Terror at the Rumour Mill: Episode Two
Warning: Don’t read this article if you want to go into the new series fresh
So then, new companion.
Jenna-Louise Coleman has now been cast in the role of an as yet unnamed companion who will be throwing her luggage into the TARDIS come the Doctor Who 2012 Christmas special. The actress has already got a fine body of work behind her within British television. She played the role of Jasmine Thomas on the soap opera Emmerdale which also starred Frazer Hines (Second Doctor companion Jamie McCrimmon) as Joe Sugden for many years and doubtless many other ex-Who actors. She has also popped up in ‘Grange Hill for adults’ drama Waterloo Road, the recent Titanic mini-series and a minor role in Captain America as one of the girls Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes take on a double date. No doubt by now many of those will be poured over by the fans looking for some clue as to her performance.
Around the time of Karen Gillan’s casting as Amy Pond in 2009 she had very little acting work on her CV but she was about to star in the second series of The Kevin Bishop Show. Bishop had been mainly known for his OK-style parodies with Star Stories but here he had a full sketch show dedicated to mocking TV shows and the cult of celebrity in general. Gillan played most of the main female parts and was pretty good especially as Angelina Jolie and Katy Perry and I hope that she does more comedy now that she’s left Doctor Who. The reason I mention this is because at the time I recall fans ardently watching this series and making assessments on how she would play Amy. It must have done wonders for the viewing figures.
Most companions are as little known as Gillan when they join the show and indeed Catherine Tate was the most famous person to take on the role regularly. Of course, I’m taking Kylie Minogue out of the equation because she was only in one episode, which was the original plan for Tate. Coleman may be well known for a couple of roles but it won’t stop her making her mark on the part. At this point we don’t even know what her name will be, but the question that most are asking is whether she will play another modern day teenager from Earth. She could be from the past, future or even an alien being although whether that means she will have layers of make-up added or will simply be another humanoid remains to be seen. The character is said to be very mysteriou,s especially in the way she meets the Doctor and someone, or something, we’ve never seen in the show before; I would expect nothing less from Steven Moffat. Apparently she can even verbally keep up with Matt Smith which must take some doing. Captain Jack Harkness was the last regular companion to break the pattern of modern day, mostly female, companions as the 51st century time agent. It would be nice to have someone a little more otherworldly for the Doctor to teach the ways of the universe to. Moffat could certainly do worse than look at Astrid from Voyage of the Damned and her wonderfully batty background on Sto as created by Russell T Davies. He has apparently also taken note of Coleman’s dislike of spiders so will a return to Third Doctor haunt Metabelis 3 be on the cards? Either way it’s going to be interesting to see what journey the new girl goes on.
So then, new series seven trailer.
This can be found on the BBC website and is a quick burst of scenes and soundbites from the upcoming five episodes we get before Christmas, aka the last hurrah of Amy and Rory. First of all we are back in the Wild West (or is it? Actually no, it was filmed in Spain) with a distinct Westworld feeling and Ben Browder. We also appear to be back on Alfava Metraxis, first featured in The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, and some sort of snowy planet or landscape. The Ood-Sphere maybe or perhaps somewhere closer to home like the South Pole, which featured in the very first Cyberman adventure The Tenth Planet. However this instead features the Daleks. All of them. The call has gone out for old pepperpots from every era to be posted to Wales to feature in a big mash-up written by Moffat as the first episode of the new series. In recent weeks both The Sun newspaper and Russell T Davies have told of their ‘donation’ plus a picture of a 1960s Dalek posing with Matt and Karen has been doing the usual internet rounds. There’s also a lovely image at the end of the trailer of a Dalek eye-stalk emerging from the snow. Perhaps a tribute to creator Terry Nation who loved to have them emerging from odd places in the first episode of each story.
I’m very much looking forward to this, as I’ve always wanted to see what he would do with a classic villain. Of course, he technically has used most of them for the ending of The Pandorica Opens and various cameos but never as the main villains. However these guest appearances have been quite successful with the Cyberman guard and his shrivelled head being a highlight of The Pandorica Opens, Sontaran nurse Commander Strax in A Good Man Goes To War and the lone Dalek of The Big Bang which still features plenty of menace despite being just used as an extra bit of peril alongside the timey-wimeyness going on.
So then, books.
The big news in the world of Who books recently has been Shada. Ape descendent and prolific Who scribe Gareth Roberts has taken over the writing reins from the much missed Douglas Adams. Shada is a well-known unfinished Fourth Doctor and Romana tale, which was to have capped season 17 off in 1980, but industrial action scuppered it and the story was never returned to. Adams never novelised it but the footage was the Fourth Doctor’s contribution to The Five Doctors and it was released onto video in 1992 along with linking narration by Tom Baker. It was even returned to by the Eighth Doctor and Romana in a 2003 Big Finish audio which was later turned into an animation. I haven’t read it myself yet but it looks to be a little treat.
A long fantasised team up is also happening in the comics world as Assimilation 2 by IDW will see the Eleventh Doctor team up with Star Trek: the Next Generation’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the rest of the Enterprise crew, to take on the combined might of the Borg and the Cybermen. The comic will be out in May and will doubtless be the cause of much discussion particularly as neither fanbase will want their hero being upstaged by the other.
My favourite piece of recent Who news though is that chick-lit author Jenny Colgan has written an Eleventh Doctor novel. Dark Horizons by JT Colgan will be out on 7th July and is a historical featuring marauding Vikings in Scotland. Not that I’m that much a fan of Colgan’s but I love the idea that anyone can take a crack at the Whoniverse be they writers of hard sci-fi, utopias, distopias, comic fantasies, romance novels or even, of course, chick-lit. The Doctor can be as much at home in the shiny future of Star Trek as he is in the grimy one of Alien or even just a regular drama set in suburbia. I was going to come up with an incredibly funny piece about Doctor Who as chick lit to end this but realised that the plot of The Runaway Bride already beat me to it.
Until next time the sawdust of news spews from the mill of truth.