Silly Who rumour of the week

Tennant fun

It seems the “episode without the Doctor” possibility is really driving fans nuts. We’ve already had Love and Monsters in series two, and the expectation is that there’ll be another episode that’s Doctor-lite, thanks to hellish filming schedules. So how will the production team cope?

We’ve already had one possibility thrown at us: the Doctor and new companion are regressed into children by mad scientist Mark Gatiss and so child actors will take the place of Freema Agyeman and David Tennant. Since there’s that exciting competition for some lucky fan to land a part on the show, maybe that’ll tie in nicely.

Paul McGannBut now, we have another one, which has the virtues of a 1% chance of being true and all the hallmarks of a conspiracy theory. In this exciting possibility, Martha Jones turns round, says “Tell me all about regeneration, Doctor”, and low and behold, we have a Tennant-narrated tale of life being Paul McGann. That would fill me with joy if it happened, because it’s about time McGann got to be something more than a footnote in Who history*.

Sheridan Smith with a DalekWhere the conspiracy theory element comes in is the BBC7 series starting in the New Year. The idea is that that will act as a primer for the public to accept McGann as a previous Doctor and more importantly to get them used to Sheridan Smith as his companion, who will then legitimately be able to appear on-screen as the Doctor’s companion and be an audience draw. Smith, of course, has a big youth following from Two Pints of Lager (although not from Grown Ups).

Not at all plausible, particularly since the rumour also says it’s going to be set during the Time War, but I liked it anyway.

Incidentally, the Big Finish web site now has more details on those BBC7 audio plays. One thing I spotted that I hadn’t seen elsewhere: Sheridan Smith’s character is going to be with the Doctor thanks to some form of Time Lord Witness Protection Programme (very Big Finish). Even she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to have seen, though.

*Footnote: Technically, Paul McGann is the longest running Doctor, since he was the official Doctor between 1996 and 2005, appearing in the TV movie, comics, books and audio plays, all of which were licensed by the BBC.

UPDATE: The rumour mutates and combines with the earlier rumour! Now the suggestion is that when the Doctor and companion are zapped by Mark Gatiss, he turns back into Paul McGann. Now that’s the hallmark of a great rumour.

UK TV

Third-episode verdict: That Mitchell and Webb Look

Mitchell and Webb

In the UK: Thursdays, 9.30pm, BBC2. Repeated Tuesdays, 10.30pm, BBC3.

Well there’s surprising. A funny sketch show on BBC2. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought those days were long gone. Certainly, I wasn’t expecting it from Mitchell and Webb, whose Peep Show everyone keeps going on about but which I only found slightly amusing.

But this I actually look forward to each week. I’ve set the PVR and everything!

Continue reading “Third-episode verdict: That Mitchell and Webb Look”

No more Colin and Edith?!

They’re changing the Radio 1 schedules and Colin and Edith are going solo! It’s the end of an era, I tell you (don’t forget they were both hosts of Ri:SE when that started…). Says Colin about his move to the 10pm slot

“The only downside will be my partnership with Edith coming to an end but our friendship comes first and Edith knows that I belong in the darkness, and wishes me well.

”I am sure we’ll be thrown together for every big Radio 1 event in the future. I’m just glad we didn’t reach the stage where we had to work out custody of the kids.“

Top of the Pops put out to pasture

You almost certainly didn’t hear it here first, but Top of the Pops has been cancelled. It’s always sad to see old regulars go, but it had had a good life and it needed a rest.

It can always come back later as a retro thing. Wouldn’t you just love to see DLT or Peter Powell introing hit acts from the 70s and 80s making a comeback again?

Hell, while we’re about it, bring back the Golden Oldie Picture Show. I’m sure there’s a few songs out now that could have better videos done on the cheap for them by the Beeb.

UPDATE: DLT has just signed up with radio station Magic.

US TV

Pick of the TV podcasts

There’s something odd about the BBC web site. Well, specifically the BBC’s Doctor Who web site. Every episode of the series has had a podcast, sometimes graced by David Tennant and Russell T Davies, sometimes not. You can download them separately from each episode’s web page. There are even instructions on how to subscribe to them on the site. But the bizarre thing is, there’s no direct link for subscribing. Here are the iTunes instructions.

Search for “Doctor Who Commentaries” and you should find our feed. Otherwise, follow the instructions below

Which is odd, because if you have iTunes, all you have to do is click this link that I’ve just made and it’ll subscribe you to the podcast automatically: Rob’s Doctor Who iTunes podcast hyperlink. Given the technical sophistication of the rest of the site, you’d have thought they could have made it a little bit easier, but they didn’t.

Which gets me nicely onto the podcasts themselves. They’re really not all they could be. For that we have to go to the US.

Battlestar Galactica

BSG podcastUndoubtedly the gold standard in podcasts, it’s great just to listen to Battlestar Galactica’s Exec Producer(s) explain all the thinking that went into the episode, how it was filmed and so on. The Doctor Who podcast trawls the shallows a bit in comparison and is more than a little self-congratulatory. Ronald D Moore may have a show with a gadzillion times the budget of Doctor Who and considerably higher US ratings, but unlike RTD and co, he’s perfectly prepared to admit when an episode or scene stank. There is, incidentally, a great interview with him over on Podcast411.

As well as the standard episode commentaries, there have also been three recordings of writers’ meetings, where we get to hear how one particular episode was whittled into shape. It’s fascinating to hear the various iterations of the show as it slowly became closer to the televised form. Well, it is for me.

Lost

Lost podcastAnyone watching in the UK probably isn’t going to want to listen to the later episodes of this particular podcast, but the earlier ones should be safe. It’s quite instructive to listen to, since rather than a standard DVD-style commentary, the podcasts contain interviews with the cast, previews of the next episode, and explanations and clarifications of the previous episode (always vital with Lost) by the exec producers, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who actually now have their own theme tune thanks to a listener competition. Lindelof and Cuse also answer questions from Lost fans, usually by insulting them slyly or using extreme sarcasm, which is more than worth the free entrance fee. As if that weren’t enough, there are occasional additional podcasts with behind-the-scenes tours.

Now, while Doctor Who is doing well to have a podcast, its own dedicated web site (if you want to see a sorry web site, go look at the ITV site. That needs life support) and TARDISodes, it’s being edged out in a couple of areas. Don’t you think we owe it to the BBC to ensure we keep the lead with high podcast quality?