Wed, 16 November 2011
Wed, 6 July 2011
New fro the GBC and the BBC the Geordie language converter
Fri, 1 July 2011
exapme from the blog click links to read more from Neil.
AUDIO from the bbc local radio - suplied from the internet/other podcasts and provided here simply incase you missed it.
With the Wife
The Underwater Menace
with the Wife in Space
Nuffink in ze world can stop us now! Except this story, obviously...
A couple of hours before we settled down to watch The Underwater Menace, Sue and I appeared as guests on Bob Fischer's BBC Tees radio show to shamelessly plug this blog. You can listen to the edited highlights below (and Sue's PVC Dalek-suit anecdote was news to me!):
Sue: That's just great. This story is going to star that ****ing hat. I hate that ****ing hat.
We both enjoy the opening TARDIS scene, especially Jamie's reactions to the insanity he has walked into. There's a playful edge to the proceedings and a warmth we haven't really felt since the glory days of Ian, Susan and Barbara. We chuckle when Ben sarcastically hopes for the Daleks ("I bet the kids wouldn't have complained") while the Doctor's desire to encounter prehistoric monsters is dismissed out of hand ("not on this budget, love").
Me: Where do you hope they'll end up this time?
Sue: Somewhere with decent carpentry.
The TARDIS arrives on a beach and when Polly guesses at their whereabouts, Sue declares, in perfect harmony:
Sue: Cornwall! It's always ****ing Cornwall!
It doesn't take very long for our heroes to find themselves in danger: a platform they have been standing on is actually a lift, and as they hurtle beneath the sea, the TARDIS crew succumb to the bends.
Sue: That's very interesting. Ben just asked Polly to get them out of there. He didn't ask the Doctor and he's standing right next to him. I don't blame Ben though; this Doctor is still pretty useless.
When they regain consciousness, Polly finds some pottery with the logo for the 1968 Mexico Olympiad emblazoned on it, and then our heroes are confronted by a race of people dressed in clam shells and seaweed. Sue believes she has it sussed:
Sue: Are they rehearsing for the Opening Ceremony?
Their high priest even sports a fish on his head:
Sue: Please tell me the Doctor doesn't get a hat like that.
Just as Sue believes she has a handle on events, our heroes are strapped to some slabs and sadistically lowered toward a mad man's pet sharks.
Sue: Is this a Bond movie now?
Me: Yes. You Only Live 13 Times.
Sue: Has this got anything to do with the Olympics? Anything at all?
When the Doctor signs his name 'Dr. W', he reignites an old debate:
Sue: You can't really argue with that, can you? That settles it: his name is Dr. Who. You'll just have to accept it, love.
Me: Unless his real name begins with a W -
Sue: Like Doctor Wibbly-Wobbly-Timey-Wimey? Would that make you feel any better? And does it really matter? I call him Dr. Who all the time -
Me: Yes, I know. And every time you do it, part of me dies.
When Professor Zaroff reveals that they are currently hanging out on the lost continent of Atlantis, Sue doesn't even flinch:
Sue: Atlantis. Of course it's Atlantis. Where else would they be in this ****-ed up programme? So, it's James Bond on Atlantis? Gotcha.
Thanks to those fainthearted Australians, the cliffhanger moves, although we find ourselves sympathising with the censor as Polly is strapped to a table and threatened with a large hypodermic needle by some evil scientists who want to turn her into a fish. Yes, a fish.
Sue: I don't know what Polly is moaning about; I'd love to breathe underwater indefinitely. She could stick around and enter the 1972 Olympics. Mark Spitz would have nothing on her.
Me: How short is Polly's surgical gown -
Sue: Trust you to notice that, love.
The hot topic of conversation during this episode is Zaroff. Who else?
Sue: He reminds me of that mad scientist from that show you love: Comedy Theater 2000 -
Me: Mystery Science Theater 3000 -
Sue: That's it. He reminds me of the mad scientist from that: an over-the-top pantomime villain.
Me: Believe it or not, the guy playing him is actually a very fine actor -
Sue: Oh, I don't doubt it. He's just having a laugh with the part. And who can blame him? How else would you play this character? His plan is completely pointless; there's no clever reason for him to do any of this, he just wants to blow up the world. There's no benefit or motive at all.
Me: He's insane.
Sue: It's lazy. With no motivation or backstory you have to play him as a larger-than-life lunatic. I like him; he's committed. He's definitely the funniest villain we've had in the series so far.
When Ben and Jamie are taken to the mines of Atlantis, a high pitched whining cuts through the scene. We assume it represents the sound of the drilling but whatever it is, it's making our teeth itch.
Sue: If we were 16 years old, we would hear that sound whenever we went near an off-license -
Me: Have you warmed to Troughton yet? He's basically playing his version of the Doctor now. More or less.
Sue: He reminds me of Ken Dodd in some of these stills. That one in particular (see right). The music doesn't help. It's atrocious. It sounds like they've let a small child loose on a Bontempi organ. This is the worst music that I've heard in the series so far. Who's responsible for it?
Me: An Australian called Dudley Simpson -
Sue: Sack him. He's rubbish.
Finally, after enduring thirteen consecutive recons (count them! thirteen!), we are reunited with a real bona fide episode. I never thought I'd ever hear myself say this but thank Amdo for The Underwater Menace Episode 3.
Sue: Even though the story is still a complete mess, it's a thousand times easier to follow it when it exists. I don't want to state the bleedin' obvious but even the very worst story improves when you can actually see it. The recons I gave good scores to must have been incredible -
The highlight of the episode for Sue is, of course, the sight of Jamie and Ben in tight-fitting rubber:
Sue: Given the state of some of their costumes, they should have called this story The Underwear Menace.
Me: I think the playwright Joe Orton mentioned this story in his diary. Or was it in Salmon Rushdie's The Satanic Verses? No, it must have been Joe Orton; he fancied Jamie in his rubber suit, I think. Or maybe it was Kenneth Williams. My memory is almost as bad as yours.
Sue: Jamie and Ben wouldn't look out of place at that nightclub, Heaven.
As if to accentuate this observation, Jamie and Ben suddenly launch themselves into the campest salute this side of 'Allo 'Allo.
Sue: I'll say no more.
Sue: Does Troughton ever go through a story where he doesn't play that bloody recorder? And are there any stories where he doesn't dress up at the drop of a hat (which he'll probably pick up and put on)? He's a borderline transvestite.
Me: You might want to hold onto something during the next scene. We're about to meet the Fish People.
Sue: They look like a second-rate dance troupe who are waiting to audition for Britain's Got Talent. They're probably going to do a up-tempo version of Yellow Submarine.
A miner called Jacko attempts to turn the Fish People into striking militants. He does this by winding them up a bit. At one point he cries, "Are you not men?" and, quick as a flash, Sue replies:
Sue: No! We're fish! What are you, blind? Hang on, is that Polly in a snorkel?
Me: No, it's a Fish Person.
Sue: They're having a laugh.
And then it happens. Impossible to describe. Impossible to watch.
Sue: This is the lowest point in Doctor Who yet. By some considerable margin. Please make it stop.
Me: Is this worse than The Web Planet?
Sue: Oh yes, this is even more half-arsed.
Me: It's like a perverse joke: you wait 13 episodes for a real episode and then you get this.
Sue: I take it all back - this would have been much better as a recon.
Something that really niggles at us is the Fish People's economic impact on Atlantis, which is based on the assumption that the food they farm must be consumed immediately:
Sue: OK, let me get this straight: Zaroff has a nuclear reactor but he hasn't got a fridge - or, better still, a fridge freezer - to put any food in? That makes no sense at all.
Me: This is your first proper look at Patrick Troughton. Have you formed an opinion yet?
Sue: I feel a little more comfortable with him now that I've seen him in action. He's far more animated than I expected and he's definitely got charisma. There's something about him. Sadly, the director isn't doing him any favours so I'll have to reserve judgement until I've seen some more.
And then we reach the moment The Underwater Menace is probably best known for. But immediately before it arrives - and I'd completely forgotten this - Zaroff stabs someone with a spear, he shoots someone at point-blank range and then he has two others killed off-screen. It's horrific!
But it's completely eclipsed by what follows:
It's so mesmerising, we have to watch it again. And again. And again.
Sue: He's having a whale of a time.
Me: I'm glad someone is.
Sue: I still can't believe he didn't bring some fridges with him. Still, I guess if you are planning to blow up the world you can't think of everything. You know, I think every episode of Doctor Who could be improved with a Zaroff. The only thing missing is a scene of him tearing his hair out as he screams, "Why am I surrounded by idiots!".
Me: There's still twenty minutes to go. I wouldn't rule anything out.
Sue: I like the way the show has kept to its educational remit.
Sue: Jamie is from the past and therefore he doesn't understand what radioactivity is. Some of the children watching this wouldn't know either -
Me: Yeah, that's great. There's just one tiny problem: they don't explain it. Polly says she can't be bothered!
Polly and Jamie are struggling to escape the rising waters of Atlantis:
Sue: It's turned into a disaster movie now.
Me: Oh, it's a disaster all right.
Sue: Why is Polly wearing a fireplace corbel on her head?
Me: I don't even know what that means.
Thanks to those Aussie wimps, we get to see Professor Zaroff drown. Well, I say drown...
Sue: That's not drowning! Zaroff has hours left before the water rises above his head! Maybe he was bored and he decided to commit suicide?
The world saved, the Doctor and his companions leave the Atlantans to it.
Sue: Why are they bothering to rebuild Atlantis anyway? Why don't they just move up to the surface? They've got fridges up there. And while they missed the 1968 Olympics, Mexico have got the World Cup in 1970. It would be a shame if they missed it.
The Final Score
Sue: That was bonkers. And a little bit shit.
Sue: Zaroff was excellent, though. I could watch him all day. I'm not convinced that he's dead either; I think he was just wetting his hair a bit. He should definitely return in the new series. The League of Gentlemen could play him.
Me: What, all of them?
The experiment continues.
Thu, 19 May 2011
While in deep space, the Doctor, Amy and Rory receive a hypercube containing a distress call from a Time Lord. Tracing the source of the call to a rift leading outside the universe, the Doctor deletes part of his TARDIS to generate enough energy to cross through the rift. After landing in a junkyard on a solitary asteroid, the TARDIS shuts down and its matrix suddenly disappears. The three explore, and meet the strange inhabitants, Uncle, Auntie, a green eyed Ood called Nephew and an excited young woman named Idris who fawns all over, and then bites, the Doctor. While Uncle and Auntie lock up Idris, and Amy and Rory return to the TARDIS, the Doctor follows the distress signal and finds a cabinet containing a large number of hypercubes. Upon further investigation of Uncle and Auntie, he finds they are constructed of body parts from other beings, including Time Lords. They are controlled by the asteroid, called House, which is sentient and able to interface with other technology around it. House led the Doctor there and ripped out the TARDIS' matrix, initially in order to consume its Artron energy, but upon learning that the Doctor is the last Time Lord and that no more TARDISes will ever arrive, decides to transfer itself into the TARDIS and escape from the rift. Amy and Rory are trapped inside as the House-controlled TARDIS dematerialises.
The Doctor learns that Idris contains the personality of the TARDIS' matrix. Idris, as the TARDIS, and the Doctor come to realise they selected each other hundreds of years prior when the Doctor fled Gallifrey, and have a personal chat. Without House's support, Uncle and Auntie die. Idris reveals that House had stranded many TARDISes before on the planet, and that this universe only has hours left before it collapses, and that Idris' body only has a short time before it also will fail. The Doctor and Idris work together to construct a makeshift TARDIS from scraps, and then pursue House.
Aboard the Doctor's TARDIS, House threatens to kill Amy and Rory. He plays with their senses as they try to flee through the corridors, then sends Nephew after them. Idris makes a psychic connection with Rory to give him directions to a secondary control room, where he and Amy are able to lower the TARDIS shields without House's interference. This allows the Doctor to land the makeshift console in the secondary control room, which atomises Nephew. House deletes the secondary control room as he prepares to break through the rift, which the Doctor anticipates. The TARDIS safety protocols transfer them to the main control room, where the dying Idris releases the TARDIS matrix back to where it belongs, deleting House from the TARDIS machine. As the Doctor, Amy, and Rory recover, a remnant of the TARDIS matrix, still in Idris' body, sadly comments she will not be able to communicate with the Doctor after this but will be there for him. Idris' body disappears as the TARDIS matrix is fully restored.
The Doctor installs a security field around the matrix to prevent it from being compromised in the future. Rory asks the Doctor about some of Idris' final words—"The only water in the forest is the river"—but the Doctor doesn't understand. After Amy and Rory leave to find a new bedroom, their original purged by House, the Doctor talks to the TARDIS, and, in response, a nearby lever moves on its own, sending the TARDIS to its next destination.
"The Doctor's Wife" revisits many mythology elements regarding the Doctor and the TARDIS established from the original run of the show and continued into the new series. Idris, as the TARDIS, affirms that the Doctor left with her, a type 40 TARDIS, to flee Gallifrey more than 700 years ago, and the TARDIS' history of unreliability is explained as her taking the Doctor not where he wants to go, but where he needs to go. The Doctor has mentioned that the TARDIS is alive in previous episodes, including in The Five Doctors, and has referred to 'her' as "old girl" many times, and as "sexy" occasionally in his Eleventh incarnation, both of which Idris indicates she likes.
The Doctor refers to altering the control room's appearance as changing the desktop, as the Fifth Doctor does in "Time Crash". Like the Third Doctor in Inferno, the Doctor and Idris operate a TARDIS control panel outside of an outer TARDIS shell. The Doctor also jettisons TARDIS rooms to create thrust, as in Logopolis and Castrovalva. The TARDIS is mentioned to have retained an archive of previous control rooms unbeknownst to the Doctor, including many he has yet to create; the one shown in this episode is the design featured between "Rose" and "The Eleventh Hour", used by the Ninth and Tenth Doctors.
When speaking of his fellow Time Lord the Corsair, the Doctor implies that Time Lords can change gender on regeneration. The Doctor admits he killed all of the Time Lords, alluding to the events of the Time War and The End of Time. In The War Games, the Second Doctor contacted the Time Lords using a cube similar to those seen in this episode. The Doctor suggests visiting the Eye of Orion, which is seen in The Five Doctors. The Doctor again refers to himself as "a madman with a box", reprising Amy's and his own description of himself in "The Eleventh Hour".
The Ood "Nephew" displays green eyes (indicating, as with the green-lit TARDIS, that he is possessed by House); Oodkind's eyes also changed colour in "The Impossible Planet" / "The Satan Pit" and "Planet of the Ood". Alluding to the Ood controlled by the Beast in the former episodes, the Doctor refers to Nephew as "another Ood I failed to save."
The Doctor states that the Corsair always put a tattoo of a snake eating its own tail on each of his new bodies; the tattoo is on the left arm of his final body, being worn by Auntie. The Third Doctor's body came complete with a snake tattoo on his left arm, as shown when he showers in Spearhead from Space.
The episode was written by Neil Gaiman. After Steven Moffat replaced Russell T Davies as the showrunner of Doctor Who, being a fan of Gaiman's blog, Moffat met with Gaiman and Gaiman asked to write an episode. In an interview Gaiman stated "I came up with something that was one of those things where you thought that nobody's done that before." The episode was originally titled "The House of Nothing". Gaiman suggested they make an episode which centres on the TARDIS itself, which was not done before for the entire series since it began in 1963. The central idea was a "what if" scenario to see what would happen if the Doctor and the TARDIS got to talk together. Head writer Steven Moffat liked the idea of featuring the TARDIS as a woman, believing this to be the "ultimate love story" for the Doctor.
Gaiman began writing the episode before Matt Smith was even cast as the Eleventh Doctor; Gaiman envisaged David Tennant's performance in the first draft, knowing Smith would play the Doctor differently. Despite this he had no issue writing the dialogue. The episode was originally slated for the eleventh episode of the fifth series. However, it was delayed to the sixth because of budget issues; the eleventh episode would be replaced with "The Lodger". Even so, Gaiman was forced to operate with less money than he would have liked; for instance, he had to scrap a scene set in the TARDIS' swimming pool.
The move to the sixth series also meant Gaiman had to include Rory, who ceased to exist in the original slot in the fifth series. With Rory included, Gaiman had to "reshape" much of the second half of the episode, featuring Amy being on the run in the TARDIS. In the original draft where Amy was the only companion, Gaiman added a "heartbreaking monologue" by the character, further stating "you get to see what it's like to be the companion from the companion's point of view, and she got to talk about essentially in that version how sad it is, in some ways. One day something will happen to her, she'll get married, she'll get eaten by monsters, she'll die, she'll get sick of this, but he'll go on forever." At a certain point, Gaiman had tired of re-writing drafts and asked Steven Moffat for help. Moffat wrote in what Gaiman called "several of [the episode's] best lines" and rapidly rewrote several scenes when budget problems harmed filming locations.
In September 2010, Suranne Jones announced she was cast a guest spot on Doctor Who as Idris for an episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who. Jones previously played Mona Lisa in The Sarah Jane Adventures episode Mona Lisa's Revenge. Sometime after appearing on The Sarah Jane Adventures, Jones was contacted to appear on Doctor Who at Gaiman's request, because they were looking for an actress who "is odd; beautiful but strange looking, and quite funny." Moffat meanwhile described Idris as "sexy plus motherly plus utterly mad plus serene." During a read-through of the script, the producers asked her to "neutralise [her] a bit," because they did not want Jones to "be a Northerner" or have a standard accent, but to act "kinda like the Doctor." Later, in March 2011, Gaiman confirmed Michael Sheen would also guest star in the episode to voice a character. Adrian Schiller previously appeared in the Eighth Doctor audio drama Time Works where he played Zanith.
It was planned as the third episode in the 2011 series but the order was changed during the production process. Filming took place in August 2010, although during a 10 October 2010 appearance on Daybreak, guest star Suranne Jones stated that she had been filming green screen special effects only the night before. The scenes where Amy and Rory are on the run allowed the audience to explore the TARDIS outside the control room, something the producers had wanted to do for a while. A series of corridors was constructed and retained for future use.  The episode also featured the return of the older TARDIS control room from the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant era. Gaiman had originally wanted to reconstruct a console room from the original series, but the cost proved prohibitive.  The set was retained after filming for "The Eleventh Hour", but has since been removed. Arthur Darvill noted the floor of the older set had a cheese grater-like quality to it, so when the scene called for the cast to fall on it, they found it uncomfortable to stay down for a long period of time.
"The Doctor's Wife" features a make-shift TARDIS console, which was piloted by the Doctor and Idris. The console was designed by Susannah Leah, a schoolgirl from Todmorden, who won a competition on Blue Peter, a children's creative arts program, that challenged its viewers to imagine a TARDIS console based on household objects. Leah's design was selected by Moffat, Edward Thomas, a production designer for Doctor Who, and Tim Levell, a Blue Peter editor, along with final input amoung the three age-group winners from Smith. Michael Pickward, the production designer for the series, commented that Leah's design captured the nature of "bits and pieces" of what TARDIS consoles have been in the past, as well as the nature of the makeshift console needed for this episode. The drawing was redesigned faithfully by the production team into the prop for the show, including the use of a coat hanger to start the makeshift TARDIS. Leah was brought by Blue Peter to see both the set under construction and on location during filming of the makeshift TARDIS scenes, meeting Smith and the other actors and production crew. Character Options will release a toy playset based on Leah's console later in 2011. The House planetoid in the pocket universe was filmed on location at a quarry outside Cardiff.
 Broadcast and reception
After its original broadcast, "The Doctor's Wife" received overnight figures of 6.09 million viewers, with a 29.5 per cent audience share. It became the third highest broadcast of the night, behind Britain's Got Talent on ITV1, and the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, which was shown later on BBC One. The episode recieved a final BARB rating of 7.97 million with an audience share of 34.7%.
The episode was positively received. The Guardian's Dan Martin said: "With so many wild ideas at play, this would have been so easy to get wrong...yet in every sense it was pitched perfectly". The AV Club gave the episode a score of "A", saying it was a "pretty terrific [episode]...a brisk, scary, inventive adventure filled with clever concepts and witty dialogue. And a lot of heart when in the way it deals with an important relationship rarely addressed on the series".
Tue, 3 May 2011
"Day of the Moon" is the second episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The second episode of a two-part story written by Steven Moffat, it was broadcast on 30 April 2011 in the UK on BBC One, in the U.S. on BBC America, and in Canada on Space.
In the three months since the end of "The Impossible Astronaut", the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song have been attempting to track the Silence, an alien race who cannot be remembered after they are encountered. Reunited at Area 51 with Canton Delaware, who had been pretending to work against them, the Doctor plants a communication device in each of the group's hands to record audio of meetings with the Silence. Amy tells the Doctor she was mistaken and is not pregnant.
While the Doctor alters part of the command module of Apollo 11, Canton and Amy visit an orphanage, hoping to find where the girl in the spacesuit was taken from. Amy discovers a nest of the Silence, and a photograph of her and a baby amongst pictures of the little girl from the space suit. The girl enters with the Silence, and Amy is abducted and taken to their time engine control room. Arriving too late to help Amy, the Doctor and his allies find her recording device. Canton is able to shoot and wound one of the creatures, and from it the Doctor discovers the creatures are the Silence, a group he was warned about by several of his foes in his recent adventures. Analysing the now-empty space suit, River realises that the girl possesses incredible strength to have forced her way out of it, and that the suit's advanced life-support technology would have called the President as the highest authority figure on Earth when the girl got scared. The Doctor realises why the Silence have been controlling humanity — by guiding their technological advances, they have used humanity to build a spacesuit, which must somehow be crucial to their intentions. Meanwhile Canton interrogates the captured Silent in the Area 51 prison, who mocks humanity for treating him when they should "kill us all on sight". Canton records this using Amy's mobile phone.
The Doctor uses Amy's communication chip to track her location, and lands the TARDIS in the Silence's control room five days later. As River and Rory hold the Silence at bay, the Doctor shows them the live broadcast of the moon landing. As they watch, the Doctor uses his modification of the Apollo command module to insert Canton's recording of the wounded Silent into the footage of the landing. Because of this message, humans will now turn upon the Silence whenever they see them. The group frees Amy and departs in the TARDIS, while River kills all the Silence in the control room. Amy reassures Rory that the man he overheard her speaking of loving through the communication chip was him, not the Doctor.
River refuses the Doctor's offer to travel with him, returning to her Stormcage prison in order to keep a promise. She kisses the Doctor goodbye, and as the Doctor has never kissed her before deduces that this is her last kiss with him. In the TARDIS, Amy appears unable to remember seeing her picture in the orphanage and claims that she told the Doctor, rather than Rory, when she believed she was pregnant through fears that travelling in the TARDIS might have affected her child's development. As the trio set off, the Doctor discreetly uses the TARDIS scanner to attempt to determine if Amy is pregnant.
Six months later, a homeless man in New York City comes across the young girl, previously seen in the astronaut's suit. The girl says she is dying, but can fix it; before the man's eyes, she appears to begin regenerating.
 Outside references
Steven Moffat, head writer of the new series, said before broadcast that this would be one of the darkest openers to a series ever done for Doctor Who. Director Toby Haynes believed that the darker episodes like "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" would allow the series to get into "more dangerous territory." The creation of the Silence was partly inspired by the figure from the Edvard Munch painting The Scream. Introducing the alien villains became a "big challenge" for the producers; it would tie in with the loose "silence will fall" arc that carried through the fifth series. Moffat did not wish to end the arc in the previous series, as he felt it would be "more fun" to continue it. Elsewhere in the episode, Delaware was written to be deceptively antagonistic towards the protagonists, which was based on actor Mark Sheppard's past as villains for his work in American television. Moffat was also keen on the idea of having the Doctor imprisoned with a beard in Area 51.
Many of the opening scenes of the episode were filmed on location in the United States. The sequence where Delaware chases Amy was shot in the Valley of the Gods in Utah. Gillan found it difficult to run because of the altitude. The sequence where Delaware chases Rory was shot at the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. The Dam sequence was the final scene to be shot in the States. The sequence where Delaware chases River in New York was in fact shot in central Cardiff. A set was later constructed in a studio for the jump sequence, and Kingston was replaced by a stunt woman to perform the jump. The scenes set in Area 51 were filmed in a large disused hangar in South Wales.
The Florida orphanage was filmed at the abandoned Troy House in Monmouthshire, which many of the cast and crew believed is haunted. To add the effect that a storm is outside the building, the production crew placed rain machines outdoors and flashing lights to simulate lightning. The Silence were portrayed by Marnix van den Broeke and other performers. The masks caused vision difficulties from the performers, who had to be guided by two people when they have to walk. Broeke does not provide the voices of the Silence, as it would be replaced during post-production. The control room set used from "The Lodger" was used again for this episode. Moffat wanted the set to be used again, feeling it would be a suitable Silence base. The set was adapted to give it a darker, evil feel.
 Cast notes
 Broadcast and reception
"Day of the Moon" was first broadcast on 30 April 2011 at 6 pm. The episode received preliminary overnight ratings of 5.39 million viewers, equalling a 30.5 per cent audience share. The episode was down by 1.1 million from the previous week, but was still the second most seen broadcast for the day, behind Britain's Got Talent on ITV1.
Dan Martin of The Guardian liked the episode for its "action, tension, horror and River Song in a business suit," but felt it "sags a little around the middle." Martin believed the scenes with Amy and Delaware in the orphanage was the "fear factor" of the episode.
Mon, 14 March 2011
The arrival of the TARDIS on Manussa, formerly homeworld of both the Manussan Empire and Sumaran Empire, triggers nightmares in Tegan, who dreams of a snake-shaped cave mouth. It is evident to the Fifth Doctor that the Mara is reasserting itself on her mind following her possession by the entity while on the Kinda planet of Deva Loka (Kinda). He attempts to calm her by taking her and Nyssa in search of the cave but Tegan is too scared to enter when they find it, and runs away. Alone and confused Tegan lapses under the control of the Mara once more, revelling in horror and destruction. The emblem of the snake soon returns to her arm.
Manussa is in the grip of a festival of celebration of the banishment of the Mara from the civilisation five hundred years earlier. In the absence of the Federator, who rules over the three-planet Federation, his indolent son Lon is to have a major role in the celebration, supported by his mother the Lady Tanha and the archaeologist Ambril, who is an expert in the Sumaran period. Lon is intrigued with the notion that the Mara might one day return as prophesied, but Ambril is unconvinced and believes such talk is the product of cranks. When the Doctor tries to get Ambril to take the threat seriously he too is dismissed as a maverick, though the young deputy curator Chela is more sympathetic to the Doctor and gives him a small blue crystal called a Little Mind's Eye, which is used by the Snakedancers, a mystical cult, in their ceremonies to repel the Mara. The Doctor realises the small crystal and its large counterpart, the Great Mind's Eye, can be used as focal points for mental energy and can turn thought into matter. This, he determines, is how the Mara will transfer from Tegan's mind to corporeal existence. He realises that the Manussans must once have been a very advanced people who could use molecular engineering in a zero-gravity environment. They created the Great Mind's Eye without realising its full potential, and the crystal drew the fear, hatred, and evil from their minds, amplified it and fed it back to them. Thus the Mara was born into Manussa and the reign of the Sumaran Empire began.
Meanwhile Tegan makes contact with Lon and passes the snake mark of the Mara to him too. They visit the cave from Tegan's dream which contains a wall pattern which could accommodate the Great Crystal. Lon is sent back to the Palace while she causes more havoc and takes control of a showman, Dugdale, who is used for her pleasure. Lon meanwhile covers his arm and goes about trying to persuade Ambril to use the real Great crystal in the ceremony, placing it in a position in a wall carving that will evidently enable the Mara to return as the Doctor predicted. To persuade him to comply, Ambril is shown a secret cave of Sumaran archaeological treasures and warned they will all be destroyed if he does not help him. Ambril thus agrees to the change in format.
The Doctor and Nyssa have meanwhile been aided by Chela, who shares with them the journal of Dojjen, a snakedancer who was Ambril's predecessor. All three venture to the Palace to persuade the authorities to do something about the situation, but soon see Lon is in the grip of the Mara and orchestrating a very dangerous situation. All three escape and the Doctor now uses the Little Mind's Eye to contact Dojjen, who lives in sandy dunes beyond the city. They venture there and the Doctor communes with Dojjen by opening his mind after being bitten by a poisonous snake. He is told by the wise old snakedancer that the Mara may only be defeated by finding a still point in the mind. All three now head back to the city to prevent the ceremony of defeating the Mara using the real Great Crystal. The festivities are now at a peak, with a procession taking place which culminates in a ceremony at the cave. Lon plays the role of his ancestor Federator in rejecting the Mara. After a series of verbal challenges he seizes the real Great Crystal and places it in the appropriate place on the wall. Tegan and Dugdale arrive and she displays the Mara mark on her arm, which is now becoming flesh having fed on the fear in Dugdale's mind. With the crystal in place, the Mara is able to create itself in the cave, becoming a vast and deadly snake. However, the Doctor arrives in time and refuses to look at the snake or recognise its evil, relying instead on the still place he finds through mental commune with Dojjen via the Little Mind's Eye. This resistance interrupts the manifestation of the Mara and its three slaves are freed while the snake itself dies and rots. The Doctor comforts a distraught Tegan, sure that the Mara has at last been destroyed.
 Cast notes
Features a guest appearance by Martin Clunes. See also Celebrity appearances in Doctor Who. Brian Miller is the husband of Elisabeth Sladen who portrayed long-time companion Sarah Jane Smith. He later played Harry Sowersby in The Mad Woman in the Attic, an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
 In print
 Broadcast and VHS release
 Target novelisation
Wed, 9 March 2011
Over 390,000 people answered “Jedi” in the 2001 census for England and Wales and 14,000 in Scotland (a lower proportion). This is more than the number of identifying Sikhs, and more than Jews and Buddhists combined. However, this did not mean that Jedi became an official religion- it doesn’t work like that!
Why answer Jedi?
Much of the public and media discussion focused on legitimate concerns with the census, which the “Jedi” answer could be disruptively used to promote. Some reasons people answered “Jedi” include:
Should I answer “Jedi”?
Our recommendation is that if you are not religious, answer “No religion”, because at some time or place, someone will refer only to the explicit “No religion” answers, from which you will be left out if you answered “Jedi”. If you want to write Jedi as a protest against anwering the question at all, see Why should I answer the question at all?
Sat, 5 March 2011
Tue, 1 March 2011
William Nicholas Stone Courtney (16 December 1929 – 22 February 2011) was a British television actor, most famous for playing Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who.
Courtney was born in Cairo, Egypt, the son of a British diplomat and educated in France, Kenya and Egypt. He served his National Service in the British Army, leaving after 18 months as a private, not wanting to pursue a military career. He next joined the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, and after two years began doing repertory theatre in Northampton. From there he moved to London.
Prior to Doctor Who, Courtney made guest appearances in several cult television series, including The Avengers (1962, 1967), The Champions (1968) and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969) and as a racing driver in Riviera Police (1965).
Director Douglas Camfield originally considered Courtney for the role of Richard the Lionheart in The Crusade (1965), a role that ultimately went to Julian Glover, and kept him in mind for future casting. Courtney's first appearance in Doctor Who was in the 1965 serial The Daleks' Master Plan, directed by Camfield, where he played Space Security Agent Bret Vyon opposite William Hartnell as the Doctor. Camfield liked Courtney's performance, and when the director was assigned the 1968 serial The Web of Fear, he cast Courtney as Captain Knight. However, when David Langton gave up the role of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart to work elsewhere, Camfield recast Captain Knight and gave the part to Courtney instead.
Lethbridge-Stewart reappeared later that year in The Invasion, promoted to Brigadier and in charge of the British contingent of UNIT, an organization that protected the Earth from alien invasion. It was in that recurring role that he is best known, appearing semi-regularly from 1970 to 1975. Courtney made return appearances in the series in 1983, and his last Doctor Who television appearance was in 1989 in the serial Battlefield (although like many other former cast members, he returned to the role for the charity special Dimensions in Time). Coincidentally, he appeared with Jean Marsh in both his first and last regular Doctor Who television appearances.
Courtney has played Lethbridge-Stewart, either on television or in audio plays, alongside every subsequent Doctor up to and including Paul McGann, as well as substitute First Doctor Richard Hurndall. He did not appear in the revived series. While he has acted with Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant in the Big Finish audio dramas Sympathy for the Devil and UNIT: The Wasting, Tennant was playing a different character, Colonel Ross Brimmicombe-Wood, on both occasions.
The character is referenced in the Series 4 episode "The Poison Sky" and is said to be "stuck in Peru". Fifteen years after Dimensions in Time, Courtney returned as Lethbridge-Stewart (now, Sir Alistair), freshly returned from Peru, in "Enemy of the Bane", a two-part story in the Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures aired in December 2008, starring Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. The story pitted Sir Alistair and Sarah Jane against Commander Kaagh and Mrs. Wormwood who try to wake Horath using the Tanguska Scroll. It was intended by the Sarah Jane Adventures production team that Courtney would reappear in the following year's The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith so that Lethbridge-Stewart would meet the Tenth Doctor, but Courtney was recovering from a stroke and unable to take part.
After Doctor Who
Courtney continued to act extensively in theatre and television after his main Doctor Who appearances, guest-starring in such popular television programmes as Minder (1984), All Creatures Great and Small (1980, episode "Matters Of Life And Death"), Only Fools and Horses (1988) and Yes, Prime Minister (1986). In 1982 he was cast alongside Frankie Howerd in the World War II-set comedy series Then Churchill Said to Me but the series remained untransmitted for over a decade due to the outbreak of the Falklands War. He also had a regular role in the comedy French Fields between 1989 and 1991. He has also appeared in the Big Finish Productions audio drama Earthsearch Mindwarp, based on a James Follett novel, broadcast on the digital radio station BBC 7.
He also appeared in an episode of the long-running BBC TV series The Two Ronnies alongside Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett as the character of 'Captain Dickie Chapman', a fellow prisoner-of-war (POW) in Colditz during World War II, in a sketch based on the original BBC TV series, Colditz.
Courtney starred as Inspector Lionheart opposite fellow Doctor Who actor Terry Molloy in the audio series The Scarifyers, from Cosmic Hobo Productions. The first two Scarifyers adventures, The Nazad Conspiracy and The Devil of Denge Marsh, were broadcast on BBC 7 in 2007; the third, entitled For King and Country in 2008, and fourth, The Curse of the Black Comet, in 2010.
He regularly made personal appearances at science fiction conventions and was also from 1997 the honorary president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. His theatrical agent was former Doctor Who actress Wendy Padbury.
In 1998, Courtney released his autobiography, titled Five Rounds Rapid! (ISBN 978-1852277826) after an infamous line of dialogue the Brigadier had in the 1971 Who serial The Dæmons. He recorded his memoirs, subtitled A Soldier in Time for release on CD in 2002 by Big Finish. An updated autobiography, Still Getting Away With It (ISBN 978-1871330731), was published in 2005, with co-author Michael McManus. Until his death, he lived in London with his second wife, Karen.
Nicholas Courtney's death was reported by SFX and The Stage early in the morning of 23 February 2011. The exact nature of his death was not given in these early reports. Doctor Who audio play producers Big Finish, with whom Courtney had worked on several releases in his continuing role as the Brigadier, confirmed the date of his death as 22 February 2011. The BBC reported that he had "died in London at the age of 81". According to his official web site, he died following a long battle against illness. Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss called him "a childhood hero and the sweetest of gentlemen". Former Doctor Tom Baker also paid tribute, having visited him on the Friday before his death. Baker wrote "We shall miss him terribly" in a newsletter on his website, in which he also indicated that Courtney had been battling cancer.
Sun, 27 February 2011
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