Regarding Legacy

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One aspect of the Doctor Who fan-base is the fact that I will always have an incomplete experience of it. I’ll never be able to have read every comic, novel or magazine article. I’ll never hear every Big Finish production or audio reconstruction. I’ll never own every collectible and I’ll never be familiar with every possible thing.

There’s an app, Doctor Who: Legacy, and it’s critically acclaimed. The Guardian named it one of the 50 best iOS and Android games of 2013, while Digital Spy called it  “one of the more moral free-to-play games when it comes to how it treats its players”. And that’s where I come into things. As a fan, I’m one of the potential players. I have an in-depth knowledge of every Doctor and companion, and the idea of building up my perfect team in a free-to-play game is a dream come true. Minecraft developer Markus Persson called FTP a “con”, which it mostly does seem to be. Facebook is free to use, and that’s filled with ads, since any free service will always mean its users are the product that are instead being advertised to investors, rather than the other way around. But based on DS’ review, Doctor Who: Legacy sounds like one of the more decent examples of free gaming. And trust me, I’m a sucker for free gaming. I change my MC skin every month to resemble one of the Doctors, and I’m a regular on the Doctor Who Online server.

But I don’t actually know anything about Legacy. I’ve seen its trailers on YouTube, but nothing seems to give any information about its features other than assembling a team of characters such as James Cordon to battle monsters such as Peg Dolls. But I don’t care, I’ve always wanted to be able to give a go, but I don’t have iOS or Android.

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But what’s this? A very exciting slice of information at the conclusion of a new announcement. It seems portrait costumes are being offered, not something I really care about as much as I could, but that article claims “A Facebook browser version is coming later this month”. Between browser gaming and app gaming, I’ll always prefer browsers, just ’cause. Since reviews claim the game will satisfy all fans, rather than being an advertising space, it makes perfect sense that it’s becoming accessible in a third way. Soon, I’ll be able to play as well, and join in the fun in a way that suits me. It sounds like the critics are right, and I want in. And I’ll soon be able to do so.

Soon, I’ll no longer be mystified by what it is and why it’s so successful. Soon, I’ll be blogging about why I love it so much and I expect it will become another obsession entirely on its own. I can’t wait to play.

Doctor Who “World Tour” announced

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I’ve always said Doctor Who is television’s rock star, and I’m not the only one. It’s lasted longer than any other sci-fi series, its last episode was watched by eleven million viewers, and waiting for a new season is like waiting for a new album, with episode shoots being music videos and the ever-changing line-up being easily comparable with a certain other band.

The world tour is the final confirmation, and the only one we need. For it to be loved in so many areas of the world (The Day Of The Doctor was transmitted in 98 countries), it makes a lot of marketing sense. And it seems like the natural development of Steven Moffat’s showrunner-ship. Before Series 5 began, The Eleventh Hour toured Matt Smith and Karen Gillan’s old schools. Before Series 6, The Impossible Astronaut was marketed in the United States and publicity was heavy on the newly-created BBC America (who’ll now transmit episode one on the same day as its UK premiere). So Series 8 being advertised around the world is completely expected. For someone who started Internet blogging at the birth of the Eleventh, I feel like the fan of an underground band suddenly getting a lot of attention from a lot of places.

They’re striking while the iron’s hot. With the last episodes getting unusually high ratings, and the world’s last exposure to the show being anticipated worldwide, this is the perfect time to promote a new season. There’s a pre-established actor for a start, and the show’s now been around long enough for potential audiences to take it seriously.

 

Which makes the guest list of particular note. Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Moffat. The two regulars, and the showrunner. Where’s the new producer? Where’s the new actors? While Moffat and Coleman have been present in the show already, for a tour advertising the newest season, we’re only really getting one example of a new “feature”, and that’s Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor. What about Samuel Anderson? He won’t be able to answer any questions about his character, Danny Pink,’s role in the season – that goes without saying – but there’ll be an increased awareness for him if he were to attend.

I can only assume it’s a scheduling thing. Or that there’s a specific plan for what’s being promoted. Or that the organisers intend for the attention to be specifically focused on those three elements for a different reason. Given that there’s to be reports and updates regularly published, I assume we’ll find-out in time.

But I still want to go. I’ve never made it to Comic Con, and didn’t get to the Doctor Who Celebration. I’ve been to the Exhibition and Experience, but that’s it. I don’t want to miss out where I could hit in, and the show touring doesn’t really give me an excuse not to go, especially as it’s coming to London, and I’ve already been there. It’s not as if it’s a place I’ve never been before.

From the 7th to the 12th, the world tour will take the show to Cardiff, London, Seoul, Sydney, New York, Mexico City and Rio de Janerio. In an event spanning such a wide area over an almost two-week period, I’ll need a pretty good reason not to go to the one nearest to me at a time I know I’ll be available.

For once, this time, I’m actually going to make the effort to attend an event. This is, after all, the promotional tour to the season I’m anticipating the most, after Series 6 and Series 5. What I’m being offered is the chance to at least see Peter Capaldi, and I do not intend to let that pass. I’m told Steven Moffat won’t be there for every day due to production commitments, but if anybody has a problem with that, I say: he can either be on yet another tour, or he can spend time working on the show you’re here to celebrate. With that thought, I almost hope he won’t be there so I can be sure he’ll be working on the show.

The tour’s been described as a fan/press event – an event for fans to engage with the trio, and for press to ask questions. Which I’m going to interpret as meaning it’s a mix of the professional and the casual; interviews with cast and crew from qualified media journalists, as well as the opportunity to observe how beloved Doctor Who truly is as fans show that devotion through whatever means the tour will give. I imagine we’ll also be able to ask questions of our own (e.g.: “We all know Danny Pink’s The Master, right?” “Is Charles Dance The Master?” “Is the finale’s villain The Master?”).

 

Personally, I can’t wait. Since this is both a follow-up tour to the biggest year for the best show on television, and its biggest publicity tour anyway, we’ll be able to prove just how much we appreciate it, and why it would be a mistake not to take it into your own heart. It’s coming to one our your continents – so fly, my pretties! Show your local conglomerates how much you love this show! Prove it to them! Make us all proud! Find your way to the nearest venue and join in the sum total of the growing fan-base. Make this the best tour the show’s even had, and give them a reason to keep making it. Don’t miss-out on this opportunity to become one with the fans. All of us have a responsibility to attend our nearest destination. If you’re a fan, you have no reason not to go.

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I’m starting to get all preachy, but you get the picture.

Titan Comics release two Doctor Who comic book trailers

On 16th May, the Doctor Who YouTube channel premiered the trailers for Titan Comics’ new Doctor Who comic book lines, The Tenth Doctor and The Eleventh Doctor.

Which was odd at the time, since comic book trailers aren’t a thing I’ve ever seen before. And the first thing that I noticed about these trailers is that they seem to be made on iMovie, with composite images made from publicity shots to create new material overlaid with fast, close-up zooms of the covers and information about them flashing on-screen in the most “iMovie”-ish way I can think of.

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And yet, I don’t mind. Because that still spurred my interest in the new lines. I’ve never been committed to any original comic book series before and mostly read graphic novels or anything I can pick-up on FCBD. The last one I must have read is Future’s End #1. But I’ve never subscribed myself to an ongoing publication.

Even though I’m not really a fan of the artwork in every shot, and feel quite skeptical about the new companions that have been introduced, what these trailers managed to do is make me interested in the most important thing – the story. The focus of these trailers is the new adventures, and horizons and possibilities, which is exactly what this Universe is about. Creating a new comic book line will allow new writers to tell their own stories in a medium that couldn’t resemble an episode more closely without being an episode. Plus, the new companions, Gabrielle Gonzalez and Alice Obiefune are new. That’s the point. Stories are character-driven and by creating new characters for a new line of stories, an entirely new dynamic is created that will make sure Titan Comics’ continuity feels and is different to BBC Cymru Wales’ as well as being an incentive – had Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Amelia Pond, Rory Williams or Clara Oswald been seen, I might not have been as enthusiastic, because that make them feel like unproduced episodes. But the way this has been approached creates the impression that this is taking place between hidden seasons, because they effectively are. Inserting Gonzalez and Obiefune into continuity means the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors can probably remember both of them.

 

11D_01_Cover_A_RGB_PREVIEWS_BC.jpg.size-600Which is a real testament to the way the Doctor Who universe works. Even when one Doctor has been and gone, we can still tell stories about them, and widen our understanding of the character as one. Now, the Eleventh Doctor retired not out of losing the Ponds, but from losing many potential friends. We give him new memories by adding new elements into his past, and we ourselves get new memories. Now, when watching The Snowmen, I’ll know more about his choice to resign than I did before.

And this is only one example. BBC Books, Big Finish and many others, even Doctor Who Magazine do the same. The possibilities really are endless, as we can tell stories from any point in his life we choose. Who knows… maybe these two new characters will also get a mention in the television show one day…

Foxes to appear in New Series of Doctor Who

Foxes, British singer/songwriter, will make an appearance in Series 8 of Doctor Who.

As soon as this was announced, I could feel everyone together, asking who she was. As someone who doesn’t follow music, I understandably haven’t heard of her before, even if she is a Grammy-winning tourer who debuted her album at #5 in the charts.

 

What I’ve also felt is that a lot of people have been overreacting to this.  How dare you cast a singer in Doctor Who!, they all seemed to say (a lot of commenters were met with responses from Foxes fans, who… well, let’s just say fandoms can be corrupting). Despite the fact that we have absolutely no reason to say Foxes will actually be “a character”. Remember when jazz musician Courtney Pine cameoed in Silver Nemesis? I think it’s safe to say we’re looking at a similar situation here, especially as the press release states Foxes will “perform a track and appear”. I can only assume she will be appearing to perform a track.

According to Foxes, she was performing a gig and found herself talking to representatives of the production crew who’d been watching it. I’ve no evidence to back this up, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say the production crew was there specifically to make a judgement on her music, needing a musician to appear in the show to perform in a scene.

 

Steven Moffat says Foxes’ appearance is due to the Doctor “finally catching up on his phone calls”. If this meant she’d be the main guest star for that episode, the press release would be different. It would say she’d be guest starring, rather than appearing to presumably perform a track.

And while Foxes has referred to this as her acting debut, that’s another thing. If she meant that seriously, she’s technically correct because appearing in an episode would be classed as acting in this scenario. And if the doesn’t mean it seriously, then she doesn’t mean it seriously.

 

Honestly, there’s nothing to worry about. As I concluded in my previous post regarding Frank Skinner, the producers haven’t resorted to stunt casting. A musician that’s been deemed the best person to appear has been chosen to perform a track for the show. Headlines often have the role of summarising the article, and in this case it’s accurate – Foxes to appear in the New Series. That is all.


Or is that what we’re lead to believe…?

Frank Skinner to appear in New Series of Doctor Who

It’s been announced British comedian Frank Skinner will appear in Series 8. At first, there’s the chance one might think of stunt casting, but it’s important to remember Frank Skinner is also an actor, as a member of Equity.

Stunt casting is different. Stunt casting is the hiring of a celebrity, often not an actor, to make a small appearance. Kylie Minogue was not stunt casting, as she started as an actor.

 

I say, if he’s good, that’s fine. He is trained as an actor, and has been cast by the BBC. Who are professionals. If he were just a comedian, that would be different. If he were appearing through a doorway to a studio audience cheering, that would be different. And although his acting career isn’t his most famous aspect, it’s still there. Just as Billie Piper and Catherine Tate were all known for different things, singing and comedy. But both of them gained successful acting careers because of Doctor Who.

What’s different is how he got the role. Steven Moffat said he’s volunteered himself numerous times, and now a role has come-up. If this is true, he’s been cast because only now has there been an appropriate role. Which is a good thing, because actors serve scripts. The reverse is rarely true.

This piece of news, on the other hand…

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Doctor Who BAFTA TV Success

Poster_Day-of-the-DoctorRadio Times are a formerly BBC funded TV listing magazines that have held a special relationship with Doctor Who over the years, not least because the show’s appeared on the cover more than any other show. Every year, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts host two awards ceremonies – one for British film, and one for British television (plus an international category).

One of the awards is the Radio Times Audience Award, which is the only award voted by the public. This year, the fiftieth anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor, was voted most popular nominee.

 

Which is odd, frankly. Given the other nominees, Breaking Bad, Broadchurch, Educating Yorkshire, Gogglebox and The Great British Bake Off, were all actual shows, why should Doctor Who only get one episode? Yes, it’s the anniversary special, but a Christmas special and a half-season was broadcast that same year.

 

The answer? Quality. This may be the only BAFTA award for which the public vote, but the nominations for this particular award are decided by – according to the BAFTA website – “A panel of leading media and entertainment journalists”. Not the academy, then. Media and entertainment journalists.

I suppose given that The Day Of The Doctor was a special (meaning an episode broadcast outside of a regular season), they were able to nominate that single episode. But it seems every other episode broadcast that year just didn’t do it for them.

Not that I can blame them at all. The Day Of The Doctor was noticeably better than the other episodes of 2013, and was indeed simulcast around the world, becoming a Guinness World Record for the Largest Broadcast of a TV Drama. Even if that weren’t the case, and the rest of the show were nominated, it would have still won. Why? Also simple: BBC One.

Of all the nominees, Doctor Who is the only one to air on BBC One, which has the highest audience share of any British channel. That’s why it gained 16 million viewers where others achieved significantly less. For whatever reason, the majority of people only seem interested in watching something if it’s on BBC One. Which makes any nominees broadcast there more likely to win an audience award.

 

Which asks the question of: why bother? If it’s more likely to win based on its channel, why should the audience award exist at all? Honestly, it shouldn’t. That’s what separates BAFTA from the National Television Awards and the Oscars from the Golden Globes – committees know best. Unlike most other people, who’ll vote because they’ve only seen one nomination, it’s the responsibility of BAFTA to watch the majority of what’s on television in order to make a legitimate vote. The audience award seems to be a ratings cow, therefore; give the audience one award of their own, and they’ll watch to find out who’ll win (because BBC One really needs that kind of ratings boost). Of course, Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor won, because more people saw that, so were more likely to vote given the trend that people only tend to have seen one of the candidates. (Seriously, ask yourself – have you seen all of them? Every one?)

 

That being said, it did totally deserve to win. It’s just interesting to me that the rest of the show wasn’t nominated by Radio Times or by BAFTA for the Drama award.

But what’s more interesting is that nobody from the BBC expected it to win. Even Producer Faith Penhale (which took some finding, by the way – neither BAFTA or the BBC said who it was and I eventually found it on Kasterborous) said that, had anybody expected it to win, somebody more famous would have collected the award. Not that directors or producers or writers are considered “famous” by the public. And don’t tell me Steven Moffat was in Lanzarote, because he wasn’t. They were filming in the UK on BAFTA night.

Why nobody expected it to win perplexes me, really. It won the National Television Awards – which is voted by the public – yet nobody thought it would win an audience award from a more prestigious organisation on a more popular channel? Maybe there’s something they’re not telling us.
Either way, it totally deserved to win. And I also say that like every other member of the public – having only seen one nomination (this one). With that out of the way, perhaps everyone can stop talking about the fiftieth anniversary now? While the hype was definitely justified at the time of the actual anniversary, we’re six months after it now. Literally half a year later. Hopefully, when Series 8 premieres, everyone will forget about the anniversary because they’ll be so impressed with Peter Capaldi. The anniversary was about honouring the past while looking to the future – and the best way to do that is to now leave even that behind and move on. And let’s hope Series 8 will be better and actually get nominated this time.

See The Day Of The Doctor winning the Radio Times Audience Award here.