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Welcome to the latest Doctor Who Newsletter from Kasterborous.com!
We’ve had a great week of news and reviews, with a couple of things bubbling away in the background that we’re dying to share but at present cannot.
Teasing, isn’t it? Nevertheless, we’re positive you’ll be as thrilled as us when you see the end product, which should be available in a few weeks time.
In the meantime, this week’s newsletter recalls the recent most popular news items on Kasterborous, an obituary to the late John Normington (villainous Trau Morgus in 1984’s The Caves of Androzani) and exclusive musings about the 2005 “fireball” trailer.
PLUS! Paul Cornell discussing canon and Russell T Davies.
It was a slightly Dalek-themed week, as you will see below…
- Top news stories
- Return of the Special Weapons Dalek
- Six Daleks Singing
- Matt Meets the Beatles
- Moffat Talks Pond Departure
- Doctor Who DVDs for Summer 2012
- From the Vortex: Are You Sitting In My Chair?
- Exclusive Article: The Ninth Doctor Running from a Fireball!
- Competition Time
- Interview Exclusive! Paul Cornell on Canon and Russell T Davies
Return of the Special Weapons Dalek
As stated in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine (out today), when the producers of Doctor Who said that all of the Daleks are coming back, they meant all of them.
Among them is the awesomest Dalek ever, the Special Weapons Dalek. He has been seen precisely once (in 1988’s Remembrance Of The Daleks). Good work from The Grand Moff, who has mostly deprived us of Daleks for the last year only to bring them back in a big way!
Although its only televised appearance was back in Sylvester McCoy’s era, this awesome Dalek model appeared every once in a while in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip and turned up in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel War Of The Daleks.
Now, unless Moffat does a masterful job of writing the episode that utilises all of their strengths, methinks that this appearance will be a cameo. In fact, the Special Weapons Dalek’s abilities might hint at the plot of the episode, as their armour enables them to withstand the firepower of other Daleks without much effect. Their weapons are also powerful enough to destroy two Renegade Daleks at once.
Such weapons could easily be turned upon their comrades from a different time period, could they not? One wonders how they’d fare against the Smartie Daleks.
Any Who fan worth their salt must be salivating right now.
Six Daleks Singing
More scenes for the Dalek-heavy opener of Doctor Who Series 7 have been shot this week, and seen on set was something that we all knew was coming. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the first picture of the Russell T. Davies-era Daleks lurking on set has been taken by a lucky fan!
Don’t want to know anything else? These are barely spoilers, so you can feel free to move along…
There are six Daleks in the picture (taken by one Jonathan Richards), three of which are the Paradigm Daleks brought in by Steven Moffat. It will be interesting to see how they all act when brought together. One imagines some sort of bitter and hilarious rivalry between the “Rusty” Daleks and the “Smartie” Daleks, in which the Rusty ones keep having to stop the Smarties from opening fire on them. I’m working on that screenplay, honestly.
Whereas we know the Daleks are all coming back in the first episode, River Song (Alex Kingston) has been rumoured to be appearing in the first episode as well as the fifth. Even we at the K are divided by River Song’s presence across the last few series of Doctor Who, so it’s fair to say that news of her return (while inevitable) was probably not well received by some sections of fandom.
In other news, the next episode to be filmed should be the one by Chris Chibnall, which is the fourth one for the series. As long as it’s nothing like The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, I’ll be happy with it.
And finally, Cardiff will be getting into the Christmas spirit early as the attractive Jenna-Louise Coleman is to film her first episode (the Christmas special) in May. No doubt another enterprising fan will get more photos and videos to find out what her role is within the show (I’m guessing that it’s Susan making a long-awaited return), and when that happens you’ll be able to read about it here on the K!
Matt Meets the Beatles
We’ve all suspected, once or twice, that Matt Smith can travel in time. And thanks to Jess – @HolyFrell – we now have photographic proof.
The Beatles are (arguably – and at least for the purpose of this article!) upstaged by the Doctor himself, Matt Smith, in this snapshot of the glory days of music. Whoever it really is in the picture certainly bears an uncanny resemblance to the Time Lord.
@HolyFrell alerted Arthur Darvill, Karen Gillan, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat on Twitter; (“Yesterday and Today” – well, on 24th, actually) the latter responded:
Of course, the Doctor was probably responding to John, Paul, George and Ringo’s cries for “Help!” (Sorry.)
(It’s probably the late Neil Aspinall, roadie and all-round Beatles confidant – Ed)
Moffat Talks Pond Departure
Lord knows the runners of Doctor Who have discovered that it’s better to drip feed information to fans with the aim of keeping them excited than telling them everything all at once.
So it probably won’t surprise you that Steven Moffat has allowed a tiny bit of information to leak about certain events in Series 7 in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Those of a spoiler-hating disposition be warned: there are some small spoilers here. Nothing major but if you’ve deliberately not been following the information on Series 7 then this may come as a slight shock, so now would be a good time to shut this tab and do something else.
Amy and Rory are leaving in Episode 5 of the new series.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s proceed to the real nitty-gritty. The interview didn’t provide much in the way of new information but did throw up some interesting quotes, such as:
HP: And both Ponds are going at the same time?
Moffat: Yes, both the Ponds are going. They’d have to go together, wouldn’t they? You could never have one Pond without the other.
Indeed not, because it’d just be the first few episodes of Series
Fnarg 5 again. When asked about his plans for the 50th anniversary and whether he felt there was a lot to live up to with the next series, he said:
Yes, we’ve got big exciting things coming and we’re always trying to work out how to get Episode 7 coverage in the newspapers. Obviously Episode 1 will [be written about], but how do you make that one a must-see?
Cramming the first episode with every Dalek ever sounds like a plan, eh Moff? And I’m one of these spoiler-phobes that I mentioned earlier, so I’ve got no idea what the seventh episode entails and why it’s so newsworthy.
I guess I’ll find out when they air, eh? If you’ve any sense, you will too.
Doctor Who DVDs for Summer 2012
BBC Worldwide have provided confirmation of the release schedule of three classic Doctor Who DVDs this summer!
Featuring the first, second and seventh Doctors, these DVDs will help to fill the glaring holes in your collection. The Krotons, starring Patrick Troughton, comes in early July with The Greatest Show in the Galaxy – a classic filmed in the BBC car park – released later that month. Rounding off the summer comes William Hartnell with the original TARDIS crew in Planet of the Giants. Each of these DVDs comes with a wealth of special features, including commentaries.
We’ll have more detailed information over the next day or so but in the meantime, here are the all important dates:
- July 2nd: The Krotons, starring Patrick Troughton, Fraser Hines, Wendy Padbury, with the late Philip Madoc
- July 30th: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, starring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred.
- August 20th: Planet of the Giants, starring William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Carole Ann Ford.
That’s quite an immense selection of stories as we move ever closer to the complete serials being available on DVD!
Despite having to wait a few months you can preorder these DVDs now from Amazon.
Do you subscribe to the Kasterborous PodKast (with a “K”)? For weekly musings and discussions about classic and modern Doctor Who, you can find us listed on iTunes or subscribe to our RSS feed! This week we have an exclusive interview with Tom MacRae – don’t miss it!
The John Normington Tribute – Christian Cawley casts an eye over the career of an actor who made one of Doctor Who’s most thrilling villains, Trau Morgus. From August 4th, 2007.
John Normington’s career on stage and screen lasted for over 55 years, with the actor carving a niche for himself on screen as characters with an untrustworthy, insidious, profiteering nature. Speaking to Black Scrolls magazine in 2005, Normington commented that while he wasn’t typecast on television, he was sought to play particular roles.
“Slightly sinister people. That’s what they like me to be. Quiet and sinister – that’s my niche on television!”
Born in Manchester in 1937, Normington’s early career saw him utilise his vocal talents as a larky pupil, Hopcroft Minor, in John Dighton’s public-school comedy The Happiest Days of Your Life (Oldham, 1950). He would return to Manchester throughout his career, and even played the fool in King Lear in 2004 as ‘Manchester’ northern. So I wasn’t Shakespearean, but more like a northern pub comic!”
(You can read notes from rehearsals of this performance at the RSC website)
Prior to Doctor Who, John Normington was cast in several key movies of their eras. He appeared in the 1968 release of William Shakespeare’s A Midsomer Night’s Dream as Flute alongside a host of those we now consider to be big name British actors – Helen Mirren, Diana Rigg, David Warner and also some other Doctor Who alumni such as Don Henderson, Michael Jayston and Clive Swift. He also appeared in other cinematic Shakespeare presentations, Henry VI (1965, Michael Hayes, GB) as Bedford and Simpcox, Edward IV (1965, again Michael Hayes, GB) as Young Clifford and as Jaques De Boys in Michael Elliot’s 1963 production of As You Like It.
Eight years later his voice would be prominent in the future sport movie Rollerball. He later recounted how his role had been considerably reduced in the final edit, with much of his material ending up on the cutting room floor, although he can be seen in the film. “You can still spot me in a scene with James Caan, but you can only hear my voice. I’m a shadowy figure in a sound booth, while he’s doing and interview on a television set; even an eminent actor like Ralph Richardson had his part savaged.”
With appearances in Coronation Street under his belt along the way, Normington became recognisable on television throughout the latter half of the 1980s, appearing most notably in Yes, Prime Minister as in Hitler’s SS: Portrait of Evil as Heinrich Himmler. Although his television career had kicked off in the 1970s, it’s not unfair to suggest that his Doctor Who appearance brought him to the attention of many of those that cast him in the final years of his career, from the late nineties onwards.
John Normington’s stage career saw him as a member of the newly formed Royal Shakespeare Company in its 1960s heyday, with performances described by the Independent describing in his obituary as:
“vivid studies in a range of roles including Mortimer and Young Clifford in the mould- shattering The Wars of the Roses (Stratford and Aldwych, 1962 and 1963). He made an even stronger impact as a gleefully sozzled Bardolph in both parts of Henry IV (Stratford and Aldwych, 1964).”
While he appeared in 1987’s The Happiness Patrol, it was in the Fifth Doctor’s final adventure Caves of Androzani that John Normington came to the attention of Doctor Who fans, with his plotting, profiteering, presicide and asides to the camera. Speaking to Black Scrolls, Normington recalled how this developed.
“Grame [Harper, the serials director] and I felt that Morgus would be rather like the villains in Shakespeare who very often talk directly to the audience. A little like Iago from Othello who spends much of the play telling the audience just how wicked he is.”
He was still appearing on television in 2006 and 2007 notably in Torchwood (Series 1’s Ghost Machine as Tom Flanagan) and Casualty, and earlier this year had been on stage to wide critical acclaim as Billy Rice in Sean Holmes’ 50th anniversary revival of John Osborne’s The Entertainer at the Old Vic until hit by illness.
John Normington is survived by his two sisters and his partner of 40 years, John Anderson.
He will forever be fondly remembered by Doctor Who fans as the scheming, paranoid Morgus, addressing the audience directly as he expressed his frustration:
The spineless cretins!
The final words, however, should remain with RSC artistic director Michael Boyd.
“John leaves a large hole in our company.
“He was a fine and skilful actor with a great sense of humour and an enormous sensitivity for the language.”
Back in 2005, Doctor Who fans were aquiver with the prospect of a new series. Would it be any good? Could it appeal to a mass audience? Just why was the Doctor running away from a fireball?
This is a question that continues to perplex fans. Whether it was a scene cut from End of the World or if it was simply put together as part of the series’ amazing promotional campaign (remember Rose telling us that she had a choice to make?), it remains a striking image that deserves revisiting.
Indeed, the 2011 Christmas special The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe recalled the moment, featuring the Eleventh Doctor legging it out of the exploding spaceship.
But we’re here to talk about the Ninth Doctor’s attempt at outrunning a fireball. Christopher Eccleston always looked striking in the short hair/leather jacket combination, breaking the traditional look of our favourite Time Lord while retaining the authority of the ultimate anti-hero.
As those teaser clips aired between programs, hinting at the return of one of Britain’s most-loved shows, the Doctor looked dashing, determined and deadly in that one short clip.
No doubt an actor of Eccleston’s calibre would have managed that without the explosions – that he did so while reacting to something that wasn’t even there is a true mark of his class. Because, dear reader, as you might have guessed, the whole thing was faked. Not faked in a bad way, of course (no TV phone-ins where involved!) but in that good, CGI way that has become a staple of modern sci-fi and fantasy shows and movies.
But just why was the Doctor running?
Was he escaping from an unseen adventure with the Slitheen, that involved too many vodkas and a box of matches or was ita post-regenerative sprint to avoid death in the last throes of the Time War?
We’ll probably never know, but it was enough to set the imaginations of millions of young soon-to-be Doctor Who fans racing!
It was certainly enough to inspire Kasterborous editor Christian Cawley to collaborate with Anthony Dry on a two page strip, incorporating the scene into “closing moments of the Time War” event, which sadly never saw the light of day – and more than likely never will…
But then, who cares? After all, it truly was the trip of a lifetime, wasn’t it?
This week we’re going to be slightly self-absorbed and offer a copy of Ultimate Regeneration up for grabs!
First published in 2011, our first book covers the Russell T Davies era of Doctor Who from revival to Rose and onto The End of Time. Featuring both original content and reviews from Kasterborous, it features striking artwork from Anthony Dry and contributions from Brian Terranova, Vworp Vworp!‘s Gareth Kavanagh and many others.
Currently available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats, we’re currently in the process of making the book available to other formats. Until that time comes, however, we have three copies up for grabs – and all you have to do is reply to this, changing the subject line to “RUSSELL TEA LADY”.
Last time we gave away three Torchwood novels from 2011. The Men Who Sold the World by Guy Adams, Long Time Dead by Sarah Pinborough and First Born by James Goss were released by BBC Books last year as Miracle Day prequel/tie-ins…
…so congratulations to Matt Stewart who is the lucky winner of this giveaway!
Paul Cornell discusses Human Nature and Russell T Davies attitude to “canon”…
Something that impressed me about Human Nature was the Journal of Impossible Things.
Beautiful, isn’t it? I wrote about forty pages of text. Every word you see on screen is mine. At one point Russell said “I’d like to write the whole book”! I said “If you’re going to pay me to write the whole book, then that’s absolutely fine”! I thought, I’ll be writing about seventy thousand words for a whole book, of which we’ll see just 6 pages of!
And you get to make the Eighth Doctor canon!
There is no canon, but he was always the Eighth Doctor. I was surprised that was an issue.
It certainly silenced a lot of debates online.
Well, Russell’s whole notion of canon is: “do the audience remember?” And if they do, it is.
Paul was speaking to Gareth Kavanagh in July 2007.
That’s all for this week – see you next time!