Sunday, 29 December 2013

Radio Times TV Review of 2013


That venerable publishing colossus, Christmas perennial, and loyal
Doctor Who advocate, the Radio Times, has revealed the results of their annual survey. Their website's top forty shows of the year has placed the programme at a respectable number twenty-two (down from number fifteen last year, and probably due to a reduced run of episodes). Mark Gatiss' one-off anniversary drama, An Adventure in Space and Time - his "love letter" to Doctor Who - also polled in thirteenth position.
  Rwriter and resident Whovian Patrick Mulkern comments:

22) Doctor Who BBC1 
Despite peripheral distractions (stamps, books, docs, a Prom), fans could be forgiven for thinking the golden anniversary was lean in terms of transmitted episodes. The concluding chunk of series 7 was a stew of corkers and stinkers, with Mark Gatiss’ juicy pastiche The Crimson Horror (with Diana Rigg) eclipsing Neil Gaiman’s Cyber-tripe Nightmare in Silver. Steven Moffat’s big celebration special, simulcast in 94 countries, ticked fan boxes by deftly weaving old Who with new. Yet at a time when ever-younger Time Lords seemed in vogue, he and Gatiss boldly volleyed Peter Capaldi (55), David Bradley (71), John Hurt (73) and even the majestic Tom Baker (79) into primetime TV as viable Doctors. 

13)  An Adventure In Space and Time BBC2 
Taking its title from a tagline printed on every 1960s RT billing for Doctor Who, Mark Gatiss’ account of the show’s origins was meticulously and lovingly mounted, celebrating the team of outsiders who, 50 years ago, shook up the fusty Corporation and gave birth to a TV phenomenon. Doubly poignant, An Adventure was the last drama made at BBC TV Centre and showed how Doctor Who captivated, then cast aside, its original star William Hartnell. So much more than a startling looky-likey, David Bradley brought a terrier’s bite, a twinkle and immense pathos to Hartnell and the character he created. He deserves a Bafta.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Doctor Who Vs. Marple, Series 3

The third run of Agatha Christie's Marple featured guest roles for three former Doctor actors, Tom Baker (as Frederick Treves in part 3), Peter Davison (Hubert Curtain in part 1), and Richard E Grant (Raymond West in Nemesis). The four-part series is currently being repeated on ITV3, and featured twenty-nine other Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

At Bertram's Hotel (Published 1965 - TX: September 23 2007)
  • directed by Dan Zeff helmed Love & Monsters too
  • writer Tom MacRae also scripted the Cybermen two-parter for Series 2, The Girl Who Waited, and the unmade Century House
  • series production designer Michael Pickwoad has set-designed sixteen adventures since A Christmas Carol
  • Charles Kay (Pennyfather) voiced the Curator for Excelis Rising (Big Finish, 2002)
  • Danny Webb (Mutti) was Mr Jefferson in The Satan Pit two-parter
  • Tom Lucy was also the stunt co-ordinator on sixteen episodes, from Smith and Jones to The Next Doctor
  • Jo McLaren was a stunt performer on Day of the Moon and Let's Kill Hitler too
  • regular Jason Gill was also costume assistant on Space and Time, and fourteen stories, from the 2010 Christmas special to The Wedding of River Song
Ordeal By Innocence (Published 1958 - TX: September 30 2007)
  • Camile Coduri (Mrs Lindsay) played Jackie Tyler, mother of Rose, appearing in thirteen episodes of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and returned for Journey's End and The End of Time
  • Tom Riley (Argyle) has been cast in Series 8
  • Gugu Mbatha Raw (Tina) was Martha Jones' sister, Tish in four adventures for the 2007 series
  • Reece Shearsmith (Huish) was Patrick Troughton in An Adventure in Space and Time
  • Julian Rhind Tutt (Dr Calgary) voiced Lexhan for The Paradise of Death 
  • Greg Bennett (Constable) was both a Sycorax Warrior and a UNIT Soldier in The Christmas Invasion, and an uncredited Guest in The Lazarus Experiment
  • Burn Gorman (Jacko) was Torchwood series regular, Owen Harper
  • Ben Ashmore was also the SFX co-ordinator on thirty-six installments of the revived series (from The Girl in the Fireplace to The Next Doctor), The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood
Towards Zero (Published 1944 - TX: July 15 2008)
  • Julie Graham (Mrs Aldin) was Ruby White in The Sarah Jane Adventures: Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith
  • Amelda Brown (Barrett) voiced Margaret for The Gunpowder Plot
  • Jo Woodcock (Alice) voiced Ziv for Starlight Robbery (BF, 2013)
  • Zoe Tapper (Kay) voiced Collis for The War Doctor 2 (BF, new for 2016)
  • Peter Symonds (Hurstall) was a Soldier in Terror of the Zygons
  • Nigel Squibbs was dubbing mixer on An Adventure in Space and Time too
    Nemesis (Published 1971 - TX: New Year' Day 2009)
    • screenplay writer and actor, Stephen Churchett was Billy in Attack of the Cybermen
    • Dan Stevens (Faber) voiced Rick AusGarten for The Cradle of the Snake (BF, 2010)
    • Anne Reid (Sister Agnes) was Nurse Crane in The Curse of Fenric, and Florence the Plasmavore in Smith and Jones
    • Lee Ingleby (DC Hards) voiced Samson Griffin for Terror Firma (BF, 2005)
    • Dr. Graeme Garden (Broadribb) voiced Professor Ivor Fassbinder for Bang-Bang-A-Boom! (BF, 2002), Geoffrey Vantage for Max Warp (2008), and Abbot Thelonious - the new alias of the 'Meddling' Monk - for both The Book of Kells (2010) and To The Death (2011)
    • Adrian Rawlins (Turnbull) was Ryder in Planet of the Ood
    • Matthew Newman was the film editor on The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang too

    Thursday, 12 December 2013

    Doctor Who @ 50: Decline


    Author Brian J Robb insists that the 'classic' series declined in the 1980's because the programme makers failed to engage with the (ever dwindling) audience, and that 'the fan's' producer John Nathan Turner in particular pandered to (an ever influencial) fandom.

    In the introduction of Timeless Adventures: How Doctor Who Conquered TV (Kamera, 2009), Robb establishes the crux of the whole book, that this unique series "earned it's place in the affections of British TV audiences because underneath it's fantastical adventures was a critique of contemporary social, political and cultural issues".
    Indeed, the success of today's revived incarnation of the show owes much to a thorough engagement with modern culture, initiated by it's first showrunner, Russell T Davies.

    Each successive production team positively engaged with those ideas and events happening around them, until the reign of Graham Williams when the show began it's retreat from any popular engagement. Instead, Nathan Turner continued to "exploit the growing cultural and interlectual phenomenon of postmodernism" by attracting audiences with nostalgia, but becoming bogged-down with continuity.

    I wholly concur with Robb that despite the seismic political and social upheaval of the 1980's, it seems astounding that Doctor Who- previously such an aware series - should abdicate virtually all knowledge of Thatcher's Britain (even by 1988 the imagery of The Happiness Patrol appears past it's sell-by date).

    Tuesday, 10 December 2013

    Doctor Who Vs. Silent Witness, Series 5

    The fifth season of Silent Witness was first broadcast in the winter of 2000/2001 on BBC1, and again starred Amanda Burton as Home Office pathologist, Professor Sam Ryan.
    The three two-part stories began a repeat run on the Drama channel tonight, and featured these twenty-six Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

    The World Cruise 
    (TX: December 11 & 12 2000)
    • Richard Todd (Newman) played Sanders in Kinda
    • Andrew Sachs (Horowitz) voiced Skagra for Shada (BBCi/Big Finish, 2003), the Scorpion King for The Boy That Time Forgot (BF, 2008), Crassostrea for Orbis (BF, 2009), and the Scarf for Serpent Crest: Aladdin Time (AudioGo, 2011) - he auditioned for the role of the Doctor following Colin Baker's departure from the show
    • Ace Bhatti (DCI Naval) was Rani's dad, Haresh Chandra, in The Sarah Jane Adventures
    • Michael Elwyn (Lake) was Lieutenant Algernon Ffinch in The Highlanders
    • for Cheryl Hall (Sheryl) see the previous season's story, A Good Body
    • David Simeon (Priestley) was Private Latimer in Inferno, and Alastair Fergus in The Daemons
    • Trevor Thomas (Bill) made his TV debut as an uncredited Child in the episode, The Cave of Skulls
    • series associate producer Monica Rodger was director's assistant on Nightmare of Eden
    • for regular film editor Philip Kloss, see Series 4
    • for regular stunt arranger Rod Woodruff, see Series 2
    • series script supervisor Juley Harding was production assistant on Black Orchid and The Caves of Androzani
    Two Below Zero (TX: February 12 & 13 2001)
    • Stephen Moore (Major Hutton) was Silurian leader, Eldane in Cold Blood, and voiced Clark Goodman for The Eight Truths and Worldwide Web (BF, both 2009)
    • Anthony Head (Hutton) was Krillitane, Brother Lassar in School Reunion; and voiced the Time Lord, Valentine for Death Comes to Time (BBCi, 2002), Grayvorn for the four-part Excelis Saga (BF, 2002), and Baltazar for The Infinite Quest (CBBC, 2007) - he also auditioned for the role of the Doctor in 1995
    • Angela Bruce (Michaels) was Brigadier Winifred Bambera (pictured) in Battlefield - a role she reprised for Animal (BF, 2011)
    • Sean Chapman (DCI Norton) was Peter Tracey in K9 and Company
    • cinematographer Ian Punter was film cameraman on Resurrection of the Daleks
    • Tony Harding was also visual effects designer on The Invisible Enemy, The Power of Kroll, State of Decay, The King's Demons and The Awakening
    • William Webb was film editor on Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures too
    • first assisant director here, Debbi Slater was an associate producer on Planet of the Dead and The Waters of Mars after serving as production manager on severn other stories, from Blink to Forest of the Dead
    Faith (TX: March 19 & 20 2001)
    • Poirot actor Philip Jackson (DI Toner) voiced Laxton for Valhalla (BF, 2007)
    • Tony Bluto (Rutman) was Driver Joe in Midnight
    • David Quilter (Lewis) was Greeves in The Unicorn and the Wasp
    • Karen Seacombe (Nurse) was Sandra in The Lodger
    • series special make-up effects artist Paul McGuinness was Drathro in The Mysterious Planet
    • Paul Smith was also the series prop master on fifteen recent installments, from Asylum of the Daleks to The Day of the Doctor
    • Jan Nethercot was make-up designer on The Caves of Androzani too