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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 494 (Dec 15) > THE DWM REVIEW OF 2015

THE DWM REVIEW OF 2015

What a 12 months it’s been! We turn the clock back to January and relive what’s been a very memorable year in the history of Doctor Who...

JANUARY

We start the year covered in bits of tinsel and fake snow, hoping that this won’t turn out to have been our last Christmas. We also very much hope that we don’t, in reality, have a Dream Crab on our head.

Richard Atkinson hits the ground running in DWM 482 with his DVD and Blu-ray review of Peter Capaldi’s first stretch of stories as the Doctor. ‘This is undoubtedly the kind of Doctor Who that some have been waiting for: dark and uncompromising, I think they’d call it. Perhaps, for once, the question “Is this actually suitable for children?” is worth asking. There are lots of challenging ideas in these episodes – and that’s a good thing for children, surely?’

Richard acknowledges that the season also had its lighter moments, and, ‘has been a blend of the frightful –’ (we’re pretty sure he meant this in a good way) ‘– and the frivolous, like a lot of other good Doctor Who. It’s been fearless in its pursuit of new scares and fresh ideas. Dare they take things any further in this direction?’

Good question, Richard. And even as we mull it over, Doctor Who is already spawning new material. The show’s ninth series since 2005 barges its way into existence, shot by painstaking shot, from 5 January, with the launch-episode’s intriguing title The Magician’s Apprentice announced up-front.

The Doctor and young Davros prepare for a take!

To celebrate the show’s relentless drive, we place a recording device in front of Jenna Coleman, Clara Oswald herself. Following press speculation over Jenna’s future with the show, Steven Moffat confirmed at a BFI screening of Last Christmas on 17 December that she would stay for the whole of the 2015 series.

“It’s wonderful,” says Jenna. “I get a whole extra series of stories with the Doctor! I couldn’t walk away with the story left unresolved, and there’s so much more to deal with.”

She ain’t kidding.

“Because the enigma of the ‘Impossible Girl’ is now out the way,” she continues, “we get to see Clara in a different light. We see her everyday life and get to know her a bit more. What’s been especially nice is being able to start afresh with a new dynamic with Peter.”

Peter Purves: outspoken.

Jenna’s in a position to reflect on her time in the TARDIS with two Doctors. She recalls how “as soon as I got in a room with Matt [Smith], I came out very exhilarated and thought, ‘This is great!’ But Matt was leaving from the moment I joined up, so I knew we had limited time together.” She describes how Peter Capaldi’s arrival “has been really exciting, especially in the first few weeks, because the changes were so dramatic. Peter’s Doctor is not a Doctor who runs around a room – he’s a Doctor who makes the room come to him. And in that, the whole nature of the show shifts and changes.”

Another very positive shift and change in the show’s nature came last year courtesy of Rachel Talalay, who made her directorial début on Doctor Who with 2014’s slam-bang finale, Dark Water/Death in Heaven. The experience, she says, left her “exhausted and exhilarated. Two days before finishing, it was my birthday and we were on the set of the TARDIS. They all came in to sing happy birthday to me with a TARDIS cake. I thought, ‘Oh my God, this isn’t happening’. I had mixed feelings: I was so anxious to be finished because I was so exhausted and I couldn’t keep up this intensity, but I actually didn’t want this to end. What if this was the last time I was ever on the TARDIS set?”

Thankfully, as the announced list of 2015’s directors will reveal, this isn’t the case. Hopping into a TARDIS ourselves, we journey back to the other end of Who history, for a pub lunch with Peter Purves, which sounds like something Alan Partridge might do. As our interrogator Matt Adams points out in this opening chapter of his two-part interview, Peter is ‘one of the few people still alive who can offer a comprehensive, first-hand opinion on the second and third seasons of Doctor Who’, in which he played Steven Taylor. The passing of time also leaves Peter entertainingly less inclined to sugar-coat the truth. Of producer Verity Lambert’s successor John Wiles, for instance, Peter says, “I didn’t like him at all. He wanted to get rid of me at one point, and I think in the original Daleks’ Master Plan scripts Nick Courtney was considered as a replacement for me. I certainly felt it at the time, so I was very glad when Jean Marsh killed Nick!”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

The 2015 Christmas issue! Contents include: Preview of The Husbands of River Song; Peter Capaldi interview; Interviews with Greg Davies, Sarah Dollard, Peter Harness, Rachel Talalay and Donald Sumpter; Review of 2015; the Watcher's Christmas Quiz; Strip – The Dragon Lord part 1.
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