Tuesday, 31 December 2013

DWA giving away new monster figures (and a Dalek)

In kit form. And blind bagged. And I don't know what scale. But still. Once I find out how big they are I shall report back. Because that 2013 Cyberman is okay but the Vastra figure looks pretty cool...

And a chance to win a life-size Dalek as well. Blimey!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Johannes Kepler

Google celebrates Johannes Kepler’s 442nd birthday. Yes, 442nd. Great space scientist. Celebrity historical. You know the drill by now, eh?

Most plot-viable bit of the first article, explained more in the second: he was born “to a mercenary father and a mother who was a healer and herbalist and was at one point tried for witchcraft.”

Okay, it’s more of a Warhammer plot, but still. Save a suspected witch, revolutionise science into the bargain!

Throw in seeing the Great Comet of 1577 when he was five and a half, perhaps?

Another Day Of The Doctor reference?

“The Zygons lost their homeworld. It burnt in the first days of the Time War.”

There’s only one story between Genesis Of The Daleks and Terror Of The Zygons.

So this is true in both timelines!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Time Of The Doctor Almost Confidential

Hello again Almost Confidential!

Got me all emotional!

Alright then, another almost-drabble

Since here there is no continuity to mess with, and likely never will be:

The Doctor (for he still thought of himself as the Doctor, much as he tried otherwise) looked out over this latest battlefield, then shook his head and turned to his companions.

“The battle’s won, and lives were saved. As many as we could.” He sighed. “Time to move on.”

Sister Araia gently placed her hand on his shoulder. “Never in one place for too long.”

“Never in one place for quite long enough,” the Doctor mused, scratching at his beard as he shuffled back towards the battered old police box on the hill overlooking the ruins of Atlantis.

“Thanks again. A spot of tea before we get you back to Karn, eh?” he asked, just about remembering how to smile.

Now On The Big Screen

“After some time, something resembling a giant egg appears on the horizon. A crack splits open the egg and through it the Doctor sees a scarecrow lose its head in a guillotine. The Doctor’s horse vanishes.”

Judging by the description in Now On The Big Screen, a new book about the mostly unsuccessful attempts to put the Doctor in the cinema, Doctor Who Meets Scratchman would have been a... singular piece of work.

(I imagine it looking like one of those windswept not-Hammer 70s horror films tapping into old British folklore, despite the robots and the giant pinball table.)

By comparison, The Krikkitmen seems almost normal. The whole “the game of cricket is a psychic echo and the Ashes are vitally important” thing is the only really bonkers bit. I like the visual for the Krikkitmen on the cover too.

Before that, there could have been a third Peter Cushing movie, without Daleks even, adapting The Abominable Snowmen. Cushing met them in a completely different film, and it nearly ended up as a Professor Challenger movie as well. Or a third film from the same producers in the 80s.

Coverage of the 1989-1996 scripts use The Nth Doctor as a source of quotes, so much of this was familiar, but it caught up with some of Greenlight Productions who were essentially ruined financially by the whole fiasco. Ouch.

It ends with writer Charles Norton musing that perhaps the Doctor should stay out of the cinema. This conclusion seems unfortunately timed after seeing thirteen of him up there in 3D along with millions of other people.

Oh, and one more thing. As RTD and crew worked to bring the show back in 2004, mentioned in passing in DWM, one of the casualties was a completely different BBC South West production from Bill Baggs intended to star Alan Cumming. Wha-huh?

And what do you want for Twelfth Night?

Yes, having been ever so diligent, I will now say PETER CAPALDI! to all. And to all a good night.

SFX look at what they’d like to see. Sensibly, two of them ask for surprises.

And what do I want? Surprises sound good. Yes, surprises.

And for the show to still largely be warm and friendly for kids despite a less immediately cuddly Doctor.

And maybe some Sea Devils.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

The Time Of The Doctor

After an anniversary special meant to appeal to all and sundry, a Christmas special aimed pretty exclusively at those following the Eleventh Twelfth Thirteenth Last Eleventh Doctor’s era quite closely.

Very very spoilers.

And before that, a deleted scene from early on.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Boy Who Loved "The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who"

Paul Cornell writes for the Eleventh Doctor - and Matt Smith - in IDW’s final comic for the series, as the TARDIS falls through a gap in the universe into one rather like ours, and gets a glimpse of what he means to people he inspires despite (normally) being fictional.

Everyone’s not like everyone else.”

Great, warm-hearted stuff.

With Krotons.

A Time Lord Christmas from the Doctor Puppets

Gets me right there.

A Sarah Jane almost-drabble

Among other things, I got The Sarah Jane Adventures series three from a friend pre-Christmas, ran through them last night, and woke this morning thinking of this. And so, for Christmas, my roughly annual tiny bit of fanfic.


The Moment

Adi Tantimedh at Bleeding Cool imagines a series about the Moment. A sentient weapon that can go anywhere in space and time, and doesn’t want to be fired. Like a TARDIS, only more so.

The article certainly points up the Moment’s importance in The Day of The Doctor, which I hadn’t really considered.

I think a series from its point of view might get a bit samey, but a story could certainly work.

Or a guest appearance as it crosses paths with your characters just when they need it... at that very moment, in fact...

Monday, 23 December 2013

Alan Turing pardoned

In time for Christmas, although not in time for him.

(The members of Pussy Riot imprisoned two years ago were freed as well, and lived to tell of it. Which is something, I suppose.)

More missing episode rumours

More talk of film cans found, although no word of their contents.

But look at it this way. The number of missing episodes now stands at 97. It’s dipped under a hundred for the first time since the wipeouts ended. That’s pretty good, right?

The Gazebo In Time

Time travel in RPGs, an overview. Also in this special Twelve Days runup for the magazine, a list of five great time travel RPGs (DWAITAS is number two, the winner being an original-to-RPGs setting, which is fair enough) and Cat looking in depth at a freeform LARP writing event. Which is not about time travel, but this is my blog and I can big up my friends if I want to. :P

Sunday, 22 December 2013

All the Celebration panel? All the Celebration panel.

All the Doctor Who Celebration panel. Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Nick Hurran and Steven Moffat talking to Matthew Sweet and getting their world record certificate.

THE OBJECT

What is THE OBJECT? What can stop a five-storey-high drilling machine?

THE OBJECT.

SOON.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

100 years of the crossword

Another anniversary, as covered in a Google Doodle in the USA - while we puzzlingly get one about the Winter Solstice, showing animated Baker-length-scarf-knitting.

I wonder when Dalek was first used as a crossword clue...

Anniversary Of The Daleks

Fifty years since the first appearance of The Plunger!

Tom Baker is the Twelfth Doctor...?

As part of his Twelve Blogs of Christmas, Paul Cornell looks at some of the ancient mysteries of Doctor Who.

Featuring what a windjammer captain actually looks like, and a special appearance by the heroic but tragically ill-equipped defenders of Voga, planet of gold.

That's one other vote in favour...

I’m home for the festive season, and just watched The Culture Show special again, and as Matthew Sweet suggested “the next Doctor is out there... whoever she is” my mother observed “I thought it might be a woman this time and not another bloke again.”

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

New Doctors, new editions

Why Onyx Path discussed Doctor Who so much last week as they launch what is effectively a new edition of Vampire: The Requiem and gear up to revive the Trinity games. which I’m working on... and may involve a time traveller with a tendency to land where he needs to go rather than where he wants...

Friday, 13 December 2013

Adventures from Cubicle 7!

Available to buy on PDF here for $2.99 (currently £1.82) each - previously available to Doctor sourcebook subscribers.

Cat’s Eye by Nick Huggins, a modern adventure about a dark secret behind an unassuming facade.

Medicine Man by Walt Ciechanowski, a Western with Silurians. (Not exactly a spoiler, look at the cover!)

The Ravens Of Despair by oor Steve Darlington, reviewed here, a mini-series of connected hooks about a series-level threat. I may have been briefly involved on a consultant level here. ;) (By which I mean he asked me if I could remember Plague Doctors appearing in Who media and all I could find was one IDW comic.)

Hellboy vs the Weeping Angels


From The Line It Is Drawn at Comics Should Be Good.

RUN AWAY!

Via Peter Mello, via io9:


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Hundreds!

Someone has worked out that, on top of everything else, The Time Of The Doctor will be the show’s 800th episode. (The first 253 are in black and white, and Rose was 697, making The Crimson Horror the 100th episode since the series returned.)

In case you’re not partied out already...

Fifties are of course a big deal, but hundreds really do get more attention. Romans organise by centuries, and a century in cricket probably earns you some drinks after the game. Living to one hundred in the UK gets you a telegram from the Queen (even though we don’t have telegrams any more) and a bid of a hundred at out local con’s charity auction will usually get a round of applause, and sometimes a panto-style “ooh!” as well.

So what else can a multiple of a hundred mark?

Red Ace High

The intro adventure for TimeMaster is now available free. Time-travelling aliens try to rewrite history during the Great War...

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Monday, 9 December 2013

Amazing Grace

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, pioneering computer programmer and “mother of COBOL” with several buildings, a street, a park, a bridge and a US Navy destroyer named after her.

I could imagine an adventure with the young Grace at Yale (before she became the first woman in its history to graduate with a doctorate in mathematics) or her work during the War. The way she figured out how alarm clocks worked by dismantling several when she was a child would certainly appeal to the Doctor.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

War Doctor 5" figure!

So having said for months that new non-classic figures would be in 3 3/4” scale... and so far only making one wave of them... CO are bringing out a 5” scale John Hurt War Doctor figure.

Which looks great!

And it comes with a short-haired Paul McGann head as well. I will not be the only one looking for a better body for it to go on, as this is clearly Hurt’s body.

Not sure what changed their minds. Glad something did.

(I suppose a Clara figure is too much to hope for...?)

The Cover Of The Time Of The Doctor

New DWM cover. Restates how big the stakes are. Might have something to say about the regeneration numbering issue.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Time Of The Doctor...

... is one hour, starting at 7.30pm Christmas Day on BBC One.

And two weeks after the anniversary multi-cover giant issues, the Radio Times has a preview on the cover with a Matt Smith interview.

And (spoiler, despite being on the biggest magazine in the country, because I remember the reveal of Sec)...

Such a small thing

Google has been busy Doodling since the anniversary, with Doodles for St. Andrew’s Day, the opera singer Maria Callas and Carlos Juan Finlay, the Cuban scientist who worked out that yellow fever was spread by mosquitoes.

Not even going to try and connect all of those together...

But a single breakthrough like that can have massive repercussions through history, changing the development of pandemics and their treatment.

The classic easily-changed result here is penicillin, discovered because of a Petri dish left by an open window. It would be very easy for someone to come along and close it...

Monday, 2 December 2013

Alastair Reynolds

SF author and former ESA astronomer Alastair Reynolds on the influence of Doctor Who on TV, society, and his own work up to and including his Who novel Harvest Of Time.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Greys, Faeries and the Pied Piper

A DWAITAS thread about Greys as villains got me thinking about a historical connecting them with the earlier fear of being taken by faeries. Which reminded me of a story my brother wrote about primitive Greys living in deep caves.

And that also made me think of the Pied Piper. And that made me think of the time a Dire Wraith played the part in ROM: Spaceknight.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Lord of Docclare escaped the Palladin Hordes in the CADESAE

Have now read the anniversary issue of DWM, as it is probably safe to do so. And one of its main features is about Anthony Coburn, writer of An Unearthly Child, and his earlier drafts of that first script. Like the early drafts of Star Wars which are now being adapted into comics, they show a familiar but rather different world.

This happens, for one thing.


And it gets weirder from there.

Baker's Eleven

More from the Doctor Puppet for the anniversary.

The Culture Show: Me, You And Doctor Who

Matthew Sweet charts where it came from and where it’s taken us.

Better get it on iPlayer while you can!

Dice Of The Doctor vs Dice Of The Daleks

Via Jeffry: Whovian D6s.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

One last note...

Turns out the Cameo cinema in town is showing The Day Of The Doctor until Thursday!

And a small extra observation, behind this spoiler cut.

Nostalgia for Saturday

Fifty things SFX loved about The Day Of The Doctor. Big important bits, little blink-and-miss-it bits and all in between.

The Impossible Day - Coming soon to this blog. Maybe.

I have just about confirmed that some time early in the New Year (so after the Christmas Special) I will be helping run Propulsion, a 24-hour gaming marathon for charity here in Edinburgh.

And I just had a very daft idea.

Do a big multi-Doctor adventure for eight to twelve hours. Doctors and companions coming and going (yes, like Dimensions In Time, shut up) as players come and go.

Hmm. Will think on this further.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Sunday, 24 November 2013

An extremely timey-wimey observation

Having just celebrated the fiftieth anniversary, we now have a year and a half to wait for the tenth...

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot

... is lovely.

Best viewed after The Day Of The Doctor, just in case.

Big Finish anniversary 10% off sale

Want to buy something Whovian from Big Finish? This weekend is a good time.

The Day Of The Doctor

Right then. 50 years. 900 posts. 55552 pageviews. And something to talk about.

I saw it in 3D, along with a thousand other people in three screens in that cinema alone (and five hundred more waiting for the encore) and was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t break down halfway through and drop a giant 3D Graham Norton on us.

SPOILERS!

Doctor Who: The Complete Series A

My own contribution to the anniversary:

My first shot at a play-by-post Doctor Who game, featuring Onyx Path writer and developer Rose Bailey writing a new Doctor, urban fantasy author Paul Leone as ESA scientist Nathalie, and our own Eternally Lost Zeppo as DI Porter among others. It produced some interesting artefacts along the way.

The trailers for one thing...

And now, as my own little bit of anniversary nostalgia, an episode guide to the series I had planned.

Some are just notes, some have been expanded to adventure hooks and the like elsewhere...


Looking back in time...

Well, it’s here. We’ve arrived. This is The Day Of The Doctor. Let’s all take a moment to reflect...

As I’ve mentioned before, my earliest memories are of Tom Baker, probably with K-9 and maybe Leela, but supported by the first few issues of Doctor Who Weekly so my first clear memories are of The Iron Legion while the first shows I really remember are the Five Faces repeats.

Although I knew enough to understand the awesomeness of getting a Fourth Doctor, TARDIS, K-9, Cyberman and Dalek for Christmas... 1979 I think? Still got them too.

Even then, looking back, DWW made a point of celebrating the show’s history, giving photo features to the previous Doctors starting with William Hartnell in issue 1 and then putting Jon Pertwee on the cover of issue 6 due to the special feature on the Sontarans. So I always knew it was older than I was, and larger and stranger than what I was seeing on a weekly basis.

And then it took a turn not to my tastes, and then it got a bit more interesting, and then it went away. And then it came back in an attempt to appeal to the US market, and then went away again, except in books and the like. And then... it came back.

I remember looking up at a huge billboard of Chris and Billie and thinking this could really work... and being rather glad when it started to.

By that point, I’d actually run a game using (some of) the FASA system, and dug out City Of The Damned to use as an adventure, along with a White Dwarf Traveller adventure about a wolflike alien loose in Victorian London. This was sometime around the McCoy era, when it was becoming something serious teen genre fans could talk about. I ran Vampire: The Masquerade for the same players. This was serious business. There were all-new novels coming out.

I nearly ran Time Lord once as well. But not quite...

Friday, 22 November 2013

The Doodle Of The Doctor

The result of following all those historical Google Doodles -

The Doctor Who anniversary Google Doodle, which is so big they’ve launched it half a day early in the UK.

This means I might have time to figure out the steering and get off the first corner of the first screen.

UPDATE: Don’t steer by arrows, use the mouse to click on the square to move to! So much easier.

Still a better Doctor Who video game than Dalek Attack of course.

Escape from the Dalek city! Steal vital information from the Cybermen in London! Mind your umbrella! Regenerate from Matt Smith to William Hartnell!

It amuses me that even here they toned down the Sixth Doctor’s coat.

November 22nd

Of course, in among all our frivolity, today marks another fiftieth anniversary, the assassination of President Kennedy. It’s still a raw spot for a nation, half a century on. Something to consider when thinking of historical episodes.

Also that day, C.S. Lewis died. His influence on Doctor Who is easy to spot even when they’re not doing it on purpose.

As did Aldous Huxley, whose Brave New World took the opiate-of-the-masses idea to its dystopian conclusion.

And to be a bit less grim, it’s also Python and Time Bandits director Terry Gilliam’s birthday.

An Adventure In Space And Time

An Adventure In Space And Time was lovely, funny, sad, delightful in its recreations, and just a little bit cheesy at the end but they’d earned it.

David Bradley as William Hartnell was touching and Jessica Raine and Sacha Dhawan as Verity Lambert and Waris Hussein were heroes to cheer for, while Claudia Grant, Jamie Glover and especially Jemma Powell as Carole Ann Ford, William Russell and Jacqueline Hill - Susan, Ian and Barbara - are great support and downright uncanny in their resemblances.

“Obviously, as well, the hard thing was wanting to recreate as many missing episodes as possible, but we just couldn’t afford to do it! I said at one point, ‘Just lock the doors and we’ll do Marco Polo, come on!’”
Mark Gatiss admitting what we all thought

And then BBC Four broadcast An Unearthly Child in its entirety. Haven’t seen it in a long time, so I enjoyed the chance to revisit it - nice to see them making the Doctor more amiable from the start, and that being crazily violent for kids has been a constant from the very beginning. ;)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Total Chameleon Circuit Overload

Something not directly Who-ish for once this week:

Something is happening to these cars. I suspect it may be the result of trying to land one inside another.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Last Day

Free to view (once iTunes sorts that out...) The Last Day is a short piece of found footage from the POV of a Gallifreyan guard during the Time War.

Coolest Gallifreyan armour yet. I want a figure of a guard.

The chattiness of the characters makes the Doctor’s speech patterns feel less out of place than, say, Rassilon and his advisors.

Where this relates to the Doctor... well, it will somewhere...

UPDATE! You can now watch it on the BBC website and nobody will try and charge you for it.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

"Gonna be quite... quite, QUITE good...?"

Massive spoilers (not really) as David Tennant shows us some of the key props in the anniversary special.

"I was the original angry Doctor Who fan!"

Great big interview with Steven Moffat about the anniversary in the Guardian, which starts with a point about the conflicting desire to know everything and nothing before The Day Of The Doctor starts. So I leave the link here now, and will be reading no further until Sunday.

Alright, I peeked a bit.

Monday, 18 November 2013

"I don't know if I deserve a holiday, y'know, I don't know if I deserve... anything..."

The Doctor loses his memory in the completely unnecessary frame story for Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide, two hours of clips and talking heads but some directly relevant so that’s okay, so we get a few more in-character moments with Eleven and Clara before it all kicks off.

The quote comes from the Doctor’s assessment of himself after recovering his memory - echoing Seven’s “the more I know me, the less I like me...” here referred back to as we look at his Doctor’s sly streak. Clara assures him he does so much more good, and that she admires how he always wants to help.

Several of the speakers agree with Donna’s assessment that the Doctor needs someone to stop him, as well as someone to encourage him - and of course someone to show off to.

Sideways In Time

The 14 Strangest Moments in Doctor Who Alt-History

Scratchman! Hawkspur! Nelvana! The Stranger! The dashing young First Doctor! Ridley Scott!

If you haven’t stumbled onto this page by accident some of these will be familiar to you. If you have, this will explain, at least to some extent.

And some could be salvaged to at least some extent. There be plots there! Plots just lying there for the taking!

Like the battle with a smooth-talking Devil playing games with reality itself...

Or the sinister alien who got to Earth ahead of the Doctor and gained power by pretending to be an affable British politician... Okay, maybe not that one...

The list does not include the most eye-watering near-miss in Doctor Who history. Seriously. Wow.

And the Nelvana Doctor’s designer is the father of one of the commenters, which is a nice It’s A Small World moment.

The Daleks' Master Plan

Adapted as a graphic novel, for Children In Need

The Master's Dalek Plan, conversely, was an adventure in our playtest game.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

My brain hurts.

An observation from yonder RPGnet...

If the Doctors are numbered by their being the Doctor, not by their regeneration... there could be pre-Hartnell regenerations who did not call themselves the Doctor.

DWR - Mirror Maze

Doctor Who Regenerated fan art strikingly suggesting a plot hook.

(So this is a fan post about fan art for a fan comic. Maybe a fan will now set this post to music!)

The Science Of Doctor Who

In which Professor Brian Cox meets the Eleventh Doctor (actor Brian Cox having met the Tenth Doctor when he voiced the Ood Elder - and helped create Doctor Who as Sydney Newman in An Adventure In Time And Space) and seemingly without notes or pauses explains time dilation, Fermi’s Paradox (charmingly referencing the Silence) and whether travelling to the past is at all possible - concluding maybe, just maybe, if you can figure out how to distort spacetime without getting stuck in a black hole.

When would Cox most want to go? Faraday’s Christmas Lecture for 1860, “the chemical history of a candle”. Shall we make a day of it, travellers?

The story is a bit embroidered

Whovian history in the style of Bayeux.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who

Paul Cornell discusses and previews his Eleventh Doctor comics story, in which the Doctor visits a Doctor Who convention, the importance of the series, the eeriness of meeting a monster while alone at a con bar in the early hours of a morning, his favourite classic stories and who he’d cast as the next Doctor (“today it’s Rebecca Front” - I can see it).

The Science Of Doctor Who

SFX sister magazine Science Uncovered issue 1 looks at the plausibility or lack thereof in the SF (or lack thereof) in Who.

Design a sonic for the show (kids only!)

As reported by SFX: following the Abzorbaloff and the Junk TARDIS, Blue Peter offers 6-15-year olds the chance to design a new sonic device for a recurring character (very mild spoilers as to who) to use in a future episode. Cue more we-never-had-this-in-my-day grumbling from old folks like me. :)

We interrupt this BBC One station ident...

Non-Who-fans are going to get sick of us in the next two weeks...

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Trailer Of The Day Of The Doctor

I missed the proper-footage-and-stuff trailer, and shall be avoiding it henceforth, because we only have two weeks to go now.

TWO WEEKS!

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Hour Is Known

23/11/2013.

7.50 p.m.

Also, Scotch-Land.

"What does this look like?" "A Rorschach ink-blot test, of course!"

Another Google Doodle for an odd-numbered birthday, here an animation asking us what we see in inkblots for Hermann Rorschach’s 129th birthday.

I’m not an expert, but I don’t think all the blots in the Doodle are real ones. Either that, or I have a very strong memory of garden gnomes shaking hands.

The ink-blot test is a nice easy visual way to refer to psychiatric treatment, so it’s become one of the recurring jokes about the subject in popular culture.

Hence the above quote from the Eighth Doctor comics, possibly borrowed from an Emo Phillips joke although played straight there...

See also Rorschach in Watchmen, his mask a hint that he is whatever the viewer fears. The Doodle’s blots change like it does in the film version. (Which makes his mask the only super-tech gadget he ever uses. Doy.)

Ink-blot imagery also appears in the 1999 version of House On Haunted Hill, where the house is actually a disused mental hospital haunted by a malign presence represented by an inky black shape which is anatomically suggestive and (almost) perfectly symmetrical. It’s a striking image for a monster, very fitting for its setting without needing to explain it.

There are also quite a few you could borrow as alien invader helmet (or face) designs.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

HASHTAGS!

The Doctor wants Hashtags apparently!

The more he gets, the more we see of this.

So I suppose... I could link to something here...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Nothing O'Clock, by Neil Gaiman

The rumours are true, the children’s ebook series ends with Neil Gaiman writing for Eleven, and doing his best to create a new and potentially recurring monster.

Sooo... might have to get that, then.

And would you like to read the prologue free and in advance? I thought you might.

Raymond Loewy

Google marks the 120th birthday of Raymond Loewy, called “the father of industrial design” after designing everything from trains to the Greyhound bus to the logos of several competing petrol companies, refrigerators to the Coke vending machine to the livery for Air Force One.

He made his name in the USA after being injured fighting for his native France in the First World War, claiming he arrived with nothing but his uniform and fifty dollars in his pocket. This would be the perfect point to feature him in a Celebrity Historical showing how different the world would be without him... perhaps borrowing from the Tenth Doctor comic series The Futurists as aliens tap into his imagination to change the whole world in his image, Dark City style.

Remember, Remember, The Gunpowder Plot

Have a happy and safe Bonfire Night. And remember, remember...

The Gunpowder Plot was the last of the Adventure Games, sadly, going out on a high with the biggest of the series, with a large cast, a playable Rory, a special guest Silence and the appearance of a classic monster not yet seen in the revived series at all. The teaching guide to the real history of the Plot also contained loads of details and concept art that would make ideal handouts.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Witch's brew

Lovely but somewhat baffling Hallowe’en Google Doodle. And Easter Eggs instead of candy.

As noted before, Doctor Who has never quite done a Hallowe’en special. Too close to the anniversary, and the show prefers to spring horror stories on its viewers without warning....

But it’s had plenty of witches over the years. Good and evil, human and alien, genuine believers and tricksters. Wizards too, possibly including the Seventh Doctor, and warlocks and sorcerers. And plenty of people learning secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know, despite the show’s overall moral that knowing is better than not.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Monday, 28 October 2013

Edith Head

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 116th birthday of Edith Head, winner of a record eight Oscars (out of thirty-five nominations) for her costume designs, including instantly recognisable styles from Breakfast At Tiffany’s to Vertigo.

I suspect if Doctor Who were to have a Celebrity Historical about a fashion designer it would be Coco Chanel, but the Doctor might bump into Edith repeatedly on set as he chases something sinister through Hitchcock’s career, and she always notices the time travellers first of all the people around because of what they wear. The trick would be not to play her too much like Edna from The Incredibles.

And of course The Birds is a Doctor Who adventure waiting to happen, just add a resolution probably involving aliens.

(Speaking of, she also worked on the 50s version of War Of The Worlds...)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Official Aeronaut of France

Cute interactive Google Doodle today for the, er, 216th anniversary of the first parachute jump. Immediate thought - has the Doctor broken that record?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Easter Eggs Of The Trailer Of Day Of The Doctor

Some people at Doctor Who dot TV get a bit thorough when looking at the trailer. Of these, I spotted the laser screwdriver myself...

The Intruders

Doctor Who producers team up with The X Files producer to adapt Michael Marshall (Smith) thriller The Intruders for BBC America. Innnteresting.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Time Travel!

io9 sums up events that seem like evidence of time travel, offering rational explanations for some... and only some. Reporting this for its adventure hooks, not because I have my fingers crossed for a trip in the TARDIS.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

Happy Ada Lovelace Day to all those on computers now. (And if you're not on a computer how are you reading this...?)

I could post on the Google Doodle about Nietzsche's 169th birthday, but I mostly find his mind looking like Australia distracting.

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Time Traveller's Wife... and fiancée... and girlfriend...

Rachel McAdams is feeling rather narrowly typecast. She’d like a turn being the time traveller for once...

Hmm...

Would she make a good Doctor? I think she probably would - sparky, charming, mischievous and (as Irene Adler) she can be dangerous.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Enemy Of The World and (most of) The Web Of Fear found

Via Doctor Who Magazine and SFX, the latter complete with map of Nigeria showing where the find was made.

Nine episodes is better than none, although a long way off the full missing 106 as reported (if that’s the word...) by certain tabloids. Still, the number of missing episodes is now down to double figures!

A classic doppelganger trick, the return of the Yeti and the first appearance of the not-yet-Brigadier!

And a DWAITAS bonus, The Web Of Fear as a preview for the Second Doctor sourcebook.

And in related news as that first link shows, DWM now has an actual website.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

American Psychovore

Matt Smith has announced his next starring role - a musical version of American Psycho.

I confess I am slightly annoyed. We could have had a musical episode at any time in the last four years!

Of course, the Eleventh Doctor has had a musical story. In the comics...

But even without the musical factor, this is quite a shift in characterisation, into the role of an 80s yuppie who may be murdering loads of people or may just be thinking about it a bit too much.

(Hmm. Adventure about aliens using bored idle thoughts of humanity as a weapon... wouldn’t want to suggest a message that imagination is bad, of course, so turn the idea-materialiser against the aliens and let the people fight them...)
Also today in science, Peter Higgs shares the Nobel Prize with François Englert.

William John Swainson

Google returns to perplexing anniversary dates with the 224th birthday of William John Swainson, one of the great ornithological illustrators, who travelled the world and is best known for his work in New Zealand, emigrating there in 1841, the year it was made a separate colony.

Friday, 4 October 2013

"Pitch a Doctor Who story!"

If this RPGnet thread takes off, it could be a gold mine of adventure hooks. If not, the first is still good. ;)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Vincent Van Gogh had a sketchbook. Unsurprisingly it is beautiful, and rather melancholic.

DWAITAS update thing

850 posts, and resisting the temptation to grumble about not getting a ticket for the birthday convention. Looks like I can probably see Day Of The Doctor in 3D at the cinema.

The Second Doctor book exists physically, the Third has a cover (all monsters apart from the Doctor, including the Master), C7 are reshuffling staff. Main priority is the Doctor books, with a Twelfth Doctor rebranding of the core rules likely to hit once he’s had a series. Talk of releasing adventures (starting with the convention adventures) would be nice.

Monday, 30 September 2013

The sonic screwdriver's "Plot Importance Inhibitor" setting

Steven Moffat talks to Nerd Cubed for half an hour, and perhaps lets the odd hint out.

Mostly about what Jeff was watching online during The Eleventh Hour.

As well as talking about how the Doctor can know everything this week and nothing the next, the TARDIS’s master plan (or lack thereof), the Doctor’s gender, the Silence fighting the Silurians and looking forward to seeing the Weeping Angels return after he retires.

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Rain Gods

Unrelated to the waters of Mars, a mini-story by Steven Moffat Neil Gaiman for the new box set, based on the bit cut from the start of The Doctor’s Wife and demonstrating that the Doctor doesn’t always manage the best plans ever.

Today’s Google Doodle is for, well, Google. Very nice, but I think we’ve covered the story possibilities of Google already. Is there a plot hook in pinatas? Not sure...

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Waters Of Mars (are more abundant than thought)

Mars Curiosity Rover has found more water bound up in surface soil than expected.

Which I am sure will be fine for future colonists to drink as long as we all remember to standardise measurements for the filters.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Your ideal Doctor Who game...

And after that:

Please describe your ideal Doctor Who game. (Unfortunately technology currently limits us to developing games that are feasible in this space/time dimension so please bear this in mind when you’re answering.)

We are interested in things like:
• The characters you would include
• The genre of game e.g. first person or trivia
• What kind of tasks/rewards you’d like to have
• The most important things we should include
• How true the game adventures track with actual show episodes

My response:

An adventure game with little or no “twitch” gameplay, with a heavy story focus. The longer of the first run of the Adventure Games for the PC and Mac, like City Of The Daleks and Blood Of The Cybermen, were close to my ideal.

I’d feature the current Doctor and companion(s) by default, although adventures for previous TARDIS crews could be a lot of fun.

I’d suggest locations across a few time periods, popular monsters (that you can argue with by suitable dialogue choices) and if possible no timed jumping puzzles...

Looks like they may have something in mind:

“For the first time ever fans of Doctor Who will be able to interact with fifty years of beloved adventures, allies and enemies. Travel backwards through the Doctor’s timeline to face his deadliest foes and meet his most memorable companions. Through this epic adventure you will build a formidable army of companions, allies and past regenerations to take down a foe whose actions threaten to rip the universe apart.”

Hmm...

What a companion needs

A new Doctor Who survey at the BBC, asking about favourite Doctors and companions, brings up an interesting question:

What are the five qualities you think are the most important for a Companion to have? Please indicate at least one quality before proceeding.

My answers, in order:

To be entertaining, relatable and sympathetic, fun to watch.
Something to do besides ask the Doctor what’s going on.
The ability to ask the Doctor what’s going on without sounding like an idiot.
The ability to RUN!
Making Daleks seem scary by their reactions.

And the next question after that:

Choosing from amongst the monsters shown below, which two monsters would you most like to see fight in a battle?

The Judoon might be able to capture the Master (particularly with the Doctor and friends’ help) but they couldn’t hold him. What prison can?

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Yo ho ho!

... Or does nobody actually say that?

It be Talk Like A Pirate Day but I shall try to keep it to a minimum.

The series has of course had pirates. Regular pirates, space pirates, undead space pirates and normal space pirates in the same animated special, and the Corsair was not a pirate but apparently really liked the style. See last year for discussion. Not so much modern pirates (like on the Somali Coast) because they’re rather less fun.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Foucault

Todays interactive Google Doodle returns to non-significant anniversary form, marking Léon Foucault’s 194th birthday with a playable Foucault Pendulum.

The Earth going round the sun is pretty generally accepted nowadays, but that kind of thing always makes me wonder what we’ll be regarded as idiots for not knowing in a couple centuries’ time.

It also looks like a great centrepiece for a TARDIS console.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Shalka!

Scream Of The Shalka is out now on DVD, and writer and creator Paul Cornell reflects on its creation, its reception and Shalka fandom.

It’s a great example of restarting Doctor Who, creating a new Doctor and companion (whose ongoing relationship is very New) and bringing in new monsters as well as a twist on an old enemy.

The Doctor who’d rather not be there is a particularly interesting spin on the character, a bit of Hartnell’s bristling at having to deal with these things mixed in with Pertwee’s cultured showing off. Mark Gatiss did something similar when he played the Doctor for three minutes, while Richard E Grant’s only live-action performance as the Doctor played up the dashing charmer side, which might have emerged in this Ninth Doctor as he warmed up.

And the TARDIS mobile is a great little gadget.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Day Of The Doctor

Now with title and poster. Let the Wild Mass Guessing begin in earnest once more!

Blood Of The Robots

Following the mention in DWM, SFX asked author Simon Clark about this Shalka sequel that almost was, and he revealed a bit more than was already known, including a character I'd have to add to it if I ran an adaptation...

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Howzat?

It’s Google’s 15th birthday, marked here by a doodle for... English cricketer John Wisden’s 187th birthday. Why 187? Unusually there’s a good reason, he played 187 first-class cricket matches for Kent, Middlesex and Sussex, before creating Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

Feels like a candidate for a Fifth Doctor story to me... or possibly The Krikkitmen, although that was for Four.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Doctor Who figurine collection

Hmm.

On the left is the preview release, on the right is the national release. It’s less terrible than the original. Still a weird choice of pose, but at least he doesn’t look quite as much like Steve Buscemi this time.

Nice if expensive range for those who want figurines in roughly the scale of the new Star Wars sized action figures. 1/21st is close enough to 1/18th that a big Silence or little Sontaran will work reasonably well, for example.

Of course, if someone started a partwork making unmade characters in a scale close enough to the abandoned 5” line...

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Whoa.

I have a soft spot for fan credits and trailers (as you may have gathered) but this Twelfth Doctor credits sequence showcased by io9 should be of interest to all and sundry. The logo design alone makes it worth a look.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, 26 August 2013

A year on from Neil Armstrong’s death, his biographer looks back.

The Eleventh Doctor's Wardrobe Tests

At last!

Remember three years ago, Steven Moffat mentioned how Eleven’s costume was going to be more “pirate” and the bow tie and tweed look was a late decision? And we never got to see the wardrobe test photos?

NOW WE CAN.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

New DWM, and Shalka sequels that never were

I saw Ben Aaronovitch and Paul Cornell discussing their London-based urban fantasy series last night, and oddly they both feature prominent in this months Doctor Who Magazine, although less prominently than The Twelfth Doctor of course, with a big Fact Of Fiction retrospective on Remembrance Of The Daleks and a fair bit about Scream Of The Shalka (coming soon to DVD!) in the look back at the shows return in 2005.

And now the gaming-relevant bit, plot hooks that were never made. I won’t spoil why Grant’s Ninth Doctor was so grim, but here were the proposed sequels...

Memoria by James Swallow “made good use of the TARDIS-bound Master”.

The Forest Of Ancestors by Stephen Baxter “about a race of people who were living trees”.

And chosen to be made next, Blood Of The Robots by Simon Clark: “Vorada, a planet that was a giant garbage dump where the robots worked”.

Not quite enough to start a session with, but a rubbish dump planet is certainly an evocative setting, particularly with cobbled-together robots who might go a bit Cannibalist...

It's a date!

Christopher Eccleston jokily promises to take part in the 100th anniversary special. ;)

Thursday, 22 August 2013

"How very small your butter churns must be in this age!"

Via Bill Bridges: Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time Traveler explains the woman supposedly using a mobile phone in the background of a Chaplin film. I am entirely convinced this is how it happened.

"Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment."

It’s also Dorothy Parker’s 120th birthday. She’d make quite the feisty companion. Imagine what she could do with an initiative system where Talking always leads.

“There is no such hour on the present clock as 6:30, New York time. Yet, as only New Yorkers know, if you can get through the twilight, you’ll live through the night.”

Debussy

Lovely Google Doodle for Debussy’s 151st birthday, animating Claire De Lune. Nothing plotty, I just think it’s nice.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Bring me the head of the Twelfth Doctor!

Bif Bang Pow are already sculpting him for the 8” Mego-style line. Looks good so far. Of course, the style of figure does not appeal... but it looks like they have plans for Clara and John Hurt too! John Hurt hardly ever allows a likeness to be made, so that’s particularly cool.

Maybe someone I know can cast the heads and also shrink them to 5” scale...

Monday, 19 August 2013

Blood Of The Daleks vs To The Death vs Death In Blackpool

The official Doctor Who Facebook page is running a Doctor-by-Doctor monthly vote for a favourite classic story, has now reached the Eighth Doctor, and their solution to have more than one thing on the ballot was to get Paul McGann himself to pick twelve audio adventures, from arrival of the Lucie onwards:

Blood Of The Daleks
Human Resources
The Zygon Who Fell To Earth
Sisters Of The Flame
The Vengeance Of Morbius
Hothouse
Death In Blackpool
The Resurrection Of Mars
Relative Dimensions
Lucie Miller
To The Death
Dark Eyes

Good list, I think. Of course, my Eighth Doctor is in the comics (and some of the audios, not least The Chimes Of Midnight) but I would certainly watch such a series...

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Kids with remote control robot. Giant robot. Versus the police.

This will end well.

I can imagine a pre-credits sequence starting the other way around. Police called to a disturbance... find a big robot stomping towards them... and pan back to a little kid controlling it.

Pyramid magazine, back when it was on newsstands, had a mini GURPS setting called Sprockets, collected in the first Best Of book in which unique and inexplicable gadgets appear all over the Earth and people get to take them over pretty much at random, with hilarious/dangerous consequences. Like the Cubes in The Power Of Three. Or Santa Wants You Dead... Put them all in the hands of kids and stand well back.

Award, award!

Congratulations on a Gold ENnie for DWAITAS (Family Game) and Silver for the TTC (Supplement)! And everyone else too, not least Night's Black Agents and Achtung Cthulhu.

Friday, 16 August 2013

We have a new Doctor, how about a Master?

The Master is a lot better at regenerating as he chooses than the Doctor. He could stay John Simm despite having died properly twice now for this reason, although maybe with another new look? Or perhaps that version has run its course, with The End Of Time being a fitting last hurrah.

Here are several other ideas. Many of which have also been suggested as possible Doctors, of course... A follow-up article runs through five popular options including Bill Nighy and goes “nah” to all of them, except Alan Rickman. Because come on, Alan Rickman!

Sadly, no female Master suggestion - Helena Bonham Carter? Miranda Richardson? Hermione Norris? Gina Bellman?

At one point it suggests that the Master (at least sometimes) deliberately chooses to reflect the Doctor, which is where this idea came from. It keeps him vital, unpredictable, like the Doctor and the series itself.

My first thought would be to run with the Master’s expertise in disguise and hypnosis, as well as a new face, and have the Doctor (and us) meet him without realising it...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Five Children And Who

Today’s Google Doodle is for the birthday of children’s author Edith Nesbit.

(Although somebody really should tell them that 1858 wasn’t 89 years ago.)
(EDIT: someone has.)

Best known for The Railway Children, she also wrote updated fairytales, Shakespeare adaptations, horror stories, and a series of what would today be called YA urban fantasy, adapted by the BBC, about then-modern kids meeting a strange and mystical being who grants their wishes unreliably and takes them on adventures including trips back in time...

Most stealable title: Thirteen Ways Home.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Of course Bill Nighy was offered the role of the Doctor. How could he not have been?

Hunch over before clicking

Via DWM Time Teamster Emma:

From the people who did that Google Street View... click the arrow going into the Dalek. The result is somewhat less immersive but more revealing behind the scenes.

A sign that something may have gone wrong sometime



Via Shadows Over Scotland author Stuart Boon (who is apparently not in the armour) and taken at QCon in Dublin.

Monday, 12 August 2013

It's Erwin Schrödinger's Birthday. OR IS IT?

Yes it is, according to today’s Google Doodle. But have you looked at it today? Maybe you have and maybe you haven’t. How can I be sure?

Quantum variance being what it is (or is it?) means that a time travel game like Doctor Who could allow something normally very rare in RPGs. If the characters ever reach a decision point and go one way, they can go back and go the other... As long as they avoid creating a paradox, they can go left and right. Could be useful when the room on the left proves to be a death trap...

Saturday, 10 August 2013

An RPG magazine article!

It seems that there are DWAITAS and TOR articles in the next issue of Gygax Magazine. The DWAITAS article is by Jay Libby, who worked on Aliens And Creatures.

Which seems slightly out of step with the All Early D&D All The Time that the rest of the magazine seems to be. Still, this is welcome, and would be even more if Gygax was available in stores...

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Initium

A short film in which time travel is possible but highly unlikely could provide inspiration for a time-is-going-wonky sequence in a big series finale, as well as being really neat.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Neil Gaiman on Twelve

Writing about Twelve, that is, not writing for Twelve. Fingers crossed there.

This post addresses his casting, as well as the Doctor’s race and gender. (He notes that a black actor has been offered the role before. I know that there was also serious talk of casting a woman as the Doctor as early as the Fifth. Those arguing against either development wouldn’t have tradition on their side if it had already happened.)

Smoke And Mirrors

Stop everything, new Doctor Puppet episode!

Monday, 5 August 2013

And now the DWAITAS news

Quoting Gar, here:
We were planning on a new core set print run anyway - stocks of the Eleventh Doctor box sets are running low. A new core set won't impact on planned schedules, like the ongoing release of the historical Doctor books. There won't be, I hope, any significant delay caused by the redesign of the core.

Remember those screentest scenes?

These? I can now easily imagine how they might sound as played by Twelve. Particularly the threatening spaceship talk (now removed from the site by request of DWM) which starts off breezy and whimsical and now I can hear the hint of menace building.

“But facts are facts, they’re behind the magic line, and that’s the way it is now.”
As read by Imaginary Matt, a cheery little smile and shrug.
As read by Imaginary Twelve, a hint of a smirk and a slight narrowing of the eyes.

Twelve really IS a fan.

An essay on how good the Doctor Who titles are, written in 1976 by the Twelfth Doctor.

And in 1972 he was kindly sent a shooting script for The Mutants and set designs by Barry Letts after a letter asking how the show is made. So that factored in to him becoming an actor in the first place.

See also Rufus Hound apologising profusley for getting something wrong live.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Twelfth Doctor is...

I imagine if you're looking at this page you already know and/or don’t mind a spoiler, but cut anyway.

Neil deGrasse Tyson IS the Doctor! (Last one, I promise!)

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey trailer. Neil deGrasse Tyson takes over the chair in the ship of the imagination from Carl Sagan.

The great stories, the ones that really mattered...

Also found there, Seven Things That Make A Truly Great Doctor Who Story. Most of them apply to any adventure story, but the sixth is particularly Doctor-y. And players need to remember the seventh...

Doctor Who Regenerated

From Lydia Butz, creator of Search For The Truth, comes Doctor Who Regenerated. The link goes to the first adventure, now complete including clever resolution, and followed by an aside about a perfectly natural response to “if I had a time machine where would I go?”

Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Twelfth Doctors

Soon we will know.

The potential energy of a hundred uncast Twelfth Doctors is about to be released.

Do you have any questions for the Twelfth Doctor?

But for now, looking at the odds and based entirely on what the talked-up actors have done before, imagining what their Doctors and adventures might be like. All but one have been in the show, but that never stopped Colin Baker or Freema Agyeman or Karen Gillan...

Friday, 2 August 2013

Big Finish discount their first fifty Doctor Who audios

Which is nice! Stories dropped to £2.99 download or £5.00 CD include The Chimes Of Midnight, Storm Warning, Spare Parts, Jubilee, Doctor Who And The Pirates...

800 posts here, and to celebrate...

A 35-foot-tall straw Dalek looms over the countryside.


“Some people have no’ got enough to do. Definitely...”
My mother, on seeing this post.

I feel like I should offer a plot hook, something about crazy Dalek-worshipping crazy people who are crazy... but... yeah...

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Classic Doctors, New Adventures

Rich Thomas of Onyx Path discusses Alastair Reynolds’ Third Doctor novel Harvest Of Time and how it reproduces the style and tone of the original stories but not their budgetary restrictions. This relates to Doctor Who, licensed products like games, and indeed to something I am working on...

I was fondant surprised!

New from Dark Bunny Tees: T-shirts for Ace and the Kandy Man.

Yes, you read that correctly. A T-shirt for the Kandy Man.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Someone who has read this IS The Doctor! (probably)

The audition scripts, via Doctor Who Magazine, via Bleeding Cool.

Naturally, they all have me envisioning scenes. The first is a classic regeneration reaction sequence, but the other two are bits of stories...

Stories that might never be told - one is a bit close to Night Terrors - but they’re out there now, waiting to be picked up, maybe by my game, or yours...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Very Slightly Darker Doctor

Steven Moffat at Comic Con promises answers to at least some dangling questions like who blew up the TARDIS and what the Silence were up to. Maybe not those particular ones, though.

He also mentions his reference to the Valeyard, and questions just how dark the Doctor could really go.

“But you know, he’ll only ever get so dark, let’s be honest. He’s the Doctor. I think a man who worries about going bad is never really going to go bad... Maybe not.”

Of course, the Valeyard first appeared at the end of the Sixth Doctor era, which sometimes went None More Dark in a “is this really appropriate for kids?” kind of way. If the Valeyard turned up during the Moffat era he’d probably be rather whimsical, and almost certainly less scary than Six was himself in Revenge Of The Cybermen or Vengeance On Varos...

Not that the Doctor can’t be a bit off-putting at times, but we’re not talking Sapphire And Steel here, you know? Even his most berserk alien-atomising rampages are relatable.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Rosalind Franklin

New Google Doodle, for the 93rd birthday of Rosalind Franklin, often-dropped third of the group with Watson And Crick.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

History League team shirts

Legions of Rome versus Carthage War Elephants!

The creators of the SCIENCE! T-shirts bring us sporting rivalries from 5.02 PM, which I could see a casual-Friday Doctor wearing in several cases. The Bletchley Park Colossus shirt is rather tempting.

Monday, 22 July 2013

It's Wild

Happy 100th anniversary to Edinburgh Zoo! Home to lookalikes for the Judoon, Catkind, Garm, Pig Slaves, those guys from Warrior’s Gate, and the fierce red-haired Highland Nimon.

Seriously, great zoo. Has pandas as well.

Not really relevant to Doctor Who, I admit, but a visit to its opening would be a nice diversion, and there’s always the classic “aliens collecting animal specimens” story where a zoo would be a handy stop.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The World's End

“Well, if you’ve ever watched Doctor Who and thought it would be funnier if the Doctor was really hammered, then this is the movie for you.”
Edgar Wright on The World’s End.

It’s a fair assessment, I think, as I note here. Ordinary people stumbling into a John Wyndham style Secret Invasion is very Who, although their solutions definitely aren’t. The Doctor might have dealt with it rather better, of course...

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Paul Cornell writes for the Eleventh Doctor, via IDW!

IDW’s last Doctor Who comic is a special written by Paul Cornell and illustrated by Jimmy Broxton, a take on the classic “visit the real world and find you’re a fictional character” story. Did I mention Paul Cornell?

The Land Of Happy Endings

Mightygodking’s I Should Write Dr. Strange has returned, and with a plot hook where you could substitute Strange with Who again.

Discussion of the theme in general over on The General Gaming Blog...

So what would the Doctor do if he met a future Doctor who had settled down to keep bees and help look after a line of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren? 

On one level he’d be delighted... but I don’t think he’d accept it. Of course the Doctor has plenty of time to go on holiday - technically he has all of time to go on holiday, and then some - but resting isn’t the same as stopping. The only time he really tried that was in The Curse Of Fatal Death...

Of course, being weirded out by one’s future self is an occupational hazard for the Doctor more than most characters. “So these are my replacements? A dandy and a clown?” Imagine the adventurous early Eighth Doctor meeting shellshocked Nine, or indeed Nine meeting Eleven.

Wars that almost were

Five world wars we just avoided on Cracked.com - another of their series of flashpoints in history that could have gone very differently. Britain probably would have stopped fighting the USA at some point after allying with the CSA, for example, but how long would it take?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Song For Fifty

A new song for the Fiftieth Anniversary, with lyrics and everything. As posted here.

“... it’s humbling to watch you reconcile divergent creeds without succumbing to the lure of weapons, force or greed, you only use intelligence and jokes and charm...”

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Planet Of Glass

Via Rose Bailey: Hubble telescope spots azure blue planet where it rains glass.

“It’s the kind of thing the ninth or tenth Doctor would have waxed poetic about.”

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

What's wrong with this picture?



From a multi-era re-enactment event, apparently. Or that’s what Torchwood want us to think...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Live in ten...

RTD considered a live episode during his run. As noted, something with a limited location and guest cast like Midnight would work - indeed, Midnight has been performed as a play. It could also have worked well with the plans for Century House - an episode happening in and around a live broadcast.

The Box Of Delights

Turns out that The Fourth teaser is for high-end tat for a limited edition of Terror Of The Zygons. Not because Terror Of The Zygons is the classic Fourth Doctor story to end all Fourth Doctor stories, just because it’s new to disc and related to the anniversary special. I’d have put City Of Death in there myself - on Blu-Ray, since they’re launching that line now. Still, that is some nice tat. What would you put in similar boxes for the other Doctors?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Fran Kranz IS the Doctor! (Again, no...)

Happy Fourth of July weekend to US-connected readers!

One of the results of a broken arm is I’ve been watching a lot of repeats of Frasier. And that poll got me thinking about the old “an American playing the Doctor” bit again, especially a suggestion about a separate US reboot. So I thought “Kelsey Grammer as the Doctor...” and then I thought... “the Sixth Doctor!” And the results followed... Some of these are complicated meta-references to real-world roles, some are just “kinda looks the part”...

Friday, 5 July 2013

DWW

Dez Skinn on the origins of Doctor Who Weekly, Doctor Who Magazine as it is now. Includes great big scans of pages from some of the not-reprinted backup strips.

Danny Dyer Is NOT The Doctor! (I bloody hope)

An SFX poll for nightmare suggestions for the Twelfth Doctor. Dyer isn’t even the most horrific, although the Go Compare opera singer seems a bit of a stretch.

And some ain’t so bad at all.

Although chillingly, Russell Kane has just said he wants it in an interview.

And yes, one of the options is AN AMERICAN.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Captain Jack is off the market!

Congratulations to John Barrowman and his partner, now husband, Scott Gill.

Alone with the Silence

Mention of the royal visit on the official Doctor Who Twitter account also inadvertently gave me a plot hook:

“HRH Prince Charles has just met the monsters! There was everything from Daleks to Angels, but will he remember having met the Silence...?”

What would it be like to be immune to the power of the Silent? Never forgetting the monsters hiding in plain sight? You might be essential to stopping them... if it doesn’t drive you mad...

It could also be treated more casually, like Spike’s immunity to Glory’s concealment spell in Buffy season five played for laughs. But consider the horror possibilities as the Silent hunt you through streets filled with people... people who could help you, but never for more than a few moments before they forget why you need their help at all... who won’t even remember seeing someone blasted to dust...

Prince Charles IS the Doctor! (Again, not really!)



From a royal visit to the set, with video too. And Matt Smith agrees...

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Ripple Effect

The children’s authors’ Doctor series reaches the seventh month and the Seventh Doctor, with Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman OBE writing The Ripple Effect, in which the Daleks are acting out of character again...

Monday, 1 July 2013

Canada Days Gone By

In honour of Canada Day, what would be a good event in the country’s history for time travellers to visit?

The Franklin Expedition is kind of a downer...

Alternatively, go to the future for a Margaret Atwood homage episode?

There isn’t much in the TARDIS Index. Apart from Sydney Newman, of course!

Enemy Within was shot there, although set in the US.

One could-have-been is that the Canadian animation company Nelvana planned a Doctor Who cartoon in the late 80s. So maybe use their tank-like Daleks or IG-88 style Cybermen, or the numberless Harold Ramis lookalike Doctor, apparently unnamed companion and doctor’s bag that folds out to become K-9?

Of course you already have your own Time Lord from Being Erica...

Cybermen In Colour, Part Two

Re previous discussion, I saw this Kroton costume today. Ironically even more black and white than usual, but still a pointer towards how the Cybermen look with a lick of paint.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sir Bradley Wiggins IS The Doctor! (... Not really.)

But you can see it, can’t you?

The 100th Tour De France set off today, an event with a history of drama, tragedy, absurdity and of course cycling. It started in 1903 and carried on through a turbulent century, taking time off only for the World Wars. Sounds like the sort of thing a time traveller might want a good view of to me.

Favourite scandal: “In 1904 twelve riders, including winner Maurice Garin and all the stage winners, were disqualified for various reasons including illegal use of cars and trains.”

Friday, 28 June 2013

Whoniverse News Service 28/06/2013

Today, all over this small planet, we mark the fifth anniversary of the day the Earth was stolen from its orbit by the Daleks, invaders from the planet Skaro. We remember those who died in the invasion, and we offer our thanks to those brave souls who fought to banish them, and to return our world to its rightful place. UNIT representative Colonel Alan Mace spoke of the courage of the individual in the face of adversity. He would not be drawn on persistent rumours of “blue box” sightings.

Great fake trailer

Especially the final image. Yikes.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Birth Of The Character

So, today’s Google Doodle is... my birthday.

Okay, that’s cute.

As a horror show, Doctor Who tends not to welcome new births with glad tidings and cake. Amy was hit by a bunch of expectant mothers’ worst fears. Gwen didn’t have much luck on her wedding day in Torchwood either. Births on screen tend to be monsters hatching. About the best we’ve seen is Stormageddon, Dark Lord Of All - Alfie, who defeats the Cybermen with a well-timed bit of crying.

One notable exception is Luke (and later Sky) from The Sarah Jane Adventures, where parenthood is something heroic to be celebrated - and of course they’re teens pretty much as soon as they arrive. (Babies turning into young adults who can take on the role full-time at great speed is so practical that it’s all over fantasy and SF TV and you can find it outside of genres where it fits too!)

The Moffat years have been notably kid-friendly, from wee Amelia Pond to Stormageddon to Artie and Angie. If you want a distinctive Eleventh Doctor feel for a particular adventure, consider having a couple of kids among the characters who might act as temporary companions...

Birth itself could be a source of adventures too.

The predicted birth of a child destined to change the world? That might be a bit on-the-nose, but if the players wouldn’t mind a “guard mission”, the mother of an unborn Messiah or Antichrist (opinions vary) pursued by various forces would certainly make for an interesting one.

The mysterious deaths of everyone in the city born on a particular day, in the order they were born in. And one of the PCs was born late that night...

Monday, 24 June 2013

Doctor Who And The Cybermen - In Colour!

A knock-on effect of the EU collection - it covers Peter Cushing as Doctor Who as well as the First Doctor. Added to the DWM cover feature about the restored and rereleased Cushing movies, it got me thinking about that other series.

I’ve imagined what it would look like if they adapted later Doctors’ key adventures to the big screen before, but let’s say The Chase was adapted, with yet more Daleks. Would they at some point branch out to other noted monsters?

Considering the colourful Daleks we got, I can imagine cinematic Cybermen wouldn’t be all silver and steel - while on TV they’re still effectively a black and white monster to this day, give or take the odd blue light.

They’d probably base them on The Moonbase sleeker version rather than The Tenth Planet’s concertina carriers, avoiding the hints of medical body horror provided by exposed flesh and bandages. And they’d have glowing eyes. And maybe rank indicators in primary colours? Beware the blue mask of the Cyberleader...

The Hypothetical Doctors

Artist Paul Hanley is currently running a special offer on commissioned illustrations of the Doctor... as played by anyone.

So far we have Ruth Wilson, Dominic Monaghan (drat, so close to Billy Boyd!) and Jaime Murray (who he notes would also make a great Romana).

So who are these Doctors? What are their adventures like? Who do they travel with? And what are their Dalek stories called?
You almost certainly know this, but anyway, Siskoid presents the First Doctor Expanded Universe sourcebook.

Friday, 21 June 2013

On Location

What is your home town like in the Whoniverse?

Pretty much everywhere on Earth has some significant, interesting history that time travellers might want to check out.

For example, I come from Edinburgh - home to an extinct volcano with an Arthurian connection, a castle dating back centuries and a more recent palace, a national Parliament, a medieval university (where I run games), a royal dynasty, the creators of Holmes, Hyde and Potter, the Higgs Boson, the world’s biggest arts festival, and enough murder and treachery to sustain half a dozen ghost tours. If that’s not enough, I can get a city bus to Roslyn Chapel...

And how about places you’ve visited? The tourist snapshot POV might suit a single episode adventure well. I’ve spent a couple weeks in New Orleans, and could easily come up with an adventure involving Jean Lafitte or his ghost or the city’s role in the Revolutionary or Civil Wars or vampires or alligator-Silurians...

I’ve also spent time in London, but most adventures in London aren’t really about London. I’d be tempted to do the “pigeons in Trafalgar Square go berserk” bit as seen in The Core...

Thank YOU!

A message from Matt Smith

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Nine Romanas

And finally, after Susan and the Master...

Only nine Romanas, as she was assigned by the Time Lords to watch the wayward Doctor so putting one in with the first two Doctors is a bit of a stretch...

The Third Romana would be the Mary Tamm version a Doctor early, joining him after the Omega incident - so she meets the First and Second Doctors as well - and being snooty and imperious across space and time.

The Fourth Romana, then, is the Lalla Ward version. She carries over to the gang of kids with the Fifth Doctor, acting like a disapproving big sister, but gives up a regeneration to defeat the Master and leaves with Nyssa in her new form.

The Sixth Romana makes a surprise appearance as the defence counsel in the trial. At least she doesn’t go full 80s.

Do not trust the Seventh Romana.

The Eighth Romana is a mystery appearing in a big two-parter during the American season - and a stuck-with-the-ex situation in the midst of his great romance for added screwball comedy.

The Ninth Romana gets a tragic flashback as she helps the Doctor escape from Gallifrey and is struck down by Rassilon.

The Tenth Romana appears in a single episode, a doomed romance across the realities before the pocket universe she was imprisoned in is sealed forever. Until the specials, anyway.

The Eleventh Romana is a throwback to the Fourth, a madcap childlike adventurer with a well-hidden core of darkness.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Doctor meets The Fantastic Four

Following this post about crossovers between different settings, I thought I’d add a Whovian addendum.

The Whoniverse can swallow entire settings whole and solve their central conflicts in one story. These are generally somewhat parodic examples with the serial numbers filed off, for obvious reasons.

But now and then, a crossover on an equal footing could be played straight. Sticking within the rules of the visited setting will give a different feel to running roughshod over a recognisable parody.

RTD wanted the Doctor to meet a real Star Trek crew - Enterprise would have been the most practical. Of course, godlike alien tricksters are pretty common in Trek’s continuities. Would they have run with the Cybermen/Borg comparison, as the IDW comics did?

The Seventh Doctor comics from Marvel UK lead to crossovers with various other characters, and had a major impact on the canon of Death’s Head, the Marvel UK imprint’s biggest star for some years to follow.

The Daleks nearly turned out to be Servalan’s employers in Blake’s Seven, before someone realised this was a bit rich.

There have been a lot of Sherlock Holmes jokes in the show over the years, and even more lately for, er, some reason, but one of the New Adventures played the meeting out.

The Land Of Fiction is a place people can go to - and escape from.

And, of course, twenty years ago, the classic Doctors and companions faced the ultimate challenge - EastEnders! Even though each of these BBC titans is canonically fictional in the other...

Care should be taken when considering the settings’ mood, rules and general weird level. As did not happen in the case of EastEnders. A funny-looking guy in a police box will probably wreck a game of Vampire played as intended, but a game of Adventure! will shrug the effect off.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

What will we find in the different Doctor sourcebooks?

Asked on RPGnet: what will the Doctor sourcebooks have, as the Doctors have highly variable numbers of individual adventures?

Answered by Gar:
I know the plan. It’s my plan. Respect the plan.

We’re doing one book per Doctor. Six, Seven and Nine have fewer adventures, but that lets us go into more detail.

The Eighth Doctor book will include a campaign that builds on all the other sourcebooks - one adventure per Doctor, in the style of that Doctor.

The Tenth Doctor may be expanded to the same bumper size as the Fourth Doctor book (240 pages instead of 160). Time will tell.

Oh, and we’re waiting until after the Christmas special before finishing off the writing of the Eleventh, so that’ll be in there too!

You were fantastic... so was I!

The Ninth Doctor regenerated eight years ago today...

Friday, 14 June 2013

We are lost

750th post here, so some history seems appropriate.

As it currently stands, over a hundred episodes of black and white Doctor Who are missing from the archives, and many are likely to remain so short of a strange man in a police box intervening. These include nine complete stories, starting with Marco Polo, and including the Second Doctor’s first full adventure, Power Of The Daleks. There are clips and pictures here and there, and unofficial audio recordings of whole lost stories, so they aren’t as lost as some famously lost works of art, but still.

So there’s room to pick them up and remake them... perhaps as adventures. They’re included in the Doctor sourcebooks, so some of the pieces are already there.

I’d be tempted to revise and modernise as well: 

Marco Polo presents the historical character as an adventurous explorer, but consider a version based on the idea that he was a fraud adapting other travellers’ tales - or a Pseudohistorical adventure that runs with the idea that he passed on stories of dog-headed people and other non-human species.

And Power Of The Daleks is the archetype for the “monsters acting nice” story type, which the Daleks pull fairly often among others. For one example, they tried it on Churchill...