Doctor Who Fan Ante-credits

Curator's Note

When Peter Capaldi was announced as the next Doctor, fans immediately started crafting images of his costume and his Doctor, as well as creating (NSFW) mash-ups of Doctor Who and The Thick of It. Fans also made films like this one. Fan-made credit sequences use iconographic elements to highlight the concerns and expectations before the release of a new series. I’m terming this an “ante-credit,” as it is both ante, coming before the premiere of a show, and often anti, as it reflects implicit criticisms of the current series.

Created by billydakiduk, this ante-credit references elements of the show that reflect the show’s lineage. It emphasizes the “timey-wimey”-ness of early New Who by using clock images. This lies in contrast to the previous series’ credit sequence, which features explosions, flares, and dust. The figure-eight icon, the Seal of Rassilon (a Gallifreyan symbol), foreshadows the return of the Time Lords, while the fob watch references the diegetic “Chameleon Arch,” a device housing the Doctor’s “essence.” The fact that the watch then morphs into Peter Capaldi aesthetically cements him as the new Doctor. The ante-credit ends with the title “Last of the Garderene,” a reference to a Past Doctor Adventures book by Mark Gatiss (2000, re-released 2013).

These references to the past and visions of the future highlight the liminal spaces of ante-credits. As credits, they “seduce, invite, prepare and inform their audiences” of what is to come (Coulthard, ¶1). They also function like fan-made trailers, “embody[ing] how [fans] viewed the … narrative world” in anticipation of the actual series (Williams, ¶6.1). Ante-credits function as paratexts, elements both part of and apart from the diegetic universe (Genette; Gray). Finally, a motion graphic professional, billydakiduk highlights a liminality between the “fandom and brand management” of Doctor Who (Hills, ¶8). The clip is an indication of billydakiduk’s professional work as well as his fannish enthusiasm. The clip’s liminal state is reflected in the comments on the YouTube page for the clip, as many commenters recommend sending it to the BBC for consideration.

Ante-credits reveal anticipatory fandom as well as reactive criticism; they fuel further anticipation of the new series. Whether billydakiduk’s fan ante-credit sequence has an effect on Capaldi’s actual credit sequence will be one of the many things to look forward to when the show returns in 2014. 


Of course, this reminds me of Henry Jenkins' "textual poachers," where fans claim, transform, repurpose a creative or narrative property and often write against canon. I appreciate the idea of both being a fan of and critiquing DW. What do you think billydakiduk's critique here is?

To me, this ante-credit sequence seems to critique the flashy "universe-saving" master plots that the Moffat-era seems to embrace quite often -- the idea that the entire universe might be in danger and only the Doctor can save it (again). Compare this ante-credit sequence with the sequence from the most recent series ( In the canon title sequence we see huge swaths of space, swirling dust clouds, planets and planetoids spinning, twisting, exploding. It's a dangerous environment filled with twists and turns, unknowns around every corner. It's fast and it's dramatic and it's expansive. Compare this with the ante-credit. Equally expansive, but contained within the clock iconography. The universe isn't (necessarily) involved, but time is. And not just any time - the Time Lords (given the Seal of Rassilon). Notably, I think that the fact that (SPOILERS) the Seal and the Time Lords show up in the TIme of the Doctor hints that billydakiduk's titles may actually foreshadow some changes in the show -- an emphasis on less space-in-danger and more timey-wimey plots, and the inclusion of the Time Lords.

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