Broadchurch Review

  • Series Title: Broadchurch
  • Season: Season 1
  • Episodes: 8
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: ITV
  • Cast: David Tennant, Jodie Wittaker, David Bradley, Olivia Colman, Arthur Darvill
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD (R1, NTSC)

When the dead body of an 11-year-old boy is found on the beach near the small, British, seaside town of Broadchurch the mystery affects everyone in the community. This long-form mystery follows the case, but because of the setting – one of the police officers is personally involved and the other is a new transfer with issues in his past. DS Miller is best friends with the family who’s boy was murdered. She’s also just returned from a family vacation to Florida – only to discover her promised promotion was given to DI Alec Hardy. Hardy has issues of his own – his previous murder inquiry he messed-up,  resulting in the case falling apart in court. Finding out exactly what Hardy did or didn’t do in his last case is as much an intriguing part of this mystery as the dead boy. Also, it gives Hardy a motivation beyond simple “it’s my job” – he wants to solve the case, make up for the one he messed-up, and go out on a high note. Because the other thing he’s hiding is issues with his health – a severe heart condition that’s enough to have him invalided out of the police service.

Other than being a little upset at losing her promotion to a man, and a man with a sketchy background, Ellie’s son was best friends with the dead boy, and she lives right next door to the family. She’s used to being a DS in a town with a very low crime rate, so a murder inquiry is a bit much for her. But Ellie is professional and good at her job – she copes.

The case follows the police as they interview suspects, follow-up on red herrings, and work with the family. A couple of “obvious” suspects show up quickly but despite their suspicious behavior and occasional lies to the police – they actually both have, for different reasons, good reasons to not trust the police. One was, well, not exactly framed, but made an example of so his indiscretion that would normally be overlooked or handled with a small fine and a slap on the wrist – landed him in jail. And even though he ultimately did the right thing – in the end, everything didn’t go well for him, so it’s natural he would blame the police for what happened.

The other red herring is a woman who’s daughter was murdered – when the case made it clear her husband was sexually abusing her daughter and he killed her when she tried to stop him from molesting their younger daughter, she ended up in a horrible situation. Her husband was sent to prison where he died. Her older daughter was dead. Her younger daughter and also her infant were taken by social services and she had to leave everything and start over. So again, you can see why she doesn’t trust the police – and even why she’d lie to them.

And the third red herring is someone who physically resembles the actual killer and has issues of his own which make it possible he’d be accused and even arrested on circumstantial evidence.

So it’s an intriguing story – lots of twists and turns, well-written, great cast, and very, very good acting by everyone. (I really liked the three main reporters who are trying to cover the story and all the issues they are dealing with.) I highly recommend this series! I can see why it received so many accolades and rewards when it came out. And no, I’m not going to reveal who killed Danny Miller – that would spoil it!

Good Omens Review

  • Series Title: Good Omens
  • Season: Mini-Series
  • Episodes: 6
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-Ray)
  • Network: Amazon Prime / BBC
  • Cast: Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Frances McDormand, Sam Taylor Buck, Adria Arjona, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, Bill Paterson, Jack Whitehall
  • DVD: Widescreen Blu-ray (R1, NTSC)

This review contains spoilers for Good Omens.

Good Omens is a 6-episode mini-series adaption of the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The series follows Aziraphale (an angel) and Crowley (a demon) for 6000 years, though the vast majority of the series focuses on the last 11 years before the End of the World. Though Aziraphale and Crowley are meant to watch over and prepare humanity for the coming apocalypse, the two become comfortable in their respective positions and even become friends. And the series really does emphasize the friendship between two people who are, by definition, very different.

After the introduction of Aziraphale and Crowley, we see Crowley deliver the Anti-Christ to a convert of demonic nuns who are supposed to see he is substituted for the child of a spoiled, rich, American ambassador. However, another couple arrives at the convent hospital the same night. In a sequence illustrated with 3-card monte, the baby is delivered to the wrong couple and the Anti-Christ is raised by a typical English couple in Tadfield. The couple name their child, whom they don’t know is the anti-christ, Adam. The wealthy, privileged American couple, at Crowley’s suggestion, name their child Warlock. For 11 years, Crowley and Aziraphale look in on occasion on Warlock, not realizing that things have Gone Horribly Wrong.

It isn’t until Adam/Warlock’s 11th birthday that Crowley and Aziraphale realize something has gone wrong when the promised Hellhound never arrives at Warlock’s photo op with his adoptive parents. Meanwhile, Adam is playing in the woods with his three friends, when a dog approaches them. Adam wants to keep the dog, despite his own (adoptive) parents having previously told him he can’t have a pet. He names the Hellhound, Dog. And thus, the hellhound rather than being vicious and scary is a small black and white dog that’s loyal to Adam, but would never hurt anyone. This also starts the countdown to the end of the world.

Crowley and Arizaphale figure this out, decide they like their jobs on Earth, and they each have no desire to “serve” in Heaven’s or Hell’s final fight to the death after the Earth is destroyed. Most of the rest of the series involves their trying to prevent the apocalypse. But considering they don’t even know who the Anti-Christ is, they aren’t having much luck.

Meanwhile, Though Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, gets ready to burn a witch in 1600-hundreds England. When he and his crowds appear at her door, she accuses him of being late. When she’s burned Pulsifer and his crowds are destroyed in an explosion because Agnes, as we learn later, had loaded herself with gunpowder and small metal objects like nails and pins. Agnes was a prophet and wrote her prophecies down in a book, that is handed down among the women of her family. But unlike most books of prophecy, Agnes’ prophecies are always accurate, if at times hard to understand. The current owner of the book is Anathema Device. She travels to England from San Francisco to prevent the end of the world. She arrives in Tadfield, meets Adam, and his friends, and even meets Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer’s decedent, Newton – who by chance had been recruited into the Witchfinder Army by Shadwell, the sergeant-general.

All the characters converge and things start happening. But in the end, after feeling his power, Adam (along with Newton and Anathema) rejects it, decides to stop the end of the world (his friends influence him in this) and he even rejects Satan (his father). Crowley and Arizaphale are to be punished for “not doing their jobs” by their respective bosses, but find a unique way to get out of it.

But really, that is plot – what this series is really about is a friendship, a strong friendship between Crowley and Arizaphale. And it’s also, in the end about more romantic relationships especially Newton and Anathema and Shadwell and Madame Tracy (the madam/psychic/etc who has the apartment below his). Despite what could be dark subject matter – the series has a lighter touch. I read the novel years ago, and remember it being more funny, but I enjoyed how the series presented the story. I recommend this mini-series.

Doctor Who Turn Left Review

  • Series Title: Doctor Who
  • Story Title: Turn Left
  • Story #: Season 4 Story # 11
  • Discs: 1 (Part of “The Complete Series 4” – 5 discs total)
  • Network: BBC
  • Original Air Dates: 6/21/2008
  • Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler)
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD, NTSC
  • Originally Published on my Live Journal 1/26/2009, now hosted on Dreamwidth

In a word, “Turn Left” was awesome! I loved what I saw of it last summer, and now that I’ve seen the entire episode, I love it even more. It might be one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever made, and not just because of Doctor Who but because of what the episode says about philosophy / life outlook.

The episode begins with Donna being pulled into a fortune teller’s tent – said fortune teller then forces her to go back in time, changing a decision, turning right instead of left (incidentally listening to her overbearing and critical mother). This one decision snowballs, resulting in Donna never meeting the Doctor, and thus the Doctor dying when he meets the Spider Queen in what would have been “The Runaway Bride”. However, without the Doctor, the next year (or so) is a disaster for the UK and the world: London city hospital is taken to the moon – but everyone is killed including Martha, Sarah Jane, and Sarah’s two young wards; the “Christmas Star” – destroys part of London; the spaceship Titanic crashes into Buckingham Palace – vaporising London; the Atmos devices are set-off choking the world and Torchwood agents Owen and Gwen Cooper give their lives fighting the Sontarans; Adipose kills millions in the US. In other words – without the Doctor, the world is in sorry shape. And without Donna – there is no Doctor. Rose, however, returns – coming back from another universe, finds Donna and uses the dying TARDIS to send her back, to get her to change that decision, even though Rose also knows it will cost Donna her life. When Donna sacrifices herself – Other Donna turns left, resulting in her meeting the Doctor, the Doctor not dying, and Doctor Who history continuing on as we know it.

This episode is the best illustration of Chaos Theory I’ve seen since “The Butterfly Effect” and frankly much better done and less violent/spooky/freaky than that movie (I couldn’t handle the animal and child abuse shown in “The Butterfly Effect” – it was SO excessive). However, Doctor Who “Turn Left” illustrates Chaos Theory beautifully. But what I really liked was watching Donna – listening to her saying, “I’m just a temp!” and Rose telling her “You’re the most important person in the universe,” not to mention, when time snaps back, the Doctor telling her “You’re brilliant!”. This was the second incredible philosophical statement in the episode – it shows how interconnected everything is. How one person can actually make a difference and change things. It also shows just how linked or connected everyone is. Donna sees herself as a normal person, and not a very important person at all – “Just a temp” – about the lowly-est job you could have in a technological society. Yet, it’s Donna who saves the Doctor’s life – and by doing that she literally saves millions of people. It’s one of those “you never know how you affect others” moments.

Kudos to Russell T Davies and the Doctor Who team – because “Turn Left” was totally awesome! Donna rules and the Doctor rocks!

The Tenth Doctor and Adelaide

Doctor Who – The Waters of Mars Review

  • Series Title: Doctor Who
  • Story Title: The Waters of Mars
  • Story #: Season 4.5 Story #3
  • Episodes: Movie Length
  • Discs: 1 (Part of “The Specials Collection” – 5 discs total)
  • Network: BBC
  • Original Air Dates: 11/15/2009
  • Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Lindsay Duncan (Adelaide)
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD, NTSC
  • Originally Published on my Live Journal 4/02/2010, now hosted on Dreamwidth

The previous Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead was a typical fun, adventure type Doctor Who episode, with the exception of the hints about the Doctor’s fate. The Waters of Mars is more of a more typical horror Doctor Who episode, with a slightly claustrophobic feel and eventual hints of the Doctor’s coming fate. One interesting thing about the episode is that it is very similar, at least at the start, to “The Fires of Pompeii”. Like Pompeii, the Doctor has arrived at a fixed point in time, which means he can’t do anything about what’s going to happen. To make things interesting – this time he’s fifty years in the future. But, from the Doctor’s pov, it’s the same as Pompeii – he can’t save anyone, and he can’t alter what’s going to happen.

Despite his instincts telling him to just leave, of course, the Doctor stays on Mars, and we discover what the mysterious disaster was – an invasion of water creatures called The Flood. Any water infected by The Flood can infect a person – causing them to become deadly drones of The Flood. Before long, the Doctor and the crew of the base are trying to stop The Flood and escape. However, because this is a fixed point in time – the Doctor, and the audience, know that no one can escape. Or, rather, they shouldn’t. The Doctor should not be interfering – at all, he could cause more damage than he could fix.

Eventually, as he sees Bowie Base 1 exploding the Doctor makes a fateful decision and goes back to help. Normally, in Doctor Who, this is what we want the Doctor to do, to help people in desperate situations. However, in this case, there’s a sense that to actually interfere and even attempt to save the good people of Bowie Base 1 would have serious consequences for history, and possibly even prevent the launch of the first lightship mission into the galaxy, to be captained by Adelaide’s grand-daughter. Yet, the Doctor defies the Laws of Time anyway, saving Yuri, Mia, and Adelaide. He returns the three to Earth (all had originally died on Mars) and becomes extremely arrogant and condescending towards them. Adelaide challenges the new “Time Lord Victorious” who has decided to shape the Laws of Time to his own purposes.

“There were laws, there were Laws of Time, and once upon a time, there were people in charge of those laws but they died, they all died. Do you know who that leaves? Me! It’s taken me all these years to realize the Laws of Time are mine. And they will obey me!” – The Doctor (David Tennant), The Waters of Mars, BBC

The Doctor has never been so close to becoming The Master in all his lives. He even uses The Master’s catch-phrase from the Pertwee years (“You will obey me!” – Roger Delgado’s Master). Adelaide, terrified by this new Doctor, and realising that only her death would “fix” time, kills herself. The Doctor, seeing this off-screen death, freaks, and realises he’s gone too far – then he sees an Ood in the distance, not good. Just to top things off, he goes into the TARDIS, and the Cloister Bell is ringing – never a good sign. The Cloister Bell last heard in “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End”, and before that in “Logopolis”, always spells absolute disaster – usually something the Doctor cannot control or stop completely. In “Logopolis”, it also heralded the Doctor’s Regeneration.

There are a few things I didn’t really care for in “The Waters of Mars”, – first, they are on Mars, now granted, it’s a base (like a space station), but still – it’s Mars, Why no space suits? The first thing the crew should have done when confronted with water – was to have everyone get into their space suits. This would have saved three of them at least – until the base exploded. Second, OK, the Doctor manages to save three people and returns them to Earth?! On the same day? How are they going to explain surviving and that they aren’t on Mars? You’d think all that would do would start conspiracy theory groups that believed the entire Mars mission was faked (kinda’ like the lunatics who think the US never landed on the Moon. Idiots!) And Adelaide, poor, sweet, strong Adelaide, kills herself because she thinks this will set history right? Only if the Doctor moves her body to Mars! I really didn’t think the end of the story made any sense whatsoever.

That the Doctor has gone beyond the pale and started to abuse his power as a Time Lord is something RTD has played with before. He seems to think there isn’t much of a difference between the Doctor and the Master, for example. And, it some sense, we do know from the entire run of Doctor Who that Time Lords have so much power they do tend to corrupt. (What’s that saying – power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely? Time Lords tend to be perfect examples of this philosophy). However, the Doctor has always been a voice in the wilderness arguing against the abuses of power in his own Time Lord society:

“In all my travelings throughout the universe, I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here. The oldest civilisation… Decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core… Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen – they’re still in the nursery compared to us. Ten million years of absolute power – that’s what it takes to be really corrupt!” – The Doctor (Colin Baker), “Trial of a Time Lord”

And the Doctor’s been just as harsh when arguing against human, Dalek, Cybermen, or other evil empires of corruption and power. I realise RTD wanted to make the Doctor more human and vulnerable, but The Waters of Mars doesn’t quite work to establish that much of a change so quickly. Overall, three out of five stars.

The Waters of Mars DVD also includes the full-length “The Waters of Mars” episode of Doctor Who Confidential. It’s very nice to see the full-length version of Confidential.

The Tenth Doctor and Lady Christina standing in front of a wrecked red double-decker bus in the desert.

Doctor Who – Planet of the Dead Review

  • Series Title: Doctor Who
  • Story Title: Planet of the Dead
  • Story #: Season 4.5 Story #2
  • Episodes: Movie Length
  • Discs: 1 (Part of “The Specials Collection” – 5 discs total)
  • Network: BBC
  • Original Air Dates: 4/11/2009
  • Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Michelle Ryan (Lady Christina de Souza)
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD, NTSC
  • Originally Published on my Live Journal 3/26/2010, now hosted on Dreamwidth

This review will be a little short, because there really isn’t much to Planet of the Dead. Not that it’s a bad episode of Who, or that there’s anything really wrong with the story. It’s just fairly basic. Planet of the Dead is pretty much a straight forward adventure plot. The only slight nod to something else going on is the character of Camille – a psychic, who ends-up having a warning for the Doctor. But we’ll get to that.

This story starts with a jewelry robbery at the “International Museum”. This introduces us to Christina, full name Lady Christina de Souza, who as a bored member of the aristocracy, steals for the adventure, not the money. Trying to get away from the cops after the robbery, she boards a local red double-decker bus. She’s followed on board by the Doctor. Both have bluffed their way onto the bus – Christina paying the fare with her diamond earrings, and the Doctor paying his with his psychic paper. The Doctor is trying to track down some sort of time/dimensional disturbance when the bus literally drives through a wormhole to another planet.

The cracked-up bus arrives on a desert planet, all its passengers alive and well. Because of the three suns in the sky, it’s obvious to everyone that they are on another planet, not just moved in space. Briefly, a few of the passengers accuse the Doctor of causing their predicament, but they quickly realise that the Doctor will help them out.

They also see a crashed spaceship. The Doctor and Christina go to investigate, finding fly people, and the spaceship. Eventually, the Doctor gets anti-grav clamps from the ship and uses them to fix the bus. He offers the fly people the chance to escape, but while they are debating one of the nasty stingray-like aliens is loose in the ship, causing destruction and the two fly people are crushed to death. The Doctor attaches the clamps to the wheels of the bus, and uses the ancient gold chalice Christina stole to get the incompatible drive working.

With a little help from Malcolm, a UNIT scientist, he successfully returns the bus to earth. UNIT cleans-up the few stingray-things that get through the wormhole and the Doctor helps Malcolm to permanently seal the dimensional hole so it doesn’t re-open on its own. It should be noted that Malcolm is quite possibly the best part of the entire story. He’s bright, funny, totally in awe of the Doctor (almost a “fan”) and a bit socially awkward. However, when the UNIT Captain orders him to close the wormhole before the Doctor and the bus have returned, he refuses, rightfully standing up to her.

Christina takes a bit of getting used to, but I think she could have made a good “real” companion. To me, any of the temporary companions from the various specials don’t really count as companions, including Christina. But, because of her background as a thief, she could have been a companion, like Leela, that the Doctor had to teach and train. And, I think the season of specials might have been improved by having at least one companion that traveled in the TARDIS with the Doctor. However, that also would have been contrary to RTD’s theme for the abbreviated season/series 5 which was that traveling alone is bad for the Doctor’s mental well-being. (After all, Doctor # 9 arrives back on earth, newly regenerated and companionless).

This brings me to the final point. At the end of the episode, Christina walks up to the Doctor by the TARDIS and first asks him to show her the stars. When that doesn’t work, she explains that she needs excitement and adventure and she wants to travel with him. He refuses. She practically begs him to let her travel with him. He almost relents. But then he says no, and lets her get carried off by the police (though he uses the sonic screwdriver to loosen her handcuffs and she escapes the police car and runs off). It’s after he’s refused to have her as a companion that Camille shows up to warn him.

“You be careful because your song is ending, sir.” – Camille
“What do you mean?” – The Doctor
“It is returning. It is returning through the dark.  … He will knock four times.” – Camille
Planet of the Dead, BBC

This ends up hanging over the Doctor’s head for the next three specials. I think that refusing to have a companion was a temporal nexus for the Doctor. Christina might, like Donna definitely would have, stopped the Doctor from messing-up at Bowie Base in Waters of Mars (review forthcoming). The Doctor had said at the end of The Next Doctor that he just couldn’t handle having companions anymore because they leave him, and he ends up with a broken heart. He tells Christina, “People have traveled with me and I’ve lost them. Lost them all. Never again.” The Doctor is trying to protect himself from loss and is still reeling from what he had to do to Donna (and he’s in mourning for her). Yet, he doesn’t realise just how much he needs to have a companion with him. That’s very much a Russell T. Davies thing – that the Doctor needs humans to keep him sane, and in return, he offers his human and non-human companions the adventure of a lifetime.

And because I forgot them on my last review – the special features.

The DVD contains the Doctor Who Confidential Special for Planet of the Dead.

Doctor Who – The Next Doctor Review

  • Series Title: Doctor Who
  • Story Title: The Next Doctor
  • Story #: Season 4.5 Story #1 (Doctor Who Christmas Special)
  • Episodes: Movie Length
  • Discs: 1 (Part of “The Specials Collection” – 5 discs total)
  • Network: BBC
  • Original Air Dates: 12/25/2008
  • Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), David Morrissey (The Next Doctor)
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD, NTSC
  • Originally Published on my Live Journal 3/22/2010, now hosted on Dreamwidth

“Who are you?”  – The Doctor (DT)
“I’m the Doctor, the one, the only, and the best! Rosita, give me the sonic screwdriver.” – Next Doctor (DM)
“What?” – The Doctor (DT)
“And get back to the TARDIS.” – Next Doctor (DM)
“What?” – The Doctor(DT)
“If you can stand back, sir, this is a job for a Time Lord!” – Next Doctor (DM)
The Next Doctor (David Tennant and David Morrissey), BBC

I really enjoyed The Next Doctor when I saw it on BBC America nearly a year ago, and it some ways it was my favorite of the five specials for David Tennant’s abbreviated last season. In part what makes The Next Doctor so enjoyable is that it does what Doctor Who does so well. The script is fun, yet has an element of angst that underlies everything. And once the mystery of ‘Who is The Next Doctor?’ is actually solved, you’re only halfway through the episode – and the Cybermen show up in a Steampunk tour-de-force.

The Next Doctor begins with Tennant’s Doctor’s TARDIS landing in Victorian London at Christmas. This is continuity with every single Christmas special in the Russell T. Davies new version of Doctor Who – all have taken place in London at Christmas. The Doctor is walking around a snowy London, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells, smiling and enjoying himself. He finds a street urchin and finds out its Christmas Eve 1851. Then he hears a strange noise and a woman screaming “Doctor!” He runs over to help. He is then standing right next to her, when she continues to scream, “Doctor!”, much to our Doctor’s confusion. Suddenly, David Morrissey shows up.

Our Doctor (Tennant) is confused, and it’s cut to opening credits. The first half hour of the special then is really a mystery – What’s going on in London this time? And is Morrissey really a future incarnation of the Doctor or not? But despite the fun – the feeling of “this is how someone would play The Doctor if he was told about him without seeing the show” – the tone of solving this mystery, especially the mystery of just who the Next Doctor is, has a melancholy tone from the very beginning. It soon becomes apparent that there was an accident, and the Next Doctor touched a Cyberman data storage device, which downloaded data about the Doctor into his brain, causing his amnesia and causing him to think he was The Doctor – but was that the only thing to cause his distress? Slowly, our Doctor and the Next Doctor, through returning memories, realise that he is in deep, deep shock. So much so he’s dropped, as our Doctor explains, into a Fugue State. This shock was caused by him witnessing the brutal murder of his wife at the hands of the Cybermen and the kidnapping of his son. And that’s what Doctor Who can do so well – it’s not just about fighting monsters or special effects. It’s about the drama. Here’s a man who’s lost his wife. Seen his son kidnapped. And been so shocked by it that his entire personality was submerged and he assumed a new one. Suddenly, The Next Doctor, isn’t the light adventure romp we thought it was going to be.

Meanwhile, the plot for the second half of the special has already been hinted at – and now it becomes the focus of the action. It’s Cybermen, folks. Hints of this have been given up to this point, but now the Cyber-Steampunk plot moves to the front of the plot. We meet a woman who is so vexed by the limitations placed on her sex in Victorian Britain that she finds the heads of local orphanages and workhouses and brings them to the Cyberman for the installation of the little Cyber-control ear-buds. These men then bring all the children in their charge to a warehouse to be used as a disposable workforce. Yes, you read that right a disposable workforce. Again, we’re not exactly dealing with kiddie plots here. However, once the kids show up the Cyber Lieutenant reveals his hand – the woman will be converted to be the Cyber King. However, much to his shock – she retains part of her personality and becomes a Cyber “King” who wants revenge on all the men in London for the wrongs she’s suffered as a woman. It should be noted that this is the second time in New Who a woman has been able to overcome Cyber-conversion and keep at least a part of  her own personality (In “Army of Ghosts” / “Doomsday” the female head of Torchwood resists Cyber-conversion by repeating over and over again “I must do my duty” – she resists long enough to destroy some Cybermen before being destroyed herself). Similarly, the woman in “The Next Doctor” is obsessed with the wrongs she feels she’s suffered at the hands of the men she turns over to the Cybermen. And she has no mercy towards the children she uses as a workforce. Before long a giant King Kong-like Cyber Factory is threatening London. The Next Doctor, his companion Rosita, and the Doctor fight it off. Somehow, the second half of the episode doesn’t work quite as well as the first half, even though it’s much closer to what one normally thinks of as Doctor Who. More time needed to be devoted to the woman’s motivations – What made her so desperate as to throw in her lot with the Cybermen in the first place for example? We’re left to make our own assumptions. But there are still some great moments, such as after the Doctor helps The Next Doctor (now revealed to be Jackson Lake) to rescue his son when our Doctor goes to fight the Cyber “King” by himself.

“But I should be with you.” – Next Doctor (DM)
“Jackson, you’ve got your son. You’ve got a reason to live.” – The Doctor (DT)
“And you haven’t? [They exchange a knowing and pained look] God save you, Doctor.” – Next Doctor (DM). ~ The Next Doctor (David Tennant and David Morrissey), BBC

Again, that pure angst of suggesting that The Doctor, our Doctor, has been through almost too much is palatable. But the Doctor saunters on, as always, and wins, destroying the Cyber King. Or, more precisely causing it to destroy itself.

So there is much more going on it this, the most fun and the lightest of the five specials for David Tennant’s swan song as the Doctor. I highly, highly recommend it.

The Next Doctor is available on DVD both by itself and as part of  “The Specials” collection, which also includes:  Planet of the DeadWaters of Mars, and parts 1 and 2 of The End of Time.

The Next Doctor DVD contains Doctor Who Confidential Special for The Next Doctor.  It’s the full-length version, which is a nice change from the cut-down versions usually available on NTSC discs of Doctor Who.

The Next Doctor DVD also contains Doctor Who at the Proms, which is a concert of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Chorus at the Royal Albert Hall of music from the new series of Doctor Who, written by Murray Gold. Besides hearing a full philharmonic orchestra play wonderful Doctor Who music, there’s big screens with scenes from the series timed to the music and actors in full costume. It’s wonderful to watch.  And the amazing thing is the kids – there are several shots of the kids in the audience and they are completely enthralled by what they are seeing. Some of them look to be as young as four or five years old, and here they are, at a symphony! And completely and totally enjoying it too! Wow!

Doctor Who Writers

I commented last week Saturday on Facebook and Twitter about Doctor Who, and Capaldi’s incredible speech and performance in “The Zygon Inversion”. One of my friends asked a very simple but important question: Who wrote it? And I realised that, although I’ve made made lists for Doctor Who, lists of all the stories, lists of the episodes on DVD and the ones missing from the BBC archives, even lists of various series of original books – with authors, I had never listed the authors of the actual episodes – so here it goes. It actually took a bit to pull together this list. For Classic Who, author names and air-dates were pulled from Doctor Who the Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier (Second Edition), for McCoy’s final season – authors and airdates were cross-checked with Doctor Who the Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier (Fourth Edition). Pseudonyms and possible errors (such as the one episode that only listed a month and year rather than an full air date) were cross-checked with the Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium by Paul Smith. For New Who, I consulted TARDIS wiki. Please see footnotes at bottom of spreadsheet for details.

Story # Ep. # Episode Title Episode Author Date Num. Eps. Num. Discs
William Hartnell
1 1 An Unearthly Child Anthony Coburn 11/23/1963 – 12/14/1963 4 1
2 2 The Daleks Terry Nation 12/21/1963 – 2/1/1964 7 1
3 3 The Edge of Destruction David Whitaker 2/8/1964 – 2/15/1964 2 1
4 4 Macro Polo* John Lucarotti 2/22/1964 – 3/4/1964 7 *
5 5 The Keys of Marinus Terry Nation 4/11/1964 – 5/16/1964 6 1
6 6 The Aztecs John Lucarotti 5/23/1964 – 6/13/1964 4 1
7 7 The Sensorites Peter R. Newman 6/20/1964 – 8/1/1964 6 1
8 8 The Reign of Terror Dennis Spooner 8/8/1964 – 9/12/1964 6 1
9 9 Planet of the Giants Louis Marks 10/31/1964 – 11/14/1964 3 1
10 10 The Dalek Invasion of Earth Terry Nation 11/21/1964 – 12/26/1964 6 2
11 11 The Rescue David Whitaker 1/2/1965 – 1/9/1965 2 1
12 12 The Romans Dennis Spooner 1/19/1965 – 2/6/1965 4 1
13 13 The Web Planet Bill Strutton 2/13/1965 – 3/20/1965 6 1
14 14 The Crusade* David Whitaker 3/27/1965 – 4/17/1965 4 *
15 15 The Space Museum Glyn Jones 4/24/1965 – 5/15/1965 4 1
16 16 The Chase Terry Nation 5/22/1965 – 6/26/1965 6 2
17 17 The Time Meddler Dennis Spooner 7/3/1965 – 7/24/1965 4 1
18 18 Galaxy Four* William Emms 9/11/1965 – 10/2/1965 4 *
19 19 Mission to the Unknown* Terry Nation 10/9/1965 1 *
20 20 The Myth Makers* David Cotton 10/19/1965 – 11/6/1965 4 *
21 21 The Daleks Masterplan* Terry Nation, Dennis Spooner 11/13/1965 – 1/29/1966 12 *
22 22 The Massacre* John Lucarotti 2/5/1966 – 2/26/1966 4 *
23 23 The Ark Paul Erickson, Lesley Scott 3/5/1966 – 3/26/1966 4 1
24 24 The Celestial Toymaker* Brian Hayles 4/2/1966 – 4/23/1966 4 *
25 25 The Gunfighters David Cotton 4/30/1966 – 5/21/1966 4 1
26 26 The Savages* Ian Stuart Black 5/28/1966 – 6/18/1966 4 *
27 27 The War Machines Ian Stuart Black 6/25/1966 – 7/16/1966 6 1
28 28 The Smugglers* Brian Hayles 9/10/1966 – 10/1/1966 4 *
29 29 The Tenth Planet Kit Pedler, Gerry Davis, Pat Dunlap 10/8/1966 – 10/29/1966 4 2
Patrick Troughton
30 1 Power of the Daleks* David Whitaker 11/5/1966 – 12/10/1966 6 *
31 2 The Highlanders* Gerry Davis, Elwyn Jones 12/17/1966 – 1/7/1967 4 *
32 3 The Underwater Menace* Geoffrey Orme 1/14/1967 – 2/4/1967 4 *
33 4 The Moonbase Kit Pedler 2/11/1967 – 3/4/1967 4 1
34 5 The Marca Terror* Ian Stuart Black 3/11/1967 – 4/1/1967 4 *
35 6 The Faceless Ones* David Ellis, Malcolm Hulke 4/8/1967 – 5/13/1967 6 *
36 7 The Evil of the Daleks* David Whitaker 5/20/1967 – 7/1/1967 7 *
37 8 Tomb of the Cybermen Kit Pedler, Gerry Davis 9/2/1967 – 9/23/1967 4 1
38 9 The Abominable Snowmen* Mervyn Haisman, Henry Lincoln 9/30/1967 – 11/4/1967 6 *
39 10 The Ice Warriors Brian Hayles 11/11/1967 – 12/16/1967 6 2
40 11 The Enemy of the World David Whitaker 12/23/1967 – 1/27/1968 6 1
41 12 The Web of Fear Mervyn Haisman, Henry Lincoln 2/3/1968 – 3/9/1968 6 1
42 13 Fury from the Deep* Victor Pemberton 3/16/1968 – 4/20/1968 6 *
43 14 The Wheel in Space* David Whitaker 4/27/1968 – 6/1/1968 6 *
44 15 The Dominators Norman Ashby 8/10/1968 – 9/7/1968 5 1
45 16 The Mind Robber Peter Ling, Derrick Sherwin 9/14/1968 – 10/12/1968 5 1
46 17 The Invasion Derrick Sherwin 11/2/1968 – 12/21/1968 8 2
47 18 The Krotons Robert Holmes 12/28/1968 – 1/18/1969 4 1
48 19 The Seeds of Death Brian Hayles 1/25/1969 – 3/1/1969 6 2
49 20 The Space Pirates* Robert Holmes 3/8/1969 – 4/12/1969 6 *
50 21 The War Games Malcolm Hulke, Terrance Dicks 4/19/1969 – 6/21/1969 10 3
Jon Pertwee
51 1 Spearhead from Space Robert Holmes 1/3/1970 – 1/24/1970 4 1
52 2 The Silurians Malcolm Hulke 1/31/1970 – 3/14/1970 7 2
53 3 The Ambassadors of Death David Whitaker 3/21/1970 – 5/2/1970 7 2
54 4 Inferno Don Houghton 5/9/1970 – 6/20/1970 7 2
55 5 Terror of the Autons Robert Holmes 1/2/1971 – 1/23/1971 4 1
56 6 The Mind of Evil Don Houghton 1/30/1971 – 3/6/1971 6 2
57 7 The Claws of Axos Bob Baker, Dave Martin 3/13/1971 – 4/3/1971 4 1
58 8 Colony in Space Malcolm Hulke 4/10/1971 – 5/15/1971 6 1
59 9 The Daemons Guy Leopold 5/22/1971 – 6/19/1971 5 2
60 10 Day of the Daleks Louis Marks 1/1/1972 – 1/22/1972 4 2
61 11 The Curse of Peladon Brian Hayles 1/29/1972 – 2/19/1972 4 1
62 12 The Sea Devils Malcolm Hulke 2/26/1972 – 4/1/1972 6 1
63 13 The Mutants Bob Baker, Dave Martin 4/8/1972 – 5/13/1972 6 2
64 14 The Time Monster Robert Sloman 5/20/1972 – 6/24/1972 6 1
65 15 The Three Doctors Bob Baker, Dave Martin 12/30/1972 – 4/20/1973 4 1
66 16 Carnival of Monsters Robert Holmes 1/27/1973 – 2/17/1973 4 1
67 17 Frontier in Space Malcolm Hulke 2/24/1973 – 3/31/1973 6 2
68 18 Planet of the Daleks Terry Nation 4/7/1973 – 5/12/1973 6 2
69 19 The Green Death Robert Sloman 5/19/1973 – 6/23/1973 6 1
70 20 The Time Warrior Robert Holmes 12/15/1973 – 1/5/1974 4 1
71 21 Invasion of the Dinosaurs Malcolm Hulke 1/12/1974 – 2/16/1974 6 2
72 22 Death to the Daleks Terry Nation 2/23/1974 – 3/16/1974 4 1
73 23 The Monster of Peladon Brian Hayles 3/23/1974 – 4/27/1974 6 2
74 24 Planet of the Spiders Robert Sloman 5/4/1974 – 6/8/1974 6 2
Tom Baker
75 1 Robot Terrance Dicks 12/28/1974 – 1/18/1975 4 1
76 2 The Ark in Space Robert Holmes 1/25/1975 – 2/15/1975 4 1
77 3 The Sontaran Experiment Bob Baker, Dave Martin 2/22/1975 – 3/1/1975 2 1
78 4 Genesis of the Daleks Terry Nation 3/8/1975 – 4/12/1975 6 2
79 5 Revenge of the Cybermen Gerry Davis 4/19/1975 – 5/10/1975 4 1
80 6 Terror of the Zygons Robert Banks Stewart 8/30/1975 – 9/20/1975 4 2
81 7 Planet of Evil Louis Marks 9/27/1975 – 10/18/1975 4 1
82 8 Pyramids of Mars Stephen Harris 10/25/1975 – 11/15/1975 4 1
83 9 The Android Invasion Terry Nation 11/22/1975 – 12/13/1975 4 1
84 10 The Brain of Morbuis Robin Bland 1/3/1976 – 1/24/1976 4 1
85 11 The Seeds of Doom Robert Banks Stewart 1/31/1976 – 3/6/1976 6 2
86 12 The Masque of Mandragora Louis Marks 9/4/1976 – 9/25/1976 4 1
87 13 The Hand of Fear Bob Baker, Dave Martin 10/2/1976 – 10/23/1976 4 1
88 14 The Deadly Assasin Robert Holmes 10/30/1976 – 11/20/1976 4 1
89 15 The Face of Evil Chris Boucher 1/1/1977 – 1/22/1977 4 1
90 16 The Robots of Death Chris Boucher 1/29/1977 – 2/19/1977 4 1
91 17 The Talons of Weng-Chiang Robert Holmes 2/26/1977 – 4/2/1977 6 2
92 18 The Horror of Fang Rock Terrance Dicks 9/3/1977 – 9/24/1977 4 1
93 19 The Invisible Enemy Bob Baker, Dave Martin 10/1/1977 – 10/22/1977 4 1
94 20 Image of the Fendahl Chris Boucher 10/29/1977 – 11/19/1977 4 1
95 21 The Sunmakers Robert Holmes 11/26/1977 – 12/17/1977 4 1
96 22 Underworld Bob Baker, Dave Martin 1/7/1978 – 1/28/1978 4 1
97 23 The Invasion of Time David Agnew (Graham Williams, Anthony Read)** 2/4/1978 – 3/11/1978 6 2
98 24 The Robos Operation Robert Holmes 9/2/1978 – 9/23/1978 4 1
99 25 The Pirate Planet Douglas Adams 9/30/1978 – 10/21/1978 4 1
100 26 The Stones of Blood David Fisher 10/28/1978 – 11/18/1978 4 1
101 27 The Androids of Tara David Fisher 11/25/1978 – 12/16/1978 4 1
102 28 The Power of Kroll Robert Holmes 12/23/1978 – 1/13/1979 4 1
103 29 The Armageddon Factor Bob Baker, Dave Martin 1/20/1979 – 2/24/1979 6 1
104 30 Destiny of the Daleks Terry Nation 9/1/1979 – 9/22/1979 4 1
105 31 City of Death David Agnew (Douglas Adams) 9/29/1979 – 10/20/1979 4 2
106 32 The Creature from the Pit David Fisher 10/27/1979 – 11/17/1979 4 1
107 33 Nightmare of Eden Bob Baker 11/24/1979 – 12/15/1979 4 1
108 34 The Horns of Nimon Anthony Read 12/12/1979 – 1/12/1980 4 1
109 35 Shada Douglas Adams not broadcast 6 3
110 36 The Leisure Hive David Fisher 8/30/1980 – 9/20/1980 4 1
111 37 Meglos John Flanagan 9/27/1980 – 10/18/1980 4 1
112 38 Full Circle Andrew Smith 10/25/1980 – 11/15/1980 4 1
113 39 State of Decay Terrance Dicks 11/22/1980 – 12/13/1980 4 1
114 40 Warrior’s Gate Steve Gallagher 1/3/1981 – 1/24/1981 4 1
115 41 The Keeper of Traken Johnny Byrne 1/31/1981 – 2/21/1981 4 1
116 42 Logopolis Christopher H. Bidmead 2/28/1981 – 3/21/1981 4 1
Special Special K-9 and Co. – A Girl’s Best Friend Terence Dudley 12/28/1981 1 1
Peter Davison
117 1 Castrovalva Christopher H. Bidmead 1/4/1982 – 1/12/1982 4 1
118 2 Four to Doomsday Terence Dudley 1/18/1982 – 1/26/1982 4 1
119 3 Kinda Christopher Bailey 2/1/1982 – 2/9/1982 4 1
120 4 The Visitation Eric Saward 2/15/1982 – 2/23/2015 4 1
121 5 Black Orchid Terence Dudley 3/1/1982 – 3/2/1982 2 1
122 6 Earthshock Eric Saward 3/8/1982 – 3/16/1982 4 1
123 7 Time Flight Peter Grimwade 3/22/1982 – 3/30/1982 4 1
124 8 Arc of Infinity Johnny Byrne 1/3/1983 – 1/11/1983 4 1
125 9 Snakedance Christopher Bailey 1/17/1983 – 1/25/1983 4 1
126 10 Mawdryn Undead Peter Grimwade 2/1/1983 – 2/9/1983 4 1
127 11 Terminus Steve Gallagher 2/15/1983 – 2/23/1983 4 1
128 12 Enlightenment Barbara Clegg 3/1/1983 – 3/9/1983 4 2
129 13 The King’s Demons Terence Dudley 3/15/1983 – 3/16/1983 2 1
130 14 The Five Doctors Terrance Dicks 11/25/1983 1 1
131 15 Warriors of the Deep Johnny Byrne 1/5/1984 – 1/13/1984 4 1
132 16 The Awakening Eric Pringle 1/19/1984 – 1/20/1984 2 1
133 17 Frontios Christopher H. Bidmead 1/26/1984 – 2/3/1984 4 1
134 18 Resurrection of the Daleks Eric Saward 2/8/1984 – 2/15/1984 4 1
135 19 Planet of Fire Peter Grimwade 2/23/1984 – 3/2/1984 4 2
136 20 The Caves of Androzani Robert Holmes 3/8/1984 – 3/16/1984 4 1
Colin Baker
137 1 The Twin Dilemma Anthony Steven 3/22/1984 – 3/30/1984 4 1
138 2 Attack of the Cybermen Paula Moore 1/5/1985 – 1/12/1985 2 1
139 3 Vengeance on Varos Philip Martin 1/19/1985 – 1/26/1985 2 1
140 4 The Mark of the Rani Pip & Jane Baker 2/2/1985 – 2/9/1985 2 1
141 5 The Two Doctors Robert Holmes 2/16/1985 – 3/2/1985 3 2
142 6 Timelash Glen McCoy 3/9/1985 – 3/16/1985 2 1
143 7 Revelation / Daleks Eric Saward 3/23/1985 – 3/30/1985 2 1
144 8 The Mysterious Planet Robert Holmes 9/6/1986 – 9/27/1986 4 1
145 9 Mindwarp Philip Martin 10/4/1986 – 10/25/1986 4 1
146 10 Terror of the Vervoids Pip & Jane Baker 11/1/1986 – 11/22/1986 4 1
147 11 The Ultimate Foe Robert Holmes, Pip & Jane Baker 11/29/1986 – 12/6/1986 2 1
Sylvester McCoy
148 1 Time and the Rani Pip & Jane Baker 9/7/1987 – 9/28/1987 4 1
149 2 Paradise Towers Stephen Wyatt 10/5/1987 – 10/26/1987 4 1
150 3 Delta and the Bannermen Malcolm Kohll 11/2/1987 – 11/16/1987 3 1
151 4 Dragonfire Ian Briggs 11/23/1987 – 12/7/1987 3 1
152 5 Remembrance of the Daleks Ben Aaronovitch 10/5/1988 – 10/26/1988 4 1
153 6 The Happiness Patrol Graeme Curry 11/2/1988 – 11/16/1988 3 1
154 7 Silver Nemesis Kevin Clarke 11/23/1988 – 12/7/1988 3 1
155 8 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy Stephen Wyatt 12/14/1988 – 1/4/1989 4 1
156 9 Battlefield Ben Aaronovitch 9/6/1989 – 9/27/1989 4 2
157 10 Ghost Light Marc Platt 10/4/1989 – 10/18/1989 3 1
158 11 The Curse of Fenric Ian Briggs 10/25/1989 – 11/15/1989 4 2
159 12 Survival Rona Munro 11/22/1989 – 12/6/1989 3 2
160 Paul McGann
The (FOX) TV-Movie Matthew Jacobs 5/14/1996 (US), 5/27/1996 (UK) 1
Special Special The Scream of the Shalka Paul Cornell 11/13/2003 – 12/18/2003 6 2
Special Special The Night of the Doctor Steven Moffat 11/14/2013 1 1
Story # Ep. # Episode Title Episode Author Date Num. Eps. Num. Discs
Christopher Eccleston
Series 1
1 Rose Russell T. Davies 3/26/2005 (BBC 1)
2 The End of the World Russell T. Davies 4/2/2005
3 The Unquiet Dead Mark Gatiss 4/9/2005
4 Aliens of London Russell T. Davies 4/16/2005
5 World War Three Russell T. Davies 4/23/2005
6 Dalek Robert Shearman 4/30/2005
7 The Long Game Russell T. Davies 5/7/2005
8 Father’s Day Paul Cornell 5/14/2005
9 The Empty Child Steven Moffat 5/21/2005
10 The Doctor Dances Steven Moffat 5/28/2005
11 Boom Town Russell T. Davies 6/4/2005
12 Bad Wolf Russell T. Davies 6/11/2005
13 The Parting of the Ways Russell T. Davies 6/18/2005
David Tennant
Series 2
Special The Christmas Invasion Russell T. Davies 12/25/2005
1. New Earth Russell T. Davies 4/15/2006
2. Tooth and Claw Russell T. Davies 4/22/2006
3. School Reunion Toby Whithouse 4/29/2006
4. The Girl in the Fireplace Steven Moffat 5/6/2006
5. Rise of the Cybermen Tom MacRae 5/13/2006
6. The Age of Steel Tom MacRae 5/20/2006
7. The Idiot’s Lantern Mark Gatiss 5/27/2006
8. The Impossible Planet Matt Jones 6/3/2006
9. The Satan Pit Matt Jones 6/10/2006
10. Love and Monsters Russell T. Davies 6/17/2006
11. Fear Her Matthew Graham 6/24/2006
12. Army of Ghosts Russell T. Davies 7/1/2006
13. Doomsday Russell T. Davies 7/8/2006
Series 3
Special The Runaway Bride Russell T. Davies 12/25/2006
1. Smith and Jones Russell T. Davies 3/31/2007
2. The Shakespeare Code Gareth Roberts 4/7/2007
3. Gridlock Russell T. Davies 4/14/2007
4. Daleks in Manhatten Helen Raynor 4/21/2007
5. Evolution of the Daleks Helen Raynor 4/28/2007
6. The Lazarus Experiment Stephen Greenhorn 5/5/2007
7. 42 Chris Chibnall 5/19/2007
8. Human Nature Paul Cornell 5/26/2007
9. The Family of Blood Paul Cornell 6/2/2007
10. Blink Steven Moffat 6/9/2007
11. Utopia Russell T. Davies 6/16/2007
12. The Sound of Drums Russell T. Davies 6/23/2007
13. Last of the Time Lords Russell T. Davies 6/30/2007
Special The Infinite Quest Alan Barnes 4/2/2007 – 6/29/2007
Series 4
Special Voyage of the Damned Russell T. Davies 12/25/2007
1. Partners in Crime Russell T. Davies 4/5/2008
2. Fires of Pompeii James Moran 4/12/2008
3. The Planet of the Ood Keith Temple 4/12/2008
4. The Sontaran Stratagem Helen Raynor 4/26/2008
5. The Poison Sky Helen Raynor 5/3/2008
6. The Doctor’s Daughter Stephen Greenhorn 5/10/2008
7. The Unicorn and the Wasp Gareth Roberts 5/17/2008
8. Silence in the Library Steven Moffat 5/31/2008
9. Forest of the Dead Steven Moffat 6/7/2008
10. Midnight Russell T. Davies 6/14/2008
11 Turn Left Russell T. Davies 6/21/2008
12 This Stolen Earth Russell T. Davies 6/28/2008
13. Journey’s End Russell T. Davies 7/5/2008
The Specials (Series 4.5)
Special The Next Doctor Russell T. Davies 12/25/2008
Special Planet of the Dead Russell T. Davies & Gareth Roberts 4/11/2009
Special The Waters of Mars Russell T. Davies & Phil Ford 11/15/2009
Special The End of Time, Part 1 Russell T. Davies 12/25/2009
Special The End of Time, Part 2 Russell T. Davies 1/1/2009
Special Dreamland Phil Ford 11/21/2009 – 11/21/2009
Matt Smith
Series 5
1. The Eleventh Hour Steven Moffat 4/3/2010
2. The Beast Below Steven Moffat 4/10/2010
3. Victory of the Daleks Mark Gatiss 4/17/2010
4. The Time of Angels Steven Moffat 4/24/2010
5. Flesh and Stone Steven Moffat 5/1/2010
6. The Vampires of Venice Toby Whithouse 5/8/2010
7. Amy’s Choice Simon Nye 5/15/2010
8. The Hungry Earth Chris Chibnall 5/22/2010
9. Cold Blood Chris Chibnall 5/29/2010
10. Vincent and the Doctor Richard Curtis 6/5/2010
11. The Lodger Gareth Roberts 6/12/2010
12. The Pandorica Opens Steven Moffat 6/19/2010
13. The Big Bang Steven Moffat 6/26/2010
Special A Christmas Carol Steven Moffat 12/25/2010
Series 6
1. The Impossible Astronaut Steven Moffat 4/23/2011
2. Day of the Moon Steven Moffat 4/30/2011
3. Curse of the Black Spot Steve Thompson 5/7/2011
4. The Doctor’s Wife Neil Gaiman 5/14/2011
5. The Rebel Flesh Matthew Graham 5/21/2011
6. The Almost People Matthew Graham 5/28/2011
7. A Good Man Goes to War Steven Moffat 6/4/2011
8. Let’s Kill Hitler Steven Moffat 8/27/2011
9. Night Terrors Mark Gatiss 9/3/2011
10. The Girl Who Waited Tom MacRae 9/10/2011
11. The God Complex Toby Whithouse 9/17/2011
12. Closing Time Gareth Roberts 9/24/2011
13. The Wedding of River Song Steven Moffat 10/1/2011
Special The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe Steven Moffat 12/25/2011
Series 7
1. Asylum of the Daleks Steven Moffat 9/1/2012
2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship Chris Chibnall 9/8/2012
3. A Town Called Mercy Toby Whithouse 9/15/2012
4. The Power of Three Chris Chibnall 9/22/2012
5. The Angels Take Manhatten Steven Moffat 9/29/2012
Special The Snowmen Steven Moffat 12/25/2012
6. The Bells of St. John Steven Moffat 3/30/2013
7. The Rings of Akhaten Neil Cross 4/6/2013
8. Cold War Mark Gatiss 4/13/2013
9. Hide Neil Cross 4/20/2013
10. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS Steve Thompson 4/27/2013
11. The Crimson Horror Mark Gatiss 5/4/2013
12. Nightmare in Silver Neil Gaiman 5/11/2013
13. The Name of the Doctor Steven Moffat 5/18/2013
Special The Day of the Doctor Steven Moffat 11/23/2013
Special The Time of the Doctor Steven Moffat 12/25/2013
Peter Capaldi
Series 8
1. Deep Breath Steven Moffat 8/23/2014
2. Into the Dalek Phil Ford & Steven Moffat 8/30/2014
3. Robot of Sherwood Mark Gatiss 9/6/2014
4. Listen Steven Moffat 9/13/2014
5. Time Heist Stephen Thompson & Steven Moffat 9/20/2014
6. The Caretaker Gareth Roberts & Steven Moffat 9/27/2014
7. Kill the Moon Peter Harness 10/4/2014
8. Mummy on the Orient Express Jamie Mathieson 10/11/2014
9. Flatline Jamie Mathieson 10/18/2014
10. In the Forest of the Night Frank Cottrell Boyce 10/25/2014
11. Dark Water Steven Moffat 11/1/2014
12. Death in Heaven Steven Moffat 11/8/2014
Special Last Christmas Steven Moffat 12/25/2014
Series 9
1. The Magician’s Apprentice Steven Moffat 9/19/2015
2. The Witch’s Familiar Steven Moffat 9/26/2015
3. Under the Lake Toby Whithouse 10/3/2015
4. Before the Flood Toby Whithouse 10/10/2015
5. The Girl Who Died Jamie Mathieson, Steven Moffat 10/17/2015
6. The Women Who Lived Catherine Tregenna 10/24/2015
7. The Zygon Invasion Peter Harness 10/31/2015
8. The Zygon Inversion Peter Harness, Steven Moffat 11/7/2015
9. Sleep No More Mark Gatiss 11/15/2015

Note: Stories marked * are missing.
Note: Classic DW Titles, Authors, Dates, and Number of Episodes info from Doctor Who The Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier.
Note: David Agnew is a BBC Pseudonym. Per Paul Smith, and Script Editor Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium “The Invasion of Time” was written by producer Graham Williams & script editor Anthony Read. The pseudonym was used for on-air titles due to BBC policy. (see p. 166)
Likewise, it is well-known Douglas Adams wrote “City of Death” and a pseudonym was slapped on the story by the BBC. (See Smith pp. 75-76).
Doctor Who: The Programme Guide, by Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier (4th Ed.) used to check airdates for McCoy’s final season.
Airdates for the TV-Movie from Paul Smith, The Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium, p. 204.
Authors for Season 8 from “Doctor Who Season 8: All Episode Titles, Writers & Directors Revealed” by Sandy Schaefer 8/18/2014 Screenrant.
Most New Series info (writers, dates) from the Doctor Who Wiki
Series 9 authors & airdates obtained by checking episodes, crosschecked with TARDIS wiki.

The Best Speeches from Doctor Who

Last Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, “The Zygon Inversion”, featured an impassioned speech by the Doctor, played to perfection by Peter Capaldi. It was brilliant and had a Shakespearean quality to it. Afterwards Twitter just exploded with comments about the episode, the speech, and Capaldi – and comments about other great speeches from Doctor Who. This post is a collection of some of the best speeches from Doctor Who, roughly one per Doctor. I have no desire to do a “top ten” style list, so they are presented in reverse chronological order, newest to oldest, with youTube clips where I can find them.

12 – Peter Capaldi – Zygon Inversion,
written by Peter Harness & Steven Moffat, BBC 2015

“You just want cruelty to beget cruelty. You’re not superior to people who were cruel to you.  You’re just a whole bunch of new cruel people. A whole bunch of new cruel people being cruel to some other people who will end-up being cruel to you. The only way anyone can live in peace is if they are prepared to forgive. Why don’t you break the cycle?” – The Doctor
“Why should we?” – Bonnie
“What is it that you actually want?” – The Doctor
“War.” – Bonnie
“Ah. And when this war is over? When you have a homeland free from humans. What do you think it’s going to be like? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Have you given it any consideration? Because you’re very close to getting what you want. What’s it going to be like? Paint me a picture. Are you going to live in houses? Do you want people to go to work? Will there be holidays? Oh. Will there be music? Do you think people will be allowed to play violins? Who’s going to make the violins? Well? Oh, you don’t actually know do you? Because like every single tantruming child in history, Bonnie, you don’t actually know what you want. So let me ask you a question about this Brave New World of yours. When you’ve killed all the bad guys, and when it’s all perfect, and just, and fair, when you have finally got it exactly the way you want it. What are you going to do with the people like you? The troublemakers. How are you going to protect your Glorious Revolution from the next one?” – The Doctor
“We’ll win.” – Bonnie
“Oh, will you? Well, maybe. Maybe you will win. but nobody wins for long. The wheel just keeps turning. So, come on, break the cycle.” – The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), “The Zygon Inversion”, BBC 2015

“You set this up, why?” – Kate
“Because it’s not a game, Kate. This is a scale model of  war! Every war ever fought right there in front of you! Because its always the same, when you fire that first shot. No matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die! You don’t know who’s children are going to scream and burn! How many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does what they were always going to have to do from the very beginning – sit down and talk!” – the Doctor

“You’re all the same, you screaming kids, you know that? ‘Look at me, I’m unforgivable’, well, here’s the unforeseeable – I forgive you! After all you’ve done – I forgive you!” – The Doctor
“You don’t understand! You will never understand!” – Bonnie
“I don’t understand? Are you kidding? Me? Of course, I understand. I mean, you call this a war? This funny little thing? This is not a war! I fought in a bigger war than you will ever know. I did worse things than you could ever imagine! And when I close my eyes… I hear more screams than anyone would ever be able to count. And do you know what you do with all that pain? Shall I tell you where to put it? You hold it tight… until it burns your hand. And you say this! No one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will ever have to feel this pain. Not on my watch.” – The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), “The Zygon Inversion”, BBC 2015

11 – Matt Smith – Pandorica “The Pandorica Opens”,
written by Steven Moffat, BBC 2010

“Hello, Stonehedge! Who takes the Pandorica takes the universe. But bad news, everyone…Cos guess who? Ha! listen, you lot, you’re all whizzing about, it’s really very distracting. Could you all stay still a minute? Because I…am…talking! Now, the question of the hour is, Who’s got the Pandorica? Answer – I do. Next question, Who’s coming to take it from me? Come on! Look at me, no plan, no backup, no weapons worth a damn. Oh, and something else, I don’t have… anything to lose! So, if you’re sitting up there in your silly little spaceship, with all your silly little guns, and you’ve got any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who’s standing in your way. Remember every black day I ever stopped you. And then, and then, do the smart thing. Let somebody else try first.” – the Doctor (Matt Smith)

10 – David Tennant, “Voyage of the Damned”,
written by Russell T. Davies, BBC 2007

“Wait a minute, who put you in charge?  And who the hell are you anyway?” – Pickton Slade
“I’m the Doctor.  I’m a Time Lord.  I’m from the planet Gallifrey, in the constellation of Kasterborous.  I’m 903 years old, and I’m the man who’s going to save your lives and all six billion people on the planet below.  You have a problem with that?” – The Doctor (David Tennant)
“No.” – Pickton Slade

9 – Christopher Eccleston, “Rose”,
written by Russell T. Davies, BBC 2005

“Really though Doctor,  tell me, Who are you?” – Rose
“You know like we were saying, about the Earth revolving?  It’s like when you’re a kid, the first time they tell you that the world’s turning, and you just can’t believe it, ’cause everything looks like it’s standing still.  I can feel it (takes Rose’s hand) the turn of the Earth.  The ground beneath our feet is spinnin’ at 1000 miles an hour, and the entire planet is hurling around the Sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it.  We’re falling through space you and me – clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go… (pause) That’s who I am.  Now forget me, Rose Tyler.  Go home.” – The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)

Comment vid – it was the best I could find.

7 – Sylvester McCoy, “Survival”,
written by Rona Munro, BBC 1989

“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea’s asleep and the rivers dream.  People made of smoke and cities made of song.  Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, somewhere else the tea is getting cold.  Come on, Ace, we’ve got work to do.” –the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)

6 – Colin Baker, “The Ultimate Foe”
Written by Robert Holmes and Pip & Jane Baker, BBC 1986

“In all my travelings throughout the universe I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators.  I should have stayed here.  The oldest civilisation… Dedecant, degenerate, and rotten to the core… Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen– they’re still in the nursery compared to us.  Ten million years of absolute power– that’s what it takes to be really corrupt!” –the Doctor (Colin Baker), “Trial of a Time Lord – The Ultimate Foe”

5 Peter Davison, “Earthshock”,
written by Eric Saward, BBC 1983

“They [emotions] also enhance life–when did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?” –The Doctor (Davison)
“These things are irrelevant.” The Cyber-leader
“For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about.” The Doctor in response, (Peter Davison)

4 Tom Baker, “Genesis of the Daleks”,
written by Terry Nation, BBC 1975

“Well, What are you waiting for?”  –Sarah Jane
“Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished.  Have I the right?” The Doctor
“To destroy the Daleks, you can’t doubt it?” –Sarah
“But I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks.  Many Future Worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks.”  –The Doctor
“It isn’t like that!” –Sarah (Elisabeth Sladen)
“But the final responsibility is mine, and mine alone. Listen, if someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dicator, who would destroy millions of lives. Could you then kill that child?” –The Doctor
“We’re talking about the Daleks, the most evil creatures ever invented, you must destroy them! You must complete your mission for the Time Lords!” – Sarah Jane
“Do I have the right? Simply touch one wire against the other and that’s it, the Daleks cease to exist. Hundreds of millions of people, thousands of generations can live without fear, in peace, and never even know the word ‘Dalek’.” – The Doctor
“Then why wait? If it was a disease, or some sort of bacteria you were destroying you wouldn’t hesitate.”
“But if I kill, wipe out a whole intelligent life form, then I become like them, I’d be no better than the Daleks.” The Doctor (Tom Baker)

4  Tom Baker, “The Ark in Space”,
Written by Robert Holmes, BBC 1975

“Homo Sapiens! What an inventive, invincible species.  It’s only a few millions years since they’ve crawled out of  the mud and learned to walk.  Puny, defenseless, bipeds.  They’ve survived flood, famine and plague, they’ve survived cosmic wars and holocausts, and now here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life, ready to outsit eternity.  They’re indomitable!  Indomitable!” –The Doctor (Tom Baker)

3  Jon Pertwee, Planet of the Daleks,
Written by Terry Nation, BBC 1973

“You know, what you did back there, leading the searchers away from us was very couragous.” – The Doctor
“I just didn’t give myself time to think.  If I had I certainly wouldn’t have taken the risk.” – Thal Scientist Codal
“I think your doing yourself rather an injustice there. If you hadn’t acted the way you did – we’ve all been captured. They give medals for that sort of bravery.” – The Doctor
“Bravery? I’ve been terrified ever since I landed on this planet. It’s different for Taren and Vabor – they’re professionals. They’ve seen action before.” – Thal Scientist Codal
“And do you think they’re any less brave because of that?” – The Doctor
“They know how to deal with fear. They’re used to living close to death. I’m not. I’m a scientist not an adventurer.”  – Thal Scientist Codal
“Well, forgive me if I’m wrong, but weren’t you a volunteer?” – The Doctor
“Yes.” – Thal Scientist Codal
“Well, you must have known what you were getting  into.” – The Doctor
“No. None of us did. We’re not a war-like people, Doctor. We’ve only just developed space flight. No one attempted a voyage of this length before. But every man and woman from my division volunteered. Over 600 of them, you see, I didn’t even have the courage to be the odd man out.” – Thal Scientist Codal

[The Doctor chuckles]

“What are you laughing at?” – Thal Scientist Codal
“You my friend. You may be a very brilliant scientist, but you have very little understanding of people, particularly yourself. Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know.” – The Doctor
“What is it, then?” – Thal Scientist Codal
“It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.” – The Doctor (Jon Pertwee)

2 Patrick Troughton – “The Moonbase”,
Written by Kit Pedler, BBC 1967

“Evil is what I meant. There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything that we believe in. They must be fought.” – The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), “The Moonbase”, BBC 1967 (written by Kit Pedler)

2 Patrick Troughton – “The War Games”,
Written by Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks, BBC 1969

“You asked me to justify my actions, I am doing so. Let me show you the Ice Warriors, cruel Martian invaders, they tried to conquer the Earth, too. So did the Cybermen, half creature, half machine. but, worst of all, were the Daleks, a pityless race of conquerers exterminating all who came up against them. All these evils I have fought, while you have done nothing but observe. True, I am guilty of interference, just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!” – The Doctor (Patrick Troughton)

1 – William Hartnell, “An Unearthly Child”,
written by Anthony Coburn

“I tolerate this century but I don’t enjoy it. Have you ever thought what it’s like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? Have you? To be exiles. Susan and I are cut off from our own planet, without friends or protection. But one day we shall go back. Yes, one day. One day.” “An Unearthly Child”, BBC 1963

And finally as an Honorable Mention, because it is a quote about the Doctor but not said by him.

The Family of Blood, Written by Paul Cornell (based on his original Doctor Who novel, Human Nature, published in the New Adventures series by Virgin Publishing), BBC 2007
“Because it [the watch] was waiting. Then because I was so scared of the Doctor.” – Timothy Latimer
“Why?” – Joan
“Because, I’ve seen him. He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm and the heart of the sun.” – Latimer
“Stop it.” – John Smith
“He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the center of time, and he can see the turn of the universe.” – Latimer
“Stop it. I said, stop it.” – John Smith (David Tennant)
“And he’s wonderful.” – Tim Latimer (Thomas Sangster)

All speeches and dialogue hand-transcribed by me. Authors and dates from Doctor Who – The Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier Second and Fourth editions for Classic Who, and from The TARDIS Wikia for New Who. Yes, I realize Paul McGann is missing – I hope to get something from one of the Big Finish audios or the BBC Books Eighth Doctor Adventures at some point. I do really like McGann’s Doctor.

This is why I love Doctor Who so much – it is so wonderfully written, and acted, and brilliant, and diverse. What are your favorite speeches from Doctor Who?

Hamlet (2009)

  • Title:  Hamlet
  • Director:  Gregory Doran
  • Date:  2009
  • Studio:  BBC / Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Genre:  Drama
  • Cast:  David Tennant, Patrick Stewart, Penny Downie, Mariah Gale
  • Format:  Color
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

The DVD is a filmed version of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet, starring David Tennant as Hamlet, and Sir Patrick Stewart as Claudius, costumed in modern dress — and it’s brilliant!  Instead of merely filming the production straight-on, this is an actual film (and shown on BBC television per IMDB) – shot on location at an old abandoned seminary (according to the behind-the-scenes feature).  A few scenes do look like an older college building, rather than a castle – but for the most part the location really works.

The main location in the film, the court at Elsinore, has a jet black shiny floor that would make an Art Deco set designer from RKO Pictures proud.  Seriously, I thought this was a set when I watched the film, though a brilliantly designed one, for a play about deception and secrets. That the basic space really existed is amazing!

Anyway, David Tennant is so brilliant in this — and I thought he was brill in Doctor Who.  He has a wonderful manic energy — but, because this is film, and shot as film – not a mere theatre archive piece, he also has the ability to go very quiet and intense (such as in the famous “To Be or Not To Be” speech). Tennant also brings to Prince Hamlet the impression that he’s really quite clever and crafty – he’s faking being insane while trying to decide what to do with the information provided by his Dad’s ghost.  OK, so maybe not totally sane — but Hamlet doesn’t come off at the whiny wimp he sometimes can.

Sir Patrick Stewart, meanwhile, is also brilliant as Claudius.  You can see how he manipulates everyone around him – Gertrude, and Laertes, especially.  But even courtiers like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern jump to do Claudius’ will, immediately.

Both Gertrude and Ophelia were brilliantly played.  Gertrude is especially good in the “closet” (or bedroom) scene with Hamlet.  And Tennant is scary good in that – especially when he breaks the mirror! Mariah Gale as Ophelia does a great job with her mad scene, though it’s a thankless role.

The only one I didn’t like in the play was Polonius – whom I found annoying.  Now maybe he’s supposed to be annoying, but his quoting of quaint proverbs sounds actually clichéd, and he underplays giving the lines too! (E.g. bits like giving his son the advice “neither a borrower or a lender be” when sending his son off to college or wherever Laertes is going at the start of the play).

I loved the use of highly polished surfaces throughout the play, such as the floor in the court, and also the mirrors.  The cracked mirror in Gertrude’s room seems to symbolise Hamlet’s cracking soul.  Brilliantly realised that!

The use of cctv footage (breaking to a view through a camera) I found less successful – it was distracting, and I even wondered if there was a fault in my DVD at first (like it was going to an alt-angle view or something for no reason).  According to the “Behind the Scenes” documentary on the DVD – this is meant to suggest the lack of privacy and the “all-knowing, all-watching” state that prevails at Elsinore.  It didn’t quite work for me.

But I do highly recommend this – Tennant is brilliant, Stewart is brilliant, the rest of the cast is fantastic, the film is quite, quite good.

Running time was at least three and a half hours, though.  I watched it last night, and man – it did feel a bit long. But still well worth it.  There are two special features and a commentary.  There’s a nice behind-the-scenes feature, which runs a bit over half-an-hour, and there’s a quick advert for careers in the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company), that’s actually pretty cool.  Haven’t listened to the commentary yet.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating:  5 of 5 Stars!