How Whittaker’s First Scene Mirrors Her Announcement

Jodie Banner

How Whittaker’s First Scene Mirrors Her Announcement

Like pretty much every other fan on the planet, I spent much of Christmas day eagerly awaiting the 13th Doctor’s first scene. When Whittaker appeared, it was a moment of joy for new things, and sadness at the passing of Capaldi. But also a chance to get a glimpse of what we might expect from Chris Chibnall’s vision of the series.

But what was most immediately interesting to me was the way in which Whittaker’s first scene mirrored her infamous ‘Meet the 13th Doctor‘ announcement video. Directed by Jamie Childs, the scene that told the world who the new Doctor would be came on just after the Wimbledon Men’s final in 2017.

For the purposes of clarity, I will be referring to the ‘Meet the Thirteenth Doctor‘ video as ‘The Introduction‘ and the regeneration scene from Twice Upon a Time as ‘The Episode‘.

 

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Twice Upon A Time – Doctor Who Review

Not a Moment

Twice Upon A Time – Doctor Who Review

Steven Moffat has a long history of subverting expectations when it comes to Doctor Who. If there is any hallmark of his tenure as showrunner, I think that might be it. His greatest achievements as well as his greatest missteps have often come as a result of this, in my opinion. Twice Upon a Time is no exception.

For a regeneration story, many in the audience will be expecting grand excitement on an epic scale. Instead, Moffat delivers a somewhat subdued and introspective script. Performed brilliantly by Capaldi, Bradley and Mackie, no question. But how will it hold up in the legend of the show?

Spoilers to follow, obviously…

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“I haven’t seen it yet. Not with these eyes” – A New Doctor, A New Show.

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The Thirteenth Doctor has arrived. Change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon. Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor, whether you like it or not.

Regeneration isn’t just about the Doctor extending their life. It’s about getting to experience everything afresh, with new eyes, and a new perspective. The Doctor has spent 12 (or 13, depending on how you count it) lifetimes in the body of a man. Now the Doctor will be a woman, giving them a new perspective, a fresh pair of eyes with which to consider the universe.

“It’s all waiting out there, and it’s brand new to me. All those planets, and creatures and horizons. I haven’t seem them yet! Not with these eyes. And it is going to be fantastic.”

– 10th Doctor, The Christmas Invasion

de3w6gowaaa00vyDoctor Who always changes. That’s how it stays around, and stays interesting. It changes its main character, changes its supporting characters, and changes its production team. Every new set of people brings a new approach, a new perspective, and a new focus. It has its peaks and troughs, good times and bad. At its base, it’s a fun, sci-fi/fantasy adventure for family audiences. But there are lots of ways it can and has been interpreted.

For example, in the early days it was envisioned as an educational show to teach children about history and science. Then, it became more about speculative fiction, high concept sci-fi. Then, more of a swashbuckling adventure. Then gothic horror inspired. Later it became more drama oriented. And so on.

Doctor Who changes its format. That’s how it survives.

The Doctor is a catalyst for much of this change, and is a window for the audience. Each new Doctor comes at it from different angle, spreading light in new and interesting angles, even on a familiar scene.

So, what can we expect from Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor? Having watched the teaser clip a few times now, there is one thing I’ve zeroed in on as a sign of hope. As the TARDIS materialises and we see her face for the first time, the Thirteenth Doctor gets a look of wonder on her face. It is a brief smile that says a lot. She looks hopeful, she looks almost in mild awed anticipation of what’s to come.

Wonder

That sense of wonder has been lacking in Doctor Who of late. If it had been a constant presence I’m sure we’d all be bored of it by now, but I’ve missed it. Bringing back the heartache and the promise of adventure might be the shot in the arm the series needs.

Jodie Whittaker has a wonderful adventure ahead of her. Let’s join her, shall we?

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The Lie of the Land – Doctor Who Review

I want to start by saying I enjoyed this episode a lot. It was very well written, the dialogue, for the most part, was snappy, natural, and drew me in. The cinematography and direction really brought out the best in Capaldi and Mackie as they delivered some of the most emotional scenes this series.

Having said that, there is something that worries me tremendously. It’s a concern I had right from the moment I saw the trailer and read the synopsis.

It Never Happened

Cast your minds back to 2007 and the series 3 finale, Last of the Time Lords. The Master took over the world and the Doctor was locked in a cage for a year while Martha Jones walked the earth. But then, at the end, it was all erased. It never happened. Nobody but the Doctor and his friends could remember the events of the whole episode. And people got angry.

When you erase an entire episode’s meaning and importance for the world its set in, it feels a bit like a cheat. You set up high stakes and your characters must face the challenges not only of ending the horrors, but dealing with the aftermath. To take that away can often feel like a let down.

I was somewhat miffed at Last of the Time Lords, but it had a few saving graces. Firstly, I thought it was a very good episode on its own. But more than that, the lasting effects on a personal level for the Doctor, Martha and Martha’s family were felt long after the episode ended. The events may have been forgotten for most, but they stayed with the main characters. I was eventually okay with that

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Thin Ice – Doctor Who Review

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Thin Ice – Doctor Who Review

There’s a monster living under the Thames, and it’s eating people.

An ice covered river, street urchins, and the Doctor in a top hat – this episode has it all.

A definite improvement on last week, resolution-wise, but somewhat lacking in a grand climax. There are some wonderful moments, and once again the spark between the Doctor and Bill is the star of the show.

“Slavery is still a thing”

The episode opens with Bill addressing something that people have been talking about especially since The Shakespeare Code. The fact that the history of Britain is less than kind to non-white people. The Doctor takes a moment to acknowledge the horrors of slavery, a haunted look passing over his face, before moving on. It wasn’t much, but somewhat better than the 10th Doctors ‘Just walk like you own the place’ attitude.

A little later, Bill comments on the fact that Regency England is a lot more black than they show in the films. The Doctor’s “So was Jesus” response was pretty much perfect. The episode then introduces us to a group of street urchins of various skintones and despite some initial setbacks – namely the death of one of them – the Doctor and Bill soon forge a friendship with them.

When, somewhere towards the third act, the Doctor and Bill confront a racist aristocrat, it should come as no surprise that it does not end well. This is a good bit of build up and pay off from writer Sarah Dollard – having established more of a healthy relationship between the Doctor and diversity, when he is faced with a truly awful man, he reacts accordingly.

Punching racists is nothing new for the Doctor. Fans of the Third Doctor – Jon Pertwee – may remember his fondness for Venusian Akido. Though he would often seek a diplomatic solution, he wasn’t beyond dealing out the occasional chop to the neck.

In this instance, with the Doctor very much choosing to side with the marginalised against the upper crust, it is very much a case of the Doctor’s true qualities coming through. As the Seventh Doctor once said, ‘You can judge a man by the quality of his enemies’.

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Return of the 10th Planet

The original Mondasian Cybermen return to Doctor Who as filming begins on the final block of the forthcoming series

Return of the 10th Planet

tenth-planet-cybermen-245x300The BBC announced this week that the series 10 finale will feature not just Cybermen, but the original incarnations of the Cybermen. Other photos from the filming on location revealed other incarnations in the mix, too. My initial excitement was incredible to say the least. I have long been a fan of the original 10th Planet Cybermen and to see their return is something I’ve long hoped for. Their pale, fabric faces, their fleshy hands, and their haunting voices are all pure nightmare fuel.

However, my enjoyment and excitement soon gave way to trepidation and worry. I was reminded of a similar feeling from just a few years ago.

Do you remember Asylum of the Daleks?

Back in 2012, series 7 of Doctor Who opened with an episode bringing back the Daleks. All of them. The episode promised the return of all the old favourites, including my personal love and joy – the special weapons Dalek – which I love for its over the top ridiculousness. I even went to a special big screen showing in Manchester to watch, and sure enough, tucked away in a corer, was the special weapons dalek.

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Why Tamsin Greig Should be the Next Doctor

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Why Tamsin Greig Should be the Next Doctor.

With Peter Capaldi announcing that this will be his final year as the Doctor, it’s time for that age old tradition of journalists and internet people arguing over who should be the next Time Lord. So, I’ll do a little series on this, starting with my favourite. For many years I have been strongly advocating this person, and I’d like to explain why.

Tamsin Greig

Perhaps best know for a roles as Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books and Dr. Caroline Todd in Green Wing. Both comedy roles, sure, but she also has some more serious characters under her belt. She played the role of Edith Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, and she has acted for the Royal Shakespeare Company (and won a couple of awards with them).

She certainly has the acting chops, and can span the range of serious, emotional, and silly. The Doctor is a character who demands this kind of acting diversity and ability. Quirkiness is also a great asset to any Doctor, and Greig certainly has a lot of it, along with a strong stage presence and ability to lead a scene.

greig-who-1Also, she has the hair.

Paul McGann once said of the role of the Doctor “It’s a hair job”. This in reference to his getting the job based on photos circulating of him with long, flowing locks. The producers had been horrified when McGann walked on set with all that hair shaved off (he had just finished playing a soldier), and so he was made to wear a wig. A wig that he resents to this day.

Greig’s hair is somewhat reminiscent of David Tennant and Matt Smith’s Doctors, perhaps.

Clips

I’ve gathered a few clips together that I think showcase Tamsin Greig’s skills and make her a perfect candidate to be the 13th Doctor when Chris Chibnall takes over in 2018.

Watch them here