Monday, July 31, 2006

Weathering the Storm

It can be a risky business, outdoor filming, especially with the notoriously unreliable British weather. How exactly can film crews get around the problems that inclement or unsuitable weather conditions place on shooting a story that requires certain elemental elements to be radically different?

We’ll take the current obvious example – filming a Doctor Who Christmas story in the beating heat of modern Britain. Cardiff is melting and it’s supposed to be Christmas 2006. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are no doubt sweating – Ms Tate is wearing a wedding dress, after all – and the sun is beating down in a way that only occurs between 9 am and 1pm at that time of year.

Rewind 34 years and we see how a January shoot of The Claws of Axos was disrupted by a snowstorm that fell between location shoots. Pigbin Josh wanders through snow for a short time, but little of it is seen later on.

What is interesting here is how the production teams deal with these issues. In 2006, apparently the Doctor and Donna suck on ice cubes before takes in order to give the impression that their breath is condensing in the cold London winter; meanwhile in 1972 (depending on your UNIT dating…) the descent of the Axos craft/being through Earth’s atmosphere caused localised disturbances in the weather, thanks to a quickly rewritten piece of dialogue that made the presence of snow completely acceptable and perhaps even appeared to be a bit of a special effects triumph…

What I would really like to know is:

How will the Christmas 2006 of The Runaway Bride be affected by the Christmas 2006 of The Christmas Invasion, and vice versa…?

Monday, July 24, 2006

So… what shall we talk about?

The history of Doctor Who is littered with lulls – 1969-1970, 1985, 1989-1996, 1996-2005 - but few will seem as long or as foot-dragging as this one. There’s around five months until the next episode of Doctor Who, and whether or not we have the Captain Jack show in the meantime, that still means lots of weekends without television.

I’m not a big television watcher. I love lots of the older serials, and particular comedy stuff, such as “Have I Got News For You”, “QI”, etc. but mostly I’m reading, writing, gaming or watching Doctor Who. And I’m really missing it at the moment. Saturday’s seem so empty…

“But hang on there!” I hear you cry, “You just spent the best part of 13 weeks slagging the show off! How can you be missing it?!”

Well, there is of course a difference between disliking a show and loving it so much that you instinctively know when something is wrong. I’m not going to dwell on the imperfections of Doctor Who 2006, suffice to say I hope most of them are ironed out by the time we see Doctor Who 2007. I mean, at the end of the day it was a damned sight better than Season 24.

While that might be a generally accepted opinion, it might not be universally accepted. One debate that has raged in the Kasterborous Forum over the last few weeks has been how Series 2 compares to Series 1. While the latest adventures garnered more viewers than the series did last year (despite being shown later), its still being discussed how the series compare. I think the jury will be out on that one for a while…

It is all based on opinion. Our likes and dislikes are shaped by our personalities, and we’re never all going to agree on anything. And it would be boring if we did – take this website for instance. If Anthony and myself agreed on everything from day one, we’d be talking about BSG, writing comic strips and writing songs in honour of Doctor Who…

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Get your old DVDs and videos out!

There has not been a better time to get digging through your shelves and cupboards for old videos of Doctor Who, old New Adventures books by exciting new writers such as Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss and Russell T Davies, and Big Finish audios starring one or four of the old Doctors.

Doctor Who is off air until Christmas, so let’s turn out attention to the shows rich history! Relive the moment that the Doctor discovered that the Master still lived in The Keeper of Traken! Watch with a tearful eye as the Doctor leaves Jo Grant’s party in The Green Death! Watch in awe as the Daleks are born and kill for the first time in Genesis of the Daleks! Cringe with shame as the Seventh Doctor struggles to keep his balance in Time and the Rani… shudder in fear at the terror facing mankind’s near future in various Second Doctor adventures and gasp in awe as William Hartnell remembers a full episode worth of dialogue without fluffing his lines!

What better time than to throw on your multi-coloured dream coat with built in variable waist size? The weather may not be perfect for such a heavy garment, but you’ll certainly be noticed! You might on the other hand prefer to rewatch such disasters as the death of Adric, or the TV Movie…

Of course, if you’re in the mood for old Doctor Who, we have lots of it between now and Series 3. We’ll be running articles on some of the best episodes, profiling a larger-than-life incarnation as well as some other Time Lords and reviewing some of the key DVD releases of 2006.

If you’ve got any suggestions for content that you would like to see or contribute, feel free to contact me at or post the request in the Kasterborous Forum.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happy Holidays…

Well, well, well. That’s it until Christmas – and as such we’re moving the focus of Kasterborous away from the new series and back to Doctor Who as a whole.

Over the coming months we’ll be introducing a new series of articles, a new section to Kasterborous, as well as some in-depth analysis of some classic stories, including the Jon Pertwee Season 7 classic Inferno.

It’s a sad goodbye to Doctor Who Series 2 - despite my gripes there still wasn’t anything else new that came close to DW on the box from April to July. ITV 3 and 4 might push you in the right direction if you’re based in the UK, with repeats of the classic ITC series, whereas there’s an amazing selection of documentaries on BBC 4 and UKTV History. As for drama, the Doctor Who effect has yet to take hold completely, with a second series of "Life on Mars" currently shooting, alongside "Robin Hood", due for a return to TV screens this autumn.

As for American imports – notoriously over-rated at the best of times, "Lost" continues to baffle, perplex and frankly annoy plenty of people, and while its makers evidently expect it to carry the same sort of aura as "Twin Peaks", it’s likely to make the transition to theatrical release resolution before the planned ninth series… but if you’re in a real Who-vacuum, you could do a lot worse than pick up some episodes of "Medium", possibly the cream of the US series. Starring Patricia Arquette and Jake Weber, it follows the adventures of a lady who is employed by the local District Attorney's office. She’s also a medium, and a wife and mother. While it might sound soapier than certain elements of the recent series of Doctor Who, it’s certainly worth a try…

So, we’ve got little over 5 months until the next episode of Doctor Who, and with such a bizarre cliffhanger, there’s plenty to talk about in the Kasterborous Forum, which continues to go from strength to strength, currently averaging a new registration every other day – it’s amazing what the right forum software can do…

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New Destinations

So the Doctor will get a new companion – Martha! While there are some raised eyebrows at the moniker, I think it’s a lovely name. And what a great smile!
Casting someone who dies in a key episode of the series and then casting her as fandom lets out a wistful “Well, it’s not her then after all – bloody agents…” was a typical RTD curveball, and well done to him.
But I’m a bit peeved by the whole “companion status” thing. If you listen to “respected” publications such as The Daily Mail (yeah, I know, but hear me out) and even supposed free-thinkers such as the Independent, Freema Agyeman will play Martha, the Doctor’s first black companion.
Off you go Noel Clarke, back into the shadows! You never really mattered anyway, you tin dog you!
You see with these statements, the newspapers redraw Doctor Who history with a single pen-stroke. If Mickey isn’t a proper companion, then neither is Grace, neither is the Brigadier, or Benton or Captain Yates. It’s sloppy writing, it’s irresponsible and it’s degrading to read, so I can only imagine how Noel Clarke might feel.
I sit daily scanning interesting news articles, either at home, at work or via my PDA, and do you know what? The so called “national Press” don’t know squat. They type away in ivory towers doing nothing to further mankind or challenge perceptions, instead dancing to the tunes of media hype and political spin.
This is where you find real news, on the Web. Whether it’s concerning the trivialities of a television series or the contents of an Iraqi’s Blog, the newspapers have had their day…
And welcome to Doctor Who, Freema!

Monday, July 03, 2006

It’s the end…

…But the time has been prepared for. How well prepared, though?

For months on end, we’ve had speculation about Billie Piper’s future with Doctor Who, speculation that was only resolved when the BBC – rather early in the series, considering – revealed that she would indeed be leaving the show.

Yet nothing has been said about the Tenth Doctor David Tennant.

Other than the cursory "as long as they’ll have me", his future with the show is almost as up in the air as Christopher "I’ve done the long haul" Eccleston’s. And Billie Piper’s departure could be a massive smokescreen…

A rumour – and note that it is only a rumour - has recently reached Kasterborous regarding the imminent departure of David Tennant. Now you should take this with a pinch of salt, but it is one rumour which should be given plenty of thought – after all, how exactly can the Doctor deal with a Cyberman victory and a Dalek invasion? The odds are stacked against him even more than they were in Series 1 – and that is saying something.

While he might have Mickey, Rose and Torchwood behind him, both the Cybermen and the Daleks are impervious to bullets – so the vast store of alien weapons will no doubt come in useful – I’m scratching my head and have to wonder out loud whether there could be some truth to the rumour.

If so, then this could be a serious shame for Doctor Who. The audience needs to be able to develop a relationship with the Doctor in order for regeneration to work, and I don’t feel that annual renewal is achieving this.

At the end of the day, however, the Doctor will survive regardless. If Tennant really has left the role, then best of luck to him for the future.

However if it is – as seems likely one of those cock-and-bull stories, then good luck Doctor in saving the world next Saturday!