Tue, 25 January 2011
Almost ten million years in the future, the TARDIS materialises on a vast spacecraft including its own miniature zoo and arboretum. The First Doctor and Steven Taylor are still explaining the basics of their time travel ability to new companion Dodo Chaplet when she starts to show signs of a cold. It is only a matter of time before they are found and taken to the control chamber of the vessel. Their captors are the mute Monoids, seemingly identical alien beings with a single eye. The Monoids live in peace alongside the humans who command the spaceship, their own planet having been destroyed, but often do much of the menial work. The humans in charge of the ship explain that the Earth is about to be destroyed because of the expansion of the sun, and that this ship is an Ark sent into space with the last remnants of humanity, civilization and various forms of flora and fauna. The human Guardians in charge of the craft run a tight ship: failure to conform to rules means either death or miniaturisation until they reach their destination, an Earth-like planet called Refusis II, which takes nearly 700 years to get to. As an amusement during the journey a vast statue is being carved by hand, depicting a human being.
Dodo's cold has now spread amongst the Monoid and human populations, but regrettably, they have little natural immunity. When the Commander of the Ark collapses with the malady, the whole ship is placed on alert as Zentos, the Deputy Commander is suspicious of the travellers and believes they have deliberately infected the ship. When the first Monoid dies, there is little the Doctor can say to pacify the angry Guardians. Zentos places the Doctor, Steven and Dodo on trial for their crimes, with a young Guardian called Manyak and the Commander's daughter Mellium as defence. Steven acts as the first defence witness, attacking the closed nature of the minds of the Guardians, but exhausts himself in the process and collapses with the fever. His words have no impact on Zentos, who orders their execution, but the ailing Commander intervenes to protect the three travellers and permit them access to medical equipment to devise a cure to the cold. The Doctor is thus able to recreate the cold vaccine from the membranes of animals on the craft, and this is administered throughout the crew. The Commander, Steven and the others infected are soon on the road to recovery. Their work done, the trio have only time to observe the end of Earth on the long-range scanner before the Doctor leads them back to the TARDIS.
Curiously, when the TARDIS rematerialises, they are still on the Ark. However, seven hundred years have passed and there has been a major change: the Monoids are in control. They have completed the statue in the image of themselves, having staged a coup during the long journey. This was made possible by a genetic weakness introduced into the humans, but not the Monoids, by a second wave of the cold virus 700 years earlier. The Monoids also now have voice communicators and use numerical emblems to distinguish each other. The humans are now little more than slaves, with the odd exception like the collaborator subject Guardian Maharis, and have little hope of change. The Doctor and his friends encounter the Monoid leadership, installed in a throne room on the Ark, after which they are sent to the security kitchen to help prepare meals for the Monoids. Two humans, Manissa and Dassuk, believe the moment of their liberation is at hand. Steven tries to help them in a revolt which is unsuccessful.
The arrival on Refusis is close at hand and a landing pod is prepared. Monoid 1 wants to make sure that the new world is inhabited only by Monoids, despite promises that the human population will be allowed to live there too. A landing party is assembled – the Doctor, Dodo, Monoid 2 and a subject Guardian named Yendom – and they soon reach Refusis II and start to investigate. A stately castle which seems to be unoccupied is in fact the home to the invisible Refusians, giant beings rendered invisible by solar flares. They welcome their guests and have been expecting them but only want to share the planet with other peaceful beings. Monoid 2 and Yendom flee the castle, and en route Yendom realises the humans will not be allowed to reach Refusis with the Monoids. Monoid 2 kills him and is shortly afterward killed himself when the landing pod explodes.
The tension of the situation foments dissent in the Monoid ranks, with Monoid 4 openly opposing Monoid 1's plans to abandon the humans and colonise Refusis without more checks on the planet. Three launchers are sent to the planet, Monoids 1 and 4 commanding them, and when the crews emerge Monoid 4 interprets the destroyed landing pod as evidence of the danger that Monoid 1 has led them to. A civil war erupts between the two Monoid factions. The Doctor, Dodo and a Refusian use the confusion to steal one of the launchers and pilot back to the Ark.
The Monoids have placed a bomb on board the ship and plan to evacuate soon to the planet surface, leaving the humans to die on the spaceship. Word of this threat spreads and spurs a human rebellion. The arrival of the Doctor and the Refusian spur things along, and they soon realise the bomb has been placed in the head of the statue. Thankfully the Refusian is able to help dispose of the statue into space before the bomb explodes. The humans now begin to land on Refusis themselves, having been offered support on peaceful terms by the Refusians. Many of the Monoids have been killed in their civil war and those that remain are offered peaceful settlement alongside the other two species.
Once more the TARDIS departs, and this time the curiosity is that the Doctor simply vanishes from the TARDIS control room…
In The Ark in Space, the Earth was also evacuated because of solar flare activity that rendered the biosphere uninhabitable for five thousand years. There, however, the survivors of mankind slept in suspended animation and returned to repopulate the planet after that period had passed.
The Earth is seen trailing smoke as it heads towards the Sun at the close of episode two. The Doctor estimate the date as 10,000,000, however in the 2005 episode "The End of the World", Earth is finally destroyed by the expanding Sun around AD 5,000,000,000. Series writer Paul Cornell opines that the fictional Time War alluded to in the revived series of Doctor Who rewrote some historical events, among them the destruction of Earth.
The TARDIS is referenced in the first episode as "that black box" whereas by the time of the third doctor when the series was recorded in color it is obviously a blue police box.
Although Lesley Scott is credited as a co-writer, she does not appear to have done any actual work on the scripts. Her then-husband, Paul Erickson requested that she be given a credit, but her name appears on no other related documents. Despite this, Scott was credited as a contributor to the Dr. Who Annuals published by World Distributors/World International.
This serial features a guest appearance by Michael Sheard. (See also Celebrity appearances in Doctor Who.)
 Commercial releases
This story was released on VHS, in 1998. It was later released on CD (The CD version contains a two minute reprise from the end of the previous story The Massacre), with linking narration by Peter Purves. The CD also includes an interview with Peter about this story and his time on Doctor Who. This CD is available as an Audio Book on the iTunes store.
It is scheduled to be released on DVD in 2011 and will have an audio commentary with Peter Purves and Michael Imison.
 In print
Fri, 21 January 2011
Some cds to consider buying to get the covers signed by guests and some advice on going to a convention
Tue, 18 January 2011
The Four Doctors is a Big Finish Productions audiobook based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It is free to subscribers of The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories.
The Fifth Doctor investigates the Vault of Stellar Curios, where he has observed evidence of time leakage. But then the Daleks attack, looking for the contents of the mysterious vault. The Eighth Doctor also shows up and he and his former self create a time loop trap, spanning between their lives. This sends the Daleks to the Seventh Doctor's encounter with Michael Faraday in 1854 and the Sixth Doctor's visit to an early Dalek battlefield.
The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories is a Big Finish Productions audio drama based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. As with all Doctor Who spin-off media, its relationship to the televised serials is open to interpretation. It features the winner of Big Finish's Opportunity for New Writers contest in which they accepted unsolicited amateur submissions. Rick Briggs's "The Entropy Composition" was chosen from about 1200 submissions.
 The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories
 The Demons of Red Lodge
 The Entropy Composition
 Doing Time
by William Gallagher
 Special Features
by John Dorney
Thu, 6 January 2011
his article is about the 1972 Doctor Who serial. For other uses, see mutant (disambiguation).
The Mutants is also the title used by the production team for the series' second serial, which introduced the Daleks. To distinguish between the two, the earlier serial is usually referred to as The Daleks. Sometimes both stories are referred to as The Mutants, further distinguished by the production codes — (B) for the former and (NNN) for the latter.
It is the 30th century, near the end of the Earth Empire. On the colony world of Solos, something is transforming the human population, turning them into hideous mutants. But as the Third Doctor and Jo find out, that is only the beginning.
In the 30th century, the Earth Empire is contracting and plans are being made to decolonise the colony world of Solos. The militaristic Marshal and other human soldiers, known as Overlords, rule it from Skybase One. The Marshal opposes the decolonisation plans outlined to him by Administrator sent from Earth, and is also obsessed with eradicating the Mutants or Mutts that have sprung up on the planet below. The Solonians themselves are a tribal people, split between those who actively oppose the occupation, such as Ky, and those like Varan who collaborate with the imperialists. Indeed, the Marshal and Varan ensure the Administrator is murdered before he can confirm to Ky and other tribal chiefs that the Earth Empire is indeed withdrawing from Solos.
The Third Doctor and Jo arrive on Skybase One, their TARDIS having been transported there by the Time Lords. They have with them a message box which will only open for an intended recipient – and that is not the Marshal or his entourage – but seems to be for Ky, who has been framed for the murder of the Administrator. Jo and Ky flee to the surface of Solos, which seems to be poisonous to humans during daylight hours, and this affects Jo quite soon. Ky saves her with a stolen oxygen mask. The Doctor learns from the Marshal and his chief scientist Jaeger that they are involved in an experiment using rocket barrages to terraform Solos, making the air breathable to humans, regardless of the cost to indigenous life. They continue to bombard the surface with ever more deadly rockets.
Varan by now has discovered the Marshal’s treachery and events make him an outlaw on Skybase. The Doctor makes contact and together they persuade Stubbs and Cotton, the most senior soldiers to the Marshal, that much is wrong on Skybase. He then flees to Solos with Varan, and at the thaesium mine where Ky and Jo are hiding he encounters many Mutts, who are not as hostile as they first appeared. The Doctor passes the message box to Ky, and it opens to reveal ancient tablets and etchings which are written in the language of the Old Ones of the planet. Help in avoiding poisonous gas released by the Marshal is provided by a fugitive human scientist, Sondergaard, who lives in the caves and knows much about Solonian anthropology. Sondergaard explains he tried to inform Earth Control about the Marshal's evil, but he was prevented and forced to flee to the caves, where the radiation seems to have affected him. He interprets the contents of the box as a “lost Solos Book of Genesis”, and the Doctor then calculates a Solonian year to be equivalent to two thousand human years, with natural changes in the population every five hundred years within the cycle. Investigating a more radioactive part of the caves, the Doctor thus deduces the Mutant phase is a natural part of the Solonian racial life-cycle.
Varan has by now become a Mutt himself, the transformation beginning with his hand. He hides this and leads a Solonian attack on the Skybase which results in his death and those of many of his warriors. On Skybase Jo, Ky, Stubbs and Cotton are captured by the Marshal, and Stubbs is killed in a failed escape attempt. The Doctor meanwhile has returned to the Skybase – without Sondergaard, who seems too weak following the radiation contamination. He instead returns to the caves to communicate with the Mutants and explain to them the changes in their metabolisms are natural and not to be feared.
The Doctor is now back on Skybase and surmises the Marshal to be mad. It becomes clear that the Earth Government has now dispatched an Investigator to look into the strange events on Solos. The Marshal’s rocket attacks have not terraformed the planet, but they have left a hideous environmental impact and he knows he must clean this up or face problems when the Investigator arrives. Under duress the Doctor uses Jaeger’s technology to conduct a rapid decontamination of the planet’s surface. The Investigator arrives and demands answers, but is given more lies by the Marshal, supported by the Doctor, who fears Jo will be killed if he does not co-operate. Luckily Jo, Ky and Cotton have escaped their detention and arrive in time to help the Investigator see the truth of the situation on Solos and the crimes of the Marshal and Jaeger. The Doctor accuses them of "the most brutal and callous series of crimes against a defenseless people it's ever been my misfortunate to encounter." Sondergaard now reaches the Skybase with some Mutants, one of whom scares the Investigator enough that he accepts the Marshal’s analysis that the creatures should be killed.
Ky now begins a process of mutation, but it is accelerated beyond the Mutant phase so that he emerges as a radiant angel-like super-being. He communicates with thought transference, can float and can move through whole walls. Dispensing justice, Ky eradicates the Marshal. Jaeger has been killed too and the Investigator now makes sense of the situation. Sondergaard and Cotton elect to stay on Solos to see the other Solonians go through the mutation process, while Jo and the Doctor slip away, their mission from the Time Lords complete.
A Mutt appears in the beginning of The Brain of Morbius. The Doctor describes it as being one of a mutant insect species that is widely established in the Nebula of Cyclops. Whether this is the location of Solos is not stated.
Working titles for this story included Independence and The Emergents.
The opening shot of the story features a bedraggled, hermit-like bearded figure (Sidney Johnson) shambling out of the mist towards the camera. Both fans and Jon Pertwee alike have compared the scene to the "It's" man at the start of most episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
 Outside references
This serial is mentioned in Salman Rushdie's controversial novel The Satanic Verses, where it is criticised for alleged racist attitudes. Writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin, as well as producer Barry Letts, actually intended for the story to have an anti-racist message.
So powerful was this story's condemnation of the policy of Apartheid in South Africa, many polytechnic student unions renamed buildings "Bob Baker and Dave Martin House", in honour of its writing team.
 In print
 Broadcast and commercial releases
This story is due for DVD release in 2011 and will have an audio commentary by Katy Manning, Garrick Hagon, Bob Baker, Jeremy Bear, Brian Hodgson, Terrance Dicks and Christopher Barry moderated by Nick Pegg.
The music from this serial was released as part of Doctor Who: Devils' Planets - The Music of Tristram Cary in 2003.
Tue, 4 January 2011
A Christmas Carol" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It is the sixth Doctor Who Christmas Special since the programme's revival in 2005, and was broadcast on 25 December 2010 on both BBC One and BBC America, making it the first episode to premiere on the same day in both the United Kingdom and United States. It was broadcast on 26 December 2010 on ABC1 in Australia and on Space in Canada.
The episode had an initial rating of 10.3 million viewers on BBC One and BBC One HD according to overnight figures, making it the second most watched programme on Christmas Day, just behind EastEnders. The rating was roughly comparable to the 2009 episode, The End of Time Part 1, which had 10.0 million watching on BBC One and 0.4 million on BBC HD.
The crew of a space liner carrying more than 4000 passengers struggles to maintain the ship's course while traveling through the strange cloud cover of a human-inhabited planet that interferes with their controls. Amy and Rory, aboard the liner for their honeymoon, send a distress call to the Doctor to help. The Doctor is unable to use the TARDIS directly to save the liner, and lands at a house topped by a giant antenna-like spire that seems to control the clouds. The sole resident of the house is bitter, peevish, old Kazran Sardick. The wealthiest and most powerful man on the planet, his father had built the spire. The Doctor tries to convince Kazran to turn off the cloud controls — isomorphically locked to him — but he mockingly refuses. Kazran, like his late father, considers the rest of the population of the planet little more than cattle, and cares not for the lives aboard the liner either. This becomes apparent to the Doctor when Kazran refuses to release a young woman, Abigail, from cryonic storage to her family for even a Christmas day. Recognizing that Kazran's father has had a significant effect on Kazran's life, the Doctor devises a scheme inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the idea being to influence Kazran in his past and present to become more compassionate to the lives aboard the liner.
The Doctor visits a young Kazran shortly after his father had struck him for trying to experiment with a unique phenomenon of the planet: the ability of all manner of fish to "swim" in the foggy air. The Doctor discovers the ice in the clouds contain a weak electrical charge; this is what allows the fish to swim, but is also what is disrupting the space liner. The "boys" experiment with the fish anyway, until a shark attacks them and swallows the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. The Doctor recovers half, but inadvertently harms the shark in the process; it cannot return to swim in the clouds. The Doctor concludes that some sort of life support container could transport the shark safely to the clouds. Young Kazran shows the Doctor a system of cryonic chambers beneath the spire, where Kazran's father stores as "security" family members of people to whom he has lent money. Kazran directs the Doctor to Abigail's chamber; Kazran knows she had been fascinated by the fish before she was put into storage. They release her, and she sings to the shark, resonating with the ice crystals, and calming it. The three then successfully return the shark to the clouds.
Before putting Abigail back into her chamber, Kazran promises that he and the Doctor will return every Christmas Eve to celebrate it with Abigail. The Doctor keeps this promise, travelling forward every year to reunite Kazran and Abigail, taking them across time and space, and watching them develop a romance as he grows to a young adult and is introduced to her family. However, after several Christmas Eves, Abigail reveals a secret to Kazran, leading him to decide to end the tradition and leave her in cryonic storage indefinitely. The Doctor gives the broken half of the sonic screwdriver to Kazran to use when he needs it. Meanwhile, in the present, older Kazran enjoys his many new memories, but, heartbroken at Abigail's fate, still refuses to disable the spire.
From the liner, Amy appears to present-time Kazran as a hologram. She shows Kazran the crew of the doomed liner, singing Christmas carols, using the musical vibrations to partially stabilise the ship within the cloud system, just as Abigail calmed the shark, but still leaving the ship doomed to crash. Kazran waves away the holograms, continuing to refuse to release the controls. When the Doctor appears and tries to show Kazran his future, Kazran reveals Abigail's secret, that she was dying before she was frozen and will live only one more day outside of the chamber. Fully admitting that he will die alone, he values the one day left he has with Abigail over the thousands on the liner or the population of the planet. Unbeknownst to Kazran, the Doctor has brought young Kazran into the present to show the boy his future; he is shocked by his elder self's revelation. This change is reflected in the newly compassionate older Kazran, and he agrees to release the spire controls. They find, however, that the Doctor's interference has changed Kazran's past too much; Kazran's father, seeing his boy too kind to others, never programmed the spire's controls to recognise Kazran.
The Doctor concocts a new plan: by unfreezing Abigail and having her sing through the broken half of the sonic screwdriver amplified by the spire, the other half, still inside the shark, would be able to resonate the ice crystals, disrupting the cloud field, and allowing the liner to safely land. Kazran is aware that Abigail will die after one day, but he releases her anyway; she comforts him, reminding him they have had many Christmas Eves together and it is time for Christmas Day to come. The Doctor's plan is successful, and as the ship safely lands on the planet, the breakup of the clouds releases snow across the city. As the Doctor takes young Kazran back to his past and reunites with Amy and Rory, the old Kazran and Abigail celebrate a shark-drawn carriage ride together.
Several nods to earlier outfits in the series appear in A Christmas Carol. Amy Pond wears her kissogram policewoman's outfit from "The Eleventh Hour", while Rory wears a Roman centurion's outfit as seen in "The Pandorica Opens". In one of the many Christmas Eves the Doctor and Kazran spend with Abigail, they present themselves to her in matching long, stripy scarves. The Fourth Doctor's trademark accessory was long, striped scarves. The two also appear in fezes, an item of clothing the Doctor became fond of in "The Big Bang".
The Doctor initially scoffs at the idea of "isomorphic controls" – controls that will operate only for a specific person or limited set of people. In the classic series Pyramids of Mars the Doctor states to Sutekh that the TARDIS controls are isomorphic, although many other characters are seen operating them. In "Last of the Time Lords", the Master had a laser screwdriver with isomorphic controls.
During one of his trips with Kazran and Abigail, the Doctor introduces them to Frank Sinatra and inadvertently ends up marrying Marilyn Monroe, though he later attempts to claim that the ceremony did not take place in a legitimate chapel. The Doctor has hinted at marriage before during "The End of Time", suggesting his wife was Queen Elizabeth I, which was also reported upon by Liz 10 in "The Beast Below".
According to Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, the episode is a "clever twist on the much loved A Christmas Carol". Matt Smith added "It's as Christmasy as it comes in 'Doctor Who' land. It's loosely based on a 'Christmas Carol' with a time travelling twist. Steven has managed to reinvent it. I think those two things marry quite well together — 'Doctor Who' and Christmas." Steven Moffat, writer for this episode said "It's all your favourite Christmas movies at once, in an hour, with monsters. And the Doctor. And a honeymoon."
 Cast notes
Arthur Darvill is included in the opening credits in this episode, for the first time since he joined Doctor Who.
 Broadcast and reception
A Christmas Carol was tied with Come Fly with Me as the second most-watched program on Christmas Day in the United Kingdom, following EastEnders, and with a average viewership of 10.3 million peaking at 10.7 million.
 International broadcast
A Christmas Carol is the first episode of Doctor Who that was broadcast the same day in the United Kingdom and in North America through BBC America. Previous episodes from the revitalized series would have from a week to months-delay between the BBC and the BBC America or Sci Fi channel airing. Richard de Croce, Vice-President of Programming at BBC America, stated that they will try to continue the same-day airing on both stations with future episodes of Series 6. In the United States, 727,000 viewers watched A Christmas Carol, an 8% increase on the previous holiday special, The End of Time.