The Well-Red Mage (geddit?) has challenged me to answer the premise of what I have learned since I started blogging.
My first blog post was published 2nd June 2014, Doctor Who BAFTA TV Success. As far as dissecting three years worth of blogging goes, that post doesn’t really tell us much. I felt passionate about something, and wanted to share my interest with the rest of the Internet. What I didn’t expect was to have made so many friends as a result.
The main problem with being an artist is that our ability to analyse is so strong that it can often feed back on ourselves, which can cause periodic creative crises. All posts are about something, and everything is a story, so we start to wonder why we should be telling it and not something else. This is something I experienced on a regular basis. That’s why the subjects discussed by my friends have become my preferred topics; the posts I write are not nearly as important as for whom I’m writing them. When I remember that nothing has any point, it’s my friends here at WordPress that are able to bring me back to the ground and remind me that being a part of an ongoing debate about culture and the way in which it is expressed is all with which I need worry myself.
I’d like to thank the Well-Red Mage for reminding me that there is a science to art, and that there is no such thing as high art or low art – all art is created equal and has the same potential to be studied academically.
And yes, that Driver documentary is something I’m still doing, I’m getting there slowly but surely.
I’d like to challenge Geekritique from Geekritique, Kat Impossible from Life and Other Disasters and vinnieh of vinnieh.
The main thing I took away from the episode.
Bosses aren’t happy with the episode
In an exclusive scoop, it’s been revealed that Doctor Who‘s upcoming episode The Pilot is to be remounted. This comes at two weeks before the transmission date. Reasons for the remount are described by an insider as being numerous technical difficulties which are too problematic to solve through editing. Such problems involve the police box doors on the control room set opening and closing at random, which was not noticed until after wrapping, because bosses were too distracted by the subsequent banging sound. It’s unknown if the upcoming season’s episodes will be pushed back by a week in order to accommodate the control room set being replaced with a brand new one, in-which it is planned for ceiling lights to not be visible. The TARDIS dematerialisation sound is also allegedly being updated via Auto-tune. Feedback from executives describes the Doctor’s new black coat as being too grim, and is likely to replaced with something reminiscent of the Sixth Doctor’s costume. The special effects used to represent the Daleks’ exterminations were also of concern, with the screen being turned negative instead of using a death ray effect (it’s unknown why this decision was made). The character of Bill is also said to be a problem, with the script making her too antagonising in the eyes of test audiences, with a costume change also needed in order to make her look more modern so viewers won’t be confused by someone wearing clothes from 30 years ago. Errors in sound mixing resulted in a thunderclap being inserted over the opening bars of the theme tune, which everyone agrees is totally out of place. However, the major change – which is likely to be the most controversial – is the decision to remove Gallifrey from Doctor Who‘s mythology, with the Doctor’s home planet once again becoming a mystery. This is said to make the Doctor more mysterious. The matter of what this episode should be called has caused a stir within management, as the relevant paperwork is inconsistent in this regard. Insiders are claiming that one show boss declared this episode:
…the worst piece of work I’ve seen in a long time.
The Dalek corridor chase seen by viewers has come under fire for a moment in-which the Doctor and Bill become stuck in a doorway, and their faces are covered by shadow due to poor lighting. Numerous shots show cameras colliding with the set. Bosses were apparently so distracted by this that errors made by the actors were retained in the edit, as were several stage hands that were not supposed to be in shot. A silhouette visible on the TARDIS is another mistake that is to be fixed. In the same shot, someone stumbles in the background, creating a crashing sound that somehow made its way into the edit, as did the sound of someone calling a cue after the cameras started rolling.
The Pilot (if it’s still to be called that) will be broadcast on Saturday 15th March 2017… hopefully!
This will make sense in time.
“These corridors all look the same!”
“There are plenty of incompetent assassins.”
Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes on The Deadly Assassin
In 1999, Doctor Who hadn’t broadcast any new episodes since an untitled feature-length standalone in 1996 starring Paul McGann (The Night of the Doctor, 2013) as the Eighth Doctor. To fill the void, Comic Relief commissioned a new, two-part serial that both spoofed and served as a reasonably-believable new episode of Doctor Who. Richard Curtis (Vincent and the Doctor, 2010) collaborated with producer Sue Vertue, who knew how much of a fan Steven Moffat (The Return of Doctor Mysterio, 2016) was, and asked him to bring it to life. Knowing that this might be the only chance he’d have at writing a Doctor Who episode, he accepted – in spite of the lack of payment. Rowan Atkinson was a popular name in the press for who should be a potential Ninth Doctor, and his casting was another suggestion of Vertue. Having established himself as a comedy actor in the Blackadder franchise, he was interested in the role on the condition that it not be written as a vehicle, but a legitimate character. With everything in place, Steven Moffat wrote a 20-minute send-up of an episode that referenced numerous Doctor Who traditions over the years that crucially found the balance between a self-deprecating tribute rather than making a mockery of a beloved title (and not just the in-joke of its own). Richard Curtis felt that he shouldn’t interfere in the writing process, and was only involved in casting. Roy Skelton (Remembrance of the Daleks, 1988) returned to voice the Daleks for the last time, having done so since 1967. Jonathan Pryce was cast as the Master. And the greatest gag of them all is a sequence in-which the Doctor cycles through their remaining regenerations almost immediately – Rowan Atkinson becomes Richard E. Grant (The Name of the Doctor, 2013) then Jim Broadbent, then Hugh Grant, and then finally Joanna Lumley. Doctor Who was officially relaunched in 2003 with an animated serial titled Scream of the Shalka. Richard E. Grant starred as another version of the Ninth Doctor. However, the television relaunch proper in 2005 starring Christopher Eccleston (The Parting of the Ways, 2005) as the Ninth Doctor, overwriting both conflicting continuities and relegating The Curse of Fatal Death to apocrypha (though it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that The Curse of Fatal Death was never entertained as a genuine continuation for Doctor Who after Paul McGann). Doctor Who continues to be associated with Comic Relief. Steven Moffat became a staff writer for the relaunched series, eventually taking-over from Russell T. Davies (The End of Time: Part Two, 2010) as Showrunner, who’d been so impressed by Hugh Grant’s performance to offer him the role of the Ninth Doctor proper, though he didn’t think the new version of the series would be a success. Steven Moffat repaid Richard Curtis the favour by allowing him to write the episode Vincent and the Doctor, which is consistently ranked high in fan polls. Richard .E Grant portrayed The Great Intelligence in three of Steven Moffat’s episodes. He reused some of his gags in the episodes he’s written for the series proper. As The Curse of Fatal Death shows the Doctor regenerating into a woman, he inverted this in his storylines by regenerating the Master into a woman instead. The idea of casting known names as the Doctor climaxed when he introduced a previously unseen incarnation of the Doctor portrayed by John Hurt (Casualties of War, 2017). Next year’s season will be the first to be overseen by Steven Moffat’s replacement, Chris Chibnall (P.S., 2012).
The Curse of Fatal Death can be viewed in its entirety on the Doctor Who YouTube channel:
Extract from a video originally published 4th August 2013