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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. William Shaw
    February 12, 2018 @ 4:48 pm

    If you do cover the Titan Comics, a humble request: please cover the ridiculous miniseries they did where the Ninth Doctor fights the Chumblies.

    It has the Ninth Doctor. Fighting the Chumblies.


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      February 12, 2018 @ 4:58 pm

      I’m unlikely to do that for the Capaldi era, but there is a book…


      • William Shaw
        February 12, 2018 @ 5:19 pm

        Fair enough.


  2. Max Curtis
    February 12, 2018 @ 5:08 pm

    Putting Broadchurch there is neat. Chibnall, and Whittaker in retrospect, haunt Series 10. But I hope there’s more to say about it (and Chibnall’s other work) when 13’s book comes round.


  3. David Anderson
    February 12, 2018 @ 6:44 pm

    For those of us who’ve backed the kickstarter and received a confirmation email and are missing something obvious/ under the effects of a perception filter: how do we find the Deep Breath entry?


  4. entropicdecay
    February 12, 2018 @ 10:12 pm

    Just backed the Kickstarter. Looking forward to the book.


  5. James V
    February 13, 2018 @ 12:12 am

    Just skipping Sleep No More then? Can’t say I really blame you; I always do when re-watching. 🙂


    • mx_mond
      February 13, 2018 @ 6:36 am

      I missed it when it aired and still haven’t found the willpower to catch up.


      • Przemek
        February 13, 2018 @ 9:25 am

        “Sleep No More”? Never heard of it.


    • CJM123
      February 13, 2018 @ 8:47 pm

      Sleep No More is interesting, despite not being very good, for a number of reasons.

      Firstly, it’s telling when Gattis gets a coveted “Story with the least to do with anything else” in an otherwise serious, long-form story line, he tries to create something more serious by upping his horror ideas from Hammer to Found Footage (something newer), throws a load of Shakespeare in, gives it an unhappy ending and makes it feel far more explicitly anti-capitalist. There’s something about Season 9 which feels like it made this possible. In no other Moffatt season would anyone be this experimental with the form. It’s as different as Love and Monsters was.

      That final twist is interesting, because it’s one of the few times the Doctor is defeated by a genre. It might make no sense (and my actual head cannon is that the Twelfth Doctor hijacked the signal, made it harmless and forgot to add something to the end to say so), but it’s trying. There’s even elements of the villain staging Doctor Who content so the viewer doesn’t realise the signal is in-fact the corrupting influence the Doctor can’t escape. Very capitalistic.

      The political elements, along with Dollard, Mathieson and Harness show how explicit politics returned to Doctor Who. It’s fascinating that a writer that normally goes in for uncomplicated celebration of iconography actually tries to grapple with the anti-capitalist themes of a subject he’s dealing with for the first time. It even forces him to deal with colonialism in The Empress of Mars in a way he totally avoided in The Unquiet Dead.

      The genre is fascinating because the BBC just couldn’t do found footage. It’s borderline unfollowable at points, and what is supposed to be a big Moffatty moment of misdirection at the end becomes “What happened to him? This doesn’t make any sense.” Replacing one thing that didn’t make sense with a new thing that doesn’t make sense, and acting like you should have figured out that it was all a set-up because DOCTOR WHO doesn’t make sense is just awful writing.

      Finally, it has DOCTOR WHO’s first trans-actor in it with Bethany Black. Whilst making her a vat-grown clone has huge issues, her presence alone means it seems churlish to forget SLEEP NO MORE.


      • Przemek
        February 14, 2018 @ 9:43 am

        We’re not forgetting, we’re actively repressing.

        Otherwise you’re right. Definitely interesting, definitely not good.

        Now I’m wondering what about the found footage genre made it impossible for the Doctor to win…


        • CJM123
          February 14, 2018 @ 4:37 pm

          My honest guess. Found-footage merges medium and content so closely that it tries to make everything real. No score, the editing is simple and linear, a commentary after the fact. If you go for realism, then a Doctor Who script is twaddle that should rightly be called out. And if you combine that with capitalism, all TV content is a distraction from the medium’s capitalist qualities.

          Which goes to show, that despite everything, Doctor Who is not “realistic footage of non-real events”. It’s a theatrical world that clearly can’t work as realism. It’s telling that Face the Raven takes the political, and makes it work by placing it in a setting that is all about Perception, Heaven Sent shows how to make Doctor Who explicitly theatrical, and Hell Bent shows how to break Doctor Who in a way that actually inspires.

          Sleep No More is an interesting example of a dead end, from a genre that is itself in a bit of a dead end. It’s grim and gritty, but’s that all. But I’m glad it was placed in Series 9 over something like Empress of Mars or Robot of Sherwood. Series 9 almost needs Sleep No More to show remarkable what it does is.


      • Sean Dillon
        February 15, 2018 @ 3:50 am

        I personally read the episode as ending with the Doctor changing where the signal goes. From the future dominated by the Lazurus machines to a parallel 21st century.


  6. BenJ
    February 13, 2018 @ 12:35 am

    There’s a lot to look forward to here. It just occurred to me today that Bowie’s death came about two weeks after “The Husbands of River Song”, but that his influence on Doctor Who isn’t going to end there, so the Blackstar entry should be pretty meaty.


    • mx_mond
      February 13, 2018 @ 6:37 am

      At the very least I like to think that Lazarus was a strong inspiration for the bandaged Cybermen in World Enough and Time.


      • BenJ
        February 13, 2018 @ 7:37 pm

        I like that. I mean, it also goes with the Mondasian thing, but Lazarus could have helped them get there.


  7. Przemek
    February 13, 2018 @ 9:37 am

    Yay! Colour me excited.

    As usual, I’m very curious about your essays on DW spinoffs, supplementary material and Moffat’s other work like Sherlock. Your entries about Torchwood and SJA were amongst the most thought-provoking ones for me and they have given me some great insights into DW proper. I can already tell from this list that your coverage of “The year without DW” before Series 10 will shed some interesting light on the Moffat era. Can’t wait.

    Will the “Listen” entry be in any way changed from the existing version? Just curious.


  8. Scriptscribbles
    February 14, 2018 @ 4:41 pm

    Oh God, I can’t recommend those Big Finish picks as representatives of their takes on the new series. Uniformly those aren’t very good.

    Unit Extinction and Silenced actually have some things to say about the police state of UNIT and whistleblowers, while Assembled only escapes being the worst UNIT set because Shutdown is racist. And Big Finish didn’t really work out River in a solo series till the recent set with the Fifth Doctor, though her inclusion in Doom Coalition was wonderfully queer and feminist and political.

    I expect you’ll have good things to do, you always do, but those picks certainly won’t help your Big Finish cynicism


  9. Aylwin
    February 15, 2018 @ 2:10 pm

    Totally off-topic, but perhaps of interest, and for the benefit of any non-habitual-Guardian-readers passing through: the Guardian’s Long Read today is on Peter Thiel and New Zealand, and is very NRxaBish, with a denouement that seemed like life attempting to imitate the end of The Player of Games but not quite getting there.


  10. Allyn
    February 15, 2018 @ 9:11 pm

    I signed up for the Patreon, solely to make sure we get an article on Titan Comics’ Doctor Who output. On the one hand, you have to admire them for their aggressiveness (at points they’ve had five series running). On the other hand, you have to bemoan their slapdash shipping schedules and their inconsistent art.

    And I wish they’d kept on Julie d’Aubigny as a twelfth Doctor companion for more than a single story.


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