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Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Bluffer’s Guide to the Doctor

(An informative guide on the eleven Doctors, produced for my Professional Writing course.)

First Doctor (1963- 66.)

Actor: William Hartnell.

First full appearance: An Unearthly Child.

Last regular appearance: The Tenth Planet.

TV Companions: Susan; Ian Chesterton; Barbara Wright; Vicki Pallister; Steven Taylor; Katarina; Dodo Chaplet; Polly Wright; Ben Jackson.

In 1963, two schoolteachers, Ian and Barbara, followed their mysterious student, Susan to a junkyard, where they met her grandfather, the irritable Doctor, who – against their wills – whisked them away through time and space, firstly to 100,000BC then to the planet Skaro, where they encountered the Daleks. The first Doctor seemed bad-tempered and churlish at the thought of travelling with the humans, but soon warmed to his companions. Despite his frail appearance, the Doctor was strong and wilful, confronting the Zarbi , Cybermen, and fellow Time Lords, the Meddling Monk and Celestial Toymaker. He collapsed in the TARDIS, in front of then-companions, Polly and Ben, and regenerated, his body giving in to old age.

Second Doctor (1966- 69.)

Actor: Patrick Troughton.

First full appearance: Power of the Daleks.

Last regular appearance: The War Games.

TV Companions: Polly Wright; Ben Jackson; Jamie McCrimmon; Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart;  Victoria Waterfield; Zoe Heriot.

Behind his childish exterior, the second Doctor was dark, manipulative and calculating, but had a stronger moral sense than his previous incarnation. After defeating the Daleks, he arrived in Scotland, where he met Jamie McCrimmon, who continued to travel with him until the Doctor was put on trial for altering the course of history by the Time Lords. With his companions sent back to their own time periods, their memories of him wiped, the Doctor faced his peers alone. He was forced to regenerate, and exiled to Earth.

Third Doctor (1970 74.)

Actor: Jon Pertwee.

First full appearance: Spearhead from Space.

Last regular appearance: Planet of the Spiders.

TV Companions: Elizabeth Shaw; Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart; Jo Grant; Sarah Jane Smith.

After defeating the Autons and the Nestene Consciousness, the third Doctor was employed by UNIT as their scientific advisor. This Doctor was often described as a “dandy,” but was also a man-of-action, defeating the Silurians, the Axons, and, most frequently, fellow Time Lord, the Master. After saving his own race from the omnipotent Omega, the Doctor was allowed to travel the universe in his TARDIS once more, but was affected by radiation on Metebelis 3 and regenerated.

Fourth Doctor (1974- 81.)

Actor: Tom Baker.

First full appearance: Robot.

Last regular appearance: Logopolis.

TV Companions: Sarah Jane Smith; Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart; Harry Sullivan; Leela; K9 (Mk 1 and 2); Romana (1 and 2); Adric; Nyssa; Tegan Jovanka.

Memorable for his long scarf, big teeth, curls, eccentricity, and love of jelly babies, the fourth Doctor was sent by the Time Lords to stop the creation of the Daleks, but was forced to question whether he had the right to wipe out an entire race. His unpredictability proved useful when confronting Zygons, the Mandragora Helix, and Sontarans, and locating the six segments of the universe-shaping Key to Time. After confronting the Master and saving the universe, the Doctor fell from the Pharos Project control tower and regenerated.

Fifth Doctor (1982- 84.)

Actor: Peter Davison.

First full appearance: Castrovalva.

Last regular appearance: The Caves of Androvani.

TV Companions: Tegan Jovanka; Adric; Nyssa; Vislor Turlough; Kamelion; Peri Brown.

Most notable for wearing a stick of celery on an Edwardian cricket uniform, the fifth Doctor’s youthful charm and sensitivity hid a pained heroism as the man who abhors violence realised the weight of his actions after his companion, Adric, sacrificed himself in order to defeat the Cybermen. Mouthy Australian companion, Tegan, also left the TARDIS after witnessing a group of humans being massacred by the Daleks. On the planet Androvani Minor, the Doctor and companion, Peri were poisoned, and, with only one antidote, he sacrificed his life, and regenerated.

Sixth Doctor (1984- 86.)

Actor: Colin Baker.

First full appearance: The Twin Dilemma.

Last regular appearance: The Trial of a Time Lord.

TV Companions: Peri Brown; Melanie Bush.

Loud and argumentative, the sixth Doctor was confident of his abilities, battling Daleks, Cybermen, and peer, the Rani. He also encountered his second incarnation in Spain when confronting the Sontarans. Though he may have seemed brash and egotistical, this Doctor was witty and compassionate, freeing the oppressed and standing up for what was right. A further attack by the Rani forced him to regenerate.

Seventh Doctor (197- 89.)

Actor: Sylvester McCoy.

First full appearance: Time and the Rani.

Last regular appearance: Survival/ Doctor Who: the TV Movie.

TV Companions: Melanie Bush; Ace.

The seventh Doctor hid great master plans behind his mysterious, comical exterior, manipulating both complete strangers and his companions in accordance with ‘the bigger picture.’ He distanced himself from violence, and encouraged his companion, Ace, to question everything, while slowly feeding her clues. After a forced landing, the Doctor was caught in the crossfire between two gangs in 1999 San Francisco, resulting in his regeneration.

Eighth Doctor (1996.)

Actor: Paul McGann.

First full appearance: Doctor Who: the TV Movie.

Last regular appearance: Doctor Who: the TV Movie.

TV Companions: Grace Holloway.

The eighth Doctor encouraged all those around him to make the best of life, occasionally hinting towards their futures. This Doctor was youthful and full of energy and enthusiasm, despite having to save the universe from the Master, who opened up the heart of his TARDIS, and threatened to suck the whole of existence into it. He was prone to amnesia and improvised more than his previous counter-part.

Ninth Doctor (2005.)

Actor: Christopher Eccleston.

First full appearance: Rose.

Last regular appearance: The Parting of the Ways.

TV Companions: Rose Tyler; Adam Mitchell; Captain Jack Harkness.

Ravaged by war, the ninth Doctor was a very dark man when he met Rose Tyler in department store, Henriks. She slowly reminded him of all the good in the universe, despite battles with Slitheen, Autons, and nanogenes that wanted to ‘cure’ the world. He finally sacrificed his life by absorbing the Time Vortex from Rose when she defeated the Daleks once more, forcing him to regenerate.

Tenth Doctor (2005- 10.)

Actor: David Tennant.

First full appearance: The Christmas Invasion.

Last regular appearance: The End of Time.

TV Companions: Rose Tyler; Sarah Jane Smith; K9 (Mk 3); Mickey Smith; Donna Noble; Martha Jones; Captain Jack Harkness; Astrid Perth; Jackson Lake; Rosita Farisi; Lady Christina de Souza; Adelaide Brooke; Wilfred Mott.

This Doctor was – seemingly – more cheerful and outgoing than his former incarnation; talkative and cheeky, hiding a darker core, as he showed little mercy to those who persisted in their sinister endeavours. After defeating Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Krillitane, and Vashta Nerada, the Doctor was forced to battle his own people, sending his home planet, Gallifrey, back into the Time War. He saved the life of his companion, Wilfred Mott, by absorbing deadly radiation, and succumbed to the regeneration process.

Eleventh Doctor (2010- .)

Actor: Matt Smith.

First full appearance: The Eleventh Hour.

Last regular appearance: N/A.

TV Companions: Amy Pond; Rory Williams.

Crashing into the garden of young Amelia Pond, the eleventh Doctor is lively and questioning, with confidence in his abilities and those around him. After saving the world from Prisoner Zero and the Atraxi, the Doctor rushes an older Amelia – now Amy – into space, encountering Daleks, Weeping Angels, Vampires, Cybermen and Silurians.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Unpublished work

 

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Feature: Heigh-Ho!

The Rise and Rise of Disney

“Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children’s approach to life. They’re people who don’t give a hang what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought – sometimes it isn’t much, either.”

-Walt Disney.

The popularity of Disney has continued to increase for nearly nine decades, with the recent release of The Princess and the Frog in America using the traditional animation techniques for the first time since 2004’s Home on the Range. Though it is not released in the UK until February, its state-side success has persuaded Disney to create at least one new hand-drawn feature film every second year, continuing a tradition that stretches back to 1937. Based on E.D. Baker’s novel, The Frog Princess – itself an adaptation of the Grimm Brothers’ fairytale, The Frog Prince – Disney’s latest film, directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, is the forty-ninth in their ‘animated classics’ line, a range that also includes The Lady and the Tramp, Hercules and Lilo and Stitch. But why has Disney’s popularity increased, and will this trend continue?

Disney was founded in 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, but was renamed in 1929 as Walt Disney Productions after their move to a new studio in the Silver Lake District, following on from the success of their first animated short to be released, the silent comedy, Alice’s Day at Sea. These comedies, starring Alice and Julius the cat, began in 1923, with the unreleased Alice’s Wonderland, and continued until August 1927, but have been forgotten by many, replaced by Mickey Mouse, who debuted the following year in Plane Crazy. This featured a very different Mickey – a bit more rogue than his modern counterpart – resulting in Steamboat Willie being considered his first outing. Steamboat Willie is also remembered as the first cartoon to contain synchronised sound. These initial successes led to an array of shorts, such as the Silly Symphonies line, introducing characters such as Donald Duck and Pluto, and various Mickey Mouse shorts.

Walt Disney decided the company needed to expand, and developed his first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This was originally seen as ‘Disney’s folly’ by the film industry; a project that would destroy Disney. His wife and brother even tried to talk him out of it, but Walt proved them all wrong, and began a tradition that continues today. Even though Walt once said, “I do not like to repeat successes; I like to go on to other things,” Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs allowed a new studio to be built in Burbank, California, and a succession of films including 1940’s Pinocchio and Fantasia, 1941’s Dumbo, and 1942’s Bambi, all of which are remembered fondly today. Though the films produced between 1943 and 1949 are lesser known – ever heard of Saludos Amigos, or Make Mine Music? – 1950’s Cinderella ushered in an age of immortal feature films.

“Animation offers a medium of storytelling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.”

-Walt Disney.

Walt stressed that his company’s achievements were largely due to their dependence on animation. “Animation” – he said – “can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.” Traditional animation began with a storyboard, analysed and altered until the crew were content with the final story. The dialogue was recorded before animators made rough sketches of characters. ‘Inbetweeners’ were used to connect the animators disjointed sketches. The completed story was then sent to the inking department. The Painting Department applied the story was to sheets of clear celluloid acetate. Colour was added to the back of each ‘Cel.’ Backgrounds were painted on panes of glass, using Tempera or Water Colours, so they showed through the acetate, which contained only the characters. The background and Cel were then photographed, and dialogue added before the film was released. The last Disney film to be produced this way was 1989’s The Little Mermaid. Embracing new technology, the Computer Animations Production System (CAPs), used to ink and paint, kept Disney ahead of competition. Cheaper and quicker, it allowed Disney to average one animated film a year, including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. More recently, this technique has been used to create The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, and Treasure Planet.

“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”

-Walt Disney.

Disney’s future was threatened by tough competition from companies like DreamWorks. 2004’s Home on the Range was the last Disney film to use the traditional animation techniques (which now include ‘CAPS’), having been replaced by Computer Generated Image technology (or CGI) when Disney bought Pixar in 2006. Since then, Disney’s successes have included Cars, Ratatouille and WALL-E. The latest Disney/Pixar film, Up grossed over $723 million worldwide, becoming Pixar’s second most commercially successful film, after 2003’s Finding Nemo. Disney have produced CGI films independent of Pixar in the form of Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons and Bolt, all of which have been added to their ‘animated classics’ line.

The success of The Princess and the Frog has secured traditional animation techniques a future at Disney, but its partnership with Pixar will continue to remain fruitful. Toy Story will be re-released in 3D prior to the release of Toy Story 3, while more sequels are on the way with Cars 2, Monsters Inc. 2, and a range of Tinkerbell films. It also has new concepts in development, including Rapunzel, to be released later this year, Newt and The Bear and the Bow in 2011, and King of the Elves in 2012.

Disney’s popularity is sure to continue in the future, with an appeal to all. Their limited DVD release strategy starves the market, making the films fresh for a new generation. Acquisitions of Pixar and, most recently, Marvel Comics, are set to benefit Disney indefinitely, and the promise of traditionally-animated films will excite fans old and new. Though battling competition since their inception, Disney has always managed to come out on top by embracing new technology, and treasuring the past. The success of The Princess and the Frog proves that the magic of Disney will live on forever.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Unpublished work

 

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Review: Doctor Who: Fugitive

The Doctor is arrested and put on trial for changing the course of history. Sound familiar?

 The premise of ‘Fugitive,’ IDWs four-part comic storyline (the second in its ongoing series), is a simple one at first glance. The Doctor is put on trial for his life by the Shadow Proclamation after saving the life of Emily Winter in the previous arc, but he soon discovers corruption within the Proclamation. The storyline, however, quickly turns expectations on its head, as the Doctor discovers the prison barge is to be destroyed before it reaches Volag-Noc.

 Writer, Tony Lee (Amazing Fantasy; Doctor Who Magazine) presents us with a rogue’s gallery  – from Krillitane to Ogrons, Draconians to Sontarans – against the background of an oncoming war, as the Doctor fights to save his life and his enemies-come-companions. The storyline is strong and memorable, complemented by bold art that may seem harsh to the eye at first, but soon becomes beautiful and perfectly suited.

Matthew Dow Smith’s (Nightcrawler; Hellboy) art is somewhat reminiscent of John Ross’s (current artist on Doctor Who Adventures), but the pages are crafted more expertly, lending a fluidity to the comic. A fan since he was six years old, Smith is obviously as familiar with the characters as Lee, whose references to the past could – thrown in more carelessly – risk becoming like fan fiction, but instead are an indulgence for fans new and old.

 There are obvious parallels to other storylines and characters, but Lee acknowledges this, and makes the tale fresh, with great cliffhangers that are sure to keep you hooked (part two’s, surely inspired by The Caves of Androvani, is pure brilliance). These amalgamate in a satisfying ending, which also foreshadows his final tenth Doctor arc, Final Sacrifice, later in the year, ending the series at issue 16 before re-launching (with Smith back on art duties).

 IDWs numerous covers are also an incentive to buy the series, although it can be frustrating if the comic book store does not stock the one you want, or if they charge extra for the Retailer Incentives.

 Al Davison returns to the series in the next storyline, Tesseract, alongside Lee; I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping that his art will prove more realistic than his previous venture!

 Fugitive was released alongside Silver Scream in trade paperback format last month.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Unpublished work

 

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Spotlight on: Professional Writing FdA

(Here’s a ‘spotlight’ section on the Foundation Degree Course that I’m part of, originally published in the Higher Eduction newsletter by Weston College. I’m incredibly grateful to Julian, Marc, Claire, Cathy and Peter; the excellent people who have worked so hard on the course.)

Professional Writing is a new, two- year course, offering students the chance to create a range of texts, produced to industry standards, with the possibility to progress onto a third, top- up year at Bath Spa University.

“Bath Spa approached us with the idea, and we were keen to offer more progression routes for sixth form students studying English, Communication Studies and the Access courses,” Julian Kendell, course co-ordinator and tutor, says. “We recognised that there was no other course like it in this region, teaching writing in a business context.”

The course is taught by Julian Kendell, Claire Huxham, and freelance writer, Marc Leverton, as well as Peter Browse for part of the two years. “I was approached by Julian because I have worked as a freelance writer and know how tough it is,” Marc says. “I also tutor students at the College’s partner university, Bath Spa. Over the first year, we look at loads of different writing styles, including opinion pieces, news, travel and music writing and reviews, so I can share my experiences with my students.”

The Foundation Degree gives students the chance to ‘workshop’ their work, gaining and offering advice on how to improve, but also saying what works well within a piece. “In class, we do lots of practical exercises to help develop students’ confidence,” Marc explains. “This ‘workshopping’ process really helps to develop their writing abilities.”

“The course links with the BAHons in Creative Media Practise at our partner university, but any other institution can be applied for,” Julian says. Students can also enter employment as a feature or copy writer, or in a freelance capacity.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Published work, Uncategorized

 

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About Me (extended)

“I don’t know! Never did decipher that writing. But that’s good! Day I know everything; might as well stop…”

–          The Doctor (The Satan Pit)

I’m Philip Bates, and I’m trying my best to make it in this scary world. I’ve always wanted to be a writer (or artist) and have found myself on a Professional Writing Foundation Degree course at Weston College. My lecturers are really inspiring, sharing their experience in the industry with us and pushing us further all the time. But don’t tell them I said that.

Just like every other writer, I started off small, working on my school’s newsletter, where I got experience interviewing and reporting news, alongside my comic creation, Monkey Boy (the less said the better, I feel). I moved onto the Yearbook, and was involved in a short newspaper-creation course for The Times Education Supplement, including an interview with our then-local MP, Brian Cotter. A nerve-wracking experience, considering I was given about ten minutes prior to the interview to think up some questions, and knew less about politics than a slice of bread.

I have worked on a couple of Higher Education newsletters, as well as finally getting my work in the public-eye in the form of the College’s prospectus. I’m framing it tomorrow.

My reviews of the highly-enjoyable  Armstrong and Miller Show Tour, which began at Bristol Hippodrome, can be found at:

http://www.guide2bristol.com/news/955/Comedy-review-The-Armstrong-and-Miller-Show-at-the-Bristol-Hippodrome-theatre

http://www.bristol247.com/2010/09/25/armstrong-and-miller-double-act-deserve-ongoing-popularity/

Furthermore, my Have you Ever…? piece is to be published in an upcoming issue of Real Travel.

I have loved Marvel Comics since I was introduced to them at the age of three, thanks to the fantastic 1990’s Spider-man animated series, while my other passion comes in the form of an ancient Time Lord travelling around in a 1960’s Police Box. My little brain will implode if someone asks me a Who– or Marvel– related question that I don’t know the answer to. You don’t want that to happen, now do you?

I am also interested in art, history and astronomy, although I’m open to anything, really. Please e-mail me with any suggestions.

E-mail: prbates36@hotmail.co.uk

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Unpublished work

 

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