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    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Well I loved Deep Breath, but I think I liked Into The Dalek even more.  If they keep this up, it’s going to be my favourite series of the AG era by a mile.

    A few random points (I’ve just watched again on iPlayer and my mind’s a bit scrambled – probably should stop and think before offering my ideas but I suspect I’ll lose them if I don’t do it now 🙂 )

    Twelve’s behaviour with Ross – it’s coldly calculated, but utterly logical. He was the one who injured the creature; the antibodies will zero in on him so yes, he’s probably dead already, but would any of the recent incarnations have hastened his end?

    Personally I think Ten would – but not without explaining first and being sorry, so, so very sorry.  I loved Ten, but by the end of his time the agonising over his failure to save every last living soul he encountered was beginning to grate with me.  Twelve hasn’t got the time or the inclination; he just expects us to understand. Insensitive, yes, but absolutely logical.

    It’s been a while since we’ve seen Daleks doing what Daleks are supposed to do; the body count’s shot up overnight! I didn’t realise how few people they’ve actually got around to exterminating in recent years until I saw the skeleton effect again.

    What was the Doctor trying to do? I believe he genuinely thought he could repair Rusty and keep him “good”; his reaction to the creature’s return to its natural state was as much disappointment as self-justification. There’s no such thing as a good Dalek, but oh, how he wanted there to be!  It took Clara to snap (or smack – brilliantly done!) him into understanding that if it’s been turned once, it might be again. The relationship between the two characters is coming along nicely and she already feels much more of a companion for Twelve than she did with Eleven f0r me.

    As for that final confrontation – wow.  I’ve got no problem with Rusty seeing hatred of the Daleks – hatred generally – in the Doctor’s soul.  He’s been too much the Lonely God for my taste,  a virtual candidate for canonisation, in recent years. As Clara says, isn’t the important thing that we try to be “good men” (and women)? We’re none of us born good or bad; it’s the choices we make and the way we act on them that decide how good we really are.

    Is he a “good Dalek”? Not in the sense of being a proficient killing machine, but in the sense of being a generally good man capable of rage and hate – quite possibly the answer is yes.

    @all those who’ve mentioned the attitude toward soldiers: hasn’t the Doctor always been a tad hypocritical on that score?  Between 2005 and November last year we were presented with a man who won’t pick up a gun, yet had apparently blown his own planet to smithereens. I think it was Nine who was asked “coward or killer” and chose coward, every time, but that’s never really been true; he’s always been willing to kill the villain to save the good. Clearly with Danny’s past it’s going to be a theme explored this series.  I’m not sure what to make of Danny yet, either.  I’m just hoping he’s not going to be the perfect man for Clara to settle down and produce a troupe of little Pinks with.  It may have been an obvious “out” for a female companion in the 1960s and 70s, but I’m not sure it would pass muster now 🙂

    So Missy’s going to pop up every week, is she? I hope not! It’s a bit too much “bash the audience over the head with the significance of the story arc”, although Gretchen’s arrival being show but not Ross’s makes me more sure than ever that Half Face Humpty jumped last week.  It’s those who sacrifice themselves in the Doctor’s name that she’s collecting? I’m beginning to wonder if “Missy” isn’t so much “Mistress” as “Mistakes” – some kind of creation of the Doctor’s subconscious where those he’s seen die on his account wind up.

    Lord knows how that could be translated into the real world – perhaps he’s creating his own internal version of the Valeyard that in the end will break out to confront him?

    Overall – probably my favourite 21st century Dalek episode and confirmation that Peter Capaldi (by God, what an actor! Matt, David and Christopher are all darned good, but he’s a different league as far as I’m concerned) is already my favourite 21st century Doctor.  Next week looks like being a complete change of tone, and while I suspect it’ll be very divisive I’m looking forward to a lighter runaround. I just hope they’re not going to try and convince me that “Robin Hood” as a single individual ever really existed…





    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Gosh, this place is good! So many theories in such a short space of time 🙂 Forgive me if I don’t name-check the brilliant people whose comments have inspired these ramblings of mine – I’ll only get confused, and unlike the Doctor I don’t have the excuse of regeneration to blame…

    The new theme tune, which I decided instantly I loathed, is actually a bit of a grower.  Having watched the episode itself, and the Doctor Who Extra on iPlayer (fascinating, once you get past the narrator who quite clearly thinks we’re all slightly dim and in need of having our heads patted now and then) a couple of times, I now think it’s inoffensive, and might even be bordering on perfectly acceptable.  At this rate I’ll completely approve of it by the end of the series 🙂

    The thorny issue of the Independence referendum…. I think it was @jimthefish who suggested the gags imply a slightly mocking “No” from Mr Moffat – although, as Clara points out to the Doctor, he doesn’t actually have a vote! An independent state of Eyebrows; probably blaming the English; being able to complain better now… just as well it’s a Scots writer giving those lines to a Scottish actor 🙂 Being English myself by the way, I though they were all hilarious. If we can’t send ourselves up, as per the “You’re Scottish! Fry something!” moment in The Eleventh Hour, what’s the point of bothering 🙂

    I’ve been doing my own bit of bonkers theorising about Missy (again). Like @fivefaces, I can see that they’d be on fairly thin ice making her the Valeyard, but perhaps that would be an incentive for Moffat to do it 🙂 ? She’s a form of The Doctor already – therefore he can take female form.  Of course it’s rather unfortunate that it takes the amalgamation of his darker elements to prove it, but maybe it could be sold (like the female Master theory) as evidence that regeneration into a woman is possible in the future?

    Personally, this woman would rather that didn’t happen.  Call me old-fashioned, but I’m used to a male Doctor. If there’s a need for a good female Time Lady, why not bring back Romana? I know people talk about the “lack of female role models” on television, but I can’t think of that many good ones for boys either. Too many men are portrayed either as harmless fools kept in line by their womenfolk, or thugs!

    Alternatively well, as others have said, that garden in the Promised Land looks awfully TARDIS like, doesn’t it? Could the Old Girl (Sorry, she’ll never be “Sexy” to me, it just didn’t feel right) really be up to no good? Perhaps, if she thinks it’s the best way of teaching her Time Lord a lesson!

    The more I watch, the more I believe the “choice” of that particular face is the Doctor’s message to himself – “save someone” as Donna told Ten.  I suspect we’re being set up to believe Twelve is far “darker” than he really is, hence my doubt that he actually pushed the droid.  One of them was lying about their basic programming; the creature is now more “human”, being able to appreciate the beauty of the view… is its basic programming still intact at all?  I’ve seen some internet speculation that the Doctor himself is going to be the Big Bad this series, but oh, how I hope it’s twaddle!

    I’m pretty sure it is.  The BBC wouldn’t risk their global asset; Moffat and Capaldi are too much fanboys to even try it; and of course if there was something that drastic on the cards, it would’ve leaked by now 🙂 But my word, they’re milking the ambiguity!

    Personally I already know I’m going to enjoy this series (unless they do spring that nasty plot twist) more than I have in ages.  I never connected with Matt’s Doctor; he was too manic, there was something too knowingly kooky about the characterisation from where I was watching.  Already I’m more engaged by Peter’s version than I have been in years.  If he keeps this up, he’ll be the most “The Doctor” anyone has been in my eyes since Doctor Tom himself.


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Hello! (pokes head nervously over the parapet…)

    I’ve not been about for a while – real life’s been a bit mental – but real life goes on hold for a new series, so…

    I’m saddened to see so many negative comments hereabouts, but personally I loved Deep Breath.  Delighted to see Moffat dealing with the small-minded and shallow minority who foolishly believe a man in his 50s is “too old” to play an alien into his third millennium, even if he did have to make Clara look like a shallow, small-minded fool herself 🙂 .  Madame Vastra’s lecture was beautifully done, and it was interesting to see something of that narcissistic streak coming out in Miss Pretty Face’s riposte about “flirting with a mountain range”. I think I’m right in remembering the TARDIS made some reference to Clara’s high opinion of herself in the last series? I watched, but I wasn’t fully engaged with the Eleventh Doctor’s era, so I might have imagined it?

    Don’t get me wrong – Jenna Coleman is a beautiful girl and a terrific actress, but the character of Clara was a bit too unruffled and perfect at times.  Nice to see Jenna being given some meatier material to work with, and her performance in her big moment of peril was top-drawer.

    Seriously, did you really think the Doctor had completely abandoned her?   Just because he’s not going to kiss her brow and stroke her hair any more doesn’t mean he’ll do that, surely?

    There’s one other thing he might or might not have done – I’m on the side of “not” at the moment, but I’m open to persuasion.  Elsewhere I’ve read comments that “the Doctor wouldn’t have done that” in his confrontation with the droid – either kill it or urge it to do the deed itself.  No?

    The droids have been harvesting living beings for millions of years surely, if they knew precisely what bit of dinosaur would be most useful? How many deaths have they caused? Clara and the gang are in mortal peril.  I can see most, if not quite all, of the previous incarnations doing whatever it took to save humanity (and stray dinosaurs!) from that threat myself.

    I found the droids’ story really disturbing – suggestive of horror without displaying it, which is far, far scarier than throwing buckets of fake blood across the screen.  Add in the running time, which really gave the characters time to talk and (ironically) to breathe…. it’s a winner all round for me.

    Saving the best for last – the Doctor.  Peter Capaldi hasn’t put a foot wrong in the past year publicly and now he goes and tops it off with a debut performance like that! Comic timing, subtlety, that mad, dangerous unpredictability and yes, that slightly sinister edge… he’s The Doctor as I always imagine The Doctor to be. I saw touches of Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee and both the Bakers (T. more than C.) in there but none of them were overpowering. His guilt and grief at the dinosaur’s fate; the crushed look when Clara doesn’t respond and the vulnerability in that last scene… just beautifully played.

    I thought the much-leaked cameo might be a problem to me, but it wasn’t.  I wouldn’t have missed it if it wasn’t there, but since it was – OK.

    Overall – a strong 8.5 out of 10 for the episode, and a definite 12 out of 10 for 12 himself.  Oh, and I’m in agreement with @bluesqueakpip.  I have a nasty feeling Missy will turn out to be a stalking horse for a female Doctor, although I’m holding out a faint hope (based solely on that unnecessary “boyfriend” guff) that she might be an evil older version of Clara created by all the timestream goings-on in Name 🙂

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Alas, poor Martha!  She had all it took to be a magnificent companion and yet so much of that potential was frittered away!

    Not, I should say, by Freema – a lovely actress who gives a terrific performance – but by the demands of the storyline she was given. Her job was mainly to be “Not Rose”.  Such a waste!

    I take @bluesqueakpip‘s point about the importance of Rose (and Billie Piper) to the success of the show’s revival.  There was a whole generation who had to see the Doctor through Rose’s eyes and she allowed them to do that very well.  There’s just a massive gap in my eyes between an important companion and a good one.

    Call me a stick-in-the-mud but I found Rose selfish from the off; her much-praised compassion never extended to her supposed boyfriend, and while most of us can empathise with finding “normal life” boring, as my dear Mother would say “Go and un-bore yourself, dear!”  There was too much looking for someone else to make her life exciting; and don’t get me started on how smug she and Ten became…

    So I started Smith and Jones pre-disposed to like Martha.  She doesn’t disappoint.

    She’s competent, cool-headed, observant and smart; she’s not overawed by the Doctor (I love her dismissive “Far as I’m  concerned you’ve got to earn that title!”) She’s compassionate too.  It’s no wonder he’s eyeing her up as companion material almost from the off.

    It’s understandable that she’d be a bit swept off her feet, too; playing the family peacekeeper in the middle of her parents’ marital breakup would have anyone looking for an exit door.  The Joneses are sketched out in fairly broad strokes here – it’s the classic Mid-Life Crisis scenario with the convertible and the helium-voiced blonde to boot, but as TV shorthand to set up the characters it works.

    But she’s Not Rose, and therefore she’s doomed to be second best before she even starts.  I think, again, @bluesqueakpip, you’ve nailed my fundamental problem with the whole saga.  The Doctor pines for Rose like a normal human being would, and he’s not that.  Or he never used to be 🙂

    I do love the effects throughout the episode; I rather like the Judoon, thick though they are.  There’s a code of sorts and they’ll stick to it; there are too many “bent coppers” around it seems; I’m glad Doctor Who didn’t add to them!

    My only small negative is a patronising pat-on-the-head to the audience: Martha’s identical cousin Adeola.  It’s almost as if RTD was saying “Yes, kiddies, I know you think you’ve seen her before, but see? It wasn’t her at all, so that’s all right then.”

    If you’re going to “explain” an actor’s reappearance, go the whole hog  Say twin; say sister, even.  That’s plausible, even if it’s a bit of a convenient coincidence.  Identical cousins? It felt wrong on first viewing; it still makes me wince now.  It’s also why I’d sooner Mr Moffat ignore that Pompeian marble merchant altogether come Series 8…

    Overall though, Smith and Jones is a solid introduction to a likeable new girl and one of my personal favourite series openers.  Oh – and I’m pretty sure on the commentary track it was mentioned that Mr Stoker’s initial on his office door is B! 🙂


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    So, a cheetah on horseback. Riiight 🙂

    Still, anything’s possible I suppose.  Just hoping that volcanic location doesn’t mean we’re going to get a long, complicated and (to my mind) totally unnecessary explanation  of why Twelve looks vaguely like a Pompeian marble merchant!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Frank Skinner, eh? Well, it could be worse; if they’d announced James Corden was coming back my anticipation levels would certainly have taken a dramatic drop!

    In general I’ve been really impressed with the calibre of guest stars they’ve been announcing – Keely Hawes, Hermione Norris, Tom Riley et al  – and I noticed the name of David Bamber somewhere too for the same episode as Skinner – another really good actor.  As long as Skinner doesn’t mug it too much – Catherine Tate filled me with dread (justified in her first appearance, but that’s they way she was supposed to play it) and then turned into possibly my favourite AG companion to date 🙂

    Anyway, nothing can equal the horror of Peter Kay’s appearance – can it?

    @toinfnityandbepond – thanks for the best giggle (as an England football supporter) I’ve had all day!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Love the Doctor’s sang-froid in dealing with the potential executioners, you never for a moment think he’s in less than complete control of the situation. I’m rather less comfortable with his casual use of the gun, though; I don’t mind him using his fists (or his martial arts skills) in close combat, but  did find that jarring.

    So, are Anat and  co good guys after all?  I had to check the end credits to identify the clean-shaven one as Carnell from Blake 7! And is Jo really naïve enough to trust that very shifty-looking 22nd century chap with a crew of Stepford assistants? I mentioned in last week’s comments I can find her more than a bit annoying – she’s so very “ickle girlie” at times 🙂 – but I can understand why she’d think a mob of intruders with guns and in one case a stinking bad attitude are a bunch of thugs!

    The pace is building up nicely though, and the cliffhanger’s an absolute classic.  Love the Doctor commandeering the Brigadier’s jeep without so much as a “by-your-leave” and his running right into a materialising Dalek is great.

    Were the Daleks just a lot chattier in those days? Except in chorus, I’m finding their speech a lot less ominous and I’m not sure whether it’s the tone itself or the manner of their speech.

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    I’m very glad you’ve chosen is one (even though it means watching on the laptop as I don’t have the DVD).  It’s the fist time I’ve seen it, and I must say I’m starting to regret that!

    There’s a lot going on – a lot of threads for me to try and weave together, the way I like it.  Pertwee is glorious; Jo’s actually very sweet here, and I can sometimes find her just a touch annoying; and of course having the Brig around is always an advantage, even if just for the casual way the Doctor shows off his own greater knowledge.  When I think of the Third Doctor it’s always like this – the cleverest man in the room, and he’d be grateful if people remembered that!

    The title kind of gives away a certain presence, but their sudden appearance still managed to surprise me – and that’s a very James Bond type of villain they’ve got surrounded by female assistants – very early 1970s!  And even though it’s pretty familiar, that final chant is still downright chilling.

    I’m looking forward to seeing whether I can make any more sense of events after episode two next week!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @wolfweed – oh, this  sounds more and more as if someone’s been peeking at my personal Doctor Who wish list 🙂 Less matey, more mysterious and with something of a clean slate – hopefully that means the whole Time War gubbins is put to bed!

    It was an interesting diversion, and certainly cleared the decks for the AG show, but personally I’ll be glad to see the back of it!


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    I’m in full agreement with those who find Rose annoying as all Hell in this one – barring the moments down in the cellar when she’s brave enough to question the caged host and has the initiative to try and break the chain, she’s just smug, ignorant and deserving of a damned good slap in my eyes 🙂

    I should add (it’s probably already obvious) that I don’t care for the “Doctor and Rose are in luurrve” theme.  I firmly believe the Doctor has loved all his companions in his own way over the years, without ever turning into some kind of teenage-infatuated Smuggins.

    OK, sorry about that – rant over!

    I genuinely love lots about Tooth And Claw.  The host is properly spooky, the transformation horrifying and the wolf himself (as the Doctor exclaims in a real Doctorish moment) beautiful.  Tennant has some glorious moments through the whole episode – I especially love his reaction in the library “Books! Best weapons in the world!” Also, it’s such a pity he didn’t play the whole series in his own accent; much easier on my ear than the one he adopted instead!

    And as a Second Doctor fan of course I love the “Doctor James McCrimmon” moment.

    The guest actors are terrific – Pauline Collins catches all the authority of Victoria, her overwhelming grief for Albert, and still has a twinkle about her – this is a woman who can be amused, if not by the childishness of certain people around her! Sir Robert, too, is evidence of RTD’s strength in writing character.  He’s completely sympathetic and his death, unlike some “villain fodder” characters, does make an impact, on me at least.

    The deaths are shocking, too; a vision of snapping jaws and some screams are more horrible than any amount of blood and gore as far as I’m concerned.  It’s a shame they had to end the episode with a “Hey, look, we’re so anti-establishment!” tedious gag, but never mind; if I can forgive the whole “not amused” fiasco, I can overlook that too.

    It’s a darned good episode, really!

    Pity Love and Monsters is next on the list: I wouldn’t re-watch that one for the Koh-i-Noor itself!





    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Another strong episode – The Mind Robber really is a tight, controlled piece of storytelling.

    I love the central clash between the Doctor and the Master/the Master Brain; it’s the biggest mistake possible to allow the Doctor equal power over the computer and he’s quick to take advantage. Troughton’s on top form again; there’s everything from foot-stamping petulance to hand-wringing despair when things are going badly, to that gleeful “Oh, you’ll have to do better than that!” when he parries the Master’s storytelling thrusts. I can sit through poor Second Doctor stories for the pleasure of watching him so a story of The Mind Robber’s calibre is always going to be a pleasure.

    Jamie and Zoe – fiction becoming fiction – are a treat too. They’re almost cartoonish in their glee when trapping the Doctor (and I love the fact that his optimism overcomes his common sense when he sees them ad the TARDIS). It’s also good that all our fictional friends, from adorable Rapunzel to the camp Karkus, and of course Gulliver himself, get a final appearance.

    One small niggle that I’ve never really noticed before; all of a sudden the Master Brain is implicated in a plot against Earth that’s not been hinted at before. It’s no more surreal than anything else in the story, but it does feel a bit unnecessary. Our Heroes have been in peril; that’s plenty enough for me 🙂

    And is it just me, or would that ending really cause a rumpus if it was tried in the current show?

    I’ve loved watching The Mind Robber again – and by the way it’s got m into the habit of watching quite a lot more of my BG collection again too!  I’m off now to re-watch Tooth and Claw – comments on that will doubtless appear in due course as well!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @wolfweed – I’m never sure what I find funnier about the fight – its overall camp silly quality or the Doctor’s hand-wringing interjections – suggesting to Ze Karkus that they talk things over and urging him not to do anything rash…. I do love the Second Doctor!

    His casual dismissal of the technobabble weapon caused most of the trouble in the first place, and how clever is it that the one person to understand exactly what’s going on is the one who in the end can’t bring himself to say one of the characters doesn’t exist because he’s never actually heard of him? What a pity he never had time to study those strip cartoons when visiting the year 2000!

    I don’t think I’ve praised Bernard Horsfall yet, and I should’ve done: he’s completely charming as Gulliver, and I love his exchanges with Jamie here, completely oblivious to how frustrating he’s being.  You can almost see the steam coming out of Frazer Hines’ ears! And of course we finally get to see the Master for ourselves.

    Now it makes sense why his voice has been changing. The Master and a great intelligence in one place, we’re being spoiled and as for Captain Jack Harkaway – how come I’d never noticed that on before? He’s unexpectedly sweet – ever so charming and eager until there’s a threat and something else kicks in.

    There’s been no “padding” or problem with pacing at any point for me but now everything’s really kicking off; Jamie and Zoe’s escape attempt going wrong, the Doctor squaring up to the Master and apparently stuck for options…. there’s not a single weak cliffhanger in The Mind Robber.

    Oh, and how good is that moment when the Doctor finishes off the Master’s invitation for him? “Said the spider to the fly” has never sounded so scary!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @whogirl – Given the reaction of my sixteen-year-old nephew to Jenna’s Maid Marian look (I believe it’s written as “PHWOAR!!!”) I’d say part of the audience is going to be very happy with that dress…

    Capaldi carries the shades off very well, but I’d much rather they didn’t feature in the episode.  If he’s going to glare at the Sherriff of Nottingham they would kind of dilute the effect 🙂

    @janetteb – Everyone seems to be saying “Tom Riley’s playing Robin Hood!” but I wonder if that’s strictly accurate? Splitting hairs maybe (I’m like that!) but what if he’s playing the leader of a band of fugitives/outlaws – depending on which side of the law you’re on – who happens to be called Robin?  Every legend has to have a starting point somewhere, so maybe Gatiss is going to have the Doctor and Clara giving it a kick-start!

    I can just imagine Clara saying something like “So that’s Robin Hood, yeah?” and the Doctor coming back with “Well, not yet.  Give it a couple of hundred years and he will be.”

    @wolfweed – Oh, that clip gives me hope!  It certainly implies the Twelfth Doctor isn’t going to sugar the pill when giving bad news to his companion, and there’s neither apologies or kid-gloves involved.  Just what I was wanting.

    Looks like it’s going to be a riot of an episode all round!


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @jennydb – No need for pretence on my part – I honestly don’t want to see Jack back!  He’s at that in-between stage for me; he’s been gone just long enough that his return wouldn’t feel completely natural, but nowhere near long enough for any great nostalgia buzz in the School Reunion way.  River, on the other hand…. I’d like to see her again, although possibly just for one episode.

    It’d be great to see her trying to cope with a very different kind of Doctor: I always felt Eleven could be a tad “henpecked” by her, and I can’t see Twelve being the same at all! Alex Kingston is always good value, and while I’d not wish River to become a fixture, one final hurrah would definitely be on my wish-list.

    If there’s one former companion I’d hope to see make an appearance, as others have mentioned, it would be the chairman of Coal Hill’s board of governors, Mr I Chesterton. After fifty years, one of his very first human companions encountering the Doctor again would just be glorious, and though I’m usually paranoid about the show getting all “clannish and fannish” the fan in me would probably swoon at that!

    Otherwise – well, let’s see Clara continue as she did toward the end of the last series.  It took time for me to warm to her, mostly because she seemed more plot device than personality for so long.  And looking further ahead I’d like future companions to be what they used to be – waifs and strays, passing ordinary people whose lives are turned around (or turned upside-down, either way works! 🙂 ) by meeting the Doctor!


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Another terrifically atmospheric episode, what with all those creaking doors and cobwebs – even the smoke from the candles in the labyrinth shows up brilliantly.  Limited budgets and basic technology be damned – this is a perfect example of what imagination, ingenuity and some committed acting performances can do.

    There’s only one shot that doesn’t completely work – that one quick glimpse of the Minotaur proves why shadows and imagination can be scarier than what the eye actually sees! Medusa on the other hand works surprisingly well – or perhaps that’s just me.  Snakes give me the heebie-jeebies, so those last moments of the episode…. yuk!

    It’s good to have the proper Jamie back so early, and he gets a gem of a moment when the string runs out; the Doctor and Zoe both all wrapped up in their clever arithmetical discussions while he tries to make the fairly important point that their guarantee of finding their way back has just run out.  I enjoyed his meeting with Rapunzel as well – very sweet!

    I love the sound effects – from creaky doors to the ominous thump of an approaching toy soldier- and the fact that the Master, although we’re starting to understand more of his actions, still has no clear motive.  Keeping the suspense up over several weeks is tricky – it doesn’t always work, whether in 1960s Doctor Who or modern murder mysteries, but I’m finding it effective here.

    The Doctor’s mind is working at a million miles an hour throughout the episode; identifying the traveller, working out the nature of the tests they’re facing and trying to convince his companion when the evidence of her eyes overcomes Zoe’s logic.  There’s that mix of calculation and confusion in Troughton’s Doctor – flapping his hands and almost tripping up over the face puzzle one moment one step ahead in anticipation o another test” the next.

    I make no bones about it; he’s my favourite Doctor to date, even though he’d left the role before I was born.  The Mind Robber is a pretty good demonstration of why!


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @purofilion – thank you most kindly!  There’s a lot I love about AG Who, but the humanisation (is that a word? If not it should be 🙂 ) of the Doctor’s emotions isn’t one of them.  I’d like a bit more of the alien and the scientist back, please!

    @bluesqueakpip – The Pyramids of Mars is one of my all-time favourites but I didn’t twig that little Toby Whithouse touch! You’ve also reminded me of something else high on my wishlist for the next series…

    That moment when the Doctor says Victoria wore the dress and Sarah shoots back at him with “As long as Albert didn’t wear it!” makes me laugh every time.  She could be quite openly cheeky to the Doctor; he could occasionally be a tad abrupt with her.  But there was never any doubt of their affection for each other.

    How great would it be to see something of that between Twelve and Clara!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Can’t believe I’ve not posted on this one before!

    I’d add my name to the list of people hoping to see UNIT back, just occasionally; I’d like a nice, solid invasion of the Earth to be foiled (to be honest I’ve got a bit tired of the gigantic “universe in peril” stuff; I’d be happy with a base under siege!) I’d not want to see the Doctor Earthbound again, but if he’s going to drop in on the planet on a regular basis – budget constraints rather rule out any alternatives 🙂 – as an occasional backup team, Kate Lehtbridge-Stewart’s mob works for me.

    My biggest wish – well, could the Doctor please stop using the sonic screwdriver as a water pistol and remember it’s a scientific instrument?  And while he’s about it, be a touch more like the John Hurt Doctor with his world-weariness and his ability to speak like a grown-up? Also, I love what @PhaseShift says – let’s get back, now the Time War angst is done, to just what you say! The Doctor whizzing around the universe as the ultimate explorer with a human or two hanging on for the ride.

    And if those humans could just be ordinary mortals without epic stories/massive significance for the Doctor, I’d be even happier!  When Clara leaves, I hope it’s on her own terms, by her own choice, with a good, happy future in her sights. And I hope the Doctor gives her a hug, tells her he won’t forget her, and then moves on.

    I don’t wish to be brutal or unsentimental (delete as applicable) but I prefer the Doctor to move on as he used to.  Remember how shocked Sarah-Jane was in “School Reunion” that he hadn’t even mentioned her to Rose once? To my mind that didn’t mean he didn’t care – or that he’d forgotten – just that he’s not human and can’t be expected to behave “like us”.

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    It’s the first time I’ve seen The Mind Robber this way – the way it was supposed to be viewed, one short blast per week – and I have to say, I love it.

    Never mind the bagpipe warning that accompanied episode one: there should be a “Padbury Scream” warning; blimey, Wendy had a good pair of lungs as a girl! Never mind the bottom shot – it’s that piercing screech of Zoe’s that really lingers with me.

    Watching the episode I can’t help but be thankful it’s in black and white.  The forest is all shadows, which makes it really spooky, and the giant toy soldiers are all the more effective for not being the garish monstrosities I imagine Technicolor might have made them.  And that noise; I have to agree with @wolfweed – it’s genuinely alarming.

    It must have felt like a brave call to re-cast Jamie for a single episode when Frazer Hines went down with chickenpox but in the context of the story it works well; Hamish Wilson as Jamie-but-not-Jamie deserves almost as much credit as the writer and production team. In any other show – and many another story I expect – the character would have been just written out.

    The Master – hard to write it without all the later associations coming into play – is still a shadow; we know his voice, but his motives are about as clear as his face, and I love the endless succession of puzzles and riddles the Doctor has to face.  It’s Troughton at his best – part frustrated child, part razor-sharp genius.  He’s hilarious with the group of children; charming with the traveller; and fascinating as he puzzles out the picture writing.  He also gets one of my absolute favourite moments as he kneels beside the well.  “I wish (small, wry chuckle) I wish I believed in wishing wells!” I just love that moment.

    I don’t even mind the unevenly-powdered horse with the horn stuck to its head at the end.  There’s a real sense of panic and danger as the end credits cut in.  It’s awfully difficult to switch off the DVD and wait for next week, to be honest.

    That does prove a point though, for me at least.  Episodic stories, short, sharp snatches every Saturday night, can’t half work well when they’re this good.


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    Always looking for an excuse to watch a bit of the Second Doctor!

    The Mind Robber is a favourite of mine – I’ll state that from the off.  Episode One demonstrates why quite nicely – I just love this trio of Troughton’s Doctor, Jamie and Zoe.  They’re like three naughty kids let loose out of school!

    It’s typical Jamie that he should have to be the practical one, pointing out the risks of getting buried under the soap/lava flow while the other two swoon at how magnificent the spectacle is.  And the Second Doctor gets to show off both sides I associate with him – all that flapping panic when the TARDIS misbehaves and the grit when he finds himself having to “fight” the mysterious voice inside his head.  He’s got the silly side, but I never doubt the steel behind it, either.

    I’m always glad, when  I see this particular episode, that I’m not from Zoe’s time.  Not only does she have to carry off that catsuit (credit to Wendy Padbury, not every woman could do it! 🙂 ) but “The City” she calls home is, like all future cities in 1960s an 1970s sci-fi, horribly sterile looking and unappealing to me.  I rather like that she and Jamie are a bit dense – both see exactly what they’d most want to on the scanner, yet neither stops to question the fact, or wonder why the other one claims to be seeing something so totally different.

    Why is “Nothing” so frightening? I’m not sure, but the prospect of being “nowhere” and surrounded by nothing” does send a chill down my spine.  It’s surprisingly effectively portrayed to by making the companions run around a completely white studio.  There’s not a great deal actually “happens” in the episode, but I was still surprised how quickly it came to an end.  That’s the secret of good storytelling I suppose.

    Looking forward to episode two next week.  And while Zoe’s bottom always gets the credit at the end, it’s that last shot of the Doctor that sticks in my head!

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    Such sad news about Kate O’Mara.  She wasn’t well served with stories but she still made The Rani so fantastically, wickedly watchable.  It’s become something of a joke the way every time there’s a female villain brought into Doctor Who the cry goes up that “maybe she’s The Rani!” but Kate’s would be a tough act for anyone to follow.


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    @thekrynoidman – I doubt Mr Moffat would be too impressed if that appeared on the internet to give away a return of any kind.  I’m hoping – Tegan’s not a favourite of mine at all – that it was just a set visit for an old friend of the Dotor Who family.

    @fatmaninabox – Loving the new monster.  It wouldn’t look out of place in the Doctor Who of my mid-1970s childhood, and to my mind that can never be a bad thing 🙂

    @wolfweed – great links, thank you! And much as I’d love to see Capaldi vs Capaldi as the series finale, @jimthefish, I’m too prosaic for the lovely theory – it looks much more like a convenient way of covering the Doctor’s change in marital status to me!

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    @craignixon; @whogirl – I’m still watching The Musketeers; it’s an entertaining romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s the kind of thing I need on a Sunday night with the terrifying prospect of Monday morning ahead!

    A couple of episodes haven’t quite gripped me – I’d like more political intrigue and less random-female-falling-for-a-musketeer-a-week – but overall it’s exceeded my expectations.  Some of the acting’s a bit variable, and the villains are definitely more fun than the good guys.  I could’ve done without Vinnie Jones turning up last week, but that’s more down to my detesting him as a footballer than any comment on his acting!

    Capaldi, of course, is always worth watching.  I find myself wondering sometimes whether he’s generally just given the best lines or whether he just makes better use of what he’s got.

    I’m going to give that W1A thing a go tonight as well.  Just hope it’s up to Twenty Twelve’s standards!

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    @janetteb: One sufferer seemingly on the mend here! @faegrl, glad you’re on the up as well!

    I’m sure you’re right re: Capaldi: it seems to me the perfect example of an actor taking on the role to escape typecasting rather than taking it in fear of it.  He’s also too clued-up on the show and its fans to have gone into it as a one-year thing, surely? I expect there’s an opt-out on both sides at the end of the first year, but that would sound like common sense – personality clashes, “artistic differences” call ’em what you will they happen in all professions.

    I’d also suspect that if Moffat’s planning his own exit (no proof either way, he’s talked about series 9 as if he’s on-board, but then he would, wouldn’t he 🙂 ) the identity of his successor is already clear to those on the inside, and I doubt if either the outgoing or the incoming showrunner would care to repeat the whole “Decks cleared” scenario of the RTD/Moffat handover.  I know the show thrives on change, but a bit of continuity in the middle of a major change is usually a good thing!

    @devilishrobby: Capaldi’s done bits and pieces in the US in the past, I think; and he’s definitely in the Angelina Jolie thing, Maleficent.  I dare say there’ll be more offers from that direction once the new series starts to air, but whether he’d walk away to take them – who knows?  He’s not a young up-and-comer such as his predecessor when he first took the role, and if he has enough high-quality stuff over here….

    @phaseshift: You’re not the only one needs a lie down in a darkened room after that suggestion! Somebody turn it into a fanfic (preferably with Ten and Rose turning up hand in hand) quick 🙂

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    @blenkinsopthebrave: What with Ian’s name appearing on the Coal Hill sign and William Russell having a cameo in An Adventure In Space And Time I’ve almost talked myself around to a point where I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t pop up in Series 8!  I really shouldn’t do these things, but Moffat’s such a fan himself (as he proved with all those little touches in the anniversary special) I wonder how he could resist the opportunity now it exists -:)

    @tomsscarf: I can imagine Capaldi making a phenomenal Master( (although I’m  actually much more excited by the idea of him as the Doctor), by which I mean just the kind of Master I prefer – the Delgado rather than the Simm type  If they’re going to bring the character back , given what we’ve been told about the Twelfth Doctor so far, I can’t really see Simm’s hyperactive nutcase working against him.

    @arkleseizure: It’s true that Mazarin was Richelieu’s successor after his death (and a bit of a protégé I think) but I wonder if the people behind The Musketeers would want to replace one “villain Cardinal” with another? It might be easier for the audience to have a clean break and a totally different baddie.

    Given that filming on the second series is likely to run from March to October (if it’s anything like the first series’ schedule, of course) and the Doctor Who shoot finishes (again, I think!) around August/early September I think I’d be sending off the Cardinal to “run the country” or possibly a war with Spain, parachute in a baddie who is, apparently, ultimately answerable to him and then trying to bring Capaldi back for the final episode.  Then, if there’s a third series, Mazarin could be introduced as his chosen successor!

    @faegrl; get better soon! I’ve had a cold hanging around for weeks and I’m thoroughly fed up with it now!

    @blenkinsopthebrave: Interesting thoughts! I’m very much hoping the rumours about a single season are total tosh, but my immediate reaction when Capaldi’s name was first mentioned before the announcement was “he’d be amazing, but he’s got to be so much in demand he won’t have the time.”  Of course I didn’t realise what a fan he is!

    My hope is that he’s signed for an initial one year with the option to extend if he and the producers agree.  And that he’ll have so much fun (he’s evidently a very bright man, he must have known what he was letting himself in for schedule-wise as well as with the baggage of the part) that he’ll stay at least two years after that.  I’m sure he’d be massively in demand for other work, but if you’re happy where you are, perhaps it’s easier to turn it down!

    I’m usually a pessimist, but this time I’m trying really, really hard to be hopeful -:)



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    Blimey there’s a lot been going on here today!

    @missshannonkent: I’d rather like to see Capaldi in the role for a good while before considering his successor – at the moment I can’t think of anyone I’d rather see as The Doctor than him.

    @jimthefish; @phaseshift: I recall Adrian Hodges saying right after the announcement that if a second series of The Musketeers were to be commissioned they wouldn’t re-cast but would replace Richelieu with a new “villain of the year”.  It’ll be a tough job – the Cardinal is for my money the most interesting character in the show, much more watchable for having clear motives than being an “off with his head!” type psychopath – but perhaps it’d be easier than just changing the face and pretending nobody notices! He may be integral to the novel, but given the liberties taken already I don’t suppose the producers are going to worry about upsetting any purists in the audience.  Most of them have probably give up watching anyway 🙂

    I’m not sure how these things work, but I can’t imagine a high-profile actor likely to be in demand elsewhere being firmly committed to take part in a second series that might or might not happen.  Would a contract even be signed to get out of? It’d seem an awfully chancy business for all the cast if they were expected to turn down other potential work without a cast-iron guarantee of employment!

    @devilishrobby; @tomsscarf: I’m with @bluesqueakpip on Eccleston; if he didn’t enjoy his time on the show it was best for him and everyone else that he should leave after one series.  I really can’t see him coming back to Doctor Who anytime soon, either.  He never claimed to be a fan, and I doubt he had any idea of the attention/fuss/hysteria (delete as applicable!) it would generate.  I get the feeling that if he had, he wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole!

    Fair enough – we can’t all be fans, and if he’d sooner be remembered for other things than being the Ninth Doctor, so be it.

    @phaseshift: re the tenth anniversary of the revival – If BBC Three had still been going they’d probably have updated the “Ultimate Guide” and thrown another embarrassingly awful “party”.  Being thankful for small mercies we’re spared that, maybe a repeat of “Rose” on BBC Two? I can’t see them making too much of it  within a couple of years of the big 50 (but if they’d like to do a special to tide us over between Christmas and the start of series 9 I wouldn’t be complaining!)


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    @bluesqueakpip – I couldn’t agree more; Eccleston will always have my thanks for his contribution to reviving the show I love, however little he may have captured “The Doctor” as I remembered him.  I doubt he’d take the job if he was offered it now – I suspect, rather like Bill Nighy, he’d look at the “baggage” associated with the part and  bolt in the opposite direction as fast as his legs would carry him!

    I suppose the problem I had was that I had a clear idea of who “The Doctor” was and it was awfully tough to see anything of him in Nine.


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    @bluesqueakpip – Colin Baker got the roughest end of the stick imaginable as The Doctor; I hadn’t thought of him as a potential Master before but crikey, that could’ve been really good!

    He’s probably my second-least favourite (I refuse to say least liked as a matter of principle) of all the Doctors, mostly because I don’t blame him for the chronic problems that blighted his era.  Controversial observations may well follow….

    I adore Doctors One, Two, Three, Four, Seven and Ten; appreciate Eight as the one good thing about his sole full-length outing; can see the good in Eleven and Five without absolutely loving them unreservedly.  Six’s issues were not of his making, although I generally find his era the least appealing of them all, but…

    Nine is the one who really doesn’t tick “The Doctor” boxes for me.  Partly it’s the premise – the war damaged survivor is something Christopher Eccleston played brilliantly, and ironically  I rate his performance in “Dalek” as the finest in the AG show.  But after a brilliantly Doctorish entrance at the beginning of “Rose”, he started to lose me.

    First he started deliberately calling Mickey by the wrong name.  It struck me as small-minded, spiteful and fundamentally “not the Doctor”.  I can take him being rude, insensitive and arrogant on occasion, but it seems I couldn’t deal with the idea of a petty Doctor 🙂 But there was also something about Eccleston’s demeanour in the part.

    I appreciate what Russell T Davies was doing, wiping the slate clean and avoiding all that accumulated back-story, but even so there were moments of lightness in the character that never worked for me.  I found some of the big grins that accompanied the trademark cry of “Fantastic!” a bit forced, and oh how I hated the outfit! Divorced Dad trying not to embarrass the kiddies on custody weekend sprang to min.

    That said, I loved “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” and he had the simplest and for me most touching regeneration of the new era so far.  I also loved Rose in that series (went off her when she got all doe-eyed and possessive the following year!) and as I say, the acting performance in Dalek – those scenes when he first sees the chained Dalek still give me goosebumps.  Heck of an actor, but not quite “The Doctor” for me – with sincere apologies to the very many people who adored Nine!


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    @faegrl @monochromedimension – “The Five Doctors” is one I have an especial soft spot for.  Being born in 1970 I was too young to appreciate the Second and Third Doctors in their own eras and that was my first introduction to them both.  They even (Troughton especially) stopped me missing the Fourth, and before broadcast I wouldn’t have thought that possible!

    Thank goodness for DVDs (and the efforts of those people still trying to track down the lost Troughton and Hartnell stories!).  I can find good in all eras of Doctor Who (some more than others, naturally) but as an adult I seem to have developed a particular weakness for the stuff I missed first time around.

    I dipped in and out of the Fifth and Sixth Doctor eras at the time – I’d hit a “funny age” as my Granny called it and admitting to watching Doctor Who on  a Saturday night wasn’t exactly “cool” for a teenage girl – but really came back for the Seventh.  The Seventh Doctor and Ace were such a brilliant combination; I loved the fact that however fond of her he was, he wasn’t above manipulating even her.  I loathed the question marks with a passion – gimmicks are my bugbear, hence my screech of delight when I saw the Twelfth Doctor’s outfit – but of the second “batch” of Doctors, Five through to Eight, he’s definitely my favourite.

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    @Recky – as @bluesqueakpip  and @purofilion say, Capaldi is very much a “name” actor in the UK – far more than most of his predecessors during my lifetime have been when taking on the role!  I understand Eccleston was in the same kind of bracket when he took the role although I have to admit I didn’t know who he was….  maybe Capaldi’s been in more of the kind of shows I watch!

    I’d add the Civil War drama “The Devil’s Whore” to his list of credits too; I’m a history geek so not often impressed by “historical dramas” but  have to say, his King Charles I was superb.

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    @arbutus – there are positives and negatives in all the AG Doctors for me: Nine was too grim (those big cheesy grins to accompany the odd “fantastic!” never convinced) and lacking the Doctor’s essential humour; Ten, much as I loved him, was too much inclined to think declaiming “I’m the Doctor!” n a loud, defiant manner was being authoritative – although Tennant can pretty much match Eccleston for menace.  And on the dialogue – maybe it’s my age showing through but I agree wholeheartedly!  I’ve cringed sometimes hearing the Eleventh wittering on like my fifteen year old nephew!

    The Doctor hasn’t ben properly scary  in much too long, and I think you can get away with generally scarier stories (I’m going back to my own childhood and the Fourth Doctor here) when the Doctor has that aura of “however scary you are, pal, I can scare right back!” about him.  That’s what I mean about Capaldi’s ability to do quiet menace. I can just imagine him giving a Dalek a “look” and asking, very calmly, if it can’t think of something a bit more imaginative than “Exterminate!” to say sometime 🙂

    I’m very much with @faegrl on Eleven – his darker side was swamped by the silliness. I blame the writing way more than I do Matt Smith; I’ve always rather felt Moffat looked at his leading man and thought “my God, you’re brilliant at this kooky, silly stuff.  Let’s give you more of it!”

    I wish he hadn’t.  In the quieter, less manic moments, Eleven was at his most effective to me.

    I also don’t care for bow ties, fezzes, or chattering on about things being cool. He’s the Doctor. That automatically makes him the coolest man in most rooms.  I’m hoping Capaldi will be allowed to play it that way.

    There’s something a bit gawky and gauche about Eleven; it’d be nice to see Twelve being more “this is me, live with it” if you get my meaning.


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    @faegrl – I’m glad I’m not alone in not totally adoring the Eleventh Doctor (although you’re braver than me in admitting it right out – I’ve been a little shy of saying I find him too much the over-excited Labrador pup).  I’m hoping for a little more quiet anger from his successor.

    Even  Ten, my favourite of the newer Doctors, could be a bit “shouty” in expressing his anger for my taste, but Twelve…. well I’ve been enjoying “The Musketeers” very much and Mr Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu has provided some of my favourite moments.  He can do “quiet menace” incredibly well, and there were a couple of scenes in last week’s episode where he was baiting people and it was very much like watching a cat with an injured mouse on the end of his paw.  I’m afraid I watched it and thought after “Oh, I’d love to see the Doctor treat the Daleks with that kind of cold contempt!”


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    @wolfweed @nick – Given Mr C’s attachment to his wedding ring (it’s  great game watching The Thick Of It to clock its appearance and disappearance throughout the episodes 🙂 ) it’s probably making a virtue of necessity to include some kind of ring anyway! It looks on the picture as if they’ve added a fancier costume piece – it wouldn’t be the first time, and as he is kind of the first Doctor of a new cycle there’s a tenuous link to Hartnell’s original.

    As for the Mail’s rumour…. well, there’s a bloke in a topper in a Victorian scene.  Could be as they suggest, but could be something completely different.  It would certainly suggest a change of tone to the Hinchcliffe/Holmes style as a first episode, though.

    No bad thing – that was the Doctor Who of my early memories.  Scared the living whatsit out of me, but I still remember it with affection!

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    @blenkinsopthebrave – Interesting theories!  Capaldi does Machiavellian really well, but I wonder whether he’d want his Doctor to be too much that way, what with Malcolm Tucker and Cardinal Richelieu in the background.  It’s an unusual situation, where the new Doctor can actually escape typecasting by taking on the part! I’d like to see a little of that side of the character certainly, but given the baggage the actor carries, maybe not too much.

    The power of his personality in place of the sonic is a wonderful image – one I really hope Moffat’s considered too, because while I’m happy for it to appear now and then, its use as a “get out of jail free card” does grate.  And the idea of him playing games, apparently being willing to sacrifice one of his own side…. I can see that being done very convincingly!

    @arbutus – the “Rebel Time Lord” is a cracking image, although his own people have always considered the Doctor to be that anyway I suppose.  And I’d definitely like the contrast from “tea in a lovely spot” to defeating evil at all costs.  Sometimes in the AG series I’ve felt the Doctor has been a touch too reluctant and apologetic about doing the “right thing” – I’m thinking The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End when Davros accuses Ten of turning his friends into weapons.  I was never wholly comfortable with that image; I like to think the Doctor makes people better than they would have been by giving them the strength to stand up against evil, whatever the cost to themselves.

    I’m hoping that Twelve will be a no-nonsense, even unsentimental kind of Doctor in that sort of scenario!


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    @fatmaninabox – sounds better than the most recent “Britain’s Got Talent” to me! 🙂

    Seriously, those are some really good pictures from today; the outfit looks great, Peter and Jenna look terrific, and the Doctor’s reaction to being hugged is just priceless (and that’s even without the excellent caption!)

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    I’ve taken my time, given the subject due care and attention and decided…. this is my favourite Doctor outfit in donkey’s years. It feels more old-school than any of the previous AG Doctors, but it’s got nothing gimmicky and no flummery about it.  It’s got nods to the past – Pertwee perhaps, maybe a bit Hartnell too – but it’s a pared-down version.

    Eccleston’s outfit was too “pared-down” for my tastes – I found it more like a divorced Dad trying not to embarrass his kids on custody weekend than the Doctor.  Tennant’s looked good  -different and a bit edgy – but was a bit sharp and modern.  Smith’s tweed getup I loathed at first (who let him loose in his granddad’s wardrobe 🙂 )but ended up liking a lot, especially after he changed it.  His later costume felt too much “costume” to me.

    I think they’ve left themselves options for the future with this one; maybe change the cardigan/waistcoat for a different, brighter colour or have a second coat with a different lining.  I’m not sure it’d work with a tie/cravat/bowtie or anything, though. It’s quite uncluttered as it stands.

    The whole thing screams “no messing about!” I like that.


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    Good grief, my childhood Doctor is 80!

    I’ll get out My “Pyramids of Mars” DVD tonight in his honour!

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    Well it’s probably an advantage I’ve not read the Dumas version in over 2o years, but I’ve got to say I really enjoyed The Musketeers!

    OK, it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out who was behind the dastardly plot; and I’ll be honest, one or two of the more minor characters were quite weakly played, but overall – yes, I’ll be watching again.

    I was a bit worried about a “standard pretty boy” playing D’Artagnan, but actually he was perfectly credible; the banter between the Musketeers themselves was nicely done, Milady and Constance were both excellent, and for my taste Capaldi nailed Richelieu just about perfectly.  I think it was wise to avoid any panto-villain moustache-twirling and make the Cardinal a nasty piece of political work rather than a Sherriff of Nottingham maniac.

    I’m not quite sold on Louis XIII yet, although he’s certainly weak, ineffectual and petulant enough, but the really jarring note for me was the slightly dim mistress who thought she could get away with cheating the most powerful man in France. Her fate was deserved for the delivery of her lines in my opinion 🙂 although it also got one of those “looks that speak a thousand words” from Capaldi.  To get that mix of emotions without saying a single word – that’s proper acting!



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    @nick – Your descendant of Susan suggestion is one I’ve pondered over.  I’m assuming that Susan could have had a daughter in the late 60’s who could have given birth in the early-mid 90’s…. which would put Susan’s granddaughter in her early-mid 20’s by 2014.

    There’s something “odd” about Clara as a companion and the importance that seems to be attached to her.  The idea of her being a child of the Doctor & River seems a bit too soap-opera somehow( hate soaps, by the way!), but a more distant descendent, one whose Gallifreyan ancestry has been concealed/forgotten over the generations…. that’s quite a nice possibility.

    It’d also open up the possibility of a guest appearance for the original “companion”, perhaps in Clara’s farewell scene?  It’d probably be difficult for a more modern show to “forget” a descendant of the Doctor’s for decades as happened originally I agree, but at least of she’s dropped on modern Earth it could be done easily.  After one or two casual appearances in the first few years after she leaves, it’d be possible to phase her out, I’d think.

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    @fallingfortwelve – Human Nature is one of my favourite new series stories for a lot of reasons (I’m a sucker for historicals for starters) but Tennant’s performance in it is definitely on of the major ones.  He managed to differentiate between the human teacher and the Doctor so well – and those punishments he gave to the family were really chilling.

    I do like Matt in the comedic moments – he’s wonderful at the child in the Doctor – but I have missed the other side of the character and both he and Tennant have resorted a bit too much to raised-voice acting when they’re trying to show the Doctor’s fiercer side.  Considering that Malcolm Tucker is never scarier than when he’s not just yelling his head off, I’m hoping Capaldi will do things a bit differently.

    Maybe Clara will be thrown onto the back foot by a new Doctor? I’m hoping so, she’s a bit too smooth and competent, too much in control with Matt’s Doctor.  I’d like to see her flailing around a bit, at least in the early stages of the series; now they’ve drawn attention to her inner control freak, being a bit of that myself, I’d love to see her being led a bit of a dance.

    Actually, I’d quite like to see River brought back and placed in the same situation when I think about it. If Matt had stayed I don’t think I’d really have wanted to see her back, but now… I can see a Capaldi/Kingston double-act being fantastic.



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    @blenkinsopthebrave – I reckon the Master could find a way through from the pocket universe if any Time Lord could, and he’d make a terrific adversary for the Capaldi Doctor.  Just as long as he’s not down the John Simm route! Not that Simm wasn’t entertaining in his own way, but up against a cooler, steelier Doctor than Tennant’s I think the character would need a much less bouncing-about manic approach to appear as any kind of genuine threat.

    And I agree – nobody has ever equalled Delgado in the role for me.

    If he wasn’t a bit out of the equation now, I might have suggested John Hurt as an actor with the presence to do the job!

    I’m also not at all convinced the Time Lords would be moved by Clara’s appeal, impassioned as it was.  They’re much more likely to have been motived by self-interest (which would imply the do need somebody on the right side of the crack to help get them back through) than any form of altruism.  I’m leaning toward the theory that when/if they do make it back they might  make the Doctor wish he’d just left the beggars where they were – out of trouble!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    Really glad they’ve confirmed another Sherlock series – even f it’s only three episodes long! Sunday’s was, for me, the best of the lot so far.

    Honestly, Moffat and Gatiss are personally responsible for a good portion of all that’s worth watching on the BBC of late!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @arbutus – I’m not at all averse to silliness in Doctor Who – Lord knows it wouldn’t be the show it is without it! It’s just that for me personally there was too much of Silly Eleven and not quite enough of Serious, which I agree Matt could do extremely well.  It’s all a question of balance, and to my taste it got a bit skewed as Series 6 & 7 went on.

    A good friend of mine, who at 57 had watched every episode from the very beginning, gave up toward the end of Series 6 because “it’s all too panto now.”  I wouldn’t go that far, but I’m glad to say she’s coming back to give Series 8 a chance!

    I’m certainly not advocating bumping off a companion every few years to keep up the jeopardy level 🙂 either!  Astrid’s death was affecting because it was a death; the temporary ones are the ones I have an issue with as plot devices.  The eventual departure of the Ponds was beautifully done, but leads me to another question.

    In earlier eras, would the Doctor have been so affected by their loss? I rationalise his dependence on his human companions (Eleven’s grief at losing Amy and Rory, Ten’s pining for Rose) as being related to the apparent demise of Gallifrey. Hartnell’s Doctor waved his granddaughter on her way with advice about “no regrets” Tom Baker’s parted from Sarah Jane with a sweet mutual “don’t forget me”. Was it because they didn’t feel the same loneliness as the last of the Time Lords?  Or, quite simply, because audience in those days didn’t demand the same level of emotional involvement expected now?

    And as the only woman in my circle who screamed in protest when I saw David Tennant because “the Doctor’s not meant to be good-looking!” I’m certainly not cheering the arrival of Capaldi because I personally find him easier on the eye than Matt; I’m just thrilled to see a brilliant actor taking on the role.


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @scaryb  – my apologies if it came across as a sweeping generalisation; it was intended to be a specific statement of how this 44-year-old female feels! I’ve heard so many people stating that they find Matt dazzlingly attractive and thought – what?  He don’t do a thing for me!

    If I could figure out smileys, I promise I’d be using one there!

    I’m a little alarmed at the thought of going too Sixth Doctor – it’d be a big risk, in my opinion, to try something that extreme, even if Moffat and co are more likely to get it right.  I’d hope for more Baker T. than Baker C; and you’ve pointed up exactly why the Davison era isn’t one of my favourites; that particular bunch of companions were not an easy bunch for me to take to!



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    @fallingfortwelve – Matt was a bit too puppy-dog for me (not to mention being far too young and unlined for a woman of 44 to find attractive) but Peter – well, I do like a man with presence, and he has that in spades!

    Clara’s taken time to grow on me, but I do hope she gets a decent chance in the next series. She felt like a case of “brilliant plot device, oh heck we’d better give her a pretty face to cover the lack of an actual character” up until her whole Impossible Girl thing got sorted out.  I started to see promise in her during The Day Of The Doctor, and as I think Jenna Coleman is a thoroughly decent actress I hope she gets some better stuff to work with this year.

    I’ve seen a lot of comments around the web about wanting Twelve to be a “darker” Doctor; I’m not sure what that means, but here’s a short wish-list of mine:

    1) Less pratting about; less whimsy and general silliness.  Matt did it very well, but for me it detracted from the more serious moments.  He was more Approaching Light Shower than Oncoming Storm; I hope the writers don’t waste Peter’s talents the same way.

    2) A little offhand rudeness to the companion(s) now and then.  If somebody’s being an idiot, I’d like the Doctor to tell them so! The Fourth Doctor could do it – the last couple have been too “sweet” for that kind of thing and being old-fashioned, I don’t want the Doctor being “sweet”. I’d like to see a bit of impatience, some flashes of annoyance instead of all that lovey-dovey, they’re all wonderful stuff.

    In fact, I’d like to see a Doctor who is a bit more alien in his interactions. Somebody who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

    I also have a bit of a theory.  Remember what the War Doctor said about his successors’ regret saving lives? Perhaps the removal of his guilt over Gallifrey will make the Twelfth Doctor slightly less reluctant to use stronger means against his enemies? I don’t mean he’ll suddenly start zapping everything in sight or blowing up whole worlds – he’ll always be a good man and stop short of violence – but now he knows he hasn’t committed genocide in the past, he may just be a bit less apologetic about the odd failure to save every life in the future.

    Which brings me to another great hope for his era. Please, let’s get some jeopardy back!  Nobody who dies actually seems to stay dead any more, and while that might be reassuring for the kiddie-winkies, it’s pretty darned unrealistic.  “Oh, look, Rory’s dead again” became boring quite fast, and in TNOTD Strax can revive Jenny too….

    I don’t want people being killed left, right and centre; just once in a while let it be shown the Doctor can’t save everyone.

    Besides, PC does grief and tragedy brilliantly. It’d be a shame not to use as much of his terrific acting range as the writers can get.


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @oswald – welcome!  Catching up in a months impressive stuff – ta takes some dedication!  I’m fond of Matt’s Doctor – impossible not to be really -but I’m properly excited to see what Peter Capaldi can do.


    @monochromedimension – Lucky you saved the disks!!!  The Five Doctors was my first real introduction to the Second Doctor, I was 10 or 11 at the time.  Right up until then, Tom Baker had been “my” Doctor.  From then on, he was supplanted (I still love him, but Troughton and Tennant have both sneaked ahead over the years).  It’s still one of those DVDs I can put in on a really miserable day  and know it’ll cheer me up.

    ConfusedPolarity @replies


    Well, I was thinking more along the lines of “oh B*******, we’re out of doors with a big blue box and a whole crowd of people, somebody with a smartphone’s going to notice that, aren’t they?”

    I’d be insisting on a photo-shoot in studio five minutes before the official reveal – I reckon it’s the only way in this day and age!

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @jimthefish – That’s good to read, not that I really believed the Beeb would be stupid enough to pull the plug just yet.

    Hopefully Moffat’s “we” is not of the royal variety and he will still be involved with Series 9.  I’m also glad, despite the extended wait, that we’re going back to an autumn airdate.  Childhood Saturday evenings with the curtains closed, the rain lashing down and Doctor Who on the telly – what could be more perfect?

    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @brewski – I agree with you completely with Donna as a more recent companion: she was just in it for the adventure and the joy of travelling with the Doctor as a pal and I loved that.

    Of the BG companions, well, Sarah Jane is the first I remember well, and will always have a special place in my heart. Intelligent young women with careers and a willingness to ask questions were a novelty in those days; if you’d asked me at age 8 what I wanted to be when I grew up I’d have said “a journalist” and I’m pretty sure Sarah Jane had an influence on that.

    As a “team” I’d go for the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, for the sheer childlike fun and enjoyment of each other’s company they exuded.  Who wouldn’t have wanted to travel with them?  Of all the farewells over the years, theirs at the end of The War Games is the only one that still makes me watery-eyed (and I wasn’t even born when it was first shown).

    I do have a soft spot for Ace too; Sophie Aldred and Sylvester McCoy were fantastic.  It’s always seemed to me very unfair that things were on the up for Doctor Who when that pest Grade came along and cancelled it.

    ConfusedPolarity @replies


    I had a feeling something along those lines had happened with Matt – hopefully the mistake will have been learned from and there’ll be a proper, official reveal this time.


    ConfusedPolarity @replies

    @thekrynoidman – I have that feeling about Capaldi as well.  He’s a superb actor, a massive fan, and he’s got some pretty good writing talent behind the scripts.  I may criticise Steven Moffat for being a bit over-ambitious at times (The Time of the Doctor suffered a tad from that in my opinion) but I general I like what he does with the show.  I’m trying to keep a lid on my expectations, but the potential for something really special is definitely there.

    @devilishrobby – I’d like a longer series, but in practical terms I just don’t see how it could be done, or funded.  If we can get between 12 and 14 high-quality episodes a year I’ll be a very happy bunny, and while the wait for Series 8 seems interminable at the moment I remember watching on chilly autumn evenings in the 70s as a child so I’m happy to go back to that now.

    It’d be great if they could keep PC’s costume a secret, but frankly I’m amazed nothing’s leaked already on the grounds that it’s surely been approved and made up by now!  I’m assuming there’ll be an official unveiling in the next 2/3 weeks, in good time for shooting on the second episode to start.  The last thing they’ll want is a blurry image on the internet stealing their thunder!

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