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If you share my jealousy of Peter Capaldi and his new guise as the Doctor, then read on to discover how you could become the next Time Lord with a fondness for Earth. However, be warned: you can’t just pick up Matt Smith’s bow-tie from the floor, don Tom Baker’s scarf, and expect to save planet Earth every Saturday at peak viewing time. You’re going to need training. This is where Oxford’s online products can help you. Think of us as your very own Companion guiding you through the dimensions of time, only with a bit more sass. So jump aboard (yes it’s bigger on the inside), press that button over there, pull that lever thingy, and let’s journey through the five things you need to know to become the Doctor.
Being called two-faced may not initially appeal to you. How about twelve-faced? No wait, don’t leave, come back! Part of the appeal of the Doctor is his ability to regenerate and assume many faces. Perhaps the most striking example of regeneration we have on our planet is the Hydra fish which is able to completely re-grow a severed head. Even more striking is its ability to grow more than one head if a small incision is made on its body. I don’t think it’s likely the BBC will commission a Doctor with two heads though so best to not go down that route. Another example of an animal capable of regeneration is Porifera, the sponges commonly seen on rocks under water. These sponge-type creatures are able to regenerate an entire limb which is certainly impressive but are not quite as attractive as The David Tenants or Matt Smiths of this world.
(2) Fighting aliens
Although alien invasion narratives only crossed over to mainstream fiction after World War II, the Doctor has been fighting off alien invasions since the Dalek War and the subsequent destruction of Gallifrey. Alien invasion narratives are tied together by one salient issue: conquer or be conquered. Whether you are battling Weeping Angels or Cybermen, you must first make sure what you are battling is indeed an alien. Yes, that lady you meet every day at the bus-stop with the strange smell may appear to be from another dimension but it’s always better to be sure before you whip out your sonic screwdriver.
(3) Visiting unknown galaxies
The Hubble Ultra Deep Field telescope captures a patch of sky that represents one thirteen-millionth of the area of the whole sky we see from Earth, and this tiny patch of the Universe contains over 10,000 galaxies. One thirteen-millionth of the sky is the equivalent to holding a grain of sand at arm’s length whilst looking up at the sky. When we look at a galaxy ten billion light years away, we are actually only seeing it by the light that left it ten billion years ago. Therefore, telescopes are akin to time machines.
The sheer vastness and mystery of the universe has baffled us for centuries. Doctor Who acts as a gatekeeper to the unknown, helping us imagine fantastical creatures such as the Daleks, all from the comfort of our living rooms.
(4) Operating the T.A.R.D.I.S.
The majority of time-travel narratives avoid the use of a physical time-machine. However, the Tardis, a blue police telephone box, journeys through time dimensions and is as important to the plot of Doctor Who as upgrades are to Cybermen. Although it looks like a plain old police telephone box, it has been known to withstand meteorite bombardment, shield itself from laser gun fire and traverse the time vortex all in one episode. The Tardis’s most striking characteristic, that it is “much bigger on the inside”, is explained by the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, by using the analogy of the tesseract.
(5) Looking good
It’s all very well saving the Universe every week but what use is that without a signature look? Tom Baker had the scarf, Peter Davison had the pin-stripes, John Hurt even had the brooding frown, so what will your dress-sense say about you? Perhaps you could be the Doctor with a cravat or the time-traveller with a toupee? Whatever your choice, I’m sure you’ll pull it off, you handsome devil you.
Don’t forget a good sense of humour to compliment your dashing visage. When Doctor Who was created by Donald Wilson and C.E. Webber in November 1963, the target audience of the show was eight-to-thirteen-year-olds watching as part of a family group on Saturday afternoons. In 2014, it has a worldwide general audience of all ages, claiming over 77 million viewers in the UK, Australia, and the United States. This is largely due to the Doctor’s quick quips and mix of adult and childish humour.
You’ve done it! You’ve conquered the cybermen, exterminated the daleks, and saved Earth (we’re eternally grateful of course). Why not take the Tardis for another spin and adventure through more of Oxford’s online products?
Image credit: Doctor Who poster, by Doctor Who Spoilers. CC-BY-SA-2.0 via Flickr.
Titan were announced as the new owners of the Doctor Who license last year, spurring many to wonder what their plans with the franchise would be. As it turns out, their plan is to have two books based on the space-travelling Time Lord, both of which have been announced today.
The first book will be Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, featuring David Tennant’s version of the character and with the creative team of Nick Abadzis and Elena Casagrande on the first arc. Interestingly, they have also announced that the second arc will see Robbie Morrison coming in to the series.
The second book will be Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor, featuring Matt Smith’s version of the character. This book will have a creative team of Al Ewing, Rob Williams and Simon Fraser. Ewing, Williams and Morrison are all named as ‘series architects’, suggesting they’ll be overseeing the line as a whole.
Rumours also abound that there will be a series called Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor, featuring Peter Capaldi’s upcoming take on the character. That book is probably quite a way away, however.
The two covers above are by Alice X. Zhang. Both books will be released on the same time – the 23rd July.
TweetIDW’s first volume of the collected DOCTOR WHO OMNIBUS is a compact but substantial little tome gathering two long story arcs (“Agent Provacateur” and “The Forgotten”) and six one-shots that appeared in single issue form featuring, for the most part, the adventures of the 10th Doctor. The production values on the collection are reasonably high, [...]
TweetIf you somehow didn’t know it already, then this is breaking news for you: this year marks the 50th anniversary of the longest running science fiction TV show in the world: Doctor Who. Long-running in some cases might mean plodding, but not in this case. The Doctor’s recent incarnation, actor Matt Smith, became the first [...]
Sony Pictures Animation has released a trailer for The Pirates! Band Of Misfits. We’ve embedded the video for the adaptation of Gideon Defoe‘s books above–what do you think?
Here’s more from Deadline: “Directed by Peter Lord and co-directed by Jeff Newitt, the stop-motion 3D adventure is based on books by Gideon Defoe, who also scripted. With the voices of Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Imelda Staunton and David Tennant, it opens March 30.”
According to Defoe’s website, the movie had a budget of $60 million. Defoe, a British author, has published four books in The Pirates! series. Book five, The Pirates! In an Adventure with the Romantics, will be released by Bloomsbury in June 2012.
Unless you’ve been living on Mars the past few years, you can’t help but have been sucked into the hype surrounding the reboot of the Doctor Who franchise, with Doctors Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant and then moving onto current incarnation Matthew Smith. Even if you have been living on Mars, you can still catch the shows within an hour depending on where we and the red planet are in our respective orbits. The current series restarts tonight in the UK (and very probably in the US too as they’re so much better synchronized nowadays) so today of all days feels appropriate to post on the connections between Johnny Mackintosh and the sole surviving Time Lord from Gallifrey.
I grew up with Dr Who, John Pertwee being my first Doctor but Tom Baker the main and best one from my youth. Although there was a time when the ridiculous TV schedulers put it up against Gerry Anderson’s Space 1999 (Moonbase Alpha won that particular battle for me way back then) I’ve watched Who pretty much all my life when available. The paperback of Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London contains all sorts of time travelling adventures, and my publisher Quercus even referenced Doctor Who on the cover (we’ll swiftly gloss over the mention of Alex Rider).
When I first heard Eccleston was leaving and Tennant was taking over, I was very disappointed – how wrong was I? For me, David Tennant now bestrides the Who universe as the greatest of all Doctors, not least because he so clearly loved the role when it always appeared Eccleston felt a little above it.
For Who trivia fans there’s a great scene in the movie Jude (starring Eccleston as the title character) where the man Jude is drinking in an Oxford bar. He’s slagging off the Oxford scholars and ends up in a slanging match with one such, none other than Tennant himself. While Tennant’s character fits effortlessly into his surroundings, Eccleston’s Jude is deliberately awkward and it’s always reminded me of their respective Doctoral personas.
Perhaps it’s a precursor to Moffat doing one of those Five Doctor specials with everyone returning to save the universe from a particularly thorny problem?
Although Russell T Davies was the man who brought Who back onto the small screen, many people would say it was the writing of Steven Moffatt tha
A New Year and I've been so busy organising interviews and giving my blog a jazzy new look I almost missed it's birthday. So, although I'm one day late I would like to celebrate my blog being exactly one year and one day old today.
When I first started this blog I wasn't sure what I'd write about but I soon realised that I wanted to inspire myself and, in doing so, hopefully inspire others. So I decided to focus mainly on debut and new children's and YA authors. People like me, ordinary writers who had a dream of being published and who had found success and achieved publication. I wanted to hear their stories of how they found their agents, their publishers, what they did to achieve their dreams. I wanted to hear about their books and introduce not only myself but others to these new writers. I wanted to hear why their agents chose to represent them, what made them stand out from other submissions. I wanted to learn, be inspired, feel encouraged - I wanted to believe that if it was possible for them it was possible for other aspiring writers such as myself to achieve their dreams.
One thing my interviews have shown is that there is no right way to achieve that agent or deal. Some are rejected time and time again until finally that idea, that book, that one agent or publisher sees the potential and dreams are fulfilled. Some are accepted almost straight away. All the writers have different backgrounds, different experiences, different interests, their diversity has brought a cornucopia of ideas, characters and settings to this blog that barely touches the surface of that wonderful, diverse area of books written for children and YA. There's so much more out there to find; to read; to enjoy; to be frustrated by; annoyed by; to be moved to tears by; to laugh; to ponder; to close the book and be glad that you found and read this story and discovered the characters that inhabit the world within.
I hope you have found this blog helpful, informative, that it has given pause for thought, and helped inspire and encourage.
I'd like to thank all my interviewees who have made this blog what it is and I hope that all its readers and visitors have enjoyed my posts. Tracy
And on a separate note, Doctor Who has been mentioned a few times on this blog as I am a huge fan. Last night I watched the final episode with David Tennant as The Doctor. I've loved his tenure as the tenth Doctor and he will be sorely missed.
Farewell David Tennant. You were brilliant!
5 Comments on HAPPY BIRTHDAY - ONE YEAR OLD, last added: 1/5/2010
From The Times online: A gothic tale about vampire hunters has become the perfect Hallowe'en winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007, it was announced yesterday. Marcus Sedgwick won the prize with his sinister story, My Swordhand is Singing, about a woodcutter and his son who fight the legendary undead in the forests of seventeenth-century Romania. (My review is here)
Proving that (a) "I aten't dead" yet and (b) that I am reading Blogs still, I'm linking to the latest contest by Nancy at Journey Woman - High Culture Meets Popular Culture.
Here's what Nancy says:
Here is your mission, if you want to play:
Submit your comments here with examples of TV shows, popular songs, or movies that used references or quotes from famous poets or authors in a way that may have caught people by surprise. Caught by surprise? I mean, don't include the movie Sense and Sensibility, where half of it was quotes from poetry because two of the characters sat around and read each other poetry throughout. Don't include Shakespeare in Love or Hamlet, where of course there will be a lot of, um, Shakespeare.
Give me movies like Porky's II, or songs like Dire Straits "Romeo and Juliet." Better yet, give me quotes from The Simpsons. Any extra explanation you can include, similar to mine above about Porky's II, will gain you extra points.
You also get extra points for posting about this contest on your blog.
Deadline: October 12 Prizes: Good. I'll randomly draw 4 winners and I'll send them gift cards worth real money ($10 to 25).
Enjoyment factor: 10
Oh, and I'll create a post of all the submissions. Please include links to videos, or pictures, if you can, because that will make the post more fun.
My own response (this will surprise no one who knows me) was as follows:
"Doctor Who": Season 1 - we had a meeting with Charles Dickens (doing his "A Christmas Carol" one-man show) in "The Unquiet Dead"; Season 3 - we had a meeting with Shakespeare (lots of quotations in "The Shakespeare Code", plus references to Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle", Harry Potter and the "Back to the Future" fims - talk about giving me a Nerdgasm !), poetry quotations from T S Eliot in "The Lazarus Experiment", and part of Laurence Binyon's "For The Fallen" at the end of "The Family of Blood". In addition there were the episodes with historical themes (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, Tooth and Claw, The Girl in the Fireplace, The Idiot's Lantern, Evolution of the Daleks/Daleks in Manhattan, and Human Nature/Family of Blood).
And that doesn't include the many, many meetings with literary and/or historical characters that were scattered throughout the Classic Who series.
Plus which, David Tennant's going to be playing in "Hamlet" and "Love's Labour's Lost" next summer/autumn - that's bound to get at least a few non-Shakespeare fans into the theatre !
And yes, I AM going to see David in "Hamlet" - my family have agreed to fund a trip to Stratford as my 40th birthday present next year - and a friend who's an RSC member is hoping to get us both a ticket once the online booking opens this week - so hopefully I'll get the date I want (September 5) which is a matinee performance with a full-cast "talkback" session afterwards. And did I mention Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation and X-Men fame is also in "Hamlet"? That makes it major Nerdgasm territory for me !!
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It's been unofficially confirmed that the incomparable David Tennant will be doing Hamlet with the RSC in Stratford next year (and no, it's not certain whether that means he's leaving "Doctor Who" at the end of the fourth season, which is currently being filmed). Since I studied Hamlet as part of my degree but have loved the play for many, many years, I thought I would share some lines from what is one of my favourite plays.
The first section is Polonius' advice to Laertes (Act 1, Scene III):
Yet here, Laertes! Aboard, aboard for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, And you are stay'd for. There ... my blessing with thee! And these few precepts in thy memory Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportion'd thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg’d comrade. Beware Of entrance to a quarrel but, being in, Bear't that th' opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man; And they in France of the best rank and station Are of a most select and generous chief in that. Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!
And how very wise is Shakespeare: "to thine own self be true"...
The second section is Hamlet's famous soliloquy which I memorised years and years ago and can still recite (Act III, Scene I):
To be, or not to be : that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there's the respect That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action. -- Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remember'd.
Just five weeks ago I wrote only my second ever fan letter to an actor. I included a birthday card because the actor's birthday was a couple of weeks later... Then, with so much going on in my life, I forgot about the letter until I got home today and found a self addressed envelope waiting for me. I looked at it rather blankly, wondering what it was, opened it and nearly dropped the contents in shock: a signed photo-postcard from David Tennant had fallen into my hand...
The funny thing is that David probably has very little idea of just how happy he's made me, just by writing a handful of words on this "Doctor Who" postcard !
And here's the postcard in question (apologies for the quality of the photo which was taken with my mobile phone's camera - and yes, that's my thumb !)
As you know by now, I'm a huge fan of the Scottish actor, David Tennant, who currently inhabits the role of The Doctor in BBC's "Doctor Who". I have been doing my best to keep up with his film and TV output, and last Sunday night the BBC aired a 90 minute, one-off drama called Recovery from the pen of Tony Marchant. This was not an easy drama to watch. Alan (Tennant) and Tricia Hamilton (Sarah Parrish) are very happy. He's the head of a building firm and at the top of his game. She's a part-time beautician and mother to their two sons, teenager Dean and younger son, Joel. However, one night their perfect, if unremarkable, life is torn apart when a last-minute decision to pop out for a quick drink with a colleague sees Alan step out in front of a passing truck. The resulting accident leaves him in a deep coma but with remarkably few physical injuries. Tricia is desperately worried about him and absolutely delighted when he comes round, only to discover that the man she loved has disappeared. His behaviour has changed, he's lost all of his inhibitions, and he's veering between angry and frustrated at the one extreme, and vulnerable and child-like at the other. Simple tasks like taking a shower, getting dressed and making toast are beyond him initially. He can't go back to the job he loves. Alan's behaviour puts an intolerable strain on his relationship with Tricia and she is desperate to find the soulmate and husband whom she loves - but fears she may have lost him forever.
Sons Joel and Dean are alternately frightened and charmed by their father - one minute he's throwing games around when Joel tells Alan it's his turn to make a move, and the next he's playing hide and seek, crawling through the grass with Joel. Dean, meanwhile, is in the process of taking his A-levels (pre-University exams) and veering between utter embarrassment at his father's lack of inhibition, and angry that his mother is prepared to abandon his father.
This was an amazing drama. Very moving, sometimes gut-wrenchingly sad, and sometimes laugh out loud funny. David Tennant's performance confirmed him to me as an utterly awesome actor who instinctively knows how to play any given role, without ever going over the top. If you get the chance to see it, do so.