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 Night Of The Doctor

Doctor WhoA young woman called Cass flees alone in a spaceship, trying to keep it from plummeting into a nearby planet. A man calling himself the Doctor inexplicably appears, offering her a chance to escape her certain doom, and to Cass this seems like a perfectly acceptable offer but for one thing: the Doctor is revealed to be a Time Lord, a race of time travelers who are laying waste to reality in their Time War with the Daleks. The Doctor is clearly not to be trusted; Cass allows the ship to crash (and allows herself to be killed). Found in the wreckage of the ship, the dying Doctor awakens in the company of the Sisterhood of Karn, whose life-extending elixir could revive him by triggering his regeneration before he dies. But the Sisters put a price tag on this salvation: the Doctor can ignore the Time War no more.

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by John Hayes
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Emma Campbell-Jones (Cass), Clare Higgins (Ohila), John Hurt (The War Doctor)

Notes: This is Paul McGann’s first and only appearance as the Doctor since the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, and would appear to mark the end of the eighth Doctor’s era. The eighth Doctor, like Doctor Whothe fourth Doctor before him, has a checkered history with the Sisterhood of Karn, previously seen on TV in the Tom Baker story The Brain Of Morbius (1976) but encountered again by McGann’s Doctor in the 2008 audio stories Sisters Of The Flame and The Vengeance Of Morbius. Furthermore, the Doctor namechecks many of his companions before his regeneration, and all of the names he mentions hail from the Big Finish eighth Doctor audio adventures: Charley is Charlotte Pollard, who traveled with the eighth Doctor from Storm Warning (2001) through The Girl Who Never Was (2007) (with a reappearance in the 2013 50th anniversary audio The Light At The End); the Doctor and Charley were joined by the Eutermesan C’rizz from Creed Of The Kromon (2004) through Absolution (2007). Lucie Miller traveled with the Doctor from 2006’s Blood Of The Daleks through To The Death in 2011, and Molly O’Sullivan became the eighth Doctor’s companion in the Dark Eyes box set released in 2012, and will presumably continue in that role in some capacity in the three further Dark Eyes sets announced late in 2013, and all of this constitutes the first unquestionable on-screen confirmation of the Big Finish audio stories as official Doctor Who.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

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.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Innocent

Doctor WhoCardinal Olistra of the Time Lords receives word that the Doctor has died in the latest battle of the Time War, taking the place of two Time Lord soldiers sent to deploy the Daleks’ own Time Destructor in the path of their advance against Gallifrey. The Doctor felt more qualified – and likely to survive – than the young Time Lords whose place he takes. Indeed, he does survive, escaping (just barely) in his TARDIS, which lands on the planet Cesca, a world seemingly untouched by the Time War. But it’s still a planet at war: the native Cescans are under siege by their enemies, the Tarlians. The Doctor acts quickly to fend off a Tarlian attack, but when he is offered a reward, he asks to be left alone in peace. His request is almost granted; the only person who doesn’t honor it is the girl who first found him when his TARDIS landed there. Fascinated by his tales of travel through time, she wants to join him when he leaves, but the Doctor insists that he doesn’t take on companions anymore. The Doctor also insists that he is a monster, and she doesn’t believe him. But the Time Lords want him back on Gallifrey, fighting for their side – and they are not above doing away with the Doctor’s would-be companion for their own purposes.

written by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Howard Carter

Cast: John Hurt (The War Doctor), Jacqueline Pearce (Cardinal Ollistra), Lucy Briggs-Owen (The Nursemaid), Carolyn Seymour (The Slave). Beth Chalmers (Veklin), Alex Wyndham (Seratrix), Kieran Hodgson (Bennus), Barnaby Edwards (Arverton), Mark McDonnell (Traanus), John Banks (Garv), Nicholas Briggs (Daleks)

Notes: The Dalek Time Destructor was last deployed, to devastating effect, on the planet Kembel in part 12 of The Daleks’ Masterplan (1966); on that occasion, it was activated by the first Doctor’s companion, Sara Kingdom, who paid for it with her life.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

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