Doctor Who Christmas special 2017: Twice Upon a Time

Making her directorial debut with the unanimously acclaimed coming-of-age cinema Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig has boldly announced herself as a force-out to be reckoned with in an industry in which female directors are rarely given a chance to glisten. From her early days as the preeminent darling of the mumblecore movement to her present-day perch atop Oscar ballots, we sat down with the 34 -year-old vanguard to discuss her career, ambitions, and extraordinary newfound success.

1. You’re known as a figurehead in the “mumblecore” film movement. How would you describe mumblecore to the uninitiated?

A mumblecore movie is basically a movie shot in three hours that follows a white man living in Austin, TX as he struggles to buy a sofa from his ex-girlfriend.

2. Was it difficult to get the Lady Bird project off the ground?

No , not at all. In Hollywood, there’s a saying that you do “one for them, one for you.” And as a first-time director, I knew I needed to do something that would appease studios in order to get the leeway to pursue something I actually cared about. So Lady Bird was basically the soul-sucking, focus-grouped corporate monstrosity that I needed to get out of the style so that I could finally get the green light for my passion project, a period drama in which Harriet Tubman comes up with the idea for Danimals and must escape to the North on a plane ski so she can get the word out about her new yogurt invention. Keep an eye out for it, early 2019.

3. The main character in Lady Bird devotes herself that nickname in the film. Did you have a moniker for yourself when you were young?

Yes. My nickname was Julius the Crime. It came from this time when I was being born and I immediately screamed, “I am Julius the Crime.” And it just kind of stuck.

4. Do you think having a background as an actor has induced you a better director?

Oh, utterly. Like, there are a ton of directors out there who will instantly call for an exterminator if they find a wasp nest on decide and not even ask their actors if they want to look at it first. I know what a bummer that is, so when we find a big papery fuckin’ wasp nest on set one day, I built sure all the actors could come look at it and take scenes before I get rid of it–Saoirse even threw some boulders at it. My philosophy is that when you’re truly in tune with your actors’ wants, it will lead to a better final product.

5. Lady Bird surpassed Toy Story 2 to set the Rotten Tomatoes record for best-reviewed film of all time. How did that feel?

I was 16 years old when I considered Toy Story 2 in theaters, and I recollect the moment Buzz Lightyear came on screen for the first time. I turned to my mommy and said, “One day, I’m gonna stimulate that bug-eyed space honky my bitch.” And my mama took my hand and said, “Yes, I know.” So this was kind of a childhood dream of mine, and it’s been pretty cool to see it be submitted to fruition.

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Peter Capaldi bowed out as Jodie Whittaker stepped into the Tardis and the history books. But did Steven Moffat do himself justice with his final episode?

Spoiler alerting: this blog contains details of the Doctor Who Christmas special, Twice Upon a Time.

” Love hard, run fast, be kind …”

Merry Christmas! Despite the sense of occasion, “were supposed to” offer a little critical analysis. This wasn’t really a Doctor Who adventure, since it was scarcely an adventure at all. This was something … perhaps less, but perhaps more. At the nub is the First Doctor( played here with unsettling ability by David Bradley, who portrayed William Hartnell’s portrayal in the 50 th anniversary biopic) equally unsettled by his future as’ the Doctor of war ‘, and our 12 th’s horror at the unreconstructed 60 s humanoid he used to be.

Twice Upon a Time Photograph: Simon Ridgway/ BBC/ BBC Worldwide

There is one thing I know for certain about people – and I likely learned it from Doctor Who. The younger you are, the more seriously you take yourself. The older you get, the more everything becomes a hoot, and candidly a bit ridiculous – however happy or sad the circumstance. Twice Upon a Time plays this out more than any other multi-Doctor narrative we’ve seen. And Moffat has a lot of fun playing the first Doctor’s political incorrectness against the 12 th’s electric-guitar-and-sonic-shades midlife crisis. Bravo, frankly.

” Don’t die, because if you do, I think everyone in the universe might go cold .”

Doctor Who Photograph: Simon Ridgway/ BBC/ BBC Worldwide

It’s wonderful to see Pearl Mackie back. It was simply road traffic accidents of scheduling that the matter is character had to be a one-season wonder. But there’s little danger of her future being less bright than the rest of her Nu-Who alumni.( Mackie’s next project find her join Zoe Wanamaker and Steven Mangan in a West End revival of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party .) Glorious, too, consider the return of Jenna Coleman as Clara, Bill’s final gift being the return of his memories of her. I know she was divisive, with many supposing Clara too big for her boots, but personally I loved the partnership. Although, it must be said, all that time playing Queen Victoria has poshened up her Blackpool accent – and it showed.

Fear factor

Unusually for this series, there’s no actually’ baddie’ as such. Even the Dalek( Rusty from 2014′ s Into the Dalek) has been turned against his own murderous kind and become a strange kind of ally. In some sense, the rogue of the piece is the Doctor himself, resisting survival, and the consequences of what his carrying on means for everyone else. That explosion universe maintains require saving – a human could get exhausted. Indeed, the only foe surely capable of preventing such a grave mistake is …. himself. And so it is, perhaps the only reason to do a multi-Doctor story. To give him a reason to meet himself( gender pronouns are about to become a nightmare from hereon in ).

Christmas continuity

Doctor Who Photograph: Simon Ridgway/ BBC/ BBC Worldwide

It’s hardly a amaze that Moffat knows his Who-lore, but it’s still instead delightful that so many retro-references are thrown in – the Tardis windows being wrong shape, the First’s insistence on calling it’ the ship’.

The whole escapade, of course, takes place between the final moments of Hartnell’s final story, The Tenth Planet, which marked the introduction of the Cybermen, the original’ Mondasian’ version of which were reintroduced – at Capaldi’s request – in the previous story. Sadly, The Tenth Planet was left as a weak aiming, due to Hartnell’s failing health removing him entirely from episode three and his participation in number four being spare. Does it seem a/ little/ odd that the episode scarcely recognises that at all? Perhaps, but it hardly matters when there’s 54 years of continuity to navigate. I was only a little bit sadder that the recast Ben and Polly( Jared Garfield and Lily Travers replacing the late Michael Craze and the alive Anneke Wills) were not given a little more to do. And while the ending played out respectfully, might we have asked for Reece Shearsmith to double up for Patrick Troughton just as Bradley did for Hartnell in Adventure in Space and Time?

” Oh, brilliant .”

In their final favor to fans, Moffat and his team removed the final sequence introducing Jodie Whittaker( which was written by incumbent Chris Chibnall) from all preview versions, entailing nobody outside the inner circle watched it until Christmas Day.

With all the anticipation build, Capaldi’s final monologue packs an even harder emotional punch – it’s just easier to shout about on Christmas Day than at a press screening when faced with such a message of hope for the future. As for Thirteen – we’re pestered with very little, a ring falls off( marking perhaps an end to the River period which wouldn’t be necessary any more ?).

And then she stares at the Tardis console with broad eyes of wonder and is devote one single line,” Oh, brilliant” – reassuringly in Whittaker’s own Yorkshire accent. Because she’s always wanted to be a woman? Or because this Doctor’s excitement and clear and mortal peril is even more pronounced than any we’ve met before? A while before we find set, because that final shooting of the Doctor falling serenely through space is all we’re getting until autumn, folks. As always, let us know what you thought.

Deeper into the vortex

  • The final twist! Gatiss’ character The Captain is uncovered as the parent of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart – both honourable military men to the end. It might be obvious but it’s gorgeous too.
  • The German soldier was played by Toby Whithouse: a Who stalwart having penned stories including School Reunion, The God Complex and Under the Lake .
  • With so much continuity going on – I don’t precisely recall the moment Bill found out about the whole regeneration thing ?
  • ” You’re a stupid bloody arse !” Was that the sweariest line in Doctor Who history? But nicely counterpointed with Hartnell’s unsettling reprisal of his threat to granddaughter Susan right at the beginning -” you’re in for a jolly good smacked bottom !”

It won’t have escaped a single reader of this blog that this Christmas marks the deviation of Doctor Who’s other leading man – Steven Moffat. We can’t deny that “hes having” been at times a controversial figure( the curse of the job) and that some of the( to my mind, mostly ridiculous) criticism has come from our Guardian community. But he has, in my interactions over the years, demonstrated an occasionally grumpy man with the biggest heart.

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