Doctor Who – Moffat Bingo! – Your Chance to Take Part

It’s time to play Moffat Bingo! With Series 6b almost upon us, we’re finally making good on an old promise and compiling a list of the Moff’s most enduring tropes to see how many of them turn up in the new episodes. And we want YOU, faithful podcast fans, to help us!

Simply visit our Facebook page, post your suggestions on the wall and we’ll add the best (and funniest) to our patent-pending Moffat Bingo card, which will be posted here on the blog so you can play along at home. See how many tropes you can tick off per episode! (I feel a drinking game coming on…)

Here are a couple to start you off…

1. The Doctor adopts a new form of headgear

2. A Classic monster receives a controversial (and largely unnecessary) redesign

3. We meet a character who knows more about the Doctor’s future than the Doctor does

4. Alex Kingston regenerates into Julia Sawalha

Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea!

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Video: Meet the Impossible Podcasts team!

Who are the impossible people behind the Impossible Podcasts? Meet the team as we discuss our favourite eras of Doctor Who, our geek interests and specialties, and our claims to geek fame!

What about you – what are your geek interests, and what else would you like to see us cover? Do you have any cool “claim to fame” stories? And what do you think of our first foray into video? Let us know below!

Interview: Tolkien and Wales – Dr Carl Phelpstead

Caleb Woodbridge interviews Dr Carl Phelpstead, author of ‘Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity‘, recently published by the University of Wales Press.

Tolkien once wrote: ‘I love Wales – and especially the Welsh language’. In this episode, we discuss with Dr Phelpstead how Welsh influenced Tolkien’s ideas about language and his fiction, especially The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. We also discuss Tolkien’s place in the university today, and what the future might hold for the academic study of Tolkien.

Dr Phelpstead is a Reader in English Literature at Cardiff University. His areas of research include Old Norse and Medieval English literature. Dr Phelpstead has published widely on Norse sagas and other medieval literature and has contributed to The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopaedia and Tolkien Studies.

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Are you interested in the myths, legends and cultures that influenced Tolkien’s writing? What light do you think academic scholarship can shine on books like ‘The Lord of the Rings’? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

Article: Doctor Who’s Story Arc of Infinity (and Beyond?)

Are you a fan of Doctor Who‘s new format? Podcast commentator Swithun Dobson (a.k.a. “The Great Intelligence”, a.k.a. “The Beast”) certainly isn’t and turns his critical eye on the past to suggest how the show might evolve in future.

Deafening Silence, River Melodies and “shenanigans”. Are story-arcs the future of Doctor Who? Since Steven Moffat acceded to the showrunner’s throne, the series has tended toward more heavily-arced narratives. Last year it was the Crack, this year it’s the not-so-silent Silence.

For the purpose of this article a story-arc will be defined as a continuing narrative which is directly related to each individual episode over a significant period of time, normally a single series. This definition should be treated as the gold standard against which other series can be compared, to determine their arcedness. (Bad Wolf, for instance, wasn’t an arc – it was an afterthought).

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Doctor Who – The Almost People – Review

James Willetts reviews the twists and turns of ‘The Almost People’. Let us know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to download our commentary!

Cliffhangers seems to be the Doctor Who stock in trade these days, being dropped into episodes whether they make sense or not. Gone are the days when a cliffhanger ending meant an impending disaster to be resolved though, because these are more about setting up the next episode.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this week’s episode. On the one hand, I wasn’t at all a fan. It felt more like a slight miss than a big one and it never felt like a total disaster along the lines of ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’. It’s a big drop off from the greatness of the last few episodes. Yet at the same time this episode lives on unfairly thanks to another game-changing coda, presumably written by Moffat, that undoes much of what we thought we knew about the series so far and completely rewrites the Doctor’s motivation for this two-parter. Continue reading

Review – Un Lun Dun – China Miéville

Caleb Woodbridge reviews China Miéville‘s novel ‘Un Lun Dun’, winner of the 2008 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book:

The idea that the magical or fantastic may be lurking just around the corner is very appealing, and one that science fiction and fantasy uses frequently. A 1960s police telephone box is revealed as a time machine; the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 of King’s Cross Station turns out to be a gateway to a world of wizardry. The fantastic is all around us. In Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, there are two Londons: London Above, which we are familiar with, and the magical London Below. Un Lun Dun revisits the concept for a younger audience, with Zanna and Deeba finding their way into the abcity of UnLondon.
The story gets off to quite a slow start, and seems to follow some fairly well-worn fantasy tropes. As Zanna and Deeba enter UnLondon, they discover that Zanna is the “Shwazzy” (from the French “choisi”, chosen). She is the Chosen One prophesied to save London from the Smog. However, all does not go to plan, and the reliability of the prophecies quickly goes out the window. This leaves the characters free to go trampling over the clichés and conventions of the fantasy genre. Deeba refuses to stick to her role of “comedy sidekick” to Zanna, and determinedly breaks the rules of the quest in a desperate attempt to save London and UnLondon alike.