Thursday, 1 December 2016

Mysterio Time

A couple of the TV listings magazines in the UK have the Doctor Who Christmas Special on their covers. The big poster image above has also been released.
It has been confirmed that The Return of Doctor Mysterio will air at 5.45pm on BBC One on the 25th.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

November's Other Figurines

Wasn't expecting this pair until Thursday, when they would have been "December's Figurines".
Both hail from the Classic Series, and there is a definite black / silver vibe going on.
First up we have the Sontaran Commander Linx, from The Time Warrior.
A very good model, posing with his helmet. Said helmet and collar a bit too dark, however, and for some reason no toy / model manufacturer ever seems to get a Sontaran's features quite right - despite the face being a mask. Even the Linx at the Doctor Who Experience doesn't quite look like how he appeared back in 1973-4.
Alongside him is the Supreme Dalek from Remembrance of the Daleks - one of those 'only ever seen once' ones. This has the odd shape of the late 1980's Daleks - with the narrower, near vertical base. By my reckoning that's all the Supremes released now. We've still to get the Gold one from the early 1970's, but that was a leader rather than a Supreme.
Next month it's one of the least wanted figurines - a Hath.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Class 1.7 - Reviewed

The penultimate episode of the first series of Class is now out there, if you have access to BBC 3 website or the i-player service.
The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did lets us see what Miss Quill got up to whilst the younger characters were stuck in detention last time. Thanks to last week's episode, we kind of knew how this would end - as she now has gotten rid of the Arn parasite and so has free will again. She no longer has to protect Charlie.
The means of removing the Arn were convoluted, to say the least. It involved procuring a couple of items from things which only exist in the realm of Belief - hence the Metaphysical Engine of the title.
The recipe is this. Take the pheromones of an Arn - to be found in their heaven. Get a shape-shifting surgeon, who has been frozen from shape-shifting. Free them by obtaining the blood of his - or her - devil in hell. Then get the brain of a Quill. But as they no longer exist (save for you know who) get it from her goddess in her heaven.
This is all the plan of the Governors, who think that the tears in space / time at Coal Hill are not just the result of frequent TARDIS intrusions but are there for a reason and to be profited from in some way.

The shape-shifter - Balon - succeeds in removing the Arn. We get to hear about what it was that Quill lost when she was captured. Not just her freedom, but her partner as well. She's a soldier, and so is Balon, so the two of them hit it off. No inter-species mating on view, but we do get to see the post-coital aftermath. They thought they were back at the school, but turns out they were really in the Cabinet of Souls, and duplicitous Dorothea informs them there's only enough juice for one of them to get home. They have to fight each other to the death, which they do - rather than work together to try to both get home. We already know from last week how this will pan out, so this latter segment seemed wholly pointless - except to give Quill something else to get angry about and stop the episode under-running by about 10 minutes.

Personally, it has to be my least favourite episode so far. Some nice one-liners from Quill, as to be expected, but the whole thing seemed a bit far-fetched - which is saying a lot from a life-long Doctor Who fan. The idea that the things Quill needed for her cure existed only in various heavens / hells - and the Governors know this, and how to get to them - was a bit of a stretch. The episode also suffered in being totally detached from the Coal Hill setting, which up to now has been the point of the series. It felt like I was suddenly watching a different show - despite the mentions of UNIT and Zygons.
Next Saturday sees the season finale. The Shadow Kin are back, and at least three of the younger regulars all look like they might not make it to the second series.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A is for... Autloc

The elderly High Priest of Knowledge in the unnamed city of the Aztecs, visited by the First Doctor and his companions Ian, Barbara and Susan.
When Barbara became separated from her companions, and was found alone in a chamber atop the pyramid tomb of High Priest Yetaxa, he spotted a snake-shaped bracelet she was wearing. This had belonged to Yetaxa, and he took Barbara to be a reincarnation of the dead man.
When Susan was sent off to a seminary, Autloc took an interest in educating her in his peoples' ways. He was offended when she refused to marry the Perfect Victim, whose every wish was to be granted.
Barbara and he became friends, and she found him to be more open-minded and less superstitious than his fellow Aztecs - especially the sadistic High Priest of Sacrifice, Tlotoxyl. She decided to enlist his help in putting an end to human sacrifice. Determined to prove her a fake, Tlotoxyl then decided to destroy Autloc's trust in her. He arranged for warrior Ixta to strike down Autloc with Ian's sword - ensuring he would be blamed for the crime.
Fortunately, Autloc came to realise that Barbara would never do anything to harm him, and so he helped the time travellers to escape - bribing the warrior who was guarding Ian and Susan. He offered him his home and all his possessions.
Barbara had convinced him that his civilisation was doomed, and so he took himself off into voluntary exile to live a hermit life in the wilderness.

Played by: Keith Pyott. Appearances: The Aztecs (1964).

  • Pyott was the second actor of the first season to have appeared in an Orson Welles movie - Arbitan actor George Couloris being the first. He had featured in The Chimes At Midnight.
  • He appeared in a number of Hammer films - Pirates of Blood River, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Devil Rides Out.
  • Appropriately for a Doctor Who guest artist, he also appeared in a film called Sea Devils.

A is for... Auntie

One of the bizarre characters encountered by the Doctor, Amy and Rory when the Doctor took the TARDIS into a bubble universe in search of another Time Lord - the Corsair.
She, Uncle, Nephew and Idris were the sole inhabitants of a planet littered with space debris. She and Uncle called this world "House", and revealed that it was a hollow planet inhabited by an alien intelligence.
The Doctor learned that there were many Time Lords here, but it turned out that they were all dead - their final cries for help saved in message cubes. House had lured them here as it fed on TARDISes.
Auntie and Uncle were spare-part people, repaired over the years with pieces of the dead Time Lords. Auntie had the Corsair's arm, for instance, as the Doctor recognised a tattoo.
House stole the TARDIS, to travel into this universe in search of more TARDISes. Their usefulness at an end, Auntie and Uncle both died once House had departed.

Played by: Elizabeth Berrington. Appearances: The Doctor's Wife (2011).

A is for... Aukon

One of the Three Who Rule, on an unnamed planet in the pocket universe of E-Space. Aukon was Chancellor to King Zargo and Queen Camilla. They were vampires. Aukon had once been O'Connor, science officer on an Earth vessel named the Hydrax. They had encountered the last of the Great Vampires - their ruler - and been turned into its servants. The ship entered E-Space where it came to rest on the planet where it was discovered centuries later by the Doctor, Romana, Adric and K9.
Aukon was responsible for selecting villagers to be taken to the Hydrax - now the royal castle - to be drained of blood to feed the Great One. He also sought people who could be turned into vampires to act as servants, but had not found anyone amongst the villagers to fulfill this role. Then he met Adric, and decided that he would join them. Aukon had a psychic link with the Great One, and was able to direct bats to act as his own servants. In many ways he was the more senior of the Three.
The Great One was about to emerge after a long hibernation in which it was healing itself, after being wounded by the Time Lords. Aukon felt it fitting that a Time Lord - Romana - should be sacrificed to mark this event.
When the Doctor destroyed the Great One, Aukon and his fellow vampires crumbled to dust.

Played by Emrys James. Appearances: State of Decay (1980).

A is for... Atraxi

An alien species which resemble large crystalline snow-flake shapes, with a huge eye-ball at their centre. The eye-ball is detachable. Their origins have never been explained.
The Atraxi run a prison. One of their convicts - dubbed Prisoner Zero - was able to escape to 20th Century Earth when a crack opened in space / time. This linked the prison to the bedroom of young Amelia Pond. The Atraxi were able to see where their prisoner had escaped to, but it took them several years to reach the Earth to recapture it. They arrived en masse above the planet and broadcast an ultimatum - either Prisoner Zero be handed over to them, or they would incinerate the Earth, arguing that its inhabitants were sheltering it. They placed a force-field around the planet.
The Doctor was able to arrange for the numeral 0 to be broadcast back at them, and the Atraxi were guided to the hospital in Leadworth where Prisoner Zero was in hiding. Once it had been taken back into custody the Atraxi left, but the Doctor called them back. He was furious that they should threaten the planet and showed them how it was defended - by himself.
The Atraxi fled.
In 102 AD, the Atraxi were part of the Pandorica Alliance, which aimed to trap the Doctor to prevent him from destroying the Universe.

Voiced by David de Keyser. Appearances: The Eleventh Hour, and The Pandorica Opens (both 2010).