Asylum Of The Daleks

Doctor WhoOne by one, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are abducted by the Daleks and brought to a ship housing the Dalek Parliament. Fully expecting extermination, the Doctor and his friends are shocked to hear the Daleks demanding that the Time Lord save them from an unspecified threat – namely, the Daleks’ own past. On a remote planet, the Daleks have imprisoned the most insane, battle-scarred members of their own race, sealed in with a shield. But a ship has managed to crash there, and is broadcasting a signal that could give away the planet’s secret. The Daleks have captured the Doctor and his friends to send them to deal with the crashed ship, facing an onslaught of mad Daleks along the way.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Nick Hurran
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Oswin), Anamaria Marinca (Darla), Naomi Ryan (Cassandra), David Gyasi (Harvey), Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 1), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 2)

Doctor WhoNotes: The Daleks in the “intensive care unit” are survivors of conflicts with past Doctors; Oswin points out that they’re veterans of Spiridon (Planet Of The Daleks, 1973), Kembel (The Daleks’ Master Plan, 1965/66), Aridius (The Chase, 1965), Vulcan (Power Of The Daleks, 1966), and Exxilon (Death To The Daleks, 1974). Despite this, and despite much pre-publicity stating that nearly every style of Dalek ever seen in the original series would be seen here, the Daleks seen in this area are all the up-armored Dalek casings introduced in 2005’s Dalek. Glimpsed in the part of the asylum first visited by Rory is the Special Weapons Dalek (Remembrance Of The Daleks, 1988), a legendary major variation on the standard Dalek casing despite this being only its second on-screen appearance in the history of the series.

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The Snowmen

Doctor WhoForlorn and bitter after the unexpected departure of Amy and Rory, the Doctor has retreated into hiding in Victorian London – actually, a cloud hovering above it – refusing to lift a finger to alter the destiny of the world. The human race is on its own, at least until a barmaid named Clara draws the Doctor’s attention to snowmen that seem to appear out of nowhere, during one of the Time Lord’s infrequent visits to London. Despite encountering Strax the Sontaran and the Silurian Madame Vastra, Clara unflinchingly asks for the Doctor’s help when she learns that the snowmen are made of snow that responds to the deepest fears of those around them. The Doctor follows Clara to her second job – as a governess taking care of the children at a mansion in the heart of London – and finds that something else lurks beneath a frozen pond on the estate. The mysterious Dr. Simeon is determined to claim it for himself, and he seems to command the slowly growing army of snowmen. But who is Simeon working for – and is all of the mystery finally enough to draw the Doctor out of his melancholy?

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Tom Ward (Captain Latimer), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Simeon), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dan Starkey (Strax), Joseph Darcey-Alden (Digby), Ellie Darcey-Alden (Francesca), Liz White (Alice), Jim Conway (Uncle Josh), Cameron Strefford (Walter), Annabelle Dowler (Walter’s Mother), Ben Addis (Bob Chilcott), Sophie Miller-Sheen (Clara’s Friend), Daniel Hyde (Lead Workman), Ian McKellen (voice of the Great Intelligence), Juliet Cadzow (voice of the Ice Governess)

Doctor WhoNotes: The second Doctor encountered the Great Intelligence in Tibet, 1935, and again in the London Underground in the late 1960s. By showing the Intelligence a lunchbox with a map of the Underground, the eleventh Doctor could well be ensuring that the disembodied being well attempt its fateful takeover of the London subway system (an incursion which leads to the Doctor’s first meeting with Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, later promoted to Brigadier). The Intelligence’s usual minions, robotic Yeti, do not appear in this episode. A 1995 fan film, Downtime (referenced once already this season), depicts a third attempt by the Great Intelligence to gain a foothold on Earth via the Yeti. Clara first appeared in the season premiere, Asylum Of The Daleks. Doctor WhoGuest star Richard E. Grant was the ninth Doctor in an animated alternate universe in 2003’s Scream Of The Shalka (a web-based story that, while produced by the BBC’s interactive wing, has generally been relegated to the “unofficial” column), but is much better known for Withnail & I, in which he co-starred with Paul McGann. This episode debuts a new TARDIS interior (the second major rethink of the vehicle’s console room in Matt Smith’s era) and a new title sequence, only the third time in the show’s history that a new title sequence has premiered in the middle of a season (the other two occasions were the late-in-the-season transition from the fifth to sixth Doctor, and Patrick Troughton inheriting the William Hartnell titles for several episodes). The Doctor now says he is over a thousand years old, which lines up with the unofficial pre-publicity line that hundreds of years of isolation may have elapsed for him since The Angels Take Manhattan.

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The Rings Of Akhaten

Doctor WhoThe Doctor tries to impress upon Clara the mind-opening possibilities of travels in space and time by taking her to the festival held on an inhabited planetoid within the rings of the planet Akhaten. The ceremony, held once every thousand years, involves the selection of a “Queen of Years” to sing a song to appease the mythological Old God. But when the young Queen, befriended by Clara, is whisked away before the eyes of the assembled crowd to become a living sacrifice, the Doctor and Clara intervene, and discover that the Old God may not be as much of a myth as they thought. The planet Akhaten is alive, and demands a sacrifice of stories – and even the tales from the lives of a Time Lord aren’t enough to sate its appetite.

Order the DVDwritten by Neil Cross
directed by Farren Blackburn
music by Murray Gold
Crouch End Festival Chorus conducted by David Temple

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Michael Dixon (Dave), Nicola Sian (Ellie), Emilia Jones (Merry), Chris Anderson (The Chorister), Aidan Cook (The Mummy), Karl Greenwood (Dor’een)

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Cold War

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS arrives aboard a Soviet nuclear submarine secretly operating near the North Pole in 1983, though the sub and her crew already have problems of their own. This doesn’t stop them from blaming the new arrivals for all of these problems, however. The real problem quickly becomes apparent to the Doctor: the Soviets retrieved a large chunk of ice with something humanoid inside, and thawed it out. The humanoid is an Ice Warrior with a bad reputation: the Martian warlord Skaldak. The Doctor’s attempts to appeal to Skaldak’s feudal sense of honor are useless, since Skaldak perceives the humans’ every act as an attack upon him. Skaldak unexpectedly leaves his armor, slithering around the innards of the sub in his native Martian form, eliminating the sub’s crew one by one. When the Ice Warrior learns that the sub is armed with nuclear weapons, he sees an opportunity to avenge his indignities upon the entire human race… unless the Doctor can stop him.

Order the DVDwritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Douglas MacKinnon
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Liam Cunningham (Captain Zhukov), David Warner (Professor Grisenko), Tobias Menzies (Lieutenant Stepashin), Josh O’Connor (Piotr), James Norton (Onegin), Doctor WhoCharlie Anson (Belevich), Spencer Wilding (Skaldak), Nicholas Briggs (voice of Skaldak)

Notes: This is the first Ice Warrior story on television since 1974’s Monster Of Peladon, during Jon Pertwee’s last season as the third Doctor, though at least two other TV outings were planned with the Ice Warriors, Mission To Magnus (intended for the 1986 season with the sixth Doctor) and Thin Ice (a story outlined for the 1990 seventh Doctor season that never was, which also involved relations with the Soviet Union); both unfilmed television stories were later adapted for audio by Big Finish for the Lost Stories range. Big Finish has also pitted the fifth and eighth Doctors against the Ice Warriors in audio adventures. This is the first flesh-and-blood appearance in Doctor Who for actor David Warner, who has provided voices for animated episodes (Dreamland) and numerous audio adventures, even playing an alternate-timeline version of the Doctor himself in Big Finish’s Doctor Who Unbound series.

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Hide

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor and Clara to Caliban House, a reportedly haunted mansion where a paranormal investigator and a potent psychic are trying to solve the mystery of a series of ghost sightings on the property. Claiming to be a government inspector, the Doctor elbows his way into the investigation, learning that the sightings stretch back to the first photographs ever taken at Caliban House. The Doctor is willing to bet that they go back even further than that, traveling backward and forward in time while always remaining in the same spot to prove his point. He discovers that the “ghost” is a time-distorted image of a young woman who may be the first human time travel test pilot. But something else is hot on her heels, and the Doctor risks his own life and his new psychic friend’s sanity to rescue the errant time traveler before she becomes its victim.

Order the DVDwritten by Neil Cross
directed by Jamie Payne
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Dougray Scott (Alec Palmer), Jessica Raine (Emma Grayling), Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Hila), Aidan Cook (The Crooked Man)

Notes: In theory, the Doctor’s visit to the (long since destroyed) geographical location of Caliban House on planet Earth’s last day may mean that his ninth incarnation and Rose are Doctor Whoorbiting overhead in Station One, partying down with Cassandra, the Face of Boe, and Jabe (The End Of The World, 2005) at exactly the same time. The Doctor uses a blue crystal from Metebelis 3 (The Green Death, Planet Of The Spiders) to amplify Emma’s psychic powers. The story begins on November 25th, 1974 – eleven years and two days after the premiere of Doctor Who. Jessica Raine would go on to appear as Doctor Who creator Verity Lambert in the docudrama An Adventure In Space And Time.

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Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS

Doctor WhoThe Doctor tries to show Clara some of the basics of TARDIS operation, but as she makes her first attempt to fly the timeship, it’s scooped up violently by a space salvage vessel and is severely damaged. The Doctor emerges from the wreckage aboard the salvage ship and meets the van Baalen brothers, who own the ship and plan to dismantle the TARDIS. The Doctor tries to make an even better deal with them – if they can help him find Clara, they can have the TARDIS. The van Baalens are wary of the deal, leaving the Doctor with little choice but to set the TARDIS to self-destruct. Now the brothers half 30 minutes to help the Doctor find Clara… and maybe they’ll still have time to escape with their lives. But the search is complicated by distorted humanoid figures stalking the TARDIS corridors, beings whose presence even the Doctor can’t readily explain. Finding Clara won’t be easy, since she’s already hiding from these creatures – creatures whose origins are closely tied to every living being currently inside the TARDIS.

Order the DVDwritten by Steve Thompson
directed by Mat King
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Ashley Walters (Gregor van Baalen), Mark Oliver (Bram van Baalen), Jahvel Hall (Tricky), Sarah Louise Madison (Time Zombie), Ruari Mears (Time Zombie), Paul Kasey (Time Zombie)

Notes: This is the first mention of the Eye of Harmony in the revived series, last mentioned in the 1996 TV movie starring Paul McGann and originated in the 1976 Tom Baker story The Deadly Assassin, where access to the Eye occurred through a heavily protected obelisk. The McGann movie introduced the concept that each TARDIS contained an “aspect” of the Eye, and this episode matches up very well with that addition to the mythos. Given that the Eye is depicted here as a floating ball of energy, in effect a miniature star, it could be inferred that the Eye was located just beneath the floor-mounted hemispherical vault doors sen in the McGann movie’s TARDIS cloister room. This is the first time that new TARDIS interior sets beyond mere corridors have been constructed for Doctor Who as an ongoing series since the Peter Davison era.

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The Crimson Horror

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is summoned to the Victorian era once again by Madame Vastra and her colleagues. People are signing up to become model residents of a walled-off, gated community promising traditional values… and then, once accepted, they are never heard from again. The Doctor and Clara pose as another perfect couple hoping to become residents of Sweetville, and their application is quickly accepted. Once inside the gates, though, the time travelers learn that residency in Sweetville carries a horrifying cost, one which puts them out of the picture. Now the fate of humanity, and the Doctor, rests with the Doctor’s unlikely trio of allies.

Order the DVDwritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Dame Diana Rigg (Mrs. Gillyflower), Rachael Stirling (Ada), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dan Starkey (Strax), Eve de Leon Allen (Angie), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie), Brendan Patricks (Edmund / Mr. Thursday), Graham Turner (Amos), Doctor WhoOlivia Vinall (Effie), Michelle Tate (Abigail), Jack Oliver Hudson (Urchin Boy)

Notes: Dame Diana Rigg is one of the most recognizable faces of British TV, having co-starred as Mrs. Peel in The Avengers with Patrick Macnee for several seasons. (Her predecessor as Steed’s sidekick, Honor Blackman, had a guest starring role in parts 9-12, a.k.a. Terror Of The Vervoids, in 1986’s The Trial Of A Time Lord.) The BAFTA, Tony, and Emmy-winning actress has also appeared in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and more recently in Game Of Thrones. Actress Rachael Stirling is Rigg’s daughter and a well-regarded actress in her own right, having appeared in Minder, Tipping The Velvet, Hotel Babylon, and Snow White & The Doctor WhoHuntsman.

The Doctor mentions traveling with an air stewardess who wanted to return to Heathrow; this is a rare reference to Tegan Jovanka, the Australian companion of the fourth and fifth Doctors. Though the character has been revived by actress Janet Fielding for the Big Finish audio adventures, this is the first mention of Tegan in the new series. (She was also mentioned in the laundry list of former TARDIS travelers and their respective outcomes in part two of the Sarah Jane Adventures story The Death Of The Doctor (2010).

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Nightmare In Silver

Doctor WhoWith Clara’s babysitting charges, Artie and Angie, having discovered her travels in time, she introduces them to the Doctor, who offers to take them aboard the TARDIS for a trip to one of the universe’s most impressive amusement parks, Hedgewick’s World of Wonders. Once there, though, the park is a bit underwhelming, occupied only by Mr. Webley and – to the Doctor’s alarm – what appears to be a severely-damaged Cyberman who plays chess against anyone willing to pay. It turns out that a small man named Porridge is controlling the Cyberman, but the Doctor is still suspicious, and with good reason: Hedgewick’s World is also the home to a tomb of the Cybermen, and they’re evolving new abilities, including downsizing Cybermats into Cybermites to aid in converting unwitting humans into Cybermen. One of the Cybermites manages to gain control of the Doctor himself, and he finds himself fighting for control of his own mind with the consciousness of the Cyber Planner. Clara joins forces with a “punishment platoon” of space soldiers sentenced to patrol the run-down amusement park, but even then she may not be able to save the Doctor – or the children she’s meant to be babysitting.

Order the DVDwritten by Neil Gaiman
directed by Stephen Woolfenden
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Eve de Leon Allen (Angie), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie), Jason Watkins (Webley), Warwick Davis (Porridge), Tamzin Outhwaite (Captain), Eloise Joseph (Beauty), Will Merrick (Brains), Calvin Dean (Ha-Ha), Zahra Ahmadi (Missy), Aidan Cook (Cyebrman), Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Cybermen)

Notes: Tombs of the Cybermen have been seen in previous episodes, such as Tomb Of The Cybermen (1967) and Attack Of The Cybermen (1985). The Cyber Planner was last encountered in 1968’s The Invasion. Doctor WhoGuest star Warwick Davis (incorrectly credited on-screen as “Warwick Davies”), making his first Doctor Who appearance, is usually associated with the Star Wars franchise, having played such characters as Wicket the Ewok in 1983’s Return Of The Jedi (and two TV movie follow-ups), and a podrace spectator in The Phantom Menace, among other roles. He was also the star of another George Lucas production, the 1988 film Willow.

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The Name Of The Doctor

Doctor WhoThen: The Doctor, in his first incarnation, prepares to steal a TARDIS and escape Gallifrey with his grandddaughter, Susan. In the TARDIS repair docks of Gallifrey, he is greeted not by security, but by a young woman whose face and name he will not know until his eleventh incarnation. She advises him to steal a different TARDIS than the one he was planning to take.

Now: The Doctor’s friends hold a cross between a teleconference and a seance, discussing an item of immediate concern: a man who claims to know the Doctor’s true name, his greatest secret. But the gathering itself is a trap: one by one, Jenny, Strax, and Madame Vastra are abducted and taken to Trenzalore, a planet where the Doctor has been predicted to fall. Clara relays this to the Doctor, and after a moment of hesitation, he leads the charge to free his allies. On Trenzalore, he is greeted by the unlikely sight of a giant TARDIS – his TARDIS, abandoned since his future death, its exterior dimensions catching up with its interior dimensions. As soon as the Doctor and Clara enter this future iteration of the TARDIS, it’s quite obvious that it’s a trap. At the heart of the TARDIS, the former console room, the Great Intelligence lurks with a small army of whisper men. The Intelligence wants to undo the Doctor’s history once and for all, by stepping into the Time Lord’s already-paradoxical time stream and thwarting every victory in the Doctor’s history. Against the Doctor’s wishes and his express warning about the danger involved, Clara leaps into the Doctor’s time stream in her own bid to defeat the Great Intelligence at every turn. In doing this, she is splintered into many incarnations of her own, meeting all of the Doctor’s faces and assisting all of them at some point in their adventures: this is why the Doctor has met more than one Clara, and why she has always seemed to go out of her way – even sacrificing her life – to save him. The Doctor jumps into his own time stream to retrieve her once the damage to his history is reversed, finding her alone with someone she doesn’t recognize as one of the Doctor’s many faces.

But the Doctor recognizes this face. It is the face which does not call itself the Doctor. It is the face of the man who fought the final battle of the Last Great Time War.

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Alex Kingston (River Song), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Simeon), Neve McIntosh (Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Dan Starkey (Strax), Eve de Leon Allen (Angie), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie), Nasi Voutsas (Andro), David Avery (Fabian), Michael Jenn (Clarence), Rab Affleck (Archie), Samuel Irvine (Messenger Boy), Sophie Downham (young Clara), Paul Kasey (Whisper Man), John Hurt (The Doctor), William Hartnell (The Doctor)

Notes: Via colorized B&W footage from the original series Doctor Who(and stand-ins), William Hartnell has a speaking part in an episode of Doctor Who for the first time since the prologue of 1983’s The Five Doctors. The Five Doctors is also the source of film clips of Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee. Tom Baker appears in a clip from 1977’s The Invasion Of Time, while Peter Davison appears in footage from 1983’s Arc Of Infinity. A brief clip of Sylvester McCoy from Dragonfire (1987) is also seen; Colin Baker, Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston are represented by stand-ins wearing their costumes rather than by film or video clips.

Doctor WhoThe Great Intelligence mentions some of the Doctor’s “other names”, including “the Oncoming Storm” (the Daleks’ name for the Doctor, first revealed in the novelization of 1988’s Remembrance Of The Daleks in its original Dalek translation, Ka Faraq Gatri) and the Valeyard from The Trial Of A Time Lord, an enigmatic “future aspect” of the Doctor which was, in his only appearance in 1986, said to fall somewhere “between the Doctor’s 12th and final regeneration”.

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The Day Of The Doctor

Doctor WhoIn the waning days of the Time War, the Doctor tires of the constant fighting and bloodshed. He breaks into the Time Lords’ Omega Archives, containing forbidden Gallifreyan superweapons (most of which have already been unsuccessfully deployed against the Daleks). He takes the Moment, a galaxy-devouring weapon of mass destruction which has never been used because its sentient operating system has developed its own conscience, and will stand in judgement over whoever might try to use it. The Doctor abandons his TARDIS and sets off on foot to a bombed-out structure in the wastelands of outer Gallifrey, fully intending to activate the Moment and end the war. He’s puzzled when a young woman appears suddenly and refuses to leave: this is the Moment’s conscience, ready to try to dissuade its operator. It has chosen the appearance and voice of one of the Doctor’s companions, but has gotten past and future mixed up. The Moment offers to show the Doctor what will happen to him after he destroys Gallifrey…

Clara, having taken a job at Coal Hill School, gets a message from the Doctor and sets out to find the TARDIS. Moments after the time travelers are reunited, the TARDIS lurches unexpectedly, thanks to the UNIT helicopter that has grappled it and is hauling it toward the center of London. With the TARDIS now relocated to the National Gallery, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart shows the Doctor why UNIT need his expertise: a number of paintings, exhibiting an unusual three-dimensional effect, have had their glass frames broken from within; all of the paintings also once had humanoid figures in them, but those figures are now missing. Before the Doctor can investigate, a time fissure appears in mid-air in the Gallery, and he leaps through it, finding himself face-to-face with his tenth incarnation, who is dealing with a shapeshifting Zygon attempting to impersonate Queen Elizabeth I. And moments later, both Doctors are stunned – and alarmed – when another of their incarnations emerges from the fissure: an older man who does not regard himself as the Doctor. This is the incarnation of the Doctor who fought in the Time War, ending it in a pyrrhic stalemate that wiped out both the Time Lords and the Daleks, the incarnation that the later Doctors refuse to acknowledge; the Doctor’s true ninth life. The Queen orders all three of them taken away to the Tower of London.

In the modern day, the Tower is now UNIT’s headquarters, and the home of the Black Archive, a top secret repository of captured alien technology that would rival Torchwood’s collection. Kate and Clara return to the Tower, but it’s not until she is trapped in the Archive that Clara realizes that Kate has already been kidnapped and replaced by a Zygon. Grabbing a portable time manipulator that UNIT once took off of the briefly-dead body of a man named Captain Jack Harkness, Clara makes her escape, travels back to the past and rescues the three Doctors as well. The Doctors manage to thwart the Zygon invasion, but then the Doctor from the Time War vanishes. The tenth and eleventh Doctors follow him back to Gallifrey’s past – a place and time that the TARDIS shouldn’t be able to visit – and offer to help him activate the Moment so he doesn’t have to bear the consequences alone.

But the Doctor’s later incarnations, having struggled with the remorse of this act for hundreds of years, take the unprecedented decision to change history: save Gallifrey while allowing the Daleks to be destroyed, without interrupting their own timeline. But to save the Time Lords, more Doctors will be required – perhaps even Doctors who have yet to exist – and Gallifrey will have to be forcibly relocated, possibly into a parallel universe, leading to the impression that it has been destroyed. And even the Doctors’ attempt to save their home planet may still lead to its destruction.

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Nick Hurran
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), David Tennant (The Doctor), Christopher Eccleston (The Doctor), John Hurt (The Doctor), Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Colin Baker (The Doctor), Peter Davison (The Doctor), Tom Baker (The Doctor), Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Patrick Troughton (The Doctor), William Hartnell (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Billie Piper (Rose), Tristan Beint (Tom), Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Ingrid Oliver (Osgood), Chris Finch (Time Lord Soldier), Peter de Jersey (Androgar), Ken Bones (The General), Philip Buck (Arcadia Father), Sophie Morgan-Price (Time Lord), Joanna Page (Elizabeth I), Orlando James (Lord Bentham), Jonjo O’Neill (McGillop), Tom Keller (Atkins), Aidan Cook (Zygon), Paul Kasey (Zygon), Nicholas Briggs (voices of the Daleks and Zygons), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 1), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 2), John Guilor (Voice Over Artist)

Doctor WhoNotes: The War Council shouldn’t be surprised at all that the Doctor can access the Omega Archives; his seventh incarnation was shown to be in possession of Time Lord superweapons that had presumably been with him for quite some time (Remembrance Of The Daleks‘ Hand of Omega and the living metal validium from Silver Nemesis, both aired in 1988). The Moment, first mentioned in The End Of Time Part 2 (2010), most closely resembles validium, but the Nemesis statue carved from validium had no obvious sign of a conscience, but did show signs of sentience.

The Zygons, though a popular monster in Doctor Who fandom, have only been seen in one prior television adventure, the Tom Baker era four-parter Terror Of The Zygons Doctor Who(1975), though they have reappeared in novels and numerous times in the eighth Doctor’s audio adventures, and even have their own action figure – not bad for a one-off villain.

This story seems to necessitate a reshuffling of the Doctor’s playlist: the incarnation commonly believed to be the ninth Doctor is actually the tenth, the tenth Doctor is actually the eleventh, and the current incarnation played by Matt Smith is actually the twelfth. This means that the incarnation to be portrayed by Peter Capaldi – glimpsed very briefly in the scene in which all of the Doctors rush to Gallifrey’s rescue – is the Doctor’s thirteenth and final life… unless, of course, the Doctor has somehow used up another regeneration somehow.

Asthmatic UNIT scientist Osgood may or may not be related to Sergeant Osgood, who served under Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in The Daemons (1971). UNIT’s Black Archive was Doctor Whoestablished in the Brigadier’s final televised appearance, in the Sarah Jane Adventures two-parter Enemy Of The Bane, though it was not in the Tower of London at that time, meaning that the Black Archive has either been moved, or has a decentralized series of locations. Voice artist John Guilor, who had already provided the voice of the first Doctor in bonus features for the DVD release of 1964’s Planet Of Giants, reprised that voice for the every-incarnation-of-the-Doctor climax.

Whether you consider his final appearance to have occurred in 1981’s Logopolis or the 1993 charity special Dimensions In Time, this episode marks Tom Baker’s first appearance in new footage in Doctor Whotelevised Doctor Who in a very long time; the exact nature of his character is left extremely vague.

One day after its premiere unfolded simultaneously in 94 countries, The Day Of The Doctor and its production team were awarded the Guinness World Record for the most widely watched non-news, non-sports drama presentation in the history of the medium of television.

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The Time Of The Doctor

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is confronted with a mystery: a powerful signal is emanating from a backwater planet, defying any attempt to translate or decipher it, and luring ships from nearly every spacefaring race to that world. Having salvaged the severed head of a Cyberman to harness its processing power, the Doctor attaches a piece of Gallifreyan communications technology to the head, presumably capable of translating any language, much like the TARDIS herself, and “Handles” promptly identifies the planet from which the signal is transmitting as Gallifrey, though it bears no resemblance to the Doctor’s home planet. The Doctor and Clara are invited to board the first ship to have arrived here, the Papal Mainframe of the Church. The head of the Church, Tasha Lem, reveals the true name of the mystery planet: Trenzalore. The Papal Mainframe is protecting Trenzalore with a force field, but all hell will break loose the moment that the other ships realize that not only has someone been granted access to the planet, but that someone happens to be the Doctor. Upon first setting foot on Trenzalore, the Doctor and Clara find that others lie in wait, including Weeping Angels. They narrowly escape, and this time the Doctor insists on visiting Trenzalore on his terms, using the TARDIS instead of Tasha Lem’s teleport. The signal emanates from a large crack in the wall of a church tower on Trenzalore, shaped like the crack that the Doctor witnessed numerous times during his early travels with Amy and Rory. The signal is in the Gallifreyan language, repeating one question over and over: “Doctor who?” – the question that the Doctor has been warned must never be answered. Soon, the occupants of the many ships orbiting Trenzalore lose their patience, and try to invade the planet, only to find that the Doctor has given up his travels in space and time to defend it. Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Weeping Angels and others attempt to land on Trenzalore, and are either driven back into space or destroyed.

Involuntarily returned to Earth by the TARDIS, Clara tries to resume her day-to-day life, only to be visited by Tasha Lem, piloting the Doctor’s timeship. She wants Clara to return to Trenzalore. Hundreds of years after he last saw her, the Doctor is dying of old age, able to regenerate no more. Tasha Lem wants Clara to visit him because the Doctor shouldn’t have to die alone.

But yet another force in the universe seems to believe that the Doctor shouldn’t have to die at all.

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Jamie Payne
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Orla Brady (Tasha Lem), James Buller (Dad), Elizabeth Rider (Linda), Sheila Reid (Gran), Doctor WhoMark Anthony Brighton (Colonel Albero), Rob Jarvis (Abramal), Tessa Peake-Jones (Marta), Jack Hollington (Barnable), Sonita Henry (Colonel Meme), Kayvan Novak (voice of Handles), Tom Gibbons (Young Man), Ken Bones (Voice), Aidan Cook (Cyberman), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek/Cyberman voices), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 1), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 2), Ross Mullan (Silent), Dan Starkey (Sontaran), Karen Madison (Weeping Angel), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Peter Capaldi (The Doctor)

Notes: Daleks, Cybermen (including a unique Cyberman made of wood, echoing the King and Queen from The Doctor, The Widow, And The Wardrobe), Sontarans and Angels are seen to attempt landing on Trenzalore; others, such as the Terileptils (seen in only one story, 1982’s The Visitation), are mentioned by name only. Silurian Ark ships (Dinosaurs On A Spaceship) are also seen besieging Trenzalore. The device the Doctor attaches to “Handles” is indeed a communications device given to the Master by the High Council of Gallifrey before venturing into the Death Zone with orders to rescue the Doctor (The Five Doctors, 1983); the significance Doctor Whoof this reference lies in what happened before the Master was given that device in The Five Doctors: he was offered “a complete new life cycle” of regenerations, something which one may infer has been granted to the Doctor by the end of this story. The Punch & Judy-style puppet show performed on Trenzalore recounts the Doctor’s misadventures with the one-eyed Monoids in The Ark (1965).

The Silence, seen throughout the eleventh Doctor’s era, are part of the Church, and stand with the Doctor to defend Trenzalore; the Silents that pestered the Doctor in seasons past (The Impossible Astronaut, Day Of The Moon, The Wedding Of River Song) were part of a rogue task group led by Madame Kovarian to prevent the Doctor from ever reaching this point; obviously that group was not successful, even when they took great pains to kidnap infant Melody Pond to program her to assassinate the Doctor. The cracks, first glimpsed in The Eleventh Hour (and, in that story, attributed to Prisoner Zero), are apparently the Time Lords attempting to signal their location to the Doctor so he can retrieve Gallifrey and return it to its proper place in reality.

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Deep Breath

Doctor WhoA live dinosaur in the Thames proves to be quite a spectacle, one that calls for the expertise of Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. No stranger to prehistoric reptiles, Madame Vastra has just the trick for pacifying the dinosaur, but when the dinosaur coughs up a blue and apparently wooden box, Vastra and her entourage instantly know that more trouble will follow. Clara stumbles out of the TARDIS in the company of an older man wearing the Doctor’s clothes: the Doctor’s new face.

As the Doctor recovers from his recent regeneration, Clara questions whether she can continue her travels with him. Madame Vastra scolds Clara for basing her initial impressions of the Doctor’s new incarnation on physical appearance, but before the conversation can continue, the dinosaur in the Thames stirs before spontaneously combusting. The Doctor, having already awoken and gone to the scene, is angered at the creature’s death, and wonders if there have been other recent deaths by spontaneous combustion. Surprised by the question, Vastra admits that there have been. The Doctor, still behaving in an erratic manner, leaves on his own to start investigating.

A newspaper advertisement draws both Clara and the Doctor to a restaurant, each thinking that the other placed the ad, but once they arrive, they are trapped by the restaurant’s mechanical waiters. They are taken to meet the being behind the string of deaths by spontaneous combustion, a mechanical creature harvesting organs and other body parts to keep itself functional in hopes of continuing a mission that was interrupted when it was stranded on Earth. The Doctor has regained enough of his senses the challenge the robot to avoid killing… but in trying to prevent the robot from taking another life, must he take one himself?

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Ben Wheatley
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Dan Starkey (Strax), Nigel Betts (Mr. Anderson), Paul Hickey (Inspector Gregson), Tony Way (Alfie), Maggie Service (Elsie), Sean Ashburn (Restaurant Droid), Peter Ferdinando (Half-Face), Michelle Gomez (Keeper of the Nethersphere), Matt Smith (The Doctor)

Doctor WhoNotes: The Doctor, in his tenth incarnation, encountered similar self-repairing robots aboard the S.S. Madame du Pompadour in The Girl In The Fireplace (2006), also written by Steven Moffat. This is the first post-regeneration story in the history of Doctor Who that features a new scene shot with the previous Doctor.

Maggie Service provided the voice of the ship’s computer in the BBC SF comedy Hyperdrive. Peter Fernandino was the Black Knight in Snow White And The Huntsman, and has also been seen in 300: The Rise Of An Empire and Hyena.

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Last Christmas

Doctor WhoFrom Clara’s roof, there arises such a clatter that she wakes up to investigate, finding a man dressed as Santa Claus…and two elves…and a crashed sleigh and wayward reindeer. If that scene isn’t surreal enough, the TARDIS appears, the Doctor emerges, and tells her she must do exactly as he says. They travel to a research base at the North Pole where the scientists live in fear of crab-like alien beings that attach themselves to victims’ heads and consume them; the victims are kept in a dream state, anesthetized from what’s actually happening to them. The beings attack both the base crew and the Doctor and Clara, but does everyone survive the attack, or succumb?

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Ben Wheatley
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Nick Frost (Santa Claus), Samuel Anderson (Danny Pink), Dan Starkey (Ian), Nathan McMullen (Wolf), Faye Marsay (Shona), Natalie Gumede (Ashley), Maureen Beattie (Bellows), Michael Troughton (Professor Albert)

Doctor WhoNotes: Michael Troughton is the son of Patrick Troughton, who was the second Doctor from 1966 through 1969; Michael’s brother David appeared in the David Tennant episode Midnight. Nick Frost has co-starred with Simon Pegg (the Editor from The Long Game) in a number of movies co-written and produced by Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun Of The Dead, and The World’s End), as well as co-starring in the series Spaced with Pegg.

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