Doctor Who Christmas Special Cinema Release

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Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker will debut on the big screen in Australasia with some exclusive content.

Twice Upon A Time, the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special, featuring 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi’s regeneration into Whittaker, will get a cinematic showing on Boxing Day. Whittaker is the first woman to play the Doctor.

It’s evident, from the last episode of Season 10 The Doctor Falls, that David Bradley will reprise the first Doctor introduced to television audiences in 1963 by William Hartnell. Actor Mark Gatiss, Doctor Who scriptwriter and Sherlock co-creator, will also appear in Twice Upon A Time.

The screening will include bonus pieces celebrating Capaldi’s three seasons as the Doctor, and departing show runner Steven Moffat who took over the show in 2010 with 11th Doctor Matt Smith.

BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand and Sharmill Films are behind the cinematic screening.

BBC Worldwide ANZ Live Entertainment Executive Louise Hill said: “Doctor Who fans love watching the show on the big screen and with Peter Capaldi regenerating into the first female Doctor, this promises to be an iconic episode.”

Sharmill Films Marketing Manager Jacinta Palmer said: “There’s nothing quite like the big screen experience, and we’re thrilled to give fans the opportunity to bid farewell to the fantastic Peter Capaldi in cinemas nationally, and to usher in Jodie Whittaker’s hugely anticipated debut as the 13th Doctor”.

As well as this great chance for fans to come together and watch Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time on the big screen, the episode will also be available on ABC iview immediately after the UK broadcast and will air on ABC at 7.30pm December 26th. Straight afterwards fans can join Rove and his guests for a special regeneration episode of WHOVIANS. 

For more information see: www.sharmillfilms.com.au/allfilms/doctor-who-xmas

As well as the Doctor Who films of the 1960s, starring Peter Cushing, Doctor Who has enjoyed a handful of cinematic outings. The 50th anniversary special, Day of the Doctor, was shown in November 2013. Capaldi’s debut, Deep Breath, also showed on the big screen as well as the 2016 Christmas Special: Return of Doctor Mysterio.

 

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Review – Doctor Who – The Doctor Falls

Review – Doctor Who – The Doctor Falls

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What would you die for?

That’s the question the 12th Doctor confronts rival Time Lord the Master and Missy with as he goes up against an army of Cybermen in the hope that he might save a settlement of insignificant humans.

It would have been a beautiful moment had any of the previous Doctors issued the challenge, but it was made all the more wonderful coming from the lips of Doctor Number 12.

When Peter Capaldi was handed the role by Matt Smith in 2013’s Christmas Special, The Time of the Doctor, we got a grumpier, pricklier version of the character who described his companion. Clara, as his carer. “She cares, so I don’t have to.” Show runner Steven Moffat was emphasising the alienness of our hero, showing how hard it is for him to sometimes empathise with lower humans.

But in tonight’s Series 10 finale, The Doctor Falls, we saw the 12th Doctor continue his softening as he announced he was willing to die doing the right thing, being kind, as he put it. Oh what a journey Capaldi’s Doctor has been on these last few years. Was this part of Moffatt’s master plan, or is Capaldi finishing his time as the Doctor in this way by pure coincidence?

Moffat’s penultimate script (assuming he is on writing duty for the next Christmas special) might just be the best series finale in a long, long time.

This action packed story picked up after last week’s The World Enough and Time, in which companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) was converted into a Cyberman. It was laden with danger, horror and tragedy, not to mention the Master/Missy double bill, a marriage made in hell which ended, somewhat, predictably although you can guarantee we haven’t seen the last of the character(s).

Capaldi really shone as the Doctor, perhaps delivering his most powerful performance yet. This meant that the rest of the cast brought their A game to the table, particularly Mackie and Matt Lucas who, as Nardole, had some wonderful moments. You can’t help wondering if his story is at an end.

The Doctor Falls surely evoked tears, but the beauty of Doctor Who means that anything is possible. Where there are tears there is hope.

Review – Doctor Who – The World Enough and Time

DW11.1In The World Enough and Time, clever, old, Steven Moffat has delivered both a sequel and a prequel to the first ever Cyberman story, The Tenth Planet.

At the end of that first Cyberman story, which aired in October, 1966, first Doctor William Hartnell regenerated into Patrick Troughton. The World Enough and Time is a prequel, because it shows the genesis of the Cybermen, while being a sequel, because the 12th Doctor is there to witness it.

Who, except for clever old show runner Steven Moffat who wrote this episode, could ever have imagined that the 12th Doctor, and his companions, could ever have played such an integral part in their creation? It’s 1975’s Genesis of the Daleks, ala Tom Baker, all over again!

We’ve known Series 10 would be Capaldi’s last for a long time, so including what appears to be his regeneration ahead of the title sequence this week only serves to remind us of this Doctor’s walk to the gallows. Now it’s coming, every moment with 12 seems bittersweet. One wonders whether we’ll see the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) regenerated at the end of this story, or whether we’ll have to wait until the 2017 Christmas Special.

Moffat’s script, under the skilful direction of Rachel Talalay, hooked the viewer from its opening moments, exploring the narrative like a TARDIS that has jumped a time track.

The TARDIS crew, and Missy (Michelle Gomez), arrive on a mysterious generational spaceship stuck on the event horizon of a black hole. Bill (Peal Mackie) is seemingly killed on the top deck of the ship, before we flash back further to a conversation between her and the Doctor in which he cannot guarantee her safety.

It was lovely to hear reimagined strains of composer Murray Gold’s This is Gallifrey strike up as the Doctor describes the Master/Missy as the person most like him in the universe. After all, they were young Time Lords together. Here, we learn, the Doctor wishes to discover if Missy is truly reformed by sending her on a mission of his choosing with Bill and Nardole (Matt Lucas).

Back to the generational ship, and Bill has been taken below decks by mysteriously bandaged humanoids serving a battle axe of a nurse and a skittish, yet familiar, little man. They’ve repaired Bill, and revived her, after inserting a mechanical heart, but she must stay within the confines of the hospital if she is to survive.

It’s pretty clear, at this point, that there’s more to the skittish man than meets the eye, and all will soon be revealed. Bill, as predicted, is well on her way to becoming a Mondassian cyberman or woman.

The penultimate episode of Doctor Who: Series 10 is an instant classic and next week’s episode looks set to be heart breaking.

 

 

 

Review – Doctor Who – The Eaters of Light

Review – Doctor Who – The Eaters of Light

EatersThis week’s Doctor Who episode achieved a first.

It’s the first time, since Doctor Who returned to television screens in 2005, that the reimagined show has really felt like what is now known as the classic show it was based on.  For the most part that’s down to this script being written by Rona Munro, the Scottish writer credited with the last Doctor Who story of the classic era.

For a good portion of this story team TARDIS find themselves on different sides of the war for Roman Scotland, a story which could just as easily been told in the classic era. In fact Munro calls back to the First Doctor (William Hartnell) story The Romans early on in the script.

Bill (Pearl Mackie) is trying to impress the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) by finding the legendary ninth legion, which vanished from history. The TARDIS crew separates as she heads one way, and the Doctor and Nardole another. As Bill stumbles across what remains of the legion the Doctor and Nardole are captured by Pictish warriors. But there’s something far more sinister going on than human battles, there’s a killer alien monster on the loose, and the future of humankind depends on what happens next.

The Doctor must unite the two sides, at the satisfying climax of the story, if the world is to be saved.

The Eaters of the Light is a clever script, it’s fun who it uses the lore of Doctor Who to explain Scottish folk tales of music coming from below the ground as heard in the opening and closing scenes in modern Scotland.

But there’s another, broader, story going on here, as the TARDIS crew discover Missy (Michelle Gomze) waiting for them in the Doctor’s space-time ship upon their return. The scenes between the Doctor and Missy are just so watchable, as he (and we) are led to believe that she is a reformed character, and not the megalomaniac Time Lord the Master/Missy has always been.

This dance of the Time Lords, which really shone through this week, isn’t a stone’s throw from the relationship between Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and The Master’s originator Roger Delgardo.

Next week looks promising, with a return of John Simm’s Master and the Mondasian Cybermen first glimpsed in the Hartnell story The Tenth Planet. Doctor, what the heck?

Review – Doctor Who – Empress of Mars

Review – Doctor Who – Empress of Mars

Mark Gatiss take a bow.

Empress of Mars, the ninth episode of Series 10, was everything a Doctor Who episode should be.

It started pre-credits with quirk with the TARDIS crew gate-crashing a NASA mission control room as a robot probe beams back a message written in English below the ice on Mars: “God save the Queen”.

It continues, post-credits, with mystery. We’re below the surface of Mars with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas). It’s 1881 which is when, apparently, the message was written.

Soon the TARDIS trio discover an ice warrior with an encampment of pith-helmeted red coated British soldiers who call him Friday. He crashed on Earth, you see, and they joined him on his return to Mars. (Gatiss bought the classic ice warriors back in Series 7’s Cold War featuring 11th Doctor Matt Smith).

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Surprise is up next, when we learn technology from Friday’s ship is helping the soldiers tunnel for treasure. It’s their reward for helping him, only it turns out that the treasure is the tomb of the Empress of Mars.

Like Gatiss’ Series 1 script, The Unquiet Dead, it turns out it’s not her tomb. The Empress and her retinue of warriors are hibernating. The Doctor warns she’s about to be woken by an army which is primitive by comparison.

Things could have been highly predictable from there, and Gatiss doesn’t disappoint with the clash of armies, but the story takes a few unexpected turns, particularly for the supposedly cowardly commander of the British expedition.

The upshot is one of the best episodes of the series, which is no mean feat this year.

Gatiss’s pedigree as a Doctor Who fan in its early days is well known, so it’s lovely to see the writer bring back the ice warriors who were first seen 50 years ago in Second Doctor Patrick Troughton story The Ice Warriors.

The surprise appearance of Alpha Centauri at episode’s end was the flashing light on top of the TARDIS, especially as this most peculiar of aliens was voiced by Ysanne Churchman. The actress played the character in two Third Doctor Jon Pertwee stories The Curse of Peladon (1972) and Monster of Peladon (1974).

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Gatiss script as good as this. I absolutely adored it.

Review – Doctor Who – The Lie of the Land

Review – Doctor Who – The Lie of the Land

The Lie of the Land.

What a clever title for the latest episode of Doctor Who, the third and final part in the meddling zombie monk trilogy of Series 10.

The title, by Toby Whithouse, has double meaning.

It speaks of the metaphorical lie of the land about how things are since the monk invasion just a few months ago.

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It also refers to the propaganda the monks have pedalled, that they have helped humanity almost from the beginning, and managed to brainwash the population with.

What a clever way to conquer a world: take over them brainwash the population into thinking you’re benevolent and have always been there. The only problem with this idea, is the monks lack motive, other than the standard megalomaniac motive to rule the world. Then again, Nazism makes no sense to the sane. Yet it brought the world to its knees.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), partaking in one of the monks’ propaganda videos, seems to have bought the lie. But his companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) hasn’t.

The monks’ giant statues, erected around the world, are reminiscent of the Weeping Angels of the 10th and 11th Doctors’ eras. They also, spookily, feel like the Silence, who plagued the 11th Doctor throughout Series Six.

Bill’s reunion with Nardole (Matt Lucas), who hasn’t quite seen eye to eye with her thus far this season, was a beautiful scene. A reminder of that old saying that a friend of my friend is a friend of mine.

The revelation that the Doctor is a prisoner on a prison barge in the North Sea is both sinister and funny. He’s so dangerous to the monks’ plans of world domination that he must be kept off shore, which raises as smile as this is how the anti-establishment pirate radio operated back in the day.

How devastating for Bill to discover, when she and Nardole arrive on the barge, that the Doctor has thrown his lot in with the monks thanks to her deal with them. She made a deal with the devil and the whole world lost.

How predictable that the Doctor is just playing along with them to lull them into a false sense of security.

Missyâ’s help, halfway through this story, was inspired and helped to reinforce just how close she and the Doctor once were, and perhaps still are. Her solution was, shall we say, also predictable. As was the conclusion to this story.

The Lie of the Land felt like a re-tread of some of the best bits from Matt Smith’s era, with a twist of Peter Capaldi in his final season. I’m already beginning to miss him. I do hope we don’t learn who the new Doctor is before he appears on screen. I know the chances of that are virtually nil.

The Ice Warriors are returning to Mars next week, in Victorian times, in a script that feels it might have been written by Mark Gatiss. Time will tell.

Review – Doctor Who – The Pyramid At The End Of The World

PyramidStephen Moffatt has done it again.

The audience of Peter Capaldi’s last series of Doctor Who were on the edge of their seats, as the whys and wherefores of this unusual story unfolded.

The meddling monks from last week’s episode, who were running a simulation to discover Earth’s weaknesses, have settled on the here and now as the weakest point on human history. Landing a starship disguised as a pyramid at a border where American, Chineses and Russian armies are in each other’s sights, the monks hope humanity will sign itself into bondage to avoid World War III.

Comparisons with Stargate, which opined that the pyramids were starships piloted by ancient aliens who ruled Earth as gods, are inevitable. But Moffatt and fellow writer Peter Harness do not do the obvious with these plot points.

If ever an episode of Doctor Who was pregnant with social commentary, it is tonight’s, followed closely by last series’ Zygon two-parter which ended with that wonderful speech from the Doctor.

Tonight’s script is a strong statement against the folly of war.

The combined armies of Earth quickly learn that their combined force is not the answer, when the Doctor, aided by Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas), discover what’s really going on.

Nice touches included the Doctor “meditating” about the end of his 12th self with a guitar, and a scene that had you wondering if his time had, indeed come, mid series.

With the story yet to be concluded, it will guarantee a big audience for next week’s episode in which Missy (Michelle Gomez) is promised to return (again).