William Shaw on Doctor Who, his new book about The Rings of Akhaten, and more (Part One)

will shaw doctor who rings akhaten black archive 42 neil cross farren blackburn chris chibnall jenna coleman leaf matt smith

I think The Rings of Akhaten is one of the boldest, most ambitious, and most radical episodes in all of Doctor Who. It’s a heartfelt story, lushly realised and beautifully performed. It’s a vital early step in the journey of Clara Oswald, the best companion (and arguably the best Doctor) the show has ever had. It’s an early commentary on the show’s fiftieth anniversary. And, as I talk about in the book, it’s a fascinating engagement with contemporary politics. I basically think it’s a critique of New Atheism (cf Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc) and its relationship to Doctor Who, but in doing that it necessarily touches on the legacy of colonialism, and Clara and Merry’s relationship in the story is an interesting way into some topics from feminist theory. Like Clara’s leaf, it looks simple, but it contains multitudes.

I spoke to William Shaw about his new book, the latest in the Black Archive series by Obverse Books, and the definitive account of The Rings of Akhaten. It’s a stellar book, full of all sorts of interesting things about New Atheism, feminism, orientalism, and Doctor Who – and Will had even more interesting things to say about them in the first instalment of our two part interview. So many interesting things! It’s a marvel he’s not run out yet.

Check back in a few days for Part Two, which covers Will’s thoughts on classic Doctor Who, ideas of faith in the Chibnall era, and how Neil Cross compares to Chibnall as a writing. (I told you – no end to the number of interesting things Will has to say about Doctor Who and associated.)

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Roland Emmerich on Midway, how Independence Day changed the film industry, and more

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[Film studios] all in a state of panic; with all the distractions of TV and video games and stuff, it becomes more and more difficult to lure people into the theatre. Actually, here in America, you have to spend enormous amounts of money, like thirty, forty, fifty million dollars to advertise the movie. That comes on top of escalating production costs. It becomes a real, real risky game. I understand they’re risk-averse, but I just always do what I want to do and try to get it done.

I interviewed Roland Emmerich of Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and Godzilla fame about his latest film Midway – a war movie charting the events after the attack on Pearl Harbour.

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