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      Doctor Who

      Review: The Magician's Apprentice

      In The Magician's Apprentice, the Doctor has a lot to contend with: Davros, yes; the Daleks, of course; Missy perhaps; the complexities of time travel; his own shame; and a large helping of dramatic irony – in varying degrees.

      There's quite a lot the audience knows that the Doctor and co. aren't entirely aware of, and depending on your point-of-view, this either adds to the drama, or utterly diffuses it. Case in point: Clara dies. Despite news that Jenna Coleman is leaving the show, she's already been seen filming for the rest of Series 9 (possibly with the exception of the final two-parter, Heaven Sent/ Hell Bent). When Michelle Gomez's Missy is exterminated, it's surprising yet a bit damp; she died in Death in Heaven, but here she is again. A little thing like death isn't going to stop her.

      When Clara dies, you know this can't last.

      And then the TARDIS is blown apart, and that's the final confirmation that these things will be undone.

      That's the same problem with The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time Lords (2007): the Master had decimated the Earth, so the only thing the audience expects is a big reset button. Indeed, the Paradox Machine was destroyed and everything wound back one year. But that's how smart Steven Moffat's writing is. Straight after blowing away Missy, Clara, and the TARDIS, he presents to us the means to reset things – only it's by doing something equally dramatic. It's something the Doctor will never do, because it's something he can't do.

      He has to kill Davros.

      Of course, we know the Doctor won't kill a child and substantially alter time. If he had done so before, the whole Time War could've never happened and Gallifrey would still be in the skies. There are too many subsequent paradoxes – prominently, if he kills Davros, there's no reason he would travel back to kill Davros, that timeline in which Clara is exterminated having been diverted.

      (This, too, poses interesting questions: what would the Doctor be like without the Daleks (given his confession in last year's Into the Dalek that he found out who he was when he first landed on Skaro?)

      Furthermore, we know the Doctor. We know who he is, and he wouldn't shoot a then-innocent boy. The Doctor, then, wouldn't, and he couldn't.

      And yet – and yet...

      Dramatic irony heightens/diffuses the suspense in other ways too: if you listened to rumours, you'd know Davros would be back, and that we'd be retreading old ground – both that we'd literally be back on Skaro, and that the Doctor's dilemma would be the same as in Genesis of the Daleks (1975).

      Many have called the central concept a great idea, and indeed it is – although it's far from original. The same territory was explored in not just Genesis but also recent episodes like The Beast Below (2010), and to a lesser extent, Let's Kill Hitler (2011).

      Additionally, Eleventh Doctor era stories have mulled over the Doctor's last days and what he would do – which is why the three-week party in 1158 doesn't quite ring true. Peter Capaldi's Time Lord is a different incarnation but he's still the same man, so why spend his final hours rocking out instead of spending time with his friends (The Impossible Astronaut), saving as many as he can (The Time of the Doctor), or both (Closing Time).

      Capaldi, however, is really nailing the Doctor, and thankfully, much of the burden lumped on his shoulders by Series 8's "am I a good man?" arc has been lifted... or at least seemingly. That question hangs in the air still as he confront his shame at having left a young Davros to die amongst the hand-mines, and no doubt when he returns at the episode's cliffhanger.

      Michelle Gomez, too, is great. Although I'm still not comfortable with the idea of a female Master, Missy herself is full of wit and dark charm. Her relationship with Clara is just as interesting as with the Doctor. There's an odd respect between them all, and a kind of trusting. Clara's reaction, while cautionary, isn't quite how you'd predict, especially considering Missy held at least some responsibility for Danny's death last series. Considering this is a companion hooked on danger and fashioning herself like the Doctor, Clara's taking Missy in her stride shouldn't come as too great a shock.

      Kate Stewart's reaction, though, is a surprise. It simply doesn't ring true. I know Lethbridge-Stewarts are a strong breed, but she didn't convey much anger at the woman who flung her out of a plane, and killed one of her trusted advisors, Osgood.

      That's not Jemma Redgrave's fault – she's always been a fantastic addition to the semi-regular cast – she was simply lacking in that sort of material. It's a shame, really, especially as UNIT was essentially deemed a necessary but inept plot device. I can only hope that it foreshadows events later on in this run of stories, notably The Zygon Invasion/ The Zygon Inversion, and, alongside the Doctor's confession, the finale.

      There were so many elements to The Magician's Apprentice that some were bound to be left unexplored. Fortunately, Davros isn't one. He's a joy – always has been.

      And thankfully, we have Julian Bleach back as the evil genius. It's been seven years since he last played Davros (in 2008's Journey's End), but he slips back into the role effortlessly. His dialogue with the Doctor is naturally electric, and the two bounce off one another perfectly. He immediately cuts down the Doctor's assertion that the Daleks should never have been created with a simple line, accusing him of being a broken record: "This is the argument we've had since we met."

      We're sure to get further chilling exchanges in next week's The Witch's Familiar, and while this opening episode was a mixed bag, it should slot into place much better after we know how this impossible cliffhanger, and the storyline as a whole, is resolved.

      I know I speak for fandom as a whole when I say, I can't wait.

      Images: BBC.

      Lovarzi's Series 9 Guide: The Magician's Apprentice/ The Witch's Familiar

      Transmission: 19.09.2015/ 26.09.2015.

      Writer: Steven Moffat.

      Director: Hettie MacDonald.

      Guest Starring: Michelle Gomez; Jemma Redgrave; Clara Higgins; Jaye Griffiths; Jami Reid-Quarrell; Nicholas Briggs; and Daniel Hoffman-Gill.

      Doctor Who Series 9 is upon us, with Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor at the helm of the TARDIS alongside his ever-reliable companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman).

      But with news that Jenna is leaving, what do these next 12 episodes hold for an Impossible Girl running out of time? The series kicks off with the Doctor missing, the Daleks searching for the Time Lord, and Clara driven into an uneasy alliance with Missy...

      The skies over the Earth have frozen – planes suspended above skyscrapers and fields – and the one man who can help is missing from time and space. Where is the Doctor? And what is he hiding from?

      Teased with the last will and testament of the Doctor, the return of Michelle Gomez as Missy, and the Doctor making a cataclysmic mistake, this opening story sets the run's precedent for two-parters: indeed, showrunner, Steven Moffat recently said that Series 9 will blur the lines between what constitutes as a multi-part tale. We've at least four two-parters this series, and that's without episodes 5 and 6, which, we're assured, are linked.

      In the Radio Times, Moffat posed some very intriguing questions, namely "Why did [the Doctor] really leave Gallifrey all those centuries ago?"

      Hettie MacDonald returns to the director's chair for the first time since the fan-favourite Blink (2007), which introduced the Weeping Angels – and this time, she gets to work with Daleks from all eras of the show! Because the Doctor is trapped on Skaro, the planet of the Daleks, as a prisoner of the creatures that hate him most... Taking

      The irradiated deserts of Skaro were filmed in Tenerife, and Peter Capaldi told Doctor Who Magazine: "We were in a very isolated location. You had to drive quite a distance to get to it. It's not on a touristy bit of the island; it's way, way up. It looks great. It works very well."

      Rather interestingly, these episodes also credit former showrunner, Russell T Davies, and further writers, Toby Whithouse, Chris Chibnall, Gareth Roberts, and Stephen Greenhorn – most likely for creating aliens that have cameos. For Whithouse, this could be the Krillitanes (from 2006's School Reunion); for Greenhorn, we're betting on the Hath (2008's The Doctor's Daughter); and Roberts' monsters include the Carrionites (2007's The Shakespeare Code), the Skovox Blitzer (last year's The Caretaker), and the Graske from the 2005 Interactive Red Button game.

      Davies, of course, created a vast array of aliens (including the Slitheen, Sycorax, and the Adipose), while Chibnall's contributions also span both Doctor Who and Torchwood.

      Jemma Redgrave reprises her role as UNIT's Kate Stewart, Kelly Hunter as the Shadow Architect from 2008's The Stolen Earth, and Clara Higgins returns as Ohila, a member of the Sisterhood of Karn, which she previously played in 2013's The Night of the Doctor.

      The Magician's Apprentice airs tonight on BBC One at 7:40pm.

      Images: BBC.

      Jenna Coleman is Leaving Doctor Who

      The BBC has confirmed that Jenna Coleman is to leave Doctor Who during Series 9.

      Jenna's played Clara Oswald opposite Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor and Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor, facing up to Daleks, Cybermen, Zygons, the Great Intelligence, and Missy – but how she meets her end in the upcoming run of episodes of course remains a mystery.

      "I have left the TARDIS. It’s happened; I’ve filmed my last scenes," she confirmed on Radio 1's Breakfast show before explaining further: "It was emotional but it’s been in the works for a long time. Steven [Moffat, showrunner] and I sat down a year ago and decided the best way to tell the story and that’s what we’ve done."

      Sadly, her departure from the show has been rumoured for some time: she even seemed to have left the show last series (in Death in Heaven), but was welcomed back onto the space-time ship in Last Christmas.

      "Jenna has been absolutely brilliant," Peter Capaldi said. "I think she’s wonderful in the show, and she’s my favourite companion."

      Coleman was announced as the Doctor's new companion in March 2012, and began filming her first proper adventure in May of that same year: Hide was a romantic horror story that also starred Jessica Raine (Line of Duty; An Adventure in Space and Time) as Emma Grayling, and Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible II; The Wrong Mans) as Alec Palmer, and written by Luther creator, Neil Cross. While her first real appearance as Clara was in 2013's The Bells of St. John, she made a surprise appearance in 2012's Asylum of the Daleks as the doomed Oswin Oswald, Junior Entertainment Manager on the starship Alaska, and then again in that Christmas' special, The Snowmen, this time as Clara Oswin Oswald.

      This kicked off the Impossible Girl storyline, which saw the Doctor puzzling at how one person can be seemingly splintered through time.

      If she does last until the conclusion of Series 9, Jenna will be the longest-running modern companion: Hell Bent will be her 36th episode, compared to Karen Gillan's 34.

      Don't worry too much about Jenna's next role, though – she's already been cast as Queen Victoria in a £10million ITV production, called Victoria, written by novelist, Daisy Goodwin (The Fortune Hunter).

      Everyone at Lovarzi wishes Jenna all the best for the future!

      Lovarzi and Doctor Who

      Since we launched our first Doctor Who product – the multi-coloured Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) Season 12 Scarf - back in 2012, it's been a great journey for us. It would not have been possible without the great, dedicated fans of the show, and we truly appreciate this committed fanbase. On the way, we got some great feedback which helped in our product development from individual Whovians and also fan groups like the lovely folk at Stitches in Time.

      We pride ourselves in having a very close relationship with fans of Doctor Who, and honestly some of products would not have been possible without input from you, the fans.

      We've now released 10 Doctor Who products – including scarves, umbrellas and jumpers - and all of them have been received very well, and are especially popular among the cosplay community. We are committed to provide quality products year on year and 2015 is no different. We will be soon releasing 3-4 Doctor Who products, and have some surprises to add to these in coming months too.