Monthly Archives: January 2013

Goo goo g’joob

You’ll recall that yesterday I posted an image of all eleven Doctors in crochet form, along with a suitably knitting-themed Who-related title from a serial that I have yet to see (although I’m now told it features Martin Jarvis as the King of the Bumblebee people, so it’ll have to go on the watch list).

The source article for this photo contained “speculation” from a bloke calling himself Luke Smith who said that Doctor Who would be ‘rested’ after the fiftieth anniversary. “The BBC are getting tired of it”, he said (I’m paraphrasing and correcting his atrocious spelling and non-existent grammer; the original comments are probably still on there if you’re quick) “and they want to spend their money on other things”.

Mr Smith’s source for this nugget of information? A “mate” of his at Big Finish. When confronted with the accusation that BF aren’t in a position to actually know anything like this for certain, he backtracked and admitted that it was “a rumour”, which led to further ridicule. (He also didn’t help himself by asking why his previous remarks had been deleted, when in fact they had just been moved to the “further comments” bit.)

So he didn’t present his case very well, but it may well turn out to be true. Why shouldn’t it be canned? It’s going to happen sooner or later, and perhaps it should go out on a high, or at least have a break from Moffat’s relentless signposting, false leads and emotional companion-centred angst. Anyway, the funny thing is that if they were to do this it might actually do the show some good. For one thing, as Gareth pointed out, Big Finish would probably get some sort of temporary license to produce Ninth / Tenth / Eleventh Doctor material, which could be fun, particularly as the only way you’re ever going to get Christopher “Never bathe in the same river twice” Eccleston back into that TARDIS is if he can be standing in front of a studio microphone rather than a big flashy column and a doe-eyed Billie Piper. (I will probably be proved spectacularly wrong now, a theme to which we will return at a later date.)

The problem with having Eccleston on board, of course, is that he only ever travelled with Rose – she was with him until the end, and the only times she’s not at his side are during the temporary separations they experience in ‘Father’s Day’ and ‘Parting of the Ways’, when the Doctor’s preoccupied with other things. Indeed, the whole concept of Rose staying with the Doctor is a vital plot point to the season, as her frequent absences are a cause of friction with her family, and it’s not until Tennant’s put on his brown suit for the first time that this is properly resolved. More to the point, when we first meet the Doctor in ‘Rose’, he takes the earliest opportunity to glance at himself in a mirror, remarking on his physical appearance with “Could have been worse. Look at the ears!”.

ears

But just a moment. That’s ambiguous. It’s ambiguous in a way that Smith’s comment in ‘The Eleventh Hour’ – when he refers to Prisoner Zero’s emulation of him as “rubbish; who’s that supposed to be?” – is not. The Eleventh Doctor admits that he doesn’t know what he looks like as he’s not yet seen a mirror, but we don’t know for sure that the Ninth Doctor is experiencing anything of the sort. It’s assumed that he’s only just regenerated – and indeed, Davies seems to have inserted this line precisely in order to avoid the flood of fan fiction that would otherwise saturate the internet, in which the Ninth Doctor travels with Victoria / Adric / Mel, but this territory-marking isn’t exactly airtight, the way that J.K. Rowling’s was.

“This could easily be explained,” Gareth said, “by his recently having had a haircut – after all, the Eighth Doctor had longish hair, so maybe the Ninth did for a while. Clearly he finds the new haircut awful, and is thinking how much worse his appearance would be if he didn’t have impressive ears. So he’s thinking, ‘Phew! Thank goodness I have fantastic ears!’ Or maybe he’d just come from an adventure with a race of earless people, and he was just checking.”

Which makes so much sense I am now convinced it was the truth. And it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Eccleston visiting the Sioux and acquiring the name ‘Grins Like An Idiot’. Travelling to America, having an adventure with Michael Knight (“Fine, it talks to you, but can it travel in time?”) and getting a leather jacket as a souvenir. Popping in on a family he once knew in Manchester and getting mistaken for the Messiah. (It would certainly explain the Tenth Doctor’s God complex.)

The only problem, of course, is that a long-haired Ninth Doctor looks like this.

 Christopher-Eccleston-cov-006

“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together…”

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Crater of Needles

OK, this is fantastic.

rexfeatures_2099212e

By sheer coincidence, Emily has taken up crochet this year. What are the odds I can get here to come up with something similar?

(Gareth sent me this, via a web link which is frankly worth examining for the borderline unreadable mumblings of Luke Smith alone. Sometimes I think stupid people should be banned from using the Internet.)

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YOU WILL IDENTIFY YOUR CURRENT LOCATION FOR FOURSQUARE

Current like total: six. I clearly need to work on my marketing skills.

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Ponds and Punting

The other week, Joshua and Daniel and I watched ‘The Wedding of River Song’. It was as bad as I remember it. The moment when River tells the Doctor that the universe loves him is possibly the worst bit of dialogue Moffat’s committed to paper. “Those reports of the sun spots and the solar flares,” she tells him. “They’re wrong. There aren’t any. It’s not the sun, it’s you. The sky is full of a million, million voices saying yes, of course we’ll help. You’ve touched so many lives, saved so many people.” I cried. And not in a good way.

When it got to the big reveal, Joshua said “I really don’t understand any of this”.

“He’s in the robot.”
“What?”
“Look, the Doctor’s shrunk himself. And he’s hiding inside the robot, which you can see there. The Doctor by the lake is the robot.”
“Which robot?”
“The robot that can disguise itself as people. Do you remember?”
“Don’t know.”
“It was in ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’! Josh, it was in this episode!

None of this actually makes any sense at all, because what it means is that the raggedy ‘Soothsayer’ Doctor that exists in the parallel timeline is the Teselecta Doctor, who appears to have grown a mullet and facial hair, organic growth which I would have thought was beyond the capabilities of the robot. Mind you, we’re talking about a robot that can only pull off the vaguest, most stilted impression of a human being when it’s impersonating Amy (honestly, it’s like watching Mr T trying to act) but which, by the time we’ve reached the last episode, is able to emulate a fully functioning Time Lord, right down to the regenerative sparkle. Presumably all the Doctor had to do was wave his screwdriver a bit to ‘upgrade the system’, but honestly, it’s Flash, bang, wallop, spectacle with no substance underneath.

S64

“So that’s the Doctor?” inquired Josh.
“That’s him, hidden inside his own eyeball. And River can see him, so she now knows. So she kills him, and burns the robot body, and the real Doctor escapes and goes back to his normal size.”

There was a pause. “I think,” said Joshua after a moment, “that a better title for this episode would have been ‘Not the shrinking Fez, Doctor!”.

Which only makes sense if you’ve seen this.

There’s another thing. If the Doctor’s hiding inside his own eyeball, he can’t be doing the talking, unless he’s wearing a radio mic, which he is not. Which means that whole scene between the two of them is utterly fake. It’s not a heartfelt confrontation between the Doctor and the woman who loves him, it’s Alex Kingston talking to a robot who’s probably reading from a script.

I mentioned our session to Gareth, but referred to it as ‘The Weeding of River Song’. “That was, of course, deliberate”. He said. “I’m just not sure what it means”.

Neither am I. I turned it over in my head for a few minutes. You could change it to ‘Weeding of the Song River’, which sort of works, because it sounds like a Chinese marine biology project. But Gareth said “No, it just needs punctuation: the ‘weeding of the river’ song.

“Oh, let’s all go and weed the river
Because it’s so very full of wee-ee-eeds
We have to use a sieve
It’s all they had to give
But hardly sufficient for my nee-ee-eeds”

Sort of half Tolkien, half Kenneth Williams. Anyway, we now know what Tom Baker was up to in Shada.

Worriers

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Spotted in the Look Out Discovery Centre

Seriously, it’s a mashup waiting to happen.

DavrosPyramid

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Protected: Meanwhile in the TURDIS

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TARDIS PC

I’ve been meaning to blog about this one for a while, but here it is: the TARDIS PC.

tardis-case

tardis_pc_2

More images and a write-up here and here (and, I daresay, all over the web). Annoyingly I upgraded my PC not long before I got sent this, and to the best of my knowledge it’s not currently being sold as case only.

Of course, it’s not the first time someone has used Doctor Who to flog a personal computer…

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Snow Dalek

So here’s what we were doing yesterday. I knew that egg whisk would come in handy for something.

The body took the longest; once that was in place we managed to sculpt the details in about half an hour. We used plastic bowls from the kitchen for moulding the bumps. As is traditional with these things, the project was started with motivated enthusiasm by four of our family and finished by the grown-ups after the children got bored, but I have to say I’m rather pleased with the result.

Of course, if it comes to life in the middle of the night, we’re royally screwed.

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Other things I could have called this blog

A recent conversation with Gareth about Kraftwerk (it would be too convoluted to deconstruct, but trust me) has made me think about the title of this blog. It seems that more than a few people have found it by typing ‘Brain of Morbius’ but getting the spelling wrong. Indeed, if you Google for it you’ll have an auto search for ‘Brain’. When I registered the thing I almost called it ‘Behind the sofa’, which would have been fine, but dreadfully cliché. Emily suggested ‘Who’s Who’, which is the title of at least one book about the show, and while it stayed in the running, my affection for Tom Baker won the day.

‘Brian of Morbius’ doesn’t actually work, if you examine it, because Morbius is a person, rather than a planet from which someone named Brian might originate. It only really fits if you treat Morbius as a sort of Jungian collective in the same way you’d refer to, for instance, Locutus of Borg, and given Morbius’s status as a Time Lord I suppose that sort of makes sense. (When you think about it, it’s interesting that the Doctor doesn’t refer to himself as ‘we’ more often, the way that monarchs do – given his God complex it would be consistent with his character.)

Anyway, this got me thinking and, given the propensity amongst Who writers to produce serials that follow the ‘Subject of Object’ pattern (see a previous post for an expansion on this), I came up with a list of other titles I could have given this blog. Here they are in chronological order – some of them are fairly obscure, and it might be helpful to have this page on standby if you want any of them translated. I have stuck with obvious first names only, avoiding fantasy or shoehorned names (where possible), and I haven’t gone any further forward than 1987, but I’m sure it could be expanded… 

  • Ryan of Terror
  • Miss Acre of St Bartholomew’s Eve
  • Tom of the Cybermen
  • Will in Space
  • Terry of the Autons
  • Klaus of Axos
  • Jenny, Sis of the Daleks
  • Terry of the Zygons
  • Harry of Fang Rock
  • The Stans of Blood
  • Stuart of Decay
  • Marc of Infinity
  • Janet of Fire
  • Mark of the Rani (OK, this one doesn’t really count)
  • Terry of the Vervoids
  • Tim and the Rani

There was ‘The Ann Droids of Tara’ as well, of course, but that really feels like cheating.

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(Don’t) SPLINK

I thought I’d follow up yesterday’s class excursion into the murky archives of the Central Information Office with another video mashup. If you’ve not yet read the Public Information Films digest, go and do so – or at least watch the last one, right at the bottom of the post hyperlinked above, because otherwise what follows is going to seem even more obscure than usual.

Done that? Right, we can move on, and I can show you this.

This was Gareth’s idea, and for that I am grateful, because it was a solid concept that took all of an hour to put together, so I call that a win. The toughest part was obtaining a decent quality version of the Doctor’s video that wasn’t hopelessly out of sync, although I’m told it’s a special feature on a DVD I don’t own. After that it was a question of splicing the two and trimming for pacing, right down to the frame.

It’s a curious beast, though, because the version you can see above is slightly edited. In my original upload I included a somewhat tacked-on ending, which I still think is funny, but which some people think detracts from the original point. In any case the full version is below (titled ‘better version’ not because of the ending but purely because the timing improves on an earlier cut I’d uploaded), so you can make up your own mind. Just remember to look both ways.

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