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Be very afraid: Doctor Who is back - with the Daleks (2012)

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Be very afraid: Doctor Who is back - with the Daleks: Weekly blockbusters mark shift from tangled plotlines to reinforce US appeal


"Ex-ter-min-ate! Ex-ter-min-nate!" They have terrified children for nearly 50 years, and tonight Daleks from all eras will be back on screen as the much anticipated new series of Doctor Who launches on both sides of the Atlantic.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan will lead viewers on a series of blockbuster adventures, as the Doctor and Amy Pond travel through time and space for another set of mind-bending escapades.

The series will mark a move away from the complicated story arcs that dominated its predecessor. "We're going for big standalone stories; big movie-style stories," said Steven Moffat, the drama's showrunner. "Let's go for one blockbuster a week."

This weekly blockbuster approach - the BBC has produced movie-style posters for each of the first five adventures - should also help Doctor Who's appeal to viewers beyond the UK. "Going for a bigger movie scale does then make it more saleable abroad," said Moffat.

Ratings for the last series of the show in the US - where it airs on BBC America and is available to download on iTunes - were strong, and Moffat hopes the new series will help reinforce the Doctor's appeal in the US.

"I think Doctor Who is just starting to get to that state in America where it no longer feels like 'that show the Brits make' - it feels like Doctor Who," he said. "A successful show in America can't feel like a foreign import - you have to feel like a show in your own right."

The individual episode approach will also, perhaps, silence critics of the tangled plotline that wove throughout the last series, leading some to claim that it was too complicated for children.

But Moffat - also the co-creator of BBC1 hit Sherlock - stressed that the change in emphasis was not a response to those who said the show had become difficult to understand. He asked: "In an era when television is constantly accused of dumbing down, why is it wrong for us to clever up?"

Strong consolidated ratings for the show in the US and UK - which include viewers watching on catch-up - underlined that its audience wasn't lagging behind, said the writer and producer.

"The audience is very, very smart indeed. I've got two shows at the moment that rather depend on the audience being clever - and nobody seems to have a problem with it. Maybe the news is that people aren't stupid after all. Wouldn't that be terrible?"

The first of the five adventures to hit TV screens before Christmas - there will then be a festive special, and a further seven episodes in the first half of 2013 - puts Doctor Who's most famous baddies centre stage. Asylum of the Daleks sees the Doctor facing his old foes, now stronger than ever, with Daleks from every era of the show.

"The Daleks are the best designed alien there's ever been," said Moffat, explaining the appeal of the pepperpot killing machines. "The Dalek is still a poster boy: it's a little piece of history and a little piece of magic and somehow it's not got old." The secret of the aliens' longevity is rooted in their bad temper, he said. "They look like they're machines, and they're really, really cross. Cross machines! That's brilliant.

"When you see a Dalek, its eye starts waggling. It's normally shaking backwards and forwards as it talks. It does things - and I can't think of any other robotic monster that you can have a reaction shot of."

As a longtime Doctor Who fan, Moffat said the Daleks would always top his list of the Doctor's enemies - and he would find it "faintly blasphemous" if others said they were not their favourite

Doctor Who monster.

Those who prefer the writer's terrifying Weeping Angels will have to wait for the fifth episode of the series for their return. This episode will also see the Doctor waving goodbye to Amy Pond and her husband, Rory.

It will be an almost sombre moment, said Moffat. "It's always a relief to finish a story - it means you survived it, if nothing else!

"But you also think at the same time, that era's over - I'll never ever type 'Amy' again. That is a big feeling; a big moment in your life."

The Doctor's new companion, believed to be called Clara, will be played by Jenna-Louise Coleman and is due to take over at Christmas.

Asylum of the Daleks will be followed by Dinosaurs on a Spaceship - a reference to Snakes on a Plane - a western-themed adventure, A Town Called Mercy, The Power of Three, and The Angels Take Manhattan.

Captions:

Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), the Doctor (Matt Smith), and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) star in the new series. Below, Jenna-Louise Coleman will play the Doctor's new companion, believed to be called Clara Main photograph: Adrian Rogers/BBC

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  • APA 6th ed.: Frost, Vicky (2012-09-01). Be very afraid: Doctor Who is back - with the Daleks. The Guardian p. 17.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Frost, Vicky. "Be very afraid: Doctor Who is back - with the Daleks." The Guardian [add city] 2012-09-01, 17. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Frost, Vicky. "Be very afraid: Doctor Who is back - with the Daleks." The Guardian, edition, sec., 2012-09-01
  • Turabian: Frost, Vicky. "Be very afraid: Doctor Who is back - with the Daleks." The Guardian, 2012-09-01, section, 17 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Be very afraid: Doctor Who is back - with the Daleks | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Be_very_afraid:_Doctor_Who_is_back_-_with_the_Daleks | work=The Guardian | pages=17 | date=2012-09-01 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 April 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Be very afraid: Doctor Who is back - with the Daleks | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Be_very_afraid:_Doctor_Who_is_back_-_with_the_Daleks | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 April 2019}}</ref>