Sunday, 6 January 2013

That Was The Year That Was - 2012


Or, more pertinently, that was my year that was. Everyone else has done their review of the year, so I thought I would do something as well, now that all the festivities are out of the way. Rather than a dull list of things that happened (on a month by month basis usually), I thought I would look at the year from my own perspective.
The year began for me with mixed feelings. I was looking forward to the official Convention in March, but was sad to know that there would only be a handful more Pond episodes. Whilst ambivalent about Amy, I have always had a soft spot for Rory. Often under-appreciated by the programme makers, the character was certainly popular with fans. (4 times as many of you went to my Top 10 Rory Moments as looked at the Amy equivalent).
I was also upset  to know that we would be getting the fewest number of episodes (apart from the Tennant Specials year - 2009), and we would have to wait 9 or 10 months for the first of them. We were continually being told that 2013 would see the most Who ever - but I knew that they were simply robbing 2012's Peter to pay 2013's Paul.
This blog was almost born in January, but I wanted to spend a bit more time working out what I wanted it to be.

Who on the box:
There was a little bit of Doctor Who earlier in the year - with the second of the schools writing project Script to Screen. With the Olympics in London looming, Good As Gold had a suitably sporty theme - and a Weeping Angel. It was broadcast during Blue Peter in late May.
A planned Doctor Who sequence for the Olympic opening ceremony didn't materialise, but the TARDIS did (the sound effect at least).


The first part of Series 7 finally aired on September 1st. There was a huge amount of pre-publicity. I had reached The Dalek Invasion of Earth in my on-going mission to look at every story in order, so decided on a Dalek themed week in advance of the first appearance of Asylum of the Daleks. This had to run side by side with the 5 part mini-series Pond Life. Whilst I try to concentrate on televised Doctor Who, I also took a detour to look at the two Peter Cushing Dalek films.
The big surprise in Asylum was obviously the unannounced appearance of Jenna Louise-Coleman. That, and the virtual absence of the classic Daleks from the story, despite all the publicity.
Next up was the effects laden Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, which was quite fun. Most notable for the introduction of Brian Pond - sorry, Williams - played by Mark Williams, and the controversy about the Doctor's apparent execution of the villainous Solomon.
This dark side to the Doctor was evident in the following story - A Town Called Mercy - where the Doctor has to be stopped from sending war criminal Khaler-Jex to his death. The Power of Three was our last chance to live life with the Ponds. Significant for the introduction of the Brigadier's daughter Kate.
And then we were suddenly at the end. The Angels Take Manhattan was marred for me by the rushed conclusion - especially Rory just disappearing in mid sentence. I posted about the ending at the time, of course. We got P.S. as an animated resolution to Brian's story on the BBC website.


And then we had a 3 month wait until the Christmas Special - The Snowmen. It reintroduced the Great Intelligence, but not the new companion (at least not until a glimpse at the end). New titles, music, and a TARDIS control room.
If I started the year upset at the long wait until the start of Series 7, I ended it just as upset that we have to wait until April for the second half.


The Convention:
It was the official Convention in Cardiff, during the weekend of 24th / 25th March, that gave me the impetus to start this blog. I attended on the Sunday, which coincided with the city's Sports Relief activities. So many happy memories from the weekend - the panels, costume displays, photos with Matt & Arthur, the first sight of the Series 7 trailer and news about the upcoming episodes - plus meeting lots of fellow fans. So many kids - which is good for the future of the programme. A particular highlight was the trip out to Upper Boat to walk around the TARDIS control room, which I did on the Monday morning before heading back to London.


The Experience:
If Cardiff was on my mind at the start of the year, it was back again at the end, as I made a trip back to the city to see the Doctor Who Experience in its purpose built new home by the bay. I will definitely be back again this year.


Buying stuff:
Plenty of new merchandise in 2012, as usual. Again, this blog doesn't go in much for merchandise reviews etc. I will pick the book The History of the Universe in 100 Objects as a particular highlight - and me finally getting a Rory action figure.
After the usual festive break, the classic series DVDs resumed in January with The Unit Box Set. Sadly without CGI dinosaurs. Believing we are all flush with money after Xmas, January also saw the release of the The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe, and The Sensorites. The final 3 new adventures for Sarah Jane Smith were released in February. Doctor Who releases continued with The Face of Evil and the long awaited The Daemons. Less anticipated were releases for Nightmare of Eden and Dragonfire (part of an Ace Box Set). I think my favourite release of the year would have to be the colourised Ambassadors of Death.


Wish it'd never happened:
If there was loss in the programme, there was real loss in the big wide world. 2012 saw the passing of two companion actors - Caroline John and Mary Tamm, Other notable losses included Philip Madoc, Peter Halliday and Dennis Chinnery, who all played multiple roles in the programme.


TARDIS Musings:
Most significant Who experience for me in 2012 has obviously been the setting up and running of this little old blog of mine. After wandering a bit aimlessly at the beginning, it has settled down into a form which I'm quite happy with. No plans for any makeovers at the moment. Am very glad to say that I am not shouting into the wilderness, and that I do have a reasonable following.
I sincerely hope you will stick with me in this historic year for the programme. There is sure to be a heck of a lot to write and comment about over the next 12 months.

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