Sunday, 14 December 2008


The title pretty much says it all. Here are some videos I found of all the regenerations to date. These are 'extended' regenearations meaning that you get to see the lead up to it, the regenerations itself and a scene or two from afterwards. You lucky people.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Variations on a Theme

Who doesn't love the Doctor Who theme? If you're reading this then chances are you do love it - or at least one of its many variations.

The theme is instantly recognisable even to people who know virtually nothing of the show and is every bit as iconic as the TARDIS, the Daleks and of course the Doctor himself. When the series came back there really was no doubt as to what theme tune would be used.

Anyway here are a couple of videos which feature the theme tune. The first is from a Bill Bailey TV series where Mr Bailey does a rather good 'French jazz' version of the theme. The second is a video produced by the Revered Polarity Group (I think) which incorporates every version of the theme tune that was used on TV (plus a couple that weren't) and every title sequence used too.


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Character Profile 2: Susan Foreman

Susan Foreman

Susan is unique in the history of the TV series for two reasons. First, she is the only member of the Doctor’s family to have travelled with him and, secondly, she is already travelling with the Doctor at the beginning of the series. Every other companion, bar none, has some sort of introductory story where they first meet the Doctor before being whisked off through time and space. But not Susan.

Given that the series was keen to preserve a sense of mystery about the Doctor in its early years it’s probably not surprising that we also learn very little about Susan in the time that she spends travelling with the Doctor. In the first episode ‘An Unearthly Child’ we learn that Susan is an alien (hence the title of the episode) albeit one with a good grasp of Earth history (“that isn’t right!” she says on reading a book on the French Revolution) and better understanding of science than any other teenage girl of time.

“I was born in another time, another place, “ she says at one point. While it’s not explicitly stated we can assume that she born in the same place as the Doctor. In the story ‘Marco Polo’ (and there’s no prizes for guessing which historical figure features in that story) she describes her home world as having skes of orange and silver leaves on the trees. This fairly closely resembles how Gallifrey is portrayed on screen in the 1970’s story ‘The Invasion of Time’ and more recently in ‘The Sound of Drums.’

Susan is one assumes a Time Lord (or Time Lady, rather) just as the Doctor is but frustatingly again this is never confirmed, mainly due to the fact that the Doctor isn’t reavealed to be a Time Lord until long after Susan left the series.

There is also some speculation as to whether or not she really is the Doctor’s grand daughter. For example some fan theories suggest that perhaps the Doctor adopted (or perhaps even kidnapped) Susan before starting his travels and that she took to calling him ‘Grandfather’ simply as a sign of affection.

So we are left with is a lot of speculation and little in the way of solid facts; or as Ian Chesterton puts it in the first episode: “Too many questions and not enough answers.” One thing we do know for certain is that Susan came up with the name TARDIS, or so she claims in the first episode. That seems to imply that the name is unique to the Doctor's Ship,similar to naming a sailing ship 'Titanic', although as we see in later years this is not the case. Clearly Susan's name caught on with other Time Lords.
Susan appears to be a reluctant traveller. Although, on the surface she appears to enjoy travelling and exploring every bit as much as her grandfather, deep down she appears to harbour a desire to stop wandering aimlessly and belong somewhere. In the afore mentioned 'Marco Polo' and also in 'The Sensorites' later in the same season she talks wistfully about her home and in the latter story she muses on what it would be like to settle down in one place and time.

This plot point comes to a culmination in the second season's second story: 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth'. Here Susan grows up somewhat as she meets and falls in love with human freedom fighter David Campbell. She's torn between staying on Dalek-ravaged Earth with David or continuing to travel with her grandfather. Seeing her plight the Doctor makes the decision for her and locks her out of the TARDIS.

This action might seem a little harsh but the Doctor is simply doing what he thinks is best. He knows that Susan is not happy travelling any more - indeed, she as good as says that the only reason she is still travelling is because she believes the Doctor still needs her. The Doctor knows that Susan will never leave him voluntarily so he makes the decision to leave her instead.

And that is pretty much the end of Susan's story within the series. Despite saying that one day he'll come back and see her, he never does. Susan does appear again in The Five Doctors, a midd;e-aged woman now, but no mention is made of what has happened to her in the intervening years. Indeed, aside from the First Doctor, none of the other Doctors in that story appear to want to have anything to do with her at all! Perhaps they're just embarassed that they forgot to go and visit her? Sadly this means that we never get to find out if the Doctor ever got to become a great-grandfather.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Chracter Profile: The First Doctor

Hello, I've returned to this blog once again with a new idea.
I don't know how many people look at this blog but i do know of at least one or possibly two people who have in the past. I'm also aware that at least one of my two readers has no real knowledge of Doctor Who beyond the New Series. So I thought it might be fun to expand that knowledge a bit. My plan is simple: I want to write a charcter profile for all of the main characters (D0ctors, companions, villains etc) from the series beginnings in 1963 up to now.

So where better place to start than at the very beginning with:

The First Doctor

“Eh? Doctor who? What’s he talking about?”

“Old, grumpy and important.” Is how the Tenth Doctor summed up his earlier self. And, while this isn’t entirely inaccurate a description, in reality there is more to the First Doctor than that.

For starters I think one could easily add the word ‘mysterious’ to the Tenth Doctor’s description. OK so the Doctor has always had something of an air of mystery about him but that’s gradually been eroded over the years as we’ve learnt more about his background. But for the three years of his televisual existence we learn very little about the First Doctor.

We know that he’s an alien (but not the name of his people or his home planet). He tells us that he’s cut off from his own world “without friends or protection” which seems to imply that he was forced to leave his home as opposed to choosing to leave. At one point he even considers returning home “but I can’t, I can’t.”

The Doctor also says that he was “a pioneer once, amongst my own people,” and implies that he had a hand in building his TARDIS. Despite that, he still seems to be incapable of controlling where and when he’s going to arrive. Not that this particularly bothers the Doctor (though it does tend to bother his companions) as the First Doctor, particularly in his earliest stories, seems to be happy to just wander through time and space, being some sort of temporal tourist.

“Our destiny is in the stars. Let’s go and search for it.”

When we first encounter the Doctor, he is not the moral hero that he will later become. Throughout his first season of stories the Doctor is far more interested in being an explorer and an observer than battling evil and monsters. More often than not, at the first sign of danger his first action is to try and get back to his Ship. The only reason he gets involved in events at all is because he is physically prevented in one way or another from leaving.

I can think of two reasons why the Doctor isn’t, at this point, the hero that we all know and love. The first is that the Doctor, having apparently only recently left his people, is trying to stick to the Time Lord rules of not interfering in the affairs of other planets. Perhaps by keeping a low profile he’s hoping his people won’t catch up with him.

The second are more likely explanation is that he’s trying to protect his granddaughter, Susan, who is travelling with him at the start of the series. There has been much debate amongst fans as to whether or not Susan really is the Doctor’s biological granddaughter and several elaborate theories have been provided to show that she isn’t. But whether they are related by blood or not really isn’t important. The fact is that the Doctor treats Susan just as any grandfather would treat their granddaughter and that includes trying to protect her from anything that might threaten her.

That said, early in season 2 he seems to be more than happy to leave Susan on an Earth of the future, that has been all but destroyed during a failed Dalek invasion, in the arms of a man she’s barely met. Maybe he just got fed up of her whining which, to be fair she did seem to do quite a lot.

Whatever reason he had for dumping the only link he had to his family, the scene where the Doctor says goodbye to Susan provides one of the truly great speeches of Doctor Who:

“ One day I shall back…Until then there must no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”

Once Susan has left the Doctor definitely experiences a change. He seems re-energized somehow and much more willing to become actively involved in events than previously. This is more than likely down to the influences of his travelling companions. First, there’s Ian and Barbara, Susan’s former schoolteachers from Sixties London. I’ll discuss these two more in a future post but what these two do is inject the Doctor with a bit of humanity and make him realise that he has a moral obligation to help people. Their influence seems to work and from the second season onwards the Doctor takes a much more proactive role in events. In 'The DalekInvasion of Earth' he makes bold statements like: "I think we need to pit our wits against them and defeat them" and "we have got to dare to stop them!" in reference to the Daleks. The sort of thing that you might expect from later Doctors but it's actually unusual to hear it from the First at this point in the series.

However I think the Doctor's attitude adjustment in the Second season is also partly down to the appearance in the TARDIS of a new travelling companion: Vicki the orphan girl from the future, rescued from a shipwreck by the Doctor in a story called, appropriatly enough, 'The Rescue'.

Unlike Susan, who appeared to dread every moment of her travels, Vicki is much more adventurous, always wanting to explore whereever it is that the TARDIS crew visit. This trait seems to rub off on the Doctor and, more often than not he and Vicki will go off exploring together, leaving Ian and Barbara to fend for themselves.

At this stage in the series, the impression that we get of the Doctor is that he is a slightly doddery sweet old uncle sort of a figure who seems to bumble from one adventure to the next and who, at times, barely seems to be aware of what is going on around him. A lot of this is an act. Old he may well be but his mind is far more active than the enemies he faces and he can give as good as he gets in verbal battles, delivering some stinging insults at times:

"I admire bravery and loyalty, sir. You have both of these. But, unfortunately, you haven't any brain at all! I hate fools!"

He's even not afraid to mince words when talking to himself. On meeting the Second and Third Doctors in 'The Three Doctors' his first words are: "So you're my replacements: a dandy and a clown!"

Mentally strong the First Doctor may be but it is his physical shortcomings that are ultimately his downfall. Though not above resorting to the "noble art of fisticuffs" as he puts it, the Doctor is aware of his limitations, preferring to use his brain to outwit his foes. In his final story, 'The Tenth Planet,' he doesn't get the chance to put his intellect to use as he finds himself physically drained by the Cybermen in their debut appearance. As a result, the Doctor plays very little part in the proceedings, spending much of the second half of the story unconcious.

Indeed, the most significant thing that he does is this story occurs right at the end, where, almost completely drained of energy, he collapses to the floor of the TARDIS and surrounded by his current companions he undergoes what will be the first of many regenerations...

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Most Noble Donna of them all

It's interesting but, despite all the evidence to the contrary (photographs, written interviews and so on - you know, actual hard evidence) I still wasn't entirely sure whether or not the Doctor was actually going to regenerate in the opening moments of Journey's End.

That said, I wasn't exactly surprised when David Tennant emerged from orange glow looking as healthy as ever. And i was somewhat releived when he did. I don't think I'm quite ready to see the Tenth Doctor leave just yet. Besides, this wasn't the right story for David Tennant's swansong.

Yes the story was big, yes it was epic and, normally that would be ideal for a Doctor's last story. But in this case it would be wrong because it wasn't the Doctor's story. It wasn't even Rose's despite all the build up to her return. It was Donna's.

It's quite something when, amidst all the Daleks, the multitude of returning characters, the equally-returning Davros and the multiple Doctors, Catherine Tate still manages to steal the show. Although she gives a great performance as TheDoctor/Donna (with a great impersonation of David Tennant) it's the final few scenes that really stand out for me.

It's easy to forget how far the character has come since she first arrived on board the TARDIS in her wedding dress. Here, we're given a reminder of the Donna of hold and it's genuinely to see her return to the person she was. As her grandfather says: "She was better!" Indeed she was and that really sums up the episode and the series in a nutshell. What the series has shown since the very beginning is that the Doctor changes people. He doesn't turn them into weapons, as Davros would have it. He changes their outlook on life and helps people to see the bigger picture. And in turn he learns from them and improves himself. As the First Doctor once put it: "As we learn about each other so we learn about ourselves."

So, in short, it was a great shame to see Donna leave in the way that she did. It will be interesting to see if her replacement can match up to her.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

So now the end is near...

So here we are at another season finale, and the third one in four series to feature the Daleks.

I don't want to say too much at this stage as we're only half way through but I have to say I was quite impressed. With so many returning characters, plus the Daleks, plus Davros plus something approaching a plot, it should have been a disaster. But somehow Russell T Davies manages to make this work which is a testament to his abilities as a writer. It may not be his best script, but the fact that he managed to produce something that was not only watchable but so much fun as well just goes to show how much he deserves the OBE.

Pretty much every character gets a decent amount of screen time, with the exception of Martha's mum though that's no big loss; she's such an unmemorable character that I've already forgotten her name. The Doctor, too, seems to take a bit of a back seat here but hopefully he'll move centre stage for the finale on Saturday. Of course who will be playing the Doctor will depend on how they resolve the cliffhanger...

Ah yes, the cliffhanger. Suprisingly quite a lot of fans are rather upset at this cliffhanger, convinced that somehow the Doctor would escape the one thing that in the past he could never escape from: regeneration. They may well have a point but using the regeneration as a cliffhanger is a stoke of genius. The point of cliffhangers is to get the audience talking and excited about the next episode. Well I think it's fair to say that people are definitely talking about it. There are rumours and counter-rumours and lots of theories about whether we will see a new Doctor on Saturday night and who that new Doctor may be.

Personally I don't think he will change, though I'm not sure quite how he might get out of it. Then again Russell T Davies does like to try and surprise his audience. Maybe he has one more big surprise lined up for us.

Before I go, I hear that they've lined up a replacement for Sir Alan Sugar in the next series of the Apprentice:

"You're fired!"

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Two Words...

I'm back!! Yes I know it's been months but I had more important things to occupy my time. Yes, more important than Doctor Who. Shocking I know. Anyway I'm back now and there's lots to catch up on so what better place to start than with this weeks episode Turn Left.

And so to another two words: Rose Tyler. Yes, she's back too though at first I found her return somewhat flat. Billie Piper seemed to take a while to get back into character; at times it was as if Billie was doing an impersonation of herself playing Rose. But by the end it felt as if Rose was finally back and it certainly seems to bode well for the final two episodes.

The episode itself was another attempt to stretch the format of the series. This season seems to be more experimental than any other which is something I'm all in favour of. It's also the darkest season so far and this episode is perhaps the darkest of the lot with Donna discovering what the world would be like without the Doctor to save it time and again.

For the long-term viewer it's a real treat, with references to several past episodes as well Torchwood, Martha and Sarah Jane. Doubtless some people will feel that these references are going to alienate and confuse the causal viewer and will complain bitterly that RTD is being self-indulgent but these nods to the recent past are done in such a way that even a casual viewer should be able to follow the story.

My only complaint is that the action that Donna takes to save the day at the end of the episode seemed rather obvious even to me and I'm not the most observant of people. Plus it smacks a little of a certain Season One episode.

And so to the end and two more words that resonate right back to the first (well OK, technically the second) episode of this revamped series and is enough to make the Doctor do what he seems to do best (ie run around with his mouth open like particularly well-dressed goldfish. I know there is at least one person reading this who hasn't seen the episode yet so I'll refrain from saying what those words are but I'm surprised I didn't guess what they'd be (I told you I wasn't very observant). The ending, without wanting to give too much, away was great and I love the detail that went into the final sequence.

Finally, three words about the next week trailer: Oh. My. God. I honestly don't think a trailer has ever excited me so much. This is looking to be a great finale. Not a finale for David Tennant, as some believe but for Russell T Davies. I know he's writing the specials next year but this is his last full series and I get the feeling that he's going to be using these next two episodes as an excuse to have one last play with all his toys before he lets Steven Moffatt have a go.