Tagged: BBC America

Mindy Newell: The Day Of The Doctor

Newell Art 131125 “Great men are forged in fire.

It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.

Whatever the cost.”

The Warrior Doctor (John Hurt), The Day of the Doctor, November 23, 2013

After all the press, after all the hype, after a week of BBC America’s Doctor Who Takeover, I was really afraid that actual episode was going to suck, that I was going to be miserably let down, wretchedly disappointed.

I. Was. Absolutely. Completely. Totally. Utterly. Positively.

Blown. Away.

The whole wide world became the whole wide Whovian world yesterday, as the BBC simulcast The Day Of The Doctor in over 75 countries – Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde Islands, the Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, the Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania & Zanzibar, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

I mean, seriously, has the United Nations ever been able to bring about such a coalition? I mean, seriously, I think the last time so many countries and their citizens came together to celebrate and raise a glass or two as they did on Saturday was for the end of World War II 68 years ago.

I mean, seriously, think about it, people. So many of these nations are embattled and torn apart by violence and terror and war—and yet the Doctor, fictional character though he may be, hits such a powerful chord of hope and peace and unity among the peoples of this Earth, is it possible that even in places like Somalia and Myanmar and Colombia and the Congo that a truce was called for one hour and twenty minutes on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013?

Once before has the world been stopped on this date. 50 years ago President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot dead in Daley Plaza, Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, and the world held its breath for the next four days as his body was returned to Washington, where it laid in state, first in the White House and then at the Capitol Rotunda, to finally come to rest in Arlington Cemetery across the Potomac River in Virginia – and so in England no one, or very, very few, saw the BBC’s debut, on November 23rd, 1963, of a science fiction television show about a grandfatherly man and his niece and her two teachers adventuring in time and space in a contraption called the TARDIS, which was an acronym, the niece informed us, for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, and which looked like an English 1950’s police box.

But the BBC reran the premiere episode of Doctor Who and its ratings took off, and when William Hartnell, the first actor to play the Doctor, became too ill to continue, an innovative idea was born to explain the introduction of Patrick Troughton as his replacement—regeneration.

And now Doctor Who, the series, has regenerated.

I won’t go into depth, so as not to spoil it for those who were unable to see The Day Of The Doctor this past weekend, but I will say this – the driving force behind the Time Lord has been changed.

It was quite a day.




Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Ticket Sales went… well…

In an almost textbook example of what to do, and what not to do when inundated with high levels of traffic to one’s virtual door, ticket websites Fandango and Cinemark had wildly divergent responses to the avalanche of would-be customers trying to buy tickets to the live simulcast of The Day of the Doctor, the 50th anniversary adventure of Doctor Who, premiering globally on November 23rd.


REVIEW: Doctor Who – The Complete Seventh Series

who-seven-150x184-4924796There were certainly enough twists and turns in the latest series of Doctor Who to warrant a re-viewing, and not that The Complete Seventh Series is out on DVD and Blu-Ray, you’ve got your chance. The Fall of the Ponds, The Impossible Girl, and one hell of a cliffhanger, all packed up in one nice little package.

The box features all 13 episodes of the series, including all the prequels, as well as the five-part mini-series “Pond Life”  There’s also three new mini-sodes featuring The Doctor working on his chore to delete himself from the databanks of the world, he and River Song in one of their various unseen adventures, and Clara having a heart-to-heart with the TARDIS.

After a change in heart, it also features both Christmas episodes, Jenna Coleman‘s first (official) episode The Snowmen as well as the previous year’s The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe. Commentaries are only included for selected episodes, and while the beloved Doctor Who Confidential is no longer a thing, they’ve added in the brief making of features they posted on the BBC Website. They’ve pulled the cast interview’s from BBC America‘s The Nerdist as well. Longer making of features cover Karen and Arthur’s last day on set, a more in-depth piece on The Gunslinger, and Creating Clara.

A series of specials round out the set, including The Science of Doctor Who as seen on BBC America, as well specials on The Companions, Doctor Who at Comic-Con and more on The Doctor’s adventures in America, both on screen and behind it.

Another winner of a set, equal in quality to the sets for the previous series. This’ll easily keep you busy till the anniversary special come November 23rd.

And in case you don’t already have the past sets, they’ve updated the complete box set to include the seventh series, and included the Sonic Screwdriver universal remote control of which you may have heard.  So, good opportunity to buy the love of your favorite Whovian for the rest of their regenerations life.


John Ostrander: Broadchurch Secrets

Ostrander Art 130825Ordinarily, I wouldn’t “review” a TV miniseries or movie until it was completed. You should know the story before you comment on it. I know this is heresy these days but I feel you should know something about a topic before you drop an opinion bomb on it. I have no use for those who have decided they don’t like something without having bothered to experience it. That’s lazy and presumptive. I fully admit some things I have not sampled based on what I know of it, but I don’t render an verdict on it. If I hate something it’s because I tried it – like broccoli. Yuck. Broccoli.

However, I’m currently watching the BBC miniseries Broadchurch on BBC America. I’ve just seen the third episode of the eight part series and I think it’s incredible. I want to tell people about it. The series is set in a small coastal English town and follows the investigation into the murder of a ten-year old boy and the effects the murder and the investigation has on everyone – including the ones investigating.

The series was created, written, and executive produced by Chris Chibnall. ComicMix readers might know of his work on Doctor Who and Torchwood, among other things. Other Who influences include David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) as the lead inspector and Arthur Darvill (Rory) as the local pastor. I’ll be honest, it was Tennant that first drew me to Broadchurch; I’ve been interested in seeing what else he could do as an actor although, being honest again, I was not crazy about his performance in another BBC miniseries, Spies of Warsaw. His performance there, to my mind, was very one note.

Not so here. This time, he plays Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, a haunted depressed man with secrets of his own; there are levels in his performance that show his talent and skill.

He is matched by Olivia Colman as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller. (That’s another Who connection; in Matt Smith’s first outing as the Doctor, Ms. Colman plays “Mother” – one of the identities that the villain of the piece assumes.) DS Miller comes back from vacation expecting to be promoted to DI, only to find DI Hardy – an outsider – has gotten the job. And the best friend of her own son has been murdered.

For me, the biggest star is the writing. Everyone has secrets in this small town and they are gradually peeled back, revealing deeper and deeper levels of characterization. Grief is real and palpable. The mystery so far deepens with each episode and, at this writing, I have no idea who killed the boy or why.

There is a slight Twin Peaks vibe to the show – it’s deliberately paced and it has a slight undertone of supernatural in the person of a very odd man who claims he is getting messages from the dead boy. He seems sincere but – is he? Unlike Twin Peaks, however, I have the sense that the creator, Chris Chibnail, knows exactly where he’s going and how to wind it up. I trust him; OTOH, I also trusted the creators of The X-Files at the beginning. I thought they knew what they were doing; they fooled me.

The show isn’t simply about the murder, although that’s the engine that drives everything. It’s about secrets and that’s one of the most powerful narrative tools I know. Everyone has secrets and what gets revealed to whom, when, and how and is that a good idea really drives narrative and character. The revelation of secrets may answer some questions but may raise more.

It’s not only the secrets the characters reveal to one another, but the secrets that we learn as viewers, when do we learn them, what does that tell us. There’s more going on here than we initially know and it is only gradually unfolded to us.

The production values and the direction are all first rate. The acting is wonderful throughout. The show may not be to everyone’s taste – some might find it slow – and it demands that you pay attention but I’m riveted.

If you’re interested in the first three episodes (and I would not recommend you watch the show without seeing them), you can find them on BBC America On Demand, Amazon Instant Video and probably elsewhere. I’m certain it’ll also eventually be available on DVD and Blu-ray and such. I plan to own it when it does. It’s gotten excellent reviews both in the UK and the States. A second series of the show is reportedly in development and I’ve heard there are plans for an American adaptation.

For me, this is first class television and I can’t wait for the next episode. It’s not broccoli.




Marc Alan Fishman: Kirk Vs. Picard – I’m Ready to Choose

Fishman Art 130706A few months back, I declared that I found a love for Star Trek. Not just a passing affair mind you, but a legit love of the original series. As if all my tendencies towards being a CGI snob who once laughed-out-loud at the low-tech original FX suddenly melted away. And why? One man. Captain James Tiberious Kirk. The lightbulb went off. I got it. Beyond the ethics lessons, morality plays, and hilarious fight scenes… this was a show where the Captain didn’t just chew the scenery; this was a show that banked on Kirk to cook with it too.

This is in direct opposition to the mission statement of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I should note whilst laid up in my house this past weekend (with still-not-cured tendonitis) I consumed a great deal of TNG episodes. Thank you, BBC America. And thanks to the crash-course reminder, it became clear just how different a beast TNG really was from its elder counterpart. Take away the CGI, beautiful sets, and truly amazing make-up work? You get a show near devoid of the pulpy roots of TOS. You still get the ethics and moral dilemmas. So too, do you get occasional hilarious fights. But TNG’s Captain Du Jour chews not even the seat where he sits. And because of it, I see how many a Trekkie sets their allegiance to a thespian who lends gravitas to a role once dominated by the clinical definition of over-acting.

After making my way through roughly half the original series, I find myself ready to make the ultimate choice. Given that I’ve seen about the same amount of The Next Generation, I think it’s time to choose my captain. It’s only fair though (and a great way to waste column inches…) to come up with some categories to compare and contract Johnny Loo to Jimmy Tibby.

Obviously these are my opinions. Based on not watching every televised piece of either show. Nor all the movies. Nor the licensed books, comics, etc. This is strictly my gut opinions.

Space Fighting: Let’s face it. The first and foremost thing a captain should be able to do is use his ship in a fight. Kirk’s Enterprise didn’t come with an onboard android, or Klingon weapon expert. Just a sassy Vulcan, and a fencing Japanese dude. Picard always seems ready for diplomacy. Kirk seems almost to beg for a fight. And let’s not forget he beat the unbeatable training sim. Phaser to my head? Kirk wins.

Space Talking: Before a photon torpedo is sent a-wassailing into the nearest Warbird, sometimes you have to get your debate on. In Star Trek, all-too-often (and rightfully so) the issues of the day were best solved with smart repartee rather than fisticuffs and rabble-rousing. Kirk knows his way around the diplomacy manual all well and good, but Picard was a born talker. And let’s face facts: If you’re facing a dude ready to blow up a planet because it’s in your way? Who would you send in to talk him down? Unless he responds…. only… to… rhythmic…talking… then you know who has your back. Picard for the win.

Dealing With The Ladies: OK. Seriously. Is this even a competition here? Now, first, let me ensure you if this were a Janeway Vs. Other Male Captain fight, I’d be an equal opportunity chauvinist here. Fact is, sometimes a captain needs to show some cajones, and make the space oceans move. Because the final frontier totally means green alien wicky-wicky. The winner? No duh: Kirky Kirk Kirk.

Crew Relations: In between all the alien issues, wacky hijinks, and ship malfunctions… A captain and his crew must be a tight community all working towards the same ends. The best captains know how to delegate tasks, keep conflicts down, and ultimately keep the space-peace preserved on what amounts to a star-faring cruise ship with lasers and missles. Kirk and Spock have a friendship and bromance like very few do. Picard and Riker have always held more of a teacher / student vibe. That in and of itself lends to how I feel TNG’s Enterprise views their highest in command. Picard is the teacher, mentor, and solid voice of the ship. Kirk feels more blue collar in contrast. In between making out with various crew members, debating hard choices with his number one and ship doctor, and threatening to blow up the ship at any chance he can get? Kirk always gives me the impression of the “lead by example” school of thought. Not that Picard won’t get his hands dirty… but frankly he rarely needs to given the loyalty of his crew. Choices, choices, choices. I’m gonna give it to Picard.

The X Factor: Frankly there could be whole weeks worth of columns in this debate. Certainly the internet was built in part to link Trekkies together to squabble over the finer points. Beyond the broad strokes, every good captain needs that special something that makes you want to follow them. Makes you believe in them. It’s why (beyond crappy politiking) we choose our own leaders; we want to put ourselves behind a person we believe has our backs and best concerns in mind. Someone who doesn’t lose sight of the big picture when the little picture threatens to wipe it away. Kirk is a fearless fighter with a glint in his eye, and a permanent smirk. In the face of adversity he is apt to ball a fist, scream to the heavens, and then win the day by any means necessary. Picard is no less brave mind you. He is apt to think through all the scenarios. He’ll consult his android for logic, his counselor for emotional insight, and his magic bar-tender for conscience. And then? He’ll do what he was going to do all along because damnit… He’s Picard. When the chips are down, and I need one man to get me out of a pickle? Well, I have to give it to the man who doesn’t waste time making a choice. Kirk takes it.

So, there you have it, kiddos. I’m a Kirk man. Kirkman. Uh-oh. Crap. No! I don’t like Kirkman that much! He’s ok at doing homage, but he’s mostly just spinning his wheels these days. KHAAAAAAAAAAN! Ahem. Seriously though, while I love both Captains near equally, it boils down to Kirk’s brash and boldness. His pulp roots have broken me down such that I can’t not root for him. Case in point? The real reason I’m gonna choose Kirk? “Requiem For Methuselah.” In the episode, Kirk is introduced to a very pretty little thing. He looks at her, and basically it’s enough to make her break free from her genetic encoding (she turned out to be a robot or clone or clonebot or something). Facts are facts: Kirk is so awesome, his gaze alone causes space panties to fly.

And frankly? That’s boldly going where we all want to go.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell


Doctor Who wins Peabody Award

doctor_who_season_7b_coming_soonHonoring its fifty-year history, Doctor Who has been awarded a Peabody award “for evolving with technology and the times like nothing else in the known television universe.”

First presented in 1941, the George Foster Peabody Awards recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious service by broadcasters, cable and Webcasters, producing organizations, and individuals. The awards program is administered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. Selection is made each spring by the Peabody Board, a 16-member panel of distinguished academics, television critics, industry practitioners and experts in culture and the arts.

The 72nd annual awards also honored such varied recipients as comedian Louis CK, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, and SCOTUSBlog.com, reporting on the US Supreme Court. A complete list of winners is available on the Peabody Awards website.

Doctor Who is also up for two BAFTA Television Craft Awards this Spring, one for composer Murray Gold and one for special effects house The Mill.  The awards will be presented on April 28th in London.

Doctor Who’s new season premieres this Saturday on BBC America at 8PM Eastern America time.

Richard E. Grant returning to Doctor Who in second half of seventh season

In BBC America’s press release discussing the second half of the seventh season of Doctor Who (premiering March 30th), a number of guest stars were listed, including Dougray Scott, Warwick Davis, Dame Diana Rigg and her daughter Rachel Stirling. But one name listed may be a big clue to the season’s Big Bad.

Richard E. Grant, who appeared in the Christmas episode, The Snowmen, will be returning in the season’s eight episode run.  Grant played Dr. Walter Simeon, head of the Great Intelligence Institute and mastermind behind a plan to take over the world with an army of animated ice creatures.  The Great Intelligence, the disembodied life force  who allied with Simeon (and voiced by Sir Ian McKellen), was a Who villain from the Troughton days, with appearances in many of the other media adventures, and a cameo in the 20th anniversary adventure The Five Doctors.

BBC America would not confirm the character Grant will play in his return, but the rumors that the Great Intelligence would make a further appearance in the series certainly gives one reason to suspect that we’ve not seen the last of Dr. Simeon.

The Teaser photo, released yesterday by the BBC, offers numerous teasers about the new series, including our first look at The Spoonheads, the monster from the premiere episode, The Bells of St John, the first to be broadcast in 3-D.. Also featured are the Ice Warriors, returning via a story by Mark Gatiss, and the redesigned Cybermen from Neil Gaiman’s second DW adventure.

The series will also feature Jenna-Louise Coleman, and hopefully provide more information how the same woman with the same name could appear in three different times; the far future of Asylum of the Daleks, the Victorian age in The Snowmen, and modern day Britain.

Doctor Who premieres March 30th on the BBC, and on BBC America, as part of their “Supernatural Saturday” lineup.

The Doctor Who Gift Set, for the fan with all the time in the world

If you’re not sure what to buy somebody who’s a fan of something, you can’t go wrong by giving them everything.

dr-who-big-box-set-300x300-8467015This year’s Doctor Who analogue to the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle is the Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, collecting the entire run of the new series on DVD, from Eccleston to Tennant to Smith.  It also includes a replica (dang) of the eleventh Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, a copy of IDW’s Doctor Who comic, specifically the San Diego Comic-Con special issue, and a set of lovely art cards of the Doctors of the new series and their companions.

Each of the series sets is as complete as they can physically be without including DNA samples.  All the episodes, plus the episodes of the late lamented Doctor Who Confidential, cut scenes, episode commentaries, prequel episodes, the Children in Need and Comic Relief sketches, features from the website, and believe it or not, many more.

Rounding out the set is the trilogy of specials BBC America did as a lead-up to the new season: The Women, Destinations and Timey-Wimey of Doctor Who.  In each, cast members, celebrities and various dignitaries all ruminate and reminisce about the series, discuss the possibility of the technology of the show crossing over to the real world, and compare how quickly they’d race into the old TT40 if it landed and The Doctor held out his hand and said “Join me”.

Now, a set like this demands one’s attention.  And that’s exactly what I’m going to give it.  Starting tomorrow, I’ll be doing A Doctor A Day, where I’ll watch and review (at least) one episode a day, all in preparation for the new Christmas episode The Snowmen, lensing, oddly enough, on Christmas Day.

The Doctor Who Limited Edition Giftset is available via Amazon and any number of online purveyors of fabulous.


The name’s Malone. Melody Malone.

Coming soon from BBC Books is a new Doctor Who tie-in e-book entitled The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery featuring a very pulp-inspired cover. The cover also appears in The Angels Take Manhattan episode of Doctor Who, airing September 29 on BBC and BBC America.

Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) reads a Melody Malone Mystery in The Angels Take Manhattan.

Press Release:

BBC Books are to release a special book inspired by this weekend’s episode, The Angels Take Manhattan. The Angel’s Kiss is a 112-page novella written by Justin Richards, and is the first book in the range to be published that has been written from the perspective of one of the show’s characters.

Melody Malone not only runs her own agency, she also happens to be the author of a successful series of novels, featuring one Melody Malone.

The book will only be available electronically beginning October 4th, a few days after the episode’s premiere.

Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) recognizes some familiar characters in Angel’s Kiss.

About Angel’s Kiss:

On some days, New York is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

This was one of the other days…

Melody Malone, owner and sole employee of the Angel Detective Agency, has an unexpected caller. It’s movie star Rock Railton, and he thinks someone is out to kill him. When he mentions the ‘kiss of the Angel’, she takes the case. Angels are Melody’s business…

At the press party for Railton’s latest movie, studio owner Max Kliener invites Melody to the film set of their next blockbuster. He’s obviously spotted her potential, and Melody is flattered when Kliener asks her to become a star. But the cost of fame, she’ll soon discover, is greater than anyone could possibly imagine.

Will Melody be able to escape Kliener’s dastardly plan – before the Angels take Manhattan?

The e-book will be released October 4, 2012 via digital stores.

Everything you wanted to know about the “Pond Life” prequel to new Doctor Who season 7


It’s all fun and games until someone loses a…well, anyway.

This week, as a run-up to the season premiere of Doctor Who, a mini web-series titled “Pond Life”, intended to share a look at the Ponds’ home life in between visits by The Doctor. It was four episodes of entertaining fun, right up until the moment Steven Moffat and writer Chris Chibnall seized our hearts, turned them sideways, and made a tasty broth from our tears.

Each episode summarizes a month between April and August, leading into the events of the first episode, Asylum of the Daleks. All five episodes of “Pond Life” are available on the BBC YouTube channel, mirrored on numerous websites, and is written into the sullen expressions of Who-fen everywhere. Take a look, then we’ll discuss:






In April we get the distinct impression that The Doctor has been keeping in touch quite closely with the Ponds via a series of phone messages. He relates a few of his solo adventures, including surfing the Fire Falls of Florial 9 to escape a cohort of his old enemies the Sontarans. He also met “Good little dancer, terrible spy” Mata Hari, and performed backing tracks for one of those hip-hop songs the kids seem to like.




May is in fact the only time The Doctor and The Ponds directly meet in all five episodes. He bursts into their bedroom, begging them to get dressed, only to realize he’s arrived earlier than he expected, and they’ve no idea what he’s talking about. As flashes of the events to come in the series flash across the screen, he assures them that all is well, the future is “really, really…fine”, and bids them return to sleep.

June and July is a bit of a two-part story – The Doctor has picked up a stray Ood who is still under his conditioning as a servant. Apparently wandering off the TARDIS during a stop at their apartment, and sits waiting in their bathroom for orders. The Doctor assures them the best thing to do is let him follow his conditioning, resulting in the Ponds getting a butler for a brief time.

The Doctor’s popped by to pick the Ood up and return him to Ood-Sphere in between July and the final chapter, assumed to be August, though the date is not specifically mentioned. It’s clearly a bit longer than that, as quite a bit has happened to Amy and Rory. Unaware to The Doctor, Amy and Rory have had a falling out, and we see Rory leaving their home carrying his belongings in a trash bag. And is you look at Amy’s lips, she’s NOT saying “Come back”.

So, quite a bit going on here, lots of fun, some tears and worry – in short, a solid Doctor Who episode.


The Sontarans were introduced in the Jon Pertwee adventures The Time Warrior. A militaristic clone race, they’ve cut swaths across the galaxy, either via simple conquering raids, or as part of their protracted war with their enemy, the Rutans. They were the race behind the invasion of Gallifrey in The Invasion of Time, and almost converted the Earth’s atmosphere to suit them on The Sontaran Stratagem. Christopher Ryan, best known to Americans as Mike “The Cool person” from the punk Britcom classic The Young Ones has appeared twice as two different Sontaran leaders.

The Ood first appeared more recently, in the Tennant adventures The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit. They were portrayed as a servant race, seemingly low in intelligence, communicating via an implanted communication device. In their next appearance Planet of the Ood, it was revealed their situation was far more insidious. Ood are indeed sentient and intelligent, and are born with a second, exterior brain that they use to communicate telepathically to each other, selected people outside their race, and the physical Ood hive mind. This second brain is amputated as part of their “conditioning” process, which severs their link to the hive mind, and effectively lobotomizes them. The Doctor is horrified at the news, and helps to free them from their captivity. Their de facto leader, Ood Sigma, the first conditioned Ood to re-connect to the hive mind, returns to guide The Doctor through his final adventures before his regeneration. An Ood was found on The Junkyard at the End of the Universe in Neil Gaiman’s The Doctor’s Wife, but only because there wasn’t enough in the budget to created the alien Neil had written into the script.

The Ood bear more then a small resemblance to the Hartnell-era aliens The Sensorites, from an adventure of the same name. show runner Russell T. Davies noticed that, and as a tip of the hat, placed their homewold, Ood-Sphere in the same star system as Sense-Sphere, homeworld of the first race.

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS – Trivia and production details

ANY LANDING YOU CAN WALK AWAY FROM IS A GOOD ONE – The Helmic Regulator is a recurring issue in the mini-adventure. The Helmic Regulator helps control the precision of the landing of a TARDIS. If not correctly calibrated, the landing point can vary in either space or time.

When Harry Sullivan (accidentally) touched the Helmic Regulator, the TARDIS landed on Nerva Beacon instead of the moon, back in The Ark In Space.

The Doctor made special mention of it again when showing Martha Jones how he prepared the TARDIS for takeoff in Smith and Jones. In the new design (desktop setting) of that console, it resembles a bicycle pump. He was also able to use it, in concert with the thermo-buffer and the zeiton crystals, to prevent a two-Doctor paradox from blowing a hole in the universe the size of Belgium in the mini-adventure Time Crash.

While the Helmic regulator still exists on the new design of the TARDIS, it’s not yet been pointed out specifically on the show.

Interesting fact – the TARDIS console on the set has a user’s manual. The controls on each panel are specifically named, and each has a specific function. Matt Smith was given the manual and had to learn it. He had to learn a precise series of actions to launch or pilot the capsule “properly”. He’s not just making it up.

Doctor Who premieres September 1st on the BBC and BBC America.