Sunday, September 18, 2016

Doctor Who: Behind the Scenes

Hey there, Whovians! After last Sunday’s non-Doctor Who related missive, we’re back with a new Sunday Doctor Who post. So what’s up?

First of all, a correction... I think. I noted on this blog a few times that the Christmas special was finished but we didn’t know anything about it. It turns out that the reason I didn’t know anything about it is apparently it has NOT been filmed after all. I could’ve sworn that Doctor Who was in production on something back in May before the official start of filming on Series 10 had begun. Instead, I heard that the Doctor Who team was taking a break to film the 2016 Christmas special NOW. Although another report says the 2016 Special is done and is now in post production. 

Argh! Why can't I get straight into on this thing?!?!

Promotional photo for the 2015 Doctor Who Christmas Special

OK, Mark Gatiss offered up some intel, saying the script is the most beautiful thing Steven Moffat has ever written and it made Mark cry. Tears of joy? Tears of sadness? Mark ain't telling.  More frustration! 

Steven Moffat said the Christmas special will feature a special guest companion much like River Song’s appearance in last year’s special. However, it looks like it might only be Nardole, the character played by Matt Lucas in the 2015 Christmas special and is joining the TARDIS crew in Series 10. 

Like a lot of Whovians, I was really hoping we would get a return visit from Capt. Jack Harkness and the 2016 Christmas special seemed as good a place as any. The man who brought Jack to life, John Barrowman, has made no secret of his desire to return to the role in Doctor Who. Barrowman was reportedly in the Cardiff area in May  but who knows what that was about. But the Christmas special wasn’t shot in May (maybe?) and John Barrowman denied he was filming anything as Jack Harkness for Doctor Who.

 In fact, there may be some animosity between Barrowman and someone in authority over Doctor Who. When asked about bringing back not just Jack Harkness but the Torchwood series, John Barrowman said he would love to do more Torchwood on TV but implied that the series’ return was being blocked, saying that Torchwood couldn’t come back until “somebody high up leaves”. The immediate assumption was the person putting the kibosh on more Torchwood was Steven Moffat, an assumption that the Moff was quick to dismiss and deny, saying that if anyone was in fact actively preventing the return of Torchwood, it wasn’t him. 

I’m willing to take Steven Moffat at his word but one never really knows what’s going on behind the scenes in these sorts of things.

For example, we’ve recently heard from Christopher Eccleston who portrayed the 9th Doctor for only 1 season back in 2005. In the intervening years, Eccleston has taking turns describing his decision to leave Doctor Who as either an artistic decision or as a falling out with someone in authority in the Doctor Who offices. If it was the latter, it was hard for Whovians to countenance who exactly that would be. It’s difficult to imagine either Davies or his producing partner Julie Gardner as being the types to be involved in that kind of behind the scenes drama. In a recent radio interview, Eccleston cited the dispute with authority reason for leaving Doctor Who but this time identified one specific offending party as Keith Boak, the director of the very first episode (“Rose”) as well as the first two parter “Aliens Over London”/World War III”) of the revived series. In fact, the relationship between Eccleston and Boak was apparently so toxic that Eccleston nearly walked off the series in the middle of the filming the first episode. Boak was never invited back to direct anymore Doctor Who but apparently the damage for Eccleston was done.

This does strike me as a bit odd as a TV director’s authority extends to the episode he or she is directing but not over the show itself. Why Eccleston would let his animosity towards Boak color his thinking about the show for so long, I really don’t understand. Eccleston has indicated a broader picture of disagreements with those in charge of Doctor Who so it may way be more than just one person.  

But it does appear the decision to leave at the end of Series 1 is something Eccleston is revisiting and he’s doing so with regret. Christopher noted that Doctor Who was giving him opportunities to explore facets of acting that he had never explored before such as light comedy. Eccleston noted that if he had stayed for a 2nd season, he would’ve delivered even stronger performances and would’ve been happier with his role as the Doctor.

It’s a shame he couldn’t come to that conclusion sooner to participate in the 50th anniversary special but maybe, just maybe he can make his peace with the show enough to come back for some kind of one-off, even just a mini-episode to give Christopher Eccleston one more go as the Doctor in the TARDIS. But I think that for whatever his regrets about leaving Doctor Who early, Eccleston has placed Doctor Who firmly in the past and is not likely to revisit the role again.
But we are getting more new Doctor Who again with the 2016 Christmas special...




And Class is coming. This image popped up this week. 

So it seems we're in for a some serious doing of stuff when it comes to aliens and the kids at Coal Hill School. 

But details? Like will the Doctor make an appearance? 

No details? Of course not.  

So that's that for today's Doctor Who post. Tomorrow, I look at the fall out of Donald Trump's comments Friday on the "birther" issue. Later in the week, Pixar Project returns as the family re-watch project resumes with a look at Ratatouille. 

And next Sunday on the blog thing, more Doctor Who stuff? What kind of stuff, you might ask? How about this: 

Cybermen across the universe are going insane. The cause will shake the Doctor and his companion to the core with the return of an impossible threat. 

Yes, I'm launching another Doctor Who fan fiction. Next Sunday is Episode One of....Cybermania! 

Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

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