With a week to the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who, I thought I would give you this quick "at a glance" guide to what's coming up. Of course, thanks to the links and stuff provided by Matt here at CBN over the last few weeks, you have some idea of what's in store for The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams/Not Mr. Pond (Arthur Darvill) -- which is less than 2 years away from reaching the milestone 50th Anniversary....
As you may know, this year, the series is split into two distinct parts: 7 episodes transmitted in the Spring ending on some monumental "game changing cliffhanger," devised by Head Writer Steven Moffat. Then, after a brief break over the Summer, resuming with the final 6 episodes in the Autumn/Fall - with only a few weeks after that for the confirmed 2011 "Christmas Story."
Like last years "Crack in the Universe" arc, this year features two arc threads. The first being the revelations behind that sinister catch-phrase "silence will fall," - as we find out who/what caused the Tardis to explode in "The Pandorica Opens." Second, the mystery of just who is River Song - who first appeared in "Silence in the Library" back in 2008. Is she the Doctor's future Wife? Or his possible murderer?
So let us step into our Type 40 Tardis and find out what has been tossed out of the time vortex!
EPISODES 1: The Impossible Astronaut
EPISODES 2 : Day of the Moon
Written by: Steven Mofatt, Directed by Toby Haynes
Guest Stars: Alex Kingston, Stuart Milligan, Mark Sheppard
Setting: United States of America in the year 1969. Locations include Area 51, Utah and The White House.
Monsters: The debut of the sinister new creations from Mr. Moffat, "The Silence," as in "Silence Will Fall" and "The Men in Black."
Potential spoilers: One of the regular cast dies in the first episode - according to the cover blurb for last week's Doctor Who Monthly UK.
• The story is partly inspired by the missing 18 minutes from the Watergate tapes which lead to the impeachment of President Nixon.
• It’s the first time the series’ regulars have filmed in the US. Previous filming was done by a small prep crew who took scenes of New York’s famous skyline for the 2006 double: "Daleks In Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks."
• Its not the first time The Doctor has visited Area 51. His first visit took place in the New Adventure novel, "First Frontier," by writer David McIntee published in early 2000’s when the 7th Doctor and Ace encountered The Tzun (who bear an uncanny resemblance to The Silence) - notable for the death of Anthony Ainley’s Master (who plagued the 5th Doctor a lot and liked dressing up) into a Moriarty look-a-like. A more recent visit was by the 10th Doctor in the animated mini Dreamland which also featured Little Grey Men.
• The design of The Silence was inspired by the painting The Scream.
• Men in Black are new to Doctor Who lore, but they recently showed up last year in "The Sarah Jane Adventures," where they were robots.
EPISODE 3: The Curse of the Black Spot
Written by: Steven Thompson, Directed by Jeremy Webb
Guest Stars: Hugh Bonneville
Setting: 18th Century Cornwall on a Pirate Ship
Monsters: The beautiful, but deadly Sirens
Potential spoilers: Someone gets to walk the plank, and someone else has a brilliant swordfight with a cuttlefish.
• Its been a while since real, “are me hearties, splice the mainsail and where’s my parrot?” pirates showed up in Doctor Who. The last time was in the historical "The Smugglers" during William Hartnell’s third series back in 1965!
• Going the other way, the pirate captain who featured in the 1978 "Key to Time" story "The Pirate Planet" by Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fame) has a robotic parrot called Polyphase Avatron.
• Real Cornish pasties have meat at one end and apple pie with custard in the other.
• Sirens, in Greek mythology, sang sailors to their doom. Whether they could release a decent single on American Idol is another matter entirely.
• There’s a possible hint of voodoo in this story. Voodoo rituals appeared in another David Mcintee New Adventure novel, "White Darkness" - where zombies and Great Old Ones, related to the Many Angled Ones, popped up.
EPISODE 4: The Doctor's Wife
Written by: Neil Gaiman, Directed by Richard Clark
Guest Stars: Suranne Jones, Adrian Schiller, Elizabeth Berrington with the voice of Michael Sheen
Setting: On a junkyard Planet somewhere beyond The Void
Monsters: A green eyed Ood and a malevolent entity called The House
Potential spoilers: The character Idris may or may not be The Doctor’s Wife!
• Neil Gaiman wrote "Neverland," "Stardust" and the award winning "Sandman" series for DC Comics' Vertigo label. This is his first script for Doctor Who. This story was originally planned for Matt’s debut last year, but was cut due to costs for the season’s climax. He describes the The Doctor’s Wife as a “letter of love for fans of Doctor Who.”
• The character House who “killed a few Time Lords” could be inspired from the concept of sentient houses, which featured in the novel "Lungbarrow" by Marc Platt published in early 2000. The House of Lungbarrow was the ancestral home of The Doctor’s family.
• Neil Gaiman revealed on his blog that this story, once called "The House of Nothing" - has ties to the 1969 adventure "The War Games," which was the last story of the 2nd Doctor played by Patrick Troughton - the main inspiration for Matt Smith’s portrayal of the 11th Doctor. "The War Games" was notable for introducing the concept of the Time Lords, although their planet, Gallifrey wasn’t named until 1973!
• Suranne Jones appeared in the "Sarah Jane Adventures" as The Mona Lisa.
• Michael Sheen is best known for playing prime minister, Tony Blair.
EPISODES 5: The Rebel Flesh
EPISODE 6: The Almost People
Written by: Matthew Graham, Directed by Julian Simpson
Guest Stars: Rachel Cassidy
Setting: On a remote island genetic research facility sometime in the near distant future
Monsters: The Gangers
Potential spoilers: One of the Tardis crew gets cloned. And aspects of this story ties to the series arc.
• Not the first time genetic engineering has cropped up in Who. There’s mad Kaled scientists, Sontarans - mutant plants, and well, a lot of stuff.
• Matthew Graham wrote "Fear Her" -- the one about the girl who could bring drawings to life and had that embarrassing scene of the 10th Doctor lighting the Olympic Flame at the London 2012 Games.
• Matthew Graham is more well known for "Life on Mars" - the series which featured John Simm as a cop caught in a time warp in the 70’s; later done by the Yanks starring Harvey Keitel.
• The Doctor says “Eeee By Gum.” This is, like rhyming Cockney Slang - not spoken by people living in the northern English county of Yorkshire. Its as fictitious as me saying How Bist in my native Shropshire.
• This story was filmed in an old Power Station -- as much a staple filming location as Welsh quarries.
EPISODE 7: A Good Man Goes to War (Editor's Note: Head on over here for more on this episode)
Written by: Steven Moffat Directed by Peter Hoar
Guest Stars: Who Knows???
Setting: Haven’t a das’t clue
Monsters: Maybe the return of the Alliance - last seen in The Pandorica Opens. Its been confirmed the Cybermen are in it!
• It’s the first time we’ve had a mid-season cliffhanger. Maybe a plan to move Doctor Who back to its traditional Autumn/Fall slot.
• There’s a rumor that the Doctor gets frozen in ice like Han Solo in Carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back.
• The Alliance could be back.
• The Tardis doesn’t have a hairdryer.
• That’s it.
EPISODE 8: ??????????????
Written by: Steven Moffat, Directed by Richard Senior
Guest Stars: Who Knows???
Setting: Could be Blackpool or in the Sahara
What Monsters are in it: That would be telling.
Potential spoilers: We’re in the dark about that one!
• Comes back after a three month break
• Its going to be a lot darker at night after the clocks go back
• Waiting 3 months is going to be murder!
• Steven Moffat wears a wig.
• That, I made up.
EPISODE 9: Night Terrors (working title/"What are Little Boys Made Of?")
Written by: Marc Gattis Directed by Richard Clark
Guest Stars: Daniel Mays, Andrew Tiernan, Emma Cuniffe
Setting: Modern Day Britain in a Tower Block
Monsters: Sinister Japanese Dolls!
Potential spoilers: This is a “behind the Sofa” one!
• This is the first time Marc Gattis, who wrote last years "Victory of The Daleks" (which was the least popular story of Series 5), has set a tale in modern day Britain. Previous temporal locations include 1880 in "The Unquiet Dead," The 1966 Queen’s coronation in "The Idiot’s Lantern" and the "Blitz" in "Victory of The Daleks" - the one that replaced brilliant Daleks with rejects from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
• This is going to be a real scary one.
• The kid character, played by Daniel Mays, suffers from an irrational fear of everything.
• Andrew Tiernan cropped up in "Outcasts," the most recent effort for BBC to do a proper Science-Fiction drama -- gotta say it was a load of rubbish! Thank God we’re getting • Torchwood back!
• My hands are aching.
EPISODE 10: The Green Anchor
Written by: Tom McRae, Directed by Nick Hurran
Guest Stars: ?????
What Monsters are in it: ?????
Potential spoilers: ?????
• Tom McRae last wrote "The Age of Steel" and "Rise of The Cybermen" in David Tennant‘s first season - who’ll crop up a lot in Series 6.
• David Tennant may have a cameo in "The Doctor’s Wife" - as there’s a scene in his Tardis during the regeneration.
EPISODE 11: The God Complex
Written by: Toby Whitehouse, Directed by Nick Hurran
Guest Stars: Davis Walliams as “Gibbis”
Setting: In a multi-dimensional Hotel that keeps shifting its rooms around.
Monsters: Sinister Ventriloquist Dummies (not the Muppets), Clowns and a big hairy beastie!
Potential spoilers: If you know Little Britain you’ll know who David Walliams is
• Last year, Toby wrote about vampire fish in Venice. This time he really wants to scare the pants off you. Just as well, as he writes the brilliant "Being Human."
• Toby was responsible for bringing back Sarah Jane Smith.
• Hopefully, we’ll not see David Walliams naked or saying “the computer says nooooo.”
• Did I mention my hands are getting tired?
• REALLY THEY ARE.....
EPISODE 12: ?????????????? (Editor's Note: Head on over here for more on this episode including vide)
Written by: Gareth Roberts, Directed by Steve Hughes
Guest Stars: James Corden, Daisy Haggard, Lynda Barron
Setting: Modern Day Britain
Monsters: The Cybermen and Cyber Mats!
Potential spoilers: It’s a sequel to "The Lodger" sans football.
• That’s right. Lovable bear drinking - he’s bad at playing pub football and had the courage to marry his girlfriend - Craig Owens is back on the scene fighting Cybermats and changing nappies. Lucky man.
• Cybermats first appeared in the classic 2nd Doctor story, "The Tomb of the Cybermen," designed by Cybermen creator Kit Pedler. Remote controlled surveillance drones, Cybermats, like the Cyber Helmet in "The Pandorica Opens," could inject nanites to covert victims into Cybermen. They haven’t been seen in Doctor Who for over 37 years!!
• From recent photos, the Cybus logo seems to have been removed - indicating the possibility that the Cybermen eying up Rory’s Roman Centurion costume could be the “real deal” rather than the refugees from the alternative universe separated by Void Space. Its a complex debate where the Cybermen from “our Universe” come from. On one side of the camp, is that Cybermen were originally from Earth’s twin planet Mondas; there, due to some viral outbreak, Mondassians were forced to replace flesh with bionics -- converting in time to the cold emotionless creatures we love today. On the other foot, Cybermen were native to the planet Telos, again using bionics to expand their life spans, occupying Mondas at a later date. Recently fans speculated that Telos was itself populated by the void Cybus Cybermen - having been thrown back in time beyond sightings in Victorian England and Roman Britain. That’s given me a headache.
• I like Cybermen more than Daleks.
• God, look at the time!
EPISODE 13: ??????????????
Written by: Steven Moffat Directed by Jeremy Webb
Guest Stars: Your guess is as good as mine!
Where is it set: Do I look like a Time Lord?
What Monsters are in it: Something not very nice.
Potential spoilers: Ask River Song.
Facts: There are none!
.... And that, is a wrap, my friendly USA pals. As I said before, I’m looking for would-be victims to do US reviews as the Episodes air. Mainly to see how you lot perceive our lovable Doctor. Any takers, let me know by e-mailing [email protected]
I hope you enjoyed this brief guide. I’m off to have a cup of tea from a Dalek.
For more from Darren Blackburn, check out his "Doctor Who" review column "Reverse The Polarity."
Doctor Who Season 6 premiers in both the U.S. and UK on April 23rd on the BBC!