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.


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.


Friday, 8 November 2013

The Hour Is Known


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


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.