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The Tides of Time issue 45 & 46

The latest issue of Oxford University's Doctor Who fanzine is a double issue of 172 pages, and I've not told LJ about it yet...

The Tides of Time issues 45 and 46, Trinity 2020, were published together as one omnibus edition by The Oxford Doctor Who Society on 31 May 2020. It was edited by James Ashworth and Matthew Kilburn.

The issue is 172 A5 colour pages, commemorating 30 years of The Tides of Time.  It was initially published online only due to the ongoing coronavirus  pandemic, but is hoped that it will be published in print in due course.

The PDF can be downloaded free of charge here

Articles include:

Series Twelve:

  • The Spyfall Who Loved Me - Sam Sheppard reveals a previously unknown draft of Spyfall
  • The Timeless Chibnall - Victoria Walker looks at the Society's predictions for Series Twelve in hindsight
  • The Twelve Polls of Chibmas - Dahria Kuyser reveals the Society's thoughts on the episodes of Series Twelve
  • The Line to the Boundary - Victoria Walker's reviews of Series Twelve, published in print
  • Spies and Superheroes - Ian Bayley discusses the use of genre bending in Series Twelve
  • The Other, Timeless Child? - Matthew Dovey looks into the links between the New Adventures and the Timeless Child arc
  • Power to the People - Ian Bayley looks at the exploration of character in Series Twelve
  • Maybe just need a moment - Matthew Kilburn gives his thoughts on the latest series

Thirty Years of The Tides of Time:

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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.10 - The Timeless Children

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My review of The Timeless Children, like that of Ascension of the Cybermen, appears at Space-Time Telegraph, the blog which is the successor of its writer-editor John Connors's fanzines, which included Top, Faze and This Way Up. I wrote it having only seen the story once and much of my initial enthusiasm was qualified by other people's reservations. Having rewatched some of the episode since, I was reminded of the focused performances throughout and minimizing of languor. Jodie Whittaker's portrayal of the Doctor's fury and disgust at the Master was electrical, combined with eye-rolling expressions of frustration at just how tedious her old friend can be.


I wrote in the review that there had been no indication in Ascension of the Cybermen that the Doctor was periodically experiencing chapters in the saga of Brendan the Irish policeman - 'Gallykissangel', as I've called it, the term having been suggested by Paul Dumont. Ian Bayley has pointed out that there are odd lines of dialogue in Ascension which might suggest that the Doctor is being surprised by new Brendan scenes, but if so I still find them very understated.


As for the review itself:


So it was about authorship after all. Ascension of the Cybermen turns out to have been undermined throughout by a streaming hacker who couldn’t resist introducing it himself at the end and boasting of his reinterpretation of the ensuing acts, of which the Doctor was both audience and unwitting star. The Timeless Children was visually engaging television and I was surprised by some of the resolution it presented, if only because I was expecting something more complicated. Performances were very strong, and as with Ascension of the Cybermen, I felt an energy in the production which I’ve rarely experienced in the Chibnall era. There were a few moments when it seemed The Timeless Children did not marry so well with Ascension of the Cybermen, however, and in hindsight the episode left lingering doubts about the wisdom of the decisions therein.


Read more...



(Apologies for the large spaces between paragraphs, but this must be what happens when you copy across another site's code.)

Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/03/14/the-timeless-children.html.
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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.9 - Ascension of the Cybermen

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Back to reviewing this week, this time for John Connors's Space Time Telegraph site. Go there to explore the thoughts of John and occasional guests on matters Doctor Who present, past and future, including valuable reminiscences of the early years of British Doctor Who fandom. So what did I think of Ascension of the Cybermen?


Ascension of the Cybermen is ‘about’ narratives and their ownership. It teases with an opening narration through which Ashad, the Lone Cyberman, frames the story which follows as his. The discovery of the title sequence within the eyehole of a detached Cyberman head might suggest the Doctor’s victory over the dead Cyberman, or alternatively that only the Cybermen, in their undeath, survive to tell this tale. As the episode unfolds, this question of ownership of the narrative is raised again and again. Whose story are we watching? Whose story is Brendan’s, from its mythically golden morning to its dully nightmarish twilight? It’s left uncertain where his reality lies. The Doctor and friends arrive specifically as visitors to the end of the Cyber Wars, there to make sure the last humans survive and frustrate the recreation of the Cyber Empire, but are swept forward in a small, final refugee wave as their scheme is frustrated, struggling to retain possession of their destinies. 


Read more...



Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/03/01/ascension-of-the-cybermen.html.
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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.4 - Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror

I didn't manage to review Orphan 55, which I found very variable - a weak set-up, strong but overearnest middle and solid conclusion with a final speech which wasn't quite earned and some odd choices throughout - I did enjoy Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror, and some of what I thought is set out here.

Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/01/20/nikola-teslas-night-of-terror.html.
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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.2 - Spyfall: Part Two

I undertook the review of the second part of Spyfall for the Doctor Who News Page even though time was much more limited this week. The changes in the way I recalled the episode over the few days in which I wrote it are probably apparent! I enjoyed it, but I had a few concerns about some crucial moments.

Doctor Who 12.2 - Spyfall: Part Two, at Doctor Who News Reviews

Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/01/09/spyfall-part-two.html.
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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.1 - Spyfall: Part One

I hadn’t intended to review any of Spyfall until after the broadcast of the second part, but the steady ratcheting of tension, the joyous manipulation of borrowed elements, and a by now well-known revelation led me to volunteer to write something for the reviews section of the Doctor Who News Page within a few minutes of transmission having ended. Read on at Doctor Who Reviews.

Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2020/01/03/spyfall-part-one.html.
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Terrance Dicks, 1935-2019

Registering here the outpouring of memorializing I've mainly joined in with elsewhere. Terrance Dicks was a great storyteller, a wry colluder with the childhood imagination, a subtle improver of memories of lost television. He was also acutely aware of structure, genre and his and his work's place in time, and of his work as collaborative act, whether with cast and crew or with publishers, and of course with the audience. The way in which Doctor Who is written and written about still owes a huge amount to him - and how many remember fondly his children's creations such as T R Bear, his many other series (I remember his 1981 novel Cry Vampire which includes a defence of children watching horror as well as Doctor Who) and his stewardship in the 1980s of the BBC Sunday afternoon classic serials? I look forward to him receiving due appreciation in the press in the coming days - I gather Toby Hadoke is already hard at work - and I remember well the experienced writer talking through one gauche undergraduate's attempt to invite him to Oxford over the phone. He did visit, though I continued to make faux pas with him over the next two and a bit decades. He was good and generous company, however.

Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2019/09/03/terrance-dicks-1935-2019.html.
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Tides of Time Special Edition Summer 2019 - Conventions and Other Events

We have been busy at Tides of Time towers (a block of flats outside Oxford as much as a student room in an ancient college) and have published a special pdf-only issue reporting from Doctor Who conventions at Aldbourne, Banbury, Bedford and Derby as well as appearances in the recent past by Russell T Davies and in the more remote past by Sophie Aldred. To find out more and download the special (no charge), see this post.

Also posted at https://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2019/08/25/tides-of-time-special-edition-summer-2019-conventions-and-other-events.html.