After six wonderful years of bringing joy and delight to Doctor Who fans across the internet, the story of Doctor Puppet is finally coming to a close. What can fans expect from this grand finale episode and what does this mean for Doctor Puppet supporters going forward? Alisa Stern, the creator of Doctor Puppet took some time out to talk to The Gallifrey Times about what the future has in store.
Alisa Stern is a professional animator who has worked on television programs such as Team Umizoomi and Wonder Pets. However she is better known in the whovian community as the creator, writer and director of the incredibly popular Doctor Puppet stop motion animated episodes. After six years of work, Doctor Puppet‘s 8th and final episode is releasing in September, just before the expected premiere of Doctor Who series 11. When asked if the timing for episode 8 lining up so well with the start of series 11, Stern commented “It’s mostly a coincidence, but Series 11 has certainly become a deadline for me. The Doctor Puppet finale is the end of an era of Doctor Who, and I’d like to release it before the new era begins properly with the Thirteenth Doctor’s first episode.”
Absolutely chuffed to have done a cover for @TitanDoctorWho! Coming in October! 💙💙 @ComicsTitan #DoctorWho #ThirteenthDoctor pic.twitter.com/lNtI2r0Ds6
— Alisa Stern (@TheDoctorPuppet) August 1, 2018
During an interview in June, Stern told Discussing Who that her Thirteenth Doctor puppet that is being featured as a cover variant for the new Titan Comics’ first issue of the The Thirteenth Doctor will play no part in episode 8 of Doctor Puppet. When asked about what her plans were for the puppet going forward, Stern said she currently has no plans for it aside from the occasional social media photo. If fans are interested in collecting The Thirteenth Doctor #1 variant cover featuring this puppet, they can use the Cover J code AUG182230 when ordering. This comic releases in October and features 13 different cover variants.
Here’s how I created the cover for @TitanDoctorWho! Completely made in my living room. The grass is an outdoor carpet from a hardware store. The TARDIS is a toy I Photoshopped to look like 13’s. The sky was painted and added with Photoshop. 🎨 pic.twitter.com/VFIlFQTiTY
— Alisa Stern (@TheDoctorPuppet) August 2, 2018
Aside from the puppet for Thirteen’s possible future as an Instagram model, we wondered what the future held for all of the puppets previously featured in Doctor Puppet. When asked about whether they might be seen in any future animations or attending conventions, Stern suggested she would like to build a proper display case to house the collection, taking them out occasionally for photo shoots or convention visits. However, she has no plans on animating them. She also assures us that we won’t be seeing them on eBay, stating “I’m definitely not going to sell them! The puppets are my little friends, and they’re staying with me”. She had previously considered sending some of them to their respective actors. However, considering how long they took to make she has decided against this.
— Alisa Stern (@TheDoctorPuppet) September 1, 2014
“I’ve met a few actors at different conventions. Their reactions have all been very positive. Colin Baker even grabbed his puppet and pretended to steal it!” – Alisa Stern
With the actors and BBC responding very positively toward Doctor Puppet, even having an interview and 20 second puppet clip in the documentary Earth Conquest found in the special features of the series 8 DVD, we wondered if it might be possible to see a little Doctor Puppet Easter egg in the background of an actual episode of Doctor Who in the future. We asked Stern if she would ever agree to allow BBC to borrow her little friends for such a thing. She seemed excited by the idea, saying “Oh, I would love that! Seriously, that’s my dream for the future of Doctor Puppet. Besides a fully animated episode of course.”
“The finale is both melancholy and exciting for me. Doctor Puppet has been life-changing – it’s lead to friendships, trips around the world, and an audience. And it has motivated me to keep going and make more original content”, Stern said.
The story of Doctor Puppet has been emotional and confusing for the poor little Eleventh Doctor puppet over the years. Surely coming up with a way to end the story must have been difficult. Stern took us through the process of writing the final episode.
“Well, I can tell you that the finale isn’t actually the original ending to Doctor Puppet. At first I had a much simpler way for the story to end. But after each episode got progressively longer and more epic, that ending felt unsatisfying, so I rewrote it with help from the crew. We ended up with a truly epic ending that’s almost 10 minutes long, which is why it has taken so long to make. All I’ll say is the title is “The Twelfth Planet,” and it has more puppets and sets than any other video we’ve done. Spoilers!” – Alisa Stern
Stern tells us that viewers can expect to experience all sorts of emotions when watching episode 8. However, she assures us that it won’t be as sad as the farewell video for Peter Capaldi, adding “A lot of people tell me that video made them cry.”
Brilliant brass session today in Newcastle! The Doctor Puppet Episode 8 score is coming together rather nicely. 🎺 #DoctorWho #music #composer #itsAMAZING pic.twitter.com/iWkOOcWuLC
— Alisa Stern (@TheDoctorPuppet) July 23, 2018
The final score is being recorded with live orchestra instruments. The choice to record live instrumentals rather than generate a digital score was made by Scott Ampleford who creates all of the music for Doctor Puppet, as well as narrates and assists Stern with the writing. Stern tells us “he really wanted to do something special for the finale”, adding “He’s recorded live instruments before, but not this many”. She assures fans that this score “is fitting for an epic finale”.
After episode 8 releases in September fans can expect behind the scenes videos to be posted on the Doctor Puppet YouTube channel. Announcement or update videos may be posted occasionally in the future but fans should not expect any more Doctor Puppet themed stop motion animations.
After this long journey some fans may be hoping for some parting words or closure from the Doctor Puppet creator. This is what Stern has to say to all of those who have supported her vision and the beautiful world of puppets she has created:
“First, I want to thank everyone for supporting Doctor Puppet, with views, kind words, and successfully funding two Indiegogo campaigns of course. I’m not kidding when I say it’s changed my life. I’ve always been a nerd and I’ve always had a desire to create things, but I had struggled to find an outlet for all that. Doctor Puppet ended up being the perfect project that will hopefully lead to a lot more for me and the small crew I’ve been fortunate to work with. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. Stay tuned!” – Alisa Stern
For anyone who has not yet watched the previous Doctor Puppet episodes but is interested in catching up before the final episode releases, episode one is below. All of the Doctor Puppet episodes, along with the Christmas specials and other short videos featuring the puppets can be viewed on their official YouTube channel.
Fans can keep up with the finale progress and see future photos of the puppets by subscribing to the following social media channels:
Doctor Puppet episode 8 The Twelfth Planet will debut in September.