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SYFY WIRE Doctor Who

WIRE Buzz: Doctor Who reunites 10 doctors; Blue Öyster Cult rocks ‘Lockdown Godzilla’ & more

By Benjamin Bullard
doctor who can you hear me

Only by hopping in the TARDIS could we ever hope to pay a visit to 10 — count, ‘em, 10 — Doctor Who doctors all in the same night. But no time machine will be required this Thursday (April 23) to see Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker and nine of her predecessors all in one place, as part of a big Doctor Who reunion to thank British health care workers fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Set to air Thursday, BBC’s Big Night In fundraising telethon will feature a specially-recorded message from Whittaker, David Tennant, former Doctor Who Tom Baker, and a whole gaggle of other past Doctors — all part of a Whovian shout-out to real doctors, nurses, and other medical staff in the UK. The idea is to celebrate “the acts of kindness, humor, and the spirit of hope and resilience that is keeping the nation going” through the pandemic, according to BBC.

In addition to Tennant, Whittaker, and Baker, other featured stars who’ve played the role will include Jo Martin (who starred as an alternative version of The Doctor in a pair of episodes from the past season), along with Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi.

So. many. Doctors. It’s enough of a fan-pleasing Doctor Who reunion to soften the heart of even the coldest Dalek, and it all goes down on BBC One on April 23, when Big Night In kicks off at 3 p.m. ET.

Just as Christopher Walken can never have enough “Don’t Fear the Reaper” cowbell, we really never have gotten enough of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla.” Not many bands have devoted a whole stompin’ song to the mountainous atomic-breathing lizard, so seeing the band update their classic tribute to such a force of nature feels all the sweeter in a new from-home performance intended as a nod to fans who can’t see the band tour during the coronavirus pandemic.

Check it out:

Getting this special take on “Godzilla,” it turns out, is a consolation gesture from the band for fans who had hoped to catch the classic rockers on their “On Tour Forever” tour, now delayed by the pandemic. Faced with a missed connection on the road (and with lizards clearly on their minds), the band “took a short break from working on our next album to record this from everyone's home studio,” BOC explained along with the clip. 

After seeing the band still waving the banner for the King of the Monsters after all these years, there’s really nothing more to say. We’re just waiting for someone to figure out which classic Godzilla movie (maybe 1962’s Mothra vs. Godzilla?) opens doors on new levels of revelation once it’s been synced up to BOC’s new “lockdown” version.

Would it surprise anyone to learn that small-screen streaming has exploded during the pandemic? Shutting one’s self inside and settling in with a stack of movie titles and video games has been a meme-worthy trope for more than a minute now. But new numbers from Nielsen, via Deadline, reveal demand for streaming offerings has nearly doubled from what it was a year ago, back before COVID-19 became an unwelcome household name.

Nielsen’s numbers show that, from “the fourth full week of March in 2019 (starting 3/25) through the fourth full week of March in 2020 (starting 3/23),” digital streaming within the coveted 25-54 year-old demographic increased by “almost 100 percent,” according to the report. That time window, the report notes, includes the period after stay-home orders in nine U.S. states had taken effect in March.

Nielsen’s figures further reveal that streaming already was on the rise over the past year, thanks to ongoing cord-cutting trends and the buzz surrounding new services like Apple TV+ and Disney+. But things really took off once people began staying home in greater numbers last month. “Nielsen notes that streaming of non-linear content increased ‘across all age groups in Nielsen’s 56 largest metered markets during March 2020,’” the report states.

With theaters shuttered and studios opting to send a handful of new theatrical releases straight to digital, it was never hard to envision the small screen as the place to be during the early days of the nationwide lockdown. And with some of us still staring at a mountain of titles that we’ve yet to cross off our lists, who knows how much higher those numbers could go?

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