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A Doctor Who Blog

What’s in a face?

Over the years, we have seen many different faces from all the various Time Lords we’ve encountered, including The Doctor, Romana, The Master, and even Rassillon.

But what happens when a Time Lord ‘borrows’ a face from someone they’ve previously encountered? Is it ethical? Are there reasons, or do they do it for fun?

The first time we saw this was when Romana regeneratred, and much to the Fourth Doctor’s surprise, used the face of Princess Astra – who they had just left behind on Atrios. Despite the Doctor’s protestations and arguments to the contrary, and despite trying on other looks, Romana was insistent.

Image result for princess astra

The next time it happened, it was The Fifth Doctor who, forgetting his Fourth incarnations words of wisdom, borrowed the face of the Gallifreyen soldier Commander Maxil, who nearly had him executed on his return to Gallifrey in Arc of Infinity. He used Maxil’s likeness for his next regeneration into Doctor number Six.

 

Image result for commander maxil

The Doctor likes fresh faces though, and it was another 30 years before we next saw him borrow a face. This time, when Eleven regenerated into Twelve, he looked back into his recent past, and used a face his Tenth self had encountered – Caecilius, from Pompeii.

Image result for caecilius twelfth doctor

Why did they borrow faces? Well, for Romana, it was just a bit of fun. For the Twelfth Doctor, it was a reminder – to always try to save people, no matter what the consequences, just as he did in The Fires of Pompeii.

For the Fifth Doctor, though, the reason why he chose Commander Maxil’s face has never been explained in-universe. Did he do it as an act of defiance of sorts? I doubt we’ll ever know.

Could it happen again? Could we see The Master/Missy regenerate using a familiar face? Could The Doctor go for the hat-trick? He meets a lot of people. It’s not inplausible! Or would you prefer a new face every time, going forward?

With a new Doctor on the horizon, and a new showrunner in Chris Chibnall, we don’t know what the future has planned. But either way, does it really matter that much? After all, what’s in a face?

 

~TuskenDruid

 

Missy Mayhem

Just the other morning I woke to the news that Michelle Gomez had decided to leave Doctor Who along with Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat. Gutted. 

I love Missy. The combination of Michelle Gomez and a gender change has been a shot in the arm to the character we know and love as The Master and I hoped she would stick around for some time to come. But times are changing and another reboot, similar to series five is likely coming. Out with the old and in with the new as they say…. 

However, last night Michelle Gomez’s official Twitter account tweeted the following:

Wait…. What!?

Whoah. What exactly are we being told….. Are we being trolled here? 

Speculation is rife amongst the replies to the tweet as you would expect, but as of now there has yet to be a response. 

I can’t be the only person who has their fingers crossed that it is what it seems to be on the surface. Maybe Mr. Chibnall has had a word. On the other hand, as Steven Moffat once said of Michelle “she has a bit of the Devil in her”. It would serve us well to remember that this is Missy we are talking about here, and she has many a clever idea tucked up her sleeve…… 

We’re Back

….Well, of a sort. All of us here at Blogopolis have been really busy the past few months with real life but we haven’t totally given up. I intend to post far more regularly as my circumstances have left me as a stay at home dad with a lot to say on our favourite subject. 

Coming soon: art, musings and hopefully interesting pieces to engage you all. 

I’m also planning a ‘halfway through’ review of series 10 and we would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on what has been, at least to me, a stimulating and engaging series so far. 

Anyhow…  We will prepare, we will grow stronger. When the time is right we will emerge and take out rightful place as the supreme beings of the Blogverse!!!!

Cheers folks, 

Jeff. 

The Power of the Daleks

Here’s something I never thought I would write…. I watched The Power of the Daleks tonight. 

Three hours of classic Doctor Who bliss. Before I begin my gush-fest I will address the one real negative. Actually seeing Patrick Troughton’s first story in motion, but animated, makes you really appreciate how great a story it is and how utterly heartbreaking it is that this story was lost. The impact of the BBC’s shortsighted policy on its archive feels like a fresh kick in the teeth today. But even that darkest of clouds has a silver lining as the animated release is an utter joy to watch. 

I have seen some complaints over the animation used, particularly the way the human characters walk. For me that is a non issue because the atmoshphere, tension and sheer quality of the story far outweigh this gripe and make it easy to forgive and overlook. The real success of the animation is of course the Daleks themselves. they are beautifully recreated and at times have a very realistic quality. From the first moment we see the cobweb bound Daleks in the space capsule they exude a foreboding presence. This is maintained throughout the story, clever lighting enhancing the threat of these malevolent creatures.

The bonus of animation is of course that they can enhance the original, indeed making the Daleks production line and growing army a truly terrifying prospect in a way that four props and a cardboard backdrop can’t. It allows for beautifully lit scenes too. Shots of the Daleks emerging from the darkened interior of their capsule, lit only by the light from their eyestalk are truly sinister. 

Of course the really important aspect of the story is its historical nature, being a game changer in that it succesfully changed the lead actor in a TV show, not with a look alike but with a completely different actor with their own take on the character. Patrick Troughton is totally compelling throughout, and even in his first story we get a good idea of how this Doctor will develop. He has a marvelous deceptive quality, and his insistance on referring to his previous incarnation in the third person adds to the mystery of what has happened to the Doctor. He also displays that innocent ignorance that would become something of a trademark, feigning innocence at the storys conclusion to his actions, followed by his trademark disappearing act. 

I won’t go into detail of the plot, suffice to say it is a lovely piece of writing by David Whitaker (who I personally find handles the Daleks better than their creator Terry Nation) and a story that builds from the start to its inevitable cataclysmic conclusion…. my only complaint is that for a scientist Lesterson is a blithering idiot.

The audio reconstruction is pretty spot on also, with only a couple of dips in quality or balance and its always nice to hear the atmospheric ‘Dalek score’ from their original story, as this this adds to that oppresive, almost noir feel.

I also have to give special mention to the lovely pre titles scene of the the regeneration, or renewal, at the beginning of episode one. Beautifully done.

Coming on two discs with extras galore and a nice information pamphlet and art slipcase this is definitely a release worth shelling out for. It is a must buy for any fan of the classic era. 

Who knows, if enough of us buy it, it may encourage the Beeb to release more complete reconstructions, because as the years go by it becomes more and more likely that this will be the only way we get to ‘see’ those lost classics. 
Anyhow, thanks for reading… Jeff.

The Missing Doctor

Well its that time of the year again when the merchandising ramps up ready for the Christmas splurge. Calendars, posters, toys and all sorts of ‘memorabilia’ of varying degrees of quality becomes available. 

A new calendar is out and there is a certain incarnation of the Doctor curiously omitted….. can you guess who? Im sure you all can. I am of course referring to Sir John Hurt’s Doctor. The Doctor who fought the Time War, and although it would be forgotten, the Doctor who saved Gallifrey.

I have reached the point now where I am exhausted by, and a little bored of having to point out that his Doctor is as important (and possibly more so) as any other of the incarnations the Doctor has had. You see, to me he isn’t 8.5, or ‘the War Doctor’ or any other name folk want to throw in his general direction, he is just the Doctor. The same as every other face he has worn. Ok, psychologically he didn’t feel he had the right to call himself the Doctor. By the end of ‘Day of the Doctor’ however he had earned back the name and earned his redemption. 

Screen time wise he has probably had around about the same time, possibly a little less than Paul McGann, and people dont call him ‘7.5’ or the ‘movie Doctor’.
Ok, so the reason his Doctor came about was largely down to the fact that Christopher Eccleston had no particular interest in reprising his role as the Doctor, but that in story terms doesn’t devalue, or make him illegitimate in any way.

When calendars, or art produced after November 2013 deliberately miss him off I find it incredibly rude and insulting. 

Maybe the fact that Sir John Hurt is proud to have been one of our Doctors fuels that sense of injustice I feel on his behalf. Yes the re-numbering issue is the chief reason we dont call him the ninth Doctor, but he bloody well is and that shouldn’t stop him standing shoulder to shoulder between Paul and Christopher. 

So lets raise the issue as fans. Write to DWM, mention it in customer feedback. Just point out to the beeb, and those they grant licence to, that we fans regard him in the same way we do any other Doctor. 

Sorry, rant over…… for now at least. 

Your Making Me Giddy

In the closing episodes of ‘the War Games’ the Doctor realises he will need the help of his own people, the Time Lords, to fix the damage done by the War Lord and War Chief.

Knowing that he will be punished by the Time Lords he tries several escape attempts but they outsmart him at every turn and put him on trial. 

His companions, Jamie and Zoe would be sent back to their own times, remembering only their first encounter with the funny little Time Lord.

Despite the Time Lords acceptance that he was doing right in his adventures, and fighting the evil that dwells in the universe they would still punish him for his transgressions, sending him into exile, and changing his appearance for the second time. 

Doctor Two

For many Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor is the definitive Doctor, and certainly the first Doctor to set the character template that is still recognisable today. 

Fiercely loyal to his friends, and to doing what is right, yet with a charm and wit that he would use to disarm and befuddle his enemies.

This funny little man with an iron resolve would come up against a veritable menagerie of monsters and wrong doers and always best them during his time at the Tardis console. 

Sadly many of his stories would be lost to the BBC’s shortsighted archiving policy, meaning he was sorely under-represented in DVD’s and repeats. Luckily of course it was decided that some of his (and William Hartnell’s) partial stories would be animated. The first animated episodes were the two missing parts of the eight part Cyberman epic ‘the Invasion’. 

This proved to be a popular move and would soon be followed with releases of more of his partially complete stories. Adding to that the relatively recent finding of ‘the Web of Fear’ and ‘Enemy of the World’ means we can see more of his Doctor than ever since his run ended. 

We also have the fully animated release of ‘Power of the Daleks’ coming in a couple of months allowing us to watch his very first story for the first time since airing.

In the 1980’s Pat would return to the role of the Doctor in the 20th anniversary special ‘the Five Doctors’ and ‘The Two Doctors’ winning him a whole new generation of fans (myself included) who had never had the chance to see him in action. 

It’s fair to say he struggled with the heavy workload during his time as the Doctor and didn’t overly enjoy it. 

Luckily later in life he would return to the fold and became a regular at conventions (often larking about with Jon Pertwee, aping the friction between the two incarnations we would see in ‘the Three Doctors’ and ‘The Five Doctors’) much to the fans delight.

We as fans owe a great deal to Patrick Troughton. Had the role of William Hartnell’s successor been given to a lesser actor I doubt the show would be where it is today. Luckily Patrick was a character actor of considerable skill and range and his portrayal would ensure the shows longevity after the original lead actors departure.

And what better way to celebrate him, but with a weekend dedicated to this wonderful Doctor! 



 

The Cosmic Hobo

In 1966, the man we knew as The Doctor surprised us all.

As we watched, he landed his TARDIS in 1986, at the Snowcap Base on Earth’s South Pole. He faced the Cybermen for the first time. And after an exhaustive battle of wits to save the planet, he lay down, fell asleep, and changed.

Right before our eyes, the man we’d known as the Doctor for the past 3 years, became someone else. The oft grumpy crotchety white haired Grandfather we had grown to love  ‘renewed’ himself, and woke up more as a slightly bedraggled fun loving Uncle.

We all know now why the BBC took this course of action as William Hartnell had become too ill to carry on, but the concept of renewal, or regeneration as it would later become, was a stroke of genius that allowed the show to continue long past its perceived lifespan.

As the first regenerated Doctor, much like his companions of the time in the show Ben and Polly, none of us knew what to expect from this new version of our favourite character.

The character actor Patrick Troughton brought a renewed vigour to the role. Under Hartnell, the Doctor could be a rather serious soul (although he had his fun moments), but Troughton  brought a lot more fun to the part. His one-liners, his reactions, his facial expressions. Whether he was with Ben and Polly, or his later companions, Jamie, Victoria or Zoe. Whether he was facing the Daleks, the Cybermen or the Ice Warriors. The Second Doctor became one of the most beloved regenerations. And that’s all thanks to Patrick Troughton.

The Second Doctor’s catch phrases:

When I say run, run. …RUN!
Butterfingers.
Oh, my giddy aunt!
Oh my word!
You’ve redecorated. I don’t like it.
I would like a hat like that.
That’s very civil of you.

When Patrick stepped down from the role at the end of the epic serial The War Games in 1969, we thought we’d seen the last of the man that had come to be known as The Cosmic Hobo (thanks to his hairstyle and clothes, amongst other things), but he returned three more times to the role, in 1973’s The Three Doctors, 1983’s The Five Doctors, and 1985’s The Two Doctors – cementing his place as one of the most beloved actors to carry the role, and one of the most beloved Doctor’s.

Patrick sadly passed away in 1987, whilst attending a Doctor Who convention. Despite leaving the role full time in 1969, he never really stopped being The Doctor. Setting a precedent for all those that followed.

His two sons David and Michael followed in his footsteps by appearing in the show, with David even taking on his father’s role as the Second Doctor in two audio plays back in 2011, keeping Pats memory alive.

-TuskenDruid

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