Capaldi’s the next ‘Doctor Who’, lead character in the BBC’s television programme Doctor Who. It’s a bold move – brave, even. It’ll shake up a show in desperate need of being thrown into a completely different direction, and it might even raise the prospect of Capaldi using his Oscar to belt Steven Moffat across the face in an ‘I’m not saying this shit’ incident, which even if it never actually happens will forever exist in my head. In fact, I’m thinking about it right now. And again now. No, hang on…BAM! There it goes again!
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
By Ricky Young.
The Ponds throw themselves off a building, and appear alive in a familiar graveyard. For some reason.
Amy Pond: “Why always here?”
The Doctor: “Does it matter?”
Alright, I’m through with playing nice.
Here at Europe’s Best Website, our journey talking about Doctor Who began at a fortuitous moment – the Russell T. Davies era had wheezed its last and every fanboi’s wish had somehow come true; Steven Flippin’ Moffat had taken over as Executive Producer! In a genre far more inured to disappointment and mediocrity, here was an aligning of planets that just didn’t seem real – the writer of some of NuWho’s best-regarded moments being handed the reins of the BBC’s flagship show, to bend to his considerable will.
We tracked the first two of Moffat’s series; celebrated the highs, tutted at the lows, and ended last year with the hope that, having got a few issues with self-importance out of his system, the newly low-key Doctor could return to being quirky and fun and serious and clever and scary and exciting i.e why we still love it, 49 years after it began.
If you happened to see Moffat being presented with a Special Achievement Award at this year’s BAFTA’s (where it was abundantly clear that if he were in fact made out of delicious chocolate, the entire audience was going home hungry), or touched upon his now-infamous ‘The Tweeter’ presence (Sample tweet: “Thanks for saying nice things about me! If you said a bad thing about me, I’m calling the police!”), you could be forgiven for pondering quite how much of his not-inconsiderable talent is in thrall to his not-inconsiderable ego.
Three months after the announcement of Moffat taking over Doctor Who, it was announced that he would also be acting as Co-Executive Producer and sometime writer on the BBC’s new version of Sherlock, in which the classic Victorian detective would be reincarnated for our times as a boring, bug-eyed bell-end. Cleverly, each broadcast of the second series seemed to hit the airwaves with a new and rediffusable form of Holmes’ beloved cocaine, such was the rapture that greeted the three episodes of arch, incoherent filler – indeed, discussing on the internet how Sherlock survived his final plunge became one of this year’s most short-lived sensations, up there with ‘caring about sport’, and that Korean man who thinks he’s a horse.
Perhaps it’s unfair to suggest that Moffat could be spreading himself too thin – I do not, after all, know the man and the demands of his work-life in the slightest – but since the first five episodes of Series 7 represent the weakest gruel since the show came back in 2005, am I mad to ask for fewer damn ‘tease-words’ about next year’s Sherlock, and more of the juice that made Series 5 such a pleasure?
So, let the half-hearted, whey-faced griping begin!
By Ricky Young
The last time MostlyFilm talked about Doctor Who, I expressed a hope that the second half of the series would be more fun, less annoying, and feel slightly less like it was heading up its own time-tunnel. Did it succeed? If I were to follow the recent Who template, the answer would have been heralded in the article before last, with tantalising hints spread around the rest of Europe’s Best Website – most of which would turn out to be red herrings – and after I’d spent weeks talking it up as the shiznit, you’d finally read it with a bit of ‘oh, that’s quite clever’ and a bit of ‘yeah, but hang on – is that it?’
So, avoiding all that; it was more fun, it was less annoying, and it looks like the next series will veer away from its own time-tunnel at the last minute. Although if it then crashes headlong into its own time-perineum, it’ll only have itself to blame. Continue reading The Audience Who Waited