I've little to say on Chris Chibnall's appointment as executive producer/head writer of Doctor Who beyond that it will be difficult to judge him on his previous work for the series, none of which established a personal signature. Torchwood was effectively show-run by him for its first two series, but I suspect he was dealing with several competing agendas over what the series was meant to be; I've been told by someone who saw the script that the visualisation of 'Cyberwoman' was definitely not implied by Chibnall's descriptions, for example. Since then he's (re)learned the showrunner's job on Law and Order UK(having been the creator of Born and Bred before Who's return) and then created Broadchurch, of course - I've not seen all of the first series of the latter and wasn't that impressed by the second episode of the second series and stpped watching. However, he knows about the business of television on both sides of the Atlantic and is of course a veteran Doctor Who fan, though one who took no part in the workshopping of the concepts of Doctor Who by the Virgin and BBC Books ranges in the 1989-2005 period, nor indeed (I think) with Big Finish. Indicators to watch will be the continuity with the Moffat era on staffing - the start of the Moffat-Wenger-Willis production era had at least one significant element of competition over personnel with the outgoing Davies-Gardner team - and whether Chibnall contributes to the 2017 series. Otherwise there is nothing one can do but wait and see.
I've started to make an inroad on a small backlog of promised book reviews, mainly for the Doctor Who News Page. Here, therefore, is my look at You and Who Else, the latest charity anthology of fan writing edited by J.R. Southall.
I've been up finishing a Doctor Who book review which I'll link to when it's published... but I've not been paying enough attention to Alex and Richard and tbeir Doctor Who 52. So here, Richard says a lot of things about The Abominable Snowmen which change my perspective on the story.
Doctor Who at Christmas is increasingly a difficult beast to shepherd into a pen. The two most recent series have felt more like
mainstream mid-evening BBC drama rather than the ‘drama for a light entertainment slot’ of 2005. Consequently the Christmas episodes feel increasingly like a drastic change in tone. Even the grading seems to be different, with the colour palette seeming brighter, returning to the blue with flashes of other primary colours of the Matt Smith era Christmas specials.

The highlight was the typically vigorous performances of both Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston, of course; but despite a good start I failed to be held by these alone in the way I hoped, despite some strong moments of repartee. There was too much emphasis on a denial of sparkle between the Doctor and River, rather than on its existence. Likewise the business with the robot and its switching heads seemed underplayed and undramatic and lacked sufficient sleight of hand to convince; nor were the decapitated characters depicted with sufficient sympathy to make me feel for their plight. There were so many still backgrounds or illustrations which I thought would have been animated a few years ago too.

Perhaps I’ll revisit it and find it more enjoyable another time. I don’t like being negative about the series, and am glad to see from some early reactions that that it did engage and entertain several others.

Also posted at The Event Library
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Dec. 24th, 2015 11:18 pm)


From the Morpeth Herald of 24 December 1915. (With regard to the advert on the left, I visited the Herald office, then still at 19 Bridge Street, in 1988, but few of the items listed were in sight, and certainly not the bibles and hymns or 'Children's Friend'.)

Merry Christmas to all!
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A gift in pdf from the BBC Genome team: the Christmas Radio Times of 1923. More is explained at the BBC Genome blog. This is the era of the BBC as monopoly private company rather than autonomous corporation and that's reflected in the business-led feature writing which opens the magazine; but there are contributions too from Ramsay Macdonald, a few weeks away from becoming first Labour prime minister, and Lilian Bayliss of the Old Vic, as well as various broadcasters including several of the uncles and aunts of the regional stations. The adverts are revealing of a vanished time; the listings show that a simultaneous broadcast of Shakespeare recitals by Sir Frank Benson was taken by most stations, intriguingly for me coming from 5NO in Newcastle; 5WA in Cardiff offers A Christmas Carol instead. Although not the modern Woman's Hour, which did not begin until the 1940s, there is a Women's Hour, but it only seems to last thirty minutes. Christmas Day itself is one of a Christmas party and religious messages, including one specifically aimed at children.
Digital Fix report that Peter Harness will be adapting H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds for Mammoth Screen and ITV, with shooting not beginning until 2017. Promising; and further food for the speculators surrounding the Doctor Who succession.
This was another episode where I'd been asked to write a review based on a rough cut of the episode available through the BBC Previews web service. I had rather a lot of time on my hands this week and so it's even longer than usual. Doctor Who Reviews: Hell Bent

I added a few more thoughts at The Event Library, but really as accompaniment for the link. Meanwhile there is more squee than scorn online, and I expect a flurry of fanfics about a certain partnership within the next twenty-four hours.
My thoughts on Heaven Sent

ETA - additions and amendments added this morning. (11.56am, Sunday 29 November)
"...without soiidarity and without the acknowledgement that we need time to distinguish our essential selves from our careers, our greed and desire for advantage, we might as well be no more than dead cells and mucus." More (not quite) like this (and slight spoilers for Face the Raven) from me at The Event Library.
This week sees the second week of my stint at reviews.doctorwhonews.net - enjoy...

ETA: A recap of interactions here.
I've been mulling over my response to last night's Doctor Who, and perceived negativity in my review and others, so here is a more positive take, posted at The Event Library only to save space on timelines.
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