Category Archives: Doctor Who

Enjoying Doctor Who

Hey there, Strangers! Here’s what’s on my mind:

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Doctor Who

I like Doctor Who. I enjoy watching it. I mean, I really look forward to watching it. I go into each episode hopeful that it’s going to be a good one. Thinking about the show brings a little joy to my tired, battered little heart. It may not always be the ‘best’ show on TV, but it’s always my favourite. Oh sure, there are some eras I prefer over others, and I’m not blind to faults, but every season has good stuff in it. Even season 24. Honest.

I just really like Doctor Who.

I know, to some sections of Who ‘fandom’, those opening few sentences WILL NOT COMPUTE. Doctor Who is something they love part of. A show that they now endure because…. because…? Because there is that part of it they used to love. And they hope it’ll be just like it was again for that specially selected period of time. But a little heads up: it probably won’t be like that again. Not quite. It can’t be. It’s not just one thing this show, it’s been made by too many different people, people who must bring themselves to it. Who must steer the ship in a slightly different direction.

So some fans claim it as their favourite show, but because it won’t conform to their specific taste anymore, they feel like they are justified in ‘hate watching’. In identifying themselves as a fan, but then putting nothing but negative thoughts about the show out into the world. Retweeting others who share their opinion in an attempt to show they very rightness of their opinion. “Look! Look! Someone else on Twitter didn’t like it, therefore I am right and justified!”

People want to moan. Pick at. Belittle. Pretend what they just saw was the worst abomination ever created. Nothing bad, or illogical, or underwhelming, or just plain awful ever went down on their show for the period they deign praiseworthy. But NOW? Stone me, the show can do no right. It’s an end to end crap-heap.

What happened to the pure joy of sitting down to watch this daft, fun show?

Let’s be clear, just like in the 80s, there are people who consider themselves fans who would dance a delighted jig and laugh in the faces of people who watch if the show were to be cancelled. Because then that would somehow be proof that they were ‘right’. Not that Who doesn’t work for them anymore, but that it was objectively terrible. They point at the ratings joyfully each week and make claims of the audience deserting the show. They WANT the audience to desert the show. They’d rather the show died than carry on as something that has stepped outside of their own personal tastes. Selfish? Entitled? You betcha. They don’t enjoy the game anymore so want to take the ball home. Doesn’t matter that it’s not their ball and plenty of others are happily kicking it around.

Doctor Who fans can just be THE WORST.

I’d like to think if I ever became so curdled, I’d step away from the show, because why put myself through it? ‘Oh, the old if you don’t like it you shouldn’t watch it anymore argument. How shallow, how silly, how…’ SHUT UP. Watch it if you want. Complain and complain if you have to. But by gosh, it’s a strange way to want to carry on.

In our bid to poke at, critique, bash, highlight ‘problems’, and declare it imperfect, many of us forget to simply revel in the sheer joy of this daft, scary, goofy, bold, unique show. We think it’s more important to scold its imperfections, or decry it for failing to squeeze into the tiny mold we decide it best fits in. In our rush towards the disdain, we give short shrift to the praise. Too much ‘I want it to do this and it won’t’, and not enough taking the show as presented.

No, jerk, I’m not saying we should not critique the show. Just realise that Who not being exactly like you want it to be does not automatically mean it is terrible.

Now maybe I’m easy. There is no era of the show that I would ever put the word ‘Hate’ close to. All of it has moments to treasure. Stories to cheer for. Yeah, I even like BOTH the RTD era and the Moffat era. I KNOW! Incredible. I am a special and unique flower.

Watching Doctor Who should be fun. If it isn’t for you, then that sucks, but it can’t always be what you demand of it.

‘I just want my show back!’ Some of the slack-jawed miseries screech as they stamp their feet. Sorry, bub, but it’s not your show.

Oh, one more thing: I LOVE Doctor Who! It’s often silly, often scary, sometimes it’s even brilliant. I hope I always have more joy than misery for it.

Writing

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Okay, that was a bit on the long side, so a quick update:

I’m a few weeks away from handing in Apocalypse (something or other) in to my editor, and about two-thirds of the way through the second book in the three book mini-series. As is usual at this point, I’m swinging wildly between ‘Some of this is awesome!’ and ‘God, this is awful, should I scrap it and start properly on that NEW EXCITING SHINY THING?!?!?!’

Oh, and there is a NEW EXCITING SHINY THING. Oh yes.

But I’m getting ahead of myself there….

Speak soon, Strangers!

@MattStottWrites


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Strange Stories & The X-Files

Writing

writing-a-book

Hey there, Strangers!

So I’m just waiting on my paperback cover for The Increasingly Transparent Girl to come back, then I’ll be gearing up to release. Which is nice. I’ve been wondering about doing special editions for the Between books, too, with a few full-page illustrations. That’d be pretty swish.

Stand alone stories are a hard sell in the Indie world, it’s one of the reasons I decided to turn the Tales From Between into a series, even though each book is its own thing with different characters. Series are what sells. That being said, I don’t only want to write in strict series, and I’ve already got one stand alone novelette out there, Sixty-Six. So! I’m going to rebrand that, and put any future stand alone stories, be they shorts like Sixty-Six or full length novels, under the A Strange Story series banner. A series name, and some consistency with the covers visual branding, and suddenly it’s more likely readers will start picking them up. Hopefully.

I’ve got a second Strange Story novelette ready to go, I’ve started on a third, and I have lots of ideas for others. So that’s something I’m going to keep ticking over as I work on other series. I think working on these shorter works also just helps me improve as a writer, so whether or not they’re big sellers, they’re worthwhile.

I’m also thinking about doing audio versions for the Tales From Between. I understand that longer audiobooks are better, and these are short books, so I might put out all three as a collection.

The X-Files

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Well the new limited run series of The X-Files finally started up here in the UK, on Channel Five of all places. This may be the first time I actually made a point of watching something on Channel 5. Weird.

I’d heard all the jabber about this first episode not being…well…the greatest episode in the shows history. I can certainly understand why most reviews were on the negative side. This wasn’t a smooth or triumphant return to the world, it was kinda awkward as it strained and stumbled to lurch the thing back to life. It has, after all, been a long time since the people involved made any new adventures for the show; let’s just ignore that Billy Connolly featuring second flick. Seriously, what was Chris Carter thinking with that?

CARTER: “Hey, you know what X-Files fans like…?”  

NOT CARTER: “Hm…aliens and monsters?”  

CARTER: “Bingo! Let’s not give them any of that, they’ll love it!” 

NOT CARTER: “…”

Personally, for this new series, I would’ve broken viewers in a little easier and given them a kick-ass, scary, monster-of-the-week episode to start with. Drip-feed the conspiracy stuff over the first couple of weeks.

But you know what? It was great to have it back, and I did enjoy watching it. From what I understand, the next two get better and better, and you can take it as read that I’ll be tuning into Channel Five again next week. CHANNEL 5!!

Doctor Who

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Over on that ace site Genre Reader, I posted a big ‘ol post detailing my MUST SEE episodes of modern Doctor Who.

NO, YOU’RE A NERD!

Check it: Must See Episodes of Modern Who

Okay, you can leave now.

@MattStottWrites


 

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Doctor Who: Last Christmas

Doctor_Who_Last_Christmas_review

YES MOFFAT, go on my son.

Not only was this one of the finest Crimbo specials, but it was also one of the best Capaldi episodes so far. I’d go as far as to say it enters the pantheon of Moffat classics. YAS. It can now make friends with ‘Listen’, ‘The Eleventh Hour’, ‘Blink’ and all the others. Bessie mates.

This wasn’t just a stand alone special, it was really the topper for all of season 8, a culmination of the character journeys we’ve been taken on this year. It was the Doctor and Clara dealing with the lies they told and where it left them, with Clara accepting what has happened and moving on, the Doctor mellowing to show more human emotion and even unbridled joy. Oh, I’m sure he’s still going to be rude and acerbic, but it’s clear this version of the Doctor has also turned a corner.

So yeah, by gum that was a lovely special, now let’s take a quip gallop through some of the highs and lows:

YAY!

Okay, I’ll admit it, when Santa turned up at the end of season 8, I CLENCHED. Well consider me now to be as loose as a goose. Nick Frost was brilliant in the part, his offhand matter-of-factness was perfect. And the explanation behind Santa worked wonderfully and helped elevate the episode further.

Shona dancing to Slade through the scary-ass room full of monsters. What an awesome, funny, spooky scene.

IN FACT: Shona. Just Shona. What a brilliant creation, wonderfully played. I can’t have been alone in thinking we had a new companion on our hands, she seemed perfect for it. Add the fact she referred to the Doc as a ‘Magician’, and we know the next ep is called ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’, and her almost desperate desire to keep in contact, it seemed we were being presented with the latest friend for the Doctor, but… she’s not there at the end. The Doctor and Clara will return. Shona is left alone in her disappointing looking life. THIS WILL NOT STAND! Surely we will be dropping in on Shona again? I DEMAND IT! PLEASE ME AND ME ALONE, BBC!!!!!

This was, at times, pretty scary stuff. The face-hugger things were creepy as all hell, the aforementioned dance through the infirmary, being pulled through a TV screen, Clara under the bench trying to do maths in her head to distract herself; this was creepy stuff for a family show! And yay to that, cuz I like my Who a bit scary, ta.

Dream Crabs. Moffat did it again. Another brilliant monster creation. Surely they’ll turn up in another episode as a sudden unexpected twist in tail? Think of the nightmare worlds we could visit.

Troughton’s son appeared! And yes, how nice that the slimy creep was roundly mocked, then bumped off. Sexist swine!

The monsters fooled me. All this speculation that Clara would be leaving, I totally bought it when the Doctor pulled the Dream Crab (what an ace monster name) off her fizzog and she was old; that this was it. What a sad/lovely ending. BUT THEN NO! Santa is back, the Doc is still in a dream, Clara is young and raring to leap aboard for adventure again. Past angst and uncertainties between the two are now resolved and they race gleefully towards wonder and danger.  Now some sorry souls will have been choking on their sprouts at this point, cuz weird as it might seem, lots hate Clara. They decry season 8 as being ‘Clara Who’. I know, total dumb-dumbs. Personally, I think 12 and Clara have shown themselves to be one of the finest Doctor-Companion pairings in the shows long history, and if we’re getting the chance to see more of that, then yay, and woo-hoo, and all that sort of jazz. (Aw, but Shona… Yeah, she would’ve been ace) (bah)

The sort-of return of Danny Pink. His last scene, telling Clara to feel the sadness of his loss for only five minutes a day, and to live life to the full for the rest of the time, was proper lovely stuff. But Moffat can’t write real emotion! Yeah, clear off, that complaint got old (and just plain wrong) a loooooooong time ago.

The Doctor taking control of the sleigh. JOYFUL.

‘I feed them magic carrots’.

The chalk boards, wiping away words to reveal others.

There’s just so much good, I could blather on for ages.

HMM…

This is tricky… I’m not saying it was perfect, but I’m having difficulty really picking out stuff that annoyed.

OKAY! Shona not joining up at the end. WANT SHONA, WAAA….!

I worked out early on who the patients would be, but is that a bad thing..? Nah.

I guess it was a bit heavy on the Doctor explaining stuff in big chunks..?

Errr….. nope. That’s it. I got nothing.

Final Thoughts:

A brilliant way to finish off a fine year for Doctor Who. To compliment one of the strongest seasons we’ve had, we get one of the strongest Christmas specials. How very fitting. I can’t wait to see what Moff has up his sleeve for next season (And if Shona is up there, I’ll be a happy chappy). Now hurry up season 9, I’m waiting..!

Rating: 9/10

The Doctor and Clara will return in ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’

Doctor Who: Looking Back at Season 8

Cap Promo
So THAT’S what a complete season in one go feels like. Huh. Season 8, Capaldi’s first,  has come and gone in a (sometimes controversial) whirl.

This was the most consistent season in modern Who. No question. Oh, you don’t think so? YOU’RE WRONG!! See, I win because this is my site. MY SITE! Does that make it my favourite season of modern Who, though..? Nope. Don’t get me wrong, it was often superb, but I think I’m still going with season five, Moffat’s first in charge. Now that had more middling episodes than eight, that’s for sure, but something about that run just does IT for me. The feel, the Doctor, the highs, the often giddy joy of it. Oh, and it STILL has the best season finale in all of modern Who. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang; that thing is fully awesome. (Oh, and it also has the best first episode for a Doctor in ‘The Eleventh Hour’. TRUTH.)

So not my personal favourite, but as I say, easily the most consistently strong season we’ve had, and at times there was much more emotion and thematic depth than we’ve been used to. Shit got deep. Possibly one of the reason’s it’s seemed to be a very divisive season,  along with Capaldi’s Doctor stepping away from the bouncy, cuddly, warm Doctor we’ve been used to. Bur WHAT a Doctor! Fierce, odd, funny, and, most importantly, so different to what we’ve just had. In some ways it was a risk going for Capaldi, it’s not what the modern audience are used to, but I think it seems to have gone over well with near universal acclaim for his take on the role, even from many people who think the actual episodes stink.

Oh, and Capaldi and Coleman made a wonderful duo. I liked Clara with Eleven, but with Twelve she really found her Doctor.

Okay, here are some quick thoughts on each episode:

Deep Breath

YAY!

A giant dinosaur in Victorian London coughing up the TARDIS? YUS PLZ!

WOAH, they REALLY took Clara up a few notches here, and Coleman plays it wonderfully.

That scene between the Doctor and Clara in the restaurant. Cor lumy, but that was terrific stuff. In fact, everything from that point on was amazing.

An air balloon fashioned from human skin.

‘Don’t look in that mirror, it’s absolutley furious!’

The Doctor in the alley with the poor homeless man. ACE.

The Doctor translating/maybe not really translating the dinosaur as he slept.

Capaldi is outstanding in this, his first full outing. Fierce, yes, but so very, very funny with it.

HMM…

On first appearance, I was not taken with Missy. ‘Huh, hum,’ thought I, ‘another villain played archly, I want someone who feels dangerous!’ (SPOILER: I ENDED UP LOVING MISSY. MIIIIIIIISSSYYYYYY…!)

We didn’t get to see Capaldi choose his outfit. I LIKE THOSE SCENES WITH A NEW DOCTOR, WAH! FAN ENTITLEMENT!!! PLEASE ME AND ME ALONE!

Yeah, we probably could have dropped a scene here or there (basically the Strax examining Clara scene). But I laughed when she got a newspaper to the mush. I LAUGHED.

Into The Dalek

YAY!

“Don’t be lasagne…”

“No, not like that, get it right.” The scene in which Journey Blue meets the Doctor aboard the TARDIS; gosh, LOVED IT. Capaldi was fantastic in this scene.

Our introduction here to Danny was nicely done, even if the close up on his little tear was a bit heavy-handed. (Well, A LOT heavy-handed) (A hand that weighed as much as 47 man-hands)

‘You, are a good Dalek’. Taking the words from ‘Dalek’ and taking it up a notch. Good stuff.

The Doctor’s more practical response to a death; we’re really seeing how different he is to what’s gone before.

“She cares so I don’t have to.”

The Doctor turning down Journey Blue. ( I TOTES thought he’d go back and pick her up at the end of the last episode.)

” I see… hatred..!” The Doctor allowing the creature into his mind.

HMM…

What on Earth was the soldiers end game when going into the Dalek? They never actually state what they hope to achieve, and that’s a problem. Clarity is all, if I’m asking such a basic question, then you haven’t given me the information I need. Perhaps it was lost between drafts or during the footage edit..? You can infer, but you don’t get a simply stated reason. Bad.

Yeah… it was a tad obvious what would happen when he fixed that leak….

The Dalek attack inside the ship at the end looked a bit…. flat..?

Into The Dalek

Robot of Sherwood

YAY!

On first watch? NOPE. NUH-UH. Did not greatly care for it, a few nice scenes aside. Then I watched it again and thought, you know what? This is really FUN. It’s a jolly. Really quite a disconcerting swerve to one side after Deep Breath and Into The Dalek, and perhaps that’s what threw me off at first. But come on, this is oodles of fun.

The relationship between Hood and the Doctor? Awesome. Their bickering whilst locked up in the cell is a thing of giddy joy.

Cool robot design, with lazer gun faces.

HMM...

Firing an arrow at a spaceship that somehow allows it to then fully take off and explode somewhere safe. I… whut..?

Wait, the girl in the castle was Maid Marion?! I had no idea that the woman revealed at the end was supposed to be the same one we had already met. Nope. Really poor job there. CLARITY!!!

Was this one perhaps a little too daft and cartoonish for the tone of season 8..? Perhaps. But nyeh, it were fun.

Listen

YAY!

ALL OF IT. JUST, FUCKING, ALL OF IT. HOLY SHIT. I MEAN. HOLY SHIT.

HMM…

I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THAT THIS WAS NOT PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. WON’T. NO. IT’S A TOP TEN OF ALL TIME GOD DAMN CLASSIC OF AN EPISODE!!! RAWWWRRR! *runs around screaming with pants on head*
Listen poster
Time Heist

YAY!

The Teller was really a cool creation, and what it did to people, turning their brains to soup..? YES.

It looked ace, props to the director, who did sterling work on all of his episodes this season.

Cutting from holding the phone to holding the memory worm in a different location was very cool.

HMM…

Well, this was a bit of a bump down to Earth after the sublime ‘Listen’…. I’m no Steve Thompson fan (One ACE ep of Sherlock aside) and this was another shit-the-bed moment. Even with Moffat co-writing, it failed to deliver.

The central heist made NO SENSE. Really. NO SENSE.

If you want to wipe peoples memories so they can get past a monster that could detect their guilt, perhaps don;t fill them in on what’s happening until AFTER they get past said monster, otherwise what the hecks the point? They know what they’re doing, just not how or why. DUMB. They still know they’re trying to break in to a bank. GUH.

There wasn’t enough time spent making the additional two companions any more than rudimentary cartoon cut-outs for me. Some people seemed to LOVE them. Colour me confused.

The Architect twist. This was some serious rug pulling there guyz, respect! I was all like ‘whaa?!?!’ and ‘AXZGFGGGT!!!@!’ I mean. Well. To be honest I’d worked it out a couple of minutes into the episode; who the heck else was it going to be?

Ms Delphox. An arch, cartoon baddie; cool, fair enough, they can be fun. BUT, if an episode is resting on the revelation that it’s an elderly version of her who has a bout of regret and sets the heist in motion, perhaps you need to delve a bit deeper into the character, show there’s more to her, so that it’s possible to swallow the idea. So that you can understand the Doctor jumping to this conclusion and being right.

For an impregnable bank, it was pretty easily, uh, pregged..?

I’d been loving the Doctor/Clara banter up to this point, but it seemed to fall flat for some reason in those early scenes here.

Poorest episode of the season for me. Come on Moffat, give Stevey T a rest now, he’s had three episodes, give someone else his slot, plz. (He’ll totally be writing an episode for season 9, won’t he..? *sigh…*)

The Caretaker

YAY!

I always like episodes penned by Gareth Roberts, but even so I was surprised by just HOW MUCH I liked this one. So funny; really, properly funny stuff that then swerved into high, emotional drama.

The Doctor assuming Clara was dating the teacher who reminded him a bit of the Eleventh Doctor.

Danny and the Doctor in the TARDIS, hoo-boy that was some explosive stuff.

Gosh, was Capaldi ACE in this. His little altercation with Courtney was fab. OH! And having her drop lunch in the TARDIS when he takes her for a trip; cool stuff.

HMM…

The Blitzer robot thingy was a bit on the naff side.

Danny’s sudden burst of silly gymnastic’s. Uh… yeah… No.

The ‘racism’ thing that was gabbed about after broadcast. Because the Doctor (for clearly stated reasons) is mean to Danny, who happens to be black. So much liberal hand-wringing on that there internet. IT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS A SOLIDER. NOT A BLACK SOLDIER, A SOLDIER. Poor Gareth Roberts. 😦 Look, I get why it might ping some peoples radar, because there is a little bit of a history about how white people have treated black people (No, really, Google it if you don’t believe me) but it saddens me that this seemed to create such frothing debate. It was because he dislikes soldiers. SOLDIERS. They couldn’t have made it much clearer.

Kill The Moon

YAY!

Well this one ruffled a few feathers, hey..?!? The Doctor ducking out of the big decision, the was-it-or-wasn’t-it a pro/anti-choice conversation, Clara’s putting the Doctor in his place, A GIANT DRAGON HATCHING FROM THE MOTHER-COCKING MOON. This was no tentative first script from Peter Harness, this was a bold swing for the fences. For me? He pulled it off.

Creepy-ass spider thingies.

The Doctor at his most alien.

Blimey, Clara was top in this.

HMM…

Courtney didn’t get to do a whole lot…

That egg GIANT MOON DRAGON laid at the end was a bit…. big..?

Some of the edit felt a little… off at times. Like moments had been sliced out of certain scenes.

People who only saw it as anti-choice, thereby completely ignoring all the stuff that was anti-anti-choice, because it’s better to be angry and stamp your lickle feet than admit it was a little more grey and complex than that.

moon

 

Mummy on The Orient Express

YAY!

A season highlight, no question.

That Mummy was PROPER ace looking. Even if one dolt I saw on the internet complained that it was actually “crappy CGI”. People be dumb.

The on-screen countdown gimmick worked an absolute treat, emphasising how short a time each victim had; you could FEEL the tension as the seconds counted down.

The Doctor taking on the Mummy himself, and defeating it in 66 seconds.

….Clara in silk pyjamas.

Frank Skinner was surprisingly brill in his role. Okay, he wasn’t asked to do that much, but he was funny. (I totally thought it was going to be revealed that only the Doctor was seeing him for whatever reason. But no.)

“Sometimes all you have are bad choices, but you still have to choose.” That beach scene. Ace.

Jelly baby?

CAPALDI! Just… CAPALDI! So good.

HMM…

Another monster that wasn’t really a monster? Probably  a bit overused that. This was so ace I’ll overlook it, but, yeah…

Who was behind the whole thing? Will we get to see later on? Not super important, but it very vaguely niggled.

Flatline

YAY!

What a FANTASTIC idea for a monster. I can think of no higher praise than saying the Boneless are the kind of threat I’d normally expect Moffat to deliver. Yeah, they’re THAT ace.

Loved the Doctor’s little speech as the TARDIS was returned to it’s normal exterior size.

The Doctor dances.

Clara working out how to trick the Boneless. YUS.

‘Goodness, had nothing to do with it.’

HMM…

This one got HEAPS of praise, and I liked it a bunch, but I don’t think I enjoyed it quuiiiite as much as most people. The constant cutting back into the tiny TARDIS started to annoy for some reason. I think they should have got it into siege mode much earlier and had Clara seemingly cut-off and REALLY on her own for much longer. Think how much more the threat would feel then.

Riggsy was a little too eager to give up his life on that train, almost reluctant not too once it was made clear by Clara that he didn’t have too. I’ve read people defending that moment, but it still seems  a little too much to me.

Don’t answer the phone, Clara, call him back when you’re not in imminent danger!!!

In the Forest of the Night

YAY!

This looked amazing, the director really did a terrific job, especially the way she handled the scenes inside the TARDIS.

You know what, this episode charmed me. It was charming. I enjoyed watching it, it felt fun.

The Doctor repeating Clara’s words from ‘Kill the Moon’ back to her. Oh yes.

HMM…

There was no sense of threat AT ALL. None. Zilch. Nada.

So one phone call from a little girl asking the world not to do something? That’s the plan you’re going with? Okay.

The sister appearing from behind the magic bush. That’s almost Tennant-lighting-the-Olympic-torch levels of bite your fist, cringe-inducingly awful cheese. *shudders*

Where were all the people in London..?

LOOK, I kinda liked it, alright? I’M SORRY.

Dark Water

Dark Water

YAY!

MISSY IS THE MASTER FGKGSHSLH*3!

Coleman knocks it out of the park, as she has all season. Boy howdy is she terrific.

“Do you think I care for you so little, that betraying me would make a difference?” Sorry, I’ve just… something in my eye…

A two-parter! WOO-HOO-!

The woman picking up Danny’s phone to talk to Clara.

Missy. MISSY.

Three words…

SNOG.

HMM…

Yeah, um, maybe drop that outside scene so you might have been able to keep the Cyberman reveal a bit more under wraps, hm? it felt like it was supposed to be more of a surprise than it was.

Seriously. Missy was awesome.

Can’t the Doc just click his fingers to open the TARDIS door..? I rationalised it so that he still had to have a key on him for it to work, but come on, you shouldn’t overlook this stuff, just dismiss it as unimportant if you yourself came up with the gimmick in the first bloomin’ place. It slightly spoiled the scene because the question was rolling around my head.

Death in Heaven

YAY!

MISSY! MASTER! MISSY! MASTER!

“Hey Missy you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Missy.”

“I’m going to kill you in a minute.”

Missy was amazing every time she was on-screen. Just magnetically bonkers and at times chilling. That whole scene with Osgood was terrific.

‘All of space and time?’

The Cybermen attacking a plane and tearing it apart. YES THANK YOU PLEASE.

They killed someone we liked. YES. LOVE IT. MORE OF THIS.

Galifrey wasn’t there. The Doctor’s breakdown. Oh my yes. Amazing stuff.

Never trust a hug.

Danny is turned into a Cyberman and then dies, a great way to go out. If sliiiiiiiightly spoiled by him still apparently being ‘alive’ in the Matrix. Which… hm.

A great season finale, not up there with Pandorica/The Big Bang for me, but solid stuff.

HMM…

I didn’t have a problem with what they did with the Brigadier, what I DID have a problem with was that I think it was a daft way to finish off (yeah, yeah, she teleported away I KNOW) the Master. We have not seen this character. Not just this episode, but at all in the modern series. He’s been briefly mentioned a couple of times. Briefly mentioned once in this episode. Now I loved the Doctor saluting him at the end, but it just does not feel right to me to give a more or less invisible character such a vital moment at the end.

So… why did Missy put Clara and the Doctor together? In the end it seemed there was no real, clear reason. She could’ve got the Doctor to a building in London any number of ways!

How was the little boy able to walk out of the Matrix? Alive? With a flesh body? The Matrix doesn’t store flesh bodies. What I miss here..?

Santa. I… hmm… not sure how I feel about that… Prove me wrong, Christmas special!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Like I said at the start, the most consistent season of modern Who. Easy. Moffat has really changed his game here, it felt new and different to the Smith era; Moffat pulled it off. And wow, what a different take on the Doctor we got here, Capaldi was MAGNETIC. I can’t wait to see where they go next, and who will be joining Capaldi for the ride…

Overall Season rating: 8.5/10

So… what did YOU think of season 8, and what were your fave episodes..?

(Episode posters by @stuart_manning )

Listen

Eric & I

Eric saward

I live on the same street as Eric Saward.

Yes.

‘Doctor Who’ writer and script editor for a large chunk of the 80s, during the Davison (Peter) (Father-in-Law of Tennant D.) and Baker (Colin) eras.

That’s not why I moved to the street I currently reside in though, that would be creepy. I’m not saying I’m not creepy, but on this occasion I’m innocent.

Honest.

‘So Matthew, when did you realise you had moved just doors away from the controversial 80s script editor, who quit the show in fury?’ Good question, me. ‘Thanks, you look handsome today. George Clooney handsome.’ Aw, schucks. But yes, yes I do.

Well, to answer my question, I first realised I lived near the writer of ‘Earthshock’ when I knocked on his door and he answered. I’m not in the habit of knocking on strangers doors, there was a reason; I’d arrived home to find one of those ‘we missed you’ cards the postman drops through your letter box. This one indicated that they’d left my package at an address a few doors away, so off I toddled, hair looking just terrific, to retrieve it.

I knocked at the door in front of me, as is the custom, little suspecting the man who penned all four episodes of ‘The Visitation’ lurked within. And so, after an acceptable amount of time post-knock, the door opened and there he was. I blinked once or twice (both lids) as I realised I recognised the gent before me. At first my mind-grapes crossed as the words ‘Chubby Doctor Who Writer’ popped in and it came up with ‘Terrence Dicks’. A moment later, perhaps two moments (but NOT three), I realised this wasn’t Dicks at all, it was that softly spoken man from all those DVD documentaries that graced Davison and Baker C stories, Eric ‘Resurrection’ Saward.

‘Yes?’ He asked, classic Saward, he hadn’t lost it.

I held up the postal card. ‘I think you have a package for me.’ Cool as ice, this guy had no idea that I knew. BUT I DID.

‘Oh yes.’ Spake one of the minds that brought us ‘Trial of a Timelord’. He reached out of view, and came back with a DVD shaped box from Amazon. It was a DVD. And oh, not just any DVD, it was a Doctor Who DVD. To be more precise, it was ‘Attack of The Cybermen’. He had no bloody idea at this amazing coincidence, that fate was leading the pair of us a merry dance.
‘Thanks.’ I said, all casual like, as though I wasn’t saying things at a man who had probably touched an in-his-prime Peter Davison. I took my post from his hands, our thumbs mere inches from touching. The air was crackling, electric. ‘I was worried for a moment that this package may have been lost in E-Space.’ I grinned like a tit as my piercing eyes scoured his face for a sign of recognition. Eric smiled. A gentle smile. The sort of smile a grandfather offers up to his grandchildren. He knew. He knew I knew, and I DID KNOW.

‘Would you like to come in for a chat? I’ve got lots of stuff on JNT that I’ve never told a single soul. Stuff to turn your downstairs hair white.’ Saward stepped aside; I took a deep breath, joy bubbling in my heart like a pan full of water on the hob, just waiting for that rice. And in I went.

Well.

Some of that didn’t actually happen. But most of it did. Eric still lives a few doors away, and he STILL has no idea that I know. But I do.

I KNOW WHO YOU ARE ERIC.

I KNOW

Okay, now that’s a bit creepy.

@DoctorWhoThing

The Night of The Doctor

Night
Well, it’s now 51 years since the worlds bestest TV show ever EVAH began: ‘Doctor Who.’ Let’s take a peek at one of my fave parts of the 50th bash, the return of the 8th Doctor:

McGann Rugged

‘I’m a Doctor, but probably not the one you were expecting.’

Just look at him there, dashing and rugged enough to make a member of the Westboro Baptist Church question their sexuality. Now unfortunately, I had the surprise of Paul McGann’s return spoiled for me. The mini-episode was dropped without warning, I had no idea it was coming; only when I happened to click on Digital Spy and laid eyes upon a picture of McGann’s manly fizzog illustrating their main story, with the headline ‘Paul McGann Returns to Doctor Who’ to really spell it out for the hard of thinking (most of their readers), did I find out. So going into this episode for the first time, there was no surprise reveal, I already knew (up yours, Digital Spy!), but in the end, this affected my enjoyment of the short video not one jot.

Fans had gnashed their teeth in fury at Moffat, enraged that, apparently, it was going to be a modern Doctor’s only love-in for the 50th; and here Moffat swiped their legs from underneath them like the expert Troll prodder he is. I like to think he laughed for a full hour after it went out, picturing all those double chins dropping within the first minute.

McGann is often seen as the hard-done-by man of Doctor Who. I think most fans wanted to see him, for however long, back on screen as The Doctor. Opinions on his TV Movie tend to verge from ‘wuz alright’, to ‘WORST EPISODE EVAH’; but most seem to concede that McGann himself shone in the role immediately. With that potential series being put down before it had chance to find its legs (phew!), that seemed like it was going to be all she wrote for McGann as the 8th Doctor, Big Finish aside. But no, we wanted him back. He deserved it, we deserved it, and boy did it feel good to see him up there BEING the Doctor again! And with considerably less shit hair! And a real jazzy new set of togs, too! Loving those boots, Paul.

And McGann is so much the Doctor here, cheeky, dashing, petulant, clever, and willing to lay down his life without a moment’s hesitation to try and save the life of a complete stranger. Yes, this is The Doctor we know and love.

Mcgann wasn’t the only returnee though, as up rocked the Sisterhood of Karn, from Tom Baker classic ‘The Brain of Morbius’. I don’t think anyone was expecting that. Personally I would have preferred The Kandyman, but each to their own.

McGann Regenerates

‘Charley, C’rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly: Friends, companions I’ve known, I salute you.’

The amount Moffat squeezed into this short, short episode is quite something; and the amazing thing is that it doesn’t feel rushed. We’re introduced to a potential new companion in Cass, and off she and the Doctor run, hand-in-hand; what fresh adventures await? Then the whole thing turns on a dime and you realise she isn’t a potential spunky new cohort for the 8th Doctor, she’s the thing that’s going to bring about his end. And then! And then, resurrection, and the Sisterhood, and a shrugging off, finally, of the Doctor mantle as he accepts his role in the Time War; and at last – regeneration. The end of McGann, of the 8th Doctor, and a hello to the War Doctor. Six and a half minutes, people; this all happens in six and a half minutes. Moffat don’t mess about here, son.

And good golly, how can something with a sub-seven minute runtime be stuffed silly with so many quotable lines??

‘Bring me knitting!’

‘Because the front crashes first, think it through.’

‘Four minutes? That’s ages, what if I get bored?’

‘Yes, I’m a Timelord, but I’m one of the nice ones.’

‘The keepers of the flame of utter boredom.’

‘Physician, heal thyself.’

Mental. It’s up there with the likes of ‘City of Death’ for quotability.

Almost-Companion Cass makes a brief but memorable impression. She’s set up as a classic Who companion; she’s strong, sparky, willing to put others before herself. As she grabs the Doctor’s hand we want her to run with him right into that TARDIS and to go get into trouble; but then she stops. By setting her up as such a classic companion, having her then rather die than be saved by a Timelord shows us exactly how far the Doctor’s race have sunk; how despised they are. It speaks volumes for the acts they must have committed; something that is then barely touched upon in ‘The Day of The Doctor’. The Timelords shown there seem a pretty decent bunch.

Of course, this McGann niblet just made people go even more crazy, demanding a return, further web-episodes, an entire TV series even; but should that happen? Well, no, of course not. A full on return to our TV screens would probably not be advisable; though I think if Capaldi ever runs into another Doc in an episode, it should surely be McGann. Tennant’s had his return, Smith’s just gone, and there’s no way Eccleston’s slipping on the leather jacket again. No, get McGann back, let him strut his stuff in a multi-doc episode, then leave it there. Plus, for those of you desperate for more from the 8th Doctor, there’s already a lot of stuff out there. ‘The Night of The Doctor’ essentially made his Big Finish audio adventures cannon. Those audio episodes ARE the 8th Doctor series, so go pick some up and give them a whirl.

Moffat has given the world of Doctor Who many treasures over the last decade (let’s all ignore the introduction of the term ‘Timey-Wimey’, hey?), and ‘Night of the Doctor’, in my eyes, ranks way up there. It sits nestled, all short and tiny and perfectly formed, next to ‘Blink’, ‘The Eleventh Hour’, ‘The Empty Child’, ‘Listen’, and all the other classic’s he’s penned.

Now please, someone, anyone, bring me knitting!

@DoctorWhoThing