Romana and Romana II
With the end of the ninth season of DOCTOR WHO approaching — as well the imminent departure of Clara (Jenna Coleman) — a lot of folks think it’s time to shake the trees and talk about turning the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) into a woman for his next incarnation.
During the DOCTOR WHO panel at London’s Comic-Con, executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat was asked if the Doctor could regenerate into a woman. He replied:
“Yes [Long applause]. But there is no vacancy. I’m being really explicit in my answer here because I gave this answer once in San Diego. I was asked if the Doctor could ever be a woman and I said ‘I think there’s a subtext in the show, maybe you should read it.’ And I turned and gestured to Michelle Gomez sitting next to me as Missy, and everyone laughed. This was reported, widely, as me saying the Doctor would never be a woman. So let me just make this very, very clear: There is no vacancy, and it may never happen. However artistically it could work. Commercially, the audience would go with it, we’ve proven that with Missy. And that’s why we did it, frankly. Yes, it can happen. It doesn’t need to happen, but it can, absolutely.”
the 12th Doctor
If you liked the way “The Zygon Invasion” and “The Zygon Inversion” pretty much directly tackled issues about integrating immigrants (some willing, some not) into societies and the use of terrorism to pursue minority interests, you’ll be happy to know that DOCTOR WHO may not be finished tackling controversial real-world issues.
The newly confirmed 10 series may see a return to one of the show’s favorite themes, environmentalism — see “The Green Death” and, yes, “Terror of the Zygons” from back in the 1970s.
Frequent scriptwriter and Friend of Moffat Mark Gatiss — who wrote this week’s “Sleep No More” and counts Season 10’s “Green Death” among his favorite stories — recently revealed that he is a fan of what he called “warn about the future” stories and would love to do a story about — fracking!
In case you’ve never heard about it, “tracking” is a way of extracting natural gas from the ground by drilling deep and injecting a high-pressure water mixture into the rocks to release any gas inside. The fluid pumped down there is a mixture of water, sand and chemicals that is injected into the rock at high pressure.
Osgood and the Doctor
As this season of DOCTOR WHO heads into the home stretch, executive producer Steven Moffat has already been prepping series 10 for quite some time now, and although he cannot say anything about scheduling — “No, I’m not even allowed to [comment]! Scheduling; that’s up to BBC One” he laughs — Moffat revealed he has chosen some writers, but the new companion has not yet been cast.
This confirms previous conjecture that while Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) would be a fun character to bring on full-time, she would not be right for a soft “relaunch” of the show. In fact, the production is not looking to bring back any previously seen characters as the new regular companion — including Faye Marsay’s popular Shona, from 2014’s “Last Christmas.”
“[Osgood is] a great character and we love her. But whether you really get a ‘relaunch’ out of bringing someone on board the TARDIS who’s already been there, I don’t know. It did work very well with Catherine Tate [as Donna], but that’s not the direction we’re currently going in. I quite like where we’ve got Osgood at the moment.”
“I’m not making any promises, but my genuine belief is that it will be someone new,” Moffat said. “To throw away the chance to say [to new viewers], ‘You can start here!’ is foolish. If [the new companion] is somebody you have to know all about then you’ve lost that. I think, particularly when you get a new companion, more so than a new Doctor, you are sort of saying, ‘This is the beginning, this is where it starts — you could join in here.'”
Mark Gatiss recently mused about the next companion being male: “It would be very interesting if the Doctor had a male companion,” he admitted. “But then it would be a very male show.”
This week’s episode of DOCTOR WHO, “Sleep No More,” is unusual because it uses the “found footage” style of storytelling, as explained in this preview clip:
The official synopsis for the episode is brief: “This terrifying story is assembled from footage discovered in the wreckage of Le Verrier Space Station.”
The episode was written by Mark Gatiss and stars his former LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN compatriot Reece Shearsmith (Shaun of the Dead).
BBC next time trailer:
The new season of DOCTOR WHO will, unfortunately, be indulging in a trend that I greatly dislike: the “found footage” gimmick. The ninth episode will be told entirely in “old phone and camcorder footage.”
Ugh. I am not looking forward to artificially grainy images and bouncing, shaking camera shots.
Shot in the style of movies like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, the episode will involve “the Time Lord’s followers filming their attempts to fight a monster,” the Daily Star reported.
Executive producer Brian Minchin teased: “We’re considering not even having opening titles and just running the footage.”
Artist Stuart Manning (@stuart_manning on Twitter) has created a wonderful old-timer poster to promote tonight’s episode of DOCTOR WHO.
Tweets Manning: “My retro poster for tomorrow’s #DoctorWho episode, @Markgatiss’ Robot of Sherwood. Metropolis meets Robin Hood.”
Watch the episode at 9 p.m. on BBC America.
DOCTOR WHO and SHERLOCK executive producer Steven Moffat recently admitted that he would love for his two series to do a cross-over story – but also that it is unlikely to happen because he’s the only one who wants it to happen.
Look I’m going to come clean on this: I would. Go speak to Benedict Cumberbatch [Sherlock], Martin Freeman [Watson], [and producers] Mark Gatiss and Sue Vertue, okay? They’re all in the way. I’m not the killjoy, it’s that lot. It’s probably not going to happen.
The infamous “actor’s online CV” has once again provided clues to stories on DOCTOR WHO — this time thanks to a performer named Ian Hallard, whose résumé indicates he will be playing Alan-a-Dale, the minstrel in Robin Hood’s legendary band of Merry Men!
Hallard (who played Richard Martin in AN ADVENTURE IN SPACE AND TIME) has been confirmed by the BBC as cast in episode three — which happens to be the very same installment for which DA VINCI’S DEMONS star Tom Riley was hired, leading to speculation that Riley will be playing Robin of Sherwood.
The script is by Mark Gatiss — he is also credited with penning another episode, one set to feature Ben Miller as a “storming villain” — and the rumored title is “Robot of Sherwood.”
While the end of Matt Smith’s tenure as the 11th Doctor restored Gallifrey and set up the mystery of exactly where the planet is now, don’t be too surprised if the 12th Doctor fails to find his home planet in the eighth series of DOCTOR WHO. Or maybe even the one after that.
Frequent WHO scriptwriter Mark Gatiss (“Cold War”) — who will pen two episodes again this season— suggests a visit to Gallifrey might be a bad idea:
“Every time you go back to Gallifrey, it starts to make the Time Lords a bit too domesticated. I know that’s why Russell T Davies came up with the whole idea of the Doctor being the last one because eventually if you see them so often they become a bit like a bunch of MPs, whereas if you talk about them as this amazing, powerful force, they’re much more exciting.
“I don’t know if I would want to [write a Gallifrey episode]. I think the way the Time Lords were represented in “The End of Time” and “The Day of the Doctor” was very exciting because we’re seeing them in a crisis and they’re trying to come up with different ways of saving themselves.
“But I suppose if the Doctor ever does find Gallifrey again, then we might find out more. Who knows…”
I firmly believe it all comes down to the story. If you have a strong idea for a Gallifrey tale, then tell it; if you’re just looking for an excuse to show an alien planet, go somewhere else, please.
The same goes for anything else: The story must come first. If you have an absolutely killer Dalek story idea, then let’s see it. If not — if you could substitute any other monster without changing the tale appreciably then it’s not a Dalek story — don’t shoehorn the pepperpots in just because.
Caro, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Moffat
DOCTOR WHO executive producer Caroline Skinner suddenly resigned on March 13, effective immediately. Faith Penhale, who was head of drama at BBC Wales, was quickly named her replacement.
The switch is not expected to cause any problems for the balance of series seven, which is already in the can, but the effect on the show’s 50th anniversary celebrations remains to be seen. The anniversary story begins filming on Monday, and while Penhale will help shepherd that production, word is she won’t be staying, and the hunt for permanent replacement is under way.
Skinner issued the following statement:
“It has been an honour to have been a part of Doctor Who, and a privilege to have worked with Steven Moffat and Matt Smith on this extraordinary show. I have hugely enjoyed my time in BBC Wales and would like to thank Faith Penhale, and our wonderful production team for their unending commitment and brilliance. I will miss them all enormously, but I’m leaving Doctor Who in fine form, with the new series starting at Easter and the fantastic plans for the 50th Anniversary already underway. I am delighted to be now returning to BBC Drama Production in London as an executive producer, and the new opportunities and projects that will bring.”