Monday, 5 October 2015

October's Figurines

"Who you calling squid-face, old man!"
This month's figurines arrived today. I had convinced myself that there would be an Auton accompanying the First Doctor, as the Forbidden Planet website said it had an October release date. What we actually have is the Human / Dalek hybrid Sec. (Should have actually checked the magazine numbers).
The Hartnell figure is very well modeled. This is as he appeared in The Reign of Terror, holding his walking stick. A very good likeness indeed.
You might want to position Sec, from Evolution of the Daleks, at an angle in your display, as the pointing hand is immediately in front of his face if you look at it from the front.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Under The Lake - A Review

Didn't get to see this episode until late last night, and decided to give it a second viewing this evening before giving my opinion. It certainly benefited from the second watching, as you can relax and enjoy the way the plot unfolds without having to strain for potential clues. Roughly 30 of the 45 minutes were the Doctor trying to work out just what the ghosts were about.
Some may view this as a bit of an anti-climax after the epic Davros / Dalek / Missy opener, but it is the variety of moods and styles which help make Doctor Who so unique as a drama series.

One big criticism to get out of the way first. Did you see any great big ugly alien creature in this episode? Or in the "Next Time" teaser? Of course not. They went out of their way not to show it - but said big ugly alien was in the trailers, and photographed prominently in the DWM preview piece.
I would rather have been presented with it out of the blue in next week's episode. A wholly unnecessary spoiler, which the director clearly didn't want.
This episode had enough going on with the creepy ghosts. It was a brave move to have Colin McFarlane deaded before the opening credits, with Steven Robertson following him so early on - plus having Paul Kaye barely recognisable as the Tivolian spectre. Presumably the latter will have a more prominent part to play in the second half. Will the fact he is a Tivolian have any relevance at all, or is Toby Whithouse simply revisiting a race he created for his last story.
Moffat has said that this series will have a slightly retro feel, and here we find ourselves in the old base-under-siege scenario. The format's golden era was in the Troughton years, but we have seen a few stories since 2005 that have also embraced it - most notably the equally watery Waters of Mars, and The Impossible Planet two-parter.

Ghosts have featured rarely in the show over the last 51 years. The explanation for these ones was quite convoluted - whilst still leaving a whole load of unanswered questions. Why dead people to broadcast the Dark, Sword, Forsaken, Temple message and not living beings? Is there any significance to the fact that the ghosts are eyeless and have hollow heads? Why kill only people who had read the message, and not Lunn who hasn't read it but has been told it?
Talking of Lunn, just why was Cass so insistent he didn't enter the ship? Is there more to this, or is it just a plot device to provide the Doctor with a clue. I suppose it does mean we have one character who is immune to the ghosts' threat.
Very convenient that Lunn has managed to get separated with Cass.
Special mention about the casting of deaf actor Sophie Stone. There may not be many profoundly deaf actors in the UK, but nice to see one portraying a deaf character, instead of employing a hearing actor to play deaf.

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. I liked the fact that the TARDIS had turned up somewhere unplanned for a change, and the Doctor and Clara had to work out what was going on from the start, along with the rest of us.
A word about Clara. Last season she was obviously becoming addicted to TARDIS traveling. Now she is becoming positively reckless about it. This will not end in smiles.
A minor gripe regarding those prompt cards. This gag would have worked in the earlier episodes of Series 8, but the 12th Doctor has moved on since then. Has Whithouse not watched the show since Deep Breath? At least there was a fan-pleasing card, referring to him having dumped Sarah Jane Smith in Aberdeen instead of South Croydon.
Am glad they very quickly explained that this was a flooded valley, as I was going to open this review with a demand to know why it wasn't called "Under The Loch" - being set in Caithness, Scotland as it is. I had a whole "English Agenda" piece all set to go, which I will now have to keep for when they replace Capaldi with an English actor...
Talking of Caithness, did you glimpse that the base in next week's episode has distinctly Russian trappings? What's that about?
Presumably the big ugly alien is in the sealed box. Or might it actually contain the Doctor?
The cliffhanger was brilliant. Just how will the Doctor get out of being well and truly deaded? And why is his ghost only turning up now, when he "died" a long time ago?
Roll on next Saturday for all the answers.

Saturday, 3 October 2015


If you want to leave a comment on any of the nonsense I post I'm afraid that I have had to suspend that function for a day or two, due to some idiot in Russia spamming. Spent 30 minutes yesterday deleting the same comment on every post for the last 6 months, only to have twice the amount turn up this morning. Life is too short to delete all this rubbish. Basically, if you see a comment that is blatantly nothing to do with Who, ignore it. For goodness sake don't click on any of the links, unless you like your computer riddled with viruses and malware. Normal service will resume as soon as possible. I believe that Followers should not be affected.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Know Your Cybermen - Miscellany

Time for a look at all the Cyber-related stuff that didn't quite fit into the main series of posts.
First, let's take a look at a couple of the less successful Cyber-Conversions.
Above we see a Cyber-Squirrel. Extremely agile, and useful for invading arboreal planets. However, they were easily distracted if you flashed them your nuts.

Then we have the Cybershades. Rather than converting human beings, these were created using stuntmen.

Some Cyber-Pastimes:

Cyber-Dancing. There is nothing a Cyberman likes better than having a bit of a knees-up. Above, we see some of the 1980's models launching into a high kick routine, to the accompaniment of Frankie Vaughn's "Give Me The Moonlight".
They are also partial to a bit of Disco.

The Cyber-Controller had to pull out of an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing last year (an allergy to the gold lame costume), whilst the Cyber-Leader actually won Dancing With The Stars in 2012.

Here's their break-dancing routine from Opportunity Knocks in 1978. Five years before their time, they scraped second last place.


Their love of chess is known throughout the Nine Planets, but they are also big fans of the jigsaw.

"Oh-No! There-Is-A-Piece-Missing!"
These coldly logical creatures preferred single colour pictures. In the image above we see the ever popular white one.

Track and field sports can be dangerous. Here we see a Cyberman who stood a bit too close to the javelin competition. Winning a sporting event would generally prove fatal to the victor - until they decided to ban gold medals.
The Second Doctor once stumbled upon a Cyberman downhill ski race, which was immortalised in comic form.

Note the obvious jubilation of the coldly logical creatures when they think the Doctor has fallen off a cliff. Later, they will simply clench a fist and intone "Excellent!" on these occasions.


A little known fact about the Cybermen is that they do not need to eat or drink - apart from Gin.
Here we see members of the 13th Cyber-Legion about to embark on the Circle Line Pub Crawl. It'll all end in tears...

4 hours later, and this one is already feeling a little worse for wear. Unfortunately, he has also wandered a bit too close to yet another javelin contest. Double whammy.

The following morning, passing UNIT soldiers find the entire Legion comatose. Lovely leggy Isobel Watkins, of "The Daily Trash", gets the idea for a shocking expose on the growing problem of Cyber-Drunkeness. (Apparently the 2016 Christmas Special will see the Cyberiad implementing a limit on gin-drinking - which triggers a Cyber Civil War).


I wrote a whole post on Cyberships, but when you have the Doctor as your Arch-En-Em-Y, you can quite often find yourself having to make alternative arrangements to get back home to Telos after a failed invasion attempt. In the image above, we see the survivors of the 14th Cyber-Legion taking the Northern Line to Colindale, where they had hidden their escape ship in the Burger King car park. (Little do they know that it has been clamped, and they will need to fork out £80 to release it).

The 2nd Cyber-Legion had invaded South London, which has few tube lines, so they had to get the bus to their escape ship, hidden in the Ikea car park in Croydon. (Little did they know that it had been clamped, and they had to fork out £2.6s.8d to release it). The bus was quite full, so a couple of them had to phone for a taxi.

"You-Will-Take-Us-To-IKEA. How-Do-You-Spell-That? I. K.E... Oh-Clever-Clever-Clever-I'm-Sure"
This one below wishes he had gone to the Gents before they set off for Croydon.

It has recently been announced that the 22nd Cyber-Legion has won the contract from Mayor of London Boris Johnson to delete all members of the RMT Union in order to put an end to the thrice yearly tube strikes.

Fare dodgers, buskers and late night drunks will also be deleted. And people who play their i-pods too loud. That little brat in red taking the mick had better watch out as well.

Here we see another brat being marched off for maximum deletion, having dropped an empty crisp packet on a Jubilee Line train. His friend has already been killed by Cyber-Chop (the severed head is in the bag).

Another young criminal is converted.

Cyber-Crime & Cyber-Bullying:

The news is full of stories about Cyber-Criminals. Above is a typical example of the sort of cyber-bullying that is plaguing our schools and space stations. This unlucky couple had their wallets and wrist watches stolen, as well as a bag of jelly babies and a yoyo. The gentleman sustained considerable, debilitating shoulder injuries, which aggravated a recent broken collar bone. The culprits have never been caught.

And that's it for now. No doubt there are far more things to say about the Cybermen, but I really can't be bothered at this precise moment in time.
One thing I will leave you with. The threat from the Cybermen is no distant possibility. Something that might never materialise. The Cybermen are already here - hidden in plain sight...

Forthcoming Figurines

Was having a bit of a browse on the Forbidden Planet website tonight and spotted a few of the forthcoming items to be released as part of Eaglemoss' Figurine Collection. October is going to see a Hartnell figure, and it looks like it will be paired with an Auton. Sadly, not the creepy Spearhead From Space variety - a big mistake in my view.

November will then see the white / gold Dalek from the Baker / McCoy seasons, along with the Eighth Doctor - from Night of the Doctor rather than from his debut in The Movie.

The Eaglemoss Facebook page used to publish pictures of the forthcoming figurines, but mostly just does generic Doctor Who posts, or pictures of fans' collections nowadays.
Am very pleased to see that the next Special Edition will be the Emperor Dalek from Evil of the Daleks. I have been expecting them to get round to this, but am curious what they will do with the cables. Will they just dangle in space?

New Spin-Off Series Announced!

The other day I commented on the panic that has been generated by the low overnight viewing figures - and how these were absolutely nothing to worry about. Well tonight, the BBC have expressed their on-going confidence in the series, by announcing that there is going to be a new spin-off series, called Class.
It will broadcast as 8 x 45 minute episodes on BBC3, some time in 2016. It will be aimed very much at the teenage market. The principle writer is Patrick Ness, and Moffat will exec-produce.
The name derives from the fact that the series will be set in and around Coal Hill School, in the present day.
The other day, Moffat was talking about nearly putting K9 into Last Christmas, and he would love to reintroduce the character if the right story came along. This might provide just that opportunity.
The series might also allow for appearances by other characters from The Sarah Jane Adventures. Maybe we will see Courtney Woods again.
I suspect that the Doctor will get at least a cameo - either to launch the first episode, or to bring it to a close. We are promised new monsters and aliens, but hopefully some old favourites might also get a look in.
With rumours that we are only going to get half a series next year, this might go some way to plugging any gap.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Ratings Game

(Just how insane is that image above...?).
No doubt you have read of the doom and gloom of the overnight viewing figures for The Magician's Apprentice, followed by what looks like a shocking 3.7 million UK viewers for The Witch's Familiar.
Well, fear not. Those of you who do reside in the UK, especially the south east corner, will know that the weather has taken an unseasonable turn for the better, so folk have been out and about the last two Saturdays. The first episode did not have Strictly to draw people to BBC1. I suspect a lot of people watched The X-Factor just to see why its ratings have also been so poor. The second episode was up against a live Rugby World Cup match featuring the host nation - England. (This Scotsman is still sniggering...).
The final figures are now in for the first episode. If you add the overnights to the catch-up figures, then factor in the BBC3 repeats, and finally consider the i-Player viewers, you get a total to date of 8.8 million. Perfectly acceptable. It makes the episode the 5th most-watched BBC show of the week - and there is another series of the incomprehensibly popular Bake Off show on at the moment, as well as a murder trial in Walford.
Not sure how much the feature-length repeat of the two Dalek / Davros / Missy episodes on Sunday will fare, as the weather was once again very good for the time of year.
We are also hearing of record viewing figures for BBC America and elsewhere.
Every year the papers prophesy the death of the Doctor. Overnight figures are simply meaningless in this day and age.
Doctor Who continues to have a massive following. We just don't do the Saturday evening event thing so much anymore.