GUEST POST – Enlightenment of the Daleks: a Theory of their History

by James Blanchard

 

“Temmosus: We’ve changed over the centuries. Why shouldn’t they? The once famous warrior race of Thals are now farmers.

Dyoni: But the Daleks were teachers, weren’t they, Temmosus?

Temmosus: And philosophers.

Ganatus: Perhaps they are the warriors now.”[1]

In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (building on Hegel) posit that the earliest humans realised themselves as individuals, or separate selves from the rest of the world, when confronted with nature. The tree or mountain or waterfall becomes the Other, the thing which the Self realises it separate from. But more than that, the encounter with nature is awful and terrifying, for nature holds absolute power over the early human; it can grant them favour or destroy them entirely. For that reason, the worship of nature and the association of ancient gods with natural forces is common in ancient societies – the forces of life and death are transformed into gods and demons.[2]

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BIT OF ADRENALINE, DASH OF OUTRAGE – Our Thoughts on “Arachnids in the UK”

Janine Rivers (@janinemrivers on Twitter) is a writer, script editor, and musician.  She spends her days working in a library, and was the head-writer and editor behind her passion project, The Twelfth Doctor Adventures.  Her favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi.

Anouk Van Rossum (@vranouk on Twitter) is a bookseller with a vested interest in queer representation in media. When not reading, she can be found writing, or talking about Doctor Who to anyone who will listen. Her favourite Doctor is either Paul McGann or Peter Capaldi.  Don’t make her choose, it’s too difficult.

Emma Jones (@milkwithginseng on Twitter) is an aspiring artist and writer. She first gained attention for her article on transgender themes in Doctor Who for the Time Ladies blog. Since then she has written various thinkpieces and reviews of the show and appeared on the Galactic Yo-Yo podcast. Her favourite Doctor is Jodie Whittaker.

Header picture by Esterath (@finlay_hs)

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TIBERIAN THOUGHTS – Sheffield Steel, or a Subjective Look at the Thirteenth Doctor #3: “Rosa”

Indispensable preface – this is written by a clueless white person. With that out of the way …

 

History is a matter of narratives.

There’s no such thing as an objective historical progression from point A to point B – history is framed by stories, by people interpreting the data and shaping it into a form that makes sense. And this is not something you can opt out of. You were born with privilege? Well, like Graham in this story, even if you “don’t want to be part of this”, tough luck. You’re born in a certain country? You’re going to have to deal with you belonging to this country, and to its historical weight and legacy. Your skin is a certain colour? Good luck escaping the baggage there – because people’s understanding of history is based on sometimes very crude constructs: if you’re a black person of Senegalese origin living in France, for instance, chances are Rosa Parks’ actions had a really rather limited effect on you and your family; but people will still put your existence, and the historical facts of your existence, in relation to her, because symbols are easier to understand – and by extension, you yourself are going to have to try and understand how she fits with your personal history and life.

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BIT OF ADRENALINE, DASH OF OUTRAGE – Our Thoughts on “Rosa”

Janine Rivers (@janinemrivers on Twitter) is a writer, script editor, and musician.  She spends her days working in a library, and was the head-writer and editor behind her passion project, The Twelfth Doctor Adventures.  Her favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi.

Zoe Lance (@SJANeverending on Twitter) is a fan-fic writer extraordinaire, best known for her work on The Sarah Jane Adventures and the creation of The Never Ending Universe, a collaborative offshoot of the Doctor Who universe.  Her favourite Doctor is Matt Smith.

Ruth Long (@UndiscoveredAdv on Twitter) is a writer, amateur graphic designer, and animal lover, best-known as the co-lead writer of Clara Oswald: The Untold Adventures, a fan-written project following the character of Clara after the events of Hell Bent.  You can also catch her on the odd Who podcast, writing meta, or waffling about this, that, or the other on forums.  Her favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi (and if she’s being really cheeky, Jenna Coleman).

Header picture by Esterath (@finlay_hs)

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TIBERIAN THOUGHTS – Sheffield Steel, or a Subjective Look at the Thirteenth Doctor #2: “The Ghost Monument”

Where must we go, we who wander this wasteland, in search of our better selves?

(Mad Max – Fury Road)

 

Absence.

It’s a word, it’s an emotion, it’s an (absolutely wonderful) Bernice Summerfield audioplay by David O’Mahony. But, most importantly, it’s a key part of “The Ghost Monument”. Not just as far as themes go – but simply on an aesthetic level.

We’ve thrown some comparisons between Who and theatre before – a half-improvised, brilliantly messy performance that never ends. But that rather implies, in its own way, a form of absence – theatre as a medium is defined by absence just as much as by action. The viewers, from a wooden stage and some curtains, and a more-or-less elaborate backdrop, make up the antechamber of a palace, and from there, a whole empire; the off-stage happenings and the pauses in the trembling voice of an actor carry just as much weight as cues and gestures. The full is only defined through and against the empty, the light against the dark.

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GUEST POST – Myth v. Reality: the Thirteenth Doctor in the Expanded Universe

by Z.P. Moo

 

She’s here and she’s hit the ground (well, floor of a train carriage) running, the era of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor has finally truly got started! It’s an exciting new era and, as someone who really enjoyed “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” and “The Ghost Monument“, it’s a good time to be a fan.

Except… that’s not really all true is it? If you’ve been closely following the expanded universe series for the last year and a half then you’ll have already encountered the Thirteenth Doctor a number of times before that episode had even had its title confirmed.

So the question is the following: What do these other appearances tell us about the Thirteenth Doctor’s role within the larger story of Doctor Who? And what do these things tell us to expect from her future episodes?

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BIT OF ADRENALINE, DASH OF OUTRAGE – Our Thoughts on “The Ghost Monument”

Janine Rivers (@janinemrivers on Twitter) is a writer, script editor, and musician.  She spends her days working in a library, and was the head-writer and editor behind her passion project, The Twelfth Doctor Adventures.  Her favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi.

Kevin Burnard (@scriptscribbles on Twitter) is a writer, blogger, and vlogger.  He can be found making videos and gifs on Tumblr and Youtube (@scriptscribbles) analyzing Doctor Who and other pop culture media, or just spamming gym selfies to Instagram.  He co-wrote a feature-length episode of The Twelfth Doctor Adventures and formerly helped run this site.  His favourite Doctors are the scary ones.

Andrew (ScarvesandCelery from this blog and tumblr) works in education, and occasionally writes essays on Doctor Who.  He contributed a script to The Twelfth Doctor Adventures and also runs the DoWntime tumblr.  His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi.

Header picture by Esterath (@finlay_hs)

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TIBERIAN THOUGHTS – Sheffield Steel, or a Subjective Look at the Thirteenth Doctor – #1 – “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”

You can learn a lot from where a writer sets the first act of his long, multi-series epic saga.

Rose”. People say Russell T. Davies’ Who is very grounded and down-to-earth, which is not untrue, but the places that dominate his first Who story embody a very particular kind of everyday. A shopping mall. The London Eye. They’re symbols, signifiers – of class struggle, of an economic system and social reality, of a place and a time. It’s realistic, yes, but its realism is rooted in the fictional.

The Eleventh Hour”. A house – a locked room, invisible and unseen, within the house: secrets, traumas, things hidden and concealed. An hospital – a place that’s, in theory at least, supposed to be defined by its exceptional nature: you enter and leave because of a very specific purpose. The narrative shifts – instead of a semi-realistic universe, composed, collage-like, of bits of symbols and experience, we enter the domain of the intimate and personal. Internal struggles getting exteriorised: an era where we ponder self-betterment, mental illness, power dynamics. If there’s realism – and there doesn’t have to be, purposeful style can be just as meaningful – it’s to be found within the workings of the human mind.

  1. The Woman who Fell to Earth”.

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GUEST POST – Amy Pond, mental health and me

by Jonne Bartelds

[Content warnings: mentions of depression and suicide.]

 

But if you’re out there and you’re drifting in space, the one thing that I wanna tell you, the one just little transmission from my spacecraft to yours is just the thing that I wish someone had been there to tell me those two nights when I tried it. It’s the simplest and most powerful phrase in the English language, I think:

I understand how you feel.”

– Oliver Thorn (Philosophy Tube), Suic!de and Ment@l He@lth

I understand. Really, I do.”

– Amy Pond, “Victory of the Daleks

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BIT OF ADRENALINE, DASH OF OUTRAGE – Our Thoughts on “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”

Hello!

I’m Janine Rivers, and this is Bit of Adrenaline, Dash of Outrage, DoWntime’s new weekly post-episode column.  To mark the arrival of Jodie Whittaker and the exciting changes which that heralds, your DoWntime overlords decided to shake up the weekly coverage by bringing in a new host and editor; a new, diverse, and insightful voice to represent an increasingly women-led, minority-focused era of the show.  But they couldn’t find one, so they asked me instead.

This feature will run for the next ten weeks, and will go more or less as follows: I’ll discuss the most recent episode of the show with a couple of guests; we’ll discuss our thoughts on the story, and often talk about how our feelings relate back to our own personal experiences (as both minorities and, simply, human beings).  We’ll cover any contentious questions raised by the story and settle them in, I would expect, an equally contentious manner. We’ll each settle on a numerical score, so that by the end of the season, it’ll be possibly to gauge which episode was best-received by our ever-changing troop/gang/fam of writers.

If you want some more insightful coverage of the episode through another academic lens, stick around for Tibere’s Saturday feature.

Tibère here! Will be doing a weekly write-up on Saturday, as just mentioned – moving quite a bit away from the regular coverage in order to do something a little more personal and weirder. Hope you like overanalytical essays! (of course you do)

Of course, full spoilers ahead.

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