28 January 2016

Kroagnon Awards 2016: Day Four - Doctor Who

Welcome to the Kroagnon Awards 2016! All this week, we're announcing all our favourite things of 2015, ranging from the broad to the niche. As well as being voted on by editors Dave, Matt and Tom, several categories have been decided by you, our readers, and industry experts.

The third episode of 2015's Doctor Who series was our favourite. Under the Lake was written by Toby Whithouse, directed by Daniel O'Hara and saw the Doctor and Clara arrive in a base haunted by ghosts at the bottom of a lake. This was a perfect synergy of the talents of contributors in front and behind the camera, creating an atmospheric and involving tale. Next on our list was Heaven Sent. Read our review of Under the Lake here.

It's hard to believe 2015 was only Peter Capaldi's second year leading the series, such is the assured professionalism he brings to the role. This last year saw his Doctor mellow from the more antisocial incarnation of 2014 to a much more amiable figure. It's without a second thought that he is named our Best Actor of 2015, and we hope he remains in the role for many years yet.

Starring in Toby Whithouse's Under the Lake and Before the Flood, Sophie Stone's portrayal of Cass was extraordinary. Even leaving aside the fact that this was (somehow) the first time a deaf actor had played a deaf character in Doctor Who, Stone's performance was memorable and engaging and as such, Cass emerged as one of the most popular guest characters of 2015. 

Doctor Who in 2015 brought with it a host of exciting new and familiar villains but our favourite was the head of the Zygon revolution, Bonnie, as featured in The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion. Jenna Coleman gave a markedly different performance to her usual portrayal of Clara, showing the range of her abilities, getting to be much colder and steely than normal. It was an extremely strong performance that just managed to edge out Julian Bleach's return as Davros at the top of the season.

Toby Whithouse has been a regular contributor to Doctor Who in the Steven Moffat era, having written his first episode for the 2006 series. His two 2015 episodes - Under the Lake and Before the Flood - were another show of his innovative and exciting writing style, and it's for this two-parter that he is named our Best Writer of last year. We hope Whithouse continues to contribute to the series as he is one of its most reliably entertaining writers.

As in 2014, Rachel Talalay helmed the two closing episodes of Doctor Who's main run last year. Once again she did so in great style, bringing us the series' first single-hander and the return of Gallifrey in two feature-length episodes - Heaven Sent and Hell Bent. These were among the most cinematically-staged stories of 2015, and were even more popular than her d├ębut. Also nominated in this category was Hettie Macdonald, director of The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar

As well as being a highly accomplished camera operator (including on productions such as Peter Harness' Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) Richard Stoddard is a rising star in the world of cinematography. This year he served as Director of Photography on four episodes of Doctor Who - Under the Lake, Before the Flood, The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived. His work here speaks for itself and it's a credit to Stoddard that he win this award against the stiff competition of Suzie Lavelle and Mark Waters. More please.

Serving as Executive Producer on the 2015 episodes of Doctor Who, Brian Minchin is perhaps the least celebrated of the core production team, but deserves equal credit for what many are calling the best era the programme has ever enjoyed. It's certainly true that the series would be poorer without his influence and one of the most interesting things that hasn't been discussed in the wake of Chris Chibnall's appointment as Doctor Who's showrunner from 2018 is whether Minchin will be there alongside him. We can but hope.

You probably don't know Will Oswald's name but he has edited more episodes of Doctor Who since 2005 than anyone else. In fact, his closest rival, Mike Jones, has under half the number of episodes to his name that Oswald does. It's thanks to him that episodes such as last year's Under the Lake, Before the Flood, Zygon story and two-part series finale emerge so polished, exciting and professional. Being an editor is a thankless task to the wider viewing public, so we felt it only right that the accolade for Unsung Hero this year went to Will Oswald.

2015 was not short of Doctor Who merchandise, but our favourite was The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who, written by Dr Marek Kukula and Simon Guerrier. This blended fact and fiction to create an interesting look at how the science of Doctor Who compares to what we know as fact. There's a few highly entertaining short stories in here from respected authors such as Una McCormack, David Llewellyn and Jonathan Morris. Read our original review here.

Our final category for today is the one you voted on. Heaven Sent was an instant hit with viewers, and so it's no surprise to reveal that you voted it your favourite episode of 2015. It was a tour de force for Peter Capaldi, who spend most of this dramatic hour alone, and showcased what the current production team is capable of.

Join us tomorrow for our final round of awards, this time focusing on
the productions of audio company Big Finish!

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