Doctor Who: Tin Dog Podcast
The Top Rated Doctor Who Podcast. One fan, One mic and an opinion. What more does anyone need? Daleks, TARDIS, Cybermen, Sontarans, Ood, Classic Series. Home of Whostrology and the Big Finish Retrospective.
TDP 79: State of Decay and Master of War  

Continuing the Doctor's adventures in E-Space, the Doctor, Romana, K-9, and their newest companion/stowaway, Adric, arrive on a planet experiencing what appears to be a feudal period. The population scratches out a living as subsistence farmers under the thrall of three local lords, Zargo, Camilla, and Aukon, who dwell in a shadowy tower. Adding further fear to their lives, they experience a yearly ritual called "the Selection," in which a sample of young villagers are taken to the tower, never to be seen again. This selection process is enforced by a thuggish band of guards led by Habris.

The Doctor and Romana venture out into the village (not knowing that Adric is following them), and it doesn't take long for the Doctor to realize that something is very wrong when he discovers evidence of technology considerably more advanced than what this medieval society seems capable of producing. With such technology, the Doctor and Romana wonder what happened in the course of the planet's development to cause it to evolve "backward" from a presumably advanced culture to its current rustic condition -- to be in a "state of decay." The arrival and then departure of the Doctor and Romana from the village hall is reported by the headman, Ivo, via an electronic communications device to an unseen figure called Kalmar. As the two head out of the village they are seized by cloaked figures who convey them to a secret base filled with illegal computers and other technology. Kalmar is a scientist - a heretical role in their society - and is very grateful for the Doctor's help in repairing a computer which proceeds to reveal the names of the original chief officers of the spaceship Hydrax. The faces of three senior officers are revealed as those of the Lords of the Tower.

The Lords too have learnt of Romana and the Doctor, and Aukon sends a flock of his winged servants, bats, (aka "The Wasting") to menace them as they travel a clearing near the village.

The Doctor and Romana are now seized by Habris and his guards and taken to an audience in the Tower. Zargo and Camilla entertain them for a while, then are called away to deal with a situation called the Arising. The Doctor and Romana start to snoop around and discover that in fact, the great Tower in which the Lords dwell is itself a spaceship originally from Earth, which also somehow was pulled into E-Space long ago.

Adric has meanwhile wandered into the village and finds himself looked after by Ivo and his wife Marta, both of whom are grieving for their late son who was chosen for the Selection.

In the Hydrax the Doctor and Romana discover rows of corpses drained of blood, while the craft's fuel stores are full of blood. Talk turns to vampires. They head downwards and find an amphitheatre. It is there that the Lord Aukon greets them, welcoming them to his domain.

Aukon invites the Doctor and Romana to become the first of the new servants of the Chosen Ones then tells them that he has Adric much to their surprise. When they refuse they are imprisoned. The Doctor deduces by applying principles of consonant shifting that the current lords' names are a corruption of the original crew names (e.g. "Sharky" becomes "Zargo"). Thus the Doctor realizes that the three lords might not be descendants of the original crew, but members of the original crew themselves. He is reminded of ancient Time Lord stories of the Great Vampires, a giant race of rapacious, destructive, and powerful creatures that were ancient enemies of the Time Lords themselves. He deduces that the Great Vampire escaped destruction at the hands of the Time Lords by somehow retreating into E-Space, and it managed eventually to gather enough power to pull the old Earth ship into this universe and corrupt the crew. Over time, it licked its wounds and gathered power so that it could once again feast on worlds.

Meanwhile, Adric's attempts to mingle with the natives have led to him getting caught up in the Selection. He is put under a hypnotic trance by Aukon and accompanies him to the tower. Normally, the Chosen Ones are chosen for Guards or killed if they defy the Three Who Rule, but Aukon has other plans for Adric when he finds, to his surprise, something different about the third stranger. Aukon plots to change Adric into the new Chosen.

Another rebel named Tarak, makes a solo attack on the Tower in the hope of freeing the Doctor and Romana. The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, while Romana stays with Tarak to search for Adric, whom she knows now is in the Tower's Inner Sanctum. As they try to snap Adric out of his trance, they unknowingly awaken Zargo and Camilla. Tarak is literally throttled by Zargo and dies when his neck snaps on the edge of the "bed". Adric throws a knife at Zargo's heart and Camilla advances on Adric. Romana backs away but Zargo grabs her shoulder. With a toothy evil grin, he chuckles as he pulls the knife out of his heart and is about to give a fatal blow to Romana.

Romana closes her eyes as Zargo draws his arm back for a fatal blow but Aukon orders him to stop. "The boy," he says "is the first of the Chosen Ones, soon to be one of us. He is not for you!" Camilla then asks to have Romana. Aukon grabs Romana's chin and says gloatingly, "The girl is a Timelord, one of the enemies of the Great One. She is to be held for sacrifice at the time of Arising!" Romana and Adric argue about their fate. Adric says if it's a choice between death and joining the dine that means there's no sense in two of them getting the chop. Adric asks Aukon why he is being kept prisoner when Romana is the sacrifice and he is a Chosen One. "I'm sorry Timelady. One of my families died for your lot already. I reckon one's enough!" Romana asks Adric if he knows what happens to vampires when they die. Adric smugly replies "But they don't die, do they Aukon!". They are taken to the bottom of the Tower (as shown in the picture above), where Romana will be sacrificed at the time of Arising and Adric will indeed become a Chosen One.

In the TARDIS the Doctor and K-9 review the old stories about vampires. The lore that the Doctor and K-9 uncovers determines that the Great Vampires could only be defeated by metal bowships driven through their chests (rather like the wooden stakes that work on lesser vampires). He takes the craft to Kalmar's base and there uses scanning equipment to scan the Tower. Under the lake of blood he finds a restless, demonic presence, whom he determines to be the last Great Vampire. He warns it is about to be revived. Kalmar, Ivo and many other villagers agree to help him fight back. This rebel army and K9 make an assault on the Tower itself, killing collaborator guards. Ivo finds Habris and tells him "This is for my son!" and then kills him. The Doctor heads off to the peak of the Tower and, in a burst of characteristic ingenuity, the Doctor manages to rig one of the old scoutships still attached to the spaceship/tower to launch and achieve a trajectory that caused it to point back toward the ground and drive itself into the heart of the subterranean Great Vampire, thus duplicating the effect of the "metal bowships" of Time Lord history.

With the Great Vampire dispatched, the three vampire Lords crumble to dust without the power of their master to sustain them. The Doctor finds Romana and Adric. Together with K9 they leave the planet to its own fate, hoping that, now freed from the corruptive effect of the vampires, it will change direction and develop once again toward its former advanced state and even perhaps surpass it. He leaves the planet in Kalmar's hands, while hoping the next journeys in the TARDIS will take Adric home and lead the craft back out of E-Space.

Continuity

This serial comprises the second leg of an extended adventure generally known as the "The E-Space Trilogy"; the trilogy began in the previous serial, Full Circle, and concludes in Warriors' Gate.

The Doctor mentions his childhood on Gallifrey and "an old hermit who lived up a mountain behind our house [and] used to tell me ghost stories" – tales of the Time Lord's war with the Vampires. This is the first mention of the Doctor's mentor from his youth since his last regeneration. This figure, K'Anpo (or Cho-Je) is first mentioned in The Time Monster and seen in Planet of the Spiders.

The Great Vampires are mentioned by the Tenth Doctor in "The Infinite Quest".

Tie-in media

The Virgin New Adventures spin-off novel Blood Harvest by Terrance Dicks and the Missing Adventure Goth Opera by Paul Cornell are sequels to this serial. Other Doctor Who novels featuring vampires include Vampire Science and Warmonger.

Many of the novels feature references to the war between the Time Lords and the Vampires. Another anti-Vampire weapon, the N-Forms, were introduced by Russell T Davies in his New Adventures novel Damaged Goods. Bowships are mentioned in the Doctor Who Annual 2006 as one of the weapons used in the Time War against the Daleks, along with N-Forms and Black Hole Carriers.

The Fourth Doctor segment of The Eight Doctors, in which the Fourth Doctor is captured by the last few surviving vampires and is rescued by Romana and the Eighth Doctor, takes place between the destruction of the Great Vampire and the end of this story.

The Big Finish Productions audio dramas Project: Twilight, Project Lazarus, and Zagreus refer to the vampires and to their history with the Time Lords. The BBC audio webcast Death Comes to Time features a vampire named Nessican.

Production

Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Part One" 22 November 1980 22:24 5.8
"Part Two" 29 November 1980 23:16 5.3
"Part Three" 6 December 1980 24:13 4.4
"Part Four" 13 December 1980 24:54 5.4
[2][3][4]
  • Working titles for this story included The Wasting and The Vampire Mutations.
  • The serial was a re-written version of a story called The Witch Lords which Dicks had submitted to the series in 1977, but which had been pulled just before production and replaced with Horror of Fang Rock.
  • This was one of two serials to feature a highly improved K-9 prop. The other was Warriors' Gate.
Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and the State of Decay
Series Target novelisations
Release number 58
Writer Terrance Dicks
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0 426 20133 7
Release date 14 January 1982
Preceded by An Unearthly Child
Followed by Doctor Who and Warriors' Gate

Commercial releases

  • This story was released on VHS in October 1997. On the video, one tiny scene is omitted that was previously on the TVOntario version. In Part 4, K-9 is perched on the thrones of Zargo & Camilla, determining the moment when the Doctor is activating the scout ship. When he tells the rebels to evacuate the Tower, a rebel lifts him down and they escape.
  • A DVD commentary with Terrance Dicks, Matthew Waterhouse and Peter Moffatt has been recorded and it was released on January 26th 2009 in a box set with Warriors Gate & Full Circle.

In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in September 1981. A condensed version of the book was read by Tom Baker and released on cassette.

Audio Book



Plot

A new adventure for a new Doctor in a new Dimension…

The Doctor and his travelling companion, retired army officer Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, take a random trip in the TARDIS - and land on the planet Skaro. The Doctor helped the Thals to defeat the Daleks years ago, so he is surprised to find the Thal city under Dalek occupation. He determines to help them again, but what is the Daleks' purpose in keeping the Thals alive? Does it have anything to do with the Daleks' mythical creator, named in their teachings as Davros?

Cast

Notes

External links


Direct download: TDP_79_State_of_Decay_and_Master_of_War.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:21pm UTC

TDP 78: The Next Doctor and The Proms

"The Next Doctor" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who that was broadcast on 25 December 2008 and is the fourth Christmas special of the revived series.[3]

David Tennant stars as the Tenth Doctor, David Morrissey plays the titular "Next Doctor", and Velile Tshabalala plays the latter's companion Rosita.[4][5]

This special sees the return of the Cybermen, (of the design of the parallel universe's Cybus Industries Cybermen[6][7]), following their previous appearance in the two-part finale of Series Two in 2006, "Army of Ghosts"[8]/"Doomsday".[9]

During its original airing, the episode had a viewing audience of 13.1 million viewers. It was the second most watched programme of Christmas Day 2008.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Plot

The Doctor lands in London on Christmas Eve, 1851, where he encounters a woman called Rosita and another man who calls himself 'The Doctor'. After failing to capture a Cybershade, the two men talk, with the Tenth Doctor believing the other to be a future regeneration. Unfortunately, the other (dubbed 'the Next Doctor') is lacking many memories. Meanwhile, the Cybermen are planning an attack with a human ally, Miss Mercy Hartigan. The Tenth Doctor follows the Next Doctor to a house of a dead man, Reverend Aubrey Fairchild, where they search for clues to what the Cybermen are planning. The Next Doctor begins to regain some of his lost memories; when the Tenth Doctor finds a pair of 'infostamps' (the Cybermen's data storage devices) the Next Doctor remembers he was holding one the night he lost his memory. The Cybermen then attack the house, but before they can kill the 'Doctors', the Next Doctor kills them with an electrical charge in the infostamp.

At the Reverend's funeral, Miss Hartigan and the Cybermen attack the mourners, sparing four who are subsequently fitted with Ear-Pods and dispatched by Miss Hartigan to their workhouses to recruit the children. Returning to the Next Doctor's home base, the Tenth Doctor is shown the other's TARDIS "Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style" - a gas balloon. Realising what has happened, the Doctor explains that the Cybermen have escaped from the Void (following the Battle of Canary Wharf) when the walls of the universe were weakened in "a greater battle". The Cybermen came upon a man named Jackson Lake, the first person to disappear, attacking him and his wife. In the confusion, Lake destroyed the Cybermen with an infostamp (one containing information on the Doctor gleaned from the Daleks), as earlier in the house, but it also backfired, overwhelming Lake's mind with information about the Doctor. In despair at losing his wife, Lake came to believe he was the Doctor. Meanwhile, the children are taken to a sluice gate to the Thames. The Doctor and Rosita investigate and are confronted by Miss Hartigan, who explains that the Cybermen offered her liberation. The Doctor returns the infostamp to the Cybermen, who download it, confirming him as their foe. Miss Hartigan orders the Cybermen to delete the pair, but Lake appears and destroys the Cybermen with another infostamp, allowing them to escape. A furious Miss Hartigan announces that "the CyberKing will rise tonight!"

Lake reveals that he and his family were attacked at their new house and the Doctor realises it may lead to the Cybermen base. There, they find a Dimension Vault, stolen Dalek technology that allowed the Cybermen to escape the Void. In the Cybermen base, the captive children are working to generate power to allow the CyberKing to ascend. Hartigan is betrayed by the CyberLeader and 'converted' to the CyberKing - thus receiving liberation from her anger and hatred. However, she proves too powerful to control, and uses her new powers to obliterate the CyberLeader. The Doctor, Rosita and Jackson evacuate the children, including Jackson's son who was abducted when he was attacked. However, the CyberKing - a giant Cyberman-shaped robot ship - emerges from the Thames and begins to lay waste to London. Using the gas balloon, the Doctor confronts Hartigan and offers her a chance to live in peace. When she refuses, the Doctor uses the infostamps to sever her connection from the CyberKing. Realising what she has become, Hartigan screams in horror destroying the Cybermen and herself. Before the CyberKing can collapse on the city, the Doctor uses the dimension vault to transport it into the Time vortex. In the aftermath, Jackson thanks the Doctor for what he has done and offers him a place at his Christmas celebration with Rosita and his son. They walk away, to a Christmas dinner in honour of those they have lost.

[edit] Continuity

  • When trying to trigger Jackson's memories, the Doctor refers to 'not blinking', 'weeping angels' and 'Sally Sparrow', all of which featured in "Blink". The Doctor also refers obliquely to past companions, noting to Lake that they either leave him, meet someone else or forget about him.
  • The Doctor mentions the events of "Doomsday". This is the first episode since "Doomsday" that the Cybermen have appeared in Doctor Who, although the Doctor Who spin-off series, Torchwood, furthered that story in the episode "Cyberwoman". These Cybermen have survived the apparent destruction of the Void, using Dalek technology developed in the Void to pass through dimensions. It is also implied by the Doctor that the events of the fourth series allowed the Cybermen to escape the Void, as it also allowed Rose Tyler to return to her own universe.

[edit] Production

[edit] Writing

Pre-broadcast publicity, based on excerpts from Davies' book Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, revealed that the Doctor would meet a man played by David Morrissey who also claims to be the Doctor. In further excerpts, Davies commented, "The best title for this episode would be The Two Doctors... but maybe not. The New Doctor, perhaps? Or The Next Doctor? I quite like The Next Doctor."[10] The book also contained two pictures from a scene cut from the end of the previous episode, intended to segue into the special echoing the previous two series. This scene was included on the series boxset.

Following the success of last year's Christmas special, "Voyage of the Damned", which guest starred pop star Kylie Minogue as one-off companion Astrid Peth, Russell T Davies had initially felt tempted to copy this format with another high-profile guest star, but decided against it after jokingly offering up "Cheryl Cole on board the Hindenburg" as an example.[4]

Regarding the unanswered question of why a gigantic robot in London 1851 "isn't in the history books", Davies and Gardner jokingly offer several possibilities ranging from there being alternate history of Doctor Who England, pointing out "a spaceship didn't fly into the Big Ben in 2006 either" (in the episode "Aliens of London") or that perhaps "maybe everyone was retconned by the soon-to-be-born Torchwood, or something."[5]

Davies, from a writer's standpoint, was also unhappy with the final scene in the episode where the Doctor gets rid of the CyberKing with the convenient Dalek dimension vault but he couldn't during the writing process think of another way to stop London being crushed by a giant robot. However, after the episode was produced, a different idea came to him. In this alternate ending Davies imagines, Miss Hartigan "should have destroyed the Cybermen when she screamed... but she's still in the chair", as the CyberKing falls to the Earth, the Doctor calls out to her saying "Save them." This version would have Hartigan redeem herself as she is the one to cause the CyberKing to disappear, with no need for what Davies calls "a silly Dalek continuum dimension vault". Julie Gardner felt this would have been a superior, "marvellous" ending and Davies says he "can't bear that there could have been a better ending than we actually transmitted".[5]

Davies also feels he would like to write a BBC Books novel, set in the midst of that brief scene where Jackson Lake is in the Doctor's TARDIS in which the Doctor takes Jackson to another planet, ending with the "no no no scene" before Jackson invites the Doctor to spend Christmas dinner with him.[5]

[edit] Locations

Filming for this episode was conducted in April 2008 at Gloucester Cathedral [11][12] and St Woolos Cemetery in Newport, [13] and in the streets of Gloucester, where shooting was hampered by up to 1,000 onlookers. The main setting of Torchwood, their Torchwood Hub was also redesigned and used as the workshop for the children.[5]

[edit] Casting

David Morrissey is the main guest star, playing "a character called The Doctor – a man who believes himself to be a Time Lord".[14] He was influenced in his performance by previous Doctor actors William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker, as he believed there was "a truth" to their performances because they "never saw [Doctor Who] as a genre show or a children's show".[15] He is joined by Velile Tshabalala as Rosita, the companion to Morrissey's "Doctor", whom Russell T Davies describes as "probably cleverer than the two of them [the Doctors] put together". For Tshabalala, the character came naturally because her "feisty cockney girl" characterisation was very "close to home" for her.[16]

Dervla Kirwan plays Mercy Hartigan, who Russell T Davies describes in the episode's podcast commentary as "a dark a villain as you will ever have". A lot of her characterisation goes unstated, but Russell discussed it in long conversations with Dervla Kirwan and fellow executive producer Julie Gardner. Davies characterises Miss Hartigan as "a victim of abuse", for whom the subtext suggests a "terrible backstory" which is symptomatic of her being "part of [this] Victorian Age." Davies describes this as being "a powerless woman who's been in servitude or far worse all her life", but holds his tongue from saying her precise profession, relaying: "I'm talking quite discreetly around this because there are children listening and watching and there's only so far I should go." He does however explain that "She's had terrible things done to her" which is responsible for her "really twisted character where she sexualises everything." In terms of costume, "she wears red" because "everything's inflammatory with her". "And in the end, actually" Davies discusses how to escape her male oppression she "becomes a man, she becomes the CyberKing. She has to go through this extraordinary process because she's so damaged."[5]


Design

Millennium FX's Neil Gorton's original design for the Cybershade took the existing Cyberman design and "refurbished" it by adding rivets and a copper finish. The design was cost-effective but Russell T Davies did not believe it was the right approach. He sketched a new design for the Cybershade that was "a crude version of a Cyberman, all angular and blocky, with its trademark handlebars set at a jaunty angle and shrouded in flowing black robes". Gorton used Davies' sketch to create a fibreglass mask that the Cybershade actors wore over their heads. Costume designer Louise Paige made the flowing robes, that were "light enough to not restrict movement" to complete the Cybershade costume.

Originally, Gardner relayed that there was a widespread dissatisfaction with Hartigan's CyberKing crown. The original helmet, he remarked "was like the Cyberwoman's head from Torchwood" (referring to the episode "Cyberwoman"), literally "a Cyberman's head on Dervla Kirwan" or "as if Dervla Kirwan decided to go to a [fancy dress] party as a Cyberman." Davies' response was "Oh my lord, no." The production team however worked hard, and in two days produced the final headpiece seen in the episode which Davies described as "beautiful", because it's "Victorian and it fits the design." In the scene after the headpiece is placed on her, Dervla wore black contact lenses and SFX company The Mill helped to get rid of "any traces of white" in post-production.

 Broadcast

Preliminary figures show that the episode had a viewing audience of 11.71 million during its original airing, with a peak at 12.58 million viewers, and a 50.5% share of the 18:00 timeslot it was shown. It was the second most watched programme of Christmas Day 2008, behind Wallace and Gromit's A Matter of Loaf and Death. Final viewing figures show an audience of 13.1 million viewers.

The episode had an Appreciation Index figure of 86 (considered "Excellent"), making it the second most enjoyed programme on mainstream television on Christmas Day. The only programme to score higher was Wallace and Gromit's A Matter of Loaf and Death, which scored 88. Australia, the ABC will broadcast the episode much earlier than usual on Sunday 25 January at 19:30.

 


Direct download: TDP_78_Next_Doctor_and_Proms.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:31pm UTC

Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans to guest star in Planet Of The Dead

The BBC has confirmed that Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans will guest star in the forthcoming Doctor Who Easter Special which began filming this week in Wales.

Michelle, best known for her roles as Zoe Slater in EastEnders, and Jaime Sommers in the recent remake of Bionic Woman, will play the mysterious Lady Christina de Souza in the special episode entitled Planet of the Dead. Christina joins the Doctor on a bus-trip which takes a very unexpected detour into danger.

"I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who and very excited to be joining David Tennant and the Doctor Who team," said Michelle. "It is such a fantastic show and I can't wait to get started!"

One of Britain's best loved and biggest comedy stars, Lee Evans, will also be joining the cast playing a character called Malcolm, whose life becomes connected to the Doctor's under extraordinary circumstances.

Planet of the Dead is the first of four Doctor Who Specials which will air in 2009. Michelle joins David Tennant as he continues his role as The Doctor, and Noma Dumezweni who returns as Captain Erisa Magambo - last seen helping Rose and Donna save the world in Turn Left.

"Michelle is one of the most sought after young actors in the country and we are delighted to announce that she will be joining the team," said Executive Producer and writer Russell T Davies. "As always the script is being kept strictly under wraps - however we can reveal that Lady Christina is a woman with a mysterious past who's going to have a huge impact on the Doctor!"

Planet of the Dead, written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts, is currently in production and will be screened on BBC One in Spring 2009.

Category:Information -- posted at: 9:50am UTC

TDP 77: Full Circle

Full Circle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


112 – Full Circle
Doctor Who serial

A Marshman emerges from underwater.
Cast
Doctor Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Companions John Leeson (K-9 Mk. II)

Lalla Ward (Romana II)
Guest stars
Production
Writer Andrew Smith
Director Peter Grimwade
Script editor Christopher H. Bidmead
Producer John Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s) Barry Letts
Production code 5R
Series Season 18
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast October 25November 15, 1980
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
Meglos State of Decay

Full Circle is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from October 25 to November 15, 1980. The serial is the first of three loosely connected serials known as the E-Space trilogy and introduces Matthew Waterhouse as the Doctor's newest companion, Adric.



Synopsis

En route to Gallifrey to return Romana to the High Council of Time Lords, the TARDIS passes through a strange phenomenon and ends up in an alternative universe called E-Space. Neither the Doctor nor Romana herself (who is a little relieved to have avoided home) can calculate why the TARDIS scanner shows the Capitol of their planet when in fact they have arrived in a verdant forest. It later emerges they have journeyed to this pocket universe through a rare space/time phenomenon known as a Charged Vacuum Emboitment.

Nearby is a small but sustainable civilisation of humanoids who live between a river and a grounded but not irreparable spaceship called the Starliner. They came to the planet Alzarius from Terradon and much of the focus of society is on repairing their craft to make it navigable once more. It is an oligarchy ruled by three self-selecting senior colonists knows as Deciders, who ensure the smooth running and order of their adopted world and lay particular store on technical ability. One of the brightest of the younger generation of colonists is Adric, who bears a Badge of Mathematical Excellence in recognition of his computational skills.

However, his brother, Varsh, has rejected the regimented society of the Starliner and leads a band of rebels called Outlers, who steal harvested riverfruit and other foods to survive. However, all is not well in the colony. Strange eggs have started to appear in the riverfruit and this is interpreted by First Decider Draith using the precious System File of the Starliner as an omen of Mistfall, a strange periodic change to the planet during which the natural balance of society is threatened. Soon Mistfall begins, and the colonists move into the Starliner to protect themselves, apparently in a well prepared manner. Adric chooses the moment of confusion to try and steal some riverfruit to prove himself to his brother. Draith gives chase to his young protégé but falls and lands in the river – only to be dragged beneath the waves by a strange force. His last words are aimed at the chief scientists of the colony: “Tell Dexeter we've come full circle!" Adric muses on this as he heads into the forest in panic, finding the TARDIS. The Doctor and Romana take him in and tend to his leg wound, which recovers remarkably quickly. The Doctor heads off to investigate the planet, while Adric attracts Varsh and the other Outlers to the protection of the TARDIS.

The two other Deciders, Garif and Nefred, have meanwhile ordered the Starliner doors closed as per procedure, knowing that both Draith and Keara, an Outler and the daughter of a prominent citizen called Login, have not entered the ship safely. Despite his worries, Login soon accepts a position as Third Decider when it is determined that Draith has died. It is as well the doors have been closed – humanoid, aggressive Marshmen begin to appear from underwater, looking threatening (as shown in the picture above); and soon scuttling Marshspiders hatch from the eggs of the Riverfruit. The Marshmen beat on the walls of the Starliner to gain entry but the fearsome primitive creatures are not admitted. The Doctor, however, gains entry to the Starliner using his sonic screwdriver, followed by a young and inquisitive Marshchild. Both of them are soon found and taken before the Three Deciders. The Doctor is appalled when chief scientist Dexeter starts to perform vivisection experiments on the Marshchild.

A group of Marshmen have meanwhile carried the TARDIS to a settlement cave, intending to use it as a battering ram to force their way into the Starliner. Romana decides to venture outside. She is bitten by one of the Marshspiders and starts to change, seeming possessed. Adric panics and materialises the TARDIS inside the Starliner. When the Outlers emerge Login is reunited with his daughter, but the Doctor is not impressed not to be reunited with Romana. Thus he pilots the TARDIS back to the cave, and finds an alert but amnesiac Romana. The Doctor scoops up the remains of a Marshspider and then reverses his journey once more with Adric and an unconscious Romana in tow. By the time he is back in the Starliner, however, Dexeter has tried to examine the brain of the Marshchild, provoking it to attack and kill him and itself. The Doctor is so incensed he turns on the Deciders and denounces their society – revealing secret ship controls that show the Starliner has been ready to pilot from Alzarius for centuries but, for some reason, the farce of constant repair has been continued. The problem it seems is that though the Deciders understand the technical construction of the ship, no-one knows how to pilot it.

The Doctor persuades the Deciders to give him equipment to examine the cells of the marshspider and marshchild and also deduces that they are from identical DNA sources. This situation is complicated, however, when a transformed Romana releases the emergency exits and allows the Marshmen to invade the Starliner. The colonists retreat before the creatures, many of whom are more inquisitive than dangerous, but anarchy reigns. Nefred is mortally wounded while fleeing one room, but his last admission is that the colonists cannot return to Terradon, because they've never been there. It is realized that the present-day Alzarians are actually a subspecies of the Marshmen, who wiped out the Starliner's original Terradonian crew and then gradually evolved into human form to take their place.

The Doctor uses a protein serum to cure Romana, and they determine from research in the ship's science unit that the ship has been maintained for 40,000 generations by a species that has three aspects; spiders, marshmen, and the current humanoids. They are all from the same DNA and thus have come "full circle". This is the real secret of the System Files.

It is accidentally deduced that oxygen in pure form is problematic to the Marshmen, who have not the capability to cope with the gas in that concentration, and soon this non-lethal defence is used to force the Marshmen out of the Starliner. During their retreat Varsh is killed, leaving Adric in emotional turmoil. With the Marshmen returning to the swamps, the boy stows away on board the TARDIS. His fellow colonists meanwhile follow their dreams and pilot the craft away from Alzarius. The Doctor and Romana are unaware of Adric's presence as they pilot their own craft to another destination.

Continuity

  • This serial comprises the first leg of an extended adventure generally known as the "The E-Space Trilogy"; the trilogy continues in the next serial, State of Decay, and concludes in Warriors' Gate.
  • The Doctor briefly mentions both Leela and the Key to Time early in this serial.
info to follow
Direct download: TDP_077_Full_Circle.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:18pm UTC

TDP SPECIAL: THE Eleventh Doctor Announced

The BBC today announced that Matt Smith has been cast in the role of the Doctor in the iconic BBC series Doctor Who. Smith will be the eleventh Time Lord and will take over from David Tennant who leaves the show at the end of 2009. He will be seen in the forthcoming fifth series that will be broadcast in 2010.

The fifth series will also have a new lead writer and Executive Producer in the form of the BAFTA award winning writer Steven Moffat who is taking over from Russell T Davies. Moffat will be joined by Piers Wenger who will be the new Executive Producer for BBC Wales making the show.

Following David Tennant's decision to step down at the end of 2009, the team behind the new series set about casting the new Doctor so that new adventures could be created and scripts written with Matt in mind.

The identity of the new Doctor was revealed on a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential that was broadcast on BBC One on January 3rd at 17.35hrs. In it Smith revealed his initial reaction at taking on such a legendary role and his thoughts on what direction the Doctor might now be going with him playing the part.

Matt Smith said of his new role "I'm just so excited about the journey that is in front of me. It's a wonderful privilege and challenge that I hope I will thrive on. I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling.

"David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him. The challenge for me is to do justice to the show's illustrious past, my predecessors and most importantly to those who watch it. I really cannot wait."

Lead writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat said "The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe. As soon as Matt walked through the door and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man. 2010 is a long time away but rest assured the Eleventh Doctor is coming - and the universe has never been so safe."

Piers Wenger, Head Of Drama, BBC Wales added "With two hearts, a ferocious mind and over 900 years of experience behind him, it's not every 26 year old actor who can take on a role like the Doctor but within moments of meeting Matt he showed the skill and imagination needed to create a Doctor all of his own.

It's just the beginning of the journey for Matt but with Steven Moffat's scripts and the expertise of the production team in Cardiff behind him, there is no one more perfect than him to be taking the TARDIS to exciting new futures when the series returns in 2010."

Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama added "I am delighted to see Matt take on this iconic role. It will see him continuing his relationship with the BBC following his performances in Ruby In The Smoke and Party Animals, and his upcoming role in Moses Jones. The combination of Matt, Steven and Piers will, I know, take Doctor Who onto new and even dizzier heights."

Jay Hunt, Controller. BBC ONE said "Matt Smith will be a mesmerising eleventh Time Lord, true to the spirit of the show. He is a worthy successor to David Tennant who has been utterly remarkable in the role and promises to continue to be in next year's four special episodes."


 Matt Smith


Matt Smith, 26, grew up with his family including one sister in Northampton. He was head boy at Northampton School For Boys where he excelled at sports, music and drama.

Initially, Matt wanted to be a professional footballer and played for Northampton Town Under 11 and 12s, Nottingham Forest Under 12,13,14s and Leicester City Under 15 and 16s before a back injury forced him out of the game.

Following his injury, and with the encouragement of one of his teachers, Jerry Hardingham, Matt decided to join the National Youth Theatre. It was during this time that Matt first gained attention at the Royal Court Theatre when he was cast in the play Fresh Kills, directed by Wilson Milam, whilst still at the University Of East Anglia where he was studying Drama and Creative Writing.

Already a stalwart of the National Youth Theatre, his performance at the Court led to a variety of theatrical experiences at the National Theatre: in the award winning History Boys (directed by Nick Hytner), On The Shore Of The Wide World (directed by Sarah Frankcom) and also in the acclaimed trio of plays Burn / Citizenship / Chatroom (directed by Anna Mackmin).

These roles led to Matt's first outings on the small screen, alongside Billie Piper in Phillip Pullman's period detective stories, The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, where he played Jim, right hand man to Billie's detective heroine Sally Lockhart. These pieces were followed by the lead role of Danny in the BBC Two series Party Animals, the brilliantly observed drama set in the world of young politicians.

In a dazzling return to the Royal Court in 2007, Matt played Henry in Polly Stenham's award winning first play That Face, opposite Lindsay Duncan. His performance gained Matt an Evening Standard Best Newcomer nomination and a year later the play had a second life in the West End at the Duke of York's Theatre. In between the two runs, Matt played Guy opposite Christian Slater's Buddy in Swimming With Sharks, Mike Leslie's searing West End adaptation of the 1994 Hollywood film. In this time he also played a lead role in the BAFTA winning BBC One series, The Street, opposite Gina McKee and Lorraine Ashbourne.

Matt has recently completed work on Moses Jones for BBC Two, directed by Michael Offer, in which he plays the lead role of Dan Twentyman, alongside Shaun Parkes in the title role.

Direct download: TDP_Eleventh_Doctor.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:24pm UTC