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Doctor Who’s 2025 Season Wraps Filming!

Blogtor Who - Sat, 05/25/2024 - 22:00
Ncuti Gatwa’s second season as the Doctor has finished filming its seven month shoot ahead of its transmission next year

The same night as Doctor Who’s latest episode, 73 Yards, airs on BBC One, the Bad Wolf team have been celebrating another milestone. Even though we’re only halfway through this year’s season, next year’s has just finished filming! Russell T Davies revealed the news on his Instagram account as the team held a wrap party in Cardiff.

The party brings to an end a shoot that’s lasted almost exactly seven months, with the TARDIS first materialising in front of cameras on the 23rd of October last year. By comparison, filming for Gatwa’s first season ran from December 2022 to July 2023. This means it’s possible the BBC could bring next year’s run forward to March, and avoid competition with the hot summer weekends.

 

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) will be back for more next year,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf, Photo by James Pardon The new season will feature the return of Gatwa and Gibson as well as some new faces

The new season will again consist of eight episodes, preceded by a Christmas Special this December. Ncuti Gatwa is back as the Doctor, obviously, as is Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday. At some point during the season Boom guest star Varada Sethu will join them aboard the TARDIS in a new role. Meanwhile other supporting cast members will also be back for more. These include Michelle Greenidge (Carla Sunday) and Anita Dobson (Mrs Flood). The presence of Yasmin Finney (Rose Noble) at the wrap party suggests she’ll also be putting in another appearance next year too.

We don’t have the full writing team for the new run. But we do know it will be more getting more diverse. By the end of this season Russell T Davies will have written 10 of the 12 episodes of this era himself. But the next time there will be six writers, counting Davies himself and Steven Moffat, who returns for Christmas’s Joy to the World.

As usual, Davies’ team have carefully guarded next year’s secrets. Little is known yet of which returning monsters or villains we can expect to see. (Though Ncuti Gatwa himself has expressed some impatience to finally battle the Daleks.)

The new season will air on BBC One some time in 2025, alongside international streaming on Disney+.

 

 

The Doctor and Ruby ready to take on a virtual world in Dot and Bubble (c) BBC/Bad Wolf Doctor Who continues at midnight Friday BST with Dot and Bubble on iPlayer in the UK, and on Disney+ everywhere else except Ireland

 

 

 

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SPOILER REVIEW: Doctor Who: 73 Yards – Stellar Performance by Millie Gibson

Blogtor Who - Sat, 05/25/2024 - 19:33

“73 Yards” is a captivating episode that blends horror elements, political commentary, and poignant character development. The story echoes Russell T Davies’ previous works while artfully navigating themes of abandonment, resilience, and standing against tyranny. All of this is against an exceptional performance from Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday.

From the outset, “73 Yards” establishes a chilling folk-horror atmosphere. It begins with the Doctor and Ruby landing the TARDIS on a rugged Welsh coastline. As the two time-travellers marvel at the beautiful coastline, the Doctor accidentally breaks a fairy circle, causing him to vanish, leaving Ruby to fend for herself mysteriously against a spectral entity that follows her relentlessly at a distance of 73 yards—a gap that Ruby is unable to bridge herself.

Doctor Who – 73 Yards – Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) – BBC Studios, Photo by James Pardon

As daylight begins to fade without the Doctor’s return, Ruby walks to the local pub, garnering a bed for the night and quite a bit of spooky banter from its pub-goers. After scaring Ruby half to death, one of the locals offers to talk to the mysterious spectre.  He immediately runs away from fear, blaming his fear on Ruby.  What follows for the Doctor’s companion is a similar situation as in “Turn Left,” where the absence of the Doctor pushes Ruby into the spotlight, revealing her true mettle.

The Doctor fails to return, and Ruby must return to her life on Earth.  As time passes and her life continues, she must grapple with isolation. The spectre, referred to as ‘The Woman’, drives away anyone who tries to help her, including Ruby’s mother.

Evil is only ever 73 yards away in this week’s Doctor Who (c) BBC/Bad Wolf

The reappearance of UNIT and Kate Lethbridge-Stewart adds to Ruby’s frustration and lonely life. After first providing hope for the young woman, the Doctor’s allies on Earth also abandon Ruby.  Their failure to contain the supernatural threat and help the young woman solidifies Ruby’s fate.

Millie Gibson Stands Out as Ruby Sunday

Millie Gibson delivers a masterful performance, capturing Ruby’s evolution from confusion and fear to determined resilience.  “73 Yards” was the first episode filmed in the 15th Doctor’s era.  Due to Ncuti Gatwa’s schedule, the Christmas special and the first three episodes of Season 1 were filmed after “73 Yards.”  Hence, this episode shows Gibson’s first moments on the set of Doctor Who, delivering a nuanced and powerful performance.

Ruby’s journey through decades of isolation is depicted with a haunting realism. Her interactions, or lack thereof, with those around her, including her own mother, Carla, add a layer of tragedy to her story. The scene where Carla abandons Ruby, driven mad by her encounter with The Woman, is particularly heart-wrenching. It underscores the theme of abandonment and its profound impact on Ruby’s psyche.

Millie Gibson’s portrayal of Ruby is nothing short of spectacular. She captures the character’s vulnerability, strength, determination, and depth. The episode provides her with ample opportunity to showcase her range as an actress, from moments of quiet despair to scenes of intense confrontation and resolve. Brilliant work for an 18-year-old actor.

Doctor Who: 73 Yards: Ruby Sunday (MiLLIE GIBSON), BBC Studios Photo by Lara Cornell Echoes of Present-Day Political Fears

As Ruby’s life passes into her 40s, the episode takes a political turn with the introduction of Roger ap Gwilliam, a character who draws clear parallels to the authoritarian figures in Davies’ “Years & Years” and  Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone.”

Aneurin Barnard portrays ap Gwilliam as a mad, nuclear-armed Prime Minister who poses a grave threat to the safety of the world.  He is a chilling representation of modern political fears. His rise to power and the ensuing danger of nuclear war draws uncomfortable parallels to real-world political climates.

Doctor Who – 73 Yards,Roger AP Gwilliam (ANEURIN BARNARD), BBC Studios, Photo by James Pardon

This threat enables Ruby to find meaning in her life as she remembers the Doctor’s comment about the threat ap Gwilliam posed to the world.  Using her cunning and patience, Ruby saves the world with The Woman to instil fear and ultimately bring about his resignation. This clever narrative device ties the episode’s supernatural and political elements together seamlessly.

Unlike “Turn Left”, the resolution of ap Gwilliam’s threat does not end Ruby’s ordeal.  She continues to live her life into old age and revisits the TARDIS.  During her dying breathes, it is revealed that the spectre following her all her life is an older Ruby.

The spectre and perhaps Ruby’s choice to stop ap Gwilliam’s role brings time into a full circle back to the beginning, restoring the Doctor’s presence in the universe.  It brings a satisfying, albeit bittersweet, resolution to Ruby’s ordeal, echoing the complex narrative layers seen in “Turn Left.” The timey-wimey elements, characteristic of Doctor Who, are employed here to excellent effect, creating a narrative that is both engaging and thought-provoking

Susan Twist and Mrs Flood

Both Susan Twist and Mrs Flood return in this episode.  But there is no resolution to these two mysterious characters’ roles in the season’s arc.  Nor does either character move the plot forward.  Another tease from the showrunner, Russell T Davies.

In Conclusion

The episode runs deliberately slow, allowing for a gradual build-up of tension and suspense. This slow-burn approach effectively immerses the audience in Ruby’s plight and heightens the impact of the more dramatic moments. The shifts in tone, from horror to political thriller to emotional drama, are handled skillfully, ensuring that the episode remains cohesive despite its complex narrative structure.

“73 Yards” is a testament to Doctor Who’s versatility and enduring appeal. The episode explores abandonment, as Ruby’s journey reflects the fear and resilience inherent in being left utterly alone. This emotional depth, combined with the political allegory of standing up to dictators, makes for a compelling watch. 73 Yards not only reaffirms the strength of the series but also sets a high bar for future episodes.

 

 

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REVIEW: Dark Gallifrey: Morbius 2

Blogtor Who - Fri, 05/24/2024 - 22:00
Dark Gallifrey continues with Morbius Part Two as the simmering psychological thriller introduces even more Morbius to love to hate

When first announced, it was difficult to appreciate just how Dark Gallifrey was a departure from Big Finish’s usual Doctor Who ranges. Yes, it focuses on some of the Whoniverse’s greatest villains, but so do a lot of their releases. The key difference, they told us, was that this stories would be ‘writer led,’ though what that would actually mean in terms of the final product was unclear. But with the arrival of the first Dark Gallifrey story, Morbius, it’s apparent some exciting new ground is being broken.

Some Doctor Who audios adopt a classic format of 2-6 episodes of 25 minutes each. Others model themselves more on the modern show, with stories told in a single 45-60 minute installment. Big Finish’s recent box sets often loosely replicate a present day season of Doctor Who: each episode mostly standalone but with arcs bubbling away as we head to the climax. But Dark Gallifrey: Morbius looks to a format Doctor Who has never toyed with on television: the mini-series event. The serial tells one story across three hour long episodes, each released a month apart. As such, it’s got much more in common with the likes of The Missing, The Night Manager, or this year’s The Red King, than traditional Doctor Who.

 

Events progress slowly in this middle episode, marking time before a cracking cliffhanger heading into the final battle for the Proteus

The result is a series that has much space to place events on a slow burn. Writer Tim Foley and director Samuel Clemens gently raise the temperature to the boiling point. Morbius is much more atmosphere led than the stories you may be used to, taking its time to let you breath in life about the good time-ship Proteus and to get to know her crew. Every dank corridor, low ceiling, and scowling shipmate feels right at your shoulder throughout. It’s all an incredibly successful recreation of the sort of high tension character drama that’s inspired it.

Of all such shows, though, the one Morbius most resembles is 2021’s The North Water. That may have been set aboard a whaling ship navigating the dangers both aboard and around it in the Artic, and this concerned with a Time Lord warship, but both drip with the same strange and malign atmosphere. In Part One, the Proteus departed the planet Karn, final battlefield the bloodiest conflict in Time Lord history. The newly regenerated Captain Argento is suffering complications putting her in both physical and emotional pain. There’s a Sister of Karn aboard, Gilda, whose very presence makes the superstitious crew jumpy. And below decks, the last vestiges of the Cult of Morbius are prisoners of war. But they have a plan to ensure the Proteus never makes it home…

The cast of Dark Gallifrey: Morbius (c) Big Finish The ship’s crew continue to be divided in more ways than one, as Argento departs to uncover the icy planetoid’s secrets

This second chapter picks up where we left off. The Proteus has crash landed on an icy planetoid hanging impossibly in the time vortex itself. Morbius’ dark influence continues spread among the increasingly disgruntled crew. Even as Argento and Gilda lead an expedition across the ice to discover the rock’s secrets, mutiny and dissent are on the verge of breaking out at the crash site. But what is the planetoid’s strange power? And how exactly does the cultist Veritas plan to resurrect his master Morbius?

The second of three parts, this installment suffers the fate of many middle episodes in such dramas. Last month’s episode set up the premise and introduced us to its rich world of compelling characters. Next month’s finale will no doubt brings thing to a head with epic conclusions, and shock reveals a plenty. But there’s a definite sense of Part Two struggling to fill its runtime.

The subplot involving troublesome crew member Rolko’s seduction into the Cult ticks over at a glacial pace, waiting to spring the inevitable cliffhanger leading into Part Three. Meanwhile, this episode’s introduction of an AI based on Morbius’ personality, curator of a museum in its dark lord’s honour, feels like a literal plot device. A diversion existing primarily to keep Argento and Gilda away from the main plot because otherwise it can’t happen. The Shimmering Man subplot is likewise placed in time out, waiting to provide some pay off next time.

 

Morbius’ great strengths continues to be the atmosphere of all enveloping doom and the talented cast

The unique release structure of Dark Gallifrey means this factors make reviewing it a challenging process. Ultimately, this is not a series where buying one chapter of the story will leave you anything but bewildered. And certainly by itself Morbius Part Two would be a deeply unsatisfying listen.

But for those with the patience to wait a month between episodes, the dark atmosphere and idiosyncratic take on the Doctor Who universe, together with well drawn characters and a talented case given space to truly inhabit their roles, makes Morbius well worth checking out. Though Blogtor Who can’t help but suspect that many Big Finish listeners will benefit from waiting for next month’s conclusion and then binge listening the whole set together.

 

Dark Gallifrey: Morbius Part Two. Cover by Caroline Tankersley (c) Big Finish Productins Dark Gallifrey: Morbius Part Two

When disaster strikes the Proteus, Captain Argento and her crew must fight for their lives and the fate of all Time Lords. What is out there on the ice? Who hides in the impossible temple? As loyalties shift and secrets emerge, the cult of Morbius lies in wait to bring about the General’s return… 

Dark Gallifrey: Morbius – Part Two is now available to own for just £10.99 (collector’s edition CD + download) or £8.99 (download only), exclusively here.

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Doctor Who Does Folk Horror

Blogtor Who - Fri, 05/24/2024 - 16:00
This week Ruby is the outsider from the big city, trapped in a village in thrall to a local tradition that’s very real and very deadly. Yes, Doctor Who is back in the world of folk horror, but it’s far from the first time…

 

This week the Ruby plunges headfirst into the world of folk horror with 73 Yards. It’s a particular strand of the horror genre, combining many of the elements seen in 73 Yards. There’s an isolated rural community, people who talk of the ‘old ways,’ and modern day skeptics who come to regret ignoring the warnings. And there’s a secret, raw, occult culture hidden just below the surface of modern village life. But tonight’s Doctor Who is far from the first time the Time Lord and their companions have faced the dark forces of folk horror. In fact, the result has been some of the best, and scariest, Doctor Who of all.

 

The Abominable Snowmen ticks some of the boxes with its folklore, but the Tibetan setting doesn’t quite match (c) BBC The 1960s

In the 1960s, Doctor Who had stayed away from the genre of folk horror. Most Earthbound tales aimed to present some version of history, so there was little space for ghosts, ghouls, and ancient evils. A couple of stories had come close. The Time Meddler had its collection of local villagers and something odd going on in the monastery. The Abominable Snowmen had an old legend coming to life to reach out its claws towards an isolated community in the grip of superstition. The Ice Warriors’ plot featured long buried forces awakening below our feet. It also highlighted the brittle nature of the rational, scientific mind, as it broke trying to deal with such horrors.

Yet none fully embrace the folk horror tradition. Although all the stories here have a fundamentally science fiction based explanation at their core, its too much to the forefront in the 1960s entries. Time Meddler’s mysterious monk is a rather jolly, mischievous time traveller. We find out almost immediately that the Ice Warriors marooned aliens, and the community they harass more Star Trek than The Wicker Man. Abominable Snowmen ticks most of the boxes. Its pseudoscientific rationale still basically amounts to an evil spirit possessing the dead body of the community’s leader. But its Tibetan setting means there are no country pubs where the locals stop to stare, black masses, or any of the peculiarly British myths or legends.

 

In The Daemons, the local vicar turns out to the Master, attempting to summon the Devil himself (c) BBC The Dæmons

After barely dipping its toe in folk horror’s dark waters in the previous decade, Doctor Who dived deep beneath them for 1971’s The Dæmons. Part of the era when the Doctor was exiled to Earth, it leans to be the quintessential folk horror story. In fact, by changing a few names and lines of dialogue, you remove the Who element entirely. After all, it’s one of the few stories in which the TARDIS doesn’t even appear! You’d be left with an effective slice of folk horror in which an eccentric government scientist visits a remote village and encounters a satanic vicar intent on raising the devil.

Yet is also remains one of the most highly rated serials for the Third Doctor, and one of the most loved stories featuring Roger Delgado’s original Master. In the sleepy English village of Devil’s End dark forces are stirring. A man drops dead of fright in the graveyard one night, and sudden storms appear and disappear from nowhere. A policeman falls into a trance and attempts a murder. But most ominous of all, the tracks of giant cloven hooves scar the surrounding fields. But is there any connection to the mysterious new vicar, Mr. Magister, or the BBC Three team (32 years before the channel really existed) making a live report about excavating the nearby burial site known as the Devil’s Hump?

 

Despite being relatively bloodless, The Dæmons was horrific enough to receive complaints for its ‘satanic’ content

The Doctor and his assistant Jo are determined to find out. Their face brings them face to face with stone gargoyles come to sinister life, cultists performing black masses in the church crypt, and eventually the Devil himself. Compared to horror films of the period like Blood on Satan’s Claw, the action’s relatively sanitised. The satanic chants consist of Mary Had a Little Lamb recited backwards and the human sacrifices never quite get around to sticking the knife in. But that just goes to prove that you don’t need gore and sex to evoke the genre’s timeless creepiness.

The Dæmons’ only slight weakness is its pseudo-scientific explanations. They’re to be expected in Doctor Who. But the Doctor’s brittle annoyance as he insists there’s no such thing as witchcraft, merely the use of ritual to focus psychic energies to effect events at a distance, feels misplaced. After all he’s essentially criticising others for simply giving the same thing a different name.

 

In Image of the Fendahl, the Doctor encounters the cosmic personification of Death itself (c) BBC Image of the Fendahl

The next Doctor would also embrace the world of folk horror with great results. However, while Tom Baker’s first three seasons as the Time Lord are usually associated with gothic horror, it wasn’t until producer Graham Williams took the helm that folk horror came to the fore. Image of the Fendahl debuted halfway through Williams’ first season for Hallowe’en in 1978. Despite the new team’s later association with making Who sillier and funnier than before, this early story is about as nerve shreddingly terrifying as the show has ever gotten, giving Blink a run for its money.

The Doctor and his friend Leela have a typical enough entry into the story. Detecting the running of a dangerous time scanner in the present day, the TARDIS lands in the vicinity of the Fetch Priory manor house. But soon the pair realize they’ve landed in the middle of a much darker adventure. Something in the woods is killing people, their corpses decomposing at an advanced rate. A human skull, millions of years older than is even possible, is possessing people and causing freakish events in the area. A group of cultists have infiltrated the scientific team experimenting on the skull. Their plot is nothing less than to use it in a dark ritual to summon Death itself.

The Doctor knows what it is that he and Leela are facing. And he is afraid. So very, very afraid.

 

Despite all the scientific know-how at his disposal, the Doctor relies on the help of salt wielding local wise woman Ma Tyler and her knowledge of the Old Ways

That fear is part of what elevates Image of the Fendahl to its place as one of the scariest stories. Tom Baker sells every atom of the Doctor’s incredible pain as the skull psychically attacks him. Nor is the Time Lord immune to the entity’s ability to attack with fear, rooted to the spot in terror as its Fendahleen monsters, worthy of HP Lovecraft, close in. Meanwhile, his very real doubt that he can save the world this time adds to the doom laden atmosphere.  Even free will is brought into question, as the plot reveals that the Fendahl has manipulated the entire existence of everyone present to bring them here to play their part in its intricate plot.

That sense of inevitability is a recurring trait of the best folk horror. The question is often not how the heroes prevail. Rather it’s how they’ll fall before the inexplicable and unknowable forces ranged against them. Local wise woman Ma Tyler is another familiar folk horror archetype. She knows the Old Ways, and that knowledge is the Doctor’s greatest ally in the fight. Well along with her shotgun loaded with salt, and Leela and her sharp warrior’s knife, that is.

 

Could the Fendahl be the One Who Waits? And whose life might it have manipulated to provide the God of Death with the perfect human vessel this time?

It’s no wonder that we might well see the Fendahl again one day. Russell T Davies has previously picked it out as a personal favourite. He’s even suggested he has an idea for a sequel he never got to use during his first stint as showrunner.  Certainly the Williams era is clearly a key influence on the season so far. While the Fendahl, as the cosmic personification of the concept of Death, would sit comfortably among Maestro and the Toymaker.

You could even say there’s no better title for Death than ‘The One Who Waits…’

 

 

The locals attempt to sacrifice the Doctor at the Nine Travellers stone circle in The Stones of Blood (c) BBC The Stones of Blood

The next season’s The Stones of Blood brought more folk horror for the Fourth Doctor and his latest companions, his fellow Time Lord Romana and his robot dog K9, continued their quest for the Key to Time. Back in the heartlands of folk horror again, they investigate an ancient stone circle in Cornwall with a sinister secret. Despite the name, the number of stones in the Nine Travellers keeps changing, while a local cult of druids make blood sacrifices to the monoliths in worship of the Celtic death god the Cailleach.

The notion of bloodthirsty stones roaming the land for prey sounds more ridiculous than scary. But in one of Doctor Who’s most horrific scenes ever a couple camping near by are attacked in the night, drained of life, their flesh disappearing to expose their bones as they scream in terror. Old paintings in the local manor house contain clues to the ancient conspiracy. Ghostly voices in the mist call the unwary to their doom, and ravens remain ever watchful. Then there’s the elderly archeologist Professor Amelia Rumford on hand to assist the Doctor and Romana, with enough spark and charm to rival Wilfred Mott. It’s all classic folk horror stuff.

At least for the first half. Though the second two episodes are as purely entertaining the first two, they take a decided step away from folk horror. Unusually for one of these stories, the science fiction rationales for all the horror elements are explained midway through. From there on out it’s a fun, but rather ordinary, Doctor Who adventure about lost spaceships parked in hyperspace, and a legal system surrendered to overly literal AIs.

K9 & Company

As a footnote, this period features one last folk horror connection. The pilot for K9 & Company, the first attempt at a spin-off centered around Sarah Jane Smith, never led to a series. However, it did give us Sarah Jane and K9 Mk III taking on cultists in village full of secrets. Remarkably it contains no science fiction or supernatural elements at all. Well, apart from the tin dog in the middle of it all. The result is a little Scooby Doo as Sarah Jane unmasks which of the locals would have gotten away with it if not for those meddling kids.

Though hilariously, it’s implied that one of the red herrings Sarah Jane investigates are actually just the local swingers.

 

The crumbling walls of the village church hold a sinister secret in The Awakening (c) BBC The Awakening

As it entered the 1980s Doctor Who, more than ever, was a show built around a character who loves to explain things. Folk horror is often most unnerving when there are no clear explanations at all. Its protagonists are frequently adrift, aware they’re trapped in a world with definite rules, but only a vague idea what they are. The Awakening is one of the few stories on this list to capture that element of the genre. It’s all the creepier for it, too.

The Fifth Doctor brings Tegan and Turlough to visit Tegan’s grandfather in the village of Little Hodcombe. The whole community is in the throes of preparing for the upcoming recreation of a Civil War battle that took place there centuries before. But there’s something sinister about their zeal. Local magistrate Sir George Hutchinson has become obsessed with recreating the battle and vicious to anyone uninterested in taking part. Figures are stepping out of the past into the present day with no explanation, like living ghosts. And as both Sir George’s mania and the villagers’ violence continues to build, it becomes clear the old battlefield will see new blood spilled.

Worst of all, Tegan is being lined up to be burned alive as the human sacrifice to anoint proceedings…

 

There’s a basic SF explanation provided, but ultimately the Malus is a malign force soaked in the battlefield blood of generations

While The Awakening does provide some explanation for events, they’re more opaque than usual. Everyone has fallen under the influence of the Malus, a giant creature long buried under the village and which feeds on blood, fear, and death. We’re told it’s an alien machine fallen to Earth before the village was constructed above it. But that hardly matters. With no dialogue, it appears a huge demonic face, leering through the cracks in the wall of the village church. It’s as unknowable as it is silent, and we experience its plans through the feverish malice of those it infects.

Naturally, by the closing scenes the Doctor has banished the Malus. But the unease lingers. After all, it wasn’t controlling the villages but rather bringing forth their worst qualities. The real darkness in The Awakening lies inside all human beings, and can awake again one day…

 

The vicar’s faith may not be strong enough to defend the village church from an ancient curse in The Curse of Fenric (c) BBC The Curse of Fenric

Doctor Who’s final brush with folk horror of the 20th century came in its final season with The Curse of Fenric. In some ways, the story steps away from the usual motifs. An isolated village, unfriendly to strangers, becomes a World War II naval base on full alert. Where folk horror might usually have a suspect local lord or a sinister vicar, Fenric gives us a scheming CO and a secretive computer scientist. The catalyst for most of the old stories is a new arrival unprepared for the horrors to come. However, here the Seventh Doctor arrives already knowing more than almost anybody else.

But plenty of the familiar tropes still abound. Two young women ignore the warnings of the Bad Things waiting in the dark waters for those who step off the path of righteousness and return as vampires. A Christian church mysteriously has ancient pagan runes carved into its stones. Moreover, the very act of deciphering them may be enough to unleash the evil they hold back. The stones in the graveyard tell their own story of a curse passed down through the centuries. And an ancient evil that’s dwelt under everyone’s feet this entire time, rises. An evil which can’t be defeated by any power on Earth, but can only be outwitted by navigating the rules it sets itself.

Probably what sets Fenric apart from standard folk horror, and into the world of Doctor Who, is the scope. Because as the Doctor plays chess against a devil, it’s not a single soul, or even a village, at stake but the entire planet.

 

Human Nature features some folk horror imagery but it is much more concerned with its emotional dilemmas (c) BBC Doctor Who returns

When Doctor Who returned in 2005 it was more accessible than ever before. It was also entering a media environment where there lines weren’t so much drawn in the sand as in the concrete. Television for mature audiences was more violent and explicit than ever before. But family fare like Doctor Who was expected to be much more careful about what it put on screen. In the past, the Doctor picking up a gun and threatening, even actually shooting, someone would have been an uncharacteristic rarity. Now, it was strictly impossible. Similarly, while Doctor Who could still send smaller members of the audience scuttling behind the sofa, it was much more careful about how it did so.

Perhaps that’s why it’s rarely gone full folk horror since its return. There have certainly been stories that have danced around the edges of the genre though. Tooth and Claw is one of the closest. It has a wild countryside setting, cultists, and the terrible local legend they worship which turns out to be real. Yet the way it restricts itself to the corridors of Torchwood House, advances its plot mainly by running around those corridors at speed, and focuses on aristocrats and royalty as its main characters, prevents it from really building that folk horror atmosphere. Rather its an adventure story runaround which borrows some the elements.

 

Folk Horror… in space?

In many ways the Tenth Doctor era comes closest later in Season Two with The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. There’s a community living over a literal pit holding a literally satanic secret. Impossibly old runes threaten to overtake the mind and soul of anyone foolish enough to read them, while other such markings provide the clue to how to defeat the evil. The bulk of the locals become pawns of the evil force. The mob they form threatens to destroy those few left with the will to resist the influence. And above all, it drips with that unique folk horror sense of creeping dread with every shot, and every note of the unnerving soundtrack.

Really, it’s just the little matter of it being set thousands of years in the future, on a dead planet in orbit a black hole. Throw in a village pub and a few locals armed with pitchforks and you’d have peak folk horror.

Meanwhile, the two part Human Nature/The Family of Blood places the dilemma of “John Smith,” the Doctor’s disguise so good even he doesn’t know he’s the Doctor at the forefront. So much so, that everything else really only exists to explore it. The Family of Blood themselves are recent arrivals from outer space rather than the awakening of some ancient force. As a result, despite some aspects like the village, isolated school, and above all, sinister scarecrows stalking the land, it’s not really folk horror.

 

Willa Twiston (TILLY STEELE) in The Witchfinders, a classic folk horror template of villagers in the grip of witchy paranoia (c) BBC The Witchfinders

This all means that 2018’s The Witchfinders stands alone as the only true folk horror entry in Doctor Who’s second life. Its early 17th century setting is in common with many of the folk horror greats. Its subject matter of witches and those that hunt them is also familiar territory with folk horror while even the title calls to mind classic 1968 film Witchfinder General. Evil is unleashed by chopping down a tree despite dire warnings not to, another classic folk horror tradition.

Forces darker and more terrible than humanity can understand lie dormant below our feet. In fact, the very ground itself turns against the human race in The Witchfinders, the sentient mud filling up the dead to cleanse the land of the living. The subtext is that without the consent of the land they farm, no community can survive. That’s a message woven through many of the old tales.

Meanwhile, there are regular competitions bobbing for apples to celebrate witch-killing day. The local lady of the manor acts as a rabble rousing populist for the villagers, but, in classic style, is in fact a corruption and the source of their problems. And the very real supernatural threat is also used as cover to even some old scores between rivals.

Indeed, village life is so well sketched that the inevitable explanations involving aliens, and a guest turn by the actual King of England and Scotland, can’t overwhelm the folk horror vibes.

If The Witchfinders has a weak spot in his folk horror credentials it’s that it’s just not scary enough.

 

Evil is only every 73 yards away in this week’s Doctor Who (c) BBC/Bad Wolf 73 Yards

All this time travelling through Doctor Who history brings us back to tonight and 73 Yards. Assuming it’s not in fact a reboot of a classic British Saturday morning kids show (ask your local Generation X elder), it’s on course to be the show’s closest brush with folk horror in decades.

The Doctor and Ruby Sunday arrive on the clifftops of west Wales. But in the village pub, Y Pren Marw, the villagers live in fear of a scroll bearing the legend “Rest in peace, Mad Jack.” The local wise woman warns that the Spiteful One moves through the gaps in the world. And something is coming. Who is the mysterious Roger ap Gwilliam? What has happened to place supernatural powers in ascendance and the forces of science in retreat? 

Questions none of us have the answers to. Until tonight. See you on the other side!

 

The TARDIS becomes stranded in a remote Welsh village in 73 Yards (c) BBC/Bad Wolf Doctor Who continues on Friday at midnight BST with 73 Yards on iPlayer in the UK, and on Disney+ everywhere else except Ireland

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Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Doctor Who Viewing Figures: Premiere +7s and Boom Overnights

Blogtor Who - Thu, 05/23/2024 - 23:00
The first +7 viewing figures of the new season cast doubt on the BBC’s iPlayer first strategy

 

This year has seen Doctor Who’s transmission format’s most radical shakeup since its 2005 return as 45 minute episodes. The announcement that episodes would drop first on iPlayer on Friday nights at midnight, before broadcasting as normal on Saturday evenings on BBC One, was initially met with concern on social media. Yet Russell T Davies gave spirited defences of the strategy in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine and elsewhere. However, his vision of kids staying up until 2am as ‘event’ television clearly hasn’t come to pass. The +7 viewing figures for the double bill premiere show most British fans preferred their beds.

Ultimately only a fraction of the audience considers the middle of the night prime Doctor Who viewing time. Space Babies and The Devil’s Chord was watched by 0.14m and 0.12m people on iPlayer respectively, pre-transmission on BBC One. That number would merely be a footnote in the details if the BBC One overnights had maintained their normal level. But instead they fell in a way that caused speculation that maybe large numbers of people had watched the midnight drop after all.

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) & Captain Poppy in Space Babies,BBC STUDIOS,James Pardon The midnight release combined with Americans logging on social media 18 hours before the average British fan arguably means Doctor Who no longer has ‘appointment TV’ status in the UK

It’s difficult to unwind all the factors that may have played a part in these viewing figures. But certainly, with time-shifting an ever more important part of people’s viewing habits, one of the things holding overnights of any show together is that communal experience. When people rush to their televisions on a Saturday evening to watch Doctor Who it’s to see if first. To be part of the community watching it together with most other people. And, following that, to be part of the same unfolding conversation, whether on wider social media or their own friend groups.

While 140,000 odd people is small as a fraction of the audience, it’s enough to rob that later television showing of its immediacy. It’s an issue exacerbated by the fact that social media, of course, knows few borders. With a 7pm Eastern drop time much more convenient for the average American fan, many British fans were waking up to spoilers all around. To a sense that the fan conversation had already moved past them as they slept.

The result has perhaps been that Doctor Who is no longer appointment television in the UK, but something to get around to watching eventually.

 

The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) & Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) visit Abbey Road in The Devil’s Chord ,BBC STUDIOS 2023,Natalie Seery The show received strong time-shifting in the week since transmission, but not enough to offset the original low overnight

That’s an interpretation supported somewhat by the +7 viewing figures for the premiere night. Doctor Who is still getting strong time-shifting in the week after transmission. An additional 1.32m people watched Space Babies on catch-up in the week since transmission, bringing it to a total +7 of 4.01m, a 57.3% increase on the overnight. Similarly an extra 1.37m caught up on The Devil’s Chord for a +7 total of 3.91m, a 61.6% increase on the overnight.

This means that Devil’s Chord successfully maintained the audience of the first half of the premiere, dropping just 0.1m (2.5%).

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON), Eric & The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) in Space Babies,BBC STUDIOS,James Pardon. Ruby cuddles Eric in her arms as the Doctor stands next to them, looking into the middle distance with a hopeful expression on his face as they all stand in a space station corridor The new summer time slot played its part too, as illustrated by Space Babies keeping a Top 10 slot compared to other summer fare

Comparisons to the previous season are less encouraging however. Space Babies’ +7 result is 1.8m (30.1%) lower than the Flux premiere The Halloween Apocalypse. Similarly The Devil’s Chord is down 1.37m (23.8%), season on season, from War of the Sontarans. Of course this is partly due to the shift in schedule from the dark winter months to some of the best summer weather the UK has had so far this year.

This is underlined by the new episodes’ chart positions. The two Flux episodes charted at #8 and #13. Despite getting an average of 1.6m fewer viewers than this year, Space Babies and Devil’s Chord placed much the same – #10 and #12 respectively.

With the weather such a factor, the +28 results next month will make particularly interesting reading. Could the first rainy weekend of the summer lead to a peak time for binge watching? We’ll have to see.

But it’s no wonder this summer slot was not the Bad Wolf team’s first choice. Had the original plan to show these episodes near the start of the year worked out, we might have been looking at very different viewing figures. But a longer than originally expected post-production period ultimately made that option impossible. (Though Blogtor can’t help but speculate that they’ll do everything possible to secure that January slot for next year.)

 

Splice (CAOILINN SPRINGALL), in Boom,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon Overnight viewing figures for Boom are also available

This brings us up to date to last weekend’s Boom. Steven Moffat’s return to Doctor Who has an initial overnight was 2.04m viewers. We won’t know the pre-transmission number until next week but they will presumably be lower than for the premiere. This is down 0.38m (15.7%) from the previous episode. In most circumstances that would be a relatively standard, even modest, drop for a third episode. But with overnight viewing figures this season already lower than normal (Boom is down 1.72m (44.7%) from Once, Upon Time) Doctor Who doesn’t have much room to move.

With the British weather starting to break a little, we may well get our first real sense of its impact with Boom’s +7 next week.

 

Jocelyn (GOLDA ROSHEUVEL),tries to keep Babystation Beta going in Space Babies BBC STUDIOS AND BAD WOLF,Photo by James Pardon Official viewing figures for Disney+ might not be available, but chart positions give us a hint of how Doctor Who is performing on the platform

Finally, a word about our more frequently asked question – what about Disney+? UK ratings are compiled by BARB, a completely independent and impartial body. Internationally, however, Disney+ hardly, if ever, gives concrete numbers for its shows. This leaves us a little in the dark with only unreliable hints to go by. Those hints mainly take the form of Doctor Who’s Disney+ chart position in various countries. This means we can only get a sense of how Doctor Who is performing relative to other shows on Disney+. Moreover, these charts are not broken down by episode. So for example, yesterday Doctor Who was the #6 TV show on Disney+ in the United States. But that included all six episodes on the platform, not just Boom. Similarly, The Simpsons is above it at #2 but that includes any new views of every Simpsons episode ever – all 767 of them.

This means we can’t give a solid answer to the question of how each new episode is being received by the international audience. But we can get a sense of the overall vibe, for want of a better word.

With charts updated daily we can say that since Space Babies dropped, Doctor Who has most days been one of Disney+’s top ten most streamed shows in the US. When it does fall out of the Top Ten it’s generally on the Wednesday and/or Thursday. Which does suggest that the weekly drop of new episodes is boosting it each Friday.

 

The Devil’s Chord featured a cameo by Strictly Come Dancing stars Shirley Ballas and Johannes Radebe,BBC STUDIOS,James Pardon Since the season began Doctor Who has maintained a near constant presence in the Disney+ Top 10 chart for most countries

Disney+ is available in 150 different countries an exhaustive check is impractical. But a few spot checks tell a similar story around the globe. Doctor Who was #4 in Australia, #3 in Brazil, #9 in Canada, #10 in Estonia, #5 in France, #8 in Germany, #8 in Italy, #9 in Luxembourg, #4 in New Zealand, and so on…

The overall picture then, would seem to be of Doctor Who doing well for Disney+, especially for a show much cheaper to produce that some of its Marvel and Lucasfilm stablemates. But we should also be cautious. Streamers often base their judgements by how many new subscribers they get, and how many of them to link, by some calculation, to a given show. How many people around the world took out a Disney+ subscription because of Doctor Who? More to the point, how many people do Disney think did so?

After decades of being able to be quite precise about Doctor Who’s key performance indicators, we’ve entered a new era where the picture will only become truly clear over time.

 

The TARDIS becomes stranded in a remote Welsh village in 73 Yards (c) BBC/Bad Wolf Doctor Who continues at midnight Friday BST with 73 Yards on iPlayer in the UK, and on Disney+ everywhere else except Ireland

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Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Doctor Who Magazine – #604 Is Out Now

Blogtor Who - Thu, 05/23/2024 - 12:12

As the Doctor Who universe continues to expand and evolve, fans eagerly anticipate each edition of Doctor Who Magazine. Issue #604 is no exception, promising a deep dive into the rich tapestry of stories, characters, and adventures that have made the series a global phenomenon

Inside this issue

Previews of the new episodes broadcast this month. Russell T Davies talks about 73 Yards and Dot and Bubble; we reveal a tantalising glimpse at the recording of Rogue and whet your appetite for the season finale – The Legend of Ruby Sunday/Empire of Death.

Jonathan Groff talks about his role in Rogue and his first impressions of watching An Unearthly Child…

A day in the life of Wolf Studios… join DWM on the set of Space Babies…

Script to Screen  – on realising the Baby Station crew.

Behind the scenes on The Devil’s Chord – including contributions from actors who played the Beatles, Jinkx Monsoon, Russell T Davies, Murray Gold… plus Shirley Ballas and Johannes!

Letter from the Showrunner – Russell T Davies reports from New York as he publicises the return of Doctor Who in the US.

We catch up with recurring guest star Susan Twist.

Steven Moffat discusses some of the philosophical ideas at the heart of Boom…

“Are You My Mummy?” Nineteen years on, Time-Space Visualiser looks back at the series’ first meme…

Loose Ends – we expand upon the Twelfth Doctor’s Regency adventures this month.

The Fact of Fiction – a scene-by-scene look back at First Doctor story, The Rescue.

The first part of a brand-new comic strip featuring the Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby.

Gallifrey Guardian – Meet the new companion, played by Varada Sethu!

Reviewed: the animated Celestial Toymaker on DVD and Blu-ray, and all the latest audio releases.

Other Worlds – the essential guide to new stories in Doctor Who’s expanded universe.

Win Blu-rays and the latest audio releases!

Doctor Who Magazine Issue 604 is on sale Thursday, 23 May, from panini.co.uk and WH Smith priced £7.99 (UK).

Grab your copy today and join the adventure!

 

 

 

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Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Grand Finale of Doctor Who Starring Ncuti Gatwa to Hit Cinemas Across the UK!

Blogtor Who - Wed, 05/22/2024 - 15:32

Hold onto your sonic screwdrivers, Whovians! BBC Studios and CinemaLive are teaming up to bring the climactic finale of Ncuti Gatwa’s debut season as the Doctor to cinemas across the UK on 21st June 2024. This event promises to be a spectacular celebration of all things Doctor Who, offering fans a chance to experience the epic conclusion on the big screen.

An Explosive Return and an Epic Finale

Doctor Who has stormed back onto our screens this month, with Ncuti Gatwa’s first full season receiving rave reviews from fans and critics alike. The grand finale, a two-part epic, will begin at 11pm on 21st June with “The Legend of Ruby Sunday,” which will have aired on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 15th June. As the clock strikes midnight, audiences will be treated to the final episode, “Empire of Death,” showcasing the ultimate showdown on the grandest stage.

A Word from the Showrunner

Russell T Davies, the mastermind behind this thrilling season, couldn’t contain his excitement: “This is a great big rip-roaring finale with the Doctor, Ruby, and friends old and new fighting the greatest enemy of their lives. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!”

Celebrating the Whoniverse in Style

Dominic Walker, Global Business Director at BBC Studios, shared the enthusiasm: “We’re delighted to be working with CinemaLive at such an exciting time for Doctor Who to bring the finale of Ncuti Gatwa’s first season as the Doctor to the big screen across the UK. Whovians are such a big part of Doctor Who, so it was important for us to celebrate the end of the series with an event for fans to come together and celebrate all things Whoniverse. We can’t wait for fans to see what is in store to conclude the Fifteenth Doctor’s first season.”

An Unmissable Cinematic Experience

John Travers, Head of Acquisitions and Distribution for CinemaLive, echoed the sentiment: “We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with BBC Studios to offer fans of Doctor Who this unique opportunity to come together and share the incredible experience of watching the epic season finale on the big screen.”

Get Your Tickets!

Tickets for this extraordinary event go on sale at 9am on Thursday, 23rd May. Fans will need to prebook, so don’t miss out! You can secure your tickets at http://www.doctorwhoincinemas.co.uk.

A Global Phenomenon

Produced by Bad Wolf with BBC Studios for BBC and Disney Branded Television, Doctor Who Season One is currently available on BBC One and iPlayer in the UK, and on Disney+ in other parts of the world where available.

Prepare yourselves for an unforgettable night as the Doctor’s latest adventures reach a dramatic conclusion. See you at the cinema, and remember – always bring a banana to a party!

The post Grand Finale of Doctor Who Starring Ncuti Gatwa to Hit Cinemas Across the UK! appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Forbidden Planet Expands Doctor Who Fifteenth Doctor Range

Blogtor Who - Mon, 05/20/2024 - 22:00
Forbidden Planet have added exclusive items from the season’s first three episodes to their Fifteenth Doctor range

Forbidden Planet’s exclusive range of Doctor Who merchandise continues with new items devoted to the first three episodes of the 2024 season. The designs feature two different images of the Bogeyman from Space Babies, two featuring The Devil’s Chord’s Maestro, and two based on the Villengard Ambulance from Boom.

You can get these designs on t-shirts, mugs, coasters, pin-badges, art prints and key rings.

The full list of items is:
  • The Bogeyman photo t-shirt (unisex, women, and child fits)
  • The Bogeyman photo art print
  • The Bogeyman illustration t-shirt (unisex, women, and child fits)
  • The Bogeyman illustration pin badge
  • Introducing Maestro t-shirt (unisex, women, and child fits)
  • Introducing Maestro art print
  • Maestro illustration t-shirt (unisex, women, and child fits)
  • Maestro illustration pin badge
  • Maestro illustration mug
  • Maestro illustration coaster
  • Maestro illustration keychain
  • Villengard Logo t-shirt (unisex fit)
  • Villengard Ambulance pin badge

You can shop the full collection at the Forbidden Planet Doctor Who Season One page now.

New pieces of merchandise will be added to the Forbidden Planet Doctor Who collection as the series continues. In the meantime, fans attending MCM Comic Con in London this weekend can seize the opportunity to get even more merchandise. Items on sale at the convention will include exclusive designs on t-shirts, coasters, art prints, pin badges, key-rings and postcards. Any stock remaining at the end of the convention will be put on the Forbidden Planet site next week while stocks last.

 

MCM exclusive merchandise from Forbidden Planet include
  • The Fifteenth Doctor t-shirt (unisex)
  • The Fifteenth Doctor coaster
  • “Honey I’m Here for Fun” t-shirt (unisex)
  • “Honey I’m Here for Fun” art print
  • “Honey I’m Here for Fun” coaster
  • The TARDIS t-shirt (unisex)
  • The TARDIS pin badge
  • “Hi There, I’m the Doctor” pin badge
  • Sonic Screwdriver pin badge
  • Sonic Screwdriver key-ring
There’s also a set of postcards on sale, containing eight postcards with the following designs:
  • The Fifteenth Doctor
  • “Honey I’m Here for Fun”
  • “Hi There, I’m the Doctor”
  • The TARDIS
  • The Doctor, Ruby and TARDIS silhouette
  • “Who Are You?” (Ruby)
  • The Goblin King
  • “Rock it Janice!”

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Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1: Black and White Variant!

Blogtor Who - Mon, 05/20/2024 - 19:00
Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1 will be available in a special variant sketch cover by Artgem

 

Titan Comics have added yet another cover to their lineup for the launch of their new Doctor Who comic. Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1 now come in nine different covers. The latest is by main Cover A artist Stanley ‘Artgem’ Lau. This time, though, it features his original rough sketch of what become Cover A, and is presented ‘clean’ without the logo and indica.

Ruby Sunday has had her first visit to Earth’s past in The Devil’s Chord. She’s been in space in Space Babies. And she’s stepped foot on an alien world, and looked up upon unfamiliar stars in Boom. But now she meets one of her new friend’s oldest, most classic, foes for the first time. The Cybermen are back! But what are the emotional cyborgs scheming this time? And how will our hero and his latest companion defeat them once again!?

The ongoing series debuts next month from the new team of writer Dan Watters (Batman: Urban Legends), artist Kelsey Ramsay (Good Deeds), and colourist Valentia Bianconi (Dogs of London). All covers for the first issue are available to pre-order from Forbidden Planet and Previews now. Issue 1 arrives on the 26th of June.

The full list of covers are:

  • Cover A is by Stanley ‘Artgem’ Lau (Action Comics, Supergirl, Heat Seeker)
  • Cover B is a photo cover featuring the Cybermen
  • Cover C is by Joshua Swaby (Ms Marvel, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra)
  • Cover D is by Christopher Jones (Young Justice, Detective Comics)
  • Cover E is by Alex Moore (Red Sonja, Cat Fight, Killer Queens)
  • Cover F uses the same Artgem art as Cover A but with foil print
  • Cover G features a large diamond logo on a black background
  • Cover H is a blank cover suitable for getting artists to sketch on at conventions
  • Cover I uses the initial pencil and ink sketch for Artgem’s Cover A

 

Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1. Cover A by Stanley ‘Artgerm’ Lau (c) Titan Comics Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1

Join the Fifteenth Doctor in a new comic book adventure! The Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday have followed a mysterious signal to a shopping mall in the last days of Earth. It’s sure to be a trap, but to find the source, The Doctor must face his greatest fears…

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Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

SPOILER REVIEW: Doctor Who: Boom Shines with Depth and Emotion

Blogtor Who - Sat, 05/18/2024 - 18:38

Steven Moffat has once again delivered another classic Doctor Who episode. Doctor Who: Boom is brilliant.   It is the best episode the programme has produced in the past several years and will rank high in any list of Doctor Who episodes. It is dark, emotional and “woke”, taking on everything from capitalism, arms manufacturers, and artificial intelligence algorithms to blind faith.   This is Moffat’s hero without a gun but with an extra heart.

“It’s hard to talk about the importance of an imaginary hero. But heroes ARE important: Heroes tell us something about ourselves. History tells us who we used to be, documentaries tell us who we are now; but heroes tell us who we WANT to be. And a lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero, they didn’t give him a gun–they gave him a screwdriver to fix things. They didn’t give him a tank or a warship or an x-wing fighter–they gave him a box from which you can call for help. And they didn’t give him a superpower or pointy ears or a heat-ray–they gave him an extra HEART. They gave him two hearts! And that’s an extraordinary thing. There will never come a time when we don’t need a hero like the Doctor.”

Steven Moffat

Doctor Who – Boom, John (JOE ANDERSON) Carson (MAJID MEHDIZADEH-VALOUJERDY), BBC Studios/Bad Wolf, James Pardon

Boom has a simple plot. The Doctor and Ruby arrive at a war-torn planet. While racing towards a cry for help, the Doctor gets captured on a landmine. With Ruby’s help, he talks himself out of a no-win situation, ends the battle and saves countless lives. Most of the episode is set on one stage, in a battle-damaged quarry. It is an episode that needs little of the huge Disney budget but instead garners its magic from the story, the characters, and the talent of the actors.

The episode sees the return of the Anglican Marines from the Eleventh Doctor’s era. Two Marines wearing white priest collars are wandering through a minefield on Kasterion 3, attempting to get back to base. John Francis Vatar, the elder of the two, is temporarily blinded and being led by his younger companion, Carson.

Vatar is unique; he is a caring single father with a daughter back at the base. Even amidst this failed mission and his injuries, he calls his daughter Splice to perform the mundane of family rituals, the bedtime routine. Within minutes, the mission home goes wrong, and both men are dead.

Carson falls onto a landmine, and the Marines’ own AI Medic euthanises Vatar due to his injuries. The four-week recovery time for his eyes is not a cost-effective use of resources, and he is promptly compressed into a tube casket. The TARDIS is parked on the planet, and Vatar’s death cries bring the Doctor running into the battleground to help. But instead of being able to save Vatar, he finds himself in peril as he is trapped on an unexploded landmine.   And so, the story begins.

The Doctor

This is Ncuti Gatwa’s best outing as the Doctor. It usually takes a few episodes before the actor who has been handed the keys to the TARDIS makes his own, and in Boom, he has found his stride. Everything Gatwa does in the episode works. He has a perfect delivery of his lines, a beautiful play of emotions as he snaps in frustration, anger and fear for his life. The familiar beats of the Doctor’s rant against war and weaponry exist with a refreshing modern delivery.

“I’m a much bigger bang than you bargained for. I’m a lot more explosive than I look, and, honey, I know how I look. Put a quantum chain reaction through me, and I will shatter this silly little battlefield of yours into dust. All of it, in a heartbeat, into dust..”

 The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa), Doctor Who: Boom

Doctor Who Boom,The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) ,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon

Gatwa’s voice drips with disdain as the Doctor lambasts another Anglican Marine, Mundy Flynn (Vasada Sethu), about her blind faith. The Marines’ lack of questioning has resulted in them being sent to an uninhabited planet, battling the weapons they purchased. Their death count is determined by the Villengard Corporation’s algorithm, designed to maximise their customers’ spending on weaponry according to their budget.   (Aside – If Villengard sounds familiar, recall an exchange between Captain Jack (John Barrowman & the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) about a newly created banana grove.) Similarities parallel today’s military conflicts, where the military corporations have shifted from the Cold War arms race to supplying conflict worldwide.

Ruby Sunday

Ruby Sunday spends a significant portion of the episode dead or dying on the quarry floor; however, during the time she is vertical, she has a huge impact.   There is always a comparison to previous companions, but Millie Gibson has created a unique character. As a young 19-year-old human, she possesses an extraordinary amount of self-confidence, unlike some previous companions; she does not need the Doctor and again demonstrates this as she refuses to back away from the landmine peril.

The Doctor: “Okay, throw it to me.”

Ruby: “No.”

The Doctor: “Throw it to my right hand. I need to use it to counterbalance. I’m going to catch it at the exact moment that I put my left foot down on the ground.”

Ruby: “I understand, but it’s too unstable. Let me give it to you”

The Doctor: “No”

Ruby: “You will have a much better chance if I just put it in your hand.”

The Doctor: “If it goes wrong, you will be caught up in the blast.”

Ruby: “Then let’s get it right then.”

The Doctor: “Ruby, I forbid this.”

Ruby: “Yeah Good luck with that.”

Doctor Who: Boom

Doctor Who – Boom,Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON),,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon

This current episode adds more questions than answers to Ruby’s story. The snowflakes return, and she cries only to pause in mid-air when she dies.   The AI ambulance dates her age as over 3000 years old. However, that conflicts with the previous TARDIS view, as her age is 19. Which is right? Does her time travel influence the Villengard AI’s results?

Other Mysteries – Mundy Flynn & Susan Twist

Another mystery is Mundy Flynn, portrayed by Varada Sethu. According to the BBC press releases, Varada will be a future companion of the Doctor. Her name, Mundy, even suggests this. But is this character Mundy or another character similar to the Clara, Impossible Girl thread? We will need to wait and find out.

And, of course, Susan Twist has returned for another role in another episode.   This time as the AI Ambulance. However, unlike last weeks’  “The Devil Chord”, the Doctor and Ruby fail to recognise her. More questions and more mystery.

Easter Egg Path

As with the previous episodes, Boom has several Easter eggs, just a few of which are discussed here.   However, as showrunner, Russell T Davies and others are setting the audience down the path of discovery, we will be creating an ongoing list in a series of posts.

A Parent’s Love

In the end, the efforts of the Doctor, Ruby, and Mundy fail to stop the Villengard mine from continuing to its foregone conclusion: the destruction of half the planet, killing all the living beings on the planet, including the Doctor. The failsafe in the design leaves no way out, so it is up to the AI-created facsimile of a young girl’s father to save the day.

“ Dad to Dad. You never let them down. Ever. To the end. Right.”

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa), Doctor Who: Boom

In a poignant conclusion, the AI facsimile of John Francis Vatar defeats the Villengard mainframe, disabling the mine and surrendering to save his daughter, Splice, in response to the Doctor’s speech. This reflects Vatar’s enduring love for his daughter even past death, which is particularly resonant considering the Doctor’s own tragic past. How the Doctor’s speech will play out going forward in the season will be interesting, especially given the canon that the Doctor is responsible for the death of his own children.

Conclusion

“Doctor Who: Boom” is a standout episode, rich in narrative and emotional depth. It’s a testament to the show’s enduring appeal and relevance. Be sure to catch our Second Sight review of “Doctor Who: Boom” on Wednesday, and don’t miss the next episode.

 

 

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Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

The Doctor Who Prom is BACK!

Blogtor Who - Fri, 05/17/2024 - 20:30
The Doctor Who Prom returns this year and tickets are on sale!

The Proms, the series of concerts held at the Royal Albert Hall every year since 1895 are a national institution in the United Kingdom. The music of Doctor Who has had the honour of being the subject of Proms before. But now the Doctor Who Prom is back for the first time since 2013! The concert will run twice on Monday the 26th of August. A matinee at 2.30 in the afternoon will be followed by an evening repeat at 7pm. Tickets went on sale today, with limited seating still available at the time of writing. It’s one of the most unique and, it’s generally agreed, glorious celebrations of the show. The Doctor Who Prom is a must for any fan able to attend.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the same talented musicians who provide the soundtrack to the television show, will be performing live. The exact playlist for the 2024 Doctor Who Prom is still secret for now. But the three previous events give us a good idea of what to expect. It will undoubtedly treat those attending to classic favourites like I Am the Doctor, Doomsday, The Shepherd Boy, and more. Plus, of course, we can expect more recent Doctor Who bangers like Fifteen to thrill the crowds too. Blogtor Who would also guess that this year there will almost certainly be a twist at the end…

 

The National Orchestra of Wales perform I Am the Doctor at the 2013 proms (c) BBC The Doctor Who Prom will feature the show’s stars on stage

Beyond the music, the Doctor Who Prom will feature appearances from stars of the TV series. In earlier years, Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor) and Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) have acted as hosts for the show. There have also been special appearances by Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), and Peter Davison (Peter Davison). We don’t know the presenter of the 2024 prom yet, but Ncuti Gatwa himself is one contender. It would also mean he could do double duty by belting out a verse of The Goblin Song too!

The Doctor Who Prom also traditionally features a new Doctor Who mini-adventure. The Music of the Spheres mixed prerecorded footage of David Tennant with a Graske on stage. The Boy Who Saved the Proms sent Matt Smith’s Doctor into the audience to recruit a young helper to save the universe. And the 50th Anniversary Prom started with a prerecorded sequence starring the Doctor and Clara. The pair struggled to reach the Albert Hall before triumphantly appearing on stage for the crowd. It also featured Strax the Sontaran offering a field report about the Proms to High Command. We can expect more such fun at the next Prom, but we’ll have to wait and see what form it takes.

 

Matt Smith at the 2010 Proms Come face to face with iconic monsters as they invade the Royal Albert Hall this August

As if all that wasn’t enough, the events are also well known for appearances by the various monsters of Doctor Who. Whether on the stage, on a central platform in the middle of the arena, or even invading the audience itself, the Daleks, Cybermen and other iconic baddies are usually joined by a collection of more recent fiends. With the likes of the Doctor Who Experience no longer open, this will be fans’ first chance to get up close and personal with the Monster class of 2024.

If you hurry you can still get the last few tickets for the Doctor Who Proms 2024 below. Blogtor Who has already secured our tickets so we’ll see you there!

Afternoon show (2.30pm)

Evening show (7pm)

But if don’t wind up heading to the Royal Albert Hall on the day, you can listen to it all live on BBC Radio Three. A recording of the concert is also likely to show up as an extra on a DVD and Blu-ray soon, as have all previous Doctor Who Proms.

 

 

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