Post for Last Week

This time I can’t blame a lack of time for my missed blog post. It was just too difficult to find the words (and re-live the emotions) to write anything near the anniversary of the U.S.’s worst terrorist attack. How do you write about pop culture when all around you are reminders of that terrible day?

If you were cognizant of the world around you twenty years ago, I’m sure you remember where you were and how you learned of the tragedy. I was working as a nanny at the time, and at 9:00am was in my employer’s home. The children’s father called down from upstairs, “Turn on the TV!” and we watched in horror as the towers were struck, then fell. I had worn a T-shirt to work, as usual when I nannied—this one had the skyline of New York on it, including the Twin Towers. (I retired that T-shirt, packing it carefully away, and have never worn it again.)

It seemed everyone I saw on September 11 knew someone in New York or D.C. My daughter tried calling several of her friends and family, but could not get through; the cell phone tower normally in use had been on the North Tower building. Theme parks evacuated and closed early in the day, affecting many in the Central Florida area who worked there (including Guardians), sending an ominous message of potential danger yet to come. After work, I went to the print shop that was supplying the Guardian Yearbook and found that the second printing would be postponed. The owner was waiting for a part for the printer that would now be delayed, as all planes were grounded. He noticed my T-shirt and mentioned that he was concerned about a friend of his in New York.

The following Saturday, the Guardians had an already-scheduled meeting at my home, originally meant to celebrate the Yearbook and plan for the Club’s future. We had spent the past year in a sort of limbo, having lost our usual Club meeting place and newsletter editor and not yet found a replacement, so this was an important gathering for us. I posted a flyer on the front door: “Welcome—leave the mundane world outside.” Impossible, of course, but being surrounded by fellow fans/friends made it easier to believe we could return to a normal life. Twenty years on we still remember, as we always will, the ones who were lost and the heroes who tried to save them.

Well, waiting a week helped, as I almost made it through this post without tearing up. I’ll post something lighter tomorrow, I promise.

Life Imitates Art (or Reality vs. The Whoniverse)

I was going to save this link for a post about inspiration for drabbles, but it just goes too well with a bit of news that appeared in the September Gallifrey Guardian:

Rare ‘Einstein Ring’ captured by Hubble reveals the depths of the universe (yahoo.com)

And here’s the article:

The Einstein Engine is a free PDF adventure for Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game Second Edition, and is compatible with the first edition of the game. The story takes players on a globe-spanning adventure which begins with a mystery in the Australian Outback in 1988 and travels to Peru in the far future. Written by Graham Tugwell, The Einstein Engine is designed to give Gamemasters an adventure to get them started with the newest edition of the Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game. Go here for a free download: The Einstein Engine  – Cubicle 7 (cubicle7games.com)

Is the timing just a coincidence, or serendipity?

Feeling Strange Tonight

Maybe an aftereffect of the Doors documentary I watched recently. Anyway, you’re getting a collection of odd bits for today’s post.

Took this close-up after my annual eye exam. I could be the next alien menace on Doctor Who—the one that looks innocently human until they take off their sunglasses and you see their eyes! (Have you heard the rumor that new companion Dan’s friend may be an alien in disguise?)

Scrolling through movie options on Amazon Prime, I came across one titled “Gog”—the acronym for Guardians of Gallifrey–from 1954. Synopsis: A giant brain machine is programmed to sabotage a government space station. Maybe “giant brain machine” is 1954-speak for computer?

No Doctor Who connection, but cosplayers may relate to this bit. Our state had a “tax holiday” a while back, purportedly for school supplies. In spite of the strangely wide range of eligible items I didn’t expect to see anything I would want to purchase. Perusing the 3-column list that included baby clothes, receiving blankets, diapers (including adult); fishing and hunting vests; clerical vestments, altar and religious clothing; sleepwear and lingerie*; every other type of clothing you could imagine; and, finally, actual school supplies, I found…COSTUMES!

*Personally, I would be doing some serious investigating if my kid’s school sent home a list of recommended supplies that included lingerie! 🙂 And no, that’s not meant to cover bras, slips, or underclothes, because those items were all listed separately.

MegaCon and More

The September issue of the Gallifrey Guardian featured MegaCon attendees, courtesy of the Guardians’ Lord President (who wore a mask with The Master’s signature goatee drawn on in black marker) and the Photoshop magic of our Editor. A fan cosplaying the 13th Doctor is also shown, holding her sonic screwdriver and wearing a mask decorated with “Kerblam!” logos. Love it, gotta find it, gotta have it! (If you need a reminder of the Kerblam episode, check out my blog posts from February 24, 2020 and December 19, 2019.)

I received the BBC Shop’s latest catalog in the mail and found they still have not corrected the error of which I notified them and posted about on March 23 of this year. (That makes at least the last three catalogs and the website that have mixed up the descriptions of The Curse of Fenric and Survival.) Hmmm…do you think an online petition from fans might encourage the BBC Shop to correct the error?

Doctor Who in the Media

Our local paper, the Orlando Sentinel, beat us to the announcement of Jodie’s departure (Section A, page 2, on July 30) but I don’t mind. Having been a fan so long I remember when it only had a cult following–Doctor Who? Who’s that?– it’s just great to see the show is so well-known now it’s covered by the mainstream media.

To see the Gallifrey Guardian‘s own Editor being interviewed by the BBC, yes I said BEING INTERVIEWED BY THE BBC (!), go here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1npZOxH2f0va8pSoSg3zjY-_vnVmUoCLF/view?usp=sharing

Bob’s part starts about a minute and 20 seconds in.

Spoilers! (Look what didn’t fit in the GG!)

As part of San Diego Comic-Con at Home’s programming, Chris Chibnall, Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill and John Bishop participated remotely in a Doctor Who panel to discuss Series 13 with moderator Melanie McFarland. McFarland described the series as “totally unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.” The team shared several major announcements and teased a few spoilers, including that all eight episodes will be chapters in one main story arc, each ending in a cliffhanger. Showrunner Chris Chibnall described it as “the biggest story we’ve ever done.”

John Bishop, who plays companion Dan Lewis, said of joining the TARDIS, “It’s on an international scale that’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done before.” The series is to begin with the Doctor and Yaz mid-adventure as they run into Dan, after having spent some time travelling as a duo.

The casting of Jacob Anderson as a recurring character named Vinder was announced at the panel with a special video appearance. Chibnall praised Anderson’s humanity, warmth, and ability to play an action hero: “He makes you root for him, and he breaks your heart…he’s got the whole range, he’s just brilliant.”

 The panelists made cryptic references to the return of some old enemies of the Doctor, but no specifics were forth-coming. The panel concluded with each member giving a one-word summary of the Series:  “Riveting” – “Inspirational” – “Mysterious” – “Swarm?”

The Series 13 teaser trailer was released at the end of the panel. Scenes from the trailer include Dan falling from a rope into a room (perhaps an archeological site?) with Yaz in a period costume, a scene with spaceships on an alien planet, Dan flying through what might be a ‘Time Window,’ and The Doctor using a slingshot.

You can view the video of the panel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzDthngLyDU

You can view the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNb51OwYO6M

ComicCon also held a Doctor Who Comics Panel, with Forbidden Planet TV’s Andrew Sumner discussing Titan Comic’s Doctor Who: Missy series with writer Jody House, artist Roberta Ingranata, colorist Enrica Eren Angiolini, and editor Jake Devine.

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Besides the original casting call for “men of Southeast Asian descent to play pirates for an exciting BBC programme,” a second call for Chinese actors was made on a Facebook page called British Chinese Network. The call directly quoted an urgent casting call from the Doctor Who production office on June 29, and was for men and women to play villagers, as well as men to play sailors. The location was given as Cardiff, with shooting dates of July 5th and 6th. The required roles and size of the cast suggests an extensive set build at Roath Lock Studios, with a village and Chinese sailing ships.

A Doctor Who film crew returned to sully Beach in Wales on July 15 to film more scenes with the TARDIS, Jodie Whittaker, John Bishop, and an unknown Southeast Asian actor. The props used on the beach included the TARDIS, boats, and fishing equipment; the same props used for filming there on June 25. After Whittaker left the location, Bishop filmed some scenes with the Southeast Asian actor, who wore a costume consistent with a 19th century Chinese man. Bishop again resembled a pirate, wearing a ‘poet’ shirt under a waistcoat, breeches, and Cavalier boots.

On July 26, the Doctor Who crew filmed an actor wearing a woven conical hat sitting in a boat in Cardiff Bay.

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In a recent interview, Production Designer Rebecca Brower gave a few details of Time Fracture, the immersive Doctor Who experience:  For me the real secret is the scale of this show, when you walk through it’s just never ending. When you think you are close to the end you realize you are only half way through. It’s truly bigger on the inside, and I can’t wait for audiences to experience that. If you look hard enough there are hundreds of real props from the TV show itself, the hunt starts as soon as you step into the building…. other than that …spoilers!

Another Auction Item?

Some of the items we will have up for auction at our Wholiday Party in December can be seen in my July 4 blog post “Remember the Power of Three?” about our June meeting. Here’s another, brand new and donated by Sandy:

More teaser photos of auction items will be given as we get closer to December!

Tomb of the Cybermen Trivia

Guardians of Gallifrey members watched the Second Doctor at our July meeting last weekend, specifically Tomb of the Cybermen and The Faceless Ones. We’re working our way up to the September release of Evil of the Daleks. Instead of having a trivia contest at the meeting, we created one. Answers can be found on the Answers 2021 blog page.

  1. Roy Stewart, the actor who played the powerful servant Toberman, also played what part in which other Doctor Who story?
  2. What did the Doctor say was his special technique for figuring things out?
  3. Name another character played by actor Cyril Shaps (John Viner in Tomb of the Cybermen) and the Doctor Who story in which he appeared.
  4. How did the Doctor know Peter Haydon wasn’t killed by the Cyberman in the front of the training room?
  5. What insects are the Cybermen in their tombs compared to?
  6. What cute little metal guy crawled/rolled out of Victoria’s purse?
  7. What did she do to it after it saved her from Kaftan?
  8. Which member of the expedition was (partially) converted by the Cybermen?
  9. How can you tell the Cyber Controller from the rest of the Cybermen?
  10. When locked in the tomb, what did the Cybermen use to attack the expedition?
  11. What did the Doctor say happened to the Cybermats he defeated?
  12. Why did the Doctor give a speech that seemed to encourage the villain Eric Klieg?

Bonus question (because I don’t know the answer): How many times does Victoria scream in the story?

Looking up info at IMDB, I came across the phrase “The Watch-A-Thon of Rassilon”—love it! The Second Doctor, as evidenced by answers to questions 2 and 4, had mad detective skills (at least, compared to characters around him). These were also on display in The Faceless Ones, especially when he examined the location where a dead body had been seen. The Doctor’s use of a magnifying glass and Jamie spotting a burn mark on the wall reminded me of a scene in the Guardians’ fanvideo “The New Order.” Speaking of, answer number 11 is a pun worthy of former Guardian Herby, director of our video!

More Who-ology

A few more thoughts on Who-ology (see previous posts from April 28 and July 4):

The list of birthdays of actors who played companions would be useful for Doctor Who websites/Facebook pages/blogs.

I wasn’t aware that Geoffrey Beevers, who played the decayed Master in The Keeper of Traken, also played Private Johnson of U.N.I.T. in The Ambassadors of Death.

In a listing of ‘real’ books that have appeared or been mentioned in Doctor Who, one is Where’s Wally?—which I thought at first was an error, but found out that’s what it’s called in the U.K. I’ll have to re-watch The Mysterious Planet from the Trial of a TimeLord series for an explanation of the Books of Knowledge of Ravolox (Moby-Dick, UK Habitats of the Canadian Goose, and The Water-Babies—really?).

A list of TV shows and movies that are referenced in Doctor Who made me want to watch The Unquiet Dead to catch the mention of Barbarella, ditto The Addams Family in Flatline, Teletubbies in The Sound of Drums, etc.

I wondered what “Death is the Only Answer” (on a list of scenes in which the Doctor met famous people from history) was until I saw it in a batch of Doctor Who mini-sodes on YouTube. I recently finished watching the 49 minisodes in chronological order, spanning from the beginning of the10th Doctor’s tenure to the 50th Anniversary episode. Several of their titles appear on various lists in Who-ology. Many are included on season DVDs, but others in the YouTube compilation were from charity and other traditional UK events. After that montage, I found another of scenes that followed River Song’s timeline, like the Guardian anniversary party theme we had back in 2015.

Between Who-ology, Doctor Who minisodes, and meetings of the Guardians of Gallifrey, I’m getting just enough of a “Who” fix to hold me until the new series starts!