BBC Project – Doctor Who Animated Designs Part 2

Initial posting giving an overview of the project history here.

Okay, this will be a relatively short post, featuring two more rough sketches by Nick Stathopoulos.  These were what we got from Nick after some feedback from us.  Nick and I (and Cliff most likely, I can’t remember) were all thinking of the Doctor being a more Geoffrey Bayldon-looking character.

Interestingly Bayldon, who is probably best known to the world as the titular character in Catweazle, was approached by the BBC on more than one occasion to see if he was interested in playing the Doctor.  Eventually he went on to play the Doctor for Big Finish in their Doctor Who Unbound series, and of course he did appear in the original series as the character Organon in The Creature from the Pit.

But I digress.

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BBC Project – Doctor Who Animated Designs Part 1

Initial posting giving an overview of the project history here.

A pause in the slew of material that I was responsible for, to show off the work of someone else.

I’m not the smartest or most talented person in the world, only the prettiest.  But when I first became involved in this project, I knew there were two things I could bring to it, my abilities as a story teller, and the huge range of incredibly talented and knowledgeable people I happen to be friends with.

Nick Stathopoulos is an old mate of mine. In fact, he’s Godfather to my eldest child.  Nick is a Hugo nominated artist who has worked on feature films, TV, video games, a whole range of different project, but he is probably best known for his book covers, his yearly Archibald Prize entries, and his recent “Toy Porn” exhibitions of paintings of various toys.

So when this Doctor Who project came up, he was one of the first people I contacted.  I know his work, I know his attention to detail, and his ability to think on the fly.  So over the next post or three, I’ll be presenting the stuff he did for us, culminating in the computer generated head he and I worked on together during a visit he paid to my house.

Naturally all the rough sketches and designs presented are copyright Nick Stathopoulos.  Please do not reproduce them without permission or linking back here.  For a start, amongst Nick’s many skills, he’s a qualified copyright lawyer!

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BBC Project – Interludes and thoughts…

My Hartnell TARDIS console room, rendered up, made grainy, and black and white. This was amongst the stuff we sent to Phil Balaam.

Initial posting giving an overview of the project history here.

For previous parts in this series, go here.

Nothing majorly relevant to the project here.  This is just a brief general rundown of a couple of things whizzing about in my head.

As you can see if you’ve read Part 2 of the bible, I favoured a very traditional approach to the basic series format.

After Russell T. Davies’ first season came out and was resoundingly fast and modern, I thought that yeah, I was so wrong.

But now, seven years down the track, I’m less convinced. Continue reading

BBC Project – Doctor Who Animated Series Bible – Part 2

One of my renders to give an idea of scale for the spacecraft in “Waltzing to Elysium”

Initial posting giving an overview of the project history here.

Looking through some of the emails last night, just goes to show that I’m glad I kept them because looks like I’d heard a rumour that the Doctor Who series was being produced a few days before it was announced.  I had completely forgotten about this.

Found an email from Cliff referring to it and him being surprised I hadn’t said anything to him, with me replying that I wanted to wait until I heard something more concrete before mentioning it.  There had been so many, “Doctor Who is coming back!” rumours that had never panned out, and even though this came from a fabulous source, I’d always rather be cautious.

Plus, from what I’d heard, formal announcement wasn’t going to be until Jan 2004, so there was meant to be plenty of time.  Obviously it got pushed forward, probably because the BBC knew otherwise it would get leaked and they wanted to make sure they controlled the release.  I mean hell, I’d heard about it!

The thing that surprises me is this was in late September of 2003, and we weren’t killed off until November, and even then, the main reason seems to have been the previously mentioned budget stuff that killed the BBC Wales R&D Department.  I’m surprised it took that long, and that we were collateral damage rather than an actual target.

Not that I think we were all big and important, but that I would have thought anyone developing something that could potentially damage the new brand would have been dealt with immediately.  Then again, it’s a bureaucracy.  We had a drama meeting in October 2003 to decide whether or not we’d go ahead.

I was thinking that, as I go through emails, I’ll go back and re-edit posts where appropriate to correct errors and omissions. Would people prefer that, or would you rather I left the original inaccurate text and instead added footnotes and/or an errata sheet at the end of all this?  Let me know.

You will be able to find all the posts on this topic here.
Anyway, here is part 2 of the bible.  In this bit I discussed the possible formats, weighing up the pros and cons.

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BBC Project – Doctor Who Animated Series Bible – Part 1

A single frame of a test animation I did to show how such a shot might look. The background is a nebula.

Initial posting giving an overview of the project history here.

Continuing on from the initial post I present the first bit of the Doctor Who animated series bible for BBC Wales R&D Department.  I’ll split this stuff up over a number of posts because there is rather a lot of it.  As with yesterday, I won’t be re-editing it, so the grammar and spelling errors are all from the original document.

This first bit is the general introduction and character outline. I finished the whole bible on 19th January, 2003.  Phil Balaam was pretty happy with it and the rest of the work the team gave him – sketches and renders all showing that we were serious about the work.

The reason I haven’t named some of the other members of the team so far is that I need to check back through my emails – basically I don’t want to miss anyone out.  I will hopefully provide a full list in the next few days, then go back and edit the first post to add them in.

I was a bit upset yesterday to discover that the copies of the incoming emails on this PC have become corrupted. However I have other copies of the directory burnt to at least a couple of CDs, because natually I never wanted to lose this stuff, so hopefully I should still have all that correspondence.  Plus, I do still have all my outgoing emails, complete with quoted text of what I was replying to.  So worst case, I’ve got half the info, but I should have it all, it’s just a matter of finding it.

And naturally some of the others will have stuff, too.  And Cliff Bowman, being at the centre of the project and managing it, hopefully has all of it!  Imagine what a great guest he would make! (hint hint)

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BBC Project – Doctor Who – The Animated Series That Never Was…

Very early stylistic lighting test done by yours truly. That ugly Doctor character in the foreground was later made much more visually palatable. Original image rendered 12/01/2003

Today, I reached a decision.

I want Cliff Bowman to be recognised by Doctor Who fandom for the part he played in a largely unwritten bit of DW history – The 3D animated series of Doctor Who.

I was also a part of this, as were several other folks, but Cliff was at the centre of it. None of us would have had the opportunity to work on it without him, it will always be one of the high points of my life, and I think he deserves the recognition.

Ideally, I’d like to him be made a guest at a major DW event next year.  I think it’s fitting.

The push starts here. He, at the time of writing, knows nothing about it. Please help get the word out. If I get a good response, I will slowly post up other things I contributed to the project. If I get permission from some of the other contributors, I’ll put up their stuff too.

I won’t claim that the dates and such below are completely 100% accurate, as I’m having to work partially from memory and I may have one or two things in the wrong order, but it’s essentially right.

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New Doctor Who – Forgetting the Boys

This is going to be a crazed, foamy-mouthed, only slightly coherent rant. There will be much swearing. You have been warned.

I think one of the issues I have with New Who, other than I sometimes find the writing lazy [1], is the emphasis on the female companions. This emphasis is not from the production team, I’m assuming, but from the marketing.

Now, you’re probably sitting there going, “Um… Danny, you poor misguided slut, the old series was chock full o’ female companions.” Yes it was, but for most of the series’ history, it often had a male companion travelling with the Doctor, or not far off i.e. the Brigadier was right there for most of the Pertwee era. From 1963 through to 1975 there was at least one story a season featuring a recurring male companion. Leaving out K9, who was introduced in 1977, the next run of male companions went from 1980 through until 1984.

All these guys have been considered companions. You wouldn’t produce say, a Best of the Companions of Original Doctor Who Special and not mention Ian, or Jamie, or the Brigadier.

But that’s what happened with the New Series Special on the Companions a few years back. No mention of Mickey or Captain Jack. At all. It was all Rose, Martha, and Donna.  This despite the fact that the New Series had a reasonable stable of semi-regular male companions. Continue reading

Classic Who – Four of my Favourites

So it’s been way too long since I last posted here, mainly due to life getting in the way.  But you’re not interested in that, you want to know about some of my favourite Doctor Who stories, don’t you?  Well that’s good, because I feel like telling you about them!

Now, I need to note here that this is by no means an exhaustive list.  There are some stories I haven’t seen for decades, or in the case of a few Patrick Troughton stories, haven’t seen/heard at all [1].  It also isn’t a list of what I consider to be the best Doctor Who stories, or all my favourites, just four that I find myself coming back to again and again.

The Daleks’ Master Plan
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