Monday, 29 December 2014

The Gallifrey Times Review of the Year 2014 (Part 1)

2013 in Doctor Who saw ten brand new episodes, the departure of Matt Smith, the introduction of two brand new Doctors (John Hurt and Peter Capaldi), the show's golden anniversary and the return of David Tennant - suffice to say, it was a fairly big year. Surely, after Doctor Who's biggest year ever, it would be a little calmer this year...

... It wasn't calmer. 2014 saw a brand new series with a new Doctor, radical changes to the show and a world tour - so, as Peter Capaldi's first year as the Doctor comes to a close and 2015 beckons, we'll be posting a two-part retrospective of the year of the Twelfth Doctor. In part one, we'll look at the first half of the year - from the start of filming to publicity for Series 8 ramping up...

JANUARY
Doctor Who had just experienced a massive change as Matt Smith's run as the Doctor drew to a close in The Time of the Doctor - and just a week into 2014, the new era of the show cranked into action, as filming of Series 8 started on 6th January. Details began to come in thick and fast - from set photos of Capaldi wearing the Eleventh Doctor's costume to the announcement that Phil Ford would be writing an episode - and filming for Deep Breath continued all month. Meanwhile, the boss himself Steven Moffat, in a shocking twist, managed to please almost all of Doctor Who's fandom by announcing that the next two series would not be split in half...

And at the end of January, some big news came in, in the form of the very first photo of Peter Capaldi in costume as the Twelfth Doctor. Several thousand analyses of Capaldi's magician-esque attire (and one day) later, Capaldi and Jenna Coleman were spotted filming a climactic scene for Deep Breath in Cardiff - and whispers of a cameo from Matt Smith began to leak through...

Best January moment: Peter Capaldi truly becomes the Doctor as his new outfit (which Capaldi would end up wearing in about a quarter of Series 8) is revealed to the world.

FEBRUARY
It was a quiet month for Doctor Who - but there was still plenty of news as filming for Into the Dalek began. At the same time, rumours of the pepperpots' involvement in Series 8 began to appear in sources like the Daily Mirror (so it was quite a surprise when the rumours turned out to be true) - and meanwhile, news of a special 50th anniversary collection DVD emerged, collecting all the special material and episodes shown as part of Doctor Who's golden anniversary. And towards the end of the month, a new recurring cast member joined the fray - Samuel Anderson was announced to be joining Series 8 in a recurring role as Danny Pink!

As February ended, Peter Capaldi made a surprise appearance in costume as the Doctor at a BBC Worldwide event - and excitingly, the prospect of Doctor Who LEGO sets was raised by a new entry on LEGO's website (unfortunately, the Doctor Who sets were rejected later this year for... The Big Bang Theory).

Best February moment: Another Coal Hill teacher joins the TARDIS, as Samuel Anderson signs up as Danny Pink...

MARCH
After a quiet February, the news machine began to crank into life in March, as writer of fan-favourite (definitely) story The Curse of the Black Spot Stephen Thompson was announced to be penning episode five of the new series - and as the episode that became Time Heist began filming, the episode's villain was cast, as Keeley Hawes signed up as the mysterious Ms Delphox. Elsewhere, a huge rumour emerged, as Sylvester McCoy appeared to reveal that the Master would be returning for Series 8. He wasn't wrong, but McCoy's references to the actor playing the Master as 'he' suggest that the former Seventh Doctor wasn't quite on the right track...

In filming news, a bizarre new monster was spotted on the set of episode five, and this writer slightly got his wires crossed, suggesting that the new monster was part of episode four and fed off people talking to themselves in the filming report. Sadly, that terrific concept never actually happened, and the monster ended up being the Teller. At the close of March, a strange owl-like robot was seen on set as Peter Capaldi suited up as a caretaker. Some tragic news finished the month on a sombre note, as former Rani Kate O'Mara sadly passed away at the end of the month.

Best March moment: Acclaimed actress Keeley Hawes joins Series 8 as a villain with a dark secret (spoiler alert: she had clones).

APRIL
More writer news at the start of April, as veterans Mark Gatiss and Gareth Roberts were confirmed to be penning episodes three and six - and on the set of Gatiss' episode, actor Tom Riley was spotted in Robin Hood get-up, as the entire climax of Robot of Sherwood was filmed out in the open to watching fans (go figure!). Ben Miller also signed up as the episode's villain, and classic Doctor Who premiered on the Horror Channel.

Just before April became May, even more writer news came through - and this time, it was a pair of fresh new faces; Peter Harness, and Jamie Mathieson. One would write an episode involving a space dragon hatching from the Moon, and the other would write an episode involving an experiment set up to investigate an ancient killer mummy on a 1920s train in space. Suffice to say, they were original ideas - and they weren't the last new faces to sign up...

Best April moment: The Doctor and Robin Hood unite in Sherwood Forest, with intriguing details of a golden arrow and a cheating homing arrow revealed.

MAY
As Capaldi's first series edged ever closer, new details of episode seven emerged - overseas filming in Lanzarote was announced and took place before most set reporters even realised it had happened, and the episode was announced to take place in a locale that the Doctor had visited before (spoiler alert: the Moon), provoking fan speculation about a sequel to Planet of Fire or a return to Pompeii. Later, filming on a Welsh beach for Kill the Moon revealed the return of the extremely fashionable orange spacesuits.

In episode eight news, comedian and superfan Frank Skinner signed up for a guest role (choice quote: "When I got the call saying they wanted me to read for the part, I was in the back of my tour bus watching episode three of The Sensorites"), alongside singer Foxes in her first acting role. The Day of the Doctor scooped the BAFTA Audience Award, beating the likes of Breaking Bad, Broadchurch... and The Great British Bake-Off. And on the 23rd May, the very first teaser for Series 8 dropped, featuring a shadowy Capaldi, an exploding TARDIS and a return month of August - but that wasn't quite all. Director Rachel Talalay signed up for two episodes of Series 8, revealing in an interview she would be helming a two-part finale...

Best May moment: The Day of the Doctor fends off competition from US and UK big-hitters to scoop the BAFTA audience award.

JUNE
Early in June, episode nine filming kicked off - and set photos revealed a team on community service, and some mysterious 'artwork' in a tunnel, featuring people with their backs turned - and meanwhile, The Gallifrey Times got a brand new look and several new writers as Capaldi's debut beckoned. Rumours of the Master's return thickened with whispers of a Hollywood star taking over John Simm's role - and once again, the rumours weren't entirely wrong...

Filming for the two-part finale kicked off in mid-June - with a pivotal scene in a cafe filmed first (figure out which one), and Jamie Mathieson was confirmed to be writing a second episode. As for the customary late month major news (you may have noticed a convenient pattern) - it was a big one, as the countdown to Capaldi truly began on 27th June. An air date (23rd August), a title (Deep Breath), a promo image (cannot be put in brackets) and a teaser featuring Capaldi asking Clara the now-infamous question 'am I a good man?' were all revealed within a few chaotic minutes...

And on the final day of June, another seemingly run-of-the-mill piece of casting came through, as Michelle Gomez was cast in the finale as 'the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere'. A normal villain, everyone assumed - little did they know... On the same day, Gomez was out on set as Kate Stewart and Osgood made their triumphant (well, maybe not for poor Osgood) return - and a returning monster was revealed: the Cybermen were back...

Best June moment: The Cybermen invade Earth (again) during filming - but this time, UNIT were there to stop them...

Next time: In the second and final part, we take a look at the utterly chaotic final six months of the year - from the infamous script leak, to Peter Capaldi's first series, to Jenna Coleman's prolonged 'will she, won't she' over her future...