CBN reviewer and UK correspondent, Darren Blackburn, is back covering Doctor Who giving us a look at the upcoming season 7 and more.
Check out all the info on the upcoming episodes.
Warning: Minor spoilers present.
Doctor Who returns Saturday March 30th.
THE BELLS OF ST JOHN by Steven Moffat
The season opener is Who’s answer to Skyfall -- an urban thriller set in contemporary London. It has a lot to juggle; the third (third!) introduction of Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara Oswald, the impossible girl who has died twice; the new look Eleventh Doctor’s togs (and a Monk impression); his beloved Triumph motorbike along with new monsters, the Spoonheads (sic), and something lurking in the Wi-Fi, as yet again Moffat takes something we all use and makes it sinister. I guess this is his way of getting back at all those jibes from rabid David Tennant fans on Twitter!
Guest stars include Celia Imrie (best known to English audiences as Miss Babbs from Acorn Antiques) and rumoured returning thespian Richard E. Grant as Dr Simeon/The Great Intelligence, either in a flashback to the Victorian era from "The Snowmen" or a modern day relative. Could the Intelligence be the force behind Clara’s impossible nature, or is there some more wicked insidiously clever time-twisting paradox that Moffat has in mind to torture us with?!
STAR POINTS – The episode features the Shard; the tallest building in the European Union standing at 1,016 ft (that’s 309.6 metres) tall with 95 floors. Landmark buildings in London have a habit of being destroyed in Doctor Who. The Houses of Parliament/ Big Ben was knocked by a falling spaceship in "Aliens of London," the Thames Flood Barrier was broken in "The Runaway Bride" and UNIT’s new hq, The Tower of London, was assaulted by a cube playing the Birdie Song in "The Power of Three!" "The Bells of St John" has two links – the St John’s Ambulance logo on the right hand door of the Tardis and the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons. Oh, and in case you missed it from the Snowmen, Clara’s birthday is 23rd November - the same date Doctor Who began in 1963...
THE RINGS OF AKHATEN by Neil Cross
Modern Clara’s first trip in the Type 40 is to the red-hot gas giant Akhaten where the citizens live in the planet’s habitable rings. The main adversary is The Mummy -- but what is he? And what does he have to do with the Queen of Years? The Akhaten culture has a clear ancient Egyptian feel with some reckoning, that as the recent trailer also reveals, the planet itself is not what it appears to be; could he be an Osarian? Neil Cross is better known here in the UK for writing taut thriller "Luther" as well as episodes of "Spooks" and the upcoming NBC series "Crossbones."
STAR POINT - The story apparently boasts the highest number of different monsters and aliens to appear in a modern episode with over 60 different designs for the scenes in the Market.
COLD WAR by Mark Gattis
A biggie for old Who fans as this marks the return of the Ice Warriors after a 40 year absence! Yes, Who’s very own Martians are back stomping around a Russian submarine in the 60’s when the crew disturb one of the slumbering giants in a nod to The Thing -- and it goes amok!
Veteran Mark Gattis gets two slots to fill and two chances from me to further redeem himself from the disaster that was "Victory of the Daleks." He’s partly playing safe here -- knowing that fans will be eager to see the Warriors back, but that the same time can he recapture their trademark nasssssitiesssssnessssssssss?! Guests include David Warner who has been in so many sci-fi films and shows from Star Trek (5 the one with God and 6 the one where he was Klingon Chancellor) to audio stories playing an Alternate Universe Doctor!
STAR POINT – Despite the temptation the designers haven’t changed the classic Ice Warrior look -- except for the hands which used to be clamps! Their last televised story was the "Monsters of Peladon" from 1973 which featured Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee. The Ice Warriors did get a verbal mention in "Waters of Mars" -– but will that get a mention and is this chap a refugee from the Red Planet after the Flood were contained?
HIDE by Neil Cross
The second story from Neil Cross is a “ghost/ haunted house story” with a very stark alien element which will scare children behind their iPads! The monsters are the eerie Whispermen – who visually look as if they escaped from a Tim Burton adaptation of Buffy’s “Hush” – in fact I wonder if Cross saw the episode and that was the inspiration for this? The tale is set inside Caliburn House on a bleak moor where a professor and his young assistant are investigating the house’s legend, the Witch from the Well, said to be eternally chased by some evil force -- but what could scare a ghost?
Guest stars include talented actress Jessica Raine who recently starred in the BBC’S 50’s drama Call the Midwife. She starred as the Nanny in the film The Woman in Black and will later in the year appear as Verity Lambert – Doctor Who’s first producer - in the 50th anniversary story "An Adventure in Time and Space."
JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE TARDIS by Steven Thompson
Yet another writer with something to show after his last lackluster outing. Thompson wrote the dire "Curse of the Black Spot" which was so bad that when I did the review as a pirate -- CBN EIC Matt McGloin told me off (Editor's Note: More like a scolding. - Ahoy, Matey Matt)! But does Sherlock’s other writer have a crafty scheme to get back in our good books.? Yes he does by doing the Gattis thing: giving fans what they’ve always wanted to see -- a proper tour inside the Tardis! Again, not a lot is known about the plot; it features a trio of brothers and the Van Baalen’s who are intergalactic salvage merchants who somehow get into the Tardis to get something from its heart. Playing one brother is actor/rapper Ashley Walters known as Asher D in the band So Solid Crew and has starred in films Sinbad, Top Boy and Inside Men.
STAR POINTS - The heart of the Tardis isn’t Billie Piper. The true heart is the Eye of Harmony -- a super dense black hole which provides the power to thrust the Type 40 through the time vortex. The Eye has been referenced to in many stores in the classic era, notably the "Deadly Assassin" (4th Doctor) where a dying Master uses the Primary Eye on Galifrey to get another regen cycle. It also cropped up in the TV movie where another Master (Eric Roberts) was thrashed by half-human Doc No.8.
Steven Moffat remembers how fans hated the scenes in the Tardis in the dire story "Invasion of Time" -- another 4th Doctor Who where Sontarans invaded the Time Lord home world. Scenes were filmed in a disused hospital conjuring up the idea that Tardis walls are forever red bricks and crumbling concrete. This story promises to redress that massive mistake with some scenes set in the famous Tardis library and swimming pool; the two most requested rooms that have till now never been seen except in graphic novels and books.
THE CRIMSON HORROR by Mark Gattis
Gattis’ second script has a definite League of Gentleman vibe to it: set in the 1800’s in the cotton candy trappings of Sweetville where something nasty is messing around with the liquorice allsorts. Not a lot is known about the story itself ; however, we do know it has the first post Snowmen appearance of the Pasternoster Gang as Strax, Jenny and Madame Vastra return for the first of two stores, the other being the season finale.
Special guest star is another genre veteran – Dame Diana Rigg – aka Emma Peel from the 60’s Avengers and also the wife of James Bond! Alongside her is real life daughter Rachael Stirling.
THE LAST CYBERMAN by Neil Gaiman
Two writers have a lot to show but one writer has a more difficult task -- can Neil Gaiman of Sandman fame top "The Doctor’s Wife?!" Well the odds are in his favour as like Gattis with the Ice Warriors -- Neil has the job to make the Cybermen scary again, and I think we’re in safe hands. Gaiman’s story is set on the planet – Hedgewicks World – an amusement park that has seen better days. There is a new race of Cybermen being born from the ashes of the old and only a handful of freedom fighters can stop them. Guests include yet another sci-fi veteran - Warrick Davis – aka Ewok Wicket from Star Wars Return of the Jedi and Willow. Here he plays another weird character -- Porridge.
STAR POINTS – This story could have been spoiled adversely when Neil’s script was found lost in a Taxi cab in Cardiff. Thankfully the script was returned unharmed after Cybermats were dispatched to apprehend the errant driver. The new look Cybermen were unfortunately spoiled online when filming took place at Castell Coch (last seen "The Also People"). The Cybus logo has gone and replaced are a sleek muscular suit with a built in gun -- although one Cyberman is seen using a mace! Also the hated stomping sounds have been done away with to return them to the cold quiet killing machines from the Troughton era.
FINALE by Steven Moffat
The actual title remains to be announced but recent trailers hint that the story may feature the Fields of Trenzalore, which as you may know is where the Eleventh is destined to Fall when the Question hidden in Plain Sight is answered. What we do know is that the Pasternoster Gang return along with a possible return of the Great Intelligence. It’s also rumoured to feature Moffat’s newest scary creations - the Vigil - who are said to be a another faction of the Silence.
STAR POINT – Don’t believe the above.
Join me as I return to review the second half of series 7 -the 50th anniversary has began.