Hello Whovians! Missed a week last week due to being out of the country, but we’re back in the TARDIS again for a trip to the Vatican in an episode that feels like an odd sci-fi love letter to Dan Brown and the second episode on the story that is a pyramid episode that makes me wish it was on Mars. But alas!
In the fifth episode of this season of Doctor Who, The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole find themselves caught up in new dangers as they answer a distress call coming from deep space, the sort of thing that’s never just an easy rescue. Especially when big corporate who only cares about the bottom line is involved. And so we have “Oxygen”, which feels like a space take on zombies-but-not-zombies. This review is very belated because much like the Doctor’s capers, shit happens that puts a wrench in things, like moving apartments and not having a desk or knowing where you packed your laptop for a few days. I digress.
Doctor Who finally returns after a long hiatus for it’s tenth series (of the NuWho ones anyway) and as an avid Whovian: Attender of Cons I asked to tackle reviewing the current season and decided to review the first two episodes together to get a better sense of how this series, showrunner Steven Moffat’s last, felt at the kickoff. Initially I’ll say this, my feelings are mixed and traditionally I find myself more aggravated with Moffat than appreciative, but as I generally have kept my expectations low with Moffat!Who, I can say I have been pleasantly surprised so far.
HUGE news out of Britain today as one of New Who’s most beloved villains de-generates. Not literally, of course, but yes, you read the head line correctly, John Simm’s incarnation of the insane villain The Master returns to face off against The Doctor and his new companions in the latest season in one of the longest running shows in television history.
John Simm: “I can confirm that it’s true, thanks to the power of time travel I’m back. It’s always a pleasure to work with this great team of people and I can’t wait for you all to see what The Master gets up to in the next series. “
Steven Moffat, writer and executive producer had this to say about the big news: “Nothing stays secret for long on Doctor Who but you’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see exactly what The Master is up to and how he makes his return to face the Doctor. It’s been a huge pleasure to have fan favourites John Simm and Michelle Gomez face to face in the same role! It’s not often you get to see a solo personality clash.”
No other details have come forth but from Moffat’s own words, can this be a hint that, much like the 50th anniversary special, we get to see The Master and Missy team up to take on The Doctor, His newest companion Bill Pots (Pearl Mackie) and Nardol (Matt Lucas)?
Of course the season will be chock full of other foes including the return of the Daleks, The Ice Warriors and, returning for the first time in nearly 50 years, The Mondasian Cybermen.
BBC bosses want Doctor Who to feel like “a brand new show” under incoming boss Chris Chibnall… so we can expect a whole new line-up in 2018.
Insiders say the Broadchurch writer will have a “clean slate” to start afresh for his first series – rather bad news for actress Pearl Mackie, who plays new assistant Bill in Steven Moffat’s last run, currently filming for next year.
Pearl, 29, yet to be seen by viewers, is said to have been signed on a one-year contract and is expected to depart with Peter Capaldi, 58, and Moffat after 2017’s Christmas special.
The replacement Time Lord is likely to be played by a younger actor in a bid to help boost the flagging sales of dolls, books, DVDs and toys.
Our source says: “BBC management wants a return to the format from the David Tennant era, when you had a dashing male lead and young female companion.
“Merchandising has dropped off sharply in recent years and there is a strong desire to boost the show’s popularity among kids.”
One way to do that, of course, is by returning to its traditional tea-time slot, rather than the post-Strictly position it languished in last year.
Next year’s show is expected to air in spring rather than autumn, to avoid the Saturday clash with Strictly.