Doctor Who – Legend Of The Sea Devils

What’s The Show? The second-last Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who story, Legend Of The Sea Devils.

What’s It All About, JG? The TARDIS is pulled off course to 19th Century China, where a statue has been convincingly attacked by Madame Ching (Crystal Yu) who’s searching for treasure, only to reveal… a Sea Devil! Excitement? Er… anyway, Dan encounters Ying Ki (Marlowe Chan-Reeves), whose father was killed by said Sea Devil back in the day aboard the ship Flor de la Mar. They sneak aboard Madame Ching’s pirate ship and are immediately captured. She reveals that she needs the treasure from the selfsame Flor de la Mar to get her crew back – they’ve been kidnapped and are being held to ransom. The Doctor and Yaz slip back in time to the 16th century to try and find the treasure, unsuccessfully, and are taken to the Sea Devils’ underground lair. It turns out the Sea Devils are looking for the Keystone to execute their plans and flood the Earth, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s currently hanging round the neck of Ying Ki, passed down from his father. The captain of the Flor de la Mar, Ji-Hun (Arthur Lee) has been kept alive in stasis by the Sea Devils and had tricked them by getting the Keystone safely away. There’s a battle on the Sea Devil-converted wreck of the Flor de la Mar, and Ji-Hun sacrifices himself so the regular cast can escape and the Sea Devils are foiled. It all wraps up with a scene between the Doctor and Yaz, where the Yaz confesses her feelings and the Doctor gently, but firmly, turns her down. And then we get that trailer…

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Doctor Who – Eve Of The Daleks

What’s The Show? The Doctor Who New Year’s special, Eve Of The Daleks.

What’s It All About, JG? The Doctor, Yaz and Dan land on New Year’s Eve in a self-storage depot while the Doctor attempts to purge the remaining Flux energy from the TARDIS. Turns out doing that causes a time loop, which the Daleks pop into in order to extract revenge for the Doctor wiping out their war fleet with the Flux. Also there are Sarah (a brilliant Aisling Bea) and oddball Nick (Adjani Salmon), who’s storing the possessions of ex-girlfriends there and using it as an excuse to see Sarah, on whom he has an unrequited crush. Every time the Executioner Daleks – with the really cool Gatling gun weapons – kill them, time resets and the loop becomes just that little bit shorter, so its up to the Doctor to figure out how they can defeat the Daleks, keep everyone alive, and escape the loop before time runs out.

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Doctor Who – Flux (Season 13)

Is third time the charm for Chris Chibnall’s version of Doctor Who? Remarkably, yes!

What’s The Show? Doctor Who‘s six episode long truncated series 13

What’s It All About, JG? Trying to find out if there’s anything worth salvaging from the Chibnall era of Doctor Who before both he and the reliably brilliant Jodie Whittaker bow out, and also embracing the full force of serialisation. But in terms of plot, the universe is threatened by a mysterious “Flux event” the Doctor knows nothing about. The Earth is protected by the Lupari, as represented by the appealingly dog-like Karvaista. Turns out there’s been some kind of battle between Space and Time (capital S and capital T) as represented by Azure and Swarm on one side and the mysterious Division on the other. Meanwhile, two survivors of the Flux, Vinder and Bel, are separated and are trying to reunite while getting into/out of the way of the plot, and the Doctor has a new companion, Dan (a surprisingly strong John Bishop), a Liverpudlian who turns out to be a dab hand at taking out Sontarans with a wok. It all ends with the Doctor struggling to get back her memories from her adoptive mother (unsuccessfully), a snake-like Grand Serpent infiltrating UNIT, and the Flux wiping out vast amounts of Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans. Whatever else you can say about Flux, it’t not lacking for event!

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The Rematerialisation Of A Writerly Icon

The man who saved Doctor Who from obscurity returns to his throne. But how good an idea is that?

Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies is returning to the world of Doctor Who.

This is, to put it mildly, an interesting development. Davies’s absence from the Doctor Who world, after standing down alongside David Tennant back in 2008, has been fairly striking. Other than a brief, and really rather excellent, cameo during the (also rather excellent) The Five-ish Doctors Reboot, he was entirely in absentia from Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary shindigs. While some of that might simply be out of respect for his replacement, Steven Moffat, it’s still noticeable that the person responsible for guiding the show back from the Wilderness Years, and the person who single-handedly turned it into one of the most popular shows on television, was completely absent from the big party. Davies has done nothing for Big Finish at all, a company he claims to have been rather proud to have saved in the early days of the new show by quietly deflecting questions about licencing. And if ever there was a refuge for Doctor Who writers of the past, it’s Big Finish. There’s been the novelization of Rose, and it’s pretty good for what it is, but beyond that? Zip.

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Leaves On The Cultural Line – A Doctor Stands Down

A Time Lord exits – but does it matter, and if so, why?

Jodie Whittaker has decided to stand down as the Doctor.

Rather than debating the merits or otherwise of her era, it’s been interesting to see the press reaction to the news that the first female Doctor has decided to leave on a schedule pretty much in line with the previous two Doctors. Sure, there will be fewer episodes in her third season, but there’s a pandemic on – there’s not a lot you can do about that really. Otherwise, though, she’s done her shift and it will be time for a new Doctor (cue much rampant speculation and little-to-no accuracy) and a new showrunner. Still. The news made a few front pages. The Guardian went with the relatively staid and accurate “Jodie Whittaker Quits Doctor Who”. OK. “Time’s Up Already: Jodie Whittaker To Leave Doctor Who” says The Independent. So far, so accurate. “Woke Doctor Who Quits The TARDIS”, says the Daily Telegraph. Hmm. One of these things is not like the other.

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Doctor Who Series 12

An episode-by-episode review of the 12th series of the venerable sci-fi classic

So I’m going to do something I haven’t done before and review Season 12 of Doctor Who episode-by-episode as the are released. As usual, I shall be dispensing with the twin straightjackets of objectivity and fan consensus, and will add each new episode as they come.

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Doctor Who – Series 11

The Doctor’s a lady womaness! Gasp! But is the first series starring Jodie Whittaker actallly any good away from the controversies?

What’s The Show? – Doctor Who, Series 11.  The Series 11 starring Jodie Whittaker, not Jon Pertwee, to be clear.

What’s It All About, JG? – Well I’m not going to explain the concept of a time-traveller in a police box from another world having adventures, because come on. Instead, let’s talk about the most recent season, which is mostly about controversy, it seems.  Controversy over the social and political content, controversy over the choice of showrunner, controversy over the Doctor being a woman… there was plenty to discuss, and regardless of where one falls on these issues one thing is sure – people have been talking about Doctor Who in a way that’s basically unparalleled since the big media blitz in 2005 when the show returned from the Wilderness Years. If the end result of all these changes was to garner more publicity for the show well – job done. Significantly, despite all the many questions raised by fans and more casual viewers, and despite the vast differences of opinion on almost every other topic, one thing seems to unite just about everyone when they talk about this season – Jodie Whittaker’s great. 

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