Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Buy youself a Dalek

Hundreds of Doctor Who fans crammed into a London auction room on Wednesday to bid on classic costumes and props from the BBC sci-fi show.

The most expensive item of the day was a Dalek from the 1985 story Revelation of the Daleks - which sold for £20,400, including the auctioneer's fee.

Kylie Minogue's waitress costume, worn in the 2007 Christmas special Voyage of the Damned, fetched £3,120.

The auction of more than 160 lots took place at Bonhams in Knightsbridge.


Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Problem with Peri

The other week I did a little post on Peri, and it got me thinking about the problems surrounding the characters departure from the series. In the original TV series Trial of a Time Lord, they left us a little confused about events, firstly killing off Peri, and then at the end of the series giving us a last minute "oh by the way she's not dead, but got married to King Yrcanos" happy ending. Yeah like, as if. I stopped watching the original TV show after they served up that crap.

[Photocredit shillpages]

I watched a few old documentaries online recently with interviews with JNT, the Who producer, and Eric Saward, the script editor, at the time of TOTL. We find out that the ending we watched was a JNT cobbled together bag of shite, and that the original plot, as envisaged by writer Robert Holmes, who sadly died, and then subsequently developed by Sarward, was withdrawn when Sarward resigned, following disagrements with JNT over the story. What we have therefore, is a miss-translation of the actual story, and sadly until Sarward's laywers fall asleep, we will have to wait for the details of the 'original' story.

Perhaps Peri did die, as we were shown in Mindwarp. But I wondered what, if any thing, had been done with Peri in spin-off media, such as the Big Finish audio dramas and New Adventures books.

My first port of call was to check the Companion Chronicles published by Big Finish. Now I've got a few of these, but I haven't really got into any of them, so am undecided on their merits. However we are in for more of these, as I see BF have a long list of titles to be published. But surprise surprise, no Peri. Now BF have used Peri, voiced by Nicola Bryant, in their main series of stories, but these slot in within the existing timeline for the character whilst travelling with the Doctor (I think, again I haven't listened to them, although I like the BF dramas, I just haven't got to these yet).

But I did find a New Adventure story, Bad Therapy, where the seventh Doctor finds Peri, now Queen Gilliam, twenty-five years later and blaming the Doctor for leaving her on Kron'tep. She gives him a nice slap, but happily they make up and he takes her home to the latter days of the 20th century. Well that's good then, but not exactly what I was hoping for.

Apparently there is another story which gives us information on Peri, The Age of Chaos, a graphic novel featuring the sixth Doctor and actually written by Colin Baker (news to me!), where we find out the Doctor visited Peri's descendants on Kron'tep.

Now all this raises the question of canonnity of spin off Who stories, such as the New Adventures, or Big Finish dramas. I'm more tempted to see Big Finish as canonish, but not New Adventures, but then I've never read any. So for me Audio dramas yes, but books no. And graphic novels, well, perhaps not this one.

So nothing really of merit... surely it's a loose end for BF to pick up in their Companion Chronicles? I've got a little idea of a story of my own, but the big question is what to do with poor Peri at the end... perhap's I'll kill her off!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Political Who

The Sunday Telegraph has revealed that the Doctor has been using his power to meddle in UK politics...

Left-wing script writers infiltrated Doctor Who to give it anti-Thatcher plot lines in the late 1980s in a failed attempt "to overthrow the Government" Sylvester McCoy has claimed.

McCoy, now 66, who took over as the Doctor three months after Thatcher's third election victory in 1987, said they brought politics into the show "deliberately" but "very quietly". He said: "We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered," he told the Sunday Times.

One three-part programme, The Happiness Patrol, featured a transparent caricature of Thatcher.

Sheila Hancock played Helen A, a big-haired despotic ruler of a human colony on the planet Terra Alpha, whose subjects – called "drones" – worked in factories. The Doctor calls on the drones to down their tools and revolt, an obvious reference to industrial disputes like the miners' strike.

Also a spin-off children's novel, Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma, published under licence by the BBC in 1987, featured a villain called Rehctaht - Thatcher backwards.

I've also seen interviews with the script editor at the time, who aparently when asked what he wanted to achieve when auditioning for the job, said he wanted to bring down the government, and McCoy, where he's stated that he took on Thatcher in roleplay as an advisory in his audition.

The fact that its taken this story twenty years to hit the press reflects the sad lack of interest in the Classic series before it was cancelled, and the fact that its not much of a story. New Who is full of so many political, moral and cultural references that I guess it's only a matter of time before someone does a Phd thesis on the good Doctor's effect on polictics and our society. Or perhaps someone's done it already?


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Peri, as in hot!

It was only a matter of time... No excuses, this is the beginning of a little series posts honouring some of the wonderful lead female actresses that have graced the show in the form of the Doctor's companions. As always, I'll try to find unusual photos which may not be so well known outside Who circles. I should stress that there is no particular order to which I shall post this series (honestly!).

Nicola Bryant portrayed American college student Peri (Perpugilliam) Brown from the beginning of Planet of Fire (1984) through the end of Mindwarp (1986).

So without further ado, I present Ms Nicola Bryant, who played the never to be forgotten Peri alongside the fifth and sixth Doctors. Poor girl had a rough ride however, and no sooner had she made firends with the 5th Doctor, he regenerated into the 6th Doctor, and one wonders why such a lovely girl hung around such a self indulgent character. Anyway, handicapped by an American accent (who's idea was that? Don't tell me... JNT?) which drifted across various regions of the State, poor Nicola didnt really get a chance to show her true talents, and ended up being killed off in Mindwarp (Trail of a Time Lord), only to be brought back to life and married off to some big hairy guy she'd just met in a last minute plot twist. I don't believe it, and like to think he kidnapped her and keeps her tied up for his personal pleasure in his dungeon. I mean, I just can't imagine her doing that of her own free will! (Good o,ld Brian Blessed, who played 'the big hairy guy' should have won and a life-time's supply of ham for his over acting.) Perhaps I should write a companion's story for Big Finish... (or is there one already??)

I don't know how I've managed avoided posting any classic shots of Peri, for example in her bikini (in her first story, Planet of Fire). It was quite an intro for our new girl, clips of which are suitably represented on You Tube! Oh go on then, under pressure...

[Photocredit shillpages]

Nicola has her own offical website which you can visit here.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Companions that never were

Actress Carey Mulligan was nominated today for a Best Actress Award in this year’s Oscars. Mulligan is best known amongst us as Sally Sparrow in the Steven Moffat written episode Blink from Season 3.

Mulligan was nominated for her role in the film An Education and is in heavy company as other nominees include Oscar favorite, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirrien, Sandra Bullock and Gabourey Sidibe.

Photo and details from here.

Fansite Den of Geek included her in a list of the top 10 "companions that might have been" in 2008. It's an interesting list, so worthy of copying. Click here for the full article.

In order of doctors (rather than in order of favourite, which is what I thought a top 10 was, but DoG know better, I'm sure).

Anne Chaplette - The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve
Samantha Briggs - The Faceless Ones
Isobel Watkins - The Invasion
Dr Ruth Ingram - The Time Monster
Duggan - City Of Death
Will Chandler - The Awakening
Herbert - Timelash
Ray - Delta and the Bannermen
Lynda ("with a y") - BadWolf/Parting of the Ways
Sally - Sparrow Blink

The list was published in 2008, and to which we can surely add Lady Christina de Souza from the 2009 special Planet of the Dead, played by the lovely Michelle Ryan, even if it does bugger up the 'one-for-each-doctor' theme (well, skipping number eight of course).

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Aiming for Amy

Now if my meglomanic days weren't behind me, I think I'd be cooking up a cunning plan to kidnap Amy... in fact I may come out of retirement.

I remember the first time I heard the concept that the Doctor's female companions were eye-candy for the Dads. What rubbish! As if the makers of Doctor Who would use such cheap tricks. But then I questioned my own watching of the series during Colin Baker's reign, and realised with sadness that it was more than that, they were there for the teenage sons two! Yes, I fell in love with Nicola Bryant, I had no choice, but it also explains why I never watched any seventh Doctor stories. Bonnie Langford just doesn't do it for me.

Anyway, yes, you've guessed it... this whole ramble is really just an excuse for the following... hats off to Karen Gillan (I'm sure we'll get back to Nicola later)