Beware the Doctor Who spoilers! The scripts for the first five episodes of season 8 have somehow made their way in to the big bad world also known as “the internet”.

Peter-Capaldi-and-Jenna-ColemanCapaldi & Coleman [x]

 On Monday, a statement was released by BBC Worldwide. It reads as follows:

“BBC Worldwide is currently investigating a security issue around Doctor Who Series 8 where unfinished material has inadvertently been made public. We deeply regret this and apologise to all the show’s fans, the BBC and the cast and crew who have worked tirelessly making the series.

“We would like to make a plea to anyone who might have any of this material and spoilers associated with it not to share it with a wider audience so that everyone can enjoy the show as it should be seen when it launches. We know only too well that Doctor Who fans are the best in the world and we thank them for their help with this and their continued loyalty.”

Yes, I downloaded them. No, I haven’t read them.

These are post-production scripts. Every scene is time-stamped. Theoretically, there should be no difference between these scripts and the completed episodes. And that’s one of the reasons why I won’t read them. Not yet, anyway.

Television is a visual medium. As a writer, I love reading scripts to see how other screenwriters express things, but reading even the best script is not the same as watching an episode.

When I watch a Doctor Who episode for the first time, I want the element of the surprise. I don’t want to know what will happen next. Although I am of the belief that spoilers should not necessarily ruin one’s enjoyment of a film, book, or television show, Doctor Who is one of the few television shows where I make a point not to read articles deemed spoilery, and to avoid the internet on the day of airing, for fear of finding out too much. [Other shows for which I have done this include Life On Mars, Ashes to Ashes and Orphan Black].

Even if these scripts were an earlier draft, and not an exact record of the edited episodes, I still probably wouldn’t read them – although I would certainly be a lot more tempted to. One of the best things a writer can do is read a script and then watch the finished product, making note of any differences between what was written and what was shot. It’s a good way to think about why things may have been changed, and to work out whether similar changes may need to take place in order to make your own work better. I’ve read early scripts for television pilots and films that I hadn’t seen, and later watched them, still getting a high level of enjoyment, because what I’d read wasn’t exactly what had been made. It’s kind of like reading the book before seeing the film – you still get something out of it, because things have to inevitably change. You’re seeing an interpretation of something that you’ve read.

But there is no point reading a post-production script instead of waiting for the episode to air. As far as I can tell (and I don’t intend on looking into this further), these scripts are the same as the finished episodes. So it’s like reading a novelisation of a film (where the film has been made first) – when you finally watch the thing, there won’t be any surprises left.

This season of Doctor Who is set to be full of new and exciting things – aside from the fact that he’ll apparently be “darker”, I know very little about Capaldi’s Doctor. And I don’t want to know any more. I want to wait and see it the way it’s supposed to be seen: on a television screen (or, let’s be realistic here, a computer screen) when it finally airs for the first time.


How do you commemorate a television series that’s been around [on and off] for 50 years?  That’s more than twice my current age.  In putting together this 50th anniversary episode, Steven Moffat had a big job ahead of him, and after watching the episode twice [at the cinema this afternoon, and then this evening on the television at home], I’m quite pleased to say that he damn near pulled it off.  No, “The Day of the Doctor” wasn’t perfect [but really, is any Doctor Who episode?], but it did manage to both celebrate the history of the series, while also telling a story that not only satisfied as a standalone episode, but also set up a whole new chapter for the life of the Doctor.  And that’s a pretty impressive feat.

It may come as a surprise to some people, but my first Doctor was actually William Hartnell.  When the 2005 reboot was first announced, the ABC started airing Classic Who on weeknights at 6pm, starting with the very first episode.  Mum had watched the series as a child, but was too young for the First Doctor, so we watched it together, for the first time.  While I enjoyed the show, I only watched it for a month or so.  With the serialised storytelling, it was sometimes difficult to follow if I’d missed one or two episodes, and I was busy with my high school social life [read: shifts at work, and afternoon music rehearsals].

My first taste of New Who was “The Empty Child”.  As a Press Gang fan, I was keen to see what Steven Moffat had written.  It was a good episode, as was “The Doctor Dances”.  They were enough to draw me in until the end of the first season.  But then I stopped watching.  There are still a couple of season one [of New Who] episodes that I haven’t seen.  And I can’t bring myself to watch much of season two [I’m just not a fan of Rose].  But after that, well, I’ve got it covered.  I think it was actually Torchwood that made me the Whovian that I am today, which is strange, because there is a lot of Torchwood that I don’t think is particularly good.  But somehow it’s the series that managed to really pull me into the world of Doctor Who and keep me there.

While watching seasons three and four, I thought that David Tennant was my Doctor.  Because apparently Who fans need to have just one of those; one Doctor who we cherish above all others.  But once Matt Smith took over, I started to think that maybe I was more of an Eleven – partly because he travelled with my favourite companion [Rory!], but also because he made me more loyal.  I still haven’t seen every David Tennant episode, so how could I possibly call Ten my Doctor?  What if it’s actually Peter Capaldi?  After thinking about this for way too long, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m allowed to have more than one Doctor – we all are – and the fact that the show continues to make me reconsider who my favourite really is, is a testament to how I’ve been captured into its world, where every Doctor is able to draw me in just that little bit more than the previous one.

Decked out in my Doctor WHO t-shirt [last seen here], at 12pm today, I donned a pair of 3D glasses, and watched “The Day of the Doctor” in a cinema full of Whovians.  There were so many Doctor Who t-shirts and hats, and everyone there was excited.  I don’t know how many people had already watched the episode at home – I’d chosen to hide from the internet instead.  I wanted to see it for the first time on the big screen.  And was it worth it?  Damn straight, it was.

From the very beginning, in which we were instructed in Sontaran cinema etiquette, to the final notes of the closing credits, “The Day of the Doctor” won me over.  I enjoyed the little nods to the Doctors of old, and the photos of past companions on the board in the Black Archive.  The Doctor’s sudden disappearance after marrying Queen Elizabeth I explained her desire to have him killed in “The Shakespeare Code”, and had been mentioned in passing in many other episodes.  The continuity – which is always a little odd in the world of Doctor Who – worked as a celebration of the series.  Fighting the Zygons was a brave choice; while I love the Daleks, they aren’t quite as threatening as they once were.  I liked the way John Hurt’s Doctor criticised his later regenerations for their silly words and mannerisms, echoing the sentiments of many Classic Who fans.  I was surprised by the cameos from both Tom Baker and Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows – and very happy to see them.  And I really liked that Rose wasn’t actually there as Rose and that we didn’t have to put up with any of that Rose-is-the-Doctor’s-true-love nonsense.

All of that is not to say that the episode did not have its flaws.  Having now watched it for a second time, there were a few moments in which I wished more of a reference to the Doctors and companions of old could have been made.  While I saw Susan and Rory on the board in the Black Archive, it would have been nice to see Donna or Sarah Jane.  All I would have asked for is a panning shot along the board, showing all of the people on it.  And while I don’t want to be too nitpicky, I didn’t quite understand the casting of Joanna Page as Queen Liz the First.  As far as I’m aware, the Virgin Queen wasn’t Welsh.  But it could have been a lot worse.

Seeing all of the Doctors working together to save Gallifrey was a brilliant touch.  I don’t quite understand the timey-wimey of it all, but I like that everyone was briefly acknowledged.  I do wish, however, they they hadn’t put together that awful shot at the very end, with the three actors standing amongst a whole lot of still images.  It looked ridiculous at the cinema, and my forgiving home television was hardly any better.  It would have been better if they’d stuck to the reverse shot with a group of body doubles.  But then again, it’s hardly the worst special effects that Doctor Who has ever seen [speaking of special effects, the 3D version of the episode was very well put-together, and despite being somebody who doesn’t like 3D movies, I was quite happy with it].

With the Christmas Special soon approaching, it’s almost time to say goodbye to Matt Smith, and welcome Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor.  While I’m a little sad to see Matt go, I’m really excited to see where the show is heading next.  “The Day of the Doctor” has set up a new story for the Doctor, the quest to find Gallifrey, and I’m sure there’s much more to come.  This may be the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, but the show is still going strong.  Here’s to another 50 years…

[Image from GeekTyrant.]

Want to read some more Doctor Who-related blog posts?  Alex has written all sorts of things over at Adventures in TV-Land [see here, here and here], and Lizzy has told here own story here on Hum Drum Plum.

black and white empire of enthusiasts screencapOh no, not me again!1

The second episode of Empire of Enthusiasts was released while I was on holiday last week.  I’m a little bit hesitant to embed the video here, or even link to it, for fear of embarrassment.  You see, this is the episode in which I attempt to speak up and express an opinion, but fail to do so eloquently2.

In the past, I’ve always been a fairly confident [and capable] public speaker, but recently I’ve been having some trouble.  My stumbles here are just one example of this3.  Maybe one day I’ll write more about some of my recent public speaking mishaps [a particular pitching competition comes to mind], but right now they’re just too cringeworthy to even consider mentioning.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: this Empire of Enthusiasts episode focuses on television, particularly Doctor Who and Breaking Bad.  If you want to attend a taping, and maybe even contribute to the discussion [hopefully a little better than I did], you can like their page on facebook to keep up-to-date with all of the goings on.

Note: If you’re not up to date, you can skip to the 6 minute mark to miss any Breaking Bad spoilers.

1. Had I known what I was getting myself in for, I probably would have worn something a little nicer. Still, my Junior Gazette shirt ended up being vaguely relevant.
2. Does the word “eloquently” make anyone else immediately start singing “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette? No? Just me then…
3. As is my Valley Girl-like usage of the word “like”.

Do you like to spend your weekends crammed into a tiny space out the back of Public Bar with a bunch of Whovians?  If so, you should have been at the recording of Splendid Chaps last Sunday afternoon.

sc-colour‘What is Splendid Chaps?’ I hear you ask.  Well, if you’d bothered to click the above link [or do a quick Google search], you’d know that Splendid Chaps is a monthly podcast put together by comedian Ben McKenzie and writer John Richards in celebration of Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary.    Each episode focuses on a different Doctor and theme, with special guests and a musical performance.

This month’s episode, Five/Fear, was all about – you guessed it – the Fifth Doctor [and the topic of fear], with guests Tegan Higginbotham [who was actually named after Tegan the companion] and Narelle M Harris, as well as Georgia Fields.  Oh, and Petra Elliot resumed her regular co-hosting duties.  There’s no point in me recounting the actual contents of the podcast, as it’s currently available to be listened to [here].  But I can tell you a little bit about what it was like from an audience perspective.

The venue was tiny and cramped.  Thankfully we got there in time to get two of the last available seats.  There were people sitting on the floor and leaning on the bar.  That said, there was just enough room for everybody – nobody was turned away – and the cosiness did add to the atmosphere.  During the break, audience members were encouraged to write questions for the hosts to answer on the show.  There was also a door prize, which was pretty cool.

doctorwhotshirtsGlenn and I wore some awesome Doctor Who t-shirts.  Please excuse the awful quality of the photo; it was dark in there and the front camera on my phone takes pretty dodgy pictures.

I’ve been battling a pretty awful cold/flu-type thing for the past couple of weeks, and last Sunday was one of my worst days.  Having already purchased the tickets, I didn’t want to give them up, but I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it was to stop my coughing fits while the podcast was recording.  I somehow managed, though, which was good.  This sickness is also my excuse for why I haven’t written anything this week.  When I’m sick, I have a bit of trouble putting words into coherent sentences, which has prevented me from blogging [and also caused a couple of problems at trivia on Monday – thankfully Glenn was there to take the mic from me when I got a bit lost].  I am feeling quite a bit better now, thanks for asking.

Anyway, due to the live nature of the podcast’s recording, the audience is asked to refrain from talking during the show.  Laughter and applause are encouraged, however.  During the discussion, there were times that I wanted to whisper things [the main example being when they were talking about companions leaving the Doctor of their own accord, and didn’t mention Martha].  I managed to stop myself, but if you think you are prone to that kind of thing, my suggestion is to take a notepad and pen with you.

Overall, I really enjoyed the recording, and I definitely can’t wait until they get up to the New-Who era.  Although I imagine that for those podcasts they’ll need a much bigger venue.  Keep an eye out on the Splendid Chaps website for details of the next session.

Splendid Chaps logo image via

I haven’t watched “Angels in Manhattan” yet.  I know it’s there, waiting for me on iView, but I just can’t bring myself to watch it.  Not quite yet.  I’m not ready to say goodbye to Amy Pond and Rory Williams.  So, I’ve spend the first half of today hiding from the internet.  Writing instead of reading.  The last thing I want is to accidentally encounter a spoiler.  But, in all of this avoidance, it has led me to think about the other television shows or characters that I simply didn’t want to lose.  Three, in particular, come to mind.

The final moments before Ten’s regeneration [source].

The Tenth Doctor.
The last words that the Tenth Doctor said before regenerating were, “I don’t want to go.”  I didn’t want him to go either.  David Tennant was my first real Doctor; he was the one who made me a fan.  Sure, I’d seen Doctors before him – I started with William Hartnell, and then skipped to Christopher Eccleston – but Ten was, at the time, my absolute favourite.  I loved his combinations of suits and Converse sneakers.  I loved watching David Tennant speak with his Scottish accent during episodes of Doctor Who Confidential.  I loved Donna, and Wilf.  And I really did not want to say goodbye to any of them.  David Tennant’s departure was announced more than a year in advance, so I had plenty of time to prepare myself, but when the time came around, I still wasn’t ready.  It was a sad day for any Tenth Doctor fan when he finally regenerated into Eleven, and I’m just so very happy that Matt Smith proved to be the perfect man to take over such a beloved role.

The end of Veronica Mars, forever [source].

Veronica Mars.
A long time ago, we used to be friends, Veronica Mars and I.  I didn’t always agree with her romantic choices – why did she have to get back together with Duncan? – but she was a clever girl, and, at the time, we were the same age.  Sure, I wasn’t a private detective in my spare time, but back when I watched Veronica Mars, I knew what it was like to not feel included at school [perhaps not on the same scale as Veronica, but whatever].  In season two, Veronica graduated from high school a few months before I did, and when she headed off for college, it helped me to prepare for my own transition into university.  After a successful fan campaign, Veronica Mars was lucky to be granted a limited third season – but we all knew that it would be the last.  Season three suffered from format changes [the season-long arc that had driven the previous two seasons was split up into shorter mini-arcs], and an 8-week hiatus [while The CW aired reality series Pussycat Dolls Present].  Meanwhile, Veronica and Logan had broken up again.  The series ended on a depressing note, with the knowledge that Vinnie Van Lowe was inevitably about to take over as Sheriff, and that it was all Veronica’s fault.  Not even Rob Thomas’ on-the-fly re-imagining of the series as an FBI-based crime drama could bring Veronica back, and even though the movie rumours continue to spread, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s not going to happen.

Time to say goodbye to Gene Hunt [source].

Ashes to Ashes.
The finale of Ashes to Ashes had a lot of explaining to do.  How did Sam Tyler end up in 1973?  Why did Alex Drake go back to find the same people, but in a different time and place?  And what exactly was Gene Hunt’s role in all of this?  Thankfully for all those involved – both in the creation of the show, and the fandom that surrounded it – Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah somehow managed to pull it off.  I’m incredibly grateful for this, because both Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes are two of my absolute favourite television shows of all time, and if the series had ended badly, then I would have been absolutely devastated.  This doesn’t mean, however, than the finale was not absolutely heartbreaking – because it really was.  I don’t want to spoil it here – because I know that there are a lot of people out there who’ve not yet seen either show, and should – but that final episode had me in tears, multiple times.  In fact, so did the finale of Veronica Mars, and Ten’s regeneration…


It’s always a sign of good television writing when the final appearance of a character, or the last episode of a show can effect you on such an emotional level as these particular ones did for me.  This doesn’t always have to be the case, of course, but I’m sure that today’s episode of Doctor Who, if and when I can bring myself to watch it, is going to be a sad one.

Have you been so emotionally attached to a television character that it’s broken your heart to have to say goodbye?  I’d love to discuss it with you in the comments.


These pictures are only mildly relevant to the following rant, but I really wanted an excuse to post Rory in his pants.  [Source].

Something that I’ve been noticing, particularly within the Doctor Who fandom, is that there seems to be a lot of hate going round.  People are throwing about words like “sexist” and “homophobic”, posting angry rants all over the internet, and attacking those who disagree with them.  Now, I can understand that sometimes the television shows that we love the most can cause the most harm, but surely all of this anger is counter-productive.  I love Doctor Who – it’s my favourite television show that’s currently on air – but I’ll happily admit that it’s not perfect.  Sometimes Steven Moffat likes to make things a little too complicated for his own good.  Sometimes Russell T Davies sacrificed actual story in order to include as many past characters as he could in his season finales.  Sometimes otherwise excellent episodes can contain small yet significant continuity errors that just bug you the whole way through.  But, despite all of these things, I am a Doctor Who fan.  I care about the Doctor.  I care about Amy and Rory – and Donna, and Martha [not so much Rose, I never liked her that much].  I watch Doctor Who because I enjoy doing so, and when I write about it, or talk to people about it, I try to do so in a positive manner.  What’s the point of calling yourself a fan of something and then completely ripping it to shreds?

Now, while I’m at it, I feel the need to debunk those “sexist” and “homophobic” claims that I mentioned earlier.

Doctor Who is not sexist…
Having an attractive female character find paid work as a model is not sexist, particularly when that woman is proven to be as smart and fierce as Amy Pond.  I’ve always been drawn towards television shows with an intelligent female lead – Press Gang’s Lynda Day, the eponymous Veronica Mars, even Pawnee’s own Leslie Knope – and the past few seasons of Doctor Who have been no exception.  Sure, Amy’s not a career-driven character, but neither was Donna.  You can’t exactly tell me that Rose had the most promising future before the Doctor whisked her away from her department store job.  You don’t have to have a career to be a strong woman.  You can get married if you want.  You can choose to have children – or not, it’s up to you.  It’s how you act that makes the difference – and as Amy would tell you herself, she’s “easily worth two men”.

…nor is it homophobic.
In the past few seasons of Doctor Who there have been several mentions of fully functioning homosexual couples without a big deal being made of them.  They were treated with the same respect as a heterosexual couple.  Just in the most recent episode, “The Power of Three”, for example, Amy agreed to be a bridesmaid at a gay wedding.  The fact that it was two women marrying was brought up exactly once, and nobody seemed shocked or found it weird.  Isn’t this exactly what we want?  For all couples to be treated equally without prejudice?  According to the angry internet people, apparently not.

I honestly believe with both of these issues that it’s a case of people wanting to be angry about something, and therefore over-scrutinising every possible aspect of Doctor Who in order to find something that could potentially be offensive, and I just don’t understand it.  As I said before, Doctor Who has its flaws – and I’m not afraid to point them out – but it’s certainly not sexist or homophobic, and as a fan, I’d much prefer to celebrate the series’ triumphs than its errors.

Edited to add a slight disclaimer-like thing: What I’m trying to say is that the fans should stop throwing around big words like “sexist” and “homophobic” about this show that they supposedly love, which is clearly neither of those things.  I’m not telling people that they can’t write negative episode reviews, or that they have to think everything as perfect – as I’ve already said many times in this little rant: I don’t think Doctor Who is perfect, and I hate Rose.  But, I love the show, and I hate to see people who call themselves fans so aggressively ripping it to shreds over nothing.

Every time I see a photo of Arthur Darvill, he always seems to be wearing these awesome Ray-Ban sunglasses.  With their rounded edges, they’re not quite aviators, but they’ve got a very classic, vintage look.  They’re a little bit different to what most people are wearing these days, and I knew from the first time that I saw them, that I desperately wanted these sunnies.  The problem was, of course, that I didn’t know what they were called. Google told me that they were RB3447s, but upon closer inspection, they didn’t look quite right [RB3447s have gold frames, like the pair that Matt Smith is wearing in the gif at the bottom of this post. Arthur’s glasses have a gold bridge above the nose, but the frames surrounding the lenses appear to be black].

Then, the other day, during a period of procrastination, it occurred to me that I could just scroll through the entire range of sunglasses on the Ray-Ban website until I found what I was after [I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier].  And so I did.

They don’t have a proper name, just a code.  And with a recommended retail price of around $300, I don’t think I’ll be able to afford them any time soon.  Still, they are a beautiful pair of sunglasses, with their curved lenses and gold & leather frames.  If only I were rich, then I’d be able to look just like Doctor Who‘s very own Rory Williams/Mr Pond.

[Top image from rattyburvil (Arthur Darvill) on Instagram; stalker paparazzi photo via mspondee on tumblr; Ninja Turtle photo from rattyburvil (again); RB3475Q image from Ray-Ban; animated gif from starsweptnight on tumblr.  I understand that tumblr isn’t the most reliable of image sources, so if you believe that I’ve incorrectly credited an image in this post, please don’t hesitate to let me know, and I’ll fix it straight away.]