Tuesday, 26 October 2021

On This Day... 26th October

Paradise Towers came to an end today in 1987. 
One year to the day later Remembrance of the Daleks reached its conclusion. This was the last Dalek episode of the classic era, so it was goodbye to them and to Davros.
In 2010, the second part of Death of the Doctor was first broadcast, making this Katy Manning's last appearance as Jo (to date - you never know with RTD coming back).

Monday, 25 October 2021

War of the Sontarans - Flux Chapter II

War of the Sontarans is the title of the second chapter of Flux. The brief synopsis reads: 

"The Doctor has an unexpected encounter with one of her deadliest enemies, when the Sontarans become a new faction in the Crimean War. As the British army goes into pitched battle with the warlike aliens, the Doctor and her companions seek the help of renowned nurse Mary Seacole (Sara Powell), while an ancient temple hides mysterious secrets".

There was a clip in the trailer of new regular character Vinder in a temple-like space, as some white-robed creatures materialise. Might this be the temple to which this synopsis refers?

Another Glasgow TARDIS


Another old picture of Glasgow, in B&W this time, so we can't tell if this one is red or blue. This one was taken in the year Doctor Who started, 1963, and shows the junction of Buchanan Street with Dundas Place. A Police Call Box can still be seen on Buchanan Street (but not this one).

On This Day... 25th October

Pyramids of Mars saw its opening episode screened today in 1975.
Another debut on this day was Full Circle, in 1980. Trial of a Time Lord reached its eighth episode in 1986 - the final part of the Mindwarp section, which meant the departure of Nicola Bryant as Peri.
In 1989, The Curse of Fenric also had its opening instalment broadcast.
More recently, In The Forest of the Night made its debut today in 2014.
The Sarah Jane Adventures had a special story begin today in 2010. Death of the Doctor saw the return of Katy Manning as Jo Jones (nee Grant), and a meeting of Sarah Jane Smith with the Eleventh Doctor, in a story written by Russell T Davies.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Flux - Characters

With just one week to go, the BBC have released a number of images revolving around the guest cast / characters to be seen in the upcoming chapters of Flux. This is certainly a change to the last two seasons, when everything was a closely guarded secret.
Kevin McNally's character is called Professor Jericho, and it is believed that his episode is the one which also features the Weeping Angels, as both actor and Angels were seen at different times at the same filming location.

Nadia Albina plays a character named Diane Curtis, who works at the Museum of Liverpool and is an old flame of new companion Dan.
It seems that Dan's workmate and Karvanista are one and the same - not just the same actor playing different roles. Karvanista is supposed to be able to shape-change. His lair might be in the tunnels beneath Liverpool that were built by the tunnel-obsessed Joseph Williamson (1769 - 1840), who is played by Steve Oram.

Alongside Sara Powell, who plays Mary Seacole, we have Gerald Kyd as a British army officer of the Crimean War. We know this episode features the Sontarans. The Scots comic actor Jonathan Watson might be playing one of the Sontarans. The ones seen on location in Liverpool were slightly taller than the ones seen in the series from 2008 onwards.

The Ravagers are supposed to be a pair of characters, according to Chibnall - so might be the skull-faced beings we saw in the trailer.
Colin Spruell is in The Halloween Apocalypse as a character called Swarm. He's over 6 feet tall is Colin, so he might be the male Ravager - or a completely different character all together.
There's a couple of human-looking characters played by Blake Harrison and Thaddea Graham, who have a bit of a height difference between them - so maybe they are the disguised Ravagers.
We know that the Ravagers, whoever is playing them, come from another dimension, but have a history with the Doctor.

Two other characters worth noting are Neville (Paul Broughton) and Eileen (Sue Jenkins). Neville is Dan's dad.
The Flux is definitely a phenomenon, rather than a race or creature.

Finally, there's one new planet named - Atropos "which shouldn't exist". A quick Google search shows that this was one of the three Fates in Greek Mythology - whose name means unalterable or inflexible - the exact opposite to flux...

On This Day... 24th October

A quiet day for Doctor Who episodes, with only The Woman Who Lived being broadcast on 24th October, 2015. 
A handful of birthdays today though - Dervla Kirwan (Miss Hartigan / The Next Doctor), Clifford Rose (Rorvik / Warriors' Gate), and Sarah Greene (Varne / Attack of the Cybermen).

Saturday, 23 October 2021

What's Wrong With... The Enemy of the World

There's Astrid's wallpaper for a start...

They say nothing dates more than the future, when it comes to Sci-Fi, and this story - set in 2017 - is so far from the reality of that year that it hurts. It's not just certain aspects that don't match, it's everything.

Salamander is world famous, and incredibly popular. He could easily obtain a position of power, giving him everything he might want, without having to resort to all that blackmail and murder he indulges in. He could be a perfectly legitimate world leader.
Salamander must clearly be paranoid - possibly with good reason, if people have tried to kill him. He employs a food tester to check for poisons, and has files on everyone in case he needs to undermine or blackmail them - so he definitely doesn't believe he can get them on his side by himself. Why then does he accept Jamie so quickly - placing him within his own household, arming him with a gun, and installing his "girlfriend" in the place where all his food is prepared?

His illegal actions actually risk bringing unwanted attention upon him, as people are surely suspicious of all the bad things that happen to those who oppose him. 
The only person who seems not to be suspicious is the Doctor. He spends five episodes insisting on evidence, despite everything Kent, Astrid and then Jamie and Victoria tell him. This hesitancy to act, and insistence on evidence, has never been part of the Doctor's personality - especially in this most anarchic incarnation - a Doctor who wrecks a colony's power supply then runs away before he has to deal with consequences, and who helps mad logicians resurrect ancient evil, just to see what happens next.

The Doctor becomes suspicious of the hovercraft very quickly. As it happens, he has cause to be concerned, but there's nothing on screen to explain his behaviour - the hovercraft being so far away from him. Is he just naturally suspicious about hovercraft.
The driver of the hovercraft (real life) looks nothing like the driver of the hovercraft (actor playing the part). You see him clearly through the windscreen.

At story's end, we discover that the TARDIS must have landed just a stone's throw away from the Kenowa research station, as first Jamie and Victoria, and then the Doctor and Salamander get there very quickly. A massive coincidence that Salamander just happens to stumble across the TARDIS, in the dark.
Not only does the TARDIS land very near to Salamander's base, but Astrid happens to have a house in the vicinity, and the hovercraft crew just happen to be hanging out in the same area. A lot going on for a remote beach area.
Even with the return of the missing episodes, Part Three is still very weak, with people being held prisoner in corridors.
The back projection in the previous episode isn't terribly effective.
Adam Verney, who plays Colin, gives a terribly mannered, theatrical performance.
People who hate nepotism will be very annoyed here, as Troughton's son and the director's nephew are both given roles. (Letts will employ his nephew, Andrew Staines, in three further stories. Did anyone else ever give him a job?).
According to her helicopter's cockpit info, Astrid lives in the "Australasion" Zone.
The "Pull to Open" panel on the TARDIS is affixed to the wrong door.

How exactly does Salamander manage to engineer earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in Central Europe from a bunker in Australia - on an entirely different tectonic plate.
There's a vague suggestion initially that it might be something to do with the Suncatcher - that this is going to be significant. We expect something like Blofeld's satellite in Diamonds Are Forever. This proves not to be the case and the means by which the bunker dwellers trigger these events is left unexplained.
One of the biggest issues with this story is the fact that the Doctor, in his second incarnation, has visited this general time zone after the events depicted here, and yet no-one has gone "Here! Aren't you that Salamander bloke? The one that disappeared?".

Astrid's wallpaper...