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“You can’t escape your destiny, which is to fall, helplessly”

Hard science: What Christopher Bidmead wanted to reintroduce to Doctor Who. Judging from the script to Logopolis, hard science consists of millions of chanting monks in a city made to look like a brain, chanting block transfer mathematics codes in order to counteract entropy, while the ghost of someone’s future self tells him the future in order to cause it.

From Andrew Hickey’s excellent lexicon for the 1981 Doctor Who serial ‘Logopolis’, in which Tom Baker’s Doctor (cheekily designated here as the twelfth incarnation) regenerates after a fatal fall from a radio telescope. (Or, as Hickey puts it in his entry on gravity: if you place a Time Lord with an approximate mass of 70kg at the top of a radio telescope, say Jodrell Bank, 89m above a planet with mass 5.972×10^24kg, and then have him let go, he will hit the planet a little over three seconds later.)

‘Logopolis’ and its sequel ‘Castrovalva’ seem to me to be stories that could only be told within the world of Doctor Who, concerned as they are with the manipulation, destruction and reconstruction of the show’s unique central icons: the Doctor and the TARDIS. One could go further and say that another of the show’s unique qualities is its acceptance of and dependance upon this same process of reconstruction.


“As highly praised as Doctor Who is by its viewers, the programme praises itself even more”

The Economist’s books, art and culture blog on the Doctor Who series 7 opener, ‘Asylum of the Daleks’:

All this self-mythologising isn’t very British, frankly. It is off-putting, too, especially as (the Doctor) was conceived, in 1963, as a dotty old meddler in a time machine that did not work properly. The essence of his charm was that he was not an intergalactic superhero in the Flash Gordon mould, but a wandering eccentric. The programme was a celebration of the nerdy underdog, not the strutting bully-boy that the Doctor has become.

Hits the Dalek right in the eyestalk. (Thanks to @timsterne for the link.)


“The final battle is fought out in the tiniest part of TC3 at Television Centre”

I think Douglas Adams writing [Doctor Who] to order for the BBC in 25-minute instalments with this many sets and that many actors is very different from Douglas Adams the radio writer, or Douglas Adams the novelist. The stage directions are peppered through with things like, ‘As many explosions as we can manage’ or, ‘K-9 comes out at what passes for full speed’.

Gareth Roberts on his novelisation of ‘Shada’, a 1979 Doctor Who serial penned by (then script editor) Douglas Adams. The story was abandoned mid-production because of BBC industrial action triggered by a demarcation dispute over the operation of the Play School clock (yes, really), and though the extant footage has been released on home video (with linking narration by Tom Baker), this is the first time the story has been officially adapted in print.

The two other stories Adams wrote for Who — ‘The Pirate Planet’ and the classic ‘City of Death’ — are yet to be (officially) novelised.


“I begin to lose hope that I will ever meet Tegan”

One father’s determination against the odds. One gutsy yellow Austin 1100. And one twelve-year-old boy’s prepubescent lust for a ‘sexy air hostess’. A very special road trip to Longleat in 1983 for the Doctor Who 20th anniversary celebration.


From Totter’s Lane to…?

Wired UK has an infographic of the TARDIS’s journeys through time over 50 years of the Doctor’s televised history.


“Gatiss has made a career out of indulging his boyhood obsessions”

League of Gentleman and Sherlock co-creator and regular Doctor Who contributor Mark Gatiss is helping to unleash some ‘pent-up camp’ in the current series of BBC Three’s flatshare telefantasy Being Human.


Answered (partly): the most puzzling mystery in Doctor Who since… well, since every creative decision made by producer John Nathan-Turner from 1984 onwards

Doctor Who scribe Gareth Roberts has, via Twitter, supplied the answer to a question that has puzzled Who fans and casual observers since the broadcast of his 2010 episode ‘The Lodger’: “What in the name of the Terrible Zodin is the deal with that creepy painting?!?’

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Turns out it’s a portrait of Victorian music hall entertainer Dan Leno. But questions remain. Why is it there? Is it significant? Is that what Nick Cave would look like if he shaved off his new moustache?

(Thanks to @matchtrick for the tip-off)


“I declare this wang-tank… open!”

Bugle spoiler alert: the latest episode has both producer Chris and producer Tom in it! It’s pretty much The Three Doctors of Bugle episodes! (Except with wall-to-wall plum-jokes.)

F___ you Chris!


“Like the food machine, you mean”

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Humankind moves one step closer to artificial food. (Image via the arrangement of nerves in a leaf)


He’s a blackguard, that Black Guardian

It’s a long-established rule of fantasy that the more powerful and ethereal a being is, the more freely he can indulge his latent transvestism.

That’s Gary Gillat describing the evil (no, really?) Black Guardian from Doctor Who, in his 2009 review of the ‘Black Guardian Trilogy’ DVD box set.


“As if time itself were gnawing at its own entrails”

Mike Lynch at Nannygoat Hill offers an examination of Doctor Who, its central character and its enthusiasts in the form of a Ballardian short fiction-cum-psychiatric essay, as though the program itself were a series of ‘disaster reports’ detailing ever-increasing threats to humanity, the universe, and temporal reality itself; metaphors, as the essay suggests, “for some crisis of the mind’s ability to retain an integral image of itself over historical time”.


“Less a Christmas carol and more Christmas karaoke”

The Journal of Victorian Culture Online compares the recent Doctor Who Christmas special, ‘A Christmas Carol’, to Dickens’ original. Much is made of the Doctor’s active participation in the Scrooge figure’s past, present and future, in contrast to the ‘passive observation of the past leading to internal reflection’ in Dickens’ story. “What ensued,” notes the author, “was a deliberate manipulation of Dickens’ plot to suit both the hero and the show”.


“An ever-present part of many people’s childhoods”

Yesterday I spoke to ABC 666 Canberra about the death of Elisabeth Sladen, who played legendary companion Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who. You can hear the interview below. (Note: you may think you hear the presenter calling me ‘Chris Smith’ at the end, but you’d be wrong.)


Found object: 7:28pm, 6 March 2011

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Incredible LEGO® MOC of the Russell T. Davies era TARDIS console from Doctor Who. Be sure to check out some of Mr. Xenomurphy’s other LEGO® MOCs, including this LEGO® vignette featuring Lady Cassandra from the 2005 Doctor Who episode ‘The End of the World’.

As the Ninth Doctor himself might have said, “Give the man a medal”.


“You were my Doctor”

LOL pic

David Tennant: not shy about his obsession with the Fifth Doctor. I’m starting to get a bit worried.


The last of the Lebanese chickpea seeds (of doom)

Who knew that Australia possesses the last surviving crop seeds of certain varieties of Lebanese chickpea? Sparing us the nightmare scenario of a future devoid of farting hippies, Australian farmer and scientist Dr Tony Gregson has preserved these and other seed samples in the Arctic environs of that mother-of-all spice racks, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.

But seeds? Snow? Doom? (Okay, doom in the sense of ‘doomsday, preparation for’, but still.)


Hero with a handbag

It emerged this week that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “disguised himself as an old woman in order to evade US intelligence officers”. It’s important to note, however, that Assange is not the first renegade and computer boffin to dabble in drag.


“Doctor Hooey is good!”

A taste of what the new series of Doctor Who might have been like had it been produced by BBC Istanbul rather than BBC Wales.

(The Thumbcast)


Found object: 4:58pm, 25 January 2011

You can probably guess what I thought when I saw this.

(Dolly Dolly Image Blog)


For Who review site the bell tolls

It’s the end… Neil Perryman announces the closure of Doctor Who review blog Behind The Sofa. Hopefully this means there’ll be more activity over at the newly-regenerated Tachyon TV (I love the idea of the Adventures With The Wife In Space column).

Meanwhile, there’s always the regular (and regularly entertaining) Who Fix.