In Anticipation of Doctor Who: Flux

doctor who flux series 13 chibnall whittaker bishop gill anderson azhur saleem lee haven jones ood sontaran ravagers swarm

So! New series of Doctor Who soon, very exciting. As usual, here’s a quick round-up of everything I’ve written about the show since it was last on, as well as a few odds and ends and general thoughts about the state of play at the moment.

First of all, there’s my Series 12 review, as well as my piece on Revolution of the Daleks – neither of which I was thrilled about, admittedly.

I’ve also done a series of Doctor Who interviews over the past year: I spoke to Christopher Eccleston about The A Word and his career highlights; I spoke to Mandip Gill about trying her hand at comedy and what she’d like to do after Doctor Who; I spoke to Segun Akinola about his work on Doctor Who and his creative influences more broadly; and I spoke to Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, about what Jodie Whittaker has brought to the role and why he still enjoys playing the part nearly forty years later.

I was a guest on the wonderful Galactic Yo-Yo podcast, talking about my personal Doctor Who fandom, and my belief that whoever takes over from Chris Chibnall shouldn’t be a Doctor Who fan (or, at the very least, not a fan of the same generation as Davies, Moffat, and Chibnall).

There’s also this piece on Class, which published recently – I’m extremely proud of it, I think it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever written really. I spoke to several of the cast and crew, including Patrick Ness and three of the writers he’d lined up for Series 2 – there’s a lot about his plans for the Weeping Angels, which ties neatly to their upcoming Series 13 appearance.

I wrote a little bit about the news that Russell T Davies will be taking over as Doctor Who showrunner once again, with some additional thoughts on the news that Bad Wolf will be co-producing the show (and that Sony will likely be buying Bad Wolf) and what that means going forward as well.

I’d also point you towards friend of the blog Will Shaw’s upcoming reviews of Doctor Who: Flux, the first of which will be available on his website, and subsequent pieces on his Patreon. (I think also Molly is doing some more Galactic Yo-Yos for this series, and they’re doing some episode discussion roundtables over at Spacetime Junction, so I’ll edit those in shortly once the links are up.)

That about brings us up to date! It’s been a long year, hasn’t it? Well, I suppose that’s because it’s been longer than a year since The Timeless Children – getting on eighteen months now!

The other big news – which I never actually wrote about, looking back – is that Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker both will be leaving Doctor Who in 2022. Much as I’d hoped Whittaker might do a fourth year, I wasn’t surprised she was leaving; I did expect Chibnall to stay on, though, I assumed he’d be locked into a longer contract than he was. (My immediate assumption was that Pete McTighe was heir apparent, though I was hoping Nida Manzoor might get the job.)

It’s no secret, anyway, that I’ve not particularly enjoyed this era of the programme – it’s full of little details that I appreciate, even individual moments that I love, but it’s never really cohered into something I care for particularly. It’s striking to look back and realise, actually, how close I came to just giving up on it all with The Timeless Children – a piece of television that, honestly, I was embarrassed by.

Yet I’m excited for Flux. Even in the knowledge that Chibnall is writing (or co-writing) every one of the next six episodes! When Series 10 broadcast, we knew that Chibnall was waiting in the wings, much like we know now that Russell T Davies will be taking over for Series 14. But where Moffat’s final series had something of a sense of a victory lap – one last go, a postscript after his intended departure point, The Husbands of River Song – you don’t quite get the same feeling here.

The Chibnall era isn’t complete yet: it’s still going, still building, still mid-swing. Maybe it can still surprise us? I like the idea of committing fully to that vision – not always, not as a general rule for the show, I’d be disappointed if Series 14 was similarly authored – but if this is it for the Chibnall era, then let’s go. Chibnall Unbound.

I’m desperate for them to stick the landing, for Flux to be something we’ll look back on as a really strong close to Chibnall and Whittaker’s contribution to the programme. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? So I’m going into this with an open mind, or as close to one as I can, ready and willing to enjoy it as much as possible.

That said, “Flux” is a bit of an awful word, isn’t it? I quite like the idea of giving the series its own title, but what a meaningless choice. Surely you’d want something evocative and attention grabbing – something like Doctor Who: The Trip of a Lifetime, or Doctor Who: Silence Will Fall, or even actually Doctor Who: The Timeless Children. There’s an intrigue to those that you just don’t get with Doctor Who: Flux

Still. Let’s see what happens.

You can find more of my writing about Doctor Who here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed reading this piece – or if you didn’t – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?

Class cast & crew on their Doctor Who spinoff, cancellation woes, & Series 2 plans

doctor who class patrick ness weeping angels series 2 frank skinner derek landy juno dawson kim curran interview oral history behind the scenes greg austin sophie hopkins jordan renzo

“I loved every minute of it,” says Patrick Ness of his Doctor Who spin-off Class. “I’d be doing it now if they’d let me.”

Following a group of students at Coal Hill school, Class was Doctor Who’s third spin-off since its 2005 revival. With a celebrated young adult author at the helm, Class was a series in the same vein as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, always bursting with ideas and deeply invested in its characters. After the success of The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood, Class seemed set to reach similar heights – until it didn’t.

Five years since the show was first released on October 22nd 2016, creator Patrick Ness, director Ed Bazalgette, and stars Greg Austin, Sophie Hopkins, and Jordan Renzo look back on Class – reflecting on its complicated relationship with Doctor Who, their experiences making the show, its untimely cancellation, and the series two episodes we never saw. 

My latest piece for Radio Times, and one I’m personally very excited about: a fifth anniversary retrospective for the Doctor Who spinoff Class, including a number of never before revealed behind the scenes production details about both the show’s early development and its unrealised second series, from the BBC’s suggestion it might star Frank Skinner to just what Patrick Ness had in mind for the Weeping Angel civil war.

Class was one of the first series I wrote about professionally, many years ago; I was very fond of the show back then, to the point that when I was writing this article, trying to cite the claim it was a well-received show, I just kept running into my own old reviews. Made me laugh, that.

I’m still fond of it now: I rewatched the first episode, For Tonight We Might Die, as part of my preparation for this piece, and I loved it. Certainly, it’s not without its problems, little details here and there that I’m inclined to criticise, but on the whole I loved it – to me it felt like a show full of ideas and bursting with energy. In fact, I’d love it if the Chibnall era of Doctor Who was a little bit more like Class.

Somewhere in this show there’s the first draft of the future, I think. Or a future, anyway.

Related:

Doctor Who Review: Series 12 Overview

You can find more of my writing about Doctor Who here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed reading this review – or if you didn’t – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?

Robin Hood cast and crew on filming in Hungary, living up to the legend, and more

robin hood bbc 2006 jonas armstrong lucy griffiths keith allen dominic minghella foz allan interview production history

Even as they forged their own path, though, Armstrong found the legend difficult to live up to at first. “I had a picture in my head of what Robin Hood looked like: six foot two, muscular, all these images came to my head,” explains Armstrong. “I felt a bit underconfident, because people have an idea of what Robin Hood should look like, or I had anyway. I think I was very self-conscious about that.”

“At the table read, in the Sheriff’s Great Hall – with all the executives from the BBC and BBC Worldwide, there were over 100 people – I convinced myself I was gonna get replaced. I was that nervous! But once the cameras started rolling, and I was surrounded by my fellow cast members, and especially the stunt team as well, I felt safe.

“After the first episode some critics were quite cruel, saying physically, I didn’t look like how Robin Hood ‘should’ look like. But that’s their opinion, so excuse my language but f**k them,” says Armstrong, explaining how “in the break between series, I worked with a trainer and put on about a stone and a half of muscle. I came back looking physically different, and I felt more at ease with myself.”

Really enjoyed writing this one – it’s a similar style of article to the Primeval piece that published recently, and between them (and the as-yet-unannounced one I’m working on still) I’m really getting into this sort of production history, behind the scenes look, oral history type thing.

Obviously I’m fascinated by television and how it’s made anyway, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be doing this, but it’s a huge amount of fun to get to interview people about their experiences on shows I used to really love. Big fan of Robin Hood, back in the day.

Credit also to A Different Kind of Hood, the fansite dedicated to this show – really stunning resource if you’re interested in learning more about the show, I used it to check a lot of different details while I was doing my research for this piece (and found the HD version of the picture above there too).

You can find more of my interviews here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed reading this piece – or if you didn’t – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?

Colin Baker on Big Finish, Jodie Whittaker, and who should play the next Doctor

doctor who colin baker interview sixth doctor big finish jodie whittaker fourteenth doctor bame joy digital spy alex moreland

The world of Doctor Who is anticipating a big change: it won’t be long until Jodie Whittaker embarks on her final series as the Doctor, soon to regenerate into the fourteenth (ish) actor to play the Time Lord. Has Baker been following her performance?

“I’ve seen enough to know that I thoroughly approve,” he enthuses. “I love something that she has brought, that I’ve never seen in a Doctor before, which is joy: the joy of being the Doctor. I suppose joy isn’t a particularly manly attribute. Usually, smugness is more what men go for, rather than joy!”

“Those initial episodes, where she was finding out who she was and making a sonic screwdriver? All those moments, I actually loved it. I’m looking forward to having the chance to sit and watch all the other stories! I love the way it was going. And I’m sure she will have a thumping good exit, I’m looking forward to seeing that as well.”

New interview! I spoke to Colin Baker – the Sixth Doctor! – about his latest Big Finish adventures, his thoughts on Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor and who should replace her, and more.

Really enjoyed doing this one – obviously always exciting to talk to a Doctor Who, and it made for a nice debut piece over at Digital Spy too.

You can find more of my writing about Doctor Who here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed reading this review – or if you didn’t – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?