Doctor Who: In A Word

Do you know Keith Kelly Topping? We here at TVWriter™ firmly believe you should. He’s the UK’s Munchman – except that Keith very likely was first and definitely is more prolific.

In other words, we’re talking about one of our absolute favorite bloggers, a master of all he discusses…which is pretty much everything related to showbiz and politics in the UK. What we love about Keith most, though, is the way his blog, From the North, unabashedly proclaims his unqualified, overwhelming love for a little series you may have heard of called Doctor Who.

How much does he love Doctor Who? We would be glad to count the ways, but King Keith already has done so. Literally. Like so:

Doctor Who: In A Word (Parts One To Ninety One)
by Keith Tell Topping

Between now and Christmas (or, whenever this blogger finish, anyway) yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self shall be reviewing every single Doctor Who story – all two hundred and seventy five(ish) of them – using just one appropriate adjective for each. Or one verb if Keith Telly Topping can’t think of an adjective. Or, one noun if Keith Telly Topping can’t think of a verb. You feel me? So, without further ado, dear blog readers …

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See the rest of this, the first batch of “Doctor Who: In A Word” on Keith Telly Toppings’ From the North blog HERE

Cara Winter on Why DOCTOR WHO is Awesome

DrWho1

 The Anglo Files 14
by Cara Winter

As a writer, I am always fascinated by how and why certain stories ‘catch on’.  Why do some films or TV shows crash-and-burn, while others capture the imagination of legions, scoring passionate, die-hard fans?

If the world-wide reaction to the new STAR WARS trailer has taught us anything, it’s that die-hard fans are often life-long fans, as well.   But, why?  What are the components, what is the magic recipe, for creating a tale that inspires such rabid fandom?  And what’s inside the head of a super-fan; and why do they get so attached?

My current working theory is that the younger a person is when they are introduced to a great story (or, one might say, indoctrinated), the more that story sticks with them as they grow older.  The UK television hit DOCTOR WHO has rabid, die-hard super fans (called Whovians), similar to STAR WARS and STAR TREK fans.  So I thought it might be interesting to interview a young Whovian, a super-fan in the making, and pick his brain about why he loves DOCTOR WHO.

Below is the transcript of my interview with a 10-year-old Whovian named Thomas, about his love for the 1,000-year-old Doctor.

CW:  I understand you’re a big fan of the UK television series DOCTOR WHO.  Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?

THOMAS:  I AM ALMOST ELEVEN YEARS OLD.  I LIVE IN KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, AND I AM A FIFTH GRADER. 

CW:  How did you get into DOCTOR WHO

THOMAS:  I GOT INTO IT BY MY FRIEND, JOSH, WHO’S A GEEK ABOUT THESE SORTS OF THINGS. AND HE TOLD ME I REALLY NEEDED TO WATCH THE SHOW. SO I DID, AND I GOT REALLY INTO IT.

CW:  How many seasons of DOCTOR WHO have you seen? 

THOMAS:  I HAVE SEEN ALL OF THE NEW SEASONS, AND I’M WAITING FOR SEASON NINE, BUT I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY OF THE CLASSIC SEASONS ALL THE WAY THROUGH. 

CW:  I’ve actually never seen DOCTOR WHO, and I’m thinking about starting to watch. As a newbie to the show, what episode/s or season/s do you think I should watch first?  

 THOMAS: SO, I RECOMMEND WATCHING SEASON ONE, BUT NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH.  SORRY, CHRISTOPHER  ECCLESTON, BUT YOU’RE NOT MY FAVORITE DOCTOR.   I RECOMMEND WATCHING THE EPISODE “ROSE”, “DALEK” AND THEN I RECOMMEND WATCHING “THE EMPTY CHILD” AND “THE DOCTOR DANCES” AND “FATHER’S DAY” AND, UM, “BAD WOLF”, AND “THE PARTING OF THE WAYS”.  AND THEN WATCH THE REST ALL THE WAY THROUGH.  ESPECIALLY, DON’T SKIP SEASON 2, OR SEASON 3, OR SEASON 4, BECAUSE THAT HAS MY FAVORITE DOCTOR IN IT. 

CW:  What do you love most about DOCTOR WHO

THOMAS: I LIKE THAT HE GOES AROUND IN TIME AND SPACE, AND HE GETS A TON OF FRIENDS, AND HE’S REALLY OLD, AND HE CAN TRAVEL INTO ALIEN PLACES.  AND I LOVE HOW HE HAS HIS TARDIS, WHICH IS A BLUE BOX WHICH IS SMALL AND CAN PROBABLY FIT INSIDE YOUR CLOSET, BUT IT’S SUPREMELY BIG ON THE INSIDE.

CW:  Which actor so far has been your favorite Doctor? 

11th doctor

Thomas as “The Doctor”

THOMAS:  MY FAVORITE DOCTOR, BY FAR, HAS GOT TO BE DAVID TENNANT, WHO WAS THE TENTH DOCTOR, AND WAS IN SEASON 2 SEASON 3 AND SEASON 4.   I JUST REALLY LIKE HIM.  HE’S FUNNY, AND HE’S WITTY, BUT HE’S ALSO VERY SMART AT TIMES. HE’S SMART WHEN HE NEEDS TO BE SMART, AND FUNNY WHEN HE NEEDS TO BE FUNNY.  I LOVE HIS FAKE GLASSES, TOO. 

CW:  Who is your favorite companion? 

THOMAS:  WOW, THAT’S TOUGH. I’M GONNA SAY AMY POND, CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS, AND RIVER SONG.  THAT’S MY TOP THREE. 

CW:  Apparently people’s opinions vary wildly as to what actor should play the Doctor, after Peter Capaldi’s done. Do you have any opinions about this subject?  

THOMAS:  NOT REALLY, BUT – I KINDA LIKE THE YOUNGER DOCTORS, BECAUSE THEY SEEM MORE, LIKE, FROLICKY?   KINDA CRAZY-ISH?  BUT, NO, I DON’T HAVE AN OPINION AS TO WHAT ACTOR SHOULD PLAY HIM NEXT.  

CW:  Do you think the Doctor could ever be played by a woman? 

THOMAS:  UM, I DON’T KNOW.  I MEAN, LIKE, IT FEELS LIKE THE DOCTOR HAS TO PLAYED BY A MAN, BECAUSE THE DOCTOR’S LIKE, THE DOCTOR.   BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THE MASTER HAD REGENERATED INTO A WOMAN, AT ONE POINT.  SO I DON’T KNOW, IT COULD BE TOTALLY POSSIBLE!

CW:  Could the Doctor be played by a kid?

THOMAS:  UM, I DON’T KNOW.  IF THE DOCTOR WERE PLAYED BY A KID, I FEEL LIKE IT WOULD TAKE THE WHOLE POINT OUT OF HIM BEING, LIKE, 2,000 YEARS OLD.   IT SEEMS LIKE 20 YEARS OLD, I THINK, MIGHT BE THE MINIMUM.  

CW:  The Doctor has never been played by an American actor. Would you like to be considered for the role someday, despite being an American?   

THOMAS:  I DON’T KNOW.  I THINK IT WOULD BE REALLY, REALLY FUN TO BE THE DOCTOR.  BUT IT’S KIND OF LIKE HAVING THE LEAD ROLE IN A PLAY.  YOU’VE GOTTA PRACTICE EVERY DAY.  BUT IT WOULD BE FUN TO BE THE DOCTOR, AS YOUR JOB.  LIKE, GOING INTO A CROWD OF WHOVIANS AND BEING LIKE, “I’M THE DOCTOR!” AND THEN PEOPLE WOULD BE LIKE, ‘OH MY GOSH!!!’  THAT WOULD BE PRETTY COOL.

(Side bar: I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say he’d be perfect.  Check out this video Thomas made:

CW:  Would you like to write for the show?

THOMAS:  THAT WOULD BE PRETTY FUN, TOO. BECAUSE YOU CAN CHOOSE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE STORY. OR, LIKE, IF YOU’RE A CHILD, AND YOU MAKE UP ALL THESE GAMES OF DOCTOR WHO, YOU COULD MAKE THAT COME TO LIFE, IN AN EPISODE.  

CW:  Some grownups talk about seeing the show when they were younger, and it scaring the bejezus out of them. Are there any moments in any episodes that stand out, to you, as being the scariest? 

THOMAS:  I ACTUALLY CAN SAY THAT THERE IS A VERY SCARY EPISODE:   IF YOU ARE GOING TO WATCH WITH YOUR CHILD, I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND SEEING “THE EMPTY CHILD” AND “THE DOCTOR DANCES”.  IT’S a TWO-PARTER EPISODE.  A GOOD EPISODE, BUT IT IS PRETTY SCARY, IN MY OPINION.  I WAS CREEPED OUT BY IT.  ALSO, THE WEEPING ANGELS ARE PRETTY SCARY.   BUT ALL THE OTHER CREEPY EPISODES ARE, AT MOST, HALF AS CREEPY AS “THE EMPTY CHILD”. 

CW:  What’s your favorite episode or episodes?

THOMAS:  “THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR”, and “A GOOD MAN GOES TO WAR”, and “TIME OF THE DOCTOR”, and “SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY”.

CW:  If the Doctor existed in real life, and you could talk to him – what would you ask him? 

THOMAS:  PROBABLY, “COULD I TRAVEL WITH YOU?”

CW:  If he said yes, where would you go?

THOMAS: I DON’T KNOW, IT DEPENDS ON IF IT’S JUST ONE TRIP, OR AS MANY TRIPS AS I WANT.  CAUSE, I KINDA WANT TO GO BACK IN TIME, BUT ALSO WANT TO GO TO THE FUTURE.  AND I KINDA WANT TO SEE AN ALIEN PLANET.  

CW:  What character/s in the DOCTOR WHO universe do you love most, besides the Doctor himself? 

THOMAS: I REALLY LIKE CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS, WHO’S INTRODUCED IN SEASON 1, BECAUSE HE’S LIKE, TOTALLY SUAVE AND COOL.  AND HE MAKES JOKES A LOT AND STUFF.  HE CAN HOLD A SMILE WHILE BEING VERY SERIOUS.  AND  I LIKE RIVER SONG BECAUSE SHE HOLDS SO MANY SECRETS. THAT’S PRETTY COOL.

CW: What character or characters do you hate? 

THOMAS: I LIKE THE MASTER, BUT IN (SPOILER ALERT) THE MASTER’S VERSION OF MISSY, I DON’T REALLY LIKE HER. SHE JUST SEEMS SO RUTHLESS.

CW: I imagine you feel a sense of kinship with the Doctor. What is it about him, do you think, that you identify with?  Or what is it about him that you like?

THOMAS: I LIKE THAT HE’S WISE, BUT FUNNY, AND REALLY SMART.  I DON’T KNOW.  HE JUST SEEMS REALLY COOL.  HE’S REALLY NICE, HE’S FUNNY.

Well, there you have it.  Everything that makes a Whovian tick.  Everything that makes them come back for more.


Special thanks to Thomas, and Thomas’ mom, Sarah, for her assistance with this interview, as well as for the photos / video.


Cara Winter is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.

Peer Production: TIMEY WIMEY PUPPET SHOW

2 Doctors

Holy Tardis! TVWriter™ just discovered another DOCTOR WHO homage web series puppet show…and it’s every bit as wonderful as THE DOCTOR PUPPET used to be – just in a whole ‘nuther way.

Enjoy the awesomeness, Whovian puppet fanatics:

The Firstest

The Most Recentest

All the Facts & a Buncha Eps In Between

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Click on the pic. You won’t regret it. Unless you’re the Master or something.

For the FIREFLY Fan in Your Life (Among Others)

This is what TVWriter™ calls high fashion! And so does its creator, the awesomely crafty Geekonista:

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And, yeppers, we kinda think these are awesome too:

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CLICK HERE for more fashion forward fun (and you can buy the stuff too!)

Peer Production: DOCTOR WHO Comic Writer is Writing New INSPECTOR Comic

InspectorComicWriterTonyLeeby Travis Richey

Greetings, Inspectators!

It’s been quite a week after our big movie news! Seeing the press response, doing interviews, and spending every spare hour at the computer running the pre-production fundraising campaign. The campaign is going well, but we still NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Even $5 helps, and if you visit the campaign, we have a way you can win free perks even if you don’t have a lot of spare moolah!

But there was at least one big announcement that flew under the radar last weekend! The intrepid space traveler who also travels through time is not only fleeing through the web series and the feature film, but is now fleeing into comic books thanks to the help of The New York Times bestselling author and comic book writer, Tony Lee!!

Tony has written for X-Men, Spider Man, Superboy, Starship Troopers, Wallace & Gromit and Shrek, and received worldwide acclaim for his scripting of the adventures of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors of Doctor Who for IDW Publishing.

“[About two years ago] I said wouldn’t it be nice to do a comic about a space traveler who could travel through time and if you were going to do it, wouldn’t it be nice if I did it?” said Lee during the Inspector Spacetime panel at the Gallifrey One convention this last February.

Then, Tony made a pronouncement that even the rest of the panelists weren’t completely expecting, when he said, ”Hi my name is Tony Lee, and I’m the writer of the ‘Untitled Comic About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time’.”

His announcement was met with a thunderous applause.

Travis Richey (“Pretty Little Liars”, “Community”) who serves as Executive Producer and star for “The Inspector Chronicles”, said he was excited to have Lee in the Inspector’s universe. ”Tony is a huge part of the Inspector fandom, having been responsible for the very first Inspector Spacetime panel at Chicago TARDIS in November of 2011! He’s a first-class writer and we are absolutely honored and thrilled to have him on board the series!” said Richey.

Richey said that Lee will give the Inspector a presence in another medium. ”We have so many comic book fans who have helped get our series off the ground that being able to share the Inspector’s adventures in the world of comic books makes a great deal of sense,” Richey said. “Especially since there are no budgetary constraints to storytelling in comics, like there are in a web series or a movie. We can go far beyond what we would otherwise be capable of!”

Lee joins the franchise along with a group of established names such as Sylvestor McCoy (“Doctor Who”, The Hobbit movies), Robert Picardo (“Star Trek: Voyager”), Chase Masterson (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) and Mayim Bialik (“Big Bang Theory”, “Blossom”).

“Inspector fans will not be disappointed,” said Richey.

We’re thrilled to be bringing this to you, and we can’t wait to get started! But, until then:

  • And join us on Facebook for the latest news, giveaways, and TONS of behind-the-scenes content!

Earn perks even if you don’t have any money!!!

We know not every fan has more than $5 to give to the campaign (although we cannot stress this enough, even $5 helps), so we created a couple of perks that are really cool, even at the $5 level.

First, we will send every donor of $5 or more an exclusive Inspector Spacetime ringtone!  And second, you’ll get a link to see the never-before-seen audition tapes for Carrie Keranen’s screen test as Piper Tate!

THEN, when you log in to Indiegogo you’ll get a customized referral link to the campaign!  SHARE THAT LINK and we’ll be able to track how much your referrals give, and the person who refers the most donations will get the perk equal to that amount!

So, if you refer ONE person who gives us $2,000, we’ll give you BOTH an Optic Pocketknife, you’ll BOTH be in the comic book, JOIN us on set in a walk-on role, get all the autographed and swag!  Neat, right??

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic support!!

TVWriter™ Obsession Time: DOCTOR WHO’s Karen Gillan’s Next Project

Damn the writing. Full speed ahead with a bit of casting news.

Cuz…DOCTOR WHO:

Karen Gillan to Star in ABC’s Emily Kapnek Comedy ‘Selfie’
by Lesley Goldberg

karen_gillan_a_pDoctor Who alum Karen Gillan is returning to TV.

The actress, who next appears in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus, has been tapped to star in ABC’s Emily Kapnek comedy Selfie, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The modern take on My Fair Lady is inspired by the musical and tells the story of a self-obsessed 20-something woman named Eliza Dooley (Gillan) who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. After suffering a public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media “followers” than she ever imagined — but for all the wrong reasons. She then enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image.

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DOCTOR WHO’s Dirty Little Secret?

DoctorWho-cuttings-archive

Speaking of DOCTOR WHO (well, sorta), as everybody who visits TVWriter™ knows, we’re huge WHO fans. Which means that we spend way too much time searching the web for little tidbits about the show, the people who made and are making it, and its history.

A week ago we stumbled across a review of a book about the series that we’d never heard of before. When  we read the review, we saw why. JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, by Richard Marson Miwk, goes into facets of the life of a man who may well be the Old WHO’s most beloved producer and is mighty strong stuff, especially when its obvious audience is a fandom where most controversies swirl around missing episodes and continuity errors.

In many ways, this book is TMI gone wild, but after due deliberation it seems to us that its subject definitely is worth presenting and discussing, especially in light of the BBC’s ongoing investigations into the horrific sexual conduct of the late Jimmy Savile.

In other words, we’re all headed for hell anyway so let’s go down, down, down in style:

 Back in time: A frank new book about Doctor Who is full of shocking claims
by Matthew Sweet

Doctor Who is the most documented programme in the history of television. It has generated hundreds of scholarly books and articles. Over 34 years Doctor Who Magazine has examined every episode, spin-off novel, audio drama and comic strip in microscopic detail. Remnants of rejected scripts from the bottom drawers of dead screenwriters have been reconstructed and recorded. The memories of production team members have been sifted by convention delegates and the makers of DVD extras. Every dispute, tantrum, writ and nervous breakdown; every all-nighter at the keyboard or in the Colony Room has been logged, archived, discussed. We – and when I say “we”, I probably don’t mean “you” – know that Ridley Scott was originally on the rota to design the Daleks, that Tom Baker looks weird in “The Ribos Operation” because a dog bit his face down the pub, and that the galactic co-ordinates of the windswept planet of Kastria are the phone number of the Doctor Who production office, circa 1976. If the discourse of Doctor Who were the subject of a Doctor Who story, the cliffhanger would reveal that it had evolved into a pulsing entity bent on cataloguing the universe to destruction.

Deep down, most Doctor Who fans prefer this discourse to be about provisional story titles and the limited lift capacity at Lime Grove studios. Their interviewees, however, have begun to talk about more personal matters. The honesty of the former colleagues of the first Doctor, William Hartnell, has ensured that his racism is now part of the accepted narrative of his life. His onscreen companion Anneke Wills has described how she escaped from an abusive marriage to Michael Gough into the ashram of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. In the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Frazer Hines – who played Jamie, the only companion to merit a mention in Joe Orton’s diaries – talks about the stops second Doctor Patrick Troughton would make on the drive home from TV Centre: “We’d go to three different houses on the way,” he recalls. “He’d knock on the door, give this woman some money and then we’d drive off. I’d look the other way.” Slowly, all those details about scene-shifters’ strikes and monsters built from fox skulls and condoms are being augmented by stories of the everyday emotional sturm und drang of the people who walked through those sets and ran away from those monsters. This is not happening to the cast and crew of Casualty, because a world without Casualty would be only marginally different from this one – whereas for many of us, a universe without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about.

JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner will test the limits of that appetite for information. It is the frankest book ever written about Doctor Who, and contains material that could not have been published in the lifetime of its subject, a bookie’s son from Birmingham who became the programme’s longest-serving producer.

Nathan-Turner oversaw Doctor Who throughout the 1980s – its most eclectic decade, in which the style was sometimes Play for Today, sometimes Play Away. He produced a story that comprises a shot-for-shot homage to Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bete, and another in which a leather-clad Beryl Reid fights Cybermen on a spaceship. He produced episodes about a police state in which the chief torturer is a robot made of Liquorice Allsorts, and others about a giggling slug who wants the galactic broadcast rights to execution videos from a planet whose rulers are fond of phrases such as: “I want to hear you scream until I’m deaf with pleasure.”

This was also the decade in which the BBC’s institutional indifference towards Doctor Who – a factor since its birth in 1963 – hardened into hostility, with cruel consequences for Nathan-Turner. In November 1983 the series was celebrating its 20th anniversary with a Radio Times cover and a film-length special called “The Five Doctors”. Fifteen months later, Michael Grade, controller of BBC1, was publicly dismissing Nathan-Turner’s production team as complacent and their work as tired, violent and unimaginative. For Grade and his colleagues, Doctor Who and its producer had become an interlocked pair of problems. “I wanted him to fuck off and solve it – or die, really,” says Jonathan Powell, the BBC’s former head of drama, in one of the many brutal remarks collected in Richard Marson’s book. “But it had probably gone beyond solving. The only way of resuscitating it would have been to put a new producer on it – but we didn’t want to resuscitate it.” Had Powell and Grade known about some of the incidents described in JN-T, they might have been able to kill both producer and programme at a stroke.

Halfway through his story, Marson drops his bombshell. At the age of 17, he was dispatched to Television Centre to write a set report on a story called “Resurrection of the Daleks”. After the recording, he was propositioned by Nathan-Turner in the bar. The following year, on the promise of some stills from an imminent story, Marson made an after-hours visit to the Doctor Who office, where he endured a sexual assault at the hands of Nathan-Turner’s partner, Gary Downie, who worked as the show’s production manager (he died in 2006). Given the age of gay consent in 1985, this constituted a double offence. Marson’s account, though, sounds a surprising note of black humour: he hid from Downie in an adjoining room, readying to defend himself with the nearest object to hand – the script for episode two of “Timelash”. Marson knows that for Doctor Who fans, this amplifies the indignity – episode two of “Timelash” is awful.

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