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Mixing Sci-Fi and Christmas often has mixed results. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it's forced. This fact is best represented by the Doctor Who Christmas specials, which have become an annual holiday tradition over the past eight years. Some have been awesome and some have been awful. How does this year's special The Snowmen rate? Let's look at the eight specials and see which were Christmas gifts for the fans and which were lumps of coal.
The Feast of Steven (1965)
Way back in 1965, before Dr. Who Christmas specials became a regular thing, we had "The Feast of Steven", a classic series episode starring William Hartnell as the first Doctor. It was the seventh episode of a 12-part serial called "The Dalek Master Plan", which took up much of the fourth season of the classic show. Since the episode was due to air on Christmas Day, the producers decided that »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
The Royal Mail has unveiled a special set of stamps for Doctor Who's 2013 anniversary. First class stamps of all 11 Time Lords - from William Hartnell and Tom Baker to David Tennant and Matt Smith - will be available from March. Second class stamps of four of Doctor Who's villains - the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Ood and the Weeping Angels - are also to be sold. The BBC sci-fi drama will celebrate its 50th birthday next November. Andrew Hammond from the Royal Mail said: "[The (more) »
- By Paul Millar
Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen.
A new tradition, a new series, a new Doctor, a new threat, a new Prime Minister, and all happening just in time for…
The Christmas Invasion
Directed by James Hawes
“What about Torchwood?”
After being forced to regenerate, The Doctor returns Rose home to Britain. Jackie and Mickey both here the Tardis’ wheezing engines, and race outside to meet it as it comes crashing down in the center of the plaza. The Doctor comes barreling out, raving and dazed, collapsing in a heap at Jackie and Mickey’s feet. Rose has to explain what little she knows about the regeneration process, and they bring The Doctor back to their flat, changing him into pajamas (lucky girls… »
- Vinnie Bartilucci
The Christmas Special has become a Doctor Who tradition, and last year’s effort was a brilliant one. This time around, the show is premiering on Christmas day, and it has rather a different feel when compared to that storybook sort of enchanting romp we had last year. Witness the snowmen with the sharp teeth and evil grins.
Not only that, but the Doctor is in a grim mood to begin with, and is poking around in a bah humbug sort of funk, as we can well understand. There are a lot of changes afoot, obviously, which makes for a big kickoff, and we’ve also got Richard E. Grant, and Matt Smith has a new look. How can you miss it?
Take a look at the new trailer and some images, and don’t forget to tune in during your holiday.
Christmas Eve 1892 and the falling snow is the stuff of fairy-tales. »
- Marc Eastman
Make sure you’re home by 9/8c from whatever fun and/or awful things you’re doing on Christmas Day, as BBC America has now confirmed it as the start time for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special, “The Snowmen,” as you’ll see in the TV spot and this lovely bit that has accompanied it:
“Tomorrow, the snow will fall and so shall mankind.”
“Such a winter as this world has never known…”
Christmas Eve, 1892 and the falling snow is the stuff of fairy-tales.
When the fairy-tale becomes a nightmare and a chilling menace threatens Earth, an unorthodox young governess, Clara (Jenna-louise Coleman), calls on the Doctor (Matt Smith) for help. But the Doctor is in mourning, reclusive and determined not »
- Erin Willard
Some of the best onscreen uses of everyone's favourite bombastic orchestral classic
Adam Scovell is a writer and film-maker who runs celluloidwickerman.com
In his ninth symphony, Beethoven put all of humanity into a piece of art. The fire, the madness, the sheer audacity was there for all to behold. In film history, many directors have used movements of the piece to subvert or comment on the realities they create.
Music in Kubrick's film is interesting for its importance in the narrative as well as in a non-diegetic sense. Alex the droog is as partial to a bit of Beethoven as he is to ultraviolence. The introduction to the symphony's second movement gives Alex an ecstasy as he apparently masturbates, while later in the film it becomes a pain-inducing leitmotif in his "rehabilitation".
Watch clip on YouTube
Though the ninth is used more famously in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, »
- Guardian readers
Regenerations. They are part and parcel of keeping Doctor Who alive, both for the character and the programme. It's such a simple notion, but one that works perfectly. When William Hartnell was announced as leaving the show, well, why couldn't a man who travels in a police box change his face? The initial premise may have been cautiously accepted, but in a very short while, that excellent actor Patrick Troughton made the part all his own. The rest as they say is history.
So here then is a quick guide to all the final moments to date of each Doctor. It's time to play the Regeneration Game!
Death by: Old Age
Which Story? The Tenth Planet
Where? The Tardis
Notable Firsts: Obviously the first regeneration to take place, but it's also the first one to take place in the Tardis. The strange behaviour of the Tardis console suggests that it's pushing the regeneration process forward, »
We Whovians are expecting something Big for Doctor Who’s 50th next year. We could rave with jealousy how the timelord was snubbed at this year’s Olympic ceremony, but let’s focus on the future. Ever since Matt Smith took over the role of The Doctor, people have been gossiping as to which Doctors would return for a (obviously going to happen) 50th Anniversary Special. Now the guys at Bleeding Cool are saying they have received word that David Tennant is definitely returning, with their source allegedly stating:
Considering David Tennant had to be dragged from the role kicking and screaming, that isn’t exactly a big surprise. I’ll start getting more excited when Christopher Eccleston and Paul McGann are confirmed to be returning. It would be great to get all the living actors back, »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
As the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who gets closer, there are plenty of rumours about which stars from the past might be returning to what has become the world's longest running sci-fi series.
One man fans would love to see enter the Tardis again for the 2013 celebrations is William Russell, one of the original stars of the programme.
Russell played science teacher Ian Chesterton (below) who, alongside his colleague Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), was whisked off into time and space with the initially untrustworthy Doctor (William Hartnell) and his granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford).
During his two years with the show, Russell would travel back in time and encounter cavemen, Aztecs, Richard the Lionheart, Emperor Nero and Marco Polo, as well as battling monsters in the future, including Sensorites, Voord, Zarbi and the ever-popular Daleks.
Fifty years on, Russell explained described the show's longevity as "amazing" and that he thinks »
- David Bentley
As if those of us in the fold weren’t already anxious for new Doctor Who, we were recently treated to the information that Neil Gaiman – writer of novels, comic books and the fantastic, Hugo Award-winning Series 6 episode 'The Doctor’s Wife' – would be writing a new episode for Series 7. To add even more angst to the mix, it has now been reported that Gaiman will be working with one of the best villains in the Doctor Who universe, the Cybermen. The Cybermen, who have been plaguing the Doctor since William Hartnell faced off against them in 1966’s 'The Tenth Planet', were last seen late in Series 6 in 'Closing Time'. According to showrunner Steven Moffat:
"Cybermen were always the monsters that scared me the most. Not just because they were an awesome military force, but because sometimes they could be sleek and silver and right behind you without you even knowing. »
BBC America has issued a press release about Doctor Who in 2013 that has us completely excited. Yes indeed, author par excellence Neil Gaiman‘s second episode for Doctor Who (his first was “The Doctor’s Wife”; that’s Gaiman in a promo shot from that episode, below) will be about Cybermen. Cool! We can’t wait to see what that amazing man will do with those somewhat clunky evil enemies of The Doctor.
But the press release could be read as meaning that the episode will kick off the second half of the season, Or that it will simply air during the season. We’d like it first, please, but will honestly take it whenever it is offered, and are thrilled that it is promised during Spring 2013. There will be some great guest stars in the episode as well, and we love off-planet settings, »
- Erin Willard
Share your theories here on how the Ponds will leave the show on Saturday night
The Earth is losing two of its mightiest heroes. After two-and-a-half years of adventures that have made them the longest-serving companions of the new Doctor Who era, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will leave the show in Saturday's episode, The Angels Take Manhattan. And their exit promises to be like no other.
Companions usually just go back to their normal lives – but Amy and Rory have already done that. During the last series, in The God Complex, The Doctor decided that his life was too dangerous and he'd put them through enough. He deposited them in suburbia, and has been dropping by at intervals ever since. It's been 10 years since Amy ran off on the night before her wedding, and in the years that have passed since that business with the Minotaur, the arrangement has been going rather swimmingly. »
- Dan Martin
This blockbusting movie homage was a proper western, complete with gunslinging, a noble sheriff and a High Noon moment
Spoiler Alert: This weekly blog is for those who have been watching the new series of Doctor Who. Don't read ahead if you haven't seen episode three – A Town Called Mercy
Dan Martin's episode two blog
"Anachronistic electricity, Keep Out signs, aggressive stares – has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?"
Another week, another "blockbusting movie poster" that actually delivered on its premise, as Doctor Who did the western. And A Town Called Mercy was a proper western. One glimpse of a cyborg in this environment immediately brought to mind Michael Crichton's 1973 movie Westworld. But while that was set in a theme park in the future, this was the real deal. With no eventual reveal that the whole thing was a spaceship, or the result of any perception filters, this »
- Dan Martin
First off, I got to say that I’m not often surprised anymore by TV and movies. The internet age has spoiled everything for everyone, and I’ve been one the biggest enablers as well. It’s got to the point where I’m more fascinated by the information than the actual end product.
As a long-time viewer of Doctor Who –going on 32 years now- I’ve watched the show grow in the United States from a cult program to the “global phenomena” it’s become as the revived series launches into its seventh season. I’ve watched them all, every single episode from Tos not lost to the BBC’s lack of vision (even though I know it was a cost issue that forced the loss of a lot of William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton episodes in the 1960s) and every single episode in this new format.
Over the years, »
We now know that the new series of Doctor Who will launch on September 1st! Why the BBC treats such things as state secrets and don’t bother to tell anyone until less than three weeks before is beyond me, but there you are.
To celebrate the launch of the new series, we at What Culture are assembling a whole slew of articles! And our first one is all about the First Doctor’s time, and his seven greatest stories!
Now here are the criteria for my selecting these: Each story must be one that I’ve seen (obviously), and must be complete in one form or another. This means that, in theory, “The Gunfighters” is eligible (though don’t hold your breath), but “The Tenth Planet” is not. That in mind, let’s get going!
7. The Keys of Marinus (Story 005, 1964)
First off, it features George Colourius, one of the »
- Chris Swanson
If you've ever seen the classic 1973 Christmas Special of The Goodies (called The Goodies And The Beanstalk), then you'll probably remember that bit at the end when the down and out trio come across an abandoned lamp in the street. As soon as they rub the lamp – bingo! A puff of smoke and then John Cleese in a turban. Cleese then bellows “Kids' Show!” after the Goodies tell him to clear off.
I suppose that some people regarded The Goodies as the crazy younger brother of the more adult Monty Python's Flying Circus – on the surface, with its speeded-up action sequences, giant kittens, Dougals and Zebedees, I suppose you could say it's a show that's targeted towards younger ones. But then how do you explain the satirical swipes at the Royals, advertising commercialism, talent shows or apartheid?
Which neatly brings me on to Doctor Who. I was wondering this the »
Next year, 2013, will be a big one for the world’s longest running science fiction series, Doctor Who. It will mark 50 years of time travel, Daleks, sonic screwdrivers, companions and, of course, Doctors. Doctor Who is currently on its eleventh actor playing the manic space adventurer, and Matt Smith has been doing a stand up job for being the youngest man to take on the role of the Doctor. But what about that very first man brave enough to board the Tardis? In celebration of the show’s 50th anniversary, a 90-minute drama is being produced that will take a look back at the genesis of Doctor Who and the First Doctor, played by William Hartnell.
The special, which will be airing on BBC Two some time next year, will be called An Adventure in Space and Time. It will take us all the way back to the 1960s to »
- Brody Gibson
So that creation-of-Doctor Who teledrama that Mark Gatiss hinted at last winter? It’s happening. From the official BBC Doctor Who Web site: An Adventure In Space And Time To Mark The Doctor’S 50th Birthday The BBC today announces that a special BBC Two drama has been commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who next year. An Adventure in Space and Time will tell the story of the genesis of Doctor Who since its first broadcast on 23 November 1963. Exploring all aspects of the longest running science fiction series to date, the special one off 90 minute drama will also look at the many personalities involved in bringing the series to life. Written by Mark Gatiss, it is Executive Produced by current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner. The single drama was commissioned by Ben Stephenson Controller, Drama and Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two. Mark Gatiss, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
"Doctor Who" is getting an origin story -- but not in the traditional superhero sense.
In honor of the show's 50th anniversary next year, the BBC has commissioned a movie that will dramatize how "Doctor Who" came into being, BBC News reports. Mark Gatiss, who has written several episodes of the current series (and acted on the show as well, along with playing Mycroft Holmes on "Sherlock"), is writing the script.
The movie will detail the creation of the show, which was originally intended as an educational series aimed at children, and the hiring of William Hartnell, who had previously been known mostly for tough-guy roles, as the first Doctor.
"I've wanted to tell this story this for more years than I can remember," Gatiss tells the BBC. "To make it happen for 'Doctor Who's' 50th birthday is quite simply a dream come true."
"Doctor Who" first aired on the BBC on Nov. »
Forget the traditional gold: Doctor Who is getting something really special for its 50th anniversary.
To mark the auspicious occasion, the BBC has commissioned a 90-minute event called An Adventure in Space and Time, reports BBC News.
The one-off special, written by regular Who scribe Mark Gatiss, will chronicle the real-life birth of the sci-fi franchise in the early 1960s.
“This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original,” said Gatiss, adding that he plans to explore how actor »
- Vlada Gelman
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