Tuesday, 16 October 2018

F is for... Futurekind

A degenerate branch of the human race, who were able to survive until the end of the universe. A savage people, they decorated their flesh with tattoos and piercings. Having reverted to cannibalism generations ago, their teeth were now sharp fangs. A small band inhabited the planet of Malcassairo. They hunted for stragglers in the wastelands near to the silo where the last humans were sheltering, preparing to take a rocket flight to a place known as "Utopia", where the only other known people were. Not all the Futurekind had tattoos and piercings, so anyone arriving at the silo had their teeth checked before being given admittance. One of them managed to sneak in, however, and she sabotaged the rocket preparations. The Doctor, Martha and Captain Jack Harkness assisted Professor Yana with the repairs, and the vessel took off. yana turned out to be the Master, his personality hidden for many years by a chameleon arch. Once his true nature was unleashed, he unlocked the silo gates to admit the Futurekind before stealing the TARDIS - leaving the Doctor and his companions at the mercy of the creatures. They escaped at the last minute using Jack's Vortex Manipulator - leaving the Futurekind alone on the planet. Presumably they would have turned on themselves, if they did not already do this.

Played by: Paul Marc Davies (leader) and Abigail Canton (female Futurekind). Appearances: Utopia (2007).
  • Davies played the Trickster in three stories of The Sarah Jane Adventures, and was also seen as Corakinus, king of the Shadowkin, in Class. Added to that an appearance as a cowled figure in the Torchwood episode Exit Wounds, he is the only actor to have appeared in all of the Doctor Who related series, discounting the regular monster performers.

F is for... Fungoids

A species of hostile plant-life on the planet Mechanus, the Fungoids had the appearance of giant mushrooms or toadstools. Carnivorous, they were able to move around and ensnared their prey by smothering them with their hoods. They were sensitive to bright light, which caused them to retreat. The Doctor's companion Vicki almost became a victim when she found herself alone in the jungle. Later, they attempted to trap a Dalek. It was Ian Chesterton who gave the creatures their name.

Another hostile plant-form, also known as a Fungoid, was native to the planet Spiridon. These plants could not move, but they spat out a thick green liquid which formed a dense vegetable mass. A number of them smothered the TARDIS exterior, cutting off the air supply to the Doctor who was trapped within. On contact with humans or animals, the secretion caused a fungal infection which, if left untreated, engulfed their victims.

Appearances: The Chase (1965), Planet of the Daleks (1973).
  • Both stories being written by Terry Nation, he must have really liked the name. Then again, Planet of the Daleks is a bit of a Nation-Dalek greatest hits show.

F is for... Functionaries

A servant class on the planet Inter Minor, of a different, though related, species to the dominant humanoid lifeform. They had grey hairless skin, and dressed in grey identical uniforms.
Though treated like slaves, they did have some rights - such as obligatory rest periods from their duties, such as manning the Eradicator Gun. There was some dissent amongst them, which had alarmed the government of President Zarb. he believed the cause to be from lack of diversion, and so permitted the lifting of an embargo on alien visitors which had been in place since a deadly space plague had ravaged the planet. The first to be admitted were a pair of Lurman entertainers, who witnessed one of the Functionaries ascending to a level of the space port from which they were banned, and begin to make a speech to its colleagues. It was shot down by the Official Kalik.

Appearances: Carnival of Monsters (1973).
  • The Functionary who gets shot is played by - who else? - stuntman Stuart Fell.

F is for... Frobisher

John Frobisher was the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, who was called upon to deal with the 456 crisis. These were a race of alien creatures who had visited the UK in the 1950's, when they had forced the government of the day to hand over a number of children to them. Captain Jack Harkness had been involved in this operation. In 2009, the 456 made contact once again, by which time Frobisher was the government liaison with Torchwood 3. He was ordered to cover up the government's previous involvement with the aliens, by any means necessary. This meant that those who were still alive were hunted down by a special forces assassination team. Captain Jack had an explosive planted inside his body, which destroyed the Cardiff Hub when it detonated. Frobisher was then made ambassador to the 456, instructed to prepare for their arrival. He was given instructions on building a huge atmosphere chamber for their delegate, who was beamed down from space. This time the 456 wanted millions of children, as they had become addicted to chemicals produced by human youngsters. Frobisher realised that he would be made a scapegoat by the government for this, and when he found out that his own daughters were not exempt from the selection process he elected to kill them, and then himself. Had he waited just a little longer his children would have been safe, as Jack was able to expel the creatures, though at the cost of his own grandson.

Played by: Peter Capaldi. Appearances: Torchwood: Children of Earth (2009).
  • Life-long fan Capaldi had guest starred the year before in Doctor Who as Caecilius in The Fires of Pompeii. He then went on to play the 12th Doctor, like you didn't know already.

F is for... Frazer, Colin

Colin Frazer was the cousin of Tegan Jovanka. After being left behind at Heathrow Airport, she had subsequently lost her job, and so to cheer herself up she arranged to meet Colin in Amsterdam, as he backpacked around Europe with a friend named Robin. Prior to her arrival, Colin lost his passport. Worried about the authorities, Robin persuaded him that they could stay overnight in the crypt of an old city mansion. They were awoken in the night by the arrival of a TARDIS, that of the Gallifreyan Omega. Colin was captured by Omega's servant, the Ergon, and mentally enslaved to assist the creature in preparing for Omega's escape from the universe of anti-matter. Later, Tegan was reunited with him when she too was captured. Colin was freed after Omega's ship had been wrecked by the Doctor's sabotage, and the Ergon destroyed.

Played by: Alastair Cumming. Appearances: Arc of Infinity (1983).
  • There was a long-standing myth among fans that Alastair was the son of director Fiona Cumming, who worked on the series during the Peter Davison era. Not so.

F is for... Frax

Sadistic chief of security in the Mentor lair on Thoros-Beta. He arrested the Doctor and Peri soon after they arrived, when he found them standing over the body of the Raak. This was a genetically enhanced sea creature which had attacked them, though Frax suspected they had attacked it first. He later succeeded in preventing a revolt when he recaptured Peri, along with King Yrcanos and a young Thoros-Alphan named Tuza. The uprising occurred anyway when the machine controlling the slave workers was destroyed. Frax was killed by Yrcanos when he attacked the scientist Crozier's laboratory, where the Mentor ruler Kiv's mind had been transferred into Peri's body.

Played by: Trevor Laird. Appearances: Trial of a Time Lord (Parts 5 - 8) AKA Mindwarp (1986).
  • Laird returned to the programme in 2007 when he played Clive, the father of Martha Jones.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Episodes 3 - 6 Synopses

If you've read my reviews for Series 11 so far, then you'll know that I am taking a little time warming to the new set up. We now have brief synopses of the next four episodes, and I must admit that they do look intriguing. We already know a little about Episode 3 - Rosa - as we have seen the trailer. It is centred around Rosa Parks and events in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, and involves a man played by Josh Bowman out to change history. Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall co-write.

I'm particularly looking forward, despite being a terrible arachnophobe, to the fourth episode as it is all about spiders and is set back in present day Sheffield. It looks like Yaz is going to get some attention as her family is mentioned. The story is called Arachnids In The UK, and is written by Chibnall. The image above suggests that it might have something to do with genetic engineering of our 8-legged friends.

Episode 5 sees us back on an alien planet. It's called The Tsuranga Conundrum and it's also written by Chibnall. The synopsis states that the Doctor and her companions are injured and stranded in a far-flung galaxy, and have to band together with a group of strangers against an unusual and deadly creature.

Demons of the Punjab fills the sixth slot. Another historical story, it is set in the Punjab in 1947 - the time of independence and partition. The synopsis mentions Yaz's grandmother, and the Doctor discovering there are demons in the region. The writer for this one is Vinay Patel.
Interesting that two of the three known-of history-based stories should focus on more recent events (the third being the one with King James VI and I, so it's either going to be about the Gunpowder Plot or witches).
I might actually be starting to get excited about Series 11...