Bye Jodie.

 TV  Just had a difficult trip into the city centre.  We needed some shopping and I chased around a few shops looking for some lost property.  But masks are firmly back in pockets or bins and humanity was out in force so I began to feel a bit overwhelmed.  Despite having planned to visit some of my old haunts, it was impossible for me to exist successfully, especially around people (have I developed social anxiety on top of everything else?) so it was essentially through the M&S food hall then home.  Went out at about one of the clock, back by four.  

As I was unpacking, Radio 5 Live was on in the background and the Drive programme mentioned that Jodie Whittaker is leaving Doctor Who.  Thanks to a tabloid leak or guess, we've been speculating and made our peace with this for months so this is really just a confirmation.  Six episode series this year, then three specials next year culminating in a regeneration during the BBC's centenary celebrations in Autumn 2022.  Sighing, I stacked some ready meals in the freezer and popped a mini pork pie my mouth.  At least the blog'll have a Doctor Who post on its birthday.

Preparing to write this, I opened up the Doctor Who folder in my RSS reader and there at the top was the BBC News version of the story.

Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall to leave in 2022.

Well, reader, I cheered.  He's going.  He's bloody going.  Turns out he and Jodie had a three years and out pact at the start of production and here we are.  Is it so wrong the news that one of the worse showrunners the Doctor Who universe has had to deal with is leaving cheered me up?  That it had me dancing in my bedroom, bouncing up and down and singing?  

Back when it was announced Chibbers would be taking over my initial reaction was to mimic Heston at the end of The Planet of the Apes but the eternal optimist in wondered what he would do with full creative control of the show, whether he would produce something special.

Well he didn't did he?  All the very best episodes have been at least partly written by someone else, he's fundamentally misunderstood some of the Doctor's core values as a character and although I am a fan of the Morbius Doctor turn of events (so, so EDA) the execution was typically duff, amounting to a lecture about new Gallifreyan mythology on New Year's Day.  At least he didn't drop this infodump at Christmas.

Chibbers has this to say on the subject of his leading lady:

"Jodie's magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She's been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour."

Against your best efforts, mate.  At least now she can go to Big Finish if she wants to and get some decent scripts.  Hopefully, at least, you'll do us a favour and leave a nice gap somewhere for them to be set.

So who's next?  Peter McTighe seems the next obvious choice - huge experience writing and producing popular shows and fan enough to have already been creating minisodes advertising the Doctor Who BDs, not to mention writing the enclosed booklets.  His one episodes Kerblam! and Praxeus were a bit of a mess but there are all kinds of reasons why that might not be his fault.

The other interesting possibility is Maxine Alderton, writer of several hundred episodes of Emmerdale and Doctor Who's The Haunting of Villa Diodati.  She's been promoted to something called "core writer" for season 13 which implies some kind of shadowing, so perhaps she's being groomed to take over but without showrunner experience needs some coaxing.

That's unless we get the Abi Morgan series starring Romola Garai finally.

We'll talk some more about this, I expect.

This Blog's 20th Birthday.

 About It has been twenty years since I began posting here and to celebrate I asked Annette, who interviewed me for the fifth, tenth and fifteen birthday to return to talk about another five. Luckily, it was an offer she didn't refuse ...

Congrats on 20 years of this blog! Twenty years is a long time in person years, but in Internet years, that’s about – I don’t know, 10,000? For some perspective, feeling listless was launched before Twitter, Facebook or Gmail, and has existed for nearly 2/3 of the time the World Wide Web itself has been around. The manner in which the blog has remained fresh, engaging and much beloved during that entire time is truly remarkable.

Thanks very much!

The last time I did an anniversary interview (5 years ago), I remember thinking how much the world had changed in the previous five years, as far as some of the changes in entertainment, social media and technology. But this time - well, it feels like we live in a different world entirely from five years ago, doesn’t it? In July 2016, we were right on the cusp of it - the Brexit vote had just happened, true, but I still took it for granted that Hillary Clinton would be the next U.S. president, and a global pandemic seemed a very far off possibility, at least in my mind. The experiences of the past five years have been scarring, to say the least. What have these events meant to you personally?

Everything and nothing.  The last five years have been pretty rough for other reasons so to an extent I’ve felt a bit like the protagonist of a renaissance painting in which these world changing events have been happening in the background, whilst in the foreground life changing events happened too.  No I will not talk about it on here, sorry, no great revelations.  But what it all has taught me is you cannot become to settled in anything, the life is constantly in flux and you can’t unfortunately take anything for granted.  No one can.

I think I’ve said this before, but in the late 90s, my night school journalism teacher said that you have to remember that it doesn’t really matter who’s in charge, that sometimes you’re ok, sometimes not and it all balances out.  I wonder how he feels about that now, keeping in mind we were knee deep in New Labour at the time, Bill Clinton was in the White House and people still bought video cassettes in shops.  It’s very easy to say such things when you’re personally enjoying a moment of relative comfort.

Since 2016 (remember when the joke was about how awful that year was?) I’ve been trying to work out when the world felt most secure, when you could sit in front of the news and it didn’t feel like a social, health and climate apocalypse wasn’t happening around us and after trying out a few years it became apparent that actually, never.  The turn of the millennium, perhaps, but that’s from a very insular viewpoint.  The many wars across the world were still going strong, combatants and civilians dying, so many in fact, the Wikipedia has a list!  

So really what my journalism teacher should have been saying is that the world exists in a constant state of catastrophe and most of the time it won’t affect you personally and sometimes it will and that you only really need to worry about it in the latter case and even then only when there’s something you personally can or have to do about it.  If that includes being an ally too when needed, so be it.  Sorry, does that answer your question?  

Oh, yes. Not the answer I expected but your night school teacher had it right, I think. However, I think the pandemic, compared to other types of events, did end up affecting most of us personally, altering our daily routines and even our life trajectories. 

Exactly.  The problem is, whisper, we’re doing all of this to ourselves and have done for centuries, global catastrophes which are either a direct or indirect result of humanity’s choices and some of us so busy creating new problems and constantly finding ways to divide ourselves as a society that everything important to our survival gets kicked further along the generational guide.  

Are you optimistic about the post-pandemic world?

On the basis of the previous answer, you’ll expect me to say no and unfortunately you’ll be right, but simply because I don’t know if there will be a post-pandemic world yet.  Vaccinate as much of the first world as you like but until the entire population of the world has had the privilege, we’re still at risk.  Plus it’s all contingent on mostly liberal parties remaining in power in the largest liberal democracies and we can’t be certain Biden will win again in 2024, or indeed still have some control over the House and Senate after the mid-terms.

In the UK, it’s the NHS which is saving us although the government is doing everything it can to make it harder.  We only had to wait another couple of weeks for the vaccination process to make real progress, but the Tories decided it was too long and now the virus is raging again, albeit without as many deaths and hospitalisations.  Sorry, this supposed to be celebratory but there’s a long road ahead with so many nexus points that it’s difficult to see past it, not least because we’ve gone from a ridiculous Health minister to a genuinely scary autocrat.

Point taken - the pandemic is far from over. Covid-19 will be with us for a long while, especially in parts of the world where vaccines aren’t readily available. 

It’s scary.  I get why people are desperate to find some sense of normality.  They’re tired.  I’m tired for all the same reasons.  Eighteen months ago life became an ARG with very real consequences.  

Moving on to other subjects, what have been your favorite blog projects in the past five years?

The biggest and probably the most challenging was My Favourite Film of, which ended up being over a hundred weekly posts across two years, the notion being that when I finished, you’d be able to read them in chronological order via the tag, my personal history of film.  I purposefully made it difficult for myself at the start by deciding not to repeat directors and also not to simply post straight reviews but to talk around the film most often without going back and watching whatever it was again.  Fortunately, there were a few guest bloggers along the way.

It developed from the Who 50 project from earlier in the decade when I posted a weekly non-review of a Doctor Who story, the difference being that I didn’t fill in the time between with tangentially related links, partly because the entries themselves were already pretty time consuming.  I had a spreadsheet set up with deadlines for when each film’s entry had to be written by which at least meant I could plan ahead.  At some points I had posts written months in advance.

You can see when I was getting pretty desperate, especially towards the end or as it looks now, the beginning, posting almost all the essays I wrote at film school, applying the Hays Code to Deadpool in the entry about Mata Hari or quite obviously chose a film because I had something to write about it rather than because it was necessarily my favourite.  But parts of it really hold up and as with all of these blogging projects, it forced me to write something.  I’m not sure I’d have the energy to write all of that now.  Ahem.

I remember that project and being puzzled by the entries from the early years of film. Favorite film of 1897? But good for you for following through all the way to the end!

The projects which work best seem to have a definite ending either a time period or a number, a final end.  It’s open ended ones which tend to peter out.

Here’s something I’ve been wanting to know for awhile - what is the 231163 Diaries project?

Doctor Who was first broadcast in the UK on the 23rd November 1963 and the idea was to see if I could find a diary entry in which the writer mentions watching that first episode (credit to Graham Kibble-White for the name).  But inevitably because the Kennedy Assassination happened the day before, for the most part it became a record of how various individuals experienced that moment either because they were actually in the room or simply heard about it second hand.  Of all the projects, that’s the one I’m going to try to return to once libraries are properly accessible again.  That and Soup Safari.

Oh, that’s interesting - I somehow missed the Doctor Who connection, but there were some interesting historical artifacts in that series. I’d be glad to see Soup Safari return, but what about The Coffee Collection? 

Wait and see.

Are there any older blog projects that you want to resurrect in the future?

All of the open ended ones are still ongoing, I suppose.  There are a few Hamlets to catch up on and I’m a bit behind on the Eighth Doctor (Who) content.  Who 50’ll become Who 60 in a couple of years.  Sometimes the projects are all that’s left, but I’ll keep going no matter how unmotivated I am sometimes.  I don’t believe in announcing the closure of a blog.  It’s too final and this place has always ebbed and flowed in relation to content.  I’m sure I’ll always have something to write.

Life Props, maybe? I also hope you’ll continue with Public Art Collections in North.West England.

Well, I mean that’s done, I’ve visited all of the galleries and museums in the book.  I have thought about expanding out and using the Art UK website as a guide but again, it feels a bit open ended.  I like having things to tick off.  Like the walking around the Merseyrail network I’m doing now.  Finite number of stations.

I’m assuming you don’t have people tell you this too often – but I really enjoy the links that you post on the blog. I think the Christmas links are absolutely perfect, because they come at a time when I might have some actual downtime and are, for the most part, entertaining short reads. How do you pick what links you will post? Do you spend a lot of time considering them or just post things that you personally find interesting?

Somewhere in the past decade, the blog pretty much settled into a few grand themes, Doctor Who, Shakespeare, film and the Sugababes and so for the most part I’ve sticking to those lately, but really it is just stuff which interests me or I have something to say about beyond anything I can fit into a tweet.  I used to be quite diligent about working through news sites searching for things to post the whole year around but with the content hosepipe that exists now, who has the time to read everything and then decide what to post.

The Christmas Links used to just be a way to keep the blog ticking over during the holiday period but now they’ve become part of my own personal seasonal tradition because it’s the one time of the year when I do read a lot and the whole thing makes me feel more festive.  I usually have a search column going in Tweetdeck for verified tweets mentioning various keywords and there are some outlets I end up posting from every day.  I’d like to claim credit for the idea but a few of the classic UK bloggers used to something similar back in the day.

What are your go-to streaming services as of late? 

As of right now I’m subscribed to Netflix, NowTV, Amazon Prime, MUBI, Disney+ and Britbox, with YouTube and the BBC iPlayer the free services at the top of my Roku list.  This changes depending on whether Amazon’s channels section has a £1 a month offer on, as they did recently with BFI Player.  On top of that, I’m also still with Cinema Paradiso’s discs by post.

Do you have The Criterion Channel in the UK?

Oh if only.  There are a lot of Criterion films on Kanopy, the library connected service and plenty of the others are scattered across the BFI Player and MUBI.  But none of the special features are obviously included.  I’ve started a small collection of the DVDs, mostly the early releases when they turn up cheaply on eBay.

Do you find the world of streaming services as cluttered and confusing as I do?

Yes!  So many of the films which would previously have gone through the theatrical to home release to streaming release window structure are skipping at least one of both of the first two that as a film fan you have to be subscribed to everything otherwise you’re likely going to miss even Oscar nominated films.  Of the list, I only pay for Netflix and NowTV on a monthly basis.  The rest are annual lump sums or (believe it or not) a job perk.  But it still hurts especially since a lot of films are now only being released in the home on DVD so the only way to watch them in HD is through a streaming service.

Nice job perks! 

As I suggested earlier in the month, the ideal scenario would be for film companies to follow their music arms and simply license their back catalogue to whole companies who then reimburse them on a watch-by-watch basis somehow.  Even with the help of something like JustWatch, you can spend a lot of time trying to keep up with when films are going to be available and which service and then deciding whether it’s worth paying for a month’s subscription to see a film which will likely disappear back into the archives again soon.

So Spotify for films, I suppose? 

Yes.  I mean rental streaming services are close to this, almost everything is available to rent on Amazon and elsewhere at various price points like a giant digital Blockbuster, but the subscription model is the barrier.  It is strange that £10 a month seems reasonable for access to almost all music ever but there’s no way movie companies are going to license their entire back catalogue to a Spotifilm and expect a return for a similar charge.  The key problem is, I suppose, that people listen to their favourite albums over and over again, sometimes in the same day, but will rewatch films far less frequently if at all.    

Post-pandemic, do you think it will become common practice for the major studios to release their films on streaming services instead of in theatres? If so, what do you think the long-term effects will be?

Eventually, ultimately yes.  In the independent sector, that transition had largely already happened in the UK, with Curzon Home Cinema, MUBI and BFI Player offering day and date releases of film which are also playing in the Picturehouse and independent chains with comparable charges.  The pandemic has simply accelerated that and added a Hollywood dimension.  I notice that Black Widow is being theatrically released two days before it hits Disney+ and I can see that model continuing.

The biggest change is how the studios envisage how these releases work.  Back in 2016, Napster’s Sean Parker was touting the “Screening Room” in which consumers would buy a $150 proprietary streaming box and then pay $50 for each film for a night with $20 being handed over to a film chain in order to placate them for any potential loss in revenue.  Despite all the names you’d expect being involved it didn’t ultimately go anywhere presumably because not a single element of it was designed with the consumer in mind.

Oh, I haven’t thought about Napster in many years! Now there was an idea ahead of its time.

What the pandemic demonstrated is you really don’t need to do any of that, you can quite comfortably rent day and date releases through ordinary streaming apps or else include them as part of the monthly rental package.  For the larger film studios, the former scenario will be most likely and we really don’t know the numbers on how much was made through pay-per-stream during the pandemic.  As someone who finds the process of going to the cinema increasingly intimidating, being able to rent and watch Wonder Woman 84 or Cruella at home was a joy.

Besides the pandemic, the film industry has gone through a lot of other changes in the past five years. We touched on that a bit in the last interviewYou had said, “But more often than not, I’m seeing actresses which elsewhere have been stuck in supporting roles finally being given the opportunity to carry a film and doing it superbly.” In the wake of the #metoo movement it seems like women are finally getting more of these opportunities. Do you think this is a short-lived reaction or has Hollywood really evolved?

Who knows, but I think the important change is the number of women who’re in charge of independent production companies who crucially give opportunities to other women to create projects that have previously been ignored by the major and minor studios.  Even on occasions when women were studio heads, the otherwise patriarchal nature of the structure of the studios meant their success didn’t trickle down.  

There are far more women directors and writers working across the industry, even on projects which might previously have been immediately given to men and across a number of genres and on prominent series.  There are episodes of both Star Wars and Marvel series which are both written and directed by women and risks are being taken.  Chloe Zhao directed The Eternals before Nomadland.

Yes, that’s promising for the future of film. There needs to be change on the systemic level. At least we are seeing a few steps in that direction.

Except this is from someone who habitually seeks out female led productions and I’ve no clue how difficult it still is to get these opportunities especially if you don’t already have a profile, especially for people of colour or who’re LGBTQ+.  But it feels like something is changing.  If #metoo did anything, it brought women together in the room to have conversations about how to make things better.

Is there a film or series you watched recently that you can’t stop thinking about?

Given the number of films I watch, that’s a huge question, but it’s probably Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby about a college student who returns home to attend the shiva for someone she barely knew and comes face to face with the man she’s having an affair with, and his family.  Most of the film takes place at the gathering and the lead actress Rachel Sennott is in shot through most of it.  

What’s stayed with me is the way Seligman and her DP Maria Rusche are able to create such a claustrophobic, tense atmosphere as Sennott’s character navigates the crowd, having to deal with pushy relatives who don’t understand her “lifestyle choices” (she’s bi) and already have her future mapped out in their heads.  It’s a total cringathon and I loved it.

That does sound intriguing. Cringeable scenes in film have a similar impact on me as well. It seems I can remember them years later.

Are there any sites you visited in London that really exceeded your expectations? Have there been any that you thought would be amazing but found disappointing?

London is an addiction and I can honestly say there hasn’t really been anywhere which has disappointed me.  Just the fact of being able to lay on the floor of St Paul’s Cathedral looking at the domed ceiling, finally seeing John Harrison’s Longitude clocks, climbing to the top of Monument, sitting on the stage of the Sam Wannamaker theatre at the Globe and walking all of the sites of Shakespeare’s theatres, spending so much time in the National Gallery or all of the galleries.  So many memories and I can’t wait to go back.

Wow, that’s great! 

But if there was one venue which disappointed it was the Science Museum.  It feels dated, all of the various historical objects collected together in a massive hall lacking context or organisation.  Perhaps it’s the overwhelming number of famous items making it difficult to focus on a particular thing, but it feels like there’s a real story of how science and technology developed and when I visited it didn’t feel like that was being told.

What are the tweets that repeat daily on your Twitter account? Why?

Some are reminders, some are protests, some are comforts.  I noticed that people don’t always know how to filter their tweets to remove harassment and spam so I have an explainer each day.  Plus people don’t know that they can switch back to old Twitter so that seemed important too.

The daily Norah Jones video began as a Trump protest but now serves as a moan against the Tories.  It was originally about Bush but the themes still work.  A Song For The Unification Of Europe began as soon as the Brexit referendum was announced and will remain until the UK is back in the EU, however long that takes.

I’ve been told the 6am reminder to not Panic and the Love Actually tweet have both become a comfort to some people, become part of their routine, and mine too which is why they’re staying.  Plus every now and then I get a new follower and it’s important that they know my feelings about the worst film ever made.

Yeah, it’s funny how often those show up in my Twitter feed. 

Every day, sorry.

Don’t apologize - I also find comfort in the repetition.

It seems like you have been posting more book reviews on the blog recently. Is this because you are reading more books or just posting about them more often? 

Bit of both.  The few from this year are Doctor Who and Shakespeare which is very on-brand, the latter because I’m back on the Arden Shakespeare review list but rather than being sent everything, I’m able to pick and choose what I’m interested in.  At the moment I’m working through the Doctor Who TARGET novelisations and some random literature I’ve been wanting to catch up on.

Of all the books you’ve reviewed, is there one that stands out in your mind to recommend?

Listen, I’ve mentioned this a few times before but Jonathan Morris’s Touched By An Angel, which was probably my favourite book of the past decade.  There’s something about how it conjures a sense of place and richness of character while still being a Doctor Who book.  Tie-in fiction is full of novels which are as literary as anything nominated for one of the big prizes but go unread by the wider population because of what’s printed on the cover.

What’s next for the blog?

God knows.  Whilst researching the birthday posts, I’ve noticed how many bloggers over the years have published “final posts” in which they grandly talk about how they’ve enjoyed writing the blog but their interests lay elsewhere so they’ve decided to stop, blah blah blah, effectively cancelling themselves.  But I can’t see that ever happening here.  Even when Google finally pulls the plug on blogspot, I’ll take the archives somewhere else and carry on writing something at some time.

That’s great to know. Ha, I remember when Google purchased Pyra Labs (now I am really dating myself) and this many years later Blogger keeps chugging along. I even looked at the new user interface recently and couldn’t figure out what had changed, which I like! Who needs WordPress, anyway? You’d have quite a few posts to transfer - 12,493 as of July 10!

I’ve just downloaded a backup and it’s 54.7mb.  That is a lot of text.

Congratulations again on this 20-year blog milestone. I remember reading this post and thinking how I have a similar way of winnowing down my digital reading list. Seventeen years after discovering feeling listless, it remains on my shortlist of favorites, even as I’ve relentlessly Marie Kondo-ed what I read online. This blog inspires joy, and I thank you for continuing with it and giving me and all of your other readers something to look forward to in every season.

Well, thank you for doing this again.  You’ve always been a great supporter and one of the reasons I’m probably still posting here is because I know we have to do another interview in five years.  See you for the 25th!

Cautious Optimism.

TV Let's do this quickly, the Olympics are on but it's Rugby Sevens and I have no idea what's going on. Yesterday was Doctor Who's Comic Con panel but because it's all virtual at the moment we actually got to see both the panel and the trailer rather than have to read some half remember synopsis on Gallifrey Base. Said trailer's even been uploaded to YouTube. Such wonders.


Pretty typical Chibnall era teaser with lots of running about, Jodie shouting her character name and close-ups on any new characters. The most promising shot is Dan falling from the sky and Yas's cute little "Hiya" completely unconcerned with his health. Tonally that feels very different to the last couple of series. 

Apart from the casting and we'll probably see on broadcast how much of a Lois Habiba in Children of Earth this new character Vinder is, it's that the whole eight episode series will be telling one long story which'll have the potential benefit of some proper episode ending cliff-hangers. 

There's been some talk of it actually being a six episode series with the last couple held over to 2022, but the fact we're getting any televised Doctor Who right now given the production requirements under a pandemic without the infrastructure of the Hollywood studios is remarkable anyway.

The Spotify Playlist:
Twenty Years of Feeling Listless

Music  A few weeks ago, after seeing one of those prompt tweets which asks the user to post the song which was number one on my nth birthday, I decided to create a Spotify playlist which lists all of the songs which were number one on all my birthdays.  The results are here and veer wildly in quality, although there are some real classics in there and it's a pretty listenable as a sequence and certainly works as a snapshot of music over the past forty-odd (ahem) years.

But what would a similar exercise look like for the life of this blog?  Here we go.  Instead of simply listing the top song, which honestly is almost always rubbish, I decided instead to select my favourite song of that week's top ten.  Even then, especially in later years, that meant choosing something which I'm not familiar with so I've intermixed this with the music I was really listening to, either from memory or by checking what was scrobbled that year to

Clearly you can see, over time, that my own taste has become mostly at variance with the pop charts, which is only to be expected.  But a lot of the choices are simply because they've been thrumming away in the background of the blog and life in general.  You'll see I've managed to include something to cover all of the blog's key themes with the only big omission being the London Olympics 2012 theme which isn't on Spotify in anything other than rubbish cover versions.  See above instead.

A Penguin Paragraph:
The Apocryphal Gospels.

Books  More orthodox than expected.  Until now, these books seemed the stuff of sensationalist imported documentaries broadcast on Channel 5 around Easter time, featuring fringe talking heads spliced with trailer footage from a Dan Brown adaptation.  Instead, as the introduction explains, these are rarely "subversive texts” offering a dramatically different account to the sacred gospels.  If anything they evoke modern web culture with most of the writing so reliant on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John they’re practically fan fiction and in the likes of The Questions of Bartholomew, with a Mary Sue figure.  The ancient church leaders were literal gatekeepers, choosing how God should be worshipped.  The aphorisms in the Lots of Mary read like an inspirational Instagram account.  The so-called Jewish Anti-Gospel is essentially a Cinema Sins for the Bible.  Oh and yes, there is pr0n, Epiphanius’ quotation from the Questions in the Greater Questions of Mary sees to that.

A Chronological List of all the Behind the Scenes Footage Included on the Doctor Who Collection Blu-ray Box Sets.

TV Find below exactly what it says in the title of the post, a chronological list of all the behind the scenes footage included on the Doctor Who collection blu-ray box sets. Who fans have always been spoilt in the kinds of special features the release of our show includes and in the Collection series, there's a sense that we're now getting the definite version of each of these stories.

This is especially true terms of includable behind the scenes material.  The recent release of season 24 has hours and hours of studio and location footage, what seems like entire recording sessions.  No need to rely on the fading memories of the cast and crew, now we can see them finding their characters and the show in take after take.  If only other releases were this open.

That's inspired me to go through the Collection releases so far and see what behind the scenes material is there and then put it all into chronological order by recording dates so that if someone wanted to, they could enjoy the history of Doctor Who in its rawest form.  To that end I've include the details of which disc in which season box the footage appears, so "s8, d2" means "season 8, disc 2" obviously.

The Collections have many treats but I've narrowed my focus to anything pertaining directly to the making of the programme, production footage, fx sessions and any audio material recorded on location, or in a couple of cases recorded at television centre in the lunch break during a recording session.  So even if the actors appeared on Swap Shop in the meantime, that doesn't count.

A quick note on the dates given.  Sometimes this was easy, the box set includes the date with the footage.  Sometimes I had to wade into the archive features from Doctor Who Magazine and the production documentation included on the blu-rays to try and work out which date that footage was recorded.  Even then it wasn't clear so some dates are still a bit rough.

Also, when its an external programme which has recorded the footage, the date given is when the footage was recorded rather than the transmission date.  Sometimes the DWM archives mention when the programme makers visited the set, thank goodness.  You'll see I completely wigged out on Whose Doctor Who and refer you to the work of Mr. Pixley.

One I'm especially proud of.  The location shoot for The Sontaran Experiment was covered by Morning Sou'West, a regional opt out programme which used to be broadcast instead of Today on Radio 4.  As the BD caption says you can hear the rain pouring in the background.  The DWM archive is unusually specific in describing the weather conditions and it only rained on the 29th September.

The quoted descriptions are directly from the BD booklets.  There is a version of this list in which that text instead itemises the content of each of the clips narrowing them down to session times and the source episode, but at a certain point you have to decided what the most important details are here and really its providing the basic dates, especially when they're not included on the BD itself.

Some thanks and references.  Thank you to @thejimsmith for helping with one particularly tricky date for the Drashig fx footage from Carnival of Monsters.  Two websites were especially useful, this page which indexes the DWM archive features and Shannon Sullivan's production history website was helpful for raw dates of recording blocks.

Is any of the following new information?  Any Who experts reading will be able to tell me and for all I know I've simply repeated work done elsewhere even if in a slightly more concise manner.  As each new Collection is released, I'll update the list if new footage is included and I may incorporate material from the DVDs or elsewhere if I can carve out some time in the future.

20 November 1970

The Mind of Evil
BBC Television Centre Documentary
"An edition of the children's documentary series Behind The Scenes focusing on the Television Centre building, shot during production" [s8, d2].

22 January 1971

The Claws of Axos
Studio Footage
"The full 72 minute studio recording at Television Centre" [s8, d3].

15 February 1971

Colony in Space
Location Film Trims
"23 minutes of mute film footage" [s8, d5].

04 February 1971

Colony in Space
Special Effects Film Trims
"35 minutes of model and effects shots" [s8, d5].

28-30 April 1971

The Daemons
Location Footage
"Silent 8mm colour footage recorded during the location filming" [s8, d6].

03 July 1972

Carnival of Monsters
Studio Footage
"Behind-the-scenes film originally recorded for a BBC documentary, Looking In" [s10, d2].

04 July 1972

Carnival of Monsters
Visual Effects Footage
"16mm film of model work including unused shots" [s10, d2].

19 September 1972

Frontier In Space
Visual Effects Footage
"57 minutes of mute special effects shots" [s10, d3].

14 March 1973

The Green Death
Wales Today
"Film shot on location" [s10, d5].

10 May 1974

Television Drama
"Over 25 minutes of raw footage recorded during the readthrough, for a documentary that was ultimately unfinished" [s12, d1].

30 April 1974

Location Footage
"Behind the scenes on the location shoot" [s12, d1].

October 1974

The Ark In Space
Model Effects Footage
"The original 16mm model film sequences for this story showing the exterior of the Ark, the shuttle taking off, and the Wirrn spacewalking [s12, d2].

29 September 1974

The Sontaran Experiment
Location Report
"Radio coverage of the Dartmoor location shoot broadcast on a BBC Radio 4 regional opt-out programme Morning Sou'West" [s12, d3].

10 February 1975

Genesis of the Daleks
Live from the TVC Canteen
"Keith Miller from the Doctor Who Fan Club interviews key cast during the production of Part Three" [s12, d4].

21 October 1974

Revenge of the Cybermen
Location Report
"BBC News interviews Tom Baker on location at the Wookey Hollow caves" [s12, d5].

20-23 September 1976

The Face of Evil
Film Trims: Unedited
"Behind the Scenes glimpse at studio work" [s14, d4].

2-5 November 1976

The Robots of Death
Model Footage
"Black and white timecoded recordings of the original film inserts." [s14, d5].

09 January 1977

The Talons of Weng-Chiang
Location Report
"An Interview with Tom Baker, screened on Look East on 14 January 1977" [s14, d6].

19 January - 15 February 1977

The Talons of Weng-Chiang
Whose Doctor Who
"Featuring behind the scenes footage from rehearsal and recording sessions."   See DWM #330 archive for a complete shot breakdown and recording dates [s14, d7].

8-10 February 1977

The Talons of Weng-Chiang
Studio Footage
"Rare black-and-white footage from the studio recording" [s14, d7].

11 August 1980

Full Circle
Studio Footage
"Silent behind-the-scene footage" [s18, d3].

21 May 1980

State of Decay
Film Trims
"Unused shots from the model filming sessions" [s18, d4].

09 January 1981

Studio Footage
"Go behind the scenes of the regeneration" [s18, d7].

29 September 1981

Studio Footage (Part 1)
"Raw material from the recording sessions" [s19, d1].

30 September 1981

Studio Footage (Part 2)
"Raw material from the recording sessions" [s19, d1].

01 October 1981

Studio Footage (Part 3)
"Raw material from the recording sessions" [s19, d1].

13 April 1981

Four To Doomsday
Studio Footage
"From the studio recording, including Peter Davison's first scenes as the Doctor" [s19, d2].

04 June 1981

The Visitation
Studio Footage
"A quick glimpse of Terileptils in studio" [s19, d4].

5-8 May 1981

The Visitation
Film Trims
"Brief shots trimmed from the programme" [s19, d4].

25 November 1981

Studio Footage
"Raw material from the studio shoot" [s19, d5].

2 February 1982

Studio Footage
"Highlights" differs from the "uncuts" in some respects by including shots from the Concorde interior dated for 2 February and footage from the Air traffic control footage set shot on the 20th January [s19, d6].

19 January 1982

Studio Footage
"Uncuts" contains, in this order TARDIS scenes shot on 1 February, Heath Scenes set from 19 January, Kalid's Quarters set from 3 February and the Control Centre Office set from 20 January [s19, d6].

24-25 April 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Studio Footage
"Rare, never before released raw footage from the original studio recording sessions" [s23, d1].

08 April 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Location Footage
"Rare, never before released raw footage from the original location recording sessions (8-11 April)" [s23, d1].


10-12 May 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Studio Footage
"Rare, never before released raw footage from the original studio recording sessions" [s23, d1].


27-29 May 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Studio Footage
"Rare, never before released raw footage from the original location recording sessions" [s23, d2].

11-13 June 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Studio Footage
"Rare, never before released raw footage from the original location recording sessions" [s23, d2].

15-16 May 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Location Footage
"Rare, never before released raw footage from the original studio recording sessions" [s23, d2].

28 June 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Temp X
"A report from a French magazine programme that visited the set during production of this story" [s23, d2].

12-13 August 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Studio Footage
"Go behind the scenes of the studio sessions recorded in the Summer of 1986" [s23, d3].

23-24 June 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Location footage
From the Camber Sands shooting days [s23, d4].


30 June - 4 July 1986

The Trial of a Time Lord
Location footage
From the Gladstone Pottery Museum shooting days [s23, d4].


21 April 1987

Time and the Rani
Regeneration Studio Footage
"An exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how the regeneration sequence was achieved, compiled from raw footage recently unearthed for this Blu-ray set" [s24, d1].

18 February 1987

Time and the Rani
Seventh Doctor Audition Tapes
"Full tapes for Seventh Doctor candidates Sylvester McCoy, Dermot Crowley and David Fielder - all reading opposite Janet Fielding, directed by Andrew Morgan" [s24, d1].

4-8 April 1987

Time and the Rani
Location Footage
"Nearly three hours of rare material unearthed especially for this set, providing a unique look at how Doctor Who was recorded in the 1980s" [s24, d2].


07 April 1987

Time and the Rani
Breakfast Time Rushes
"Raw footage from the report on Season 24's first location shoot" [s24, d1].

20-21 April 1987

Time and the Rani
Studio Footage
"More rare material; over four hours from the studio sessions" [s24, d2].

3-5 May 1987

Time and the Rani
Studio Footage
"More rare material; over four hours from the studio sessions" [s24, d2].


21-22 May 1987

Paradise Towers
Location Footage
"Nearly three hours of raw material from the location swimming pool scenes" [s24, d4].

4-5 June 1987

Paradise Towers
Studio Footage
"Behind the scenes in studio; over four hours of never-before-seen footage exclusive to this Blu-ray set" [s24, d4].


17-19 June 1987

Paradise Towers
Studio Footage
"Behind the scenes in studio; over four hours of never-before-seen footage exclusive to this Blu-ray set" [s24, d4].

24-29 June 1987

Delta and the Bannermen
Location Footage 1
"Three hours of raw location material" [s24, d6].

30 June - 7 July 1987

Delta and the Bannermen
Location Footage 2
"Three and a half hours of raw location material" [s24, d6].

3 July 1987

Delta and the Bannermen
Wales Today
"A location report broadcast 3 July 1987" [s24, d5].

07 July 1987

Delta and the Bannermen
But First This Rushes
"An extended compilation of location footage and interviews captured by the But First This crew" [s24, d5].

28-30 July 1987

Studio Footage
"Hours of rare footage from the studio recordings" [s24, d7].


12-13 August 1987

Studio Footage
"Hours of rare footage from the studio recordings" [s24, d7].


6-31 May & 1 June 1989

Studio & Location Footage
"Raw material captured during the recording of the story" [s26, d2].
Gallery FX Footage
"Special effects material compiled during post-production" [s26, d2].

09 March 1989

The Curse of Fenric
Location Recce & FX Footage
"9-10 March 1989. From the original 1989 location recce and special effects tests" [s26, d5].

20 April 1989

The Curse of Fenric
Location Footage
"Rare material from the location tapes, including the underwater photography supervised by producer John Nathan-Turner, and behind the scenes footage of Sophie Aldred's stunt dive sequence" [s26, d5].

08 April 1989

The Curse of Fenric
Take Two
"A location report screened as part of the BBC 2 children's show on 19 April 1989" [s26, d5].

14 June 1989

Location Footage
"Raw material from the location shoot, which exists only in black and white" [s26, d6].

18-19 July 1989

Ghost Light
Studio Footage
"Go behind the scenes of the final classic series recording sessions, with nearly three hours of rare footage from the studio floor" [s26, d3].


1-2 August 1989

Ghost Light
Studio Footage
"Go behind the scenes of the final classic series recording sessions, with nearly three hours of rare footage from the studio floor, including Katharine Schlesinger's complete performance of That's The Way To The Zoo" [s26, d3].

Here Comes Everybody. Again.

 TV Back in 2006, blogs had become something close to the mainstream, or at least were the primary form of social media online in various forms.  This was a couple of years after they were popular enough that I'd almost received a commission to write a book about them (this was the phone call), Facebook was only just making itself open to non-students and Twitter was still yet to launch.  YouTube had only been in business for eighteen months and was only just in the process of being acquired by Google.

It's at this moment Alan Yenton's Imagine arts strand decided to make a documentary to journey "into the world wide web to find out how it began, who's out there, and where it's taking us" (source) which suddenly put all kinds of what had otherwise been relatively insider elements of the web onto BBC One at half ten in the evening just after the news.  It was one of the most exciting forty minutes of television I'd ever experienced.

If only I'd kept my recording of it.  I know such a unicorn existed at some point because the next night, I posted this "annotation" of the programme on the blog which went through the various contributors and topics and linked to them all.  At the time the title, resolved to BBC One's listing page which wasn't much of a web presence so I had a bee in my bonnet about filling the gap.  That URL now leads to a Go Daddy holding page.  It's still owned by somebody.

Fifteen years later a lot has changed, not least that the web has become as mainstream as fuck and you simply wouldn't make this programme now.  About four years later Aleks Krotoski presented The Virtual Revolution which covered the topic in greater depth (page full of clips) and now, ten years later there are weekly shows, like Krotoski's The Digital Human on Radio 4 and Click on the BBC News channel both of which retain from of the pioneering spirit.

You can see where this is heading if you've been reading this blog for long.  All of these years later, do these contributors still have an online presence?  Where are they now?  Are many of these links still active?  Is everyone on Twitter?  Are they on YouTube?  I'll italicise any broken links and added some commentary also in italics and margined if necessary.  Is everybody still here?


Alan Yentob [wikipedia]

Toby Warwick Jones, Alan's helper [blogImagine recording]
Toby's blogpost about the recording is archived and contains some exceedingly 00s images.  His extremely broken myspace profile is here.  He moved over to his own domain for a bit, but that's gone now and wasn't archive.  BUT this website for a successful author has a similar domain in which case this could be his Twitter account.  I've emailed him a for confirmation.

General Contributors

Clay Shirky, internet consultant [websitewikipedia]

Dr David Weinberger, Harvard University [blogbiog]

Professor Henry Jenkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology [bloghome pagewikipedia]
Professor Henry is now a joint professorship at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  He is on Twitter.


Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor, World Wide Web [bloghomepagewikipedia]

Morris Wilkes -- EDSAC, world's first practical programmable computer

Sputnik -- caused internet to develop because of US end of the space age

Doug Englebart -- demonstrated an online system using the world's first mouse

Enquire -- early project by Tim Berners-Lee



Jimmy Wales, co-founder, Wikipedia [blogwikipediauser page]

Ewan McDonald, author, millionth entry, Wikipedia [user page]
As Zoe says in her blogpost, this was recorded the just as she was being outed by The Sunday Times and they day after she appeared on The Sharon Osbourne Show.  2006 was a strange time.  She is on Twitter and YouTube.

Dickon Edwards, blogger, 'Diary At The Centre of the Earth' [blogwikipediaimagine recording]

Natalie D'Arbeloff, blogger, 'Blaugustine' [bloghome pageimagine recordingimagine broadcast]
Natalie is not on Twitter.  She is on YouTube.

Tom Reynolds, blogger, 'Random Acts of Reality' [blogbookimagine broadcast]
Tom Reynolds was the pen name for Brian Kellett who continued to blog until 2018.  I can't find a Twitter profile for him but he has a reddit profile which updates.
Is still there!

Arctic Monkeys

Tom Flannery, Arctic Monkeys fan [unable to find web presence]
Still can't - there are a lot of Tom Flannerii in the world.

Roxana Darling, Arctic Monkeys fan []

James Sheriff, founder, [flickrportfolio]
James's portfolio has moved hereHe is on Twitter.

Steven McInerney, Arctic Monkeys fan [bloginterviewmyspace]

Alan Smyth, Producer, Arctic Monkeys Demo Sessions [wikipedia]
Bebo's subsequent history has been a clusterfuck.  Bought by AOL two years later, it was sold to a hedgefund in 2010, bankrupt in 2013 bought back by the original founders who relaunched it several times as different things until they sold it to Amazon in 2019 who then shut it down.  Now the founders have relaunched it again as an old school invite only social network without a news feed.



Chris Anderson, author, The Long Tail [blogbookwikipedia]

User generated content

David Firth, animator, Salad Fingers [blogwikipedia]
David is on Twitter and YouTube, where he's now uploaded all of the Salad Fingers episodes.


Ken Russell, Director [wikipediaimdb]

Deathline, the band featured in Second Life
Incredibly, Second Life is still running.  I wonder if the ghost of virtual Alan is still haunting the place.