More Than Just the Tin Dog! K-9 Lands Solo Film!

Modern Day K-9

Modern Day K-9 from the DisneyXD series.

K-9 Returns…
You can’t keep a good dog down, and it seems, even after almost 40 years, our beloved robotic canine (get it?) appears to have more lives than a cat. K-9 is set to return again, this time in a standalone film of his own. The inner-seven-year-old inside me couldn’t help but get excited when I read earlier this week that K-9 would be back. He was part of my childhood. I first fell in love with Doctor Who during the Tom Baker era, and for me, K-9 was part of the family.

It was announced earlier this week that K-9 Creator and writer Bob Baker, along with Nick Park from the Wallace and Gromit series, is producing the film K9: TimeQuake, which is due out in theaters in 2017 and will feature our robotic hero facing off against a classic Doctor Who villain from the 3rd Doctor and 5th Doctor eras – Omega.

Omega, 2nd Doctor and 3rd Doctor

Omega staring down at the The Second and Third Doctors (Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee) in “The Three Doctors” (1973).

Omega, a legendary Time Lord himself and an intergalactic engineer, had been credited with founding early Time Lord society, along with the great and mighty Rassilon, and with harnessing the power from a supernova to give the Gallifreyans mastery over space and time. Unfortunately, Omega was trapped in an anti-matter universe and had gone mad as a result. He has come close to destroying the galaxy more than once, only to be stopped on each occasion by The Doctor. Omega has appeared in several Doctor Who stories including – The Three Doctors 10th Anniversary Special (with Stephen Thorne as Omega) (1973) , The Arc of Infinity (with Ian Collier and Peter Davison as Omega) (1983) and the Big Finish 5th Doctor audio Omega (2003), with Ian Collier reprising the role.

K-9 and The 4th Doctor

K-9 Mark I (as voiced by John Leeson) and The 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) in the TARDIS.

A Girl’s Best Friend…
K-9 first appeared in the 4th Doctor adventure The Invisible Enemy (1977). He was the creation of Professor Marius, in the year 5000. K-9 joined The Doctor and then-companion Leela (played by Louise Jameson) on various adventures. With his computerized brain and laser snout, K-9 soon proved to be a valuable member of the crew.

Even after The 4th Doctor left Leela on Gallifrey with K-9 Mark I and Romana in E-Space with K-9 Mark II, we knew we hadn’t seen the last of our beloved tin dog. K-9 seemed to have as many lives as The Doctor, returning for not just one, or two, but three TV spinoffs, several specials and Big Finish Audios over the years.

K-9 Mark III was left as a gift for former companion Sarah Jane Smith from The 4th Doctor in the TV pilot K9 and Company (1981) – the first attempt at a Sarah Jane spinoff (starring Lis Sladen). K-9 resurfaced again in the The Five Doctors 20th Anniversary Special (1983), with Sarah Jane, and yet again for the David Tennant story School Reunion (2006), reuniting Sarah Jane, K-9 and The 10th Doctor.

Lightning struck twice for K-9 and Sarah and the result was the hit BBC Kids series The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007-2011). Sadly, K-9 Mark IV was trapped in a void for most of series, as he was promised to DisneyXD (featuring modifications and design changes – I favored his original design) for a K-9 Series (2009-2010) for Australia. Each time he was voiced by the original actor John Leeson (actor David Brierly voiced him briefly in 1978).

Sarah Jane Smith (Lis Sladen) and K-9 Mark IV in the Doctor Who episode “School Reunion” (2006).

Initial Reaction to “TimeQuake”…
To be honest, I’m having trouble seeing this work on the big screen and don’t understand why they haven’t just done a theatrical release based on The Doctor (yes, they made two movies with Peter Cushing, but that was a long time ago).

I held out hope that K-9 would return to the current series of Doctor Who alongside Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. Let’s face it, Capaldi would have a blast, and K-9 would quickly endear himself to the irascible old Time Lord, as well the rest of us, as he always does.

I also held out hope that Time Lady Romana and K-9 Mark II might have survived the Time War and resurfaced during the 9th Series along with the resurrected Time Lords, or Team Sarah Jane: The Next Generation featuring her kids (now grown), might end up working for U.N.I.T. with K-9 Mark IV at their side. A gal can dream, right?

Instead, the Time Lord’s best friend will be fighting the big bad alone, facing off against one of The Doctor’s oldest enemies. Not sure how that will play out, but happy to hear K-9 is still out there, fighting the good fight.

Affirmative, Mistress…

Here’s a classic moment with K9 Mark I and Leela (Louise Jameson). 

And another, a rare clip featuring an inebriated (not sure how) K-9 Mark II with Romana Mark I (Mary Tamm) and The Doctor Mark IV. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Christopher Lee Remembered

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Christopher Lee

From immortal monster, to Jedi, to powerful wizard. He had worn many faces throughout his long and distinguished career. This week, the world mourned the loss of veteran stage and screen actor, Sir Christopher Lee.

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“Chiller Theatre” opening sequence. This creeped me out so much as a kid.

My introduction to Christopher Lee came one night, well after my bedtime, staying up to watch Chiller Theatre. 

I enjoyed (usually with one eye open) many Hammer Horror films, most of them starring Lee, starting with Horror of Dracula (1958), with Lee in the title role and co-star Peter Cushing (another favorite of mine and fellow Star Wars alum) as his nemesis Van Helsing. As a little girl, hiding under the covers, peeking out just as he was about to strike at some unsuspecting victim, I was both terrified and mesmerized by Lee’s gaze. I probably shouldn’t have been, but I was hooked.

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Lee as Count Dracula in many Hammer Horror films.

I credit my love of gothic horror to those early films. Lee’s Dracula was silent and menacing. He was far from repentant, and no, damn it, he never sparkled – he compelled – as any good (or in this case, bad) vampire should. He’d given me many nightmares, and later in life, he was also a source of inspiration for many of the stories I’d go on to write.

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Lee as Saruman the White in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

Years later, I was thrilled to see him as Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels and again in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies as Saruman the White. Nearly 80 when he took on those roles, Lee showed no signs of slowing down. He even recorded the Heavy Metal Christmas album in 2012. Still cool, still relevant and still doing things his way at 90, I couldn’t help but admire him.

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Christopher Lee in Vatican City (1944).

Lee cast a long and imposing shadow, standing a full 6 feet 5 inches tall. He was a giant in every way to someone like me. From everything I’d seen, Christopher Lee was a proud man, a powerful man and a serious man.  He had served in the military, was in the RAF during World War II, and had received various honors, including knighthood in 2009. The man certainly seemed the stuff of legend.

Christopher Lee kept acting into his 90s, always sharp and full of purpose, and he left quite a legacy. I thought somehow he’d live forever… He was an original. We’ll likely never see another like him, and he will be sorely missed.

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Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, John Carradine and Peter Cushing

Christopher Lee passed away on June 7, 2015, at the age of 93. He has gone to join his friends and former co-stars, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine (all gone, but not forgotten.. nothing is ever forgotten…) – best known for their horror/sci-fi roles. I’m sure they welcome him with open arms. Oh, the stories they must have to share.

Farewell… and many thanks, Sir Christopher Lee. I owe you more than I ever realized…

-SylverWhisper