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  1. S11.E02: The Ghost Monument

    Oh yes. The First Doctor in particular loved to name drop. So did Three. And historicals were quite a big thing in the First Doctor era (pure historicals being stories set in a historical era with no alien involvement other than the Doctor and his companions) - he travelled with Marco Polo for a period of months in his first season and played chess with Kublai Khan, visited the Aztecs (where Barbara was mistaken for a goddess), lived in a villa outside Rome for a few months and met Nero, got involved in The Crusades and met both King Richard and Saladin, hung out with Achilles and Odysseus and the whole gang during the Trojan War, had a tooth extracted by Doc Holliday out in the American West, and, as you've noted, also found himself in Paris in the run up to the Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve (in which he refused to get involved because he wouldn't change the course of established history; companion Steven was devastated by the whole thing, it is part of an amazing run of episodes). And that's just the First Doctor! Pure historicals fell out of favour thereafter, because the show had become so strongly associated with monsters and aliens that it was felt they had to be included in every adventure, so stories that were just about being part of history fell by the wayside, with adventures in bygone ages always written to include some kind of alien menace from the mid-2nd Doctor era onward (with the notable exception of the 5th Doctor adventure Black Orchid). But the Doctor has always had adventures in Earth's past, and a lot of those adventures have included encounters with famous historical figures. Well, the male Doctors have met their share of female historical figures too - Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria being case in point - but if we do get to explore more fabulous women in history than before, I'm all for that!
  2. S11.E02: The Ghost Monument

    Yeah, I kept expecting one of them to die, especially after last week, so I was pleased that everyone survived this episode! A bit clunky in places, perhaps, but a serviceable enough story, even if it was primarily a vehicle to reunite the Doctor with her TARDIS.
  3. S11.E02: The Ghost Monument

    I agree with this - it's like the contrast between the Fourth Doctor dying while saving the entire universe and the Fifth Doctor dying to save a single individual; put the two together, and that's who the Doctor is.
  4. S11.E02: The Ghost Monument

    I'm finding Thirteen very reminiscent of Five so far - he was also a young, blond Doctor with a relatively mild, sympathetic persona, who frequently came across as being in over his head (and suffered in comparison with the extreme charisma of his predecessor) - but who was very much the Doctor when it really counted. I don't think I've fully got to grips with Thirteen's personality just yet - and neither has she, for that matter - but I'm trying to do with this Doctor what I do with every new Doctor, especially when they come as a great contrast to the one before: I take a step back and remember how very different each new regeneration has been from the last, and think about how fans must have reacted to that change back then and how those very different personalities and eras all form part of the great tapestry that is this show. It is good to have a strong contrast between Doctors, I think...it just takes a bit of adjustment, especially in the beginning!
  5. S11.E02: The Ghost Monument

    Just to note that Doctor Who has never been broadcast live. I think you may have heard the term 'as live' and been a bit confused by it - filming 'as live' means that the whole episode was filmed sequentially in a single filming block, instead of filming piecemeal over a period of days or weeks and then editing everything together later. In Doctor Who's case, that filming block was usually a 90 minute studio session on a Friday night, after a week of round table rehearsals. Filming 'as live' meant they didn't have to cut and edit the film, which was a very expensive process in the '60s; they could only afford two or three cuts in each episode, so the actors couldn't afford to make any mistakes, as these couldn't be edited out - if they did make a mistake, they had to remain 100% professional and 100% in character and just keep going, make it part of the show, for which I have huge respect for them, since I don't think many of today's actors could do it, accustomed as they are to having multiple takes to get a shot right. 1960s Doctor Who was before I was born as well; doesn't stop me loving it. Yes, it is old fashioned, and the cinematography and narrative styles now seem primitive and dated, but it also has marvellous characters on a remarkable adventure, and there was a freedom and freshness about the show in those early years which I absolutely adore, because everything was new and anything was possible. The props and costumes look cheap to modern eyes, accustomed to big budgets and CGI that fills in all the blanks for us, but those early programme-makers worked absolute wonders with what they had, creating just enough for our imaginations to do the rest, and without those early building blocks, the show of today would not exist. If you watch the Classic show sequentially, you get to see the development of the TV industry, in effect - today's show-makers stand on the shoulders of the pioneers who came before them, figuring out innovative ways of trying to bring impossible concepts to life (maybe not always as successfully as either we or they might like, but they never stopped trying, always pushing forward). And in 10 years time, today's CGI will also look cheap and dated, because that's how cinematographical development works - always better to appreciate something for the age in which it was made than condemn it for not being made to the standard of today. TLDR, I love the new opening sequence and I especially love that it calls back to the earliest era of this show!
  6. S11.E02: The Ghost Monument

    That wasn't a cookie, it was a custard cream biscuit! I'm chary of calling something the 'big bad' of the season, too, but it does look as though the Stenza are going to be an ongoing storyline, woven through the season as a repeating thread. Which works for me. Eh, the intro doesn't need to have a TARDIS or the Doctor's face - that has only been done now and then through the show's 55 year run, so this intro is simply paying homage to a different era. As is the music - both, I feel, were inspired by the original music and title sequence, from 1963, and I am all over that, love it!
  7. S11.E02: The Ghost Monument

    Ha. I said they'd resolve that cliffhanger inside the first five seconds! Very 80s feel to this episode, but, y'know, if 80s Who had access to modern cinematography. A bit clunky in places, but also some really nice little moments - I like that Graham is trying to hold onto Ryan as a surrogate grandson and look out for him, whether Ryan likes it or not, and that Grace's death wasn't immediately forgotten in the heat of the new crisis, and Yasmin's willingness to wait for Ryan if he takes a bit longer to do some stuff. Looks like the Stensor (or however they spell their name) are going to be the story arc of the season, since they've come up twice in the first two episodes. Love the old school theme tune. Not sold on the new TARDIS (I prefer it a bit less gloomy) but I'm sure it'll grow on me.
  8. S11.E01: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

    I assumed at first that those scenes were filmed up in the Peaks, since I know they did some filming in Yorkshire, but have since confirmed that most if not all of those 'up on the Peaks' scenes were in fact filmed in the South Wales Valleys - my other half immediately recognised the spot where Ryan sits and mopes while Grace and Graham give him a pep talk after chucking his bike over the edge; he's sat on that same ridge himself many times. When Ryan climbed down into woodland, that was definitely not the Peaks; probably also filmed in the valleys.
  9. S11.E01: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

    We're getting a bit off-topic for this episode here, but I think the history of the show for the last 50+ years would beg to differ with you. We've already discussed how the vast majority of companions have been normal people who got swept along with the Doctor by accident, not because they were chosen for their suitability - pretty much all of them managed just fine, proving both fast enough and smart enough, and there weren't dead bodies everywhere. And I include New Who companions in that - Rose, Donna, Rory, and so on, were all very normal people. I have seen every episode ever made of this show, including the ones that don't exist any more (thanks to the magic of recons), and it has always been a large part of the point of the show: ordinary people getting swept along on this incredible adventure, and learning that they can cope, that they are capable of more than they ever imagined, that they too can be heroes. It has always been a huge part of the selling power of the show, that the Doctor's companion could be anyone - it could be you, it could be me. Because you don't have to be special, you don't have to be qualified, you just have to be willing to dig deep and be brave, and even the most unlikely of people can (and do) find themselves capable of that, when put to the test. I could go into more detail on this, but at this point I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree, since it is clear that we have very different interpretations of the show. On topic, I am looking forward to the second episode tomorrow to find out how the cliffhanger will be resolved and how the trio of new companions will react to being accidentally kidnapped into space!
  10. Sitting here in work discussing this very windy royal wedding, one of my colleagues has just told us that a couple of years ago, when he was working in London, he attended a project meeting one day and was the last to arrive, so took the only available seat without paying much attention to who else was in the room, whereupon the person next to him turned and said, "Hi, I'm Beatrice, the project manager," and he was halfway through introducing himself before he realised it was Princess Beatrice. She was remarkably normal and pleasant, he said, completely businesslike, with her security detail as low-key as could possibly be achieved.
  11. S11.E01: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

    You might be right. Maybe he can. But I prefer it when the companions haven't been hand-picked for their suitability, when they are thrown together for other reasons and have to learn how to cope on the fly. I remember way back, before Clara, reading an interview with Moffat in which he described the process of creating a new companion, and he said something about having to come up with the kind of characters who would want to travel in the TARDIS and would be good at adventuring, and I thought then that it was the wrong approach, because if you only ever use that one archetype to build new characters, it gets very samey: pair of adrenaline junkies roaming the universe together. Been there, done that, many times over since the reboot began. But if you open the field up to other personality types, and allow for the possibility of someone getting caught up in these adventures without having intended it, and without having been chosen for their suitability, suddenly there are all kinds of other storylines and personality types and relationships to explore and develop. So I am happy to see these three getting chucked in at the deep end without either them or the Doctor intended it - it sets up a new kind of story that we haven't yet seen in the reboot.
  12. S11.E01: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

    Which was Harriet's argument, and like I said, I think she was proved right about being the one with ultimate responsibility for making that decision. And way back in 1970, the Brig's argument for blowing up the hibernating Silurians was that they had just tried to wipe out the entire human population by means of a deadly virus and couldn't be trusted not to try again; tactically, they were a risk that couldn't be taken, an ongoing threat that couldn't be allowed to lie just because it was currently dormant. Also a valid argument. But I was giving the Doctor's reason for being angry about it, which was the same as her reason for being angry with Carl for pushing a defeated and dying enemy off the top of a crane here. Thirteen was less vindictive about it than Ten, probably because Tim Shaw was already dying anyway (and was able to teleport away so that the fall didn't kill him). She was just disappointed in Carl for striking below the belt after the bell, as it were. Ten was absolutely furious because he thought he'd just negotiated a bloodless peace, and then bam, so he took it very personally.
  13. Strictly in the Media

    And before that it was Brendan Cole and Natasha Kaplinsky, which supposedly ended his relationship with...another dancer whose name I forget. And there have been many others - basically, the trash media will pounce on even the slightest hint of either potential romance or of scandal and then blows it up out of all proportion.
  14. S11.E01: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

    I always thought she was proved right too - the Doctor choosing to punish Harriet, in defiance of what he claimed was established history, directly paved the way for the Master to take control of Earth! But I do think his anger at Harriet stemmed from the same place as the anger at Carl here, yes - in both cases the enemy was already defeated and retreating (and actively dying, in Tim Shaw's case). The danger was over and the battle won, so that what Harriet and Carl did was effectively an act of murder rather than of war. And, I guess, that kind of fuzzy grey area is why we have rules of engagement and war crimes tribunals. It is also why the Third Doctor was so upset when the Brigadier blew up the hibernating Silurians way back in 1970. Actively harming a defeated and helpless opponent goes against the Doctor's sense of fair play in just the same way that invading an alien world to hunt and abduct an unsuspecting random target does!
  15. S11.E01: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

    Carl did sort of know about the DNA bombs, yes, because the Doctor and Tim Shaw had a whole conversation about them right in front of him - but how much of it he understood is debatable. He lashed out at a defeated enemy, that's what the Doctor was angry about. Tim Shaw was beaten and was already dying - the Doctor tossed the recall device to him so he could teleport home to die (or possibly in the remote chance that he could be healed before the DNA bombs killed him). He then did teleport home while falling, so it isn't as if Carl killed him - he was dying anyway, and never hit the ground. So I think it was the vengefulness of the act that the Doctor objected to - although as you say, it is hard not to sympathise with Carl there! ETA sorry about the double post - I meant this to be part of the post above, but it went wrong.