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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

New to Who: Where to Start Doctor Who

A friend of mine knew I was the right person to ask about where to start when he decided to watch Doctor Who. I told him what I thought he'd like best, but it's different for everyone. Though I've never met any of them, I know that people sometimes don't like the series, and I think that is partly because people don't know where to start. Between 11 Doctors (for all intents and purposes) and the 2013 Christmas special, "The Time of the Doctor", being episode 800 and story 240, there's a lot choices. I've made this little flowchart to help you decide which route is best for you, in my advice.

Click on the picture to see it enlarged.
Now, this is only one way of approaching it. What I think is ideal, and what I did, is to start with Nine and get caught up, then watch the Classic episodes.

There will be more posts regarding what you need to know when starting Doctor Who. They can be found here.

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Monday, 25 November 2013

The Time of the Doctor: The 2013 Christmas Special

It seems like Moffat has lost a bit of creativity. It's all been "The _____ of the Doctor" lately. It's been revealed the the 2013 Christmas special--the episode that will feature Matt Smith's regeneration into Peter Capaldi--is titled "The Time of the Doctor."
This is the BBC's synopsis.
Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe’s deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars. And amongst them – the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe.

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The Promise of the Doctor

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” 
-Marcus Aurelius

He is a man is who is never cruel or cowardly; a man who never gives up and never gives in. It is also an idea that I feel everyone should abide by. The Doctor is a hero, and heroes are models of what we all should aspire to be. No, we shouldn't go jump in a vat of radioactive waste or anything. What we need to be a hero is already inside of ourselves. The thing is we need to realize it is what should be done and also remember the concept so we can use it. 

Never Cruel...

The Doctor aims to treat all with respect. They call it "the golden rule," to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The Doctor takes this one seriously, but he, like everyone, falters from time to time. Think of the Fury of a Time Lord- when he gives the Family of Blood the immortality they were seeking, or when he was going to leave the Caecilius family to die in "Fires of Pompeii" (fun fact: Caecilius was a real person! For info on him, click here).

We, as humans, also falter. I'm sure you can think of examples from your own life, and so can I. They tend to grow to be the things we regret.

...or Cowardly...

There is a difference between being afraid and being a coward. Cowardice would be a constant trait of someone, while fear is a temporary emotion. Sure, the Doctor has been scared. He's not immune to fear,and the War Doctor's actions highlight that quite well. Select the following text to be able to read it (there are spoilers!) When he is going to use the Moment to destroy Gallifrey and end the Last Great Time War, he is scared. He fears what the Moment thinks of him. He fears for his future, knowing that he will live on. The Doctor works with his fear and turns it in to fuel for his adventure. 

For us, it can be very hard to get over fear. Humans tend to over-think things and come to conclusions about how people will react and what the conclusions will be. We fuel our fear with self-doubt, which is a large difference between us and the Doctor--he has very little self-doubt. In fact, I'd say the man is too confident at times.

...Never Give Up...

The Doctor is determined to find a solution for everything. In "The Day of the Doctor," (select text to reveal spoilers) he works for four hundred years to find how to save Gallifrey from burning. He even says that he's kind of been working all his lives to save his people, but personally I'm a bit confused. Did the someone tell the First Doctor about it? I just don't know but I'm not going t argue. Also, there is Clara. Eleven refuses to let the mystery of Clara go unsolved.

Humans tend to preserver as well, at least for the most part. When we get the desire to do something, we tend to pursue our goals. It is frustration that is our downfall. We get frustrated that we can't accomplish things when there are roadblocks that seem insurmountable. Sometimes, we say it is okay to "give up" there are times when the effort is not worth the outcome. It's kind of like me and maths. I have a non-verbal learning disorder, which means my mathematics processing skills are severely lacking, but my verbal processing is excellent. Yesterday, I kid you now, I asked someone to not tell me the answer to 18 + 30. It took me a few seconds for me to end up with 48. I know that I don't ave great ability with maths, but admitting that is not giving up. I didn't ask what 18 + 30 was, I specifically asked my friend not to tell me what it was. I try to get better, and that is what counts.

...Never Give In

It's manipulation in this one. Maybe not true manipulation, but being strong. It's been there since the First Doctor, "go forward in all of your belief, and prove that I am not mistaken in mine." That may be him telling his companions to be strong, but the First Doctor was a man who practised what he preached, and even though not all the Doctors did, they all never gave in. They have their principles and live by them. They have their rules and live by them, even though those rules may not always be morally correct. The Doctor always sticks with his convictions.

I, personally, think that this is one thing that we, as a species, have trouble with. We tend to yield to other peoples' desires too much. We get confused easily between what we want to do versus what other people want us to do. I think that even if what we want to do may not necessarily be the right thing to do, sticking to your convictions and beliefs is what is the most important.

and Lastly...

The Doctor's promise doesn't say anything about morals, really. It doesn't say something like "always do good things," which I think is because sometimes doing the "good" thing isn't the "right" thing. The Doctor himself does not admit to being as good man--"good men don't need rules and today is not the day to ask me why I have so many of them." And these are his rules--no, they are stronger than rules, they are his laws.

Going forward, I have created tags for the four elements of the promise, and will tag posts referring to examples of each with the tags.

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What was Tom Baker Doing in "The Day of the Doctor"?

I can’t say I know, but I will explore some possibilities.

I’ll start with my favourite one so far—it was brought up by someone in a comment on The Day of the Doctor: Gallifrey Falls No More. It is this: Baker is playing a character akin to the Watcher in “Logopolis,” the episode in which the Fourth Doctor regenerated into the Fifth Doctor. From the beginning of the story, the Watcher enigmatically tags along with Team TARDIS. When Four falls to his regeneration, the Watcher saunters over to his body and becomes the Fifth Doctor—and I do not believe that he was played by Peter Davison. It’s never been explained why or how this happened, and Moffat may be the man to solve this thirty-plus year-old mystery? I wouldn’t put it past him. I don’t remember where I heard this said, but I believe I read that the Doctor is aware that his regeneration is impending.

Upon meeting the Tom Baker character, Eleven remarked that he never forgets a face. I have a hard time believing that they are going as far to stretch Tom Baker still being the Fourth Doctor. I love the man, but he does not quite look like he used to. In all honesty, even the timeless David Tennant is starting to show his age in the face a bit, but that disbelief I could suspend, and even in “Time Crash,” Peter Davison wasn’t that different. But Tom? He’s barely recognisable. Love you Tom, but it’s true.

The Watcher fuses with the Doctor in Logopolis
“Never forgetting a face” also fuels that he could be the Watcher. The Watcher did not have quite discernible features, so I could deal with that being what he looked like, or an alternate version of what the Watcher looks like.

The same argument is somewhat valid for Tom reprising the Fourth Doctor, but as I said before, I have some doubt about that. They do have discourse about what if they are each other, which could go into either camp of Watcher v. Doctor.

What do you think? Please comment below!

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A Story of Skaro

Once upon a time, there was a planet. It was called Skaro. There was an explosion on Skaro and everone died. The Doctor said "Allons-y" and was flung into space. The Doctor died because he had no oxygen, so he couldn't regenerate. Skaro became inhabited by velociraptor-human hybrids, and everyone had many babies.

Seems a little wonky right? Well, I will tell you why. I minor in French at college, and we did a exercise where we wrote one sentence on an index card and passed it to the next person. I started the story with the sentence "Il etait un fois quand in y avait une planète. Il a s'été appelé Skaro." The story above is an exact translation of what happened, except I conjugated everything correctly because errors in my native are bad.

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Saturday, 23 November 2013

#SaveTheDay: Doctor Who Official 50th Celebration at ExCeL, London

Hello everyone! My name is Eva and I’m about to share with you some of my experience at the Doctor Who 50th Celebration event I attended the past weekend. I apologise it has taken me so long, but believe me, the whole gathering has left quite an impact in my head and it takes some time to put everything down into some coherent words and not just mindless babble.

As you may know, this event was held in London on the weekend 22nd till 24th November, in the congress centre of Excel. Due to the amount of people expected to come they decided to make it a one-day event (meaning that the same programme would be held each day, even though the star guests change according to the date) and divide them into two groups – Ice Warriors and Weeping Angels. I was assigned Ice Warrior on Friday, the first day of the celebration, so many of my objections may have been solved in the later days.

Anyway, on with the show… I’ve been looking forward to the celebration for months. I booked the ticket as soon as they went on sale (the got sold out in few hours) and was lucky enough to get an opportunity of photoshoot with Matt Smith. Arriving to the venue appeared to be an easy task, but underestimated the vastness of the place and little conversance of the place by the staff, so instead of West entrance I found myself in the East. Fortunately that turned out to be no problem at all. Before getting to the panel, the tickets were scanned by the staff and I received a card and lanyard that entitled me to enter the panels of my group, various shows and the arena. I decided to follow the first bigger group of people and unknowingly ended up at the first panel: SFX show.

The Arena was divided into several sections – there was the TARDIS console (screen-used one where the photographs were taken), Costumes sets and props (10 out of 11 Doctors’ costumes were there and many other from both New and Classic era), Make-up trailer (they had David Tennant’s wig there, hehe), Pub quiz (you could test your knowledge of Doctor Who there), Production trailer (a double-decker used as a canteen), visual effects (the actual models used before the CGI and you got to talk to Mike Tucker and Mat Irvine – specialists in the area), Millenium FX (where the shows about the prosthetics for DW monsters were held), Sound Lab (with all the ‘ancient’ equipment they used in early days of the show and you could chat with Dick Mills there as well). Of course there was the merchandise corner, always overflowing with crowds and there was a massive queue to enter the BBC merchandise store.

There were two more levels with DW goodness to raise a bit of panic about not being able to attend everything you’d like to (which was truly impossible). On the second floor they arranged a lounge for TARDIS ticket holders with refreshments. The third floor was more Con-like, with screening room that played Doctor Who episodes with actual live commentaries (so it was better if you’ve seen the episode before, because all the guests talked about the behind-the-scene and funny incidents and such); and with Classic lounge (which offered comfort to Classic Who fans to listen to stories and interviews of previous companions).

Okay, I hope the introduction is over and I didn’t put you off with all the information. But there’s still so much more to come…

My Experience

Now to the fun stuff. As I stated before, the whole convention was a bit confusing at first. I had no idea where to go and was just herded into the Theatre, where I sat down and prepared myself for the unexpected. It was really a huge space, filled with chairs and podium in the front. I could clearly see the screen as the BBC trailer for the Special episode was shown. I must admit, my mood went up the ceiling. That’s when I finally admitted to myself: I’m in London about to witness something unbelievable for sure!

They screened variety of clips for us while we waited for the SFX show to start, mostly the trailer and the opening tune. Then the presenter, Dallas Campbell (to be honest, this was the first time I heard of this guy, is he well-known in Britain?), started the show and invited the special effects guy, whose name I unfortunately never caught up. They talked about blowing up Daleks, how it’s important to have a break-up Dalek so they don’t fly away in pieces (which might hurt someone). Lot of things in Doctor Who nowadays are made in CGI, but the prosthetics and Visual Effects are always needed as well. Especially an explosion. He liked the explosion behind David Tennant in the "End of Time" (even though it was made higher through CGI). The Guy also mentions that he set David Tennant’s hair on fire (by accident, but I think he was just a little bit jealous, hehe).

Of course they had to involve the audience too. So after blowing up the Dalek, another bang was heard (which made me jump, it was so out of the blue!) and Cyberman stepped out the cocoon that was on stage. Dallas C. asked who’d like to learn how to kill a Cyberman and chose a kid to be the Doctor and a girl to be his companion (she does nothing but stand, really). Billie Piper’s gun ("The Stolen Earth") was brought and the kid got to shoot the Cyberman! They showed us the remote fire system duct-taped to Cyberman’s back. I thought it was quite clever. Then came the wind (I’m sure most of you have seen it, a huge fan really) and the snow (which didn’t quite work). The snow showed up to be a surprise to me. It’s made of paper! All the snow you’ve seen on set is made of paper! How this is humanly possible is beyond my capacity... The nicest thing was when Dallas pointed out a Dalek in the audience. It was a very nice costume. Well, the rest were question about the Anniversary episode and only one thing was revealed: that it’d be a show (as it turned out to truly be), with lots of explosions and it was the "trickiest one to make, physical effects-wise."

After a hearty applause we were rushed out the Theatre by Daleks' threat to be exterminated (it did the trick: we were all out in five minutes). My next stop turned out to be a photoshoot with Matt Smith! I hurry-scurry run through the venue in a search of a map to locate the photo studio. Fortunately all the visitors were helpful and with an aid from a German couple I found the studio, respectively the queue to the studio, in no time. With a time to spare, I chatted with the pair. Both coming to celebrate the Anniversary from Germany, enjoying the London along the way and both were pretty excited about the Special. We reached the studio in 20 minutes and let me tell you, when I first saw Matt, I wanted to run. I and the German girl had a bit of a fangirly moment. From all I could see, Matt was extremely polite to whoever he met, posed and chit-chatted a bit. When it was my turn, I gave him a smile, introduced myself, passed over the greetings from Czech Whovians and asked him to dance with me in the photo. It all lasted less than a minute, but it was a pleasure. What a bigger surprise awaited for me at home when I looked at the picture and noticed there’s another one. I got two pics with Matt and they already hang on the wall.

After leaving the German couple with the photos in my hands, I practically run to the Arena so I could have another picture taken, this time in the TARDIS console. What I wasn’t prepared for was the line that stretched throughout the Arena and I knew I’d end up there for ages. The queue slowly proceeded to the TARDIS, but it could have been miles away for all knew. Solid hunger forced me to buy a little snack (my first food that day for I woke up quite late to have any time for a proper breakfast) and waited and shifted and waited. As I was closing to the TARDIS’ door I remembered I also purchased an autograph from Sylvester McCoy. Being just few meters from my final destination, I had no other option then to ask the staff guy to hold my place for me so I wouldn’t miss Sylvester.

Sylvester was such a sweetie. I was one of the last to show up yet I had to wait at least 15 minutes because Sylvester talked to everyone who wanted to have a small talk with him. I let him sign my 50 Years edition book of Remembrance of the Daleks and thanked him for his performance as Witch Prime in Minister of Chance Sonic Movie (if you haven’t already, check this one out. Also starring Paul McGann, Julian Wadham, Jed Brophy, Lauren Crace among others. They just finished crowd fund-raising to make a Movie. The Sonic Movie is free to download here) and he even remembered him dancing with me at HobbitCon! Few photos with him and off I went, back to the TARDIS.

As I got back, I noticed with some horror that the guy I spoke to and who would let me back to the line where I was, was replaced by someone else. I tried very hard to convince him that I hadn’t my photo taken yet and I was promised to be let back into the line. And that’s when my ‘personal’ Doctor came in.

His name was Richard and he simply said that he knows me. I was bit confused but the guy said ‘oh, you know him, you can go’ and so I was back in line! I don’t think I would be mentally capable of waiting in the line from the start. I’d end up in a little ball of tears somewhere. Anyway, I finally had a company, a Brit living in the States and we had a very lovely chat. At that time I was getting quite confused whether any Brits actually were at the Event at all…

The time flies fast when you have a partner to chat and laugh with. He turned out to be a massive DW fan, who bought the family ticket because the single ones were sold out! And he built TARDIS out of Lego (which looked impressive, positioned by the sea with waves crashing around it) and knitted 4th Doctor’s scarf by himself. We got to the door in no time and then I entered the TARDIS though the main door and… I was taken aback. I was in the TARDIS. Everything was flashing and moving and I had to be moved to the position to have the pic taken. I tried the best pose I could master but all I could see was the wonderful machine. The huge grin that appeared on my face hadn’t left me till I was back in Purfleet, where my temporary base was set.

I bid goodbye to Richard, a little sad to leave such a good companion behind, and let out to explore the rest of the venue.  

I started with the Costumes, sets & props. There were 10 Doctor’s costumes (3rd Doctor’s missing), which were beautiful and you could examine the patterns on each of them real close. Then there were companions, Donna Noble’s dress, Martha’s outfit, Amy Pond’s Kissagram, Rory’s adorable shirt (with him and Amy in the heart on the chest of the shirt), Jack Harkness’ coat and so many more. There were placed Classic costumes and props as well. The one prop I remembered clearly was the Snowmen-making machine from the Snowmen episode. Quite cool thing to look at.

Next stop was the Make-up trailer.It’s just mirrors and chairs and frankly I couldn’t imagine sitting in those things for few hours. There’s David Tennant’s wig and I just kept on running my fingers through it. Think what you want, but it was a sensational feeling.

I kept on wandering through the crowd, stopping by Visual Effects, where I got to talk to people who build the miniatures and next to them we could touch glass-like shards, which were in fact made of some kind of jelly or touch the insides of the Dalek. I had to climb inside the Production trailer (even though it looked more like canteen) to see how far the whole place stretches. Awesome view, overlooking the crowds you knew where your people, people who shared the same passion for one Doctor we all call our own.

As mentioned at the beginning, there were three other stages in the Arena. I only caught glimpses at each of them. I listened, while waiting in the queue for the TARDIS photo, to Dick Mills talking about creation of the iconic opening tune of Doctor Who. He went layer by layer and revealed its complexity. Then I saw the Walk like Cyberman show, where they called children and taught them how to move and shoot like a proper Cybermen (we all shall be upgraded soon, no doubt about that). And the last one I saw was a stunt school, where they showed the audience various tricks, at times very impressive.

Of course, there was the merchandise corner, filled with T-shirt, Big Finish audiobooks…

Unfortunately I missed the Regeneration panel with Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davison and Nicolas Briggs. I nearly missed the beginning of Eleventh hour panel, starring Steven Moffat, Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman. I made just in time to get a decent seat and the talk began with discussion about the idea of Matt’s costume, which should have been all piraty, blazers, and wasn’t supposed to have the bowtie (Moffat didn’t like it) but upon seeing Matt in it, he changed his decision. Moffat was being sassy throughout the panel, throwing stuff like ‘old boffin’ which should have described the perception of Matt to Steven. There was actually a lot about casting the 11th Doctor, as you may have heard before, because Matt was taken almost immediately. It was about his eyes, which looked so old, yet set in such a young (lovely) face.
“People get all emotional, and they don’t even make it. Imagine how we feel about the end.” 
-Steven Moffat
They added that the saddest moment of filming was definitely the last scene of Matt (which comes this Christmas), the scariest monsters were the Weeping Angels for Matt, the Silents for the director. and for Jenna, the Whispermen. When the panel reached its end, all the guests earned a very long and heartfelt applause, it sounded as thank you from fans to Matt.

The last bit I decided to explore was the third floor with its screening room. I signed up for the screening of School Reunion. It was really commentary about the episode, here present were the producer and costume designer. A few fun-facts: they had 4 schools in which it was filmed, the best costume wore Rose (the school canteen worker), Mickey caught himself talking to the metal dog (K-9) instead of to the actor who voiced him instead.

After this, I bid my last goodbye and farewell to the venue, carrying unforgettable memories and warmth in my heart.

One more thing, I spotted quite a lot of cosplayers. Do some googling and find them. They are awesome.
If you made it this far, congratulations, and a huge thank you. It was an honour and privilege to be able to attend and I’m most grateful if I was able to pass some of the awesomeness along.

More photos can be found here.


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Ley, Trains, and The Day of the Doctor

Hello! It is my solemn duty to report that Ley will not be covering the 50th until, at the earliest, 11pm EST and Monday night (25th Nov) at the absolute latest. She is traveling and thought that the Wi-Fi on the train would be good enough to stream the episode; alas, she was mistaken.

The good news is this: Seth will be writing about the episode as soon as it is over and Eva will be posting about the ExCeL celebration soon as well!

Don't forget to come back when Ley has the post up. It will be announced via our Twitter and Facebook, as all our posts are.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Ley is Published!!

My new article on the Doctor and the hero archetype will be the
topic of a lecture at the University of Arts London in a course on Doctor Who.

To the untrained eye, it may not seem like wildly popular British cultural phenomenon Doctor Who draws on advanced psychological and complex literary theories and is simply a show about time travel and scary aliens and bug-eyed monsters. But one reason it has the right to call itself the longest-running Science Fiction program in television history, is because it transcends cultural lines. The Doctor is not just the Last of the Time Lords, he is a hero. Truly, at the heart of it, he is the very definition of a hero. Carl Jung, a Swiss pioneer in Psychiatry, first devised a system through which he could categorize everyone in the world into nine different categories, which he called ‘archetypes,’ the best known of these being the hero archetype. Joseph Campbell, an American author, later built upon Jung’s theory in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and Dr. Bryan M. Davis made a nine-part amalgamation of their numerous criteria in his work at Stephen F. Austin University. The Doctor fills all of the nine criteria of being a hero and that is why so many are transfixed with his story.

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Coverage of the ExCeL Celebration

As most of you know, I had a ticket to go to the 50th Celebration in London, but as I live in the US and am a student, I could not afford the airfare. But fret not, my Whovians! A TARDIStyle fan from the Czech Republic, Eva, is at the event as I write this. She is taking photos, video,  tweeting from the TARDIStyle account (if we get it to work), and writing a post about the celebration tonight. Thank to Eva for saving the day!

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#SaveTheDay Hyper-Hype

Tomorrow The Day of the Doctor will air. Our wait will be over. Remember when The Name of the Doctor ended, and the countdown to 23rd November began? It was something like 190 days until the 50th. The wait seemed unbearable, almost impossible. But--now it is here.

The celebration at ExCeL in London runs from today until Sunday. Monday, the special in 3D (you have no idea how not amused I will be if the 3D glasses are not the void-spec kind) will be shown in the US. will be over. Done.

The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who will have come and past. It will be...over.

Of course, it is still the Year of the Doctor. The fandom will relentlessly continue, but there will be something missing. I can't quite say what it is, but something will be gone.

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#SaveTheDay Showcase: The First Doctor--William Hartnell

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

William Hartnell was born 8 January 1908 in St. Pancras, London. He was the only child of his unmarried mother, Lucy. The Hartnell family owned a farm, where he enjoyed riding horses. William spent holidays there but lives mostly with a foster mother. Although Hartnell tried to find his father, he was never able to. After school, he had little prospects and experimented with crime. He joined a boy's boxing club, where he met Hugh Blaker. Blaker would later become his mentor and unofficial guardian through training Hartnell as a jockey. After that, Blaker arranged for Hartnell to study theatre (a passion of Blaker's) at the Imperial Service College. William found the environment to be to confining and ran away from the school, although he would later end up living next to Blaker until the 1960s.

In 1925, William was hired as stagehand by Frank Benson. The job opened his gateway to the stage. In the next year, Hartnell performed in multiple Shakespearian plays, including As You Like It, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, and Macbeth. It was through the play  Miss Elizabeth's Prisoner in 1928 that Hartnell met his wife, Heather McIntyre. The couple would have one daughter together. Hartnell made his first of over sixty film appearances in 1932 in Say It With Music.

Hartnell served in the Tank Corps in WWII for eighteen months before being invalided out after a nervous breakdown. He then returned to acting, playing comedic characters for a while, until 1944 he was cast as Sergeant Ned Fletcher in The Way Ahead. His portrayal of the character started a pattern of typecasting as the no-nonsense-tough-guy, playing policemen, soldiers, and thugs.

As we all know, Hartnell accepted the offer from Verity Newman to play the Doctor in 1963. He revealed after his tenure that he took the role to get out of the typecasting. Interestingly enough that is the exact reason many actors left the role of the Doctor. Although his Doctor is now remembered as being one of the least emotional, gruffest Doctors. No matter our opinion of the First Doctor, we owe so much to William Hartnell as fans. Without doubt, Doctor Who would be very different had he not been the first man for the job.

Hartnell died in 1975 of heart failure after several years of illness. He was 67.

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Second Doctor--Patrick Troughton

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

Patrick George Troughton  was born in Mill Hill in Middlesex, England on 25 March 1920. He had one older brother, Alec, and a younger sister, Mary. He attended Mill Hill School. At the school he acted in a performance of Bees on the Boat Deck in March of 1937.

Later, Troughton studied under Eileen Thrordike at the Embassy School of Acting. After that, he won a scholarship to the Leighton Raillus Studios at the John Drew Memorial Theatre in Long Island, New York. In 1939, he joined the Tonbridge Repertory Company.

In WWII, Patrick came home form the US on a Belgian ship, which was struck by a sea mine and sank. He escaped on a lifeboat. He joined the Royal Navy in 1940. Patrick was commissioned as Lieutenant with the Royal Navy Reserve, and was deployed on East Coast Convoy duty from February to August of 1941. After that, he was with Coastal Forces' Motor Gun Boats until 1945. Troughton was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, and was Mentioned in Dispatches. Interestingly, he would wear a tea cosy on his head in the colds of the North Sea. It doesn't get much more British than that.
After the war, he returned to theatre. He was with several troupes, and made his film debut in Laurence Oliver's extremely influential Hamlet, playing the Player King in the "play within the play". In 1953, he became the first actor to ever portray Robin Hood on television. He said often that television was his favourite medium.

When Patrick took over for Hartnell in 1966, Doctor Who producer Innes Lloyd hand-picked Troughton for the role. He said of him, "There's only one man in England who can take over, and that's Patrick Troughton."  Don't worry, Pat. No pressure. As per many actors who played the Doctor, Troughton left after three years in fear of being typecast afterwards. This wrote an unwritten law--"The Troughton Rule"--in acting, to not stay on one show for more than three years.

After his time on Doctor Who, Patrick went on to play many, many roles, like all the ex-Doctors. He did a bit two much--his doctor said that he was stressing himself and it manifested in the form of a serious heart condition. He was not an extremely healthy person, so he should of heeded the doctor's advice to slow down, but he did not. he had two major heart attacks--one in 1979 and the other in 1984, both of which prevented him from working for several months. In 1987, Patrick attended the Magnum Opus Con II, a sci-fi convention in Georgia, US, against the doctor's warning him not to leave the UK.On the first day, he seemed happy and healthy, even celebrating his belated birthday. The next day, he had a heart attack at breakfast and died instantly, according to the paramedics.

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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Third Doctor--Jon Pertwee

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

John Devon Roland Pertwee was born 7 July 1919 in Chelsea, London. He was of Huguenot ancestry, the surname being an Anglicisation of "Perthuis," which originated from "de Perthuis de Laillevault." He was the son of Roland Pertwee, a noted screenwriter and actor and was a distant cousin of Bill Pertwee. His parents separated shortly after his birth, and his father remarried and he did not have a relationship with him after that.

Pertwee attended Frensham Heights School in Surrey, Sherborne School in Dorset, and also several other school from which he was expelled. After, he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but was expelled from there as well, after refusing to play a Greek "wind" (I don't know what that is...) in his lessons. Also, he was accused of writing about the teachers on the bathroom walls. What a baddass!

It was during his time in the Navy
that we woke up from what must
have been a crazy night drinking 
with a cobra tattooed on his arm,
 not remembering getting it done.
Pertwee was in the Royal Navy, and during WWII, he worked in the Naval Intelligence Division. There, he worked with Ian Fleming (the author of James Bond) and reported directly to Winston Churchill himself. In a 1994 interview published in 2013, he says,
I did all sorts. Teaching commandos how to use escapology equipment, compasses in brass buttons, secret maps in white cotton handkerchiefs, pipes you could smoke that also fired a .22 bullet. All sorts of incredible things.
He sailed on the HMS Hood and was transferred off the ship just before the ship sank, and all the crew perished.

Directly after the war, he quickly made a name for himself in radio comedy. He also played multiple stage roles, including Lycus in the 1963 London production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He appeared in many films as well, such as Ladies Who Do. He had no trouble finding television roles as well.

He played the Third Doctor from 1970-74.

Jon married twice, first in 1955 to Jean Marsh. They divorced five years later. Also in 1960, he married Ingeborg Rhoesa. They had two children, Dariel (1961) and Sean (1964). Both sons became actors. He stayed with Rhoesa until his death from a heart attack on 20 May 1996 at 76 years of age. This was just before the UK release of the 1996 Doctor Who telemovie, which was dedicated to him. He had just finished work on his book Doctor Who: I am the Doctor - Jon Pertwee's Final Memoir on 8 May 1996 (which was my second birthday!) The book was published that November.

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"Father's Day" Podcast

Here is the podcast on "Father's Day"
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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Fourth Doctor--Tom Baker

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

Tom Baker was born 20 January 1934 in Liverpool. His mother was a cleaner and his father was a sailor who was rarely home. Baker attended Cheswardine Boarding School until the age of 15, when he decided to be a Roman Cathloic monk. He lived in the lifestyle for six years, but lost his faith and left. From 1955-57, Baker served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. It was then he started acting, first as a hobby, and became professional at the tail end of the 1960s.

Baker was a member of the National Theatre Company, from the late 60s until the early 70s. His first big film break was as Grigori Rasputin in Nicolas and Alexandra in 1971. For the performance, he was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, one for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the other for Best Newcomer. In 1973, Tom appeared in The Vault of Horror as Moore, an artist whose paintings had voodoo power in them. Also in 1973, Baker played Koura in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.

He accepted the role of the Doctor in 1974 and stayed until 1981, making him the Doctor with the most hours of footage. Like most Doctors, Baker has no trouble finding roles after leaving the show.

Tom has two sons, Piers and Daniel, from his first marriage to Anna Wheatcroft in 1961. He and his sons lost contact until Piers found himself in the same pub as his father in New Zealand. He married Doctor Who co-star Lalla Ward (Romana II) in 1980, and divorced sixteen months later. Baker has been married to Sue Jerrard, an assistant editor on Doctor Who since 1986. She and baker lived in France between the years of 2003 and 2006. They now reside on the East Sussex countryside. Baker describes himself as irrelgious or Buddhist, but he is not anti-religion. He is skeptical on the concept. Politically, Baker has expressed dislike for both the Conservative and Labour parties.

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Monday, 18 November 2013

#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Fifth Doctor--Peter Davidson

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

Peter M. G. Moffett was born on 13 April 1951 in Streatham, London. His father was an electrical engineer, originally from Guyana. Shortly after his birth, the family mover to Surrey. There, he became a member of the Byfleet Players, and amateur theatre company. Before he started his career as an actor, Peter obtained three O-levels at Winston Churchill School. He also took odd jobs, including one as a mortuary attendant.

Peter attended the Central School of Speech and Drama. His first theatre job was the assistant stage manager of the Nottingham Playhouse. To avoid confusion with the actor/director Peter Moffatt (with whom he would later work), he adopted the stagename of Peter Davison. Peter's first television appearance was in The Tomorrow People, a children's sci-fi show. He co-starred with Sandra Dickinson, whom he married on 26 December 1978. The couple would stay together until 1994.

Peter had a hard time finding jobs in the mid-1970s. He worked 18 months in a Twickenham tax office. The lull came to an ent in 1976 when Davison was offered a prominent fole in the ITV mini-series Love for Lydia. In 1978, he was cast as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small. It was through this programme that he became a household name. He has said that he was cast because he bore a resemblance to Robert Hardy, who played his older brother in the series. In 1981, Davison played  the Dish of the Day in a television adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In 1984, he and his wife had a daughter, Georgia Moffett.

Davison became the youngest actor to play the Doctor in 1981 at age 29. By this time he was already well-known. He heeded the advice of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton to leave the show after three years. Peter had a fear of being type-cast after playing such an iconic role. He also believed that he was too young to play the Doctor, as all his predecessors were over the age of 40. In 1999, Davison lent his voice as the Doctor  to over 50 Big Finish audio adventures.

After the role, Davison found much success in the film/television industry and also appeared in numerous live theatre roles. He currently is a regular on Law and Order UK as Henry Sharpe, co staring with Tenth Doctor Companion Freema Agyeman

Davidson is politically active. He was one of 48 celebrities to sign a letter warning voters against a Conservative Party policy towards the BBC in 2010. Also in 2010, Davidson spoke in a Labour Party election broadcast. 

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Sunday, 17 November 2013

#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Sixth Doctor--Colin Baker

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

Colin Baker was born 8 June 1943 in Waterloo, London. Early in his life, his family moved to Rochdale. He attended St. Bede's College where he studied to become a solicitor. At age 23, he decided to change careers and enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (side note, the author hopes to take classes there once she moves to London in 2016).

One of his first professional acting jobs was in 1970 as a supporting role in a three-part BBC adaptation of Jean-Paul Sartre's The Roads to Freedom. In 1972, he returned to BBC airwaves as Anatole Kuragain in War and Peace. From 1974-76, he played one of his most prominent roles: Paul Merroney in The Brothers. He also appeared in the last episode of Fall of Eagles, was a guest star in Blake's 7, and in a BBC production of A.J. Cronin's The Citadel.

Before playing the Sixth Doctor, he appeared in Doctor Who as Commander Maxil in Arc of Infinity in 1983. Maxil was one of the few characters to actually shoot the Doctor (Peter Davidson).
Outside of acting, he became an avid supporter of awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome after the death of his son, Jack, in 1984.

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Saturday, 16 November 2013

#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Seventh Doctor--Sylvester McCoy

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith was born 20 August 1943 in Dudoon, Scottland. His father was killed in the Second World War a couple of months before he was born, and he was brought up by his mother, his grandmother and aunts. He attended St. Mun's, a local Dunoon school.

Originally, he wanted to be a preist or monk, but gave it up and then worked for a theatre box office. Here, he was discovered by Ken Campbell. Campbell offered him a role in "The Ken Campbell Roadshow." In that, his best known act was a stuntman named Sylveste McCoy. A reviewer of the show mistakenly called him Sylveste McCoy, and he adopted it as his stagename, and years later he added the "r" to the end.

He is adept at playing both the xylophone and the spoons. He can also juggle and once gained a reputation for stuffing live ferrets down his trousers.

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Friday, 15 November 2013

#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Eighth Doctor--Paul McGann

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

Paul McGann was born 14 November 1959 in Liverpool, England. His parents encouraged he and his brothers to develop their talent for acting from an early age. He attended Cardinal Allen Grammar School, where one of his teachers, encouraged him to apply to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He followed the advice, and has had quite the career since.

McGann's first major role was in Give Us A Break, a television series about an exceptional snooker player (his character).

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

"The Night of the Doctor" Reaction

"I'm a Doctor...but probably not the one you're expecting."
You have to hand it to them--I had no idea Paul McGann was going to pop up in this.

There we have it. Undeniable proof  that the speculations were correct: John Hurt is a Doctor. Or, as the credits put it, he is "The War Doctor."

But what does it all mean? I don't know. But I'll try to make sense of it as I write.

Cass, a sassy young girl who wants to see the universe (Clara??), is pretty much about to die. But then her salvation comes in the form of the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann. He looks a lot different since we saw him last--different hair, different clothes, but his personality remains the same.

Cass denies to go aboard the with the Doctor as soon as she hears that it's bigger on the inside. Because it's a TARDIS and he's a Time Lord. She snatches her wrist out of the Doctor's hand, "Don't touch me!!"

He knows exactly what her reaction was about and explains: he's not a part of the war and never was. But she doesn't care. He rebukes, "at least I'm not a Dalek!" She slams on a button to close the bulkhead and says, "who can tell the difference anymore?"

What had the Time Lords done in the Last Great Time War (LGTW) to make her react like that? To call the Doctor a Dalek? While we do see similarities to the Doctor and a Dalek in S1E6, "Dalek," (topic of that week's podcast), that's far in the future.

Then, they crash on the the planet Karn, home to the Sisterhood of Karn. This is a callback to the 1976 episode, "The Brain of Morbus." The Sisterhood was once ruled Gallifrey until the Time Lords booted them from power. So they are a crucial part of the history of Gallifery, which I predict we will learn much more about in "The Name of the Doctor." The leader of the Sisterhood, Ohila, sees the crash and says, "Here he is again...the man to end it all."

What is he going to end? Cass pointed that a lot of the universe had been destroyed with the war. Is he the one to end the universe? No--I think they imply that he is the one to end the war.

The Doctor critiques the Sisterhood--they are the Keepers of the Sacred Flame of Eternal Life (or eternal boredom, as the Doctor says...) That means two things. One, he's starting to think--Ten put it best-- that "a Time Lord lives too long..." (End of Time pt 2). And also--confirmed by the fact that Ohila talks about the improvements of regeneration--that the Sisterhood is responsible for making regeneration possible for Time Lords. Plus, one can now choose what the regeneration will be like.

Then, Eight does something. He takes Cass' belt, thinks about how he couldn't save her and says to Ohila, "Warrior...I don't suppose there's any need for a doctor anymore." Before drinking the elixir, he asks, "Will it hurt?" Ohila respond that it will. He says, "Good." He wants pain. Why? Why does he want to be in pain?He says the names of companions from the audio adventures (so they are officially cannon now!!), salutes his friends and companions...then apologises to Cass. He says, "Physician, heal thyself," a proverb from Luke 4:23. The common explanation of the proverb in context of the Bible is that, during Jesus' resurrection, he expects for people from Nazareth, his home, to use this phrase to criticise him, and that the people of Nazareth expect him to do miracles there like he has done other places. For the Doctor, it translates to saying that he is being expected to end the LGTW. The parallel could not be more striking, especially comparing the resurrection to regeneration.

He drinks the elixir then and regenerates. The first thing he does is touch Cass in sorrow and then he puts on her belt, prepared to fight with the memory of the the woman he killed.

The reflection of the newly-regenerated "War Doctor"
What happens next is key. He says, "Doctor no more," which corresponds directly to the end of "The Name of the Doctor" when Eleven says that what the War Doctor did was not in the name of the Doctor. We see his reflection, and it is younger than the white-haired John Hurt we are used to (but by the voice and credits we know it is supposed to be him). What does that mean? It means that this "War Doctor," as the credits put it, has, when we see him in "The Day of the Doctor," it has been quite some time--as the War Doctor we see then is more wrinkled and has white hair. So this has to mean that Time Lords do age some, visually. But how much time does it take to make the one in the reflection the one in the 50th? I guess only time will tell (see what I did there!).

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#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Ninth Doctor--Christopher Eccleston

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

Christopher Eccleston was born on 16 February 1964 in Langworthy, England. He is the youngest of three brothers, Alan and Keith. They are twins, eight years older than him. Eccleston became head boy at Joseph Eastham High School. 

At age 19, he was inspired to become and actor by television dramas such as Boys from the Blackstuff. He did a two-year Performance Foundation course at Salford Tech, and then trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He was influenced by Ken Loach's Kes and Albert Finney in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Christopher quickly developed a love of preforming classics, such as Shakespeare, Checkhov, and Molière. He was 25 when he made his professional stage début in the Bristol Old Vic's production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He found himself underemployed as an actor, and found work in strange places (for an actor) at supermarkets, building sites, and as an artist's model. 

Christopher finally got the roles he was looking in for in 1991 as Derek Bentley in Let Him Have It. He became a regular staple of drama quickly. His film career was successful as well, cast in many action/adventure films like Gone in 60 Seconds, and 28 Days Later.

On 2 April 2004, the BBC announced that Eccleston had been cast as the Ninth Doctor. He was the first actor to play the role born after the series began. On 30 March 3005, stating that he was leaving the role because he did not want to become typecast afterwards. The statement was released without his concent. He later said that his decision was influenced by the "environment and culture" of the production had in the studio, but he was proud to have played the part.

Christopher is married and has one child, Albert, who was born in February 2012. He is an atheist. He ran marathons regularly until 2000 and is a fan of Manchester United. He is greatly involved in charity work. He is a Mencap charity ambassador and and supports the British Red Cross.

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

#SaveTheDay Countdown: The Tenth Doctor--David Tennant

As a countdown to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor
Who, TARDIStyle will be showcasing one Doctor a day.

David John McDonald was born 18 April 1971 in Bathgate, Scotland. His father, Sandy, is a prominent (now retired) minister of the Church of Scotland and was the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

At the age of three, David decided that he wanted to be an actor to play the role of the Doctor. He pursued acting, as he put it, "absurdly single-mindedly," although his parents tried to steer him to a more practical profession. Tennant attended Ralston Primary and Paisley Grammar School, where he had an English teacher by the name of Moira Robertson, who  was among the first to see David's potential in acting. David participated in school productions in primary and secondary school. He had his first "real" role in a production at age 11, and actress Edith MacArthur saw him perform and told his parents that their son was destined to become a brilliant performer. David took Saturday classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He passed an audition in the Academy's BA program in Acting at 16, becoming one of their youngest students. He graduated the program at 20 and was flatmates with actress Louise Delamere at the program. The two are still friends.

David's first professional role post-graduation was the play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and his first major television role was Campbell, a bi-polar patient in the 1994 series Takin' Over the Asylum. When David joined the British Actor's Equity Union, he assumed the stagename David Tennant, after Pet Shop Boys' leading man, Neil Tennant, as the name David McDonald was already in use in the Union. David's extensive CV includes many Shakespearean roles, but none more acclaimed than his Hamlet in 2009 with the Royal Shakespeare Company

David is married to Georgia Moffet. They have three children together. A little-known fact is that David wears contacts on screen as he needs corrective lenses.

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