Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Origins of the Cybermen

The Cybermen are often regarded as the second most famous Doctor Who villains.  But how where they first created? In the Doctor Who universe there are all sorts of theories and contradictions that exist around the Cybermen’s past, so I will be focusing on how they were envisioned in real life, by Kit Pedler.

Kit Pedler, a medical researcher, had been drafted into the Doctor Who production team as a kind of scientific advisor – he was presented with hypothetical and fictional problems, and then asked to give an idea of what would happen if the event really took place. His response to the question “What would happen if an alien intelligence got inside the Post Office Tower?” was later developed into the script for “The War Machines”.  When script editor Gerry Davis asked Pedler about a new planet similar to Earth drifting into the Solar System, his response formed the basis of the final William Hartnell story “The Tenth Planet”. Pedler wrote the script featuring cybernetically enhanced humans, as his biggest fear, being a doctor, was “dehumanising medicine”. He predicted a time when spare part surgery had become common place and a time where it would be impossible to tell how much of the original human remained. He predicted that these creatures would be motivated by logic and the will to survive at any cost, sacrificing their entire bodies and minds for immortality. From this concept, he created the Cybermen.

cyberteam2-786396.jpg Cybermen Through the Years
Cybermen through the years
After “The Tenth Planet”, the Cybermen would go on to appear in later stories, in a variety of new designs. They have also appeared in a range of BBC books and Big Finish audio plays.

So vote in our poll to decide your favourite Cybermen story. We will watch the winner on Sunday afternoon. The Bar opens at 3.00pm and we press play 3.30pm.

Hope to see you there. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Planet of Giants Preview

Planet of Giants was the ninth serial and the first of the second season of Doctor Who. It was originally broadcast in three episodes between October and November 1964. The story stars William Hartnell as the Doctor, Carole Ann Ford as Susan, William Russell as Ian, and Jacqueline Hill as Barbara.

It features the Tardis crew being shrunk to an inch in height after a malfunction during landing causes the doors to open mid-flight. While travelling through a land of gigantic matchboxes and enormous insects, the crew come under threat from a dangerous new insecticide, DN6, which is fatal to all life.

The interesting thing about this story is that it was originally going to be a four part serial (made up of Planet of Giants, Dangerous Journey, Crisis and The Urge to Live). However, it was felt by Donald Wilson (the then BBC Head of Serials) and Sydney Newman (then Head of Drama), that the episode lacked the punch required for the opening of season two. They would have preferred to have started the season with Terry Nation’s “Dalek Invasion of Earth” but because this serial featured the departure of series regular Carole Ann Ford, it could not be broadcast before Planet of Giants. Eventually the decision came to edit the material from the final two episodes into a single part, so that Nation's story could be broadcast as soon as possible. This left a single episode gap in the season, which would later be filled with the Doctor-Lite story “Mission to the Unknown". The “missing” episode has since been recreated on the 2012 DVD release of this story.

So join us on Wednesday and tweet along. Bar opens at 7.30pm and we press play at 8.00pm. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Watch Doctor Who in the Doctor Who Bar

To those of you who don't know, the Doctor Who Bar watches Doctor Who, what else!  Except we watch it in synchronisation with a few people on Twitter using our own DVD's or videos.  Yes folks even the videos, your VHS tapes haven't been forgotten!

There are quite a few similar such ventures on Twitter who have a similar service to our own.  All of them quite successful, due to the popularity of Doctor Who.  This little article is just to remind everyone of the Doctor Who Bar itself.

The Bar has three sessions, two of them are on Sunday.

The first Sunday one is the Sunday Matinee, this is the one where the story selected is voted for by you as a result of the Poll on this blogger site.  Don't forget to vote on our Sunday Matinee Poll, promo tweets for it are put out on Twitter during the week. We open at 3pm and press play at 3.30pm in synchronisation with each other.  This is then followed by the New Series session, where we watch your recording of Saturdays latest Doctor Who episode.  The time of this session is flexible due to the showing of the previous Sunday Matinee, but usually it will be around 5.30pm/6pm.

The third and last session is the mid-week Wednesday session which opens at 7.30pm pressing play at 8pm.  This session is where we select a random story.  You can also tweet us with your story suggestions of what you would like to watch for this session.  Just tweet or DM the @TheDoctorWhoBar or @Via_The_Void Twitter accounts.

Finally if you would be interested in hosting the sessions on Twitter and becoming part of the Doctor Who Bar, tweet or DM the two Twitter accounts above. 

Please join us in the Doctor Who Bar to watch Doctor Who.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Peter Davison Biography

Peter Davison (born Peter Moffett) was born in 1951 and grew up in Surrey. He left school when he was sixteen with only a few qualifications and as a result decided to become an actor. He managed to gain a place on a course at the Central School of Speech and Drama and trained to become a professional actor.  He came to public attention as a result of his casting as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small. This role brought Davison to the attention of Doctor Who Producer John Nathan Turner, who was on the look out for an established television actor to replace Tom Baker after his seven years as the Doctor. Although Davison was initially unwilling to take on the role as he considered himself unsuitable for the part, he was eventually won round.

He began his work on Doctor Who in April 1981 when he was thirty years old. This meant that at the time, he was the youngest actor to play the part of the Doctor, only beaten by Matt Smith in 2010, who was twenty six when he was cast.  

After leaving Doctor Who in 1983 after three seasons in the part, Davison went on to appear in a variety of other television roles. He resumed his part as the Fifth Doctor in a variety of Big Finish audio plays, as well as the Children in Need special “Dimensions in Time”. He also appeared alongside Tenth Doctor David Tennant in the multi Doctor mini episode “Time Crash”. His daughter Georgia Moffett would later appear in Doctor Who in the 2008 episode “The Doctor’s Daughter” and in the animated Doctor Who series “Dreamland” in 2009. And whatever all the wild theories on Twitter would tell you, she most certainly isn’t Oswin just because they sat in a similar chair. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Time Meddlers ride out to Mercy

The Time Meddlers are looking for your thoughts on the latest Doctor Who episode, A Town Called Mercy. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just a few words is fine!

You can tweet @TheTimeMeddlers, @ianrdw, @PCJ_PCJonathan or @DaveMorganNT, email or post a comment at

We'd love to hear from you - our review will be recorded tomorrow (Wednesday 19 September) and released as soon as possible afterwards.

Ian Redman
Creator, Producer and Co-Host, The Time Meddlers

The Krotons Preview

You’d find very few people who would say The Krotons is their favourite Doctor Who story. But that’s not to say it’s the worst either. Originally broadcast in 1968, it is one of the few remaining Patrick Troughton stories that survives in its entirety (although many a fan has claimed that they would much prefer if Evil of the Daleks had survived instead).

It is by no means terrible despite its B Movie feel. It features the late Philip Madoc delivering an epically over the top performance and stealing every scene from his fellow actors. The Custodian (played by Maurice Selwyn) gives us a performance so utterly terrible that you can’t help but enjoy it. It also happens to be the first story written by the great Robert Holmes, so it deserves some respect.

The Krotons themselves rank in my opinion as some of the silliest Doctor Who monsters ever (beaten only by the Dominators and the Quarks). Immediately the name of this feared robotic race makes you envision them as a type of food with a similar sounding name (often found floating in soup). They aren’t exactly quite so threatening after that comes to your mind. In appearance…well…they are not exactly Daleks. Nonetheless, they make this story an enjoyable enough experience with their deep booming voices.

So join us on Wednesday and give us your own opinion. Bar opens at 7.30pm and we press play at 8.00pm. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Death to the Daleks Preview

Death to the Daleks was one of the first Doctor Who stories I saw. It features Daleks trundling around a gravel pit. You can’t get more Doctor Who-like than that!

The story involves the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee and Sarah Jane Smith, Elisabeth Sladen landing on a mysterious planet that is emitting a mysterious power which is draining the TARDIS's energy banks and preventing them from leaving.

This serial makes great use of a misty planet and a well chosen musical score to ramp up the tension.

The Doctor and Sarah get separated (inevitably) and the Doctor meets up with some humans. They reveal that they have come to this planet seeking a cure for a space plague (This follows the Terry Nation trend of making stuff sound cooler by putting “space” in its name.)

The planet is inhabited by a race called the Exxilons. They might look like men in sacks to you, but I was terrified of them as a child. I found the scene where the Exxilons trash the human's spaceship to be particularly disturbing. The Exxilons are scary because they creep up behind the characters. That’s unnerving.

The cliffhanger return of the Daleks is great, even if they do sound like they have flu.

So join us on Wednesday in the #DWBar and tweet along. Bar opens at 7:30pm and we press play at 8.00pm.

Hope to see you there. 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship Review

This story felt like a traditional Doctor Who story, it felt very much like a base under siege story which was a staple of the original series.

There was an impressive guest cast, Riann Steele almost steals the show as Queen Nefertiti, Rupert Graves was a delight, as was Mark Williams as Rory's Dad Brian but for sheer acting honours Matt Smith really pulled out all the stops in this episode.

It was a lovely storyline which felt dare I say it, a bit like an episode of the original Star Trek.  A spaceship on a collision course with a planet.  In this case the Earth of course, not that Doctor Who didn't do those sorts of story too, hello Mawdryn Undead!  Whilst Mawdryn had Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier, this story had dinosaurs in it.  They were very beautifully realised on screen, the Triceratops in particular must come in for some very well due praise.

A shame we didn't get dinosaurs like this in the classic Jon Pertwee story Invasion of the Dinosaurs, where that story holds up really well is in it's story telling.  Dinosaurs on a Spaceship didn't disappoint either, although I must admit on watching this latest Doctor Who adventure, I kept getting mental flashbacks to Jon's encounter with them.

The humour in the characters was good and modern too with a liberal dose of Carry On standard double entendre's.  Rory's crestfallen look of horror at the Doctor kissing him was priceless! If Russell T. Davies had written this one there would've been the obligatory pokes at his gay agenda, but he didn't, Steven Moffat did.

It was a story which felt very safe.  I just knew that Solomon was gonna get his comeuppance, and it was nice to see the actor best remembered for playing Hogwart's Argus Filch, David Bradley, in a much more meatier role on screen.  Filch might be a nasty character but Solomon was much nastier, even after the Doctor helped him to walk again.

Another epic story which didn't fail to disappoint, and thankfully not much bickering between the Ponds in this story, which is a shame as we know their relationship is doomed to failure.

Looking forward to the next story in the series, A Town Called Mercy looks awesome, it really does.  Don't forget to join us in the Doctor Who Bar on Sunday from 5.15pm pressing Play 5.30pm when we re-watch it.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Doctor Who Bar Sunday Matinee & Schedule Update

As of next week, with the New Series airing on the Saturday we have decided to have a new Sunday Matinee Session instead.

The first new Poll of the Sunday Matinee Session, Terrific Tom, will open at 3.00pm GMT and we'll press Play at 3.30pm.

Also added to the Wednesday session for this week will be a twitter viewing of the aired New Series episode, in this case it will be Asylum of the Daleks after the scheduled story which on Wednesday is The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.

From next week the New Series re-showing will follow on the Sunday after the Sunday Matinee session.

Watch the Doctor Who Bar main twitter account:  @TheDoctorWhoBar for details.

So Join Us In The Bar To Watch Doctor Who.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Asylum of the Daleks Review

Who wasn't excited last night (or this morning, depending on where you are) when Doctor Who burst onto our screens for the first time in nine months.

Doctor Who has now a completely new logo and title sequence, the title sequence I loved, while I thought the logo was too corny. It almost looked more suited to Broadway!

The actual story in itself was superb, everything was just right. Skaro was surprisingly back, who knows maybe Gallifrey and the Time Lords next?

So introducing the new companion was a big surprise, but seeing she turned out to be a DALEK where is that storyline going?

Now I do have one thing to say, only four types of Daleks were used, not all as Steven Moffat had said previously.

The character drama between Amy and Rory (who were getting divorced) was superb! And finishing with the Daleks saying "Doctor Who" (as they can't remember him) was perfect!

If I had to rate this out of ten, most certainly a nine star episode.

So next week there is Dinosaurs on a Spaceship to look forward to!