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TDP 179: Frontios

Frontios is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four twice-weekly parts from January 26 to February 3, 1984.



[edit] Synopsis

Its inhabitants having fled a dying Earth, the planet Frontios is mankind’s last colony and the location of hidden dangers.

[edit] Plot

The TARDIS lands in the far future, on the planet Frontios, where some of the last vestiges of humanity are struggling for survival. The planet is being attacked by meteorite showers orchestrated by an unknown enemy responsible for the disappearance of several prominent colonists, including the colony’s leader, Captain Revere. After witnessing Revere being “eaten by the ground,” Security Chief Brazen engages in a cover up. To the public, Captain Revere died of natural causes. After a state funeral, Revere’s son, Plantaganet, assumes the leadership of the colony.

The TARDIS is mysteriously affected by a meteorite storm and dragged down to the planet by gravity. The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough emerge, in the middle of the bombardment, to investigate. Despite his earlier reservations about getting involved, the Doctor violates the cardinal rule of the Time Lords by helping the colonists who were injured by the meteorite bombardment and by providing medical assistance.

Needing better light in the medical facility, the Doctor sends Tegan and Turlough to fetch a portable mu-field activator and five argon discharge globes from the TARDIS. However, once they arrive, they find that the ship’s inner door is stuck, preventing them from getting beyond the console room. Norna, Tegan and Turlough obtain an acid-battery from the research room to power the lights. On their way back, however, they are forced to render the Warnsman unconscious to avoid capture. Another bombardment occurs and, in the Warnsman’s absence, catches the colony unawares. When the skies clear, the TARDIS has gone, seemingly destroyed; all that is left is the Doctor’s hat stand.

Plantaganet orders the execution of the Doctor, but Turlough intercedes, using the TARDIS hat stand as a weapon. Plantaganet tries to attack the Doctor with a crowbar but suffers a heart attack. The Time Lord manages to save his life using the battery, but Plantaganet is later dragged into the ground by some mysterious force.

The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough discover that the culprits are the Gravis and his Tractators, giant insects with incredible powers over gravity. Turlough briefly undergoes a sort of nervous breakdown due to the fact that the Tractators once attempted to invade his home world long ago; his mind contains a deep, horrific "race memory" of the event. The disappearing colonists were being used by the Tractators to run their mining machines. Plantaganet was kidnapped to replace Captain Revere, the current driver who is now brain dead. The Gravis intends to transform Frontios into an enormous spaceship. Once successful, he would be able to spread the terror of the Tractators across the galaxy. The Doctor, Turlough, Brazen and his guards rescue Plantaganet by knocking out the Gravis. However, Brazen gets caught by one of the mining machines and is killed while the others escape.

Tegan wanders around in the tunnels and comes across bits of the TARDIS’s inner walls. She is chased by the Gravis, who has now regained consciousness, and two of his Tractators. She inadvertently comes upon one of the TARDIS’s inner doors and she opens it to find herself in the TARDIS console room, which has bits of rock wall mixed in with its normal walls. She also finds the Doctor, Turlough and Plantaganet hovering around the console. The Doctor ushers the Gravis in and then tricks him into reassembling the TARDIS by using his power over gravity. The Gravis pulls the TARDIS back into its normal dimension. Once fully assembled, the Gravis is effectively cut off from his fellow Tractators, which revert to a harmless state.

The Doctor and Tegan deposit the now-dormant Gravis on the uninhabited planet of Kolkokron. Returning to Frontios, the Doctor gives Plantaganet the hat stand as a farewell token and asks that his own involvement in the affair not be mentioned to anyone, especially the Time Lords. Once the TARDIS has left Frontios, its engines start making a worrisome noise. The Doctor appears to be helpless as the ship is being pulled towards the centre of the universe.

[edit] Cast notes

[edit] Continuity

  • No explanation is given for companion Kamelion's absence from this story.
  • This story remains, to date, the sole appearance of the Tractators in the television series. However, on March 6, 1984, then Doctor Who script editor Eric Saward wrote to Bidmead a request that he write a sequel to Frontios, which would have featured the return of the Tractators and the Doctor’s arch nemesis, the Master. This lost story is brought back to life (minus the Master) in the Big Finish audio The Hollows of Time.
  • The short story Life After Queth featured in Short Trips: Farewells details an adventure the Doctor, Tegan and the Gravis had on the way to Kolkokron.
  • The Big Finish audio story Excelis Dawns details an adventure the Doctor had on the way back to Frontios.

[edit] Production

Serial details by episode
EpisodeBroadcast dateRun timeViewership
(in millions)
"Part One" 26 January 1984 24:39 8.0
"Part Two" 27 January 1984 24:35 5.8
"Part Three" 2 February 1984 24:30 7.8
"Part Four" 3 February 1984 24:26 5.6
  • The story’s working title was The Wanderers.
  • This story was the final televised story written by former Doctor Who script editor, Christopher H. Bidmead.
  • The actors who played the Tractators were all trained dancers, as the script called for the actors to curl around their victims like woodlice. In the event, the Tractator costumes produced were too inflexible for this to be done.
  • It is unstated what happens to Kamelion, who has been inside the TARDIS since The King's Demons. The writers of The Discontinuity Guide theorise that he is disguised as the hatstand.[5]
  • The final episode ends on a cliffhanger, with the TARDIS dragged into a time corridor. The episode was followed by a trailer of clips for the following serial, Resurrection of the Daleks, which continued the story.
  • In addition to the death of Peter Arne, production designer Barrie Dobbins committed suicide after finishing most of the preparations for the story. His assistant had to complete Dobbins' work.

[edit] In print

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Series Target novelisations
Release number 91
Writer Christopher H. Bidmead
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0-426-19780-1
Release date 10 December 1984

The story was novelised by Bidmead and published by Target Books in December 1984.Bidmead includes many gruesome images of the Tractators technology including a hovering translation device. The cliffhanger that led into Resurrection of the Daleks is removed.

[edit] Broadcast and VHS release

  • This story was released on a double VHS set with The Awakening in March 1997. It is due to be released on DVD in May 2011.

[edit] References

  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 133. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "Frontios". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  3. ^ "Frontios". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2007-08-07). "Frontios". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  5. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Frontios" (reprinted on BBC Doctor Who website). The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. p. 299. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. Retrieved 20 April 2009.

[edit] External links

[edit] Reviews

[edit] Target novelisation

Direct download: TDP_179_FRONTIOS_FINAL1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23pm UTC

TDP 178: The Rebel Flesh

The Rebel Flesh" is the fifth episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and is the first episode of a two-part story which will conclude with "The Almost People".


[edit] Plot

[edit] Synopsis

As the Doctor (Matt Smith) continues the unresolved TARDIS scan on the possible pregnancy of his companion Amy (Karen Gillan), the TARDIS is caught in the first waves of a "solar tsunami" and materialises on Earth in the 22nd Century. The Doctor, Amy, and Amy's husband Rory (Arthur Darvill) find themselves on a remote island in the future, where a factory housed in a former castle monastery pumps a valuable, highly corrosive acid to the mainland. The skeleton crew of the factory uses a self-replicating fluid called the Flesh from which they create exact doppelgängers of themselves, colloquially called gangers. The crew controls the gangers from special control beds, operating the hazardous environment of the factory via the disposable bodies. The Doctor, initially posing as an inspector, fears the worst part of the solar tsunami will strike the solar-powered factory soon, threatening those still remaining, and offers to take the crew in his TARDIS. The foreman, Miranda Cleaves (Raquel Cassidy), refuses to shut down the factory until she receives orders from the mainland. As the solar storm begins, the Doctor races to disconnect the solar collector, but an electrical strike hits the castle, throwing the Doctor off the tower and knocking everyone else inside unconscious.

When the crew awakens they find themselves out of the control beds with no sign of the gangers. However, their own personal belongings have been gone through and the TARDIS has sunk into acid-corroded ground. The Doctor explains that they have likely been unconscious for more than an hour and the gangers have gained sentience. They soon discover that two of the gangers are amongst them, posing as Cleaves and Jennifer (Sarah Smart), when the two give themselves away by losing their facial similarities and turn pale-white. Jennifer also exhibits the ability to contort and stretch her body well beyond human limits. The Jennifer ganger struggles with her new identity and befriends Rory who has begun to demonstrate an emotional attachment to her. The Cleaves ganger works in secret with the other gangers to try to kill the real humans, as the human Cleaves works towards killing the gangers. The Doctor attempts to reunite the two sides but fails when the human Cleaves kills one of the gangers with a high-powered electrical charge. As the gangers plan an attack, the Doctor accuses Cleaves of killing a living being, but Cleaves refuses to acknowledge this. The ganger version of Jennifer goes in search for her human counterpart in order to kill her. The Doctor determines that, as they're in a monastery, the safest place to be is the chapel, and directs everyone there. As the gangers in acid-protection suits bear down on the chapel, Rory, responding to the sound of Jennifer screaming, deliberately separates from the group against Amy's wishes. In the chapel, a figure emerges from the shadows: it is a ganger of the Doctor.

[edit] Continuity

The Doctor is seen, for the third time this series, covertly consulting the TARDIS computers to find out if Amy is pregnant; as in previous episodes, the readout alternates repeatedly between positive and negative. Also, the "Eye Patch Lady" (Frances Barber) makes a brief non-speaking appearance through a sliding hatch, shocking Amy as she explores the castle looking for Rory.

[edit] Production

[edit] Cast notes

Raquel Cassidy previously appeared in the Fifth Doctor audio drama The Judgement of Isskar where she played Mesca.[1] Cassidy also previously starred in the BBC TV series Party Animals alongside Matt Smith.

[edit] Broadcast and reception

The episode achieved an overnight rating of 5.7 million with an audience share of 29.3%.[2]

Direct download: TDP_178_REB_FLESH_FINAL.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:30pm UTC

TDP 177: The Doctors Wife (Fixed)

"The Doctor's Wife" is the fourth episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was broadcast on 14 May 2011, written by Neil Gaiman.[2]



[edit] Plot

[edit] Synopsis

While in deep space, the Doctor, Amy and Rory receive a hypercube containing a distress call from a Time Lord. Tracing the source of the call to a rift leading outside the universe, the Doctor deletes part of his TARDIS to generate enough energy to cross through the rift. After landing in a junkyard on a solitary asteroid, the TARDIS shuts down and its matrix suddenly disappears. The three explore, and meet the strange inhabitants, Uncle, Auntie, a green eyed Ood called Nephew and an excited young woman named Idris who fawns all over, and then bites, the Doctor. While Uncle and Auntie lock up Idris, and Amy and Rory return to the TARDIS, the Doctor follows the distress signal and finds a cabinet containing a large number of hypercubes. Upon further investigation of Uncle and Auntie, he finds they are constructed of body parts from other beings, including Time Lords. They are controlled by the asteroid, called House, which is sentient and able to interface with other technology around it. House led the Doctor there and ripped out the TARDIS' matrix, initially in order to consume its Artron energy, but upon learning that the Doctor is the last Time Lord and that no more TARDISes will ever arrive, decides to transfer itself into the TARDIS and escape from the rift. Amy and Rory are trapped inside as the House-controlled TARDIS dematerialises.

The Doctor learns that Idris contains the personality of the TARDIS' matrix. Idris, as the TARDIS, and the Doctor come to realise they selected each other hundreds of years prior when the Doctor fled Gallifrey, and have a personal chat. Without House's support, Uncle and Auntie die. Idris reveals that House had stranded many TARDISes before on the planet, and that this universe only has hours left before it collapses, and that Idris' body only has a short time before it also will fail. The Doctor and Idris work together to construct a makeshift TARDIS from scraps, and then pursue House.

Aboard the Doctor's TARDIS, House threatens to kill Amy and Rory. He plays with their senses as they try to flee through the corridors, then sends Nephew after them. Idris makes a psychic connection with Rory to give him directions to a secondary control room, where he and Amy are able to lower the TARDIS shields without House's interference. This allows the Doctor to land the makeshift console in the secondary control room, which atomises Nephew. House deletes the secondary control room as he prepares to break through the rift, which the Doctor anticipates. The TARDIS safety protocols transfer them to the main control room, where the dying Idris releases the TARDIS matrix back to where it belongs, deleting House from the TARDIS machine. As the Doctor, Amy, and Rory recover, a remnant of the TARDIS matrix, still in Idris' body, sadly comments she will not be able to communicate with the Doctor after this but will be there for him. Idris' body disappears as the TARDIS matrix is fully restored.

The Doctor installs a security field around the matrix to prevent it from being compromised in the future. Rory asks the Doctor about some of Idris' final words—"The only water in the forest is the river"—but the Doctor doesn't understand. After Amy and Rory leave to find a new bedroom, their original purged by House, the Doctor talks to the TARDIS, and, in response, a nearby lever moves on its own, sending the TARDIS to its next destination.

[edit] Continuity

"The Doctor's Wife" revisits many mythology elements regarding the Doctor and the TARDIS established from the original run of the show and continued into the new series. Idris, as the TARDIS, affirms that the Doctor left with her, a type 40 TARDIS, to flee Gallifrey more than 700 years ago, and the TARDIS' history of unreliability is explained as her taking the Doctor not where he wants to go, but where he needs to go. The Doctor has mentioned that the TARDIS is alive in previous episodes, including in The Five Doctors, and has referred to 'her' as "old girl" many times, and as "sexy" occasionally in his Eleventh incarnation, both of which Idris indicates she likes.

The Doctor refers to altering the control room's appearance as changing the desktop, as the Fifth Doctor does in "Time Crash". Like the Third Doctor in Inferno, the Doctor and Idris operate a TARDIS control panel outside of an outer TARDIS shell. The Doctor also jettisons TARDIS rooms to create thrust, as in Logopolis and Castrovalva. The TARDIS is mentioned to have retained an archive of previous control rooms unbeknownst to the Doctor, including many he has yet to create; the one shown in this episode is the design featured between "Rose" and "The Eleventh Hour", used by the Ninth and Tenth Doctors.

When speaking of his fellow Time Lord the Corsair, the Doctor implies that Time Lords can change gender on regeneration. The Doctor admits he killed all of the Time Lords, alluding to the events of the Time War and The End of Time. In The War Games, the Second Doctor contacted the Time Lords using a cube similar to those seen in this episode. The Doctor suggests visiting the Eye of Orion, which is seen in The Five Doctors. The Doctor again refers to himself as "a madman with a box", reprising Amy's and his own description of himself in "The Eleventh Hour".

The Ood "Nephew" displays green eyes (indicating, as with the green-lit TARDIS, that he is possessed by House);[3] Oodkind's eyes also changed colour in "The Impossible Planet" / "The Satan Pit" and "Planet of the Ood". Alluding to the Ood controlled by the Beast in the former episodes, the Doctor refers to Nephew as "another Ood I failed to save."

The Doctor states that the Corsair always put a tattoo of a snake eating its own tail on each of his new bodies; the tattoo is on the left arm of his final body, being worn by Auntie. The Third Doctor's body came complete with a snake tattoo on his left arm, as shown when he showers in Spearhead from Space.

[edit] Production

[edit] Writing

"The Doctor's Wife" is Neil Gaiman's (pictured) first contribution to Doctor Who.

The episode was written by Neil Gaiman. After Steven Moffat replaced Russell T Davies as the showrunner of Doctor Who, being a fan of Gaiman's blog, Moffat met with Gaiman and Gaiman asked to write an episode. In an interview Gaiman stated "I came up with something that was one of those things where you thought that nobody's done that before."[4] The episode was originally titled "The House of Nothing".[5] Gaiman suggested they make an episode which centres on the TARDIS itself, which was not done before for the entire series since it began in 1963. The central idea was a "what if" scenario to see what would happen if the Doctor and the TARDIS got to talk together. Head writer Steven Moffat liked the idea of featuring the TARDIS as a woman, believing this to be the "ultimate love story" for the Doctor.[6]

Gaiman began writing the episode before Matt Smith was even cast as the Eleventh Doctor; Gaiman envisaged David Tennant's performance in the first draft, knowing Smith would play the Doctor differently. Despite this he had no issue writing the dialogue. The episode was originally slated for the eleventh episode of the fifth series. However, it was delayed to the sixth because of budget issues; the eleventh episode would be replaced with "The Lodger".[4] Even so, Gaiman was forced to operate with less money than he would have liked; for instance, he had to scrap a scene set in the TARDIS' swimming pool.[7]

The move to the sixth series also meant Gaiman had to include Rory, who ceased to exist in the original slot in the fifth series. With Rory included, Gaiman had to "reshape" much of the second half of the episode, featuring Amy being on the run in the TARDIS. In the original draft where Amy was the only companion, Gaiman added a "heartbreaking monologue" by the character, further stating "you get to see what it's like to be the companion from the companion's point of view, and she got to talk about essentially in that version how sad it is, in some ways. One day something will happen to her, she'll get married, she'll get eaten by monsters, she'll die, she'll get sick of this, but he'll go on forever."[4] At a certain point, Gaiman had tired of re-writing drafts and asked Steven Moffat for help. Moffat wrote in what Gaiman called "several of [the episode's] best lines" and rapidly rewrote several scenes when budget problems harmed filming locations.[8]

[edit] Casting

In September 2010, Suranne Jones announced she was cast a guest spot on Doctor Who as Idris for an episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who. Jones previously played Mona Lisa in The Sarah Jane Adventures episode Mona Lisa's Revenge.[9] Sometime after appearing on The Sarah Jane Adventures, Jones was contacted to appear on Doctor Who at Gaiman's request, because they were looking for an actress who "is odd; beautiful but strange looking, and quite funny."[10] Moffat meanwhile described Idris as "sexy plus motherly plus utterly mad plus serene."[6] During a read-through of the script, the producers asked her to "neutralise [her] a bit," because they did not want Jones to "be a Northerner" or have a standard accent, but to act "kinda like the Doctor."[10] Later, in March 2011, Gaiman confirmed Michael Sheen would also guest star in the episode to voice a character.[11] Adrian Schiller previously appeared in the Eighth Doctor audio drama Time Works where he played Zanith.[12]

[edit] Filming

It was planned as the third episode in the 2011 series but the order was changed during the production process.[13] Filming took place in August 2010,[5] although during a 10 October 2010 appearance on Daybreak, guest star Suranne Jones stated that she had been filming green screen special effects only the night before.[14] The scenes where Amy and Rory are on the run allowed the audience to explore the TARDIS outside the control room, something the producers had wanted to do for a while. A series of corridors was constructed and retained for future use. [15] The episode also featured the return of the older TARDIS control room from the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant era. Gaiman had originally wanted to reconstruct a console room from the original series, but the cost proved prohibitive. [16] The set was retained after filming for "The Eleventh Hour", but has since been removed.[17] Arthur Darvill noted the floor of the older set had a cheese grater-like quality to it, so when the scene called for the cast to fall on it, they found it uncomfortable to stay down for a long period of time.[6]

"The Doctor's Wife" features a make-shift TARDIS console, which was piloted by the Doctor and Idris. The console was designed by Susannah Leah, a schoolgirl from Todmorden, who won a competition on Blue Peter, a children's creative arts program, that challenged its viewers to imagine a TARDIS console based on household objects.[18][19] Leah's design was selected by Moffat, Edward Thomas, a production designer for Doctor Who, and Tim Levell, a Blue Peter editor, along with final input amoung the three age-group winners from Smith.[19] Michael Pickward, the production designer for the series, commented that Leah's design captured the nature of "bits and pieces" of what TARDIS consoles have been in the past, as well as the nature of the makeshift console needed for this episode.[19] The drawing was redesigned faithfully by the production team into the prop for the show, including the use of a coat hanger to start the makeshift TARDIS.[19] Leah was brought by Blue Peter to see both the set under construction and on location during filming of the makeshift TARDIS scenes, meeting Smith and the other actors and production crew.[19] Character Options will release a toy playset based on Leah's console later in 2011.[19] The House planetoid in the pocket universe was filmed on location at a quarry outside Cardiff.[6]

[edit] Broadcast and reception

After its original broadcast, "The Doctor's Wife" received overnight figures of 6.09 million viewers, with a 29.5 per cent audience share. It became the third highest broadcast of the night, behind Britain's Got Talent on ITV1, and the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, which was shown later on BBC One.[20] The episode recieved a final BARB rating of 7.97 million with an audience share of 34.7%.[21]

The episode was positively received. The Guardian's Dan Martin said: "With so many wild ideas at play, this would have been so easy to get wrong...yet in every sense it was pitched perfectly".[22] The AV Club gave the episode a score of "A", saying it was a "pretty terrific [episode]...a brisk, scary, inventive adventure filled with clever concepts and witty dialogue. And a lot of heart when in the way it deals with an important relationship rarely addressed on the series".[23]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Matt Smith Video and New Series Overview". BBC. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Doctor Who: The Doctor's Wife". Radio Times. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Monsters: The Ood". BBC. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
  4. ^ a b c Brew, Simon (9 May 2011). "Neil Gaiman interview: all about writing Doctor Who". Den of Geek. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  5. ^ a b Masters, Tim (24 May 2010). "Neil Gaiman reveals power of writing Doctor Who". BBC News. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d "Bigger on the Inside". Doctor Who Confidential. BBC. BBC Three. 14 May 2011. No. 4, series 6.
  7. ^ Martin, Dan (14 May 2010). "Doctor Who: The Doctor's Wife – Series 32, episode 4" (in English). The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Adventures in the Screen Trade". Neil Gaiman. 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
  9. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (23 September 2010). "Suranne Jones cast in 'Doctor Who'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  10. ^ a b Martin, Will (14 May 2011). "Suranne Jones ('Doctor Who') interview". Cult Box. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  11. ^ James, Richard (21 March 2011). "Michael Sheen to appear in new series of Doctor Who". Metro (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  12. ^ "Doctor Who - Time Works". Big Finish. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  13. ^ "Episodes shuffle for the 2011 series...". Doctor Who Magazine (430): 7. 9 Feb 2011 (cover date).
  14. ^ "Broadcast of 10 October 2010". Daybreak. ITV. ITV. 10 October 2010. ; YouTube video, accessed 20 May 2011.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Coming to America". Doctor Who Confidential. BBC. BBC Three. 23 April 2011. No. 1, series 6.
  18. ^ "Blue Peter awaits for our Susannah". Todmorden News. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  19. ^ a b c d e f "TARDIS Console Competition". Presenters: Helen Skelton,Barney Harwood, and Andy Akinwolere. Blue Peter. BBC. 10 May 2011.
  20. ^ Millar, Paul (15 May 2011). "Eurovision TV ratings reaches 11-year high". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  21. ^ "Final BARB-Rating". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. BARB. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  22. ^ "Doctor Who: The Doctor's Wife – Series 32, episode 4". The Guardian. 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
  23. ^ "The Doctor's Wife". 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
Direct download: TDP_177_The_Doctors_Wife.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:46am UTC

TDP 176: Mane... Manaq.... Auton Box Set

info to follow

Direct download: TDP_176_Manaquin_Madness_V3.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:09pm UTC

TDP 175: I talk about Ben Cook talking about Moffs Spoiler Rant

Does what it says in the title.

Rant from Moff included!

Direct download: TDP_175_Ben_Cook_and_ranting_Moff_Speaks.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:29pm UTC

TDP 174: Curse of the Black Spot Smith 2.03

The TARDIS crew, following a distress call, lands aboard a 17th-century pirate ship stranded in the middle of the ocean due to the lack of wind. Its captain, Captain Henry Avery, and what is left of its crew fear a seductive siren-like creature that marks those injured with a black spot on the palm of their hands, then appears and apparently destroys them. In a tussle with the crew, Rory receives a cut on his hand, and also receives a similar black mark. The Doctor orders everyone inside the ship, believing them to be safe away from open water, but the siren appears through seeped water and takes another crew member. The Doctor, Amy, Rory, Captain Avery and the remaining crew secure themselves in the ship's dry magazine. There, they discover Captain Avery's son, Toby, who had stowed away aboard the ship, unaware of his father's illicit deeds. Though uninjured, Toby has come down with a fever, and shares a similar black mark on his palm.

The Doctor and Captain Avery, after a brief conflict over who is in charge, leave the others to try to bring the TARDIS to them. They make it inside safely, but the Doctor finds the TARDIS is acting haphazardly and they are forced to evacuate it before it dematerializes to an unknown location. As they return to the others, the Doctor realizes that the siren is using reflections to appear to them, such as that created by still water. They race back to warn the others, and destroy any reflective surface on the ship.

A storm begins, and Captain Avery has Amy, Rory, and the Doctor help him to hoist the sails to allow them to leave. In the chaos, Toby, while trying to bring his father his coat, drops a polished crown from it. The siren emerges from it and appears to disintegrate Toby. Soon, Rory falls into the ocean, and the Doctor rationalises that the siren has shown intelligence and will likely get to Rory before he drowns. The Doctor convinces Amy and Captain Avery to prick themselves to allow the siren to take them as well so they can negotiate with it.

They soon find themselves aboard an alien spaceship, its crew long dead from exposure to an Earth virus. The Doctor surmises the spaceship, the source of the distress signal, is trapped at the same time-space coordinates as Captain Avery's ship. Furthermore, the siren uses mirror-like portals to travel between the two ships. Further exploration reveals a bay where all of Avery's men, including Toby and Rory, are in medical care, along with the TARDIS; they were taken by the siren, the black spot being a tissue sample for reference. When they try to rescue them, the siren appears and turns violent on them. The Doctor realises the siren is a medical program, seeking to heal the injured crew. The Doctor and Amy convince the siren to turn Rory over to their care, while Avery decides to stay with his son and his crew in the ship, unable to go back to England himself while the ship will care for his crew. Using Rory's nursing knowledge, Amy and the Doctor are able to revive Rory after he is removed from life support. The Doctor teaches Captain Avery enough of the spaceship's controls to allow him, Toby, and his crew to explore the stars.

In the epilogue, the Doctor and Amy talk about mutual trust; Amy confides to Rory that they still cannot talk to the Doctor about his future death, while the Doctor secretly finds his pregnancy scan on Amy remains unresolved.

[edit] Continuity

"Eye Patch Lady" (Frances Barber) appears for the second time in this episode. Similar to her first appearance in Day of the Moon, she appears to be looking through the other side of a small sliding window in a door despite the fact that the window is actually in the solid timbers of the ship and disappears when it is closed.

[edit] Production

[edit] Writing and casting

Lily Cole was cast as the Sea Siren in the episode.

The episode was written by Stephen Thompson. The producers wished to develop a Doctor Who episode set on "the high seas."[4] The episode was also made to allow the Doctor and his companions to "kick back and have some fun."[4] As the episode was pirate-themed, the producers wanted to fit in as many elements from pirate fiction into it, including treasure, mutinies, a stowaway boy, walking the plank, storms, swords and pirates with a "good heart" and "not really evil."[4] However, Arthur Darvill noticed that a parrot was not included.[4] "The Curse of the Black Spot" was originally planned to be ninth in the series but the order was changed during the production process.[5]

Hugh Bonneville plays Captain Avery. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan described Bonneville as "great fun."[4] Bonneville previously played Sir Sidney Herbert and Tzar Nicholas the 1st in the Seventh Doctor audio drama The Angel of Scutari[6][7]. Lily Cole was cast as the Sea Siren. The producers were looking for an actress who is "beautiful," "striking," and yet somewhat "spooky."[4] Cole came early into suggestions, and she accepted the role.[4]

[edit] Filming and effects

Filming took place primarily in Cornwall and the Upper Boat Studios in Wales. The exterior of the pirate ship was filmed at a dock in Cornwall, while the lower decks were built from a set at the studio. The principal challenge to film at the dock was to ensure the audience would not see it. The crew set up smoke machines to simulate fog. To create the storm the crew used wind and rain machines, the latter of which went through 15,000 litres. The loud noise from the wind machines caused communication difficulties during takes. Anticipating they would get soaked, the cast present on the deck wore dry suits underneath their clothes. Before filming the storm sequences began, Darvill heard that he would perform the stunt where he is thrown into the sea, and was willing to perform it. However, the stunt would later be performed by a double.[4]

The scenes in which Cole appeared on the ship was done by using a harness as if she was flying. Because the actress wore green dress and makeup, the conventional greenscreen was replaced by bluescreens in the studio. Cole felt it was fun to fly on the harness, but found it painful after a few hours. Gillan was allowed to perform several of her own stunts in the episode. She was excited to learn that her character would fight pirates with swords, and was taught how to handle one with basic moves.[4][8] Gillan was also allowed to swing across the ship. However, a stunt double was required to film the sequence where Amy is thrown across the deck by the Siren.[4]

[edit] References

Direct download: TDP_174_Curse_of_the_Black_spot.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:31am UTC

TDP 173: Day of the Moon - Smith 2.02

"Day of the Moon"[2] is the second episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The second episode of a two-part story written by Steven Moffat, it was broadcast on 30 April 2011 in the UK on BBC One, in the U.S. on BBC America, and in Canada on Space.



[edit] Plot

In the three months since the end of "The Impossible Astronaut", the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song have been attempting to track the Silence, an alien race who cannot be remembered after they are encountered. Reunited at Area 51 with Canton Delaware, who had been pretending to work against them, the Doctor plants a communication device in each of the group's hands to record audio of meetings with the Silence. Amy tells the Doctor she was mistaken and is not pregnant.

While the Doctor alters part of the command module of Apollo 11, Canton and Amy visit an orphanage, hoping to find where the girl in the spacesuit was taken from. Amy discovers a nest of the Silence, and a photograph of her and a baby amongst pictures of the little girl from the space suit. The girl enters with the Silence, and Amy is abducted and taken to their time engine control room. Arriving too late to help Amy, the Doctor and his allies find her recording device. Canton is able to shoot and wound one of the creatures, and from it the Doctor discovers the creatures are the Silence, a group he was warned about by several of his foes in his recent adventures. Analysing the now-empty space suit, River realises that the girl possesses incredible strength to have forced her way out of it, and that the suit's advanced life-support technology would have called the President as the highest authority figure on Earth when the girl got scared. The Doctor realises why the Silence have been controlling humanity — by guiding their technological advances, they have used humanity to build a spacesuit, which must somehow be crucial to their intentions. Meanwhile Canton interrogates the captured Silent in the Area 51 prison, who mocks humanity for treating him when they should "kill us all on sight". Canton records this using Amy's mobile phone.

The Doctor uses Amy's communication chip to track her location, and lands the TARDIS in the Silence's control room five days later. As River and Rory hold the Silence at bay, the Doctor shows them the live broadcast of the moon landing. As they watch, the Doctor uses his modification of the Apollo command module to insert Canton's recording of the wounded Silent into the footage of the landing. Because of this message, humans will now turn upon the Silence whenever they see them. The group frees Amy and departs in the TARDIS, while River kills all the Silence in the control room. Amy reassures Rory that the man he overheard her speaking of loving through the communication chip was him, not the Doctor.

River refuses the Doctor's offer to travel with him, returning to her Stormcage prison in order to keep a promise. She kisses the Doctor goodbye, and as the Doctor has never kissed her before deduces that this is her last kiss with him. In the TARDIS, Amy appears unable to remember seeing her picture in the orphanage and claims that she told the Doctor, rather than Rory, when she believed she was pregnant through fears that travelling in the TARDIS might have affected her child's development. As the trio set off, the Doctor discreetly uses the TARDIS scanner to attempt to determine if Amy is pregnant.

Six months later, a homeless man in New York City comes across the young girl, previously seen in the astronaut's suit. The girl says she is dying, but can fix it; before the man's eyes, she appears to begin regenerating.

[edit] Continuity

  • The Silence's 'time engine' set was previously used in "The Lodger".[3] The Doctor describes it as "very Aickman Road", a reference to the house the ship occupied in that episode.[4]
  • When the Silent reveals his species' name to the Doctor, the Doctor has flash-backs to "The Eleventh Hour" and "The Vampires of Venice", the first mentions of the Silence.[4]
  • The Doctor is held captive in Area 51, which he had visited previously in the Tenth Doctor animated story Dreamland.
  • The Doctor and Rory discuss both being present at the fall of Rome. As an Auton, Rory guarded the Pandorica from the Roman era to the present day in "The Big Bang", and the First Doctor indirectly instigated the Great Fire of Rome in The Romans.
  • "Eye Patch Lady" (Frances Barber) briefly appears to Amy in the orphanage, and will return in a later episode.[4]
  • The Doctor is imprisoned within walls of "zero balance dwarf star alloy, the densest material in the universe..." Dwarf star alloy first appeared in the 18th season Tom Baker story "Warriors' Gate", forming the hull of a slave ship capturing time sensitive Tharils. The density prevented the Tharils (who possessed the ability to go out of phase with time) from escaping.

[edit] Outside references

  • Near the end of the episode, President Richard Nixon asks the Doctor if he will be remembered by future generations. Amused by the question, the Doctor coyly remarks that the American people will never forget Nixon, a reference to the Watergate scandal that effectively ended Nixon's presidency. The Doctor also tells Nixon to record every word spoken in the Oval Office, another reference to the Watergate scandal (which revolved around the Oval office secret taping system).
  • The Doctor also tells Nixon to say hi to David Frost. Frost is a British journalist, who had a famous interview with Nixon.
  • During his conversation with the president, Canton confirms that his lover (whom he wishes to marry) is black. Interracial marriages had still been banned in certain states as recently as 1967. This revelation seems to explain Canton's previous statement about being fired from the FBI for "wanting to get married" in "The Impossible Astronaut" until he clarifies that his lover is a "he". Same-sex marriage was not legal in the United States in 1969.

[edit] Production

Steven Moffat, head writer of the new series, said before broadcast that this would be one of the darkest openers to a series ever done for Doctor Who.[2] Director Toby Haynes believed that the darker episodes like "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" would allow the series to get into "more dangerous territory."[3] The creation of the Silence was partly inspired by the figure from the Edvard Munch painting The Scream.[2] Introducing the alien villains became a "big challenge" for the producers; it would tie in with the loose "silence will fall" arc that carried through the fifth series. Moffat did not wish to end the arc in the previous series, as he felt it would be "more fun" to continue it. Elsewhere in the episode, Delaware was written to be deceptively antagonistic towards the protagonists, which was based on actor Mark Sheppard's past as villains for his work in American television. Moffat was also keen on the idea of having the Doctor imprisoned with a beard in Area 51.[3]

Many of the opening scenes of the episode were filmed on location in the United States. The sequence where Delaware chases Amy was shot in the Valley of the Gods in Utah. Gillan found it difficult to run because of the altitude. The sequence where Delaware chases Rory was shot at the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. The Dam sequence was the final scene to be shot in the States. The sequence where Delaware chases River in New York was in fact shot in central Cardiff. A set was later constructed in a studio for the jump sequence, and Kingston was replaced by a stunt woman to perform the jump. The scenes set in Area 51 were filmed in a large disused hangar in South Wales.[3]

The Florida orphanage was filmed at the abandoned Troy House in Monmouthshire, which many of the cast and crew believed is haunted. To add the effect that a storm is outside the building, the production crew placed rain machines outdoors and flashing lights to simulate lightning. The Silence were portrayed by Marnix van den Broeke and other performers. The masks caused vision difficulties from the performers, who had to be guided by two people when they have to walk. Broeke does not provide the voices of the Silence, as it would be replaced during post-production. The control room set used from "The Lodger" was used again for this episode. Moffat wanted the set to be used again, feeling it would be a suitable Silence base. The set was adapted to give it a darker, evil feel.[3]

[edit] Cast notes

Ricky Fearon who played the tramp previously played Foreman in the Torchwood episode To the Last Man.

[edit] Broadcast and reception

"Day of the Moon" was first broadcast on 30 April 2011 at 6 pm.[5] The episode received preliminary overnight ratings of 5.39 million viewers, equalling a 30.5 per cent audience share. The episode was down by 1.1 million from the previous week, but was still the second most seen broadcast for the day, behind Britain's Got Talent on ITV1.[6]

Dan Martin of The Guardian liked the episode for its "action, tension, horror and River Song in a business suit," but felt it "sags a little around the middle."[7] Martin believed the scenes with Amy and Delaware in the orphanage was the "fear factor" of the episode.[7]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Matt Smith Video and New Series Overview". BBC. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Doctor Who boss says season start is 'darkest yet'". BBC. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Breaking the Silence". Doctor Who Confidential. BBC. BBC Three. 30 April 2011. No. 2, series 6.
  4. ^ a b c BBC - BBC One Programmes - Doctor Who, Series 6, Day of the Moon
  5. ^ "Doctor Who, Series 6, Day of the Moon". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Millar, Paul (1 May 2011). "'Doctor Who' audience slips to 5.4m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Martin, Dan (30 April 2011). "Doctor Who: Day of the Moon — Series 32, episode 2". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 2 May 2011.
Direct download: TDP_173_Day_of_the_moon.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:37pm UTC