50th Anniversary Trailer Breakdown

Okay, seen a couple of lists about the trailer, some have drawn some pretty long bows, some have missed elements that I spotted.  So here’s my list. I’ve put up framegrabs, then highlighted and numbered most of the relevant bits.  If you click on an image it will jump to a full sized version.

I haven’t always gone for the clearest shot of an object, but this already runs to 19 images and 90 entries total, so I was trying to get the most bang for my buck. With the way I’ve presented it, you should be able to figure out where it is on screen and check for yourself.

But mostly I only cover the elements that I’m fairly certain of, there’s very little supposition in my list, and I debunk (possibly incorrectly) one or two other theories. I did skip one or two shots of Daleks where I found it impossible to narrow down the type or story.  I have no doubt I’ve missed a few things, but I think I’ve covered most of them fairly well.

01

1. The policeman seen in the very first episode, An Unearthly Child. Fred Rawlings was the first actor seen in the show.

2. This bike is potentially one of the most anal retentive bits of continuity.  It appears clearly in some of the set photos for An Unearthly Child, but you can’t see it in the episode.  Or maybe it’s a nod to the bike Tom Baker rides in Shada.  What? You want a bike seen on screen in an episode that was broadcast? Okay, it belongs to Pigbin Josh from Claws of Axos.  Happy?

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Classic Who – Seven for the New Who Crowd.

So you like New Who, but haven’t watched any of the original series.  First up, that’s fine. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t.  You don’t have to ever watch the original show if you don’t want.  There’s a lot there, 697 episodes, and chunks of those are missing!  It’s a very daunting prospect, and a very different series to the one you’ve fallen in love with.

But of course, some of you are curious about the old show, so this is for you.  It’s a list of mostly stand-alone stories, that exist in full, and have commercial DVD releases – so sourcing them shouldn’t be too hard.

I originally wanted to aim for stories that didn’t feature any of the big returning baddies, but that wasn’t practical.  Mostly these are good to great stories for a variety of reasons, including some nice character parts.  Steven Moffat has said that when you write a Doctor Who story, at the end you should be saying, “Well, there’s that feature film idea all used up!”  A few of these fit the bill.

I’ll give you a very short non-spoilery run down on each.  Just do yourself a favour – if you decide to try these recommendations don’t go reading up on them.  Don’t look them up online, or read the back blurbs of the DVD.  Try to approach them as freshly spoiler free as you can manage.

I’ve also made mention of New Who stories that have some similarities. But don’t go expecting these stories to be the same – the stories are only vaguely similar in certain rough thematic senses.  The suggestions are only there to give you a more of a hook in the absence of more detailed, and therefore spoilery, write-ups.

And also remember – with Old Who, usually best to only watch one episode a night.  Or one early in the day, and another in the evening. To do more can actually hurt the experience of otherwise good stories. Continue reading

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 – 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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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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Classic Who – The Why of the Daleks

The Daleks just got that much cooler...

Right, after a lengthy Twitter conversation involving the lovely @knuckle_salad, I figured I’d do a post or eight-hundred aimed specifically for the new fans of Doctor Who, the ones who came in some time in the last six or seven years and know little to nothing about the original series.

Now, if you have no interest in the original series, that’s fine.  I don’t know what the heck you’re doing here reading this, but it really is fine.  We all have different likes and dislikes.  For instance, I love the original series of Star Trek, I think Next Generation is mostly good, I adore Deep Space Nine once it gets moving, Voyager was like having my mouth washed out with chunky diarrhoea, and Enterprise was one of the worst screwed up opportunities I have ever seen, except for Season Four which was really clever and interesting.

Point is, different things appeal to different people.  Despite the claims of some fans, you’re actually allowed to not like the original series of Doctor Who.  It’s not a perfect series.  Its strength was always story-telling, characters, and ideas.  But some stories are severely lacking in one or more of these elements.

Also, huge chunks of the first six years are missing.  There are some television shows from that era where nothing at all exists.  Where Doctor Who fans are unbelievably fortunate is that all the missing bits still exist on audio.  And while audio isn’t an ideal format for some stories, it’s better than nothing at all.

We also have telesnaps [1] from some of the missing episodes, so combined with the audios, we can hear and see what was going on.  Again, it’s not ideal, but we’re very lucky to have even that.

I think I’ll try recommending some stories for new Doctor Who fans next time around, unless someone out there throws me a topic too yummy to resist. Which is very likely. So don’t wait for the list, but if you have questions, write to me and I’ll do my best to answer them without lying too much making too many errors.

But this time I want to talk about the Daleks.  There are a lot of people who simply cannot understand the fascination with them.  They’re short little robot [2] dudes.  What is it about the Daleks that made them such a success right from the beginning?

Okay, to address this, you have to try to understand where they come from, from a media and cultural perspective.

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The Man the Doctor Built…

You know, when I think about it, the effect Doctor Who has had on my life is pretty damned substantial.

It was the first SF TV show to really grab my attention because it was so different to everything else I saw. It wasn’t slick looking. It didn’t have amazing effects. The people didn’t have that vaguely-too-good-looking-to-be-real-people thing that American shows are full of.

What it had were stories with quirky and interesting characters. And unlike so much television, the quirks came across as a natural part of the characters, as opposed to something deliberately written into the script to be oh-so quirky and odd.

The Doctor and his companions were smart, but capable of making mistakes. Fearless but still able to be scared and vulnerable. They were ready to fight and kill, but it was never the preferred option. The way to beat the villains wasn’t to have better weapons, or to be more violent, but to outthink them.

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