Monday, 2 January 2012

Doctor Who In 2011

With the dawn of the new year upon us, what better time is there to look back over the last 12 months in the Whoniverse?

2011 kicked off with a huge amount of new merchandise being released. Peri and the Piscon Paradox, Prisoner of the Sun, The Crimes Of Thomas Brewster and Series 2 of Jago and Litefoot were all released to audio. IDW entered the world of Doctor Who comics with their ongoing Eleventh Doctor series putting out it's first issue and the DVD world was graced with the releases of Meglos, The Mutants and A Christmas Carol. Over in LA, production began on the fourth series of spin off series Torchwood, while in the UK, production on Series 6 of Doctor Who continued in Cardiff. At the National Television Awards, where a specially filmed Doctor Who themed segment opened the show, Doctor Who lost out on the award for Best Drama to Waterloo Road, to the shock of many.

February saw the release of several new audio adventures. The Feast Of Axos, Lucie Miller, The Perpetual Bond and Short Trips Vol. 2 all saw CD releases, while the First Doctor story The Ark got it's first DVD release. The end of February brought with it the sad news that Nicholas Courtney, famous for playing Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart for over 40 years, had passed away on the 22nd. DWM announced a special dedication issue would be released in his honour.

March brought with it a host of new audio adventures for fans in the form of The Forbidden Time, To The Death, Industrial Evolution and Short Trips Vol.3. The Mara Tales Box Set release gave us Kinda and Snakedance on DVD while the Revisitations 2 Box Set contained rereleases of Carnival Of Monsters, Ressurection Of The Daleks and The Seeds Of Death. Meanwhile, fans of the show were treated to two mini episodes in aid of Comic Relief. Space & Time were the first televised episodes to be set and filmed entirely in the TARDIS since 1964's The Edge Of Destruction.

Heroes Of Sontar, Thin Ice and The Sentinals of the New Dawn were the audio releases for April, while the Third Doctors regeneration story Planet Of The Spiders was released to DVD. On the 19th April the world was shocked to learn of the passing of the brilliant Elisabeth Sladen from cancer. Elisabeth had been playing Sarah Jane Smith on and off since 1973 and was currently in production of the fifth series of her own spin off show, The Sarah Jane Adventures. Fandom rallied round and raised over £20,000 in her honour to be donated to the hospice that cared for her. A week later Series 6 of Doctor Who hit the airwaves with The Impossible Astronaut taking in nearly 9 million viewers on initial airing as well as breaking the world record for the most recorded show ever, with 4.1m viewers. The episode was dedicated to the memory of Elisabeth Sladen. Part two, Day Of The Moon, aired the following week and closed out the month.

The month of May saw the release of Kiss of Death, Crime Of The Century and Ferril's Folly on audio CD. The release of the Mannequin Mania Box Set saw a reissue of Spearhead From Space released alongside Terror Of The Autons, while the Fifth Doctor story Frontios also got it's release this month. Series 6 continued on BBC1 airing four episodes throughout the month, The Curse Of The Black Spot, The Doctor's Wife, The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People brought in steady ratings and took the show to the top of the iPlayer charts each week.

Rat Trap, Animal and The Cold Equations all saw audio releases in June, as did the third series of Jago and Litefoot. The DVD world saw the release of the Earth Story Box Set which contained the First Doctor story The Gunfighters alongside the Fifth Doctor serial The Awakening, meaning that every Fifth Doctor serial was now available on DVD. Over on BBC1, A Good Man Goes to War rounded out the first half of Series 6, taking the show into a summer hiatus before returning in the Autumn. Behind the scenes it was announced that Piers Wenger was stepping down as Exectuive Producer on the show but that Series 7 and a 2012 Christmas special had been commissioned and that Matt Smith would remain in the role. Danny Cohen, controller of BBC1 announced that Series 7 would air over 2 years, which was later denied by Steven Moffat, but no new official announcement was made either way.

Robophobia, Earth Aid and Tales From The Vault were the audio releases for July, followed by the DVD releases of the Seventh Doctor serial Paradise Towers and Series 6 Part 1. Filling the gap left by Doctor Who, Torchwood returned to UK screens after a two year absense with Miracle Day amidst controversy over premiering in the US before the UK. Episodes aired throughout July were The New World, Rendition and The Dead Of Night. While attending the ComicCon event in the US, Karen Gillan confirmed to the world that she will be returning to Doctor Who for the seventh series. In a film collectors attic in the south of England, episode 3 of the First Doctor story Galaxy 4 was found after being thought lost for more than 30 years, though the fact was kept secret until December.

Recorded Time and Other Stories and The Rocket Men were released on audio alongside Short Trips Vol.4, while The Sun Makers was the only DVD to be released this month. Torchwood gathered pace on BBC1 airing Escape To LA, The Catagories Of Life, The Middle Men and Immortal Sins. Doctor Who made it's long awaited return to screens with the second half of Series 6 and the story Let's Kill Hitler.

The Doomsday Quatrain, House Of Blue Fire and The Memory Cheats all saw their audio releases in September, while Day Of The Daleks saw it's DVD release. Torchwood came to a close airing it's final three episodes with The End Of The Road, The Gathering and The Blood Line rounding out the fourth series of the show. Doctor Who continued with the second half of Series 6, airing 4 episodes, Night Terrors, The Girl Who Waited, The God Complex and Closing Time. In the same dusty attic as before, a second 'lost' episode was found in the form of The Underwater Menace, episode 2, bringing the total amount of lost episodes down to 106. Again, this was kept under wraps until December.

The Elite, The Silver Turk and The Many Deaths Of Jo Grant were all released on audio CD this month while the DVD world was represented by the release of Colony In Space and the fourth series of SJA. The Sixth Series of Doctor Who was rounded out with the airing of The Wedding Of River Song, but a special Mini Episode created and written by primary school children from Basingstoke made its screen debut on Doctor Who Confidential. It was titled Death Is The Only Answer. The Sarah Jane Adventures returned to screens with it's fifth and final series. Due to the death of it's star, Elisabeth Sladen, only three stories, Sky, The Curse Of Clyde Langer and The Man Who Never Was, were completed, all of which aired during October to great figures and acclaim. The first game of the second series of Doctor Who Adventure Games was made available to download, titled The Gunpowder Plot and featured the TARDIS team facing Sontarans in Jacobean London. With the ending of Series 6 of Doctor Who came the announcement that Doctor Who Confidential would be taken off the air.

Audio releases during November were made up of The Witch From The Well, Hexagora and The First Wave. The fourth series of Torchwood, Miracle Day, was released on DVD, as was Series 6 of Doctor Who. Matt Smith auctioned off his Doctor costume for Children in Need, raising over £50k while on the same evening the title for the Christmas Special, The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe, was announced alongside a teaser clip for the story.

The Children Of Seth and Army Of Death were this months audio releases, but for the first month of the year, no DVD's were given a release for December. Christmas came early for Doctor Who fans when it was announced at a special gathering in London that two classic episodes had been recovered from a collectors attic. Steven Moffat announced that Amy and Rory would be leaving the show during Series 7 and a new companion would join the Doctor for his travels. It was also revealed that there were no intentions to include any two part stories in the next series, but it would see the return of 'a couple' of classic villains from the 60's and 70's. The Doctor The Widow and the Wardrobe aired to strong audiences figures but a mixed reaction on Christmas Day, rounding out 2011 in the world of Doctor Who.

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