Monday, 10 December 2012

Issue 12 - DOWNLOAD NOW!

Seeing as its (nearly) Christmas, here is a long-overdue gift from us to you. Sadly for you it isn't our resignation from being vendors of nearly-libellous tat, so you'll have to make do with a brand-new Issue instead!

In Issue 12 we have the following:
  • Reviews of Series 7.1 (or whatever you call it)
  • Mary Tamm - The Key To The Key To Time
  • The Doctor and The Ripper - what links The Doctor with Whitechapel's mysterious   murderer?
  • Cyberman No3 - A brand new comic from the pen of the marvellous Mike Pearse
  • To Those We Never Had - A (somewhat vindictive) look at companions who should have been
  • Interview with Whostrology author Michael M. Gilroy-Sinclair
  • Plus much, much more!

You can read online, download or subscribe by RSS. We also have some discounted 2013 subscriptions (with free gifts!) on sale in our shop. They'll make a great Christmas present for any Doctor Who fan/nutcase!

If you enjoy our fanzine, please consider making a small donation to our chosen charity KidsOut, which helps disabled and disadvantaged children in the UK. You can find the page here. We produce the fanzine at a loss, so our bruised egos would be grateful for any support you can give to such a worthy cause.

Cheers!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Happy 49th Birthday Doctor Who!

Rubbish presenting, tedious clichés and an audience that look too alarming to be allowed out in public, it can only be 80's telly.  Here we present (someone else's) clip, interviews with fans and The Doctor(s) and his companion, celebrating the show's 25th Anniversary in 1988.

And as you can see, nothing much has really changed.  Some of the comments will make you smile, knowing what we know today and the video is just a great example of how Doctor Who of 25 years ago, really isn't that much different 24 years on. 

25. 50. 75. Doctor Who will be around forever.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Issue 12 - OUT NOW!!!

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ISSUE IS NOW SOLD OUT

After such a short run of Doctor Who this year, you'd think we won't have much to badger on about? Well, sadly, you'll be wrong, as here we present the biggest issue of the fanzine yet, weighing in at an unprecedented 56 pages!  It's so big, we've had offers from Celebrity Fit Club (lets face it - we're probably more famous than half of those people in the jungle with Colin Baker at the moment. And fatter)  If you're a fan of reading actual words, then this is the issue for you!  Due to the cost of producing these novels, we've only got a very limited run, so any support we get (i.e. if you buy one) will be greatly appreciated .

Here is a list of the following stuff you will find in the latest issue:
  • Reviews of Series 7.1 (or whatever you call it)
  • Mary Tamm - The Key To The Key To Time
  • The Doctor and The Ripper - what links The Doctor with Whitechapel's mysterious murderer?
  • Cyberman No3 - A brand new comic from the pen of the marvelous Mike Pearse
  • To Those We Never Had - A (somewhat vindictive) look at companions who should have been
  • Interview with Whostrology authour Michael M. Gilroy-Sinclair
  • Plus much, much more!
If you would like to order one of our finely-prouduced propaganda you can do so by sending one of the following payments to us via PayPal (please send payment as 'a gift' and enclose your name and address) to fishcustardfanzine@googlemail.com

UK: £2.20
Rest of The World: £4.20

If you don't have a PayPal account, then you can pay by other means via our brand-new shop!  We also have 2013 subscriptions on sale, so please feel free to browse those!

Cheers and see you in 2013!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Issue 12 - Deadline and Info!

We're coming to the end of this half of Series 7, so we feel it's safe to pop our heads out again and bring you a brand-new Issue!  For Issue 12, we're mainly looking for reviews of the series as an whole. We'd like to receive contributions from some of our past contributors and especially, those who haven't done it before! If you fancy putting your 'series so far' thoughts down after The Angels Take Manhattan, please e-mail us at fishcustardfanzine@googlemail.com please make your reviews no more than 700 words and no less than 1! (Obviously, any amount of words between the two would also suffice!)

If reviewing isn't your bag, we're open to any contribution you can come up with. If you need any ideas, feel free to check out our previous issues. We're generally look for essays and opinion pieces on anything vaguely-related to Doctor Who!  We're always on the lookout for more art, spoofs and poems too! Please note that we don't accept any fan-fiction stories.

The deadline for all contributions is 26th October

Cheers!

Friday, 7 September 2012

In The UK? Pre-Order Issue 12 For JUST £1!

Here at Fish Fingers and Custard, we're always dreaming up ways to flog as many paper copies as we can. Despite unsold copies clogging up wardrobes and causing ankle injuries, we're more than happy to keep producing them.  For many, there's nothing like holding something in your hand and it not having the potential to explode in your face.  So with this in mind, we're offering UK residents the chance to pre-order Issue 12 (out in October) for just ONE POUND (and that includes P+P!).  So if you're a regular reader, or someone who just reads the download or online, please consider taking up this great offer.  We're no great salesmen, we're not some big company who wants your money (we actually lose money on every issue!) but we do it for the love of it. For the love of Doctor Who! So please support us and get a great bargain at the same time!

If you would like to order a copy (which has the potential to be our biggest yet, due to the many reviews of the new series!) please send your quid via Paypal, as a 'gift' (which can be found through the 'send money' tab) to fishcustardfanzine@googlemail.com (and don't forget to include your name and address in the comments box!) We'll send out the finished Issues as soon as they come off the printer sometime in October!

If you haven't got PayPal, you can order by debit/credit card by using the facility below. The process is undertaken by PayPal, but you don't need to sign up for anything. (Please note the extra 12p is for handling charges!)

Please note that this offer ends on 11pm MONDAY 10th SEPTEMBER

We're sorry that we can't extend this offer for fans all over the world, but when Airmail is almost £3 these days, I'm sure you can understand why we can't do it. If it was free to produce, we'd gladly let you have it for nothing (which is why we do the PDF!)

Cheers and enjoy the new series!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Issue 11 - DOWNLOAD NOW!!!

To celebrate the airing of the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who, we're delighted to be able to present the latest Issue of Fish Fingers and Custard for you to download for FREE!

This has got nothing to do whatsoever with us being late in producing this.

In this Issue we have the following:
  • Tributes to Caroline John and Mary Tamm
  • The Boy Who Kicked Pigs: LIVE! - a review of Tom Baker's book, performed on stage
  • Meet The Fanziners - we chat to a couple of fanzine editors about the state of fanzines and fandom in general
  • The Krotons - Is it as bad as it looks?
  • Is the TV Movie better than the RTD era?
Plus, much, much more

You can download the PDF from here ('right-click and save', or 'left-click and save', if you're a witch. Or whatever you do if you're on a phone/iPad etc. You Show-off.

Cheers and be sure to check out our back issues by clicking 'Issues' on the left of this page - they should keep you suitably amused until Dinosaurs On A Spaceship, anyway!

If you'd like to contribute to future Issues of the fanzine, please e-mail us at fishcustardfanzine@googlemail.com

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 20 - Closing Time

What We First Thought: I love this just for the dig at Britain’s Got Talent. Fantastic!

You know what? I’d never thought I’ll be using the words ‘I quite fancy another helping of James Corden’ whilst doing these reviews.  I’m fiercely opposed to watching him in anything else, but the domestic life which has been fit around his character, Craig Owens, is like a nice pair of slippers – comfy to slip into from time-to-time. 

I like how Gareth Roberts mirrors The Lodger, what with Craig repeating himself out loud when he opens the door to The Doctor and Sophie forgetting her keys, again! Even The Doctor gets in on the act, resurrecting the ‘baby talk’ gag that was first seen in A Good Man Goes To War.  And I do think it’s a gag on The Doctor’s part, some online fans do seem to get their knickers in a twist over the slightest thing these days!  They’re the exact type of people that would be ssshed by The Doctor’s sssshing!  Sometimes it’s nice to have these little things (or as they say in Colchester – ‘tings’) return, as it puts you further into those comfy slippers I mentioned. Maybe they have a 3-D dog’s face or a dinosaur on them, or something?

Stormageddon was undoubtedly the star of this episode, with Matt a close second due in no small part to that scene the pair of them had in the bedroom. Could you imagine any other Doctor doing that? Hartnell would be all ‘Quiet Boy!’ Pertwee would be toping up his bottle with wine to keep him quiet. Tennant would probably be crying, like he always does. Anyway, you can clearly see why Matt is the perfect choice to play this role, all of his qualities are there to see – his compassion and kindness are delivered by someone who looks so young, so human, but never at any point did I think that.  Just by that scene alone, you can see how alien and how old and tired The Doctor is, and it weaves in beautifully with the overall story of the series. 

Then there’s Craig, the nervous Dad who eventually proves himself (to himself) throughout this adventure.  There’s some nice nods to this aspect of the story and I really enjoyed how it was played out. Maybe that was something that The Doctor picked up on and did the baby talk as a way of influencing Craig? Or maybe I’m reading far too much into it and he can actually speak baby. Which would give those keyboard chimps the hand grenades they require.

This is a Cyberman story of course and I feel that this episode just sums up the modern-day Cybermen – just there to be beaten without any fuss.  To be fair though – for one moment I thought Craig was a goner, so credit to all involved for making that scene what it was!  Again, people have been moaning about Craig ‘blowing them up with love’ (that’s a classic Gareth Roberts innuendo right there!) but I actually bought into this, I mean what wouldn’t you do for your own, crying child? I think it’s ridiculous for people to bang on about this when you’ve got that reason AND an attempted explanation from The Doctor!

It was great to see Lynda Baron back for her third spell in Doctor Who, playing the role of Val, who is like any ‘lady of a certain age’ I know. That actually feels wrong to describe Lynda Baron, but I’m sure you know what I mean!  Then there’s the cameo by Amy and Rory, with Amy being a top model it seems.  I really didn’t know how to feel about this development at first, then I saw Rory lumping around all the bags and smiled. All angst forgotten!  I would mention the final scenes in this, but it’s something which would be best covered in the next review! No doubt the idea of it, to build up excitement for the final episode, still works a year later!

Overall, Closing Time is very much an enjoyable episode with some nice dramatic touches, peppered with some funny lines and acting from all involved. Now can we have Corden back please? If only to keep him away from presenting tings!

Word.

What We Think Now: I wouldn’t last two minutes in Essex.

Your (5-word) Reviews 

@AbelUndercity: "Bow before Lord Stormageddon, peasants!"

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for The Wedding of River Song  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #eyepatcharmy, or post on our Facebook Page!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 19 - The God Complex

What We First Thought: Is it next week yet?

For some bizarre reason, Series 6 didn’t go down that well with most fans. What they produced, in my opinion, was a decent solid run of episodes that didn’t really contain the same highs and lows as any other new series to date.  I said in the fanzine at the time, that I didn’t think that the break worked as hoped – on paper, it seemed to be a good idea - the dramatic affect after A Good Man Goes To War was achieved as planned, but at times you can only build up something so much that the viewing public will create unrealistic expectations for themselves, so Let’s Kill Hitler and the rest of the series would never come up to scratch.

This series is typified by The God Complex – a solid episode, with a spooky story that makes you think about, well, everything that you believe in.  It’s far better written than most of the stuff that the RTD era produced, but yet it doesn’t quite jump out at you, like the Minotaur the story contains.  The idea behind it was very clever, but maybe it should have been more – a lot more. We had another question of people’s faiths (which was explored in one of the better RTD-era stories – The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit) and it was a very strong base to work from, in how each character was portrayed.  This is an episode that I feel would have benefitted from a few more minutes, maybe another character to kill off, just to give us more information about what was going on, why the Minotaur was imprisoned.

One of the (many) reasons that I love Doctor Who, is that it’s able to draw one-story characters so clearly and involve them in the on-going narrative like they’ve been there all the time.  Rita will go down as one of the ‘should have been a companion’ as she was utterly likeable, maintained a great rapport with The Doctor and was brave to the end.  She (and even characters like Howie and Gibbis) even had a bit of backstory, due in no small part to the idea of the rooms containing their worst nightmares.  This piece of narrative allowed us to look into their lives and see what kind of people they are.  Things like that draw me into the story more, make me care about the characters, so you can imagine how pissed off I was when Rita copped it!

On a technical note – I REALLY enjoyed the scene with The Doctor and Amy/Amelia.  It’s just a little thing to some people, but something as throwaway as a couple of camera transitions between Amy and Amelia, whilst The Doctor is talking to her, telling her that he let her down and she shouldn’t put her faith in him, just looks brilliant and adds so much to the scene.  The pair of Amy’s didn’t even speak a line during that scene, because they don’t need to – everything you needed to know was covered by those transitions.  Then again, when it’s directed by Nick Hurran, the bloke who did The Girl Who Waited, then it’s no surprise that this story was shot as well as it was!

I can take-or-leave David Walliams, but his performance as Gibbis was great and apart from the comic asides the character had – he was able to deliver a decent dramatic performance, that actually seemed alien, rather than a human pretending to be an alien.  Even though Toby Whithouse wrote a great script for this episode, I’d imagine it was Hurran who got the best out of Walliams (as a role like Gibbis, played by a comic actor, had the potential to be over-the-top – even having him eating a goldfish looked sickening to me!)  As mentioned, the other characters were well drawn out and I’ve come to the conclusion that this episode is the most underrated of the series.  And with talents like Whithouse and Hurran on board for Series 7, expect great things. (Now who’s the one building the hype?!)

I must mention the ending, which was a nice twist and showed us that The Doctor knows what is coming. It was sad, yet you couldn’t help but agree with The Doctor that he seems to attract trouble.  It’s a aspect of Doctor Who that I feel doesn’t get covered enough, so it’s great to see it addressed here. We all know that Amy and Rory are coming back, but this is the end of the road for The Doctor being reckless with his friends.  Maybe that was his worst nightmare?

(Or maybe it was a nude Adric, bending seductively over the console. Who knows?)

What We Think Now: Praise him! Praise him! Praise Nick Hurran!

Your (5-Word Reviews) 

@AbelUndercity: "Next time, the Sheraton instead"
David MacGowan: "kubrick and 'nimon' in a blender"

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for Closing Time  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #stormageddon (what else?), or post on our Facebook Page

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 18 - The Girl Who Waited

What We First Thought: A MILF Amy. Really?

One aspect I wanted to explore whilst watching all these episodes again was ‘would I like them after enough time has passed'.  I generally watch an episode twice – once live and again later in the week.  If I REALLY enjoy the episode, I might watch it again. But then I leave it, perhaps for a couple of years or so.  I just don’t see the benefit of watching an episode 5 times in a short space of time, because in life you may be in a certain mood at the time or in a certain situation which may affect your enjoyment of a particular episode.  I didn’t really think The Girl Who Waited was brilliant, but now I think it’s easily one of the better episodes of the series.

The Amy/Rory relationship actually makes sense in this episode.  It’s such a simple (or perhaps, not so simple) idea to have the dilemma of 'which Amy' to choose, but it works brilliantly as it opens up that window for us, to let us have a cheeky peep into the minds of these fictional characters.  The older version is obviously bitter at what has happened – a couple of minutes for us, but nearly 40 years for her.  Yet there she is in the invisible background – the younger Amy, still running around, trying to find a way out.  The answer to the dilemma may sound simple (pick the young one!) but after the performance from Karen Gillan as the older Amy, you couldn’t help but understand why she wanted out of this place – for her, she has already been through all of this before, so the young Amy has to do it too.

If you push me to say, I’d tell you that this will be Karen’s best performance in Doctor Who.  I don’t really know how she can top playing two roles, two different ages (but yet the same character!) as well as she did.  I believed in the ridiculous situation which the two Amy’s found themselves in, due to Karen's (and of course, to the ever-brilliant Arthur Darvil) acting abilities.  True, you could have seen it coming that old Amy was going to be left behind (what a threesome that would have been!) but the way in which their ‘goodbye’ was handled, was pitched just right to make the more emotional viewers shed a tear or two.

Credit must go to Tom MacRae, who felt the wrath after his much-re-written script for Rise of The Cybermen/The Age of Steel was panned by most fans I know.  I now understand that it wasn’t him who destroyed the legacy of the Cybermen (we all know that’s RTD’s fault!)  It just goes to show why a writer should be given more than one opportunity to write for Doctor Who.

I’m a big fan of the direction and this beautifully-shot episode can be summed up by one scene – as Rory looks through the glass and sees the images of old Amy and young Amy, almost stood in the same place.  It’s a shot that throws up many thoughts in just a second or two, as older Amy hangs there, just in shot, looking like a ghost – a ghost of young Amy’s future.  The look of the episode was also well done I thought – the robots, the scenery and nothing says ‘future’ than white walls everywhere!  Overall, The Girl Who Waited was about as perfect as you can get a Doctor Who episode these days, so well done to all involved!

And before any art lovers mona (get it?) about it – there are SEVEN Mona Lisa’s, so don’t panic!

What We Think Now: Brilliant

Your (5-word) Reviews 

@JayMcIntyre1: "Older Amy would've been better"
Thomas Cookson: "A work of beautiful perfection" 

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for The God Complex  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #hornybeasts, or post on our Facebook Page!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 17 - Night Terrors

What We First Thought: A David Tennant Fangirl is 100,000 times scarier. Especially if they’ve been on the tart fuel.

NIGHT TERRORS IS THE SCARIEST EPISODE EVER! screamed the Doctor Who hype machine, which at times can give North Korea a run for its money. I don’t know why people just can’t sit down and watch an episode without any tags attached it.  It’s not the first time this has happened and it certainly won’t be the last. 

The overwhelming feeling I’ve gauged from this episode is that ‘it’s Fear Her, done properly’.  True, the budget for this probably wasn’t as vast for other episodes in the series, but it certainly had a lot more pumped into it than Fear Her AND Mark Gatiss didn’t have 20 minutes to write it!  Night Terrors is just another decent watch and an episode that’s great to watch with your kids. Saying that, I firmly believe that there’s a message in this for parents and children alike – the kid being an alien was a nice twist (a nice nod to adoption, perhaps?), we had The Doctor encouraging him to ‘stand up to your fears – you’re the only one who can do it’ and, more importantly, the story seemed to make more sense than what Fear Her did!

I’ll be honest and say that on first watch (while sat in a posh hotel room in Derby, with a fluffy dressing gown on, after attending a Doctor Who convention) I didn’t really take much away from this episode.  So with what seems like everything that concerns Doctor Who – its well worth coming back to later!  It’s a lesson I’ve learned from doing these reviews and it’s something I’m going to try and take forward!

I didn’t mind the ‘monsters’ so much, perhaps I’m being a bit unfair in knocking the SCARY aspect of the episode – to a kid it might seem a bit creepy. What IS scary is me telling you that I had nothing on under the dressing gown. The main thing that bothered me about the episode though, was why were all of his ‘scary toys’ put in a cupboard, in the same room! I know the story wouldn’t have made sense otherwise, but it just struck me as something that wouldn’t really happen in real life. As wouldn’t an 8 year-old boy having a doll’s house! Maybe that’s a different story altogether, one which will also include his teens, bad tracksuits and cider. I’m already writing the script.

What We Think Now: Is Amy Pond wooden? Does she give you wood? Enough of this hilarious highbrow ‘comedy’ – you can read more of that in the fanzine!

Your (5-Word) Reviews

@JayMcIntyre1: "Smarter version of Fear Her"
Thomas Spychalski: "Very very freaky friggin monsters!"

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for The Girl Who Waited  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #handyrobots, or post on our Facebook Page!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 16 - A Good Man Goes To War/Let's Kill Hitler

What We First Thought: I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m loving it!

I don’t really know how to review these episodes.  For a start, is really a two parter? It says it is, but it doesn’t feel like it is. It’s clear some time has passed since the events in the last episode, so it doesn’t really feel like a continuation. But it IS a continuation. Oh my head, I’ve confused myself now!

I love A Good Man Goes To War.  I’ve been moaning for years for Doctor Who to have a proper adventure story, instead of the arc-heavy, character development, emotional mush we usually get.  Amazingly though, this episode achieved ALL of that AND a presented a great adventure tale, so it made me happy!  I liked seeing The Doctor recruit some of his ‘friends’ to rescue Amy.  The scenes which saw him pick them up were the highlights of the episode for me, with Strax the Sontaran being the standout in those.  It’s really funny to see how much effort they made to present a scene like that, which probably cost quite a bit, and it only being on for barely 2 minutes! It’s touches like that, that make me realise how much effort is being put into this, and into the storytelling.  Another thing I liked about those pick-up scenes, was when Dorium was protesting and you can see the silhouette of The Doctor on the wall. It’s a beautiful piece of direction and the fact that The Doctor isn’t in the episode for 18 minutes, just shows how good the episode is in terms of keeping people watching and enjoying it.

The idea of The Doctor being a word for ‘great warrior’ is very intriguing, I don’t feel a lot is made of The Doctor’s impact on people/planets/societies and this is an example of what could happen.  I don’t like how The Doctor can just zip around the universe without a care, which has been going on she the return of the show in 2005, so it’s great to see it addressed properly here.  The military going back to the church was a nice touch, as well as The Headless Monks, who were a throw-away name in Time of Angels, but here they are presented in their full glory.

There are episodes that are slow and drag a bit, but there’s no way anyone could accuse A Good Man Goes To War of that.  The pace ramps up when The Doctor finally appears on screen and doesn’t stop until the very end.  In all that, we have jokes, clever lines, great plot points (I particularly enjoyed Rory’s rapport with Strax, and them both being nurses) and we even have some enjoyable action!  When all those things are going on, I can write a lot of things off, but to be honest – there wasn’t really anything to write off.  With a Steven Moffat script, you don’t really get anything that can’t be explained on screen.  Sometimes you need to look carefully, but everything is there for you.  Now with the revelation of River being Melody Pond, how on earth will they explain this? Roll on Let’s Kill Hitler…

If A Good Man Goes To War was a fast-paced ride (but in a classy car, not in those chavvy vehicles that Boy Racers ride around in) then Let’s Kill Hitler on the other hand, starts off slowly as we finally get some answers about River.  What I find remarkable about it though, after watching it again, is that it doesn’t really feel like it drags at any point.  Like it’s predecessor, this episode is directed beautifully – I particularly noticed the scene in which Melody/River is standing on the windowsill, being all evil, and you can see The Doctor in the background flexing his hands in pain.  It’s just a little background shot, but as Melody is talking about what she’s doing, you can see the onset of her attack on The Doctor, behind her.

Later on whilst The Doctor is dying, you can see the determination in his face as he tries to scramble to his feet, in order to help his friends.  And again, in the background, you can see Melody slowing starting to turn, she can see what The Doctor is all about and she even asks him ‘why’ he’s bothering to do what he’s doing.  It’s like someone has switched a light on and she can see through the darkness that’s been inserted in her mind by those naughty vagabonds who kidnapped her.  It’s very subtle, but very well done.

Away from some of the most notable scenes (I forgot to mention ‘Take of your clothes!’ which still makes me laugh!) At the time, I was a bit iffy over the Teselecta, but after knowing what is coming, I understood the idea of them more.  The whole ‘people made miniature so they could fit inside a shape-shifting robot, to dish out justice’ just caught me cold and it’s maybe something that should have been introduced more subtly.  But then again, how on earth could you do that in an episode that had to cram in as much as this?  And they did cram a lot in, but they made it look effortless and, more importantly, make sense!

(And I am including the Teselecta in that!)

What We Think Now: A Good Man Goes To War and Let’s Kill Hitler bookmark each other perfectly.  Now for the rest of the answers!

Your (5 Word Reviews) 

@Mr_Brell: (A Good Man Goes To War) "Rollicking ride, not much story" (Let's Kill Hitler) "Dying Doctor should've looked iller!" 

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for Night Terrors  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #scarytoys, or post on our Facebook Page!

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 15 - The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People

What We First Thought: What a good last 2 minutes!

If I feel that The Doctor’s Wife is a tad overrated, then The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People is slightly underrated. But it could have been so much more enjoyable if a few creases were ironed out.  Or obliterated, in some cases.

I like Matthew Graham. Together with his writing team, they produced 5 great years of telly in the shape of Life on Mars and Ashes To Ashes.  True, the odd Bonekickers episode (okay, ALL of them) may have spoiled the party, but then there’s also Fear Her on his CV.  I’ll be honest and say that I don’t dislike that episode as much as some people seem to do.  It was by far the ‘cheap episode’ of the series and a late replacement for something else.  Graham probably didn’t have much room to lay down his own ideas and apart from a couple of good humour bits (yes, a couple – The Doctor’s answer to ‘What’s your game?’ and the ‘marmalade jar incident’) it was forgettable. So what will he be able to achieve with a budget and more time?

Just to get what I didn’t like out of the way first – I really didn’t like the flesh being some kind of evil Stretch Armstrongsies (but without the extremely camp look) - it took me out of the story then and it does the same now. I don’t understand the need to build up the story on strong morals and then spoil it with a cheap effect to scare the kids.  An image of the flesh corpses was far more eerie than having a head stretch out at you.  Oh and the episode titles seem to be the wrong way around too!

Despite the odd gripe, there were plenty of scenes that really stood out – mainly the one early on, when the flesh Jennifer is trying to profess to Rory that she is (also) Jennifer, and in between the tears she’s shouting ‘I’m Me! Me! Me!’ then all of a sudden – her face turns back to normal, emphasising that she is being truthful with her words. The flesh Cleaves was also interesting to watch too, as early on you can see that she is the complete opposite of the original Cleaves.  The flesh version wants to sit down and have a chat, whereas the original isn’t interested and actually causes the ‘war’ after she kills a flesh.  This is something that I would have liked to have seen carry on throughout the story, but as it ran on, the original Cleaves became mellower and willing to listen to The Doctor.

Watching this again made me appreciate the story of The Flesh a bit more.  Just imagine it – these people are you. They’re not some cheap Xeroxed copy that has just been born, they retain everything that is you, the very moment that you copied yourself. They aren’t robots, or computer code but actual living, breathing humans. Now back to what I was saying about not liking the ridiculous monster bits, all that just takes away any sympathies a viewer may have had, when they see something stomping around like that.  The concept of The Flesh could prove to be difficult to get your head round, but when you have them morphing into flesh monsters, then the viewer will just dismiss them as such.  So all that effort in building them up, laying down that psychological story, is just wasted and it’s a great shame, because this story should have been a lot more.

I was genuinely taken aback by the cliffhanger at the end of the episode when I first watched this. After watching it back - it seems bloody obvious now!  But that old chestnut of ‘if you don’t look for it, then you won’t find it’ very much comes into play here, so it’s to the script’s credit that it hides all the signs very well.  I also loved how the two Doctor’s got together to confuse Amy – did he work out that flesh latch on to other flesh, which is why she rejected The original Doctor? True, the whole swapping shoes idea probably clinched it, but The Doctor didn’t plan for his shoes to be melted!  He did plan to land at that very location though, as it seems he has worked out what was going on with Amy’s ‘pregnancy’ and it’s great to see that mysterious and plotting side of The Doctor.  His ruse also put him on the path to uncovering another mystery – as Amy tells him about his death!  With the second half of the series now nicely poised to tell us that part of the story, credit must go to Steven Moffat for actually addressing the many knots he tied together with his plotting. And in some style too!

It’s clear that this episode was written with Moffat’s overall story of the series in mind, so maybe Graham didn’t have much room to tell his own story after all.  One day I hope he can – he DOES have the talent to write great Doctor Who stories…

What We Think Now: Burn that Flesh Monster! Burn it! 

Your (5 Word Reviews)

@AbelUndercity: "Self loathing taken entirely literally"
@Mr_Brell: "OK, but second part dragged"
@JayMcIntyre1: "Smarter story than some think!"

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for A Good Man Goes To War/Let's Kill Hitler  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #whatthehellisgoingon, or post on our Facebook Page!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Issue 11 - OUT NOW!!!

We're back, with a very limited release (the printers have packed up) however this isn't the last Issue, but just in case, be sure to snap up your copy! (how's that for advertising?) Either way, you won't be able to avoid disappointment

In this Issue we have the following
  • Tributes to Caroline John and Mary Tamm
  • The Boy Who Kicked Pigs: LIVE! - a review of Tom Baker's book, performed on stage
  • Meet The Fanziners - we chat to a couple of fanzine editors about the state of fanzines and fandom in general
  • The Krotons - Is it as bad as it looks?
  • Is the TV Movie better than the RTD era?
Plus, much, much more

If you would like to purchase a copy, please send the payment that applies to you via PayPal (as a 'gift') to fishcustardfanzine@googlemail.com

UK: £2
Europe: £3
Rest of the World: £4

Cheers

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 14 - The Doctor's Wife

What We First Thought: The internet is going to explode!!!! 

When I first saw the reaction to The Doctor’s Wife, I honestly didn’t see what all the fuss was about.  Written by fantasy author Neil Gaiman, the story sees the TARDIS literally jumping into a human and talking to The Doctor!  On paper it sounds very bizarre, but somehow the episode makes it look as normal as, say Rory being killed, and the fact that it’s easy to understand, is the real strength of this episode.  Is it the best episode EVER though? No, not really. It isn’t even the best episode of series 6…

I don’t know what it is with fans and hype.  I can guarantee you that if another writer had written this, it wouldn’t attract such praise from those who are so upstanding about it. I feel sorry for Gaiman in a way – his work will always be so overrated, just because his name attracts people who judge things on name only.  The Doctor’s Wife is actually a decent episode as it goes, but reactions like these put people off. I know it puts me off!  It’s these same people that forget all about those people behind the scenes, such as the directors and production designers, who do so much to make a celebrity writers dream come true, but get no credit off fans whatsoever.

When the story kicks off, I just found that the dialogue that The Doctor uses (‘come here – you scrumptious little beauty’) is just so jarring and out of character for him, that it seemed it was written by someone who didn’t  really have a handle on the character, and it took me out of the story a bit.  Saying that, when the story settles down, the dialogue is fine and the bits with The Doctor and ‘TARDIS’ are excellent.  I thought the ‘patchwork’ people were interesting and The Doctor being so offended by them seemed ironic towards the end – as he built a TARDIS console out of scrap!  The whole ‘luring Timelords’ plot was also pretty well done and apart from producing a moment for long-term fans to get excited over, it gave newer fans/viewers some much needed knowledge about Timelords that wouldn’t normally get covered.

It’s clear that Gaiman knows his Doctor Who history, as there’s some great lines that sum the show up – the idea that the TARDIS stole the Doctor, was a great moment that didn’t need time to explain the entire backstory.  Suranne Jones saying to Matt Smith ‘..first time you touched my console’ had my Carry On-filled mind laughing out loud. And I don’t even watch Carry On films! Suranne was brilliant in this though and it was a performance that was so far removed from what she has done before -including the bizarre Mona Lisa she portrayed in the Sarah Jane Adventures!  In fact, the whole cast seemed to revel in a script, that once it got into the action, ran very fluidly and made the somewhat bizarre concept seem normal!

However, I feel that there’s some sloppiness going on in the script too – why did Amy continue to get sucked in by the illusions that House created, AFTER Rory told her that House was playing with their minds? And why didn’t Rory question the psychic message that he received off Idris, as something that House is doing to trap them? I realise that not having explanations saves time, but Gaiman has shown he can do clever dialogue - and as we’ve seen throughout this series so far – only one line is needed.

I would have liked to have seen something mentioned about the fact that the original Idris was murdered, but nothing was said about it! Maybe all this and more was in the original script, which I believe had to be vigorously re-written due to budget constraints.  In fact – this story was supposed to appear in the last series!  I know Gaiman has said that he would like to novelise this story and if the BBC oblige – it should be an interesting read!

Overall, I’ve learnt that The Doctor’s Wife is the ultimate fanwank that’s always worth a watch - it's full of cheeky lines (It’s a bed. With a ladder. You can’t beat that) and backstory that would normally confuse people, but instead was handled with great care and acted out very well  But is it really the best episode ever?

What We Think Now: Hope everyone has calmed down a bit. (Even me!)

Your (5 Word) Reviews

@AbelUndercity: "Smart. Fun. Scary. And Sexy" 
@Mr_Brell: "Weird, wonderful and rather good"
@JayMcIntyre1: "Not what I expected"

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for The Rebel Flesh/Almost People  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #twodoctors, or post on our Facebook Page!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs (Live!) - Review

I was amazed that someone wanted to do it on stage. When I wrote the piece it was obvious to me I could not write about a good boy. Who wants to read about a good boy? So I piled on the awfulness and everybody laughed Tom Baker

As soon as I heard about this adaptation coming to the stage, I snapped up tickets as soon as I could.  Written by Tom Baker (knowing Tom, presumably after many drinks. Then again, knowing Tom, he probably doesn’t need to drink to think this story up!) it tells the tale of a boy, Robert, who ‘likes to kick pigs’ and generally wreak havoc for people. I’m sure we’ve met children like him!  The story is very cartoonish but does show what impact misbehaving can achieve.  The theatre company Kill The Beast seem to revel in bringing this cartoonish violence to life and you can see that, just by watching this performance.  It’s something that’ll be difficult to put together if its cast and crew ‘didn’t get it’ but this one does.

Taking place in one of upstairs studios, this intimate venue seemed perfect, as this 4 person-strong cast filled the stage out brilliantly.  I’m not really that much of an experienced theatre goer (but probably will be soon, thanks to this) but I very much enjoyed it, laughed nearly all the way through and picked up those things I learned at school about drama, which have long escaped my mind!  Though I felt really sorry for the people in the front row - the graphic violence must have seemed very different up close, as my Missus commentated!

The play was advertised for ‘people 12 and over’ but there were clearly some kids in the audience far younger who enjoyed it.  In fact, it’s funny to see the comparison between Pigs and Doctor Who – suitable for families, with both adults and children taking something different away after watching it.  The humour, though pretty violent at times, is very much done in the style of a cartoon and it fits perfectly with the setting of the book.  It’s fast-paced in all the right places, but yet slows down at the right times for you to take in those all important story-changing scenes.  Good direction needs good actors of course, and the 4 of them that act this out do an amazing job in bringing it to life.  The actor who plays Robert uses a very distinctive voice and it just strikes you of belonging to the trouble-making child that Robert is.  Or a ‘little shit’ as we would say.  The other roles aren’t gender-specific, so we get some really great turns from the female actors who play males, which just adds to the cartoon-humour aspect of it all.  Things like this can tend to slip into Pantomine mode, and as much as I love a Pantomine, I don’t particularly feel threatened by one and I don’t really learn anything (apart from the bloke playing the Dame looks good in a dress) but with Pigs it’s the complete opposite (although the Gentlemen in this do look quite fetching in a dress).  The cast (who also contributed to the writing) and crew somehow manage to present a slightly-updated adaptation of the book and bring it to life, which is all you can really ask for, from an adaptation!

The show was part of an ‘In Studio Development’ program that The Lowry runs and I was most impressed with their general attitude towards developing talent.  On the way to the studio, we passed a few classrooms used for educating and the many programmes they had advertised.  I just feel that in today’s world, where they spend millions of pounds on facilities and expect an immediate return, that not enough emphasis is put on trying to develop talent for the future, it should be about working hard and learning, so it’s wonderful that a new venue like this specialises in that area. And the ticket price wasn’t too expensive either!

And after dismissing Tom Baker and Ian Marter’s idea for ‘Doctor Who Meets Scratchman’ as utterly bonkers, maybe there was something in it after all? On the balance of this story, I think it’s a great shame Tom hasn’t written any more stories. He (I’m sure all those who’ve seen him at a convention know) has a great talent for telling a tale.  Most of them mask a meaning, a lesson if you will, very much like The Boy Who Kicked Pigs.

Kill The Beast will now be working with The Lowry on other projects. We hope they’ll get the chance to tour Pigs, beyond their Edinburgh appearance next year. Any Doctor Who convention people reading must book them for an appearance. (And put us down for some tickets too!)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 13 - The Curse of The Black Spot

What We First Thought: That was okay…

You know what? I was going to buck the trend once again here by saying that I enjoyed The Curse of The Black Spot, but after watching this again, I can see more holes in it than Mitt Romney’s brain.  I want to like this, I really do, but the many errors are just screaming out and I can’t help but listen. 

After a promising start, we have Amy coming over all Pirate. What’s that all about then? I can understand that some leeway was needed in order to inject a bit of fun, but come on!  She handled that sword like she had been taking lessons on a regular basis (which Karen had been doing actually – WHY?) At least insert a bit of nervousness on Amy’s part, with her trying to handle the sword. To be fair though - that scene was almost done to perfection, with the Pirates staying out of her way because a cut would be it for them.

That child! Honestly, I reckon he is the most annoying character in Doctor Who history, based wholly on his first few minutes.  I’m sure we’d all be in agreement with the Pirate, if he had booted that little gobshite in the face for cutting him.  I had no sympathy towards him. I didn’t care if he died. He just pissed me off.  Now isn’t that the fault of the writing? Aren’t we supposed to care about the characters? Especially those who have just entered and been given a back-story for us to invest our feelings in? I would have chucked the little idiot in the sea.  I would get his eyes tested too – why on earth would he think that these Pirates are Royal Navy when there isn’t a uniform in sight?

I thought the idea of the Siren was okay (making a big song-and-dance about casting Lily Cole, and having her not speaking a line was hilarious!), but why didn’t The Doctor spot what she was, sooner? After about 10 minutes, it seemed obvious to me that she was taking away the sick and injured for treatment, especially after Toby was coughing.  The Doctor’s comment of ‘she’s a hunter, waiting for her prey’ – would a cut to the arm REALLY maim someone so much that they’ll be weak and unable to get away?  It just seems so out of character for The Doctor – and then there’s the fact that he leaves the TARDIS when it’s taken.  Would he actually do that? I’ve always had the feeling that The Doctor is willing to die along with his ship, why would he leave when he knows it’s being taken? Surely he’ll want to know where it was going?  Then again, why didn’t the Siren spot that a cut to the arm wasn’t really serious? She’d bankrupt the NHS!

I really like Hugh Bonneville, but it was a shame he was giving a donkey of a script to work with.  I like how his character was actually a real Pirate, who had vanished without trace in the 19th Century.  If more empathises would have been put on his character (we had a vague ‘why did you become a Pirate’ plot) instead of scenes that didn’t make any sense, then this episode would have been much better.  The end scene with Avery and his Crew (notice that Toby had the pipe in his neck, so at least some continuity was going on) just smacked of Blakes 7 – Pirates In Space.  I can just about understand how Avery can steer the ship (note ‘just about’) and it tallies with his real-life disappearance. 

That end though. I’m no Quincy (ME), but I can say that he would have been needed in his capacity as a pathologist if Amy had used the CPR technique that she used on Rory in real life.  I just hope any Children watching don’t take that on-board and listen to their teachers instead!  I know it’s only fiction, but if you don’t believe people pick things up off the telly, especially with it’s availability these days, then I’m afraid you’re wrong.  I really don’t understand why that scene was done so badly, there’s just no excuse and it’s very poor from director Jeremy Webb.  Doctor Who is big on teaching things to people (be it history, politics or how to behave properly!) so it’s a mystery why anyone didn’t demand this scene to be reshot.  For a while I thought that Rory had actually died, but when he miraculously survived, we all saw that Amy had given up, which is what Rory thought she’ll never do. Is that a plot-point that will crop up in the future? I’m not holding my breath.

As I said above, I really want to like The Curse of The Black Spot. It has everything – Pirates. Beards. Space. Pirates in Space! But sadly it didn’t just stick, because it was put together using some bad glue. Poundshop glue.

What We Think Now: It’ll be a long time before I watch that again!

Your (5 Word) Reviews 

@Mr_Brell: "Daft. Poor. Drags. Sexy Lily!"
@FuschiaBegonia: "Oh dear Lord, what the..."
@Rumleech: "It be a scurvy knave!"
Brian Snape: "The Doctor's Wife comes next"
Robert Beckwith: "Better on second viewing - not!"

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for The Doctor's Wife  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #igotmail, or post on our Facebook Page!

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 12 - The Impossible Astronaut/Day of The Moon

What We First Thought: Arghhhhhhhhhh! What's going on? Doctor Who is going to get cancelled because people don't understand! Arghhhhhhhhhh!

BOOM! Doctor Who is back and starts with The Doctor hiding under the skirt of a pretty lady artist (to be honest, I think only Matt’s Doctor would be able to pull this off so innocently!)  The other little scenes are like ‘little adventures’ and we’re only seeing a glimpse of them, much like when we hear about The Doctor and River’s adventures with ‘Jim The Fish’, much later on!  I think this is a brilliant way of introducing us to what’s going on, as we’re likely to be wondering what is going on, when the story reaches its half-way point!

It’s clear that some time has passed since A Christmas Carol, as Amy and Rory are now living together and The Doctor is elsewhere, having these adventures to attract their attention, for some reason.  Although I reckon he just did it for the sake of it – he just needs to turn up at their front door to attract their attention!  Turns out they’ve got an invite to attend a picnic with The Doctor – in America!  River also turns up and they’re having a nice time until a random person in a spacesuit turns up in the lake and shoots The Doctor!  Eh?  Did I miss something? Well, no, as that’s exactly what’s just happened!  Of course if you read Doctor Who Magazine you would have already been spoiled!

When I hear comments about this story they’re always formed around a variation of ‘it’s confusing’ what’s confusing about it?  It’s the FIRST PART of a 2-part story and a much-wider series.  Can you imagine people these days having to put up with the serial format that the classic series used to be in?  If you think The Impossible Astronaut is confusing, then watch the first 2 parts of Inferno or something!

The decision to use the American backdrops paid off in some style, as the scenery is absolutely beautiful.  But with the vast majority of the story actually filmed in Cardiff, some credit must go to them too as the sets looked just as good (though according to some American friends, the décor of the Oval Office wasn’t correct. Call it revenge for inventing the U-571! 1-1) The casting was pretty top notch, with Mark Sheppard (Fish Custard Fanzine reader and Brit – 2-1) playing the very-likeable Canton Everett Delaware III, being the highlight.

Watching this again has drawn me to how dark the story is.  The Silent killing Joy in the bathroom (though we call it a toilet, as there isn’t a bath in there. 3-1) was pure evil.  Then its reply to Amy (“Why did you kill her?”) “Joy…her name was Joy” was very chilling, and any children watching must have been a little edgy by this point.  What about the fact that they were uglier than the Royal Family (3-2) and the way their face twisted…eurgh!  And lets not forget the fact that you can’t remember them when you don’t look at them! This is exactly what we want in Doctor Who – monsters that are scary in EVERY aspect!  And I’ve not even mentioned how creepy a group of them looks! The Silence reminded me of the Weeping Angels.  They had both had the advantage of perception.  They both were very patient.  And perhaps, both of them can live in an image (when The Doctor shows Canton the hologram he made from Amy’s phone)

I really enjoyed how the start of Day of Moon puts us on the wrong foot right from the start.  That way, we need to concentrate that little bit more on the story in hand and that’s how it pulls you in.  The backdrop of the moon landing (if it actually happened - 3-3) worked well, but I thought The Doctor’s explanation of ‘The Silence need a spacesuit, so encouraged the humans to go to the moon’ was a bit cheesy, didn’t spacesuits already exist by then? And surely, with their technology, they could have made one anyway!  We've taken the Adric out of The Silence in the fanzine for being so easily-defeated, but they are genuinely creepy (I really enoyed on the 'You will shoot us all on sight' comment was delivered) and that's a good platform to work from for the future, in order to establish them as classic Doctor Who monsters.

Overall, I think this two-parter is better judged as the start of a story being laid down.  As the series moves on, it WILL make sense and we’ll look back and appreciate this more.

Let’s call it a draw.

What We Think Now: A good start to the story of a series that has yet to play out...

Your (5 Word) Reviews 

@abby_queenofall: "Astronaut shoots Doctor; Canton gay"
@AlistairGauld: "Rory in a bodybag AGAIN?"
David MacGowan: "Twists, humour, and real creepiness!"

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for The Curse of The Black Spot Astronaut/Day of The Moon  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #rubbishbeards, or post on our Facebook Page!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

RIP Mary Tamm

It’s proved to be a difficult 12 months or so for the Doctor Who world, even more so recently, as we have lost Mary Tamm, just over a week after Caroline John.  Known by fans for playing Romana during the Key To Time series, Mary brought a touch of class, which only reinforced her character as an equal to The Doctor.  I particularly enjoy her teasing of The Doctor throughout that series and the dynamic, which makes The Doctor look a bit uncomfy in his own TARDIS, was played out brilliantly.

Mary left before filming of the next series, which saw Lalla Ward take over as her next regeneration.  Despite willing to come back and film a regeneration scene, she was never invited to do so, which makes the scene at the start of Destiny of The Daleks, all the more baffling.  Mary’s reason for leaving in the first place, was because she felt that her character wouldn’t have been developed. To be honest, I think that reason has to be admired.  I much prefer someone to be so caring about their role that they were willing to challenge the writing, in order to improve, rather than sit there and take the job, and that just tells you what type of character Mary Tamm was.

Unlike (I think it’s fair to say) most former Doctor Who companions, Mary had a very steady career after Doctor Who and was still working regularly before her passing.  The Big Finish Fourth Doctor Adventures which she recorded with Tom, are due to be released from January and will feature her long-awaited return as Romana alongside The Doctor and K9.  At the weekend, I was at a Doctor Who convention where it was clear that her friend, Louise Jameson was very upset and Colin Baker even mentioned that he exchanged e-mails with Mary on a regular basis, but he never knew about her illness.  I think that speaks volumes about a lady who wanted to keep her news private without any fuss.  Big Finish even reveal in their tribute that they thought that the series was important to her.

Like all sad Who passings, I hope you can take the time to remember them, watch their episodes and enjoy their performances, because without them Doctor Who would be very different indeed!  I always watch this off-camera video (below) and smile. It’s like a peak into the TARDIS on their day off!




RIP Mary Tamm 1950-2012

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Matt Smith Review: Part 11 - A Christmas Carol

What We First Thought: That was ok.  Going to switch over now, before Eastenders comes on. I don’t want to be depressed at Christmas.

I feared the worst when I heard that Steven Moffat was using a story written by a former Doctor Who star as ‘inspiration’.  Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is re-imagined on stage, TV and film every single year, so there must be something in it that makes it appealing to generations of audiences.  But this is Doctor Who and when Doctor Who tries to ‘do’ popular culture, it can sometimes fall into farce.  Thankfully the episode, shockingly called ‘A Christmas Carol’, is pretty decent as it’s The Doctor that uses Dickens’ story as inspiration, not Moffat completely ripping it off!

Set on a planet whose skies are controlled by the Scrooge-like figure of Kazran Sardick (played by Michael Gambon), The Doctor appears and appeals for him to clear the clouds to let a crashing spaceship land safely.  It so happens that Amy and Rory are ‘busy’ on that spaceship, so it’s up to The Doctor to try and persuade Kazran.  But as we’ve already established, Kazran isn’t a very nice chap and apart from dabbling in the loan shark business, where he takes people as insurance, he just isn’t arsed about those people on the spaceship.  Although I reckon that The Doctor could have found a way of rescuing those people anyway, he does his Dickens bit and travels back to try and ‘change’ Kazran’s way of thinking. Which doesn’t work out too well…

On the whole, I really enjoyed watching this episode again. I found it interesting that Kazran was above everything and it was he told the authorities on the planet what to do.  It’s very much in the vein of big companies and corporations these days, who get their own way because they have something that is needed by governments.  Scrooge was like this to a lesser extent, as he knew that his workers wouldn’t dare speak against him (not to his face, anyway) and the people he loaned money to were terrified of what will happen if they didn’t pay up.  I didn’t think it was too far-fetched to have Kazran doing what he was doing (it’s the future and a different planet, so people have different attitudes/morals) Kazran was showing what he represented, as saving those people wouldn’t provide him with any benefits.  And on that theme, we could see how having Abigail ‘taken away’ from him had such an adverse affect – he couldn’t have her, so why should he do anything for others if it meant him still being unhappy?

It’s good to see Matt Smith at the forefront of this episode, as we continue to learn about his Doctor.  He has this knack of wanting to make people realise their worth – he did it previously with Sophie (in The Lodger) and Rory (in The Big Bang) and his attempts in this episode are all made to make Kazran realise, that by not slapping the boy, he isn’t like his father no matter how much he thinks that.  But as we learn, The Doctor going back didn’t do anything and in fact, was actually the cause of Kazran’s personality, thanks to them taking Abigail on all those adventures, and not realising the affect it had on her.  Throughout the episode we get to see how the young Kazran becomes enamoured with his adventures with The Doctor, even seeing him wearing a bow tie, like his new best friend.  But when he discovers Abigail’s predicament, he quickly loses faith and the way he snatches at his bow tie and removes it, symbolises the fact that he’s lost faith in The Doctor and more-or-less blames him for putting him in this situation. It’s a beautiful piece of television that shows his feelings, in one second of action that would normally amount to 20 lines of script!

Another beautiful set-piece, was the scenes where the older Kazran was watching his life unfold on the telly, just like we were!  Things like this make us viewers connect more with the story and feel involved, as one of the characters is in the exactly same position as us.  As mentioned, I thought the ‘homage’ to A Christmas Carol was done well – having Amy as a hologram left me feeling she was actually a ghost.  And if Kazran didn’t save them – they all WOULD be ghosts when the ship crashed!  Kazran’s resulting line of ‘Everyone has to die’ is very ironic, considering he was keeping Abigail alive by not letting her out of her box.  Even though she was cast for her singing ability, I thought Katherine Jenkins did very well in her first acting role and it’d be interesting to see if she’ll appear in anything else.  I thought not having a redemption for Abigail was a welcome change, as we normally have a sort-of magical solution to these things. 

One constant I hear about this episode is that ‘it looks good’ and it bloody does!  It’s the debut story for new production designer Michael Pickwood (who is the son of William Mervyn, who appeared in the 1966 story The War Machines as Charles Summer) and Pickwood does a great job with this planet, possibly very early in its history, due to the Victorian-style materials dotted around the place.  As we start the next series, it should be interesting to keep an eye on the sets to see the difference another pair of eyes makes.  With Doctor Who in HD these days, skimping on the cost of sets isn’t really an option any more!

The story is very much entrenched in double-meaning, as I’ve established, but it does have its silly moments (being a Christmas special!)  I didn’t mind the flying fish so much (it’s an alien planet – what do you expect?) but taming by song and then using the shark to pull them along the sky, was perhaps a little bit far-fetched.  But to be brutally honest, if that’s the biggest complaint about the episode, then you know you’ve seen something good.  Then again, is having a flying shark more jarring than the entire population of the world turning into The Master?

No, I don’t think it is either!

What We Think Now: Actually, it’s a lot better than we thought it was!

Your (5 Word) Reviews

@flaysomewench: "Singing, fish and Dumbledore... Yay!"
@abby_queenofall: "Ignored, has Smith and Pond"
@Blue_Rose_: "Flying fish, what the frell..." 
@AlistairGauld: "We need a bigger screwdriver"
@Landcross: "Flying shark and Marilyn Monroe"
Nicholas Blake: "Too 'clever' for my mum"
Jamie Beckwith: “What gives you the right?" 
Katie Steely-Brown: "I want a floating shark"
Aaron Robinson: "Best Christmas Special Ever. Period"

If you would like to contribute a 5-word review for The Impossible Astronaut/Day of The Moon  please @ us on Twitter, using the hashtag #12jammiedodgers, or post on our Facebook Page!