By Roy Mathur, on 2023-12-04, at 23:50:05--00:32:22 GMT, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show
Expect no "Journal" entry in the preshow anymore, just whatever is on my mind, which is exactly the same thing. I just became tired of the title, at least for now.
When I talked about The Star Beast, I thought I had plenty of time until the next one, but no such luck, meaning I had to cram my revisit of Hammer House of Horror: Growing Pains before this one. Then I napped and missed my planned slot and had to wait until the next night to tape. In other words, the usual scheduling faff arose.
Since this episode is mainly about Wild Blue Yonder, the reason for one of my notorious mash-up titles is moot, so let me tweak what I said about my podcast episode titles. If they are not about a specific topic, then they will be a mash-up. It's always been that way, I just forgot because I've been doing this too long.
While we're in meta-mode, Spotify have dumped some stats on me with their Wrapped scheme. They tell me that most of my listeners are in America, I've grown 75% in listenership (75% of what?), and my most popular episode ever was 79's A Chat with Dean Motter, Creator of Mister X from 2015. Come on UK, it says "UK" in the title of this podcast. Some more UK-based listeners would be awfully nice.
Follow-up from 512.
Director Rachel Talalay, of whom I said I knew nothing about (I still don't know much), also directed the stinker that was Tank Girl, though in which Lori Petty, Ice-T, and Naomi Watts weren't bad.
Due to poor research, although, as a 2000 AD fan I connected Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons with comics, I did not know that The Star Beast was originally a story they made for Marvel UK's Doctor Who Weekly (later Doctor Who Magazine). Titled Doctor Who and the Star Beast, it featured the Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor, a new companion called Sharon Davies, and a villain named Beep the Meep.
In the episode, I didn't mind that Fourteen's sonic screwdriver could generate force fields. In the past, the sonic screwdriver could do many things not related to a simple lock pick. Four's sonic screwdriver could produce flames (Carnival of Monsters), cut (Robot), and melt (The Android Invasion), etc. (tardis.fandom.com).
I loved Donna's line: "Nice to meet you, skinny man. Oh, word of advice. You can wear a suit that tight up to the age of 35, and no further." As an ageing geek, I worry about this stuff all the time, possibly needlessly. Embrace it. Enjoy growing old utterly disgracefully, my friends.
Follow-up from 511.
I didn't know the title of The Doctor Who Children in Need Special 2023 when I covered it in 511. I do now, it's "Destination: Skaro.
Dotting all the "i"s, aren't I just?
David Tenant and Catherine Tate star in this second 2023 Special (story 302) directed by Tom Kingsley, written by returning showrunner Russell T. Davies, and broadcast on Saturday the 2nd of December 2023. It follows The Star Beast, which I talked about in 512.
The story begins with an apple boinking Isaac Newton on the head in 1666. Offscreen, Donna spills her coffee into the TARDIS console, causing it to crash into the top of pre-knighted or gravity ("mavity") Newton's tree. The Doctor mistakenly addresses him as "Sir" and Donna throws him a spoiler about gravity, that he mishears as "mavity".
They take off again, and crash inside a spaceship at the edge of space. Narrowly escaping, the Doctor sonics the TARDIS into repair-mode and it vanishes, leaving them stranded on the big derelict spaceship. There is an indistinguishable figure far down the corridor. The Doctor finds a vehicle, drives towards it, to find the ship manned (okay, roboted) by a single small, silent, and old Marvin-like robot. A voice from the tannoy says something untranslatable and the ship reconfigures itself.
After investigating some chambers, the air goes cold and doppelgangers appear. They fool the Doctor and Donna, until they are revealed by their overly large arms. They are chased by the aliens, until the aliens' warp uncontrollably into strangely proportioned giants and become stuck in the corridor.
Donna and the Doctor are separated as they escape into the interior of the ship, until all four---originals and copies---briefly confront each other. The pair escape again, but not for long. The Doctor makes up a story about the aliens not being able to cross a line of salt, without counting each granule. The alien Donna begins to count, but the ruse only works briefly. The alien Doctor says they came into being to enjoy the same chaos that the beings in the populated universe seem to thrive upon.
Escaping again, this time to the cockpit, they see the corpse of another species of alien floating outside in the vacuum. The Doctor concludes it sacrificed itself to prevent the hostile aliens from copying it. He also realises that automated voice on the tannoy is a countdown because the dead captain set the ship to reconfigure itself into a bomb.
All four run towards the robot, who is about press and big red button. The explosion is triggered, but the TARDIS appears in time to save the Doctor and the alien Donna. That is, until he sees that her arms are slightly too long, ejects her, and rescues the real Donna, just before she is engulfed in flames. In the control room, the Doctor muses on his use of the salt superstition.
They land in Camden Market, again just outside the Cyber Dog shop that we saw in The Star Beast. They meet Wilfred Mott, who says that the Doctor arrived in time to save everyone. Around them, chaos erupts, people fight, and a passenger jet crashes and explodes.
And so, to thoughts.
A very funny start. The running "mavity" gag throughout is comedic genius.
Also very funny is seeing the Doctor sadly regarding his TARDIS broken by Donna. It is like watching one spouse of a married couple, upset with the other for wrecking their car. I would have said, "blokes and their motors", but from personal experience of watching my parents, those gender roles are reversed in our family.
Whereas The Star Beast hardly made my heart race, this episode scared me. Especially dread-inducing was the anticipation of whatever hellish thing was supposed to at the end of the corridor. It was nicely done. That it turned out to be an almost dead, but still slightly threatening robot, made it funny.
The Doctor pulling a childish gag to scare Donna by pretending to be poisoned was hilarious and nicely demonstrated their fast friendship.
The two originals and copies meeting and confronting each other was pulled straight from Red Dwarf: Can of Worms (2016).
Actual physics! Energy to matter conversion in action as the creatures converted heat energy to flesh. I'm not sure if that's how E=mc2 is supposed to work, but at least it was an attempt at hard science fiction.
I didn't know Bernard Cribbins was still alive during the filming of the specials, so seeing Wilf again was a pleasant surprise.
This was the second appearance of Cyber Dog, a very old cyberpunk/goth shop in Camden Market that I must have strolled through a dozen times since I was a teenager. Yes, that long. What's that about? Will it feature in the next story? Please don't let it be some connection to Karvanista the Lupari. That would be too on the (wet) nose.
I wonder if the Doctor will ever tell Donna about his traumatic adventures as 13.
Conclusions: the comedic messing up of the timeline copies the delightful silliness of Destination Skaro. More of the Doctor's cavalier behaviour---the salt ruse---possibly explains the origin of demonology. It makes sense that a careless person like the Doctor would inadvertently cause a few hiccups during his travels and it's nice to see that explored. I appreciated the grown-up hard science-fiction horror of the episode far more than The Star Beast. It ends on a massive cliffhanger, but we only have to speculate until Saturday.
God help me, the Whoniverse continues to expands. Even though I said I wouldn't, here's a another follow-up from 512, with even more news.
Doctor Who: Unleashed (behind-the-scenes), Doctor Who: Video Commentaries (David Tennant and producers "fun in-vision commentary on selected episodes"), Doctor Who: The Bedtime Story (David Tennant does a CBeebies Jackanory-like short), and Doctor Who Confidential (behind-the-scenes; the Tardis, locations, guest stars, and 9, 10, and 11).
If you want to know more, seek out pods 512, and others episodes too numerous to mention in my back catalogue.
Next up on the podcast will be the final 2023 David Tenant Special, Doctor Who: The Giggle on the 9th of December, followed by Fifteenth Doctor Ncuti Gatwa's first episode on Christmas Day.
Despite appearance to the contrary, this is not exclusively a Doctor Who podcast. I'm covering all the stories of Old Who in chronological order in my revisit, but not New Who. However, the 60th anniversary of the series and a new black Doctor are momentous events, much like the importance of Jodi Whitttaker as the first female Doctor. So, at least until Ncuti's Gatwa's first episode, I will be talking about New Who. If I can squeeze in some classic Doctor Who or Hammer House of Horror revisits between The Giggle and Ncuti's Chrismas Day debut, consider those unexpected bonuses. That also goes for my semi-traditional holiday shows. While I have lots of shows lined up for the Christmas period, none will be taped on any of the public holidays. This year, I want to relax and not worry about podcasting schedules. Churning out so many pods as a solo podcaster is onerous, so please consider supporting me through Ko-fi.