Doctor Who adapts to a socially isolated world with community, new fiction, wisdom, and determination
The past week has seen seismic changes to the way people in many countries around the world live their lives. Everyone who can is working from home, and we venture out only for the core necessities. Those most vulnerable in our community are being cocooned with distance to keep them safe. The front line workers who keep our society functioning, and care for us when we need them most are working harder for ever. Comic and science fiction conventions will remain a fond memory for the foreseeable future. And anxiety is everywhere. Some people face an uncertain road ahead in their jobs. All stand aware of a menace that seems to circle ever closer to our loved ones. If it hasn’t already touched them personally.
In such a world, the delayed production or release of TV shows like The Walking Dead and movies like No Time to Die seems like small news. But it is also a time in which people’s hopes need lifting more than ever. A time in which the Doctor Who community, both professional and fan, is pulling together more than ever before to do just that. From production teams past and present, to Doctor Who Magazine and Big Finish, people are uniting behind the Doctor’s creed. Never cruel, never cowardly. But never give in. Never give up.
As previously reported in these pages, the Doctor herself has sent an emergency message to Earth. Jodie Whittaker, thanks to the magic of her own spare costume and an IKEA wardrobe, sent words of reassurance to fans of all ages.
Things She Thought While Falling by Chris Chibnall
As well as helping draft that message, Chris Chibnall presented us with a brand new Doctor Who prose vignette, Things She Thought While Falling. A new adventure sandwiched between Twice Upon a Time and her arrival in The Woman Who Fell to Earth. It gives an insight into the new Doctor’s attempts to identify exactly the sort of person she’s going to be even as she faces a usually fatal drop.
Meanwhile, following Steven Moffat’s #SaveTheDay tweetalong, his and Chibnall’s predecessor Russell T Davies wasn’t to be outdone. Doctor Who Magazine’s Emily Cook continued to work wonders as she united a new team to mark the 15th anniversary of Doctor Who’s resurrection with a global rewatch of Rose, #TripOfALifetime. Davies, already active and hilarious on Instagram, joined Twitter especially to tweet along his anecdotes and thoughts. But more than that, he released more Doctor Who short stories, both new and previously unreleased. Doctor Who and the Time War was originally commissioned by Doctor Who Magazine for the 50th Anniversary. A surviving fragment of a ‘lost’ Target book it at last revealed the story of the Eighth Doctor’s regeneration.
Doctor Who and the Time War by Russell T Davies
‘Oh,’ said Steven Moffat when he was told, and the secret plans for The Night of the Doctor meant Doctor Who and the Time War’s publication was cancelled. But thanks to #TripOfALifetime a window into a parallel world was opened… You can read the text on the BBC’s website. Or, designed in true Target pastiche style and with a cover by Lee Binding, on Davies’ instagram.
View this post on Instagram
ROSE: THE PREQUEL. Designed as a Target paperback by @ratkins45 , thank you! To explain: this was written for Doctor Who Magazine in early 2013, to show the Eighth Doctor regenerating into the Ninth. But! The Day of the Doctor script knocked that for six, continuity-wise, so this was buried deep. Until today! It’s a glimpse of parallel events… Brand new ROSE: THE SEQUEL tonight at 7.45! . . @bbcdoctorwho @doctorwho_magazine @emily_rosina commissioned by @tomspilsbury cover by @leebinding ♥️
Revenge of the Nestene by Russell T Davies, read by Jacob Dudman
And, after the episode ended, another treat. Doctor Who: Revenge of the Nestene picked up where Rose left off. One tiny sliver of the Nestene consciousness survives the Doctor’s Anti-Plastic. And it has plans… You can read Revenge of the Nestene on Davies’ Instagram, or listed to it being performed by the exemplary man of a thousand Doctor voices (well, at least four) Jacob Dudman in his home studio.
View this post on Instagram
ROSE: THE SEQUEL. Cover by Anthony Dry, design by Richard Atkinson @ratkins45. You can see this performed by the amazing Jacob Dudman @jacobdudman at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CpFoOkSDgnc&feature=youtu.be – music by Joel Kraemer, all produced brilliantly by Emily Cook @emily_rosina. . . . @bbcdoctorwho @doctorwho_magazine @bbcone @bbc #kippers #enoughnowenough
Big Finish hold the line
Elsewhere this week Big Finish followed the K.B.O maxim and Kept Buggering On. They may have closed their warehouse for the duration (and Blogtor Who gives them a classic Brig salute for keeping the warehouse in their jobs on full pay). But they’re carrying on delivering downloadable Doctor Who goodness to the housebound world. While CDs that have been ordered coming later when normal service resumes. Famously recording well in advance, Big Finish won’t be running out of content any time soon, and have made only minor tweaks to their schedule. However, they’re also pressing ahead with the recording of new material. This week actors and director have been using tools like Zoom to coordinate and record their contributions from home. Which has also given us this frankly magnificent photo of Tom Baker at work. And you thought getting your grandmother on Zoom was a wild ride.
Talk about phoning it in! We’re in production RIGHT NOW, with Tom Baker, down the line to producer @RichardsonBF and director @BriggsNicholas! More #DoctorWho is on the way! Let’s all wave back! 👋 pic.twitter.com/WId4MBnoDi
— Big Finish (@bigfinish) March 26, 2020
Next Week: The Eleventh Hour and Vincent and the Doctor!
This coming week will see more of Emily Cook’s efforts arrive on Twitter. On Monday, writer Richard Curtis, script editor Emma Freud and Tony Curran (Vincent) will be live tweeting Vincent and the Doctor as the #TheUltimateGinger event. But that’s not all! They’ll be joined by Bill Nighy, Amy Pond herself Karen Gillan and… Matt Smith! Yes, the Eleventh Doctor himself will be making his Twitter debut especially for this! And on Friday it will be followed with #Geronimo – celebrating The Eleventh Hour. Both accompanied by further guests and treats to be announced. And don’t forget, as well bringing a little light into everyone’s secluded living rooms, it’s all to aid the Film and Television Charity. The charity supports actors and other creative and production staff and is never more needed than now, with many freelancers in the industry out of work for the foreseeable future. You can donate through the Doctor Who: Lockdown! campaign below. So give it a thought it you’re enjoying the live tweet events.