Sunday, 28 December 2014

The DWAITAS Annual 2015

Something I still think we should do...

Introduction to roleplaying - complete with dinky Fighting Fantasy style solo adventure.

Character sheets for Twelve (first time in print), Clara and Danny. And the Paternoster Gang, because I bet lots of kids would like a chance to play Strax and release the laser monkeys.

A Thousand Years - The Time Of The Doctor in some detail, perhaps relating to the Trenzalore short stories and the like.

Gallifrey Stands - using the promise of home, and a look at Time Lord characters and technology appearing throughout the series.

The Promised Land - people and machines all seeking it, and what awaits them...

The Robots Of Death - a guide to robot PCs and monsters.

Stats for Missy and the Cyber-Dead, the Mummy and the Boneless.

Adventures - teaming up with Psi and Saibra again to steal a time paradox, and a Christmas special.

Friday, 26 December 2014

The Doctor Who Annual 2015

Basically the Doctor Who Adventures Annual, as noted in previous years, with puzzles and big photos and that kind of thing. If you want depth, get the DWM Yearbook! It has no comics at all!

In terms of fiction we get two short bright comic strips and this year one very short story.

The Monsters Of Coal Hill School has a nice premise built around Clara being a teacher - aliens kidnapping teachers to learn about Earth so they can better invade it. Plenty of invaders pick up famous experts (the Rani going for Einstein et al) but why not more down-to-earth types? Bad luck picking Clara, obviously...

Freeze has Clara trying to use the TARDIS to avoid being late after sleeping in, which is a lovely in-character bit, so naturally she and the Doctor end up on a planet being invaded by vandals who enjoy freezing things and are rather upset it does not seem to be working...

Finally, When The Wolves Came is a quick sketch of an atmospheric idea, a boy stranded in a ruined future London fleeing from wolves back to the safety of the blue box he has been hiding in for months... It feels like the seed of something bigger. Hmm.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Last Christmas

Last Christmas has been on now, so... post 1111 is a new adventure.

Spoilers for those Santa hasn’t reached yet.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas song or Christmas special

It’s Christmas Eve Eve, and in less than 48 hours’ time we’ll have seen Last Christmas. Now I’ve blethered about Christmas Specials many’s a time before now (example) but of course that title gives me an idea: Find random list of favourite Christmas songs and imagine what Doctor Who stories named after them might look like.

Fairytale Of New York, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
A couple arguing through the season find a little magic. Featuring the Ponds, of course.

Driving Home For Christmas, Chris Rea
22nd century colonists heading back to Earth as their rotation ends, lost in the dark of space and needing a light to guide the way.

Happy Christmas (War Is Over), John Lennon
The trenches of the Great War, 1914, and the impromptu Christmas truce that still inspires us a century later. (Already visited by a few Doctors in other media. See also Stop The Cavalry by Jonah Lewie... as referenced in...)

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, Wizzard (is that where Terry Pratchett got that?)
A poorly worded request leads to a time loop of family, presents and the Queen’s Speech. Can the travellers find the subtle differences in each example and break the loop? Boxing Day will never be more welcome...

That’ll Be Christmas, Thea Gilmore
Like Rose in 2005, the characters find themselves landing in the middle of a family Christmas with no warning. Of course, they do have access to a time machine...

The Planet That Came For Christmas

Stop everything! New Doctor Puppet Christmas Special!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Eighth Doctor Sourcebook

Coming soon, featuring his TV adventures and companions (so my stats for Izzy will have to do) as well as a complete campaign set in the Time War and running all over the Doctor’s timeline. That might well make it the standout for GMs.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Fortean, Whovian, Cornellian

Paul Cornell has started his annual Twelve Blogs Of Christmas, and got to something deeply Whovian and strange at number two. (Also good for Primeval.)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Doctor versus Fallout

A game that lets you talk and sneak all the way through and doesn’t necessitate combat even against Boss monsters, you can play and win Fallout: New Vegas... as the Doctor.

Nightmarish post-apocalypse future? Must be Tuesday.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ivar, Timewalker preview

Following a previous post, an eight-page preview of Ivar, Timewalker, launching in January from Valiant Comics. This introduces Ivar, his companion, and at least one set of enemies.

Pull quote from writer Fred Van Lente: “it’s like Doctor Who but with an unlimited budget, going from the Big Bang to the Big Crunch with everything in between. We visit something like five or six time periods in the first issue alone!”

Monday, 24 November 2014

Toulouse-Lautrec

Google celebrates the unusually round-numbered 150th birthday of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, artist and designer of the Belle Epoque and inspiration for the Fourth Doctor’s overall look which is why there’s already an adventure about him from Big Finish. Sometimes it’s too easy...

You could also drag him along in an adventure in and around Paris society, taking in the Impressionists, the House of Worth, the Moulin Rouge, and the Eiffel Tower being a space transmitter or something of the sort...

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Peter Capaldi is the Eighth Doctor?!

He turned down an audition, being too big a fan.

And now, of course, I’m imagining Doctor actors as different Doctors. Tricky, as each Doctor is so influenced by the actor, but still...

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Cold War

On the 25th anniversary of the night people took hammers to the Berlin Wall, something that marked our world for decades. It stood for the Cold War, which seemed like it might doom us all at times, but never seemed permanent, this poorly put together line of concrete covered in graffiti. Every escape made the night it came down seem closer.

As noted before, Russia doesn’t get many visits in Doctor Who, nor does eastern Europe in general.

For my part, I dropped an alien ship on a portion of the Berlin Wall (at the worst possible time, naturally) in a convention adventure. Having run it twice, I should note that the PCs have dodged the secret police, kicked off a riot, smuggled people (and aliens) across the border and generally shown little respect for the Wall. As is only right.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Dark Water

“Are you okay?”
“No.”
“Good. There would be something very wrong if you were.”

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Thank you, Dr. Salk!

Google celebrates the centenary of Jonas Salk, pioneer of the polio vaccine, without whom the last century would have been very different. The story of the vaccine trial also involves HeLa cells, the March of Dimes and various Nobel prize winning research it has funded, and more.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Arrowdown free

Original box set adventure Arrowdown is now a free intro adventure (with the Eleventh Doctor on the cover instead of the Tenth). It’s not a quickstart (i.e. no intro rules).

Jamie Mathiseon and Mike Collins draw the Boneless

Mike Collins, frequent DWM comic artist, stepped up to storyboard Flatline. Now I know that I can rather see it - check out The Cruel Sea and its shattered faces and empty clothes.

Update: a look at the storyboards for the Crawling Hand sequence.

And writer Jamie Mathiseon sketched his idea for a Boneless face as well, for an earlier iteration which was yet more horrible.

And as he explains the episode (referencing both Hans Holbein the Younger and Wile E. Coyote) he evinces a certain glee in their reception...

Sir Christopher Wren is... 382.

Yes, it is indeed a random birthday Google Doodle.

Wren in fiction tends to lead to fantasy and horror about sacred geometry and Freemasonry and the significance of architecture and positioning, as in Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd.

But I’m sure something SFish could be done with all those significantly placed towers... and if something is, St Paul’s would still have to be the fulcrum.

(It also makes a great guest appearance in one of the Eighth Doctor DWM comics. You’ll know it if you see it and I won’t spoil it if you don’t.)

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Sun Is Angry! Again.

New DWM day and issue 1 of Titan’s 12th Doctor comic, and, er, the comic stories both have basically the same cliffhanger. Which is a bit awkward.

DWM has part three of The Eye Of Torment, in which we discover that despair-inducing Skin Of Evil style oilslicks of evil have been imprisoned in the sun for billions of years, and it ends with them getting loose, as a mass hivemind monster.

Titan Doctor Who 12 issue 1 has a planet being terraformed to be a jungle paradise (six weeks after 11 issue 2 had a jungle paradise planet turned into a theme park) and revealed to be secretly the ancient prison of something distinctly orange and glowy that calls itself Hyperios.

Lots of nice creepiness in DWM and lots of nice snark in 12.1, but... yeah.

And it’s not like we haven’t had angry suns recently either.

It is an interesting case study in taking a setting and a monster and playing it in very different ways. What would you do with those ingredients?

(In other news, DWM mentions the Cubicle 7 Doctor sourcebooks in its news section, Hooray! Now how about some reviews...?)

Monday, 13 October 2014

For one night only... give or take.

Fables Of Forgotten Things has reappeared online, the short pilot for a fantasy series about a heroic time traveller played by, er, Paul McGann.

See also the episode of Sea Of Souls in which, a tad out of place in a low-key paranormal mystery series, he plays a mystical immortal hero with a tendency to fight extradimensional monsters, hang out in weirdly high-tech surroundings and get emotionally attached to adventurous young humans.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ivar, Timewalker

Valiant Comics has arisen, and one of its returning heroes is Timewalker, a time traveller who needs no vehicle, dashing around the timeline trying to fix things...

... and the new series has him meet someone and take her off on his adventures...

... and issue 2 is called Let’s Kill Hitler!

I think there might be a nod to an influence there...

Doctor Who Comics 11/2 and 11/3

As the 10th Doctor series spools out an ongoing story and the 12th Doctor is only in previews, 11 gets more-or-less standalone adventures, although it seems we have a Big Bad to deal with across them.

Issue 2 has the Doctor try to impress Alice by taking her to an unspoiled Eden of a world, only to find someone paved paradise and put up a parking lot. Issue 3 addresses the Robert Johnson story (and how David Jones became David Bowie, with serial numbers lightly painted over). Both features ServeYouInc,, a sinister future (and apparently time-travelling) corporation the monetises people’s fondest wishes. And makes them like zombies as well, because that’s not really scary enough by itself.

(Oddly enough, Silver Surfer issue 6 also has the hero take his companion to the most perfect planet in the universe.)

Monday, 6 October 2014

Thor Heyerdahl

A Google Doodle marks the 100th birthday of the anthropologist who went to legendarily dangerous lengths to prove the possibility of a theory about settling patterns in the Pacific, which wasn’t really backed up by genetics but we still admire the effort involved.

Plot idea? A crazily dangerous voyage with poor and outmoded equipment, with optional unknown island and giant statues. (Having the giant statues come to life optional.)

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Kill The Moon

“It’s what you do with aliens, isn’t it? Blow them up.”

Ghost Light

Ghost Light is 25 today.

(Yikes.)

It’s a key part of the story of Ace, a rock-solid monster show, a satire on responses to evolutionary theory, an appeal to the value of chaos... we could have done with more like.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Caretaker

Surprisingly, no comments about his choice of “caretaker” rather than “janitor”. The implication of taking care goes without saying, perhaps.

“Why do you do it? Travel with him?”

Friday, 26 September 2014

Who frowned me this face?

io9 takes time out to diss the likeness on the smaller scale Twelfth Doctor figure. And, well, yeah.

(Edit: Having now seen one up close, it actually looks quite like a friend of mine... who is not Peter Capaldi.)

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Empire Of Tears

Two ideas spun off from an observation about a Green Lantern comic, thanks to Rose Bailey:

The Empire Of Tears was a throwaway reference in an Alan Moore story, which was expanded on decades later by other writers, along with other references like the Five Inversions which became a group of five demonic beings rather than five things that first demon famously inverted (or one thing he inverted five times)...

So alternate meanings crop up.

“Don’t you see, Clara... we’ve been pronouncing it wrong!”

1: The Empire Of Tears as in crying is the first likely reading. This suggests a vast space empire given over to despair, perhaps by monsters who want or need that (which is the way they went) or perhaps for some other reason. Its leaders are in mourning or filled with existential despair, perhaps, or to make it more threatening they have a nihilistic drive to destroy everything.

2: The Empire Of Tears as in rips. I’m picturing Viking-style raiders who can create teleport gates by shredding holes in reality to get where they need to go. Like the false gods of Stargate but even more able to get into anywhere they want.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Listen

“Do you have your own mood lighting now? Because frankly, the accent is enough.”

Despite Steven Moffat being in charge for several years now, that felt more like an RTD era Steven Moffat Episode than we’ve seen in a long time.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Leo Tolstoy

An elegant Google Doodle for the, er, 186th birthday of Leo Tolstoy, who apart from a comet in War And Peace was mainly interested in the culture around him, hard to beat if you want a really deep view of Imperial Russia and its mores. Imagine how many social rules a modern time traveller (let alone a modern British time traveller!) could accidentally break in one grand ball.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Fracture In Time

A campaign idea from No Ordinary Obsession. Comes with three different hooks for the same setting.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

We come for your... market share.

An idea caused by, of all things, a toothpaste advert: It shows a ridiculously super high tech facility where people in white Star Trek style uniforms show their latest innovation to a startled modern-day dentist.

So, idea...

Aliens or time travellers come here to... monopolise something totally mundane with their advanced science. And our heroes are completely baffled as to why they’d put in so much effort.

Until their competitors arrive...

Friday, 5 September 2014

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Second World War

75 years ago, Britain declared war with Germany. 25 years and five weeks after the time before.

Doctor Who has covered the Second World War metaphorically since nearly the beginning - the Daleks are tinpot Hitlers and their Invasion of Earth looked a lot like both the Blitz and the French Resistance - and literally here and there, especially more recently, as it becomes history rather than living history.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Post 1066 And All That

Forgive the pun, but this is post 1066 here, so it might as well be now.

History throws up a few really significant dates, the kind you’re expected to remember through history lessons. 1066 AD is the classic example in the UK, the year of the Norman Conquest. Don’t ask for a specific day for the Battle of Hastings, though, it’s not like the 4th of July in the USA. See also the 5th of November. We remember, remember, but would probably have to look up which year the Gunpowder Plot happened in.

Which dates, day and year, do you remember from your history lessons? If you stepped out of the TARDIS and saw a newspaper for a specific day, what would it take to get a reaction?

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Monday, 25 August 2014

Nyssa's Master Plan

Charlie Jane Anders at io9 argues for the greatness of this companion little used in her day. I have a sneaking affection for her as one of the earliest companions I clearly remember and the one Big Finish used as a writing test for the first open call I tried. Is her Master Plan viable? No less than Turlough’s...

Clara figure in proper scale

Character Options changes its mind and releases The Impossible Set. It’s Oswin rather than a regular Clara, but the head exists and that’s the most important part for a custom figure.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Deep Breath

“Here we go again...”

Or if you prefer... “I’m Scottish, I can complain about things!” (Biggest laugh in the cinema in Edinburgh, naturally.)

Thirteen Australian Doctors

Via Australian DWAITAS adventure author Steve D:

What If Doctor Who Had Been Australian This Whole Time?

This may not crop up as often as the American version, but damn, some of these choices are awesome. I guessed 8 and felt slightly smug about it. (The David Wenham Photoshopping works particularly well.)

Warren Ellis on watching Doctor Who

Regeneration

“And that was it. That moment. In those five seconds, a key piece of British culture had gloriously returned.”

It was always around when I was a kid. I must have established at some point that I liked it, or maybe my brother did that first, as the toys arrived when I was (I think) four and a half and he was seven, and I have some of the original Doctor Who Weekly comics in well-read-by-kids battered state. I can remember Logopolis, probably a repeat, clearly, but obviously knew it before that. And even when it was a mess, it was still a must-see. But I don’t know who turned the TV on in the first place when I was in the room for it...

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

You Only Know The Names

The new Radio Times is out with Peter Capaldi looking sternly out above the strapline I Am The Doctor. And the big preview of the season includes the now traditional rundown of episode titles, writer and director credits, and rather vague descriptions. SFX has the titles and credits here.

And because it’s always fun, taking each title and thinking of an adventure hook, deliberately not based on anything I might know. I have a pretty good idea what episode three is about, but no idea about episode four...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Taking an idea and running with it

Jamie McCrimmon was an inspiration for the book and TV series Outlander. Just another example of the kind of ideas the Whoniverse includes in passing that could spin off to entire sagas on their own.

This one is probably the bestselling leading example of the time travel romance sub-genre, and the time travel romance with Highlanders sub-sub-genre. Which other sub-sub-genres could become adventures or provide characters? Sub Dan Brown conspiracy theory pulp adventures? Medieval detectives? Ninja comedies?

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Diana Wynne Jones

A Google Doodle marks what would have been the 80th birthday of an author best known for children’s fantasy, influenced by studying under J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis at Oxford, and influencing the likes of Neil Gaiman in turn.

On complaints about her work being complex:
This is ridiculous, I mean, wholly ridiculous. It never did any child any harm to have something that was a tiny bit above them anyway, and I claim that anyone who can follow Doctor Who can follow absolutely anything.
She also wrote The Tough Guide To Fantasyland, a satirical sourcebook for bog-standard fantasy.

Some of her work and its adaptations are also distinctly relevant here:

Archer’s Goon concerns a small town where a strange family rules in secret through a variety of powers... including time, as one of them lives in the past and commutes to the present. It was adapted by Children’s BBC during the Who-less years in 1992.

Howl’s Moving Castle (also adapted, fairly loosely, by Studio Ghibli) has an ordinary young woman swept up in the wake of a mysterious man who lives in a castle with a door that opens sometimes in one place and sometimes another...

The Homeward Bounders sets a child adrift across a variety of universes which are, in fact, games played by higher beings.

A Tale Of Time City has its young hero kidnapped because certain individuals think she is... The Time Lady...

Friday, 15 August 2014

Robin Williams would have made a great Doctor.

He largely did so already, of course, in Mork And Mindy, which like plenty of Tom Baker Doctor Who stories was largely a space for the star to be strange and funny. I grew up with it as much as Doctor Who, so my view of alien visitors is probably a bit skewed towards lovable eccentrics with dubious taste in clothes. The braces were totally Doctor, for one thing. Exiled to our world by his wise fancy-hat-and-robe-wearing superiors, a seemingly human alien befriends a very down-to-earth young woman...

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Thirteen And One Faces Of Doctor Who

Morphing plus mathematics equals... uh... it looks kind of like David Bradley. Unlike the last version also linked there that looked a hell of a lot like Ben Daniels. The modern Doctor results are a bit skewed by a beard and the hair is a strange blur. But I can see... someone looking back.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Look up.

The Perseid Meteor Shower is at hand, as a lovely Google Doodle reminds us, this year with a supermoon to light up the sky with it. Not that I’ll be able to see anything with these rain clouds.

But somewhere above them, the Doctor leans out of the TARDIS and watches with a smile. Then, knowing him, has to steer it out of the way of a meteor while holding on to the side of the rotor.

Of course, looking up at a meteor shower is also how Day Of The Triffids started.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Tech Level moves pretty fast

Have you ever stopped to consider how much technology has changed in your lifetime? Allow Joan from Mad Men to demonstrate Tech Level 4 versus 5 after being brought to the present. (Maybe a Weeping Angel with a reversed polarity did it.)

We live in a future few could have imagined when Doctor Who started in 1963.

When An Unearthly Child first aired, mobile phones were the stuff of science fiction, even the regular depiction of Star Trek’s communicators were still a few years off. When it paused in 1989, they appeared irregularly in popular culture, mostly as a sign of a character being Rich and/or Important and/or Arrogant. “Look at me, people need to call me when I am away from my desk!” Within a few years, they were vital to Mulder and Scully in The X Files, but not really addressed when Doctor Who returned in Enemy Within in 1996. Now they mean something different. By Rose in 2005, they were pretty much omnipresent, a teenage shop assistant on a housing estate has one, uses it in her first adventure, and the Doctor upgrades it as soon as he takes her to another time so she can phone home across billions of years. By then, the horror trope of establishing that mobile phones don’t work is pretty well established, but it’s not one the show makes much use of, because the characters split up so often and need to talk to each other, much like Mulder and Scully. (Pet peeve about that trope - I’ve never seen someone check again after initially establishing no signal at the start of a horror movie, even after running miles from the monster chasing them.)

We’re still a long way from moon bases, but we have an International Space Station.

Where will be in another fifty years?

Monday, 4 August 2014

Venn

Cute Google Doodle today for John Venn’s 180th birthday. As an academic best known for a helpful design, not a lot of adventure hooks offhand...


It’s a year to the day since Peter Capaldi stepped out on stage. And nineteen days to go until his first episode.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Cinder (The War Doctor's companion)

Paul Hanley illustrates the companion from Engines Of War based on author George Mann’s ideas. So unless someone adapts it, this is what she looks like!

(And I’m cool with the imaginary casting having borrowed the same person to star an imaginary Buffy series played very slowly through RPGs..)

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Doctor Who And The Guardians Of The Galaxy

Guardians Of The Galaxy is likely of interest to Doctor Who fans who like the space opera side of it, the teeming universe with beautifully rendered aliens and people painted funny colours side by side, where someone could be abducted from Earth and spend years bouncing around occupied space getting in trouble.

It’s very much the Dan Abnett and Lanning version of the Guardians. Abnett in particular has written lots of Doctor Who spinoffs, often in the space opera end of the setting.

It’s full of crowd scenes like the Star Wars Cantina, The Rings Of Akhaten or the cut scene I wish we’d gotten when we visited the Shadow Proclamation. (Yes, I’m still bitter six years on.)

Rocket Raccoon fits the Russell T Davies theory of audiences engaging with animal-like alien characters easily: the design and effects work for Groot and the makeup for Gamora and Drax could be distracting at times, but (partially because he’s done so well, and partially because he’s such a nuts idea) Rocket is just Rocket. I put the effects achievement aside and just see the character.

While there’s a lot of gunplay and blowing stuff up, the heroes also think and talk their way out of some problems. (And into others.)

Oh, and there’s evil bald blue Karen Gillan.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The First World War

War was declared 100 years ago today, starting over four years of fighting, and its repercussions echoed down the century and on.

As the war is generally regarded as a bloody fiasco, it’s a rare topic for adventure stories - compare the number of WWI and WWII RPGs and adventures, and their genre.

Timemaster included this now freely available adventure in its original rules, which focuses on the war in the air which has acquired some sense of adventure and romance. Other stories suited to a less bleak story would include the famous Christmas truce (which the Doctor visits in one of the IDW comics) and the urban legend of the Angels of Mons, in which a fictional story (by influential horror and fantasy author Arthur Machen) quickly grew to be believed.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Titan Comics 10.1 and 11.1

The other news of the week is the first issues of Titan Comics’ series for the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. Not the first time a Doctor has had a monthly, but I believe the first time previous regenerations have.

Siskoid already reviewed them here and here, and all I would add is the 10 is an interesting setup and 11 is a nice single issue...

So I’ll talk about them gamewise.

Deep Breath is coming to cinemas

The first adventure for the Twelfth Doctor. Countries besides us not yet confirmed. When the big 3D anniversary special did it, it was big, and in 3D. Is Deep Breath that big, and is it in 3D? We shall see.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Nelson Mandela

A lovely and touching Google Doodle to celebrate what would be his 96th birthday.

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

As an inspiration, perfect. As a Celebrity Historical, too soon.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

So you meet your parallel universe self...

And they are so much cooler than you...

... happens to the star of You Me & Her thirty times.

That has to give a person issues.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Votes for women was only the beginning

Emmeline Pankhurst celebrated with Google Doodle on the, er, 156th anniversary of her birth. The Suffrage movement was a sea-change in politics here, with plenty of drama and action. And altering history so it failed... well, that change probably would not last much past the Great War, but changing the balance of equality could really mess with social history for the century since.

Meryl Streep is to portray Mrs. Pankhurst on film soon, but for Doctor Who, perhaps go for the Up The Women version played by Sandi Toksvig in an an enormous hat.

Monday, 14 July 2014

A hint of things to come?

If true, spoilers... for the new title sequence.

According to Bleeding Cool, the leaked scripts include a credit that the titles are based on an original idea by Billy Hanshaw.

Which is one of those great CGI artist fans who made a title sequence and put it online.

So we have a Doctor who wrote and drew for fanzines in his teens, and a title sequence based on fan art.

Nice.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

50 Years Of Doc Who

A video showing suitable-ish activities by the suggested American Doctors from this list.

I still prefer some of mine. Harrumph. (Especially Terry O’Quinn as Nine.)

But it’s nice work. And Gene Wilder certainly does wear some suitable hats.

Pandora: apparently not a Time Lord.

Remember my early thoughts about Pandora in DCs New 52? Looks like she isn’t really like that. Oddly, she appears to be a Crimson Avenger version of Zealot from Wild C.A.T.S. judging by the warpaint and guns. While also being the literal Pandora. Her adventures do not generally involve moving through time, being at just the right moment to see or do something, and moving on.

The classic mysterious wandering Phantom Stranger is also apparently an ex ultimate villain too. And so is the Question. Huh.

Still, we have Silver Surfer to be our Doctor Who comic from the Big Two.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Need a recurring monster?

I think an RPGnet thread called Make Up a New Doctor Who Monster might be helpful. More theory than practice so far, but we shall see.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

And in case you were wondering, Titan are doing a current Doctor comic as well. With Robbie Morrison writing, while his Nikolai Dante co-artist Simon Fraser draws for Ten.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

It's All To Play For

And today an animated Google Doodle for the World Cup. I won’t pretend interest here.

Of course, as I may have previously suggested, a big sporting event could be the basis for an adventure. The Fourth Doctor nearly had to save us from the Krikkitmen. The Eighth Doctor had to deal with alien team managers (while wearing a fez!) in a Gareth Roberts story in DWM.

And consider having sporty aliens turn up and demand we take part in the Known Worlds Cup. (Like the Space Olympics, it’s more trouble than it sounds.) A twist on the classic represent-your-planet threat. Superman does it, why not the Doctor? He can be a first eleven all by himself.

Friday, 6 June 2014

D-Day...

Today, Google appear to be cheating somewhat, with a charming animated Doodle dedicated to Honinbo Shusaku, a professional Go player from the 19th Century, while the 70th anniversary of D-Day gets a link lower down. Hrm.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The uprising at Tiananmen Square was brought down twenty-five years ago. It still feels too close and too painful to put into escapist fiction like our games. By comparison, the peaceful Velvet Revolution in the then Czechoslovakia has been the backdrop for the recent comic serial The Broken Man. The choice was a good one - the real-life happy ending means it does not seem disrespectful to have aliens mucking about in the background.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

If you could see the future...

Would you use that ability to make money?

And would you be careful enough about how you made it?

io9’s description of forthcoming indie film Time Lapse seems a bit too harsh. Only one of these people appears to be a total idiot. The escalation to chaos looks less Fiasco-y than the review suggests.

It’d be interesting to see a real Bill And Ted level of fools in charge of a time machine in the Whoniverse. The Doctor can hardly claim the moral high ground there, can he?

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Rachel Louise Carson

One of the founders of the environmental movement, the author of Silent Spring which lad to the banning of DDT, Rachel Louise Carson is marked by Google on her 107th birthday.

“And in no small way, her work helped save millions of birds, giving spring back its song.”

Be brave. help save the world.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Mary Anning

A break from the usual Google Doodle plot hook police, brought about by Mary Anning, our greatest fossil hunter, being a perfect Celebrity Historical for Primeval instead.

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Rubik's Cube is 40

Today’s Google Doodle provides the potentially infuriating timesink of a virtual Rubik’s Cube to mark its invention four decades ago. Since then, it has been a puzzle, a fad, a piece of 80s nostalgia as it grew to fame after about a decade, a visual indicator for “this person is smart”, a prop in Doctor Who and a reference in The God Complex in particular, and, um, a cartoon.

“One night Carlos, Reynaldo and Lisa Rodriguez stumbled on a secret that would change their lives. They rescued a colorful cube and solved his puzzle, setting him free. In this one act the kids had made a friend for life. His name is Rubik.”

Well, as author of a blog for roleplaying about a two-hearted alien who travels through space and time in an old police box I shouldn’t really be surprised.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

How to choose a Doctor

New Radio Times day! With a BAFTA special and as a result a fairly gratuitous Peter Capaldi Doctor cover and Steven Moffat reflecting on the award-nominated Day Of The Doctor and the requirements of casting the key role, something he has now done three times, albeit once for one night only.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Dorothy Hodgkin

Today’s Google Doodle marks the 104th birthday of Dorothy Hodgkin (nee Crowfoot), the only British woman so far to win a Nobel Prize for science due to a lifetime of study and breakthroughs in chemistry and establishing protein crystallography.

Plot hook? One obvious one: her expertise could be vital in battling a crystalline alien. No doubt with some stuffy male disapproval to fight as well.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Douze Points!

I was going to create adventure hooks from Eurovision, but found Effie’s player and her husband, arguably bigger Whovians than me, have already done so. So I republish their efforts with gratitude.

They won’t all work as adventures for Doctor Who (some would work for Fiasco) but have been included for the record.

As well as the full-on-Who (check out the blue swirly vortex) they also nod to Lord Of The Rings, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Frozen, DC Comics, and Austria’s winning crossdressing Bond theme.

Matthew and Edith present Eurovision 2014: Adventures In Time And Space!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

One for the record books

The Four Minute Mile by Sir Roger Bannister was sixty years ago today, with a fair wind and a track modern elite athletes wouldn’t want to have a go at. A milestone in human physical achievement that was well publicised and so drew a fair crowd, something time travellers could sneak in to... and like the scaling of Everest or the first flight of the Montgolfiers, something time travellers seeking to squash a moment of pride could easily disrupt.

And you could probably put together a fake Doctor Who episode trailer from Matt Smith’s role in Bert And Dickie. Why is the Eleventh Doctor making sure Britain wins a rowing medal at the Austerity Olympics? Makes a change from Ten lighting the 2012 cauldron, the big showoff. ;)

The 2012 torch relay crossed through Holy Corner here, past the Eric Liddell Centre honouring Edinburgh’s greatest sporting hero, who had a remarkable life on and off the track with just the first part shown in Chariots Of Fire.

Which record or achievement would you like to see the TARDIS land in? We’ve dropped the travellers in horror and SF and war, why not a sports biopic or true-life Ripping Yarn? It could be anything from the labours of Hercules to the first Olympic event on the Moon. (And I say this as someone who might watch some of the Olympics and that’s about it sports-wise.)

Something with room for adventure like the first car race across America, or Nelly Bly testing modern transport against Around The World In Eighty Days.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Onze Points!

New Doctor Who Magazine!

Exciting and slightly alarming comic adventure, big article about how the Seventh Doctor era was a partially-successful attempt to modernise the show (scuppered by being opposite Corrie), Marcus Wilson, Christopher Barry, confirmation of a War Doctor novel, lots of plugs for the collected Ninth Doctor comics (and Steven Moffat prose story) The Cruel Sea which I have all of but will still be getting in heftier format, Mona Lisa like picture of India Fisher on the back cover whose expression seems to change with the angle you look at it...

... and a big bit in the back about the Eurovision Song Contest. “Eurovision condenses an entire season of Doctor Who into one single, delirious Saturday night - precisely the same fan rituals - The embrace of camp, the delicious thrill of possible disaster, the air-punching moments of triumph. And the ever-present chance that, just like Doctor Who, the proceedings will be interrupted by Graham Norton.”

I haven’t been in a proper scoring-so-well-I-was-told-to-stop-drinking Eurovision party since the heady days of The Watch House, not least because that one nearly killed me, and there was the possibility that Lordi would appear as special guest NPCs for one episode.

But to this day the weird mix of styles and presentations does have me thinking of adventure ideas and there will be the occasional visual that suggests a scene or a monster. Any similarly random collection of art could of course have this effect, but this one is on BBC One on Saturdays, occasionally knocked Doctor Who off the schedules by a week, inspired the Big Finish adventure the DWM article refers to (as well as a legendary episode of Father Ted) and does tend to feature shiny surfaces, flashing lights and wind machines in its effects repertoire.

So if twenty adventure hooks with onomatopoeic titles appear here at the weekend, you’ll have some idea why...

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Silver Surfer issue 2

... presses the new book’s built-in Doctor Who buttons even more than issue 1.

Above the title we have the tagline “Anywhere And Everywhere - Hang On!”

“Earth. It’s always someone from Earth.”

The Surfer is a bit more casual than the full-on portentous dialogue he often comes with. Likewise, the Incredulous Zed is very much a funny villain.

The Queen Of Nevers is the current ultimate threat - and I could imagine an on-screen version of the Couldhavebeen King having the power she uses.

Dawn’s actions in the space prison are pure catching-on-quick companion.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Further historical connections

It’s also Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

And probably World Book Night.

And the day when... wait. Why do I have tally marks on my hands?

The Doctor, St. George, And The Dragon

And the Google Doodles just keep on coming. How cool is this one?

Avoiding the nationalism issue, the obvious plot hook for St. George is The Dragon. But for a bit of variety, in eastern Europe he is better known for fighting the undead. To play that straight(ish) there are plenty of other games, as covered on my other gaming blog which you should also be reading, but there’s plenty of room for dragons, vampires, knights and saints in the Whoniverse.


A chatty Smaug-ish dragon (from space, or from the depths of the Earth and the Silurian era) would be a nice change from the usual. The above from IDW’s Doctor Who: A Fairytale Life, previewed here before it came out.

Primeval had an anomaly deposit a Dracorex Hogwartsia in the Crusade era and bring it and the pursuing knight (Tony Curran, Who’s Vincent Van Gogh) to the Notting Hill Carnival, so team historian Sara had to get them both back without causing any further paradoxes. Which was a bit of a shame as a knight joining the team would have been great fun.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Titan's comic companions

Alice Obiefune and Gabby Gonzalez join the Eleventh and Tenth Doctors on their new comic adventures.

They join a lineup of non-televised heroes dating back to John and Gillian appearing in comics at the end of the first year of the show and taking in the likes of Nick from TV Action (a black companion for the Third Doctor), Frobisher and Izzy jumping over to Big Finish and more. Welcome aboard - I can’t wait to see your adventures!

Happy Earth Day!

Brought to you according to Google by the Rufous Hummingbird, Veiled Chameleon, Puffer Fish, Dung Beetle and Japanese Macaque.

Quick - which of these have good gimmicks for monsters? The Puffer Fish inflation thing and the Dung Beetle rolling its prized possessions around in a ball, perhaps? Maybe odd but friendly monsters...

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Brontës

As well as Easter (with no new Doctor Who!) today is also, according to a Google Doodle, Charlotte Brontë’s 198th birthday. Best known for Jane Eyre (which this short article spoils the end of!) she was part of a familial movement for Gothic tragedies, as well as a childhood fantasy shared world involving maps and miniatures and waitaminute...

Who-wise, I have previously suggested the Brontës for a Celebrity Historical about windswept moors and dark secrets, and that was before they visited the DWM comics as android copies wielding blaster rifles to help save the world.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Who is the Other? You are number seven.

Heading into New Adventures territory here.

As I understand it from explanations of the incomplete Cartmel Master Plan, the Other is the mysterious trickster of the Rassilon/Omega era, and was a pre-Hartnell, pre-regeneration-cycle Doctor. Or maybe all the pre-Hartnell Doctors. Or...

He partially manifests in the Seventh Doctor, which is why he’s “far more than just another Time Lord.”

Or something like that.

So what if this is something Time Lords could do, back in the day? Like storing their power in a Chameleon Arch, or taking the potions of Karn.

They could program themselves - or their descendants - to regenerate into specific forms under specific circumstances.

And since not every Time Lord has much control over their regenerations (the Doctor far less than most, it seems) they might not even know about it until it’s too late.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Night Terrace

The makers of Australian Whovian podcast Splendid Chaps seek to branch out into related fiction, with the adventures of retired world-saving time traveller Anastasia Black and her unwelcome companion Eddie.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Where would you take the TARDIS?

A question that’s always worth asking.

SF Signal asks a variety of people including Paul Cornell, Trudi Canavan, Erica Ensign and Patrick Hester, providing a variety of interesting places to go and people to meet.

There are solid bases for quite a few adventures here (including one chosen by Carole Barrowman which I’ve already run!) as well as reflections on what the chance to travel would bring.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Brigade Temporelle

Spurred on by a question about which international Marvel heroes would be fun to feature in the movies, related to my recent post about Marvel UK, I also looked up Cool French Comics for their local superheroes including those next to Marvel reprints... and coincidentally found Time Brigade.

It’s a classic time police setup (see also TimeQuake, and Pelgrane’s Timewatch RPG) in French. Which always makes me wonder what else we’re missing due to its creation starting in other languages.

And I note that the early 2000s revival mentioned at the bottom is written by Big Name Fans and revivers of Professor Gamble the Lofficiers. Also the curators of Cool French Comics. Small world.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Daleks Vs. Daleks Vs. Daleks Vs. Daleks V. Daleks

Risk: The Dalek Invasion Of Earth doesn’t just rebadge the classic empire-level wargame to let you play multiple warring Dalek factions, it adds the Doctor trying to stop you. Risk variants often change gameplay and add intereting complications, so I expect it will work quite well.

But this would mean, for me, wanting to lose...

And it has a plot, complete with an ancient Gallifreyan MacGuffin, as explained on the back of the box. It bears a passing resemblance to Remembrance Of The Daleks, but that only had two Dalek armies trying to kill each other...

A huge insane five-way Dalek civil war could make for some interesting adventures, possibly enough for a seasonal arc. Seemingly monolithic enemies fighting amongst themselves can be a lot of fun, especially when the heroes get to aggravate the conflict and try to defeat all of them. And of course it would let you bring out strange variant Daleks, assorted superweapons, and a number of Dalek leaders displaying different kinds of madness and fanaticism.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Silver Surfer

... is a classic 60s Marvel superhero, so why am I talking about him here?

Because Dan Slott and Michael Allred just launched a new series featuring him, which as Slott discussed in advance, takes the character in a decidedly Whovian direction.

“He’s this lone guy on a board. And one of things that happens in his first adventure is he meets a kindred spirit. He meets an earth girl. And it’s - there’s someone on the board with him. It really is about how the best way to see the universe... is with someone.”

1000 Posts

Something of an achievement in sustained geekiness. I hope I have provided entertainment, encouragement and inspiration along the way.

Beaten slightly by that other blog. And seeing what I did there, how does this one break down by category?

Leading the field easily at 512 posts is the completely unhelpful catchall Doctor Who category. The Doctor himself only manages a mere 159 tags, behind the idea-friendly Adventures (279), History (221), the all-important Mad Notions (210) and Characters (190) which often include him too, and just beating Monsters by one tag. (Hooray! The Doctor beat the monsters!) Writing makes 150, which contains both my stabs at writing and posts about writing when I quote people who know what they’re on about. DWAITAS, which I keep for official-ish games stuff and/or actual rules stuff like statblocks, hits 140. The likely-to-go-up-in-autumn Episodes tag is the last to pass a hundred with 105. Science comes close with 83, and so on down until Skywatch and Actual Play tie for last with 17. I really must do more Actual Play transcripts...

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

"Do you wanna come with me?"

For my 999th post(!) it’s the 9th anniversary of the 9th Doctor.

Yes, the 9th anniversary of Doctor Who is a few months after the 50th anniversary...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Gallifrey, looking behind the curtain

Mark Gatiss on the way Gallifrey appearing on-screen can lessen its mystique.

This goes all the way back to An Unearthly Child cutting specific references to the Doctor and Susan’s origins, and fan reactions to the satirical Westminster/Oxbridge hybrid Gallifrey of The Deadly Assassin and the like. As Steven Moffat has noted, do we really want the mysteries solved?

The visuals of classic era Gallifrey didn’t help, of course - the robes, collars and skullcaps remain pretty cool, but everything else was always a bit Flash Gordon On Stage.

(Speaking of, Trial Of A Time Lord makes an interesting comparison to the trial called by an off-brand Time Lord that same year on the West End. How’s that for a non-canon spinoff?)

Compare the reveal of historic Skaro in Genesis Of The Daleks a year and a half earlier, played totally straight with an equally obvious Nazi analogy, and where the stark design works for the story. Even that led to Dalek stories being trumped by reappearances by Davros for more than a decade.

Now Gallifrey looks as grand as Coruscant in the Star Wars prequels - and that still risks getting boring if overexposed. At least now the guards have better costumes.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Prisoners Zero To Fifty Have Escaped

A brainstorming session (at least it became a brainstorming session and I hope that was what the original poster had in mind) for the most dangerous prisoners in the universe. Bad people, not so bad people, people capable of bad things, and people bad things happen to. All stuck in one little prison starship...

Friday, 21 March 2014

Chronoscope

I’m currently painting a batch of miniatures.

Including some Heresy, Hasslefree and Crooked Dice ones that just happen to coincidentally resemble characters from Doctor Who.

But also a selection from Reaper’s Chronoscope range, seemingly dedicated to making miniatures of anything they fancy.

Modern? SF? Fantasy? Superheroes? Pulp? Westerns? Steampunk? Horror? It’s all here, and generally in very nice sculpts too. And, oh yes, time travellers as well.

I snagged a few in metal and a few in their Bones plastic recastings, despite having no actual use for them (or miniatures in general) while I was ordering a couple I did need for something.

(And their latest Bones Kickstarter set includes large modern terrain pieces, such as a police box...)

You could pick a random number from the catalogue and have your time travellers meet just about anyone in the line. (Skipping the gratuitous kink figures.)

Including Doc Holliday and Socrates, who the Doctor has already met!

The companions face the threat of an alien warrior!

A robot assassin seeks the man with two hearts!

Discover the secret of Professor Kraken!

Can they trust the alien advisor? Can they afford not to?

Join with a revolutionary hero of 19th century California!

And try to stop the Tool Bots dismantling the TARDIS to fix one minor fault!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

DWAITAS Anniversary Hardback!

On PDF, initially!

Free first chapter preview!

I believe this is the first RPG ever to have John Hurt on the cover!

A boxout full of technobabble terms!

Sea Devils!

The WHOmobile in the gadget section!

Colin Baker fronting Chapter Six!

Advice on Doctor-Lite Stories, Two-Parters and Specials!

Adventure hooks one per Doctor!

Both Karen Gillans!

Kate and her dad!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Henry VIII is not as scary as a dinosaur.

How do you top the Daleks? Don’t try. Go a different route.

If you ran a huge epic space adventure last week, run a creepy little haunted house story next week. or a Big Emotional Story. Or a musical. Anything except a slightly less huge epic space adventure. The wide variety of options the Whoniverse provides is your ally. And then, in a few weeks’ time, you can run another huge epic space adventure without the players comparing it so closely to the last one.

Inspired by, of all things, a series of cereal adverts in which an idiot is unable to resist eating cereal when he needs to be quiet, dooming himself and an innocent bystander. They started hiding from an allosaurus-type in a ripoff of Jurassic Park, then screwed up first contact with aliens, then were caught by the French Revolution and are now being pursued by an annoyed king with a crossbow. An annoyed king with a crossbow may be dangerous, but he’s no allosaurus. Diminishing returns for sequels, and a failure to grasp the sorting algorithm of danger. Yes, it makes a change from power creep, but I find it too jarring...

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Marked by a Google Doodle for her 208th birthday, the poet, author, campaigner against slavery and child labour, and inspiration to Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe among her many other accomplishments.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Titan Comics' first Doctor Who series

Miniseries for Ten and Eleven, with creative teams announced on the preview covers. I know the writers Nick Abadzis from Deadline, particularly the “road movie” strip Hugo Tate, and Al Ewing from 2000AD, notably the comedy gorefest Zombo.

It is a bit early for comics featuring Twelve, I guess. (Although they come out in late July, so not that early...)

And the classic Doctors are busy starring in audio plays. But maybe we’ll see Nine or even a War Doctor story somewhere along the run? They have at least some plans for earlier Doctors too, apparently. (In related news, the short DWM run of Nine comics, featuring Gareth Roberts’ dry run for The Shakespeare Code, is to be reprinted in their collected run. Which is nice.)

It naturally has me wondering what I would do with a miniseries (five issues, likely to cover about as much ground as a TV two-parter I’d guess) about a specific Doctor - including the tendency to focus on the differences for the specific era and play them up. Will the Ten story feature romance, animal-headed aliens or pop culture gags, and will the Eleven one be timey-wimey? All IDW’s Eleven comics and most of DWM’s came out while he was the current incumbent, without the hindsight of having seen his era to the end.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Enterprise Of The Daleks

What if, in trying to sell Daleks in Hollywood, Terry Nation has gone to Star Trek with them?

The thread probably says more about Star Trek than Daleks, as it mostly concerns the Enterprise crew dealing with this new threat, but never mind.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lego Doctor Who - coming soon?

Someone with sharp eyes at Bleeding Cool has noted that the list of licences Lego cannot pursue for its fan-voted line has been updated - and Doctor Who is now a possibility. Does this mean the end of the Character Building not-Lego toys? Perhaps...

Monday, 24 February 2014

New companions inspired by past companions

Following the announcement of a second teacher from Coal Hill School becoming a recurring character in the new series, which characters or groups of characters from the series’ history could you reference or draw inspiration from without copying exactly?

(Thinking about this recently as a friend started running the Dragonlance adventures for D&D with the players creating new characters, with some intentional similarities and some strong differences.)

What kind of character would you create from a brief of “investigative journalist” or “U.N.I.T. soldier” or “refugee from a famous battle in British history” or “stranded astronaut” or “lost heir to the throne of a pseudo-mediaeval planet” or “robot in disguise” or “shop assistant”?

A new... well, some sort of recurring character anyway

Samuel Anderson joins the cast as Danny, a fellow teacher at Coal Hill School.

So an older Doctor, the first of his regeneration cycle, played by an actor previously best known as a scary authority figure in a comedy show and who first appeared in the role on November 23rd, may be joined in his adventures by two teachers from Coal Hill School. Hmm... there’s some kind of pattern there...

Friday, 14 February 2014

My hearts belong to you

Or, love in the Whoniverse, and specifically in DWAITAS.

Not even starting on the origins of Valentine’s day, it’s all too weird.

“Is there a lot of this in the future?”
“It does start to happen, yeah.”
The War Doctor asking the Eleventh about kissing, studiously ignoring his immediate predecessor and Grace, Day Of The Doctor

Love can lift you up, knock you down, inspire you, break mind control, raise the dead and defuse android bombs. There’s no Trait for it, but it could do with its own category for Story Point expenditure. Most of all, it can really drive a plot.

Do your characters find love, with other PCs or with NPCs? A connection of this level can be a great source of Big Emotional Episodes. It wouldn’t suit every game, but it can certainly add to one if it doesn’t become too scene-steal-y. Easier with, say, two players around the table than six.

And love that only involves NPCs can be a great plot device as well even if the players don’t get mixed up in it directly. Could the travellers save a pair of star-crossed lovers, or stop someone messing up the space-time continuum in order to get a first date to go well?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

American Doctor Who Outrage (again)

As a result of a joke fan cast list.

Personally I’m outraged that Burgess Meredith is in the wrong place on the list. Although I can get behind some of these.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Don't let people review something that hasn't been made yet

The results may look like this. I for one am looking forward to Indictment Of The Daleks.

(The open review box for the full-sized Iron Throne replica from Game Of Thrones had a similar effect. Hodor.)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Like a red rag to a Nimon

I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, the red lining of the Doctor’s new coat is referenced in-character. Like so!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

An inevitable result of revealing the Doctor's new look

... is that sales of the coat rise overnight.

The reference at the end of the article to “so-called “cos-play” enthusiasts” is hilarious. I can just hear the hyphenated gap between syllables in a 1960s BBC News tone, as imitated by Graham Chapman.

Repost from TWH:

Via Bleeding Cool: Vote on which TV show from these isles goes on the list of things Captain America missed during his time asleep.

Shockingly, Doctor Who is not yet winning.

Same gag for celebrities at Empire

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Happy New Year Of The Horse

Cute Google Doodle for the Chinese New Year of the Horse.

A quick look around Wikipedia on the horse in Chinese history and mythology and we find...

Zhang Qian, a diplomat and explorer who brought strong horses and alfalfa seed for fodder back to early imperial China in the mid second century BC - a vital development, and one of his many achievements and discoveries, along with the development of trade with the West that would become known as the Silk Route. Without him, China might have remained isolated and impoverished for decades, and it would be easy for someone wishing to so alter history to waylay him on his travels. And the Doctor loves meeting fellow explorers...

The War of the Heavenly Horses a few decades later, a historical event grown to myth about massed battles to seize the greatest horses in the world. Who would control the steppes if history was rewritten? Would China be wildly different - or even there at all? Would the Mongols run wild over the world even more freely in the centuries to come?

Ox-Head and Horse-Face, demon guardians of the underworld, enemies of MONKEY! - who also travelled with Tripitaka’s dragon-turned-horse - and the sort of monsters often seen in the Davies era of Doctor Who. What might bring these nightmare images to life?

Have a good day and a good year!

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Look Of The Future

I find it highly unlikely anyone here will not have seen this already and will not want to, but I’ll put it behind a cut anyway. Peter Capaldi in his new costume as the Doctor.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

"Look, it says "Quiet". Be QUIET."

Doctor Who won best drama at the National Television Awards, and Matt Smith won Best Actor, with this acceptance speech again demonstrating that some of it was Matt just being Matt. Or possibly just being the Doctor.

(Arthur Darvill picked up the award for him, and is keeping it safe...)

The unexpected heroes of the robot invasion


From concept artist Eduardo Peña.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

JMS on DW?

J. Michael Straczynski would like a crack at writing Doctor Who. While I am not a fan of Babylon 5, I can certainly believe that he could produce an interesting episode. Just maybe not forty episodes in a row.

Star Wars scaled Peter Capaldi

Character Options do some action figures - mostly slight variants apart from Twelve, and a Zygon. Clara gets an entire new sculpt in the same outfit, so she now looks more like... Jessica Hynes...

Titan, meanwhile, make a load of characters I would want as those weird vinyl chibi things. Damn it.

I actually really like getting early figures like newly-regenerated Doctors. Plenty of time for kids to imagine adventures in the Maybe before they air. This can lead to things like Boba Fett fandom, of course...

And, fair play, the Dalek fighter ship thing would be a bit big in 5” scale.

And now also making retro figures in the new scale. Not just Ten and Amy, but as far back as Genesis of The Daleks. Which is changing their minds, I think for the good. The previous plan to only make classic figures in the old scale and new in the new seemed unduly divisive. Let fans of both scales have toys! (Hilarious use of a Peter Capaldi shot from The Thick Of It there...)

"Why not this one?"

A girl and her medbot discuss the viability of reviving the dead, as she was dead herself when they met.

(What ever happened to the Raston Warrior Robots anyway?)

Monday, 20 January 2014

Happy 80th birthday to Tom Baker, the Doctor of my childhood.

It’s also Martin Luther King Day and Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday. Quite a day for my heroes.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

THE OBJECT Is... a bit of pipe.

Following previous amused reports of exaggerated freakouts, it turns out that THE OBJECT that stopped the five-storey drill in its tracks is... an eight-inch steel pipe. Which suggests an issue with the drill, really.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

More Doctor Who fanart by Peter Capaldi

Yes, I said more Doctor Who fanart by Peter Capaldi.

What are the odds we see this image recreated in the show?

Time Trips

More ebooks, for various Doctors and companions, from some pretty literary names. AL Kennedy, Jenny Colgan, Nick Harkaway, Trudi Canavan, Jake Arnott.

Check out the blurbs for adventure hooks even before the books arrive. A golf club in the 70s, a planet that should not exist, a hole in time, future Australia, John Dee's Angelic Conversations.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Tales Of Trenzalore

One of the gaps in our knowledge of the Doctor's life to come from the anniversary year is about to be partially filled, with the ebook Tales Of Trenzalore showing four of his adventures in the centuries defending Christmas town.

Like the UNIT years, it parks the Doctor in one time and place (for a lot longer from his perspective but only one episode from ours) as he defends it from a higher-than-average number of monster invasions, and could be the basis for a more grounded game than the usual weekly jaunts across all of reality.

Still no Monoids, though.

Anybody in NZ?

Fifty: an adventure at Kap-Con, Wellington NZ this weekend, by Morgan Davie, with a disarmingly frank description:

It is also the Moffatiest adventure I could come up with... Oh, and I have no idea how to end it...

I’m sure it’ll go well anyway. Morgue is that good. (Damn him.)

Particularly amused that Doctor Who is also listed as genre and style.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sherlock, secrets, and Sherlock secrets

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss on how Sherlock works. Whacking great spoilers for that other show they make, but also some handy observations about how to foreshadow twists.

Dian Fossey

A Google Doodle honouring zoologist Dian Fossey, who would have been 82 today.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Worlds In Time out of time

The multiplayer puzzle game thing launched around Christmas 2011 is to close in March, and stopped accepting further payments today. As a thank you, it gave subscribers a 10% discount at the BBC Shop.

I was not keen, although I did like the Clockwork Spaceships. If nothing else, it produced this fanart from Regenerated artist Girl On The Moon.

The British Museum

A Google Doodle reveals this is the 255th anniversary of the British Museum. Which is, obviously, great. And rather Who-ish, being a huge collection of historical artefacts across a vast range of subjects bang in the middle of London.

It has never appeared as itself in the show, but in plenty of spinoff stories. In the parallel time created by the stars going out, the National Museum took its place. (It did appear as itself in Primeval.)

It’s also home to one of the Tenth Doctor banknotes from The Runaway Bride. Which were never meant to be looked at too closely in the episode, but I always thought could kick off a story hook of their own...

Friday, 10 January 2014

The Beatles, National Health spectacles, and fog

New DWM, and yes, Peter Capaldi IS The Doctor!

“I was five when the show started. I don’t remember Doctor Who not being part of my life, and it became a part of growing up, along with The Beatles, National Health spectacles, and fog. And it runs deep. It’s in my DNA.”

So, to honour our new Doctor’s recollections, any ideas for an adventure hook about the other things in that list?

I Saw Her Standing There

April 30th, 1964, and the Beatles are on tour, playing at the Odeon Cinema in Glasgow. They were lucky to make it across from playing Edinburgh the night before, because there’s a hell of a fog coming in...

And a few people, with bad eyesight, swear they can see shapes moving in the mists. It just so happens they all got their prescription glasses updated by the same Doctor. And after someone bumps into him in the mist, perhaps on purpose, John Lennon cracks a lens and needs a new one...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Simone de Beauvoir

First non-New-Year Google Doodle of the year goes to the 106th birthday of French feminist writer, editor, world traveller and activist Simone de Beauvoir. Brave, sharp-witted and not one to take guff from anybody.

“I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity. I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end.”

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.”

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Day Of The Dredlox!

That time Power Man and Iron Fist fought off-model Daleks escaped from a play written by an off-model Doctor based on his adventures.

This never took off, unlike that other cult British TV knockoff the Hellfire Club, now a more important group in the X-Men than the original one-shot villains they lifted from The Avengers. (That’s Steed and Peel, not the Marvel superheroes, to add to the general confusion.)

According to this they did actually appear at least once more, apparently in an Avengers story (the Marvel superheroes this time!) named after the original title of City Of Death and co-written by noted Whovians the Lofficiers...

Point in their favour, the Dredlox have different arm attachments and weapons arrays, which if nothing else is toyetic.

And it’s also unconnected to the times the Doctor has been part of the Marvel (UK) universe due to licensing - some of which you can see in the DWM Seventh Doctor reprint comics A Cold Day in Hell, like the time he shrank Death’s Head down to human size with the Master’s Tissue Compression Eliminator and the time he was TARDIS-jacked by the Sleeze Brothers.

Of course, they were hardly the only ones. Getting stuck in unreliable time machines was a common problem for British comic superheroes in the 60s and 70s for some reason...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

It begins...

Peter Capaldi’s first day of filming, still in The Snowmen onwards Matt outfit. No new costume pics yet.

“New job, first day, slightly nervous. Just like the Doctor, I’m emerging from the TARDIS into a whole other world.”

And a new DWM on Thursday, with the traditional Peter Capaldi IS The Doctor! cover feature.

Here we go!

DWA Monster Build figure kits

Doctor Who Adventures is currently giving away the Monster Build Kit pack. Four snap-together plastic figures - Vastra, Strax, a 2013 Cyberman and a Weeping Angel.

And now an unnecessarily thorough review...

They’re not remotely miniatures scale. Which may make the rest of this post redundant.


Micro Universe Dalek and new action figure Clara for scale comparisons. Nor are they in scale with each other - Strax is as tall as the others, which makes him huge. And his head is too big for his body...



Being snap together, they are (apart from Strax) also somewhat mobile at the shoulder and neck. (And the thighs in the case of the Cyberman, making it as articulated as an original Star Wars figure if you take it off the base - the prongs are in the feet, though, so it cannot stand without it.)

A bit too much flash off the sprues, the Weeping Angel needs ears and a bit more back of the head (and can raise her arms to grab but not to cover her face) and the Cyberman’s proportions look a bit funny.

But still. Quite nice once all snapped together.

Oh, and if you’re a kid, or have kids, this is the first issue (of three) with tokens to win the life-size replica Dalek. You know you want to.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Boudicca, Hypatia, Aethelflaed... eyeliners?

Possibly the strangest source yet for a list of Celebrity Historical candidates - Ignis Antiquita, an indie line of makeup named for great women of classical and mediaeval history. Click on each picture for a short introduction to the namesake.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

The Doctor goes to... Australia

One byproduct of having an Australian sister-in-law is often getting calendars from her family at Christmas. Hanging above the computer now, as of three days ago, is this sometimes terrifying Australian Weather calendar, replacing last year’s series of legendary images from The Dreamtime. So naturally, looking for a source of adventures, my eye is drawn to the image for January. And I am reminded that Doctor Who has never really visited Australia.

The role of Australia was played by Littlehampton in The Enemy Of The World, and there it was just a Bond-style Exotic Backdrop anyway.

So what would a Doctor Who story shot on location there be like? What would the crew have to include - Sydney Opera House, Uluru and a kangaroo?

What would a suitable historical event be?

I could ask an Australian correspondent here, as I know a DWAITAS writer who shares a home town with Tegan...

Wednesday, 1 January 2014