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21 February 2017

Sydney Newman: Innovator, designer, director, and producer. In April it will be 100 years since Doctor Who's creator was born, but where exactly did the idea come from? How much of it came from him before Bunny Webber's famous memo which established the idea did the rounds?

In 2013, the BBC aired An Adventure In Time and Space; a dramatic reconstruction of the early days of Doctor Who, and Sydney was played by the excellent Brian Cox. It was a great portrayal of the man, and other founding members such as Verity Lambert, Waris Hussein, and Mervyn Pinfield, and was well received in Doctor Who's 50th year.

But in the very beginning it was touch-and-go for the real show, and Sydney's role was as an over-seer and advisor to Verity and her team in 1963.

Looking back after all of this time, and understanding Sydney wasn't entirely happy with how the series started off until it became a success, its easy to forget his role. Him creating such a phenomenon was no surprise, although people would have thought it unlikely of a children's show. He had already changed drama in Britain, and people's perception of culture with theArmchair Theatre series he produced as head of drama at ABC, before he moved into the same role at the BBC in 1962. The series showed for the first time people on the fringes of society such as unmarried mothers, drug-addicts, and the homeless, and regional accents were used. Plays like No Trams To Lime Street, and Cathy Come Home showed the face of changing Britain as it looked towards the future which didn't look very bright.

And the future is what Doctor Who was all about, although its original premise was to educate and teach children about history and science. One week an adventure would be set in the past, and the next it would be in the future, and that is where the ratings were at.

Sydney had always love science-fiction, but the basic idea for Doctor Who had been with him for at least ten years before it made it onto the screen.

His biography The Man Who Thought Outside The Box: The Life And Times Of Doctor Who Creator Sydney Newman, reveals lots of information about the worlds best-loved science-fiction show, and the man who created it. It is a must for all Doctor Who fans.

It is available to preorder now from digitalentropy@hotmail.com for £11.99 and will be released on April 22nd 2017.

+ Find out more at the Digital Entropy website: digitalentropy.co.uk 

[Source: Ryan Danes]

 

21 February 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Cavan Scott & Mark Wright

RRP: £10.99 (CD) / £8.99 (Download)

Release Date: February 2017

Reviewed by: Steve Bartle for Doctor Who Online


"The TARDIS has landed in a war zone. The Doctor, Romana and K9 find themselves traipsing through an inhospitable battlefield. Strange lights flicker in the sky, and stranger creatures lurk in the darkness.

When rescued from an attack by a Sontaran tank, the time-travellers discover they’re facing a far more dangerous foe than the battle-hungry clones. This terrifying fight has been going on longer than anyone can remember… and shows no signs of stopping.

With the TARDIS missing and their luck running thin, the Doctor and his friends’ only hope of survival is to uncover the truth about what is happening on this planet. If they can discover the secret of the eternal battle they might just survive… but it might just mean the end of them all."

One of the aspects I have disliked intensely about the series since its return is its treatment of classic villains. The Cybermen have effectively become that “pathetic bunch of tin soldiers” that the Fourth Doctor chastised them about being so long, long ago. I was not particularly enamoured on the re-design of the Silurians or their overall return, either. Even the Daleks had a wobble in Victory Of The Daleks but the least said about that the better. 

I have a sense of trepidation about the Ice Warriors returning in the new series too as I felt the one monster threat in Cold Blood served them well but once they are an army? Who knows!

And then there are the Sontarans. One of my favourite villains from the classic series reduced to comedy foils time after time again. I didn’t mind Strax the first time around but the law of diminishing returns meant that the comedy wore thin and it just made me yearn for that particular race to return to their strangely honourable and war mongering selves of old. 

So in all honesty going into this one my hopes weren’t high. Could these be the Sontarans that waged a brutal war with the Rutans or will they reflect the more comedic variety of recent times?

Well the honest answer is neither really, here they are something a little different. Writers Mark Wright and Cavan Scott have been very clever in this story. In the midst of a very bleak environment, combatting an endless and futile war, they manage to humanise the Sontarans without weakening them from the original approach to this race in the seventies. 

Big Finish always manage to revisit a classic foe and put a different spin on them. The narrative tactic they adopt is to split up our TARDIS team, on this occasion the Fourth Doctor, Romana II and K-9, and pair them with two different Sontaran warriors who both are unusually open in reflecting on their respective roles in the ongoing battles. 

Which brings us to Dan Starkey. Dan of course is famous for playing the aforementioned Strax, the Paternoster Gang member who provides nearly all the light relief in the stories he has featured in. Here, with the exception of some vocal work by John Banks, Dan provides nearly all the Sontaran voices and in some scenes is actually talking to himself! Quite the feat!

Between them they manage to inject an impressive sense of pathos as we uncover what the Sontaran sense of honour truly means to them and it doesn’t necessarily translate to dying in battle as recent serials would have us believe. This race does not fear their ultimate end, but neither are they actively seeking it out. 

And what of the regulars? Well you would never expect nor receive less than a top notch performance from Lalla Ward and John Leeson and their on screen chemistry is easily replicated once again here. Tom Baker's’ love for doing these audios again shines through and he seems to be having enormous fun throughout, without going overboard. He gets the tone just right and is a shining beacon in what is, at times, a very bleak tale.

I am a big fan of what Jamie Robertson has done with the score of this one.  I adore the music of Season 18, and here he recaptures some of those synth infused moments perfectly. Interestingly The Beast of Kravenos was also set supposedly in Season 18 but the same approach to the music would have felt distinctly out of place in the Victorian setting. Here it is applied with careful consideration to enhance the right moments. 

Tales with a zombie theme have been done to death (ridiculously obvious gag) but here they are given an interesting spin. But although key to the story, as is the futility of war, these are merely the backdrop for the characterisation and interaction between the Sontarans, the humans (who are perhaps underserved within the relatively short running time) and the TARDIS team.

So essentially a character piece on a long established race, but one which has managed to make it so that, arguably the most one-dimensional of all the Doctor Who adversaries, can now be appreciated through new ears. 



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16 February 2017

Relive the acclaimed first series of Doctor Who with this limited edition Blu-ray Steelbook, exclusive to Amazon.

Christopher Eccleston's Doctor is wise and funny, cheeky and brave. An alien and a loner (it's difficult keeping up with friends when your day job involves flitting through time and space), his detached logic gives him a vital edge when the world's in danger. But when it comes to human relationships, he can be found wanting. That's why he needs new assistant Rose. Rose is a shop-girl from the present day. From the moment they meet, the Doctor and Rose are soulmates. They understand and complement each other. As they travel together through time, encountering new adversaries, the Doctor shows her things beyond imagination. She starts out as an innocent, unfettered by worldly concerns. But she ends up an adventurer who, by the end of the series, can never go home again...

Includes the episodes: Rose, The End Of The World, The Unquiet Dead, Aliens Of London / World War Three, Dalek, The Long Game, Father's Day, The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, Boom TownBad Wolf / The Parting Of The Ways.

Special Features:

-  BBC Breakfast interview with Christopher Eccleston
-  Destroying The Lair
-  Making Doctor Who with Russell T Davies
-  Walking The Dead
-  Laying Ghosts
-  Series Launch and Episode Trailers
-  Storyboard of Opening Trailer
-  Deconstructing Big Ben
-  On Set with Billie Piper
-  Mike Tucker’s Mocks of Balloons
-  Designing Doctor Who
-  The Adventures of Captain Jack
-  13 episodes of Doctor Who Confidential: Cutdown
-  13 audio commentaries featuring: Russell T. Davies, Billie Piper, John Barrowman, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Annette Badland, Simon Callow, Julie Gardner, and many more.
-  Easter Egg 

+  The Doctor Who: Series 1 Blu-ray Steelbook is released on 20th March, priced £34.99.
+  PREORDER this Blu-ray Steelbook from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who DVD & Blu-ray releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

16 February 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Phil Mulryne

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: February 2017

Reviewed by: Steve Bartle for Doctor Who Online


"London, 1864 - where any gentleman befitting the title ‘gentleman’ belongs to a gentlemen’s club: The Reform, The Athenaeum, The Carlton, The Garrick… and, of course, The Contingency. Newly established in St James’, The Contingency has quickly become the most exclusive enclave in town. A refuge for men of politics, men of science, men of letters. A place to escape. A place to think. A place to be free.

The first rule of the Contingency is to behave like a gentleman. The second is to pay no heed to its oddly identical servants. Or to the horror in its cellars. Or to the existence of the secret gallery on its upper floor… Rules that the Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan are all about to break."

I grew up during the era of the crowded Tardis. Admittedly I was only age 5 but I have distinctly clear memories of a beleaguered Doctor trying to keep relative peace in his time machine with an ever growing bunch of stowaways and orphans joining him for adventures...with the added factor this eclectic bunch weren’t always necessarily happy to be there! Viewing the DVD range more recently you really appreciate what a job he had on his hands at times and one wonders why he continued to journey with them all, on occasions. At times the Fifth Doctor almost adopted the role of headmaster - something which he outright claims in this story!

However, despite the family style friction, this era of the show always gives me a warm fuzzy glow and saw a return to the episodic nature of the black and white days where stories sometimes bled into each other and references were made to previous adventures. Looking back through much more mature and critical eyes you can see where stories were creaking under the pressure of trying to cater for all these different principal characters, and there was an over-reliance on somewhat one-dimensional specific character tropes.

You might be concerned from the opening scenes that this tale veers between paying homage to this era or possibly regurgitating old material. The key protagonists are easily identifiable with their TV portrayals. Adric is somewhat annoying and antagonistic of Tegan, in this case regarding the primitive nature of a cassette player (which is a crucial item in the denouement). Check. Tegan is irascible and talks about Heathrow nonstop, as well as making generic references to flying. Check. Nyssa is...well Nyssa. Pragmatic and pleasant. Check. And of course Peter Davison effortlessly injects his usual breathless energy that always made his incarnation a hero in the truest form. Check. (Thank goodness!)

All four tend to bring out the argumentative side in each other, through constant chiding and witty barbs which too often on TV appeared somewhat childish at times. However, here writer Phil Mulryne has captured the flavour of the interaction of Season 19, but is more effective with the playful banter. This interplay immediately aids in casting the listener back to that time where Doctor Who was arguably more like a soap opera until its 2005 return, but without grating on your nerves.

What of the story itself? Well it’s a bit of a curio. Centred on the titular Contingency Club; an exclusive club in Victorian London where the gentlemen of the upper social strata gather to think, talk and, of course, drink. The clubs' popularity is such that membership is swelling and their restrictive policy for new members make it more appealingly exclusive. This club is the place to be.

The Tardis team, via unorthodox means, visit the club and, very early on, it becomes patently evident that something VERY strange is going on. The members of the club refuse to acknowledge that Tegan and Nyssa are women! The valets are all called Edward and are identical! Plus absolutely no one comments on the foursomes’ strange garments or their presence there at all.

And if all that wasn’t bizarre enough we have the mysterious club owner Mr Peabody and his even more mysterious benefactor, The Red Queen, who has an insidious reason for the club existing in the first place - all centred around a seemingly futile game.

There is some good comedy to be had in this one especially around the plurality of the ‘Edwards’! And surely “we’ll break our necks on the pavements of Pall Mall” might be one of the strangest cliff hanger statements ever! Ultimately this boils down to a gothic mystery in a Victorian Steampunk environment. Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding all effortlessly slip back into their roles and, unlike on TV, they are all served pretty well without any of them really being side-lined. But it’s Peter Davison whose star shines the brightest as he drives the narrative and perfectly recaptures every trait that made him a success. Sardonic wit, bravery, vulnerability and going full tilt in every scene. It’s all here!

Arguably the story is a little light weight in places but is a genuine attempt at something different, captures the TARDIS crew perfectly from the early eighties, and is a fun romp from start to finish.  Highly recommended. Want to listen? Join the club. 



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9 February 2017

Doctor Who Magazine have sent DWO the cover and details for Issue 509 of DWM.

IN ISSUE 509, DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE LOOKS AHEAD TO THE NEW SERIES, AND INTERVIEWS RUFUS HOUND! 

In the latest edition, we chat to self-confessed Doctor Who fan Rufus Hound – Sam Swift the Quick in 2015’s The Woman Who Lived, and most recently the latest incarnation of the Meddling Monk for Big Finish – about how he enjoyed being part of something he personally loves so much…

"All my anxiety dissipated within the first two hours of arriving," says Rufus of his work on The Woman Who Lived. "I have never worked with a crew that was more like a family. I have never worked alongside actors who took the work seriously, but themselves not terribly seriously, as was true of Maisie [Williams] and Peter [Capaldi], who I spent most of my time with. The director [Ed Bazalgette] was tremendous, the producer [Derek Ritchie] was brilliant. Everybody in make-up and costume were having a right old laugh. All the camera crew and whatever were offering up shots and angles, being creative and given licence to be creative, licence to turn in their best work."

You can read the full interview inside the new magazine... 

ALSO INSIDE THIS ISSUE… 

ASK STEVEN!
Doctor Who's showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers’ burning questions.

INDEFINABLE MAGIC
We investigate the weird world of the supernatural in the Doctor Who universe...

DOOM COALITION 4
The Eighth Doctor, River Song, the Meddling Monk and the Weeping Angels all feature in the brand new audio box set Doom Coalition 4! We find out more…

RODNEY BENNETT TRIBUTE
DWM pays tribute to Rodney Bennett, the director who oversaw three very different productions during the early years of Tom Baker’s tenure as the Doctor.

DOORWAY TO HELL
The original Master is back! Find out what he's up to in Part Two of our brand-new comic strip, written by Mark Wright and illustrated by Staz Johnson.

THE MUTANTS
In this issue’s Fact of Fiction, the Third Doctor and Jo Grant are sent on a mission that will affect the evolution of an entire planet, as we take a look at this 1972 adventure.

THE IMPOSSIBLE ASTRONAUT
Space 1969 awaits for the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song as the Time Team reach the 2011 season-opener in their mission to watch every episode of Doctor Who.

REVIEWS
DWM reviews the latest book, audio and DVD releases in the world of Doctor Who.

COMING SOON
Previews of all the latest Doctor Who CD and book releases.

PLUS!
All the latest official news, competitions, the DWM crossword, and our annual survey poll!

+  Doctor Who Magazine Issue #509 is Out Now, priced £5.99.
+  SUBSCRIBE to Doctor Who Magazine, digitally from just £2.69 a month!
+  Check Out The DWO Guide to Doctor Who Magazine!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

6 February 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Justin Richards

RRP: £10.99 (CD) / £8.99 (Download)

Release Date: January 2017

Reviewed by: Steve Bartle for Doctor Who Online


"A stunning new star act is wowing the audiences of the New Regency Theatre. The modern mechanical marvel of canny canine charisma - the automated dog that can answer any question - the incomparable - the unbeatable - K9!

The Doctor and Romana have returned to Victorian London and been reunited with their old friends Professor George Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago. However this is not merely a social visit. A terrifying crime spree is sweeping the capital, and the burglaries of 'The Knave' defy all logic.

Something impossibly dangerous is taking place amid the fog. Only the time travellers and their friends can stop it... but can they be sure they're all on the same side?

Cards on the table from the outset. I absolutely love Season 18; the complete shift in tone, the morose Doctor, the much discussed ‘funereal’ atmosphere that permeates throughout the season and the steady build to the demise of that most celebrated of Doctors. Plus I love the humour. Yes humour in Season 18! It is subtle for sure but a blessed relief after the over the top slapstick of the previous season which frequently flew wide of the mark with the notable exception of that wonderful escapade in Paris.

So I was somewhat surprised to hear this story supposedly takes place around Season 18, or perhaps just before JNT [1980's Producer, John Nathan-Turner] was handed the keys to the kingdom according to Director Nicholas Briggs on the CD extras. It definitely does not belong in Tom’s final season, his Doctor is far too jovial and having way too much fun for that. Nor does it belong in Season 17. Sure the Tardis team is the Fourth Doctor, Romana 2 and K-9 but with the exception of K9 becoming a comedic turn for Jagos’ New Regency Theatre there is none of the silliness of that season either. 

The plot is very simplistic but this is not a negative by any stretch. Not only is there danger roaming the street as a brutal murder by a savage creature has occurred but that cunningly criminal conniving cove The Knave is managing to obtain his quarry from inside locked rooms! There is a threat to defeat and a puzzle to solve. Doctor Holmes from Baker St is on the case!

For me this could be a direct sequel to The Talons of Weng-Chiang and the tone sits comfortably in that late Hinchcliffe and Holmes era albeit with different regulars. There are gothic undertones, body horror (the soundtrack conjuring up more imaginative pictures than television could ever be able to match) and a strong Jekyll and Hyde influence. There are also early hours visits to mortuary’s, travelling in black cabs, and trips to the theatre and opium dens. All that is missing is the great Li H’sen Chang himself!!

However the story stands on its own two feet perfectly well. To listen to the Doctor team with Jago and Litefoot is like lightening in a bottle has been captured once again. It is incredible to think that 40 years have passed since these gentleman helped create a classic and yet here are Messrs Baker, Benjamin and Baxter recreating the same repartee and genuine affection that ensured this ensemble captured our hearts so long ago. Justin Richards replicates Jago and Lightfoots language so perfectly and the interplay between them and the Tardis team further cements the lasting legacy of this greatest of Holmesian double acts. It is perhaps the fact that these two interact so well with the Fourth Doctor that leads me to feel Lalla Ward's Romana is a little side-lined in this tale. However her aloof and intellectual portrayal of the Time Lady gives an interesting contrast for Jago and Litefoot to interact with compared to the savage turned ladylike Eliza Doolittle character of Leela. 

John Leeson is superb as always as K-9 and the idea of him as one of Jagos acts is funny even if some of the gags fall a little flat. And the ‘electric current’ joke is so dreadful you have to laugh anyway.  The cast certainly do! The overall comedy however is a resounding success with laugh out loads moments such as a reference to K-9 and the butcher’s boy, Romana reading next week’s papers or Jago requesting a stiff drink at the end of the tale. Wonderful. 

The story is effectively two distinct parts with a whodunit style thriller framing the first instalment and a lengthy game of cat and mouse forming the second. For me the first half works better and there is much more of an aura of threat and mystery. The reveal of the Knave is not remotely surprising and the denouement of the whole story feels quite abrupt and a little anti-climactic- with effectively all the main cast sat around talking about it for a bit before we cut to the incidental sting. 

However these aspects cannot detract from a story which is such romping good fun. Tom Baker is absolutely throwing everything into this and his enjoyment of Big Finish shines through. To team him again with Jago and Litefoot is an absolute joy and everything you enjoyed about them the first time around is present once more. 

As Henry Gordon Jago himself might say; A delightful and disturbing dish of delectable drama for you to devour. 



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5 February 2017

The Player of Games

 

“Don’t play games with me. Don’t ever, ever think you’re capable of that.” 

The 11th Doctor’s warning to River and Rory in The Impossible Astronaut is couched in a boast by no means idle. The errant Time Lord, ever more trickster than warrior, displays quite a knack for playing games – though perhaps he is not always as proficient in them as he believes himself to be.

Peter Davison’s sportive Fifth Doctor spent 69 episodes from 1982 to 1984 running around in impeccable cricket whites (until they were utterly ruined by a mud-burst at the end of The Caves of Androzani), and showed off his impressive grasp of the “gentleman’s game” in Black Orchid (1982).

Previous Doctors also hinted at sporting prowess – most frequently, the Fourth, who references cricket on numerous occasions, and reckoned himself a dab hand at Alpha-Centauran Table-Tennis, producing his honorary membership card as ID during the events of Robot (1974), with the flip aside “Very tricky opponents, those chaps. Six arms, and of course six bats. It really keeps you on your toes…”

Overall though, the Doctor seems to express a preference for pursuits of a more sedate nature. Let’s sort through some of the games the Doctor has played in the course of his travels throughout the multiverse.

The Doctor at Cards

MASTER: “You're bluffing on an empty hand, Doctor.”

DOCTOR: “I'm not bluffing and my hand, as you can see, is not empty.”

This exchange from Terror of the Autons (1971), when the two adversaries meet for the first time in a tense encounter at the UNIT laboratory, suggests that both the Third Doctor and Roger Delgado’s Master are somewhat conversant with the rules and language of the game of poker. 

Given the Doctor’s predilection for deploying feints and bluffs against his opponents, it’s reasonable to assume he might appreciate an occasional round or two - and he certainly knows his way around a pack.

Poker currently enjoys worldwide domination over card games, but what many non-players don’t know is that there is a wide variety of poker variants with different rules, from Community Card type poker games, where part of the hand is shared by all players, to Draw type games, where you can exchange some of your cards for new ones, and everything in between.

It is, therefore, not that far-fetched to note that very frequently, Doctor Who plots mirror a strategic hand of poker, especially when he’s pitted against the quintessential antagonist that is the Master. Sometimes, the plot allows for an exchange of the Doctor’s hand, others he has to make better use of what’s available to get himself (and his companions, and entire planets) out of trouble.
The Fourth Doctor exhibits a flair for card-shuffling in Robot. Still dazed from his recent regeneration, he bounds onto stage to placate an audience of techno-cultists with an improvised conjuring routine before being dragged off into the wings.

Two seasons later, he’s at it again, this time in Robert Holmes’ Victorian pastiche, The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977). At London’s Palace Theatre, the Doctor expertly catches and handles a card pack thrown to him by the sinister magician Li H'sen Chang. By the advent of his seventh incarnation, the artful Doctor has a number of card-conjuring tricks to hand – or, most likely, up his sleeve.

With twelve+ poker faces to choose from, and forays beyond the realm of the small screen, he seems to be getting pretty good at the game.

In Lonely Days, a short story by Daniel Blythe for the anthology Decalog 2: Lost Property, the Fifth Doctor tells Nyssa that he once won a planet in a game of poker against a Draconian opponent.

Five Card Draw, the ninth story in the Short Trips: Zodiac collection, goes one better. Todd Green’s short story has multiple Doctors (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & an unspecified “future self”) gather for a poker game at a besieged medieval castle to decide their collective fate.

The mischievous New Adventures companion Professor Bernice Summerfield cites poker as her one of her favourite pastimes and it’s easy to picture the redoubtable archaeologist and the Seventh Doctor playing together in some readily-fashioned game room somewhere deep within the TARDIS. 

The Doctor at Backgammon

Marco Polo has taken away my caravan and given it to you, sire. If I win, perhaps I could have my caravan back again?

In a celebrated scene from 1964’s Marco Polo, the First Doctor plays a genteel game of Backgammon against the mighty Kublai Khan, in the luxury of his Peking palace. A very fitting choice, considering that the board game is estimated to be over 5,000 years old and played by many early cultures, such as the Ancient Greeks, Romans and of course, the Chinese.

At stake at this game of backgammon is his TARDIS, gifted somewhat presumptuously to the ageing Khan by the explorer Marco Polo. 

Over hours of play, the Doctor accumulates a wealth of riches – he wins from Khan 35 elephants complete with ceremonial bridles, trappings, brocades and pavilions; also, 4,000 white stallions, 25 tigers, the entire commerce of Burma for one year, and the sacred tooth of Buddha.

Thankfully, at least for whoever tidies the TARDIS trophy room, the Doctor doesn’t keep any of his prizes, exchanging them all for the front-door key to his precious time/space craft.

The Doctor at Monopoly & Draughts

 

The Doctor has yet to play Monopoly in an on-screen story, but in The Romance of Crime, a 1995 novel penned by Gareth Roberts for the Missing Adventure series, the Fourth Doctor plays aboard the TARDIS with Romana II and K9.

K9, fittingly, uses the dog token, and the others must roll the dice and move on his behalf. Come to think of it, K9 does look a lot like the Monopoly dog, no? Let us not forget that there is an official, albeit limited, edition of Doctor Who Monopoly.

The One Doctor, a 2001 big finish audio play by Roberts and co-writer Clayton Hickman, features the Sixth Doctor winning a game against Mel - but his triumph is interrupted when the TARDIS drifts off-course, and the game is suspended, mid-gloat.

In The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the Doctor attempts to teach Leela another ancient board game: Draughts. Draughts board have been found in archaeological digs in the Middle East and are believed to date back to 3,000 BC. But in our case, the Doctor doesn’t appear to be getting very far; the scene ends with him leapfrogging across the board in one move to sweep all of her pieces. Leela isn’t happy.           

Endgame - The Doctor at Chess

You couldn’t resist it, could you? The game of traps…

Chess, the ancient ever-shifting game of traps, has to be the game that most defines the Doctor’s temperament, and he is seen playing it on many occasions. It is also in many ways the quintessential strategy game. The amount of thought humankind has invested in finding the most effective ways to move the 16 pieces of each side to capture the opponent’s king is impressive and has even spawned AI research, with IBM’s Deep Blue computer famously beating global chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997. 

Cell-bound in The Mind of Evil (1971), the Third Doctor and Jo Grant play chess together to while away the time. Jo captures the Doctor’s pieces, and he complains the game is just too simple for him to concentrate on, adding that he much prefers playing the three-dimensional version.

According to events in David Fisher’s The Androids of Tara (1978), the Fourth Doctor thought enough of standard chess to program K9 with a record of all world chess championship games since 1866.

As the TARDS makes landfall in pursuit of the Fourth Segment of the Key to Time, the Doctor plays K9 in the control room. With Romana looking on, the Doctor airily recalls watching a similar game between Capablanca and Alkhine in 1927, and seems rather taken aback when K9 (fittingly another AI, something the Doctor comments on) predicts mate in 11 moves. Initially, he refuses to believe he has lost, until Romana intervenes to confirm the outcome.

The story arc underpinning the sequence of Seventh Doctor/Ace episodes from Dragonfire (1987), to the finale of The Curse of Fenric (1989), concerns an unfinished chess game, abandoned long ago in some nameless desert.

The Eleventh Doctor claimed – possibly in jest - that the game was originally a Gallifreyan invention (2013’s Nightmare in Silver). It apparently endures until the 52nd Century in one form or another – live chess, anyone?

Evidently the Doctor has been gaming for almost as long as he has been a wanderer. Games appear over and again, in books and comics, audio plays and elsewhere in the DW universe - small wonder, when their subtleties of play and emphasis on stealth and ingenuity over brute force, so match the wily Doctor’s approach to dealing with his enemies. 

For everyday humans, there are a wide variety of places to take part in some fantastic games - particularly over at 
Casino Expertti, so please have a dig around online and let us know some of your favourite games! 

[Source: DWO]

31 January 2017

Capaldi first stepped into the TARDIS in 2013, and will leave the iconic role in the 2017 Christmas special after three incredible series of the BBC's global hit sci-fi drama.

He made the announcement on Jo Whiley's BBC Radio 2 show last night. Speaking about the upcoming series this spring, he exclusively revealed the next series of the world's longest running sci-fi show will be his last.

Peter Capaldi says:

"One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best. From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been cosmic."

Capaldi was unveiled to the nation as the Twelfth Doctor during a special live television event on BBC One. Peter's Time Lord has been much loved and critically acclaimed, with Series Nine featuring some of the best-reviewed performances and episodes of recent series. In particular, his anti-war speech in The Zygon Inversion, and his solo appearance in the one-hander, Heaven Sent, have been widely acclaimed as among the finest performances by anyone in the role of the Doctor.

Under his reign the show has expanded globally; he took the series on a world tour and has drawn record ratings in BBC America, Canada, and Latin America. The highly anticipated 10th series returns to screens on Easter Saturday after a year's break.

Peter Capaldi's final series also marks writer and executive producer Steven Moffat's last, so promises to be unmissable event television.

Steven Moffat, writer and executive producer, says:

“For years before I ever imagined being involved in Doctor Who, or had ever met the man, I wanted to work with Peter Capaldi. I could not have imagined that one day we’d be standing on the TARDIS together. Like Peter, I’m facing up to leaving the best job I’ll ever have, but knowing I do so in the company of the best, and kindest and cleverest of men, makes the saddest of endings a little sweeter. But hey, it’s a long way from over. Peters’ amazing, fiery, turbulent Doctor is still fighting the good fight, and his greatest adventures are yet to come. Monsters of the universe, be on your guard - Capaldi’s not done with you yet!”

Peter will be joined in Series 10 by new companion Pearl Mackie (Bill), and Matt Lucas (Nardole) with guest appearances to come from David Suchet and Michelle Gomez. He has starred alongside Jenna Coleman as his companion Clara Oswald, Alex Kingston as River Song, Ingrid Oliver as Osgood, as well as Keeley Hawes, Tom Riley, Frank Skinner, Maisie Williams, Joivan Wade and many more. Peter's Doctor has fought Daleks and Davros, Cybermen, Zygons, new monsters like the Veil and old foes the Time Lords.

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, says:

"Peter Capaldi will always be a very special Doctor to me; his adventures through time and space started just as I arrived on BBC One. He has been a tremendous Doctor who has brought his own unique wisdom and charisma to the role. But, it's not over yet - I know the next series is going to be spectacular. He's a fine actor who I hope we work with again when he leaves the TARDIS".

Brian Minchin, Executive Producer says:

"Peter Capaldi is an extraordinary Doctor and has taken the show to amazing places. Although I'm sad he has decided to move on in 2018 I'm delighted that we have one final series with Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat. I know what they're planning and it's going to be incredible."

Capaldi will return in the next series for 12 episodes, followed by the Christmas Special when the regeneration will take place.


On a personal note, we have enjoyed every second of Capaldi's time as The Doctor. Whilst we believe he has been a little bit messed around with, as far as the time slot goes, the quality of his performance and the majority of the stories he has appeared in, have been of a high quality.

I remember back to December of 2013, when both myself and Cameron (previous owner of Blogtor Who) were filming a short Christmas sketch (The Embargo Of The Doctor) for the DWO YouTube channel. As we wrapped up filming, we were about to go our separate ways, when Cameron leaned over to me in the middle of Leicester Square and said "that's Peter Capaldi!". I turned around and to my disbelief, there he was. We followed him whilst asking each other if we should say hello - so we did! Peter then suggested we move to one of the quieter alleyways, where he kindly gave his time to record a greeting for each of us (below).

At this point, all we had seen of Peter's Doctor on-screen was pretty much just a pair of eyebrows, but from the 10 minutes he gave us, it was evident that not only would he make a fantastic Doctor, but that this was a true gentleman. Peter, you shall be missed!

- Sebastian J. Brook [DWO Site Editor]

+ Series 10 of Doctor Who airs on Saturday 15th April 2017.

28 January 2017

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of New Series Actor, Sir John Hurt.

John played the role of The War Doctor in Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary episode, The Day Of The Doctor. The War Doctor was an incarnation of The Doctor who existed between The 8th Doctor and the 9th Doctor - one who was 'forgotten' due to his decision to end the Time War, "without choice [...] in the name of peace and sanity". John made the part his own, cementing himself as a memorable (albeit brief) Doctor, and one the fans took to their hearts.

It is our view that we were incredibly lucky to have John as part of Doctor Who. His part was indeed memorable and will be remembered in the highest regard. 

John's other career highlights include; Harry Potter, Alien, 1984, The Gruffalo, Watership Down and Hellboy (to name just a few).

DWO would like to extend our sympathies to Johns family and friends.

[Source: DWO]

18 January 2017

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of Classic Series Doctor Who Director, Rodney Bennett.

Rodney directed the 4th Doctor stories; The Ark In Space, The Sontaran Experiment & The Masque Of Mandragora. As an in-joke reference, the 4th Doctor mentions the "Bennett oscillator" in Episode One of The Ark In Space.

Rodney's other career highlights include directing credits for; The Darling Buds Of May, Z Cars, Tales Of The Unexpected and Soldier Soldier (to name just a few).

DWO would like to extend our sympathies to Rodney's family and friends.

Comedian, Actor and Writer, Toby Hadoke has put together a more in-depth obituary on his blog. You can also watch Toby's 'In Memoriam' video for the Doctor Who personalities we lost in 2016.

[Sources: Toby Hadoke; DWO]

13 January 2017

Doctor Who Magazine have sent DWO the cover and details for Issue 508 of DWM.

In Issue 508, Doctor Who Magazine turns back time to the show’s grooviest decade - the 1970’s!

In this special issue, we brought together Jo Grant actress Katy Manning with one of her biggest fans, Doctor Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss. Mark remembers the first time he saw Katy on screen in her début adventure, 1971's Terror of the Autons…

Mark: “I remember it as if it were yesterday. I have very, very particular memories of those first few stories. I was so frightened of that little troll doll –”

Katy: “It’s still pretty ghastly. (Shudders) It had pointed teeth, and the way it walked –”

Mark: “I was four years old. Your early memories tend to be either something amazing, or something very traumatic. Usually traumatic.”

Katy: “But it was an extraordinary episode. I loved it as an introduction, because Jo was quite different. She was just ordinary, really. She had no special talents. You watch Jo, literally straight out of school, saying, ‘I didn’t say I passed,’ [in response to the Doctor’s ‘I thought you took an A-level in Science?’] – which I thought was a great line to give anybody!”

Mark: “It’s absolutely true to say that everybody has their Doctor and their time, and I just can’t remember there not being a time when Jon and Katy were it for me. I revisit them often, especially in trouble times – or on wintery afternoons. Like I did the other day. ‘Ooh, I think I might have a glass of sherry and a mince pie, and watch Planet of the Daleks, because it’ll make me feel good.’ I know I sound like I’m about a hundred years old –”

Katy: “Leave that to me. (Laughs) But she was very young, Jo, which was so lucky, because I got to grow up. The writers were very clever. They saw I was growing up, so Jo grew up with me.”

Mark: “And I grew up with Jo.”

You can read the full interview inside the new magazine...

ALSO INSIDE THIS ISSUE…

A FREE Doctor Who comic, *Sub Zero, featuring the Third Doctor and the Daleks, originally presented in 1972!

+  Doctor Who Magazine Issue #508 is Out Now, priced £5.99.
+  Check Out The DWO Guide to Doctor Who Magazine!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

3 January 2017

The final BARB viewing figures are in for 10.X2: The Return Of Doctor Mysterio.

The episode achieved a final rating of 7.83m viewers - a shift of +2.1m.

The figures include recordings of the episodes within 7 days of transmission, but not BBC iPlayer viewings and downloads.

Overnight Rating:
5.68m / 27.1% audience share.


AI Score:
82

Time Shift:
+2.1m 

+  What did you think of the episode? Rate / Discuss in the DWO Forums!

[Source: DWO]

13 December 2016

Who? Doctor Who, of course! Britain's top science fiction television programme, loved the world over, is a force in its own right. Since its creation in 1963 we've seen 34 series encompassing 813 episodes beam their way on to viewers' screens and the programme has been a favourite amongst groups of all ages. As such all manner of merchandise has been released to accompany the various series, including games. After so many years in the Sci-Fi limelight all manner of board and video games have been released, but what are they?

Dr. Who Monopoly

Nowadays there's a version of the popular property trading board game for practically every city, franchise or brand worth its salt, and Doctor Who is no different. In a rather uninspired move the creators decided not for the player to buy particular planets or space stations, but to trade in iconic episodes, playing with tokens inspired by the series and its recurring titular character; an umbrella, sonic screwdriver, celery, recorder, bow tie and scarf.

Operation: Doctor Who

The iconic game of Operation has been around for decades now, but got a reboot in 2004 when a Doctor Who version was released. Players must operate on one of the Doctor's arch nemeses, a Dalek, replacing its constituent parts and weathering its classic bellicose rhetoric in order to make the villain ready and able to take over the world.

Doctor Who on Xbox One & PS4 

There hasn't ever been a true triple-A Doctor console game created in the history of the franchise, although recent news suggests that the creators of the show, the BBC, are actively looking to join up with a high profile video game producer in order to produce a next generation game based on the series. Hopefully it'll be better than the terrible PS3 title "Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock", and might even spur on other developers to make new Doctor Who themed games, perhaps within the online gaming industry. Wintingo Online Casino, a provider of online games, has released all manner of games related to the television and film franchises we know and love, perhaps we'll see a Doctor Who slots game being released in the near future!

Dr. Who Minecraft DLC 

Minecraft is one of the most popular games ever to be released on console or PC, so it seems fitting that the popular TV show and the game released a pack of downloadable content back in September based on all things Who. Players can change their in-game avatars to make them appear more like the show's protagonist(s), and are able to fight all manner of Doctor Who monsters, including blockish Daleks.

As audiences across the world catch on to the craze that is Doctor Who, the appetite for amazing Who-themed games will only grow larger. Who knows what amazing physical and digital games will be released in the near future that are based on the series? If only we had access to a TARDIS!

3 December 2016

There are loads of fantastic Doctor Who podcasts on the internet, but we found one in particular that deserves a big shout out; MarkWHO42 (formerly known as MarkWHO42's WHOniverse).

They are an online radio show as well as podcast and cover Doctor Who news, reviews, and interviews, and have also started to branch out into other genre topics as well... but it's Doctor Who they are in love with. The show is hosted by Mark Baumgarten (who also edits, produces, and directs the show), Christian Basel (the creator of The Legend of the Traveling TARDIS), Patty Hawkins (the founding member of Geeks of Comedy and a self proclaimed Geek Theorist as well), and Iggy Mathews (of Let's Be Reelz). The show has a website where they also have news, Big Finish audio reviews, and host their show. You can find it at www.markwho42.net.

Besides doing a show, they also appear at conventions all around the United States, hosting panels, and moderating guest Q&As. They also have regular day jobs but still manage to do a new show almost every week of the year. MarkWHO42 has been around for over 4 years now, with over 160 shows available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, TuneIn, and many other podcast platforms... they even have a Roku channel. Big shoes to fill, but they do it!

DWO interviewed MarkWHO42 showrunner Mark Baumgarten and asked him a few questions:

Who... or what are you?

"MarkWHO42 is an online radio show and podcast as well. We started primarily as a show about Doctor Who. And it still is. But last year, we made a conscious decision to go "beyond the WHOniverse." It seems you cannot talk about Doctor WHO without its influence in other medias. You can see little things appear such as in the Simpsons, Leverage, South Park, so many other shows. And now with other actors leaving to do other shows and movies. Doctor WHO's influence stretches far beyond its roots."

Do you guys cover classic or new Who?

"We think of Doctor Who as one show spanning 53+ years on one medium or another, so we cover both. Since we review the episodes as they come out, we are new Who, I guess. But our interviews and discussions have been Classic Who-based a lot of the time. So in answer to your question: YES!"

So what's the difference between you & everybody else?

"Our chemistry. We have had several hosting teams since we began, and all of them worked, in my opinion. Some of the hosts are die-hard fans from the 70's. Some have been newbies starting with the new series and have since gone back to watch the classics. We all have different opinions and are not afraid to give them. So we are definitely well-rounded.

Also, while most Doctor Who podcasts are a bunch of fans just talking about Who, we bring celebrity interviews into the mix. We have had 4 classic Doctors (Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann) on the show as well as Doctor Who writers (Richard Dinnick, Robert Shearman, Andrew Cartmel,...) and actors (Katy Manning, Louise Jameson, Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso, Michael Jayston, and many more). Plus by going Beyond the WHOniverse, we have had other celebs like Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, Chase Masterson, Michael Winslow, and just recently Duke Nukem himself Jon St. John to name a few. We have brought over 80 guests to our audience so far, and we are not stopping there."

What's your one big claim to fame?

"Having Katy Manning on her first ever podcast... that's right, you heard me! We were the first online show by fans that she ever agreed to and participated in.

If I got a second chance to answer that question, I would probably say that being the Doctor Who radio show on Krypton Radio airing 4 times a week would be right up there too. You can find them at www.kryptonradio.com for showtimes in your area."

Why THAT name?

"I've given a different answer to this question over the years including that it was my email address (which it was) but really it comes from my name Mark, the show title Doctor "WHO", and The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything (DnA's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the funniest books ever written). So Mark + Who + 42 or as we write it: MarkWHO42!"

Don't just take our word for it, check out MarkWHO42 for yourselves. They have a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/markwho42lives , a Tumblr page: www.markwho42.tumblr.com and you can tweet them at @markwho42

Or just go to www.markwho42.net and join the WHOniverse Army... We did!

[Source: MarkWHO42]

 

25 November 2016

Our friends Cheesy Christmas Jumpers are now stocking a range of Official Licensed TV, Film and Gaming Christmas Jumpers alongside their popular Light-up and Knitted Jumpers.

The knitted Doctor Who Cyberman Christmas Jumper is just one of the jumpers on offer and with limited numbers available you’ll need to be quick to secure your size in time for Christmas.

Cheesy Christmas Jumpers are a UK based brand and supplier of festive wear since 2009. They are specialists in light up jumpers, bright coloured knits and Christmas jumpers which stretch the boundaries of what is normally publically acceptable to wear. 

Doctor Who Online visitors can also get 10% off their order with discount code: DRCHEESY

+  Check Out Cheesy Christmas Jumperswww.cheesychristmasjumpers.com
+  Follow @CheesyJumpers on Twitter
+  Like CheesyChristmasJumpersUK on Facebook
 

[Source: Cheesy Christmas Jumpers]

 

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