Ten Things About Who: The Name of the Doctor

This post has been edited, tidied up and expanded to form part of my new ebook, TEN THINGS ABOUT WHO, available on Kindle. Buy it now for £1.99More details

Okay, this time more than ever, you must watch the episode before reading anything about it. Spoilers, sweetie…

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1. “Less poetry, Doctor”

Do you hear the Whisper Men
The Whisper Men are near
If you hear the Whisper Men
Then turn away your ear

Do not hear the Whisper Men
Whatever else you do
For once you’ve heard the Whisper Men
They’ll stop… and look at you

A simple, but effective, design helps lift the Whisper Men from being the generic henchmen that they would otherwise become. I couldn’t help being reminded of the Gentlemen that Joss Whedon created for one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s best ever episodes, the near-silent Hush. True, they stole hearts rather than just stopping them – but they, too, were presaged by a cod nursery rhyme:

Can’t even shout, can’t even cry
The Gentlemen are coming by
Looking in windows, knocking on doors
They need to take seven and they might take yours
Can’t call to mom, can’t say a word
You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.

Continue reading Ten Things About Who: The Name of the Doctor

Ten Things About Who: Nightmare in Silver

This post has been edited, tidied up and expanded to form part of my new ebook, TEN THINGS ABOUT WHO, available on Kindle. Buy it now for £1.99More details

As we rapidly approach the end of this series, I’ve created an index page for all my Ten Things About… posts. And here are this week’s rambling musings about Neil Gaiman’s episode – which, far from being a nightmare, felt more like a bad dream brought on by a surfeit of cheese.

1. The Mechanical Turk

Did the concept of a ‘magical’ chess-playing automaton sound familiar to you? The Mechanical Turk, a life-size dummy built to impress the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Just like the equivalent on Hedgewick’s World, the Turk was controlled by a human inside, whose presence was hidden away:

…if the back doors of the cabinet were open at the same time one could see through the machine. The other side of the cabinet did not house machinery; instead it contained a red cushion and some removable parts, as well as brass structures. This area was also designed to provide a clear line of vision through the machine.

For a more recent parallel, Big Finish’s 2011 audio drama The Silver Turk by Marc Platt features a similar machine which the Doctor identifies as a Cyberman. Continue reading Ten Things About Who: Nightmare in Silver

Let’s Kill Hitler (and let’s keep it spoiler-free)

Last night, I went to the National Film Theatre to see a special preview of Let’s Kill Hitler, the first episode of the second half of the current series of Doctor Who, which is due to hit BBC1 this forthcoming bank holiday weekend. 

At the end of the last episode, a cabal of the Doctor’s enemies had absconded with Amy and Rory’s new baby, Melody Pond, who they said was to be bred into being a weapon in the war against the Time Lord. And in the final scene, we learned that River Song was indeed Melody, all grown up.

That episode answered many questions, though mostly in part rather than fully, and asked many more. Let’s Kill Hitler does the same, pushing the season’s story arc on in many new and exciting ways. There are some truly thrilling moments and discoveries which, as Steven Moffat reasoned in the post-airing Q&A, are best experienced as you watch the episode, so I’ll endeavour to keep this piece as spoiler-free as possible. And in that spirit, if you comment on this blogpost, I ask that you do the same…

Continue reading Let’s Kill Hitler (and let’s keep it spoiler-free)