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The Friday Docback Is Shredded By 'The Claws Of Axos!'!! DOCTOR WHO Story #57, S7's 'Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS', And More!!



[via RoboGeek]



Merrick here...


...with a quick look at The Claws of Axos, a four part Pertwee-era DOCTOR WHO originally transmitted March-April 1971.  


More on Claws shortly, but first....







I’ll totally confess to dropping the ball on this one.  


I heard about Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS a few weeks ago - and somehow got the impression it was fan wankery...and not an actual, honest-to-God episode...and pretty much dismissed it on the spot.   I was, clearly, highly erroneous in my characterization.  Evidenced by THIS piece over at DoctorWhoTV (via DOCTOR WHO Magazine). 



In the piece, writer Stephen Thompson discusses meeting with WHO overlord Steven Moffat to pitch some script notions...


Before I even open my mouth and pitch to the room, Steven goes ‘I want you to do x.’ And his idea is so wonderful, and so much more clever and interesting than anything mere mortals like myself could come up with, you end up saying ‘Yes’ and the meeting’s over in record time. 



he needed me to write something light. This year got to indulge my inner fan. (And I got to ask my kids what rooms in the TARDIS they’ve always wanted to find.)


“This episode will be different in many ways, not least because the star won’t necessarily be the usual person. You might not even see the star, it might be the guy at the drawing board. It just might be the designer…”


So...yeah.  I think further exploration of the TARDIS will be tremendously entertaining, although I deeply hope the show never reveals the shape of the vessel as a whole.  There’s something delightfully non-specific and whimsical about not having a working sense of the device’s native configuration...presuming there is one “true” form...beyond the Police Box shape it’s inadvertently stuck on.  

Journey to the Center of the TARDIS will transmit later in Season/Series 7 (i.e. Springish 2013).

Thanks to Man_of_Vertue for the heads up about this...




The Claws of Axos 


"I suppose you can take the normal precautions against nuclear blasts.

Sticky tape on the windows...that sort of thing".  - The Master, Claws of Axos Episode 3...





On 20th Century Earth, strange allegiances and wobbly motives abound when a mysterious space vessel comes to Earth, supposedly seeking aid. 


But if that ship is as well-intentioned as it appears to be, why is the Doctor’s nemesis...the Master...on-board? 



Scripted by Bob Baker and Dave Martin (The Three Doctors - Pertwee, Story #65), what’s most interesting about The Claws of Axos isn't the story it's telling as much as how it tells it.  There's certainly a discernible plot line here, and a reasonably interesting one at that.  But, at the end of the day, this story primarily thrives on compelling situational dynamics  - both inherent and Machiavellian.  Claws is powered by the motivations and schemings of many of its characters, leading to a complex web of 'Whys' and 'What ifs...' that is often more intriguing than the tale’s primary aliens-eating-Earth storyline.  


A "depersonalized" Axon - complete with bullwhip-like tentacles which are very bad news.  The symbolism of this horrible, violent spaghetti monster lurking beneath a surreal gold exterior can not be overlooked.  



In fact, this story so hinges on the manipulations and machinations by all involved that Claws ends on a slightly nihilistic beat. Altruism is in scare supply in this one, lending a decidedly different tone to proceedings across the board.  Here, there’s the most fleeting, strategically underplayed sense of ‘Are any of these characters worth saving?’ - a daringly reflective and wholly unexpected point to advance in any show, and a heady moral touchstone.  


Despite occasionally uneven make-up, the expressionless golden “personalized” Axons are strangely eerie. 


While direction by Michael Ferguson (The Ambassadors of Death - Pertwee, Story #53) often leans towards workmanlike, a few nicely charged flourishes are peppered throughout, serving as nice pick-me-ups when the episode’s pace coasts along on neutral.  One such moment finds the Master (Roger Delgado) riding on top of a truck through a tunnel  (in a shot which very clearly shows the actor and not a stunt dude), while a later gag features some energized and well-conceived editing as companion Jo is forcibly aged by scummy Axons attempting to pressure the Doctor.  


Although a bit on the slow side, Claws ultimately emerges as a relatively consistent story.  It’s driven by nuanced subtexts of greed, manipulation, and selfishness which are more challenging (thus more consequential) than many show makers would either allow or attempt even today.   And while there are certainly shortcomings to be argued here (Dudley Simpson’s score, for example), the ballsiness of these thematics quickly render Claws worthy of exploration and further consideration.   It may never achieve total artistic greatness, but the grandness of its ideas alone shape a story that feels surprisingly relevant and worthy, sometimes despite itself.  



The two disc, recently restored Claws of Axos can be found HERE in the US and HERE in the UK.  




Extras include...




Axon Stations (26 minutes) 


-- the making of this story...





Directing WHO (14 minutes) 


Claws director Michael Ferguson...





Studio Recording (73 minutes) 



A tad ponderous (which shooting a show often is), but a fascinating look into the filming of this story via raw, on-set video...the earliest known to exist for the show. 




Living with Levine (35 mins) 


Toby hadoke spends a weekend with John Levine, who played UNIT Sgt. Benton...







Deleted/Extended Scenes (27 minutes) 







-- Radio Times Listings 





Coming Soon 


-- Shada (unfinished Douglas Adams story).  Pre-order HERE in the US!!









Glen Oliver




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[Season / Series Seven Docbacks - MOST RECENT DOCBACK IS HIGHLIGHTED]


The Coming of Season/Series 7

Asylum of the Daleks 

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

A Town Called Mercy 

The Power of Three 

The Angels Take Manhattan 

Series 7, Part One on Blu!! 







"The Impossible Astronaut"

"Day of the Moon"

"The Curse of the Black Spot"

"The Doctor's Wife"

"The Rebel Flesh"

"The Almost People"

"A Good Man Goes To War"

"Let's Kill Hitler"

"Night Terrors"


"The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" (2011 Christmas Special)  






"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)

"The Daleks" (Story #2)

"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)

"Marco Polo" (Story #4)

"The Keys of Marinus(Story #5)

"The Aztecs" (Story #6)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7 - full DVD release) 

"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)

"Planet of Giants" (Story #9) 

"Planet of Giants" (Story #9, full DVD release) 

"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (Story #10)

"The Rescue" (Story #11) 

"The Romans"  (Story #12) 

"The Web Planet" (Story #13) / SHERLOCK - "A Scandal in Belgravia" (Story #4)

"The Crusade" (Story #14) 

"The Space Museum" (Story #15) 

"The Chase" (Story #16) 

"The Time Meddler" (Story #17) 

"Galaxy 4" (Story #18) 

"Mission to the Unkonwn" (Story #19) 

"The Myth Makers" (Story #20) 

"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)

"The Tomb of the Cybermen" (Story #37)

"The Mind Robber" (Story #45)

"The Krotons" (Story #47)

"The Seeds of Death" (Story #48) 

"Spearhead from Space" (Story #51) 

"The Abassadors of Death" (Story #53)

"The Colony in Space" (Story #58) 

"The Daemons" (Story #59) 

"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition

"The Three Doctors" (Story #65) 

"Carnival of Monsters" (Story #66) 

"Death to the Daleks" (Story #72) 

"Invasion of the Dinosaurs" (Story #71) and SHERLOCK: "The Reichenbach Fall" (Story #6) 

"The Android Invasion" (Story #83) and SHERLOCK: "The Hounds of Baskerville" (Story #5) 

"The Face of Evil" (Story #89) 

"The Robots of Death" (Story #90) 

"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)

"The Sun Makers(Story #95)

"The City of Death" (Story #105)

"Nightmare of Eden" (Story #107) 

"Kinda" (Story #118)

"Snakedance" (Story #125) 

"The Five Doctors" (Story #129) 

"The Awakening" (Story #131)

"Frontios" (Story #132)

"Resurrection of the Daleks" (Story #134) 

"The Caves of Androzani" (Story #136) 

"Vengeance on Varos" (Story #138) 

"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)

"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits

"Dragonfire" (Story #147) 

"The Happiness Patrol" (Story #149) 

"The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" (Story #151) 

"Doctor Who: The Movie" (aka TVM) - McGann) 


Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)

DOCTOR WHO Title Sequences & DW At Comic-Con 2011

"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)

Why Eccleston Left, Here Comes Caroline Skinner, And Season/Series Six Part 1 on Blu-Ray And DVD

New Trailer For Season/Series Six Part 2

The Companions of DOCTOR WHO + New Trailer & Artwork For Season/Series 7  

Impromptu Docback!! + Galaxy 4 'Airlock' Coming to DVD, Christmas Special 2012, And More!!

The Friday Docback Mulls The 50th...

Newslet Roundup: Children in Need 2012, Christmas Special 2012, The Angel's Kiss Auido Book, And More!! 





1) a Docback should be about completely open and free discourse regarding all things WHO with, obviously, some variation on subject matter from time to time - the real world intervenes, discussions of other shows are inevitable, etc.)... 

2) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity.  Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Rory" is OK, for example.  "** SPOILER ** Battle of Zarathustra" is fine as well.  " **SPOILER** Why did everyone die?"  Is NOT good.  
And, above all... 

3) converse, agree, disagree, and question as much as you want - but the freedom to do so is NOT a license to be rude, crass, disrespectful, or uncivilized in any way.  Not remaining courteous and civil, as well as TROLLING or undertaking sensational efforts to ignite controversy, will result in banning.  Lack of courtesy may receive one (1) warning before a ban is instigated.  Obvious Trolling or Spamming will result in summary banning with no warning.  One word posts intended to bump-up any Docback's figures on AICN's "Top Talkbacks" sidebar will be considered actionable Spam - they not only complicate efforts to access Docback from mobile devices, but impede readers' abilities to follow or engage in flowing conversation. 
In short, it's easy.  Be excellent to each other.  Now party on... 
Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 23, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST


    by Merrick

    Sorry I've been a tad quiet on the actual message boards the last few weeks...saw a few of you posting messages in my direction. Had some site software issues which prohibited my fixed from the looks of it. Didn't want y'all to think I was ignoring you! Your messages and thoughts are always highly appreciated...

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST


    by ByTor

    Merrick, thanks for the review. My take on Claws of Axos is similar, and it's probably one of my favorite Baker/Martin stories. It's not a true classic, but it's enjoyable, and really even a bad story is made entertaining by the presence of Roger Delgado. Due to the weird package WTTW in Chicago ran when they first decided to carry more than the Tom Baker re-runs, this was the first Delgado Master story I saw, so it has a special place in my heart that might not have been earned purely on merit. WTTW only got a subset of Pertwee episodes. They didn't get any of the B&W stories (which makes a sort of sense), but others were skipped (like Spearhead from Space) without explanation. (Our first story was Inferno, followed by Axos.) One viewing was all it took to convince me that Delgado was the best Master of all time (though I only had Pratt, Beevers, and a few Ainley appearances with which to compare). Hopefully everyone in the States had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. We didn't watch any Who yesterday, but naturally we'll find a way to commemorate the 49th anniversary today. (My daughter has seen plenty of old Who, but my son only a smattering, so maybe we'll do Genesis of the Daleks or somesuch later on.) Docbackers: what are you doing (if anything) to celebrate the 49th?

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Repost - my DW rewatch project

    by ByTor

    Reposted from the other Docback; many probably never saw it as it was from late in the week. So early this year I started on a complete watch-through of the series. Every episode, in order. Including reconstructions. No skips allowed. It goes in fits and starts; I'm not doing one episode per day or anything like that. Some days I get through a bunch, but then I can go days without watching due to available free time. Anyway, I'm just about done with Season 22 at this point. A few thoughts: Attack of the Cybermen is solid. It's a Saward story, so you get a good plot, some nifty characters, annoying dialog and some stuff that just doesn't work. (So the Kryons need low temperatures to survive, and so they're renowned for building refrigeration units. did they evolve, exactly?) Litton is great in this. The chameleon circuit stuff is just dopey. I did not initially like Vengeance on Varos at all, but I'm rethinking that now. I still don't like Sil one bit, but the themes in the story work very well, and Martin Jarvis gives an outstanding performance. Much better than I had remembered. Mark of the Rani is worse than I remembered. That one used to be one of the better S22 episodes IMO, but...yikes, what was I thinking? The Rani is a nitwit. She spends much of the episode handing the Master vital stuff and then screaming, 'Give that back; I need it!' And the dialogue! It's almost Lucas-esque. 'Don't move, Peri! The tree won't harm you!' The Two Doctors is pretty damned good. A far sight better than any other multidoc. I know JNT did not want to use old writers on the show, but the story here should've demonstrated why Holmes was at a completely different level from the Glen McCoys and Pip-and-Janes. The political stuff, the Sontarans and Androgums, the ethical stuff about genetic engineering...he crams a lot in there and it works well. Plus, Holmes just cranks out crackling dialogue without even trying. Timelash is re-confirmed as the worst Who story ever produced, so at least there's some consistency there. Revelation is again a Saward script, though a better one than Attack. Graeme Harper is a genius, and although Androzani is a superior episode, the direction on Revelation is better. Great sets, great atmosphere, great camera's all good. And credit to Saward for when he does something right, I totally love Orcini. Yeah, OK, he's a bit of a cliche, but he totally works as the archetype of the fallen hero. Great casting, too. My (few) complaints: (1) the DJ is a bit too OTT for me. I do a mini-cringe when he comes onscreen. (2) A Dalek justice system? UGH! This is COMPLETELY inconsistent with Dalek behavior up to this point, which was (A) if the Daleks need or want something, they take it, and (B) if they don't need or want it, they exterminate it on general principles. (3) The Doctor didn't really need to show up for this one. Most everything would have happened the same exact way without him. Still, a cracking episode. Shame about what comes next, but I'm looking forward to getting to the point where the Doctor isn't an asshole anymore. (I don't know why Saward was so fond of that. Even the 5th Doctor episodes he wrote has a much more irritating Davison. Earthshock is great, but the way the Doctor behaves early on? If I'd have been Adric, I'd have beaten the snot out of him.)

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Transdimentional engineering and leaving the house

    by Dreamfasting

    One of the great dangers in exploring the Tardis interior is that it could easily lead to wondering why one ever needs to leave the Tardis at all. Once you have the engineering to start folding up dimensions, it would seem you have the potential to create spaces that are not just larger on the inside, but infintely larger. One of the ideas I have always been fond of is that the citidel of the time lords was their entire civilization. By stacking up rooms and corridors through an extra dimension or two, the time lords could easily pack the entire civilization, with a large enough population to colonize a whole galaxy, inside one domed building on one hillside of their home planet. Why bother getting out and exploring the universe when you know you will never have any need of any extra land?

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 9:29 a.m. CST


    by HornOrSilk

    I've always found this an enjoyable romp. It's not the best of stories, but not all stories need to be for it to be enjoyable. It works -- and the Master really is done well in this one (IMO).

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Mr Tom Hanks...

    by mark howard

    I respect [some] of your acting work, but you're a fool. Perhaps DW was too intelligent for you to understand...

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Byton -- Revelation of the Daleks

    by HornOrSilk

    1) The DJ is meant to be that.. but also.. you know who he is, right? I mean, the actor, in the pantheon of British comic actors. If you don't, you won't necessarily enjoy the DJ as much as I do. 2) Dalek Justice system. There have been hints of it many times. The fact that there is a hierarchy in the Dalek world allows for a justice system. I think its primary aim is to help keep track of Daleks who could otherwise start to go crazy -- also, to deal with renegade Daleks, no matter how they develop (Resurrection of the Daleks, Evil of the Daleks, etc all shows Dalek wars, and so, with wars, come justice systems). I think it also shows that there is more to the Daleks than we otherwise think. It's not humanizing them one bit -- but shows that evil itself often requires law and order. Indeed, the Daleks have been shown to view themselves as doing just that in the universe and why they should be all there is. So it goes to the point that if Daleks, being organic creatures, can become unstable (they are independent entities), then the justice system is necessary in order to determine: this Dalek is onto something, let's follow it; this one is off , let's kill him now.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Happy 49th Birthday Doctor Who !

    by dj_bollocks

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 10:27 a.m. CST


    by ByTor

    1) Yeah, I know who he is, although I hadn't had much exposure to him at the time of my first viewing. So that's something. 2) Respectfully I must disagree. Prior to Revelation there were no hints of a justice system. A hierarchy? Sure. But that's not the same thing at all. The Supreme Dalek issues orders, and the other Daleks follow them. Anything in their way is exterminated. It's a fairly simple system, and it's one the Daleks are genetically engineered to follow. What would you need a justice system for? If certain Daleks are malfunctioning, well, that doesn't need a justice system either. You put them in an asylum, or you blow them up, or whatever. Wars also do not equal a justice system. To the Daleks, wars are about supremacy. They're ethnic cleansing taken to the nth degree. If it's not a Dalek, you subjugate it (if it has something you want or can be used as labor), or you kill it. I'm struggling to understand how a court system would be necessary (or even useful).

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 10:37 a.m. CST

    @Bytor - it's just one of those things that makes no sense

    by V'Shael

    but we have to live with it. Like putting the Master on trial, in the telemovie. Or that the Daleks would have an Asylum, when they were completely willing to destroy the entire planet anyway. Or that the Daleks would have a bleeding Prime Minister... Dumb ideas that should have shut down from the moment of inception, but now part of the established lore.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Bytor again, why I disagree

    by HornOrSilk

    Daleks are not computers, they are not robots, but they are a species of biological entities. Though manipulated, to some degree, they are still individuals. They have individual distinctions. How do they judge if a distinction which develops is good for the Daleks or something to be eradicated? They would have to have some sort of "trial" to judge developments, to know if they are good or bad. This would be the foundation for any justice system. It works if you think it through. We are not talking about robots, who are just programmed to be one thing, but biological entities. With any society, there will be the need for governance which is both capable of tradition and development. Without development, there is death. Daleks know this as we do. This is why there must be a way to judge developments. It's biological necessity to allow for it, otherwise, Daleks would never be able to adapt to new situations, which ends in self-destruction. As for hints of it -- it's there if you look for it. Look to Genesis of the Daleks - Davros initiates the process if you look carefully. Though the Daleks ultimately see Davros fails their justice system, they nonetheless have been trained by him to make judicial decisions.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST

    and Axos far predates Moya

    by Kathryn Gail

    (although, mysteriously, I was never drawn in by Farscape--no idea why--and the *it's alive* angle is pretty much as deep as my trivia knowledge of it goes) Anyone know for sure what the first use was of a living space vessel in fiction (or just in film/TV)? WAS it Claws of Axos? Probably not, but that would make a terrific Happy 49th trivia coincidence. . . I know tachyons were first mathematically predicted by nonfictional scientists in 1967, the positronic brain by first made up by Isaac Asimov in 1939 (positrons having been predicted in 1928 and discovered in 1932), the term ROBOT first used in a 1920 Czech play called R.U.R. (thought obviously automatons go waaayyy back), and a man-made satellite used for the first KNOWN time in the 1869 story The Brick Moon (all of these are on wikipedia, so I won't bog this down with links). That's all I've got to offer in trivia trade, though, and to be honest I only looked up tachyons a couple days ago when they popped up in something non-Star Trek (which may have been the first to USE them, but I always thought they were FROM ST, but no), and then I ran across positronic brains at the same time. What am I doing for the 49th? Having a triviafest, of course!

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST

    patrickstewartsaweverything -- I don't know

    by HornOrSilk

    I don't think anyone knows for sure. We have some examples listed here, but I don't think it really gets the earliest example: Nonetheless, you can see sci-fi stories in the 50s had it.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 11:25 a.m. CST

    49th anniversary of Doctor Who

    by HornOrSilk

    Read, "Who Killed JFK"?

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 11:30 a.m. CST

    The Dark Doctor

    by sykora2944

    I saw the cover and for a glorious moment thought that McGann would be showing up next year as a vengeful version of The Doctor (maybe from his regeration being cut short)... Ah well, I can dream

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by photoboy

    I've had the Special Edition of Axos in my "to watch" pile for weeks now, I really must make the time. It's another favourite of mine purely because of the Doctor/Master relationship. It's a great story I think for showing how their relationship is almost an intellectual game (at least from the Master's perspective). It's almost like the Master is not interested in actually taking over the Earth, he just wants to defeat the Doctor and have the Doctor acknowledge that. Despite growing up with and adoring Anthony Ainley's Master, I really do enjoy the extra depth that was given to the Master during Delgado's tenure. I'm really looking forward to the Weekend with John Levene extra as well. In other news, Colin seems to be doing well on I'm a Celebrity. I hate myself for watching it, but it's good to see he hasn't been voted out or subjected to eating an ostrich anus. Maybe if he wins Moffat will let him appear in the 50th anniversary? ;)

  • It didn't go over well. Some things are holy writ and the police box is one of them. I believe the closest the idea ever got to reality was a brief repair of the chameleon circuit in Attack of the Cybermen.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 12:33 p.m. CST


    by mark howard

    Had some stupid, idiotic ideas, but I think most of the time he was just throwing stuff out to the journo's for maximum publicity. Say what you will, he was a crap producer but a master manipulator of the press.

  • I figured out what I would do. First, I recognize I am not a good actor. I am a horrible one, in fact. I don't have acting chops. So I will put that in the script itself. The Doctor is summoned to early 21st century America by Kate Stewart. There is a crazy person in an asylum claiming to be the Doctor. The problem: he is clearly acting a part, and badly acting the part of the Doctor. He is acting as if doing the part of the Doctor on stage, but also as if he were the worst actor in all history. Yet. He knows things. He knows the Doctor. He knows the life and history of the Doctor. Everything the Doctor knows he knows. But he is acting it out, reciting words the Doctor has used as if he were playing the part of the Doctor. She called the Doctor after he acted out the events of "The Power of Three." She is confused: how does he know all of this, and yet, who is he? The Doctor shows up, and looks to talk to this guy. He introduces himself as the Doctor. The other guy shakes his head no, and says, "I am the Doctor. And basically, run!" Cue theme music. The story would be about this guy, and who he is. It will turn out he is a projection of the Doctor's inner psyche given life. It is an element within, made human, someone who understands the Doctor's role in the universe is, in many respects, an acting job in front of aliens... and has turned humanity and all that is in front of him as aliens. It's an element which has been given real life -- and is truly human -- and so, is actually the Doctor, but a strange manifestation of the Doctor. He's an actor, acting the role of the Doctor, while being the Doctor. In the end, he is given a chance to return within the pscyhe where he belongs or given life -- and he chooses to live in the world, knowing who and what he is, after contact with the Doctor.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 12:50 p.m. CST

    And yes.. there are elements of a BF story in my idea

    by HornOrSilk

    Though I didn't think of the BF connection until after I thought of the idea. It would still play out differently, and since I'm a bad actor, it would allow me to play the part! And I would then be able to be the worst actor who ever played The Doctor!

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Happy 49th anniversary

    by DoctorTom

    go with hornorsilk's suggestion of "Who Shot JFK" - it's been a while since I have, but I enjoyed it when it came out. It would be nice if it got released as an ebook; that would probably be up to the authors at least in part. At least one Virgin book is out there as an ebook now (The Empire of Glass). Of course, with the new series, they'd probably do something like have JFK still be alive - one of Captain Jack's assignments as a time agent was to go back to just before the gunshot, slap up a temporary timeloop to replace JFK with a mindless clone, then get out of there, all as a part of recruiting JFK to the Time Agency. It would actually be a interesting start to a 50th anniversary story if the Doctor's somewhere, then JFK appears wearing a Vortex Manipulator, and tells him *Doctor, you've been running for long enough. Now it's time to end.* (cue opening theme credits).

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    I caught the reference, hornorsilk

    by DoctorTom

    one of the Unbound stories. I'm trying to remember, wasn't the Punchline CD by BBV (starring Sylvester McCoy as an unofficial 7th Doctor, and written by Robert Shearman under an alias) also somewhat along those lines?

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 1:46 p.m. CST

    doctortom well, online....

    by HornOrSilk

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 1:47 p.m. CST

    And, doctortom, looks like with author's permission

    by HornOrSilk

    Look to the commentary!

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 1:50 p.m. CST

    doctortom well, the BF one I was thinking of..

    by HornOrSilk

    Minuet in Hell.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Glen - some Tardis based fan wankery for you

    by Mister Vertue Somebody sent this to me last week after reading about 'Journey to the Centre of the Tardis'. Don't expect *any* of it to appear in the actual episode... obviously. I still can't decide if this is a work of genius or somebody who has way too much time on his hands.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Hornorsilk, we'll probably never know, but. . .

    by Kathryn Gail

    . . .it's probably much earlier that anyone suspects! I have a history-related [yet terrible] job and ran across a U.S. dad from the late 1800s writing to relatives that his son was playing make-believe Mars exploration based on some novel or serial (and, off-topic but still interesting, his 16-year-old daughter wanted A BEE HIVE for her birthday--reminds you how many notions about the past we get from fiction not reality) and it was well before anything listed, for example, here: *intermission: my continued timewasting online* Whoa! Speaking of which, I've wanted this for years, forgot to check up on it for a while, and just found/bought a copy for $15: [includes a good solid blurb for everything listed] Packed with *they were already writing about that WHEN?!?!* moments, although I'm sure it still leaves countless firsts lost in time, not to mention other languages and locations.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 2:27 p.m. CST

    hornorsilk - sweet!

    by DoctorTom

    I didn't know Who Killed Kennedy was up like that! I was thinking you had been mentioning Deadline, not Minuet in Hell, though I can see it now (I think I was just trying to block the memory of that story from my brain. Claiming a new state is established in the US that's called Malebolgia popped my suspension of disbelief when it was first mentioned. I don't think that you'd ever get that name passed through, even if China said they'd forgive our national debt if they let it happen.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 2:31 p.m. CST

    some top-shelf fan wankery, that TARDIS schematic

    by Kathryn Gail

    That designer may have too much time on his/her hands, but is definitely not using to make the world a shabbier place.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 2:41 p.m. CST

    patrickstewartsaweverything -- for the history minded

    by HornOrSilk

    Plurality of Worlds: The Extraterrestrial Life Debate from Democritus to Kant

  • I seem to remember, years ago, the BBC site even had it online (or parts of it)....

  • Was just pointing out if you like history, look to the trilogy of books by Stephen Dick and Micahel Crowe on the debate of other worlds in the West. Highly interesting, and shows ideas go back long before many imagine. There is also a book called The Last Frontier by Guthke to look into. Nonetheless, even with all of these, one keeps finding sci-fi books and stories going back further than one expects.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Re JFK

    by dj_bollocks

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was a JFK related TV story as part of the 50th...

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 4:29 p.m. CST

    hornorsilk, those looks like some good reads, and then also in 1853--

    by Kathryn Gail

    --and I won't pretend I already knew this, it just popped up when I looked up the titles you mentioned-- There's also an 1853 Of the Plurality of Worlds that the more recent work's title likely refers to (it's on google books)--it's a rejection of multiple worlds (and, a few years before Darwin, of evolution) so perhaps a gloomy slog for many science fiction addicts, but probably a good snapshot of the thinking at the time. *another timewasting intermission* Meanwhile, I've pushed bioships back to Olaf Stapledon's 1937 Star Maker . . .and much as I'd like to credit the random old chat thread person who confirms that there's a bioship species in this, my anti-virus blocked somethingoranother from that site so I won't add a link. Looks like Star Maker is out there free online, though, if anyone's up for meticulous fact-checking (me? feh! no way, not on a day off!).

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 5:27 p.m. CST

    patrickstewartsaweverything actually in the 19th century

    by HornOrSilk

    You had people from all positions; a lot believed in and preached the plurality of worlds from religious or philosophical reasons. It's amazing - though when you read the books, you will find that the pendulum would swing back and forth through the centuries.

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Hey, Hanks: Eat my shorts, you complete knob-end!

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Lovely work by Doc #5, Nyssa, Tegan & Turlough too! Next up: Robophobia (Doc #7, which promises some fun, given I love "Robots of Death", and its Kaldor City offshoot that links the Whoniverse to that of "Blake's 7") & The Curse of Davros (Doc #6) And I'm spent...

  • (reconstruction time. . . but I'm sure my first version was THE BEST READ EVER. . . ) But yeah, tons of diversity of opinion on science-vs.-religion and everything else, too! Readers wanting a quick check of this without having to slog through sci.-vs.-rel. treatises. . . hey, it's Friday night, google yourself up some pre-20th-century adult prose (or images) and see how it compares to stuff people keep telling one another about Victorian behavioral norms! Drrr. . . as for examples of off-beat old opinions. . . that 5 minutes to jog my memory would be a step down the slippery slope to a lost weekend, but. . . just on the sci.-vs.-rel. topic, I seem to recall that here in the U.S. the preacher Henry Ward Beecher, besides being a busy busy philanderer, tended to promote science as a check upon pride-based misinterpretation of religious texts, and really lard on the rhetorical parallels between scientific study and the pursuit of faith. Here's one: Haha--I'm definitely one of those U.S. fans who does not not not absolutely not ever EVER want to see a watered-down U.S. Doctor pandering to a mostly-U.S. audience (aagghhh, HOW AWFUL was the U.S. Being Human! unwatchable!!!), but if the Doctor just happened to be here looking around for a historyguy companion, he could do worse than Beecher played for laughs as a not-keeping-it-in-his-pants histrionic windbag. Kind of obscure and potentially offensive, though. . . oh well. . .

  • He's really worth some stronger and much more specific language, but the code of conduct, it is our way. . . It's just like not giving too much information in good fiction: what you each mentally fill in on your own works so much better than one person writing it all out. . .

  • Nov. 23, 2012, 11:41 p.m. CST

    oh and also Delgado's hypnotism

    by Kathryn Gail

    feels so much like *these aren't the droids you're looking for*

  • Nov. 24, 2012, 1:48 a.m. CST

    re Tardis Interior

    by Johnboy40

    I always figured it would look like a huge jumble of tetris pieces thrown together. I remember in Peter Davisons first story, they had to jettison chunks of it. Including the zero room. which was a plot point.

  • Nov. 24, 2012, 7:43 a.m. CST


    by Merrick

    >>> I still can't decide if this is a work of genius or somebody who has way too much time on his hands. <<< Both? The two are often one in the same, in my experience. Thanks so much for sharing! PERSONALLY: I *love* the idea of a highly intelligent and developed civilization creating a device which has no finite form. A seemingly limitless, etherial machine that can't be fully grasped or quantified. Folks who can bend time and space and continue their lives through regeneration could be *seen* as gods by some. Seems appropriate that their tools of power are not always graspable or definable.

  • Nov. 24, 2012, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Tardis, infinite, or not?

    by Mister Vertue

    I sort of compare it to the Universe. It's so large it may as well be infinite, but it does have edges out there somewhere, maybe? To anyone wandering her corridors, it certainly looks like it goes on forever, but there are some very scary things lurking within and wandering around is not advised. Every step away from the relative safety of the main console room is one step closer to something unexpected, scary or just plain strange...

  • Nov. 24, 2012, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Doctor Who overdose

    by Mister Vertue

    A website filled with wonderful things related to Doctor Who! I try not to check it too often because I tend to spend hours and hours clicking through page after page of delightful pieces of artwork, amusing thoughts and weird coincidences.

  • Nov. 24, 2012, 6:26 p.m. CST


    by Ken Plume

    To those who may be wondering - I'm sure the chances of another episode happening are good. Or at least better than the odds of a multi-doctor episode next series. But that really doesn't clear anything up, does it? Thought not. Anywho. What?

  • Nov. 24, 2012, 6:39 p.m. CST

    Trying to re-watch Axos bits at a time...(link)

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Nov. 24, 2012, 6:42 p.m. CST

    @bytor: Your re-watch project = AMAZING! Bravo...

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Nov. 24, 2012, 8:09 p.m. CST


    by DoctorTom

    Glad to hear we might be getting another episode. And, given all the rumors about Tennant coming back (with the odds for it happening actually looking pretty good), then that should make the chance of a new Whotininnies quite good indeed! I will admit, though, that if they bother to go to the trouble of working Matt Smith into a past episode like they did Trials and Tribbleations, it would be amusing if they find a way to work him into the episodes of Galaxy Four and The Underwater Menace that were found


  • Nov. 25, 2012, 10:27 p.m. CST

    I don't know if anyone has already posted this.

    by The Transformed Man

    It makes the rounds every once in a while, but it is nice. Doctor Who in a Dr. Seuss style.

  • Nov. 25, 2012, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Oh! That's a Len Deighton novel in Power of Three. . .

    by Kathryn Gail

    Any Len Deighton fans here? I just realized that the first patient to be snatched in Power of Three was reading Len Deighton's 1989 novel Spy Line (and by *just realized* I of course mean *just wrote down the letters I could see, compared them to Deighton's bibliography, and checked it against covers on google images* -- ). I was already way over my Time I'll Soon Cry Over Never Getting Back limit Friday just looking up first bioships in science fiction (nope, still haven't found any earlier than the 1930s, YET), and anyway just reading a synopsis probably won't do much, so. . . anyone who's read Spy Line: got any sudden flashes of insight?

  • Nov. 25, 2012, 11:13 p.m. CST

    and, like cubes, those orderlies' where-their-mouths-should-be. . .

    by Kathryn Gail

    . . .have six sides plus an inside. Maybe they were cubes with creepy orderlies on the inside and everything else on the outside, and then they inverted!

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 6:04 a.m. CST

    Caractacus can't post.

    by Peter Merel

    Not certain whether aicn is up to tricks or if I did something unfortunate with my usual account. So ... Two ... Two ... Two ...

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Caractacus can post.

    by veteran_of_mu

    Two ... two ... two ...

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 6:11 a.m. CST

    Caractacus can't post URLs.

    by veteran_of_mu


  • Nov. 26, 2012, 6:16 a.m. CST

    The crack in the Milky Way. For real.

    by veteran_of_mu At first I thought Moffatt must have based his crack on that 2006 image. Then I remembered ... so this is spookier than that ... And apparently the problem isn't URLs or me but long URLs. Okay, back to my article on the theory and practice of time warfare. Coming soon!

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Speak of the devil.

    by The Transformed Man

    Today's riptapparel shirt: Also, I found out one of my friends made this. Before he ended up getting sucked into Doctor Who:

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 10:38 a.m. CST

    easily better than any of the modern Who stories

    by Woodrow_Wilson_Smith

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Dalek musical hits off-off-off-Broadway

    by DoctorTom Well, if there's any justice this will be produced at some point

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Production of Sherlock pushed back

    by DoctorTom

    from January to March, according ti Entertainment Weekly. Word from the BBC is that it will still screen before the end of 2013. They just haven't said yet how close to the end of the year it will be. Why do I get the feeling that we're going to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who by watching a Sherlock episode that night?

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 8:14 p.m. CST

    Pretty sure McCann was looking for this

    by INWOsuxRED

    Before there was an Eccleston Doctor. I am sort of fond of the idea that the 9th Doctor was so dejected by the time war that he didn't even bother to come up with a new outfit, he just kept wearing what he was already wearing.

  • Nov. 26, 2012, 10:40 p.m. CST


    by The Transformed Man

    I never thought about that take on the Eighth Doctor's transition to the Ninth, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. That makes so much sense and really fits Nine. It's implied in his first episode that he never bothered really looking at himself in the mirror until he happened upon one at Rose's place.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 6:33 a.m. CST


    by Kathryn Gail

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 6:34 a.m. CST

    (oops, postfail!)

    by Kathryn Gail

    hadn't even typed anything yet, that time! Hold, please. *elevator music*

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 6:52 a.m. CST

    hornorsilk's yourself-in-a-50th challenge

    by Kathryn Gail

    If you got to write a 50th anniversary story and had to be a lead character in it. . . (I was lazily hoping everyone else would respond and I could just sit here soaking up the creativity. . .) Like hornorsilk I have no known acting skills, but I've always wanted to be the random bystander lady who gets the close-up bloodcurdling scream in monster films, and I also think it's time to find out more about Susan AND use the memory vaults to solve a mystery (why DOESN'T the Doctor use them more? is there a hazard? madness? distortion??) based on something from the careers of all eleven Doctors. Is she really 1's granddaughter as such? or Jenny's daughter? or River's child's? Her origin is tied to a mystery hidden across the Doctor's past and future lives, and obscured by something time-loop-y with attention always deflected by a 60s-monster-film-style rampaging terror. Nobody can crack it until I've dropped whatever I'm carrying (it changes hilariously by era! and so does the filming style!) and screamed at least eleven times as the monster shows up (if money can buy a good enough acting coach to get that much out of me).

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 9:34 a.m. CST

    hornorsilk's yourself-in-a-50th challenge

    by DoctorTom

    okay, I'll take the challenge. I wouldn't be a lead since I can't act. I imagine most people in that situation would be like patrickstewartsaweverything and would opt to be a victim of a baddie's attack, and that was my first thought, but I'll try for something different. The Time Lords are gone, but are they completely gone? How could we have the Time Lords be dead (or timelocked at the point where the Doctor kills them all) and still be around? Yes, some could be in another universe - like Omega's antimatter universe (I could see Romana leading a group of Time Lords to an emergency bolthole in another universe to make sure the race survives even if Gallifrey falls). It wouldn't surprise me if this route is taken at some point. This isn't what I would try, though. We already know of a way Time Lords survive beyond death their consciousness, or a copied version of it, is preserved in the Matrix. We also know the security on the Matrix is like a sieve. The Valeyard goes sauntering through the Matrix, the Master's been in the APC net portion and the greater Matrix himself (apparently having a plan that earns him extra points every time he visits), and people from Andromeda are wanting to get secret technology stolen from the Matrix. It seems like there isn't that much security on it. So, wouldn't it be prudent if there had been a backup copy of the Matrix in case of something bad happening to the original Matrix? We're told with regular computers to back up your data elsewhere. In this case, elsewhere would be somewhere other than Gallifrey. Somewhere that would supposedly be safe. Having nobody else know about the existence of the copy would help keep it safe, since if people don't know that it's out there they won't be looking for it. Let's say this backup copy is somewhere that was not timelocked in the War. It's still out there, supposedly safe... ...until somebody finds it, and starts finding out the secrets of the Time Lords. I wouldn't have the somebody be Daleks, though they could be brought in at some point. You just have the Doctor finding out that there are Time Lord secrets that aren't secret any more, and someone's using Time Lord technology. He has to investigate to see if there's another surviving Time Lord. Supposedly every Time Lord has his consciousness in the Matrix - including the Doctor himself. (And Rassilon, and Romana, if you want to have either of them involved. Presumably Omega too if you want him.) You can explore some of the Doctor's history if you really want to in memory flashbacks in the Matrix, or have interactions with other Time Lord's memories. Of course, the Doctor would want to prevent whoever has this (Kovarian's group finds it, but after all their actions in Season 6? It's the Master, having escaped the Timelock after finding out there's a backup copy of the Matrix out there?), but could have the complicaton of other groups also trying to track down the Time Lord tech that's been shown to be out there now (hello, Daleks! Hello, Cybermen! Hello, Vardans - just kidding - it's possible to bring them in but I wouldn't see it happening. Sontarans, though, would be interested). The Doctor finds himself having to stop the other people who want it as well as getting it away from whoever has it now. But, would he destroy what might be the last connection to the Time Lords in the normal universe, his only chance now to interact with Time Lords in even a limited capacity, Time Lords as they were before and not as they are at the end? Yes, he'd probably try to destroy it to keep it from getting into the wrong hands, but if there was a chance that he could transfer the Matrix into a part of the TARDIS given time he might or might not have, he might go for that option instead. You can explore the Doctor's and the Time Lords' history in as much or as little detail as you want here. Now as for meeting the challenge of having a part for myself in this, I'd have a scene with a bunch of Time Lord consciousnesses (possibly represented by floating Time Lord heads in the Matrix) where I'd be one of the random Time Lords.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 10:54 p.m. CST

    @doctom: Excellent ideas! Und zo...

    by obijuanmartinez

    Data redundancy is the key. We stupid humans know that our MP3s will go bye-bye if a dup copy of them doesn't exist; so must it be w/ the Time Lords. Irresponsible if a group of dashed-clever coves like the Gallifreyans only relied on 1 mega-repository for the sum of all TL thought, scholarship, etc. Sorry, Rassilon old son - we lost the one copy of your Eye of Harmony experiments that we had on VHS...Damn you, Coordinator Engin! I could see Romana investing the Celestial Invervention Agency with this task, maybe imagining her "kinder" hand would soften their covert, cloak & dagger ways (Maybe they're in E-Space?), or not... I could also see something like the Kastrian Race Bank from "Hand of Fear" - a genetic repository w/ the capability of repopulating the TL race (?) Also had this idea that maybe the C.I.A. takes matters into their own hands and decides to throw caution to the wind (Laws of Time be doggoned) and change the outcome of the Time War to Gallifrey's favor, enlisting a Time Lord much more evil & thoroughly ruthless than The Master: Morbius - Former President of the High Council, and erstwhile near-conqueror of the Cosmos (Oh, and my cameo could be a former incarnation of Morby when the inevitable Mind-Bending apparatus we all know & love from "Brain of Morbius" makes an appearance...)

  • And then a Shadow Proclamation functionary shows up with a fine for transporting an unregistered species backup unit across sectors (probably unfairly levied, Hitchhikers' Guide style, on some unwitting entity-on-the-street who happens to be holding it at the time), and another for the Ganger Doctor for duplicating an advanced species whose backup ought to be registered, "ah, but they didn't pay their registration fee," everyone sues everyone, the BBC solves its "more stuff Americans like" issue without doing a terrible knockoff, all interested docbackers get great cameos as dour Shadow Proclamation staff, big 2013 holiday party in Cardiff! That never made sense about the Matrix. "Oh here's this invaluable thing we're all tied into, la la la everyone's strolling in and out at random, we've just the one so try not to step on that switc-- oh; oops. . ."

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Further thoughts on Matrix backups

    by DoctorTom

    There is apparently one group the Time Lords might trust with a backup of the Matrix - the Shadow Proclamation. We've got the Shadow Proclamation on a placard underneath the TARDIS console. It might be a thing that only the Shadow Proclamation and the High Council knew about, or - to make it more interesting - the Shadow Proclamation and the CIA acting without the High Council knowing about this. It could be the same type of deal as with the Key of Rassilon in The Invasion of Time. You don't let the High Council know that there's a backup out there because then the Daleks can't get the knowledge of it out of them if they're caught by Daleks when they're off Gallifrey. It would also keep members of the High Council from using the information for their own benefit - tapping into it themselves or leaking the information to someone who'd pay a pretty penny for access to the Matrix. Another thought on the Matrix, really more of a question. Could the Matrix be hacked to make the Matrix forget about the Doctor? Could he still have his consciousness that's in there lurking as a ghost in the machine, so to speak, if the other minds in there were made to forget him? One more thought. The Matrix is supposed to have copies of the minds of all these Time Lords - does it still have a copy of Salyavin in it? (Salyavin's the Time Lord in Shada.) Has the Salyavin in the Matrix already made the rest of the Matrix forget about him? Can the Salyavin in the Matrix still do that? And, if he could, maybe someone who knew about Salyavin is trying to get the Matrix for some reason. For some reason I'd be amused if the 50th anniversary story could end up being a sequel of sorts to Shada, the one story that didn't get completed yet has most likely had a greater life because of that than it would have if it actually had been completed. This, of course, means that we need to have Gareth Roberts write the story.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    A futher thought on the further thought

    by DoctorTom

    About the backup of Salyavin in the Matrix and someone wanting to find him - what if this has already been done? Salyavin could change people's minds. Maybe copying is biodata extract gave only an incomplete version of the power, which would work as a posthypnotic suggestion once someone looked away from you - maybe the Silents are the result of bioengineering. It's a religious order, not a species. Maybe they were human and part of the vows had them being engineered into those forms. I doubt Moffat's going to tie Salyavin in with it, but the bioengineering of the Silents is something I wouldn't put past him.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 12:40 p.m. CST

    And when did they make the copy. . .

    by Kathryn Gail

    . . .when Salyavin was a young criminal or a reformed old man (since Madam President Romana discovered his whereabouts before the war/series relaunch)? Having old versions in there could open up some interesting plotlines.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 3:35 p.m. CST

    For that matter, is he still around?

    by DoctorTom

    He had a TARDIS after all, so maybe he's used the Chameleon Arch to actually be human now.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Speaking of is he still around, I hope Merrick's okay

    by DoctorTom

    usually there's a new Docback by this point - I hope it's just a delay in his typing up the article and not something serious.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Yes, first time ever there's no docback in the Coaxial section

    by veteran_of_mu

    Even when Merrick was ill he managed to get it up, so to speak. Bit of a worry.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 5:41 p.m. CST


    by Kathryn Gail

    Hopefully just a schedule glitch, something too good to pass up--??

  • Seriously, I hope everything's okay. I'm worried.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 11:45 p.m. CST

    Well, if Glen is MIA, maybe Ken knows his whereabouts.

    by veteran_of_mu

    Can chime in Monsieur Plume?