22 January 2016

Steven Moffat’s long goodbye & Chris Chibnall’s even longer hello

You’ve got to love the cheeky spin the BBC put on today’s story that Steven Moffatt is leaving Doctor Who but not for another year and we won’t see his last series till 2017 so in fact he’ll still be around for another 18 months and it will be something like two years before we get to see anything of his replacement Chris Chibnall’s work. Even funnier is the idea that by delaying transmission it makes it ` a big event`. I know the Doctor Who bit of the Internet will explode on hearing this news particularly the identity of the new man in the hot seat. After all people thought it would be Toby Whithouse or Mark Gattis. I also think it may make some sense; that this is good news.  For one thing it does confirm the series longer term future is safe with some rumours having previously suggested that it might end when Moffatt leaves. Regardless of what is on screen there is no doubt that the series has fallen from its previous prominence perhaps because it’s 11 years old now (the new series that is) and its lasted longer than all its contemporaries from 2005. As for Chibbers well let me tell you a story about him…

15 January 2016

Robert Banks Stewart

Robert Banks Stewart, who has died aged 84, is best known for creating both Bergerac and Shoestring, a couple of inventive crime dramas but we Doctor Who fans hold him in high regard for his two classic stories `Terror of the Zygons” and `Seeds of Doom`. They also happen to two of my all time favourite stories which I recall enraptured a whole generation when first shown in the 1975 -76 season which must rank as the overall most consistently good season in the series’ history. Both manage to conjure up a slightly different take on the series than the other stories that season. Robert Banks Stewart seemed eager to push the show into a harder world with storylines that grew from everyday preoccupations of the time. He put a spin on old ideas- and sometimes the best Doctor Who does that- be they the Loch Ness Monster or plants taking over. Because they were largely made by the same team they are similar in production values and drawn together by Geoffrey Burgon’s elegant fluid scores. By way of a little tribute, here’s a piece I recently penned for an upcoming project about `Terror of the Zygons` though I should point out I love `Seeds of Doom` equally! 

8 January 2016

The Time Tom Baker left Doctor Who

On 24 October 1980 an apparently hastily arranged news conference announced that Tom Baker was leaving Doctor Who after seven years in the role. He was, remains and in all likelihood always will be the longest running Doctor so you can imagine it was quite a big story at the time. For fans it was quite a shift as there would be some who could barely recall another Doctor. For Tom himself it was a life changing moment and his manner during the ensuing months leading to his final story would be, even for him, a little odd.