Welcome to the News & Reviews section here at Doctor Who Online! This is where you will find all the latest Doctor Who related news and reviews split up into easy to use sections - each section is colour coded for your convenience. The latest items can be found at the top, and older items follow down the page.

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23 September 2016

The wait is over! Today BBC Three confirm the new YA drama, Class, written by Patrick Ness, will drop its first two episodes on BBC Three on Saturday 22nd October.

Peter Capaldi will join the cast of exciting new talent in the opening episode of the series, For Tonight We Might Die. Coal Hill School holds some very dark and deadly secrets in its shadows….but who will survive? 

Commenting on his involvement with the new Doctor Who spin-off series, Peter Capaldi, said:

“The Doctor Who family is growing, and it’s fantastic to be able to welcome the young new cast of Class in to the Whoniverse.”

It’s a new term at Coal Hill Academy, and students are preparing for their Autumn Prom. But when the school comes under attack, four alienated students must form an unlikely alliance to defeat them. And this incursion is only the beginning…

Charlie (Greg Austin), April (Sophie Hopkins), Ram (Fady Elsayed) and Tanya (Vivian Oparah), assisted by their physics teacher Miss Quill (Katherine Kelly), are charged with a great responsibility by the mysterious alien known as The Doctor (Peter Capaldi): guard against the creatures of nightmare that want nothing more than to find a way through to Earth and take it for their own.

Patrick Ness has created intriguing and complex characters that have to navigate their way through more than just teenage hormones, exams and detention. Joining them as series regulars are Jordan Renzo (Chosen, Troubled), Pooky Quesnel (The A Word, Accused), Nigel Betts (Boy Meets Girl, Doctor Who). The first two episodes also feature Ben Peel (The Fall, Vampire Academy), Anna Shaffer (Harry Potter, Hollyoaks), Paul Marc Davies (Doctor Who, Torchwood), and Shannon Murray (The Totally Senseless Gameshow).

YA writer and Class creator Patrick Ness, says: 

“At last, we can tell you a little more about Class! Though there are still many, many secrets to come. Many. Like, a lot. But of COURSE, the Doctor is in episode one! That’s how these things are done. Truly, though, I can't wait for everyone to see the show; we've worked so hard and I'm so proud of it. Soon, soon...”

Grab your tickets now! An exclusive World premiere of the first episode will take place at Rich Mix on Thursday 20th October, the home of Coal Hill Academy, Shoreditch, with doors opening at 6pm. Tickets are limited and are now available via the BBC Shows and Tours website bbc.co.uk/showsandtours. Drawn at random, successful applicants will be allowed a maximum of one pair of tickets each. 

Damian Kavanagh, Controller, BBC Three, adds: 

“We know lots of BBC Three fans are Doctor Who fans so Class on BBC Three is a perfect fit. It’s nice to be back as part of the Doctor Who family.”

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

13 September 2016

Back in July, John Barrowman gave us all a glimmer of hope that another series of Torchwood could very well be a possibility. But in the weeks that have passed, it now seems that we may be back to square one. This week, Barrowman added an update, citing 'egos' as the reason for the shows prolonged absence. Today, Steven Moffat hit back at the claims, and rather than trawling through the internet, we have provided you with all the quotes and sources, below:

July 2016 - Barrowman offers hope for the future of Torchwood
Source:
Comic Con HQ

Speaking to Comic Con HQ in San Diego at the weekend, Barrowman explained how the wheels are already in motion to bring the show back:

“I’ve already set the ball rolling to get Torchwood back (and that’s an exclusive here at Comic Con), I have a first telephone conversation on Monday about moving it forward to see how we can get it back on television.”

Barrowman then went on to talk about his new Torchwood comic, explaining how its success will help the cause:

“The fans know me well enough, I’m only going to say it if I really mean it and believe it, and if you do believe in Torchwood as you all do and say online, get the comic, just get the series going; it’s like a kickstarter - if you buy the comic you’ll show the support and also it’ll be a huge success because we need Captain Jack back on the screens!”

11th September 2016 - Barrowman blames certain "egos" for the show's absence
Source:
Radio Times

“I was told that there are some obstacles to overcome, and every time I tried to talk about a way around them, it was almost like there was another obstacle.
 
And this is a personal thing for me, this is not anything that was discussed, but I find it really a little disheartening that a company like the BBC can’t just say “Put your egos aside, we’re gonna go forward with this.
 
There’s a lot of politics involved, and the people that are close to it, I think would love to see it done, but there’s just certain egos in the path that are just standing in the way. That’s all I’ll say…
 
I just don’t understand then why someone very high up can’t say “This is gonna be done. I don’t care.”‘
 
Tuesday 14th September 2016 - Steven Moffat hits back at Barrowman's claims
Source: SciFi Bulletin
 
“If you don’t give a damn about Torchwood, skip this post. For those of you who do .…..
 
“You may be aware that John Barrowman has been saying, publicly, that I’ve been blocking a new series of Torchwood. To be very clear – I haven’t blocked it; I wouldn’t block it; I wouldn’t even be ABLE to block it. I didn’t even know a revival had been mooted till I read about it on the Internet. As John perfectly well knows, it’s not my show and I could no more prevent it happening that he could cancel Sherlock. I am bewildered, and a little cross, even to be included in this conversation. For the record, I really liked the show (especially the third series) and would be very happy to see more – monsters and mayhem, why not? But the fact is, it has nothing to do with me. Please pass this on to the anxious and the angry – I’ve had enough hate mail now.”


So what does this all mean for the future of the show? If there really is some bad blood between John Barrowman and Steven Moffat (the writer of Captain Jack Harkness' first ever TV episodes), then there obviously needs to be some resolution before everything can move forward amicably. It's clear, (and one is inclined to believe what Steven says here), that he is not trying to block the show, but according to Barrowman, someone is. The question is who, and, more importantly, why?!

DWO would like to hear from our visitors as to what you think about the situation and how you'd like Torchwood to return. Please leave your thoughts in the comments box, below.

[Sources: Comic Con HQ; Radio Times; SciFi Bulletin]

8 September 2016

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 free strategy games, so please have a dig around online and let us know some of your favourite games! 

[Source: DWO]

7 September 2016

BBC Books / Penguin have confirmed three new tie-in titles for Doctor Who spin-off show, Class, which will be released in October.

Joyride
By Guy Adams

One of three thrilling tie-in novels for Class, the new BBC Three series created and written by bestselling author Patrick Ness. Official Synopsis Coming Soon... 

+  Joyride is released on 27th October 2016, priced £7.99.
+  PURCHASE
this title on Amazon.co.uk!


The Stone House
By A.K. Benedict

One of three thrilling tie-in novels for Class, the new BBC Three series created and written by bestselling author Patrick Ness. Official Synopsis Coming Soon...

+  The Stone House is released on 27th October 2016, priced £7.99.
+  PURCHASE
 this title on Amazon.co.uk!


What She Does Next Will Astound You
By James Goss

One of three thrilling tie-in novels for Class, the new BBC Three series created and written by bestselling author Patrick Ness. Official Synopsis Coming Soon... 

+  What She Does Next Will Astound You is released on 27th October 2016, priced £7.99.
+  PURCHASE
 this title on Amazon.co.uk!

[Sources: BBC Books]

7 September 2016

It's one of The Doctor’s most celebrated adventures and yet no complete film recordings of The Power of the Daleks are known to have survived. The master negatives were destroyed in an archive purge in 1974. 

BBC Worldwide has announced that a brand new black and white animation based on audio recordings of the programme using the original cast, surviving photographs and film clips will be released 50 years to the minute after its only UK broadcast on BBC One.

The six half hour episodes feature the regeneration, or as it was then called ‘renewal’, of First Doctor William Hartnell into Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, as the Time Lord and his companions Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze) do battle with the Daleks on the planet Vulcan.

Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks is being produced by the team behind the highly successful animation of lost Dad’s Army episode A Stripe For Frazer, first released on BBC Store in February this year. The producer and director is Charles Norton, with character designs from acclaimed comic book artists Martin Geraghty and Adrian Salmon.

Charles Norton says:

“The Power of the Daleks animation is the most ambitious Doctor Who archive restoration ever attempted and we’re all very honoured to be a part of such a an exciting project. Intelligent, suspenseful and magnificently staged, Power of the Daleks is one of the great lost classics of 1960s television and a superb example of the black and white era at its finest.”

Paul Hembury, Executive Producer, BBC Worldwide says:

“Charles and his team are remarkably talented and passionate about Doctor Who and we are thrilled that fans will soon be able to enjoy this rather sinister but wonderful, classic story.”

Doctor Who: The Power Of The Daleks will be released on BBC Store on Saturday 5th November followed by the DVD on Monday 21st November.

+  Register your interest in the BBC Store download!
+  Pre-order the DVD from Amazon and HMV (£20.42 RRP)

On Saturday 5th November there will be a special screening of episodes 1-3 of Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks at BFI Southbank, London which will also include a Q&A with Anneke Wills, Charles Norton and Frazer Hines. Further information will be available from bfi.org.uk from Monday 19th September.

Watch the glorious trailer in the player, below:

 
+  Follow Doctor Who Online on Twitter (@DrWhoOnline)!


DWO ChatBack:
Are you looking forward to this release? Is there a missing episode of Doctor Who that you'd like to be animated in this way? Let us know in the comments box, below! 

[Sources: BBC Worldwide]

4 September 2016

The Sisterhood of Karn - the London-based social group for LGBT Doctor Who fans - present ‘An Evening With Adric’.

Companion actor Matthew Waterhouse, who played Adric alongside the fourth and fifth Doctors, will be joining the Sisterhood Of Karn as a special guest for the evening. Matthew will be performing live commentary on episodes that he is in, and perhaps even on one that he isn't...! He will also be signing copies of his books, which will be available to purchase at the event.

+ Tickets: £5.90 Available at http://eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-adric-tickets-27489952187

[Source: Richard Unwin]

16 August 2016

Our friends over at Lasermad are known for creating some weird and wonderful nixie devices but this time they really have made time fly:

"Hovering just above the ground, the Beacon floats in defiance of gravity, suspended by unseen forces. An orange glow begins to form around delicately crafted wires, surrounded by rarefied neon, inside the giant single glass tube that forms the main part of its structure as it prepares to transmit another sequence of apparently random numbers. 

The sheer scale of the internal electrode structure implies this was intended to be seen clearly over vast distances, possibly even the other side of a large room. Again it signals to an unknown observer. 

'01:08 am'

May we present the world's first and only levitated nixie clocks. Once set up correctly it will hover above the base for as long as it is powered, displaying the time and date on digits of glowing metal and glass."

You can see it in action over on their Kickstarter for this project:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lasermad/time-flies-levitating-nixie-clock

or visit their shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Lasermad for more down to Earth nixie gadgets, clocks and board games.

[Source: Lasermad]

 

24 July 2016

John Barrowman has given fresh hope that a new TV series of Torchwood may be making its way back to our screens.

Speaking to Comic Con HQ in San Diego at the weekend, Barrowman explained how the wheels are already in motion to bring the show back:

“I’ve already set the ball rolling to get Torchwood back (and that’s an exclusive here at Comic Con), I have a first telephone conversation on Monday about moving it forward to see how we can get it back on television.”

Barrowman then went on to talk about his new Torchwood comic, explaining how its success will help the cause:

“The fans know me well enough, I’m only going to say it if I really mean it and believe it, and if you do believe in Torchwood as you all do and say online, get the comic, just get the series going; it’s like a kickstarter - if you buy the comic you’ll show the support and also it’ll be a huge success because we need Captain Jack back on the screens!”

Watch the interview in full in the player, below:


[Source: Comic Con HQ]

14 July 2016

Our friends over at Toybox Treasures recently got in touch with DWO with some rather exciting news regarding a classic series VFX Dalek prop that they've recently discovered.

The Dalek prop, which featured in the 1973 serial 'Planet Of The Daleks', was given to the daughter of Fred Elphick; a worker at EMI Central Research in Hayes, where he designed parts for TV cameras and equipment. On several occasions Fred would speak with Roy Field of Pinewood Studios on his visits to the site, which is where they formed a friendship.

The Dalek is modelled on the Louis Marx toy from the 1960's, where a mould was made and subsequent Daleks reproduced in plaster - a cheap material to save money due to the sheer volume they needed to produce for the cave scenes. If you look closely, you can actually see mould join on the rear of the Dalek. The other benefit from making the Daleks out of plaster was because they needed to be weighty as there was going to be a lot of liquid emptied on them by the Doctor. They made some alternations to the dome ears, the eye stalk was a more accurate looking eye stalk and made out of a golf tea, also a total rework of the gun box section.

Unfortunately, after filming, the majority - if not all of the Dalek models were thrown away, and as a result they are now extremely rare. Roy kept this prop and gave it to a friend before his death in 2002. It is
now in the collection of Matt Doe of Toybox Treasures who is inviting fans to make offers on this rare collectable and encourage offers to be emailed to: sales@toybox-treasures.co.uk.

Matt Doe explains his excitement at the find:

"All that was going through my head was "I'm going to own a screen used/ production Dalek!". Every who fans dream is to get a full size Dalek and this was one step closer. Due to the rarity and high costs of owning a full sized screen-used Dalek, this is a more affordable way of owning one, even if it is 6" in height."  

+. Check out this item and more at www.toybox-treasures.co.uk
+  Find out more about the VFX Daleks at www.dalek6388.co.uk

Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Instagram!

[Sources: DWO; Matt Doe; Dalek 6388]


 

1 July 2016

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writers: Matt Fitton & Andrew Smith

RRP: £20.00 (CD) / £20.00 (Download)

Release Date: June 2016

Reviewed by: Bedwyr Gullidge for Doctor Who Online


2.1 Power Cell by Matt Fitton

"Osgood and Captain Josh Carter are sent to investigate the disappearance of a UNIT scientist.

Meanwhile, alien technology has fallen into the hands of Lyme Industries, and Kate Stewart can't persuade the company’s CEO, Felicity Lyme, to give it back.

But UNIT find themselves fighting a third battle when innocent people start to die. Who are the mysterious assassins? And what does Felicity Lyme want with top secret alien technology?"

UNIT is back! Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver return to their roles of Kate Stewart and Osgood for a second outing with Big Finish. UNIT: Extinction was the skilled storyteller’s first venture into the world of modern Doctor Who created in 2005 and such was its success the team have returned for a second outing in a proper, full-fledged drama featuring the popular characters seen in only a handful of onscreen stories. It is such a joy to have more adventures with these individuals because it allows for more time to be dedicated to them alone, for instance, more scenes that they dominate instead of the Doctor, which aids their personal growth and builds that connection with the audience still further. As an example, the story opens with Osgood at a pub quiz, something which there simply would not be time for during a television episode that needs to grab the audience’s attention immediately and to engage them enough to quell the impulse to change the channel.

Osgood and Kate Stewart are the leading stars of the series and hopefully draw in new listeners to the wonders of Big Finish audio adventures. Ingrid Oliver’s Osgood has become a popular choice for cosplay fans but she is far more than a clothes horse and is a wonderfully rounded character; her likeable nature without question and she even uses a cloister bell message alert tone. Similarly, Kate Stewart maintains an approachable connection to her inferiors, despite her seniority, much like her father did. Jemma Redgrave is very respectful of the legacy passed down to her by her character's onscreen father, the sadly missed Doctor Who legend Nicholas Courtney. This story also draws an element from the UNIT era of Third Doctor Jon Pertwee which the Brigadier played such a key role in.

Writer Matt Fitton creates a tale which shines an investigatory light on Whitehall figures in a similar way that the Third Doctor's era provided scathing critiques on those Governmental types, such as Chinn in The Claws of Axos or Walker the Parliamentary Private Secretary in The Sea Devils. The timing of this subject matter also seems appropriate given the current political turmoil in Westminster, with Kate Stewart stating categorically, “I don't trust the Government” and seemingly capturing the mood of a nation. In the UK we fear the intrusion of public companies, siphoning off our most valuable resources for the sake of profit margins, the privatisation of the NHS for example, is a constant concern these days. For UNIT it is their alien technology which they place the highest value upon and so must be recovered from the hands of the unknown but wonderfully intriguing Miss Lyme, expertly played by Alice Krige. These competing ideologies, supposedly in partnership and on the same side but yet the potential selling off of those shared secrets, adds further to the developing intrigue.

However this story is not only a satirical perspective on the Government, as the first part draws to a close with an action sequence of unidentified, but clearly alien, creatures attacking Osgood in her own flat. Things are developing quickly and the adventure has only just begun…


2.2 Death In Geneva by Andrew Smith

"With few people left to trust, and with assassins on their tail, Kate and Osgood race to UNIT Command in Geneva. Will General Avary be able to help them?

But when death follows UNIT all the way from the English countryside to the snowy slopes of the Alps, Captain Carter finds himself in a race against time.

As the body count rises, Kate struggles to separate friend from foe, danger circles Osgood ever closer, and, high in the mountains, Josh comes face to face with the enemy..."

In a move borrowed from Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart himself, Kate and Osgood head to Geneva to gain support from UNIT Central Command. Unlike the television production of the 1970’s the limitless scope of Big Finish allows listeners to follow the action to Geneva. Unfortunately, the danger follows too and even in Switzerland not everyone can be trusted. Slowly the UNIT team begin to unravel events and learn more about the mysterious Tengobushi as the bodies start piling up and innocent people are now being caught in the crossfire.

This episode starts with a bang and maintains that pace throughout, gripping the audience with numerous twists and turns along the way as Kate and Osgood come under seemingly constant attack. Continuing the work of Matt Fitton, Andrew Smith picks up the momentum created by the introductory first episode, skilfully teasing out more information for the developing plot. Although the Kate Stewart and Osgood pairing receive the bulk of the attention - and rightly so - they are in reality two thirds of a trio which also includes James Joyce as Captain Josh Carter. Admittedly Carter has a curiously convenient knack for turning up at the most opportune moment, which happens a lot in this four part story, but when under threat from lightning fast alien ninja warriors UNIT need a military leader and Joyce is perfect in his role - one which will be vital in the next episode…


2.3 The Battle Of The Tower by Andrew Smith

"The threat is now clear, and Kate Stewart retreats to UNIT HQ with her most trusted colleagues. She has no choice but to place the Black Archive into lockdown, and the Tower of London is where UNIT will make its stand.

While the capital sleeps, an alien horde is gathering, ready to rise from the shadows to attack Earth’s greatest defence force inside its own stronghold.

The Tower is infiltrated, and UNIT must hold the line. At any cost. Lock and load..."

The action packed pace of Death in Geneva continues as UNIT retreat to the stronghold of the Tower of London - first identified as a UNIT base in The Christmas Invasion. This episode also allows a period of downtime to expand on the plot as UNIT attempt to identify and understand the alien trinket which has drawn the Tengobushi to London so they can recover it. Osgood and Kate Stewart are able to investigate the artefact, postulating why the Tengobushi want it back so badly and revealing crucial plot points required for the story’s final resolution to the audience.

Like an episode of Game of Thrones, these early parts of the episode provide material that adds depth and detail to the story that would be quickly skirted over in a Doctor Who television episode, limited by a finite running time.

Other nice story touches include the revelation that the Yeoman warders are in fact members of UNIT capable of reporting to Kate Stewart. There are also lovely references for fans of the televised output such as name checking Malcolm who appeared in Planet of the Dead and the Ravens needing batteries as mentioned in The Day of the Doctor.  When the Tengobushi do reach the Tower and begin their attack, the action comes thick and fast, the accompanying soundscape headed by director Ken Bentley aiding in the dynamism that builds nicely for a spectacular conclusion… 


2.4 Ice Station Alpha by Matt Fitton

"Caught between human greed and an unstoppable alien power, Kate Stewart leads her closest allies on one final, desperate mission. This could be the very last chance for the human race.

But the UNIT team has been declared rogue, and ruthless military forces are in pursuit as they race across the globe. Kate calls Lieutenant Sam Bishop to their aid, while Josh and Osgood head out across the frozen Antarctic plains to try and prevent a disaster no-one else knows is coming."

In the concluding part we return to the original themes outlined at the very beginning, casting a scathing comment on the spurious methods of big business, plus raising doubts about the true motives of those individuals supposedly working to protect us. The tale also raises an interesting argument regarding UNIT’s own use of alien technologies and the dangers of allowing unregulated individuals equal free-reign. However whilst the small-minded humans argue amongst themselves a much more substantial power is closing in on the eye of the storm in Antartica…

This second adventure with Kate Stewart and Osgood is another triumph; superbly combining intelligent plotting from writers Matt Fitton and Andrew Smith with explosive action in a journey across planet Earth - the likes of which would be difficult to do justice to on a television budget. In a refreshing move, the lines between good and evil are masterfully blurred to deliver an excellent adventure which grips and thrills the listener throughout.



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this CD via Amazon.co.uk!

30 June 2016

Doctor Who Showrunner, Steven Moffat, is going to be honoured by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) at its graduation ceremony on Tuesday 5th July 2016 at Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church, Paisley - a ceremony that will, ironically, see him become The Doctor! :)

Steven, who was born and bred in Paisley, is best known for his role as writer and executive producer on award-winning BBC programmes, Doctor Who and Sherlock.  He was originally an English teacher working at Cowdenknowes High School in Greenock for over three years, and went on to experience success with his first foray into TV as the writer of the hit children's drama about a school newspaper, Press Gang, which ran from 1989-93.

Steven, who was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to television, said:

"It's always a joy to go home - but to go back to Paisley to receive a doctorate feels like I finally made it. I feel very honoured, and more importantly very happy."

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said:

“Steven is quite simply one of the country’s greatest screenwriters and through his work on both the small and big screen he has brought joy to millions of viewers worldwide. He is a further example of success from our wonderful town of Paisley in a long line of truly successful people brought up in the town.  Steven is great role model for anyone, not just our students, and demonstrates that your path in life will be determined by your own passion for the things you believe in and that anyone can have success if they work hard. Steven is a hugely deserving recipient of this Honorary Doctorate and we are delighted to honour him in his home town.”

[Source: UWS]

 

30 June 2016

DWO are issuing a warning to any Doctor Who fans in the USA considering bidding on a Cyberman helmet, claiming to be from the 1968 episode 'The Wheel In Space', in today's 'Profiles In History, Hollywood 83' auction.

The auction catalogue is claiming the helmet was screen used in the serial, but having researched the item, and sought expert advice from prop making guru's JBReplicas, DWO understand this to not be the case. If you look closely at the helmet being sold at the auction (image to the right), you will see the chin of the cyberman is pointy, as well as various discrepancies for the eye and mouth holes. Below this we have included an image from the cyberman used in the actual episode, and, as you can see, it is completely different.

We have included the official description for the lot (via Invaluable), below:

"968. Doctor Who screen used “Cyberman” helmet from the 1968 episode “Wheel in Space.” (BBC-TV, 1963-1989) One of the earliest versions of the Cybermen, the fearsome cyborgs in the Doctor Who universe. Constructed of fiberglass and painted silver to appear like metallic alloy. Following its use in the 1968 episode “Wheel in Space,” the BBC repurposed this helmet for personal appearance exhibitions in the early 1970s by adding metal mesh behind the eyes and mouth to hide and protect the actor in the suit. The clear acrylic “handlebars” were repurposed and replaced with plastic replacements. The back plate (held in place with putty during the production) is missing. Otherwise, in vintage fine condition. This helmet was donated by the BBC to The Doctor Who Experience in Llangollen, Wales where it was exhibited for several years; after which is was sold at Christie’s South Kensington 9 December 1999, lot 49. $15,000 - $20,000" 

The head, if sold, could fetch between $15,000-$20,000, but if this turns out (as we strongly believe) to not be a screen-used helmet, the actual figure which it is worth is between £150-£200!

DWO have contacted Profiles In History for comment... 

UPDATE - Friday 1st July 2016 
The auction has now ended and the cyberman helmet has sold for $22,500! DWO have still not heard back from the auctioneers...

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[Sources: DWO; Julian Vince; JBReplicas; Invaluable]


 

30 June 2016

Doctor Who Magazine have sent DWO the cover and details for Issue 501 of DWM.

Following the spectacular 500th issue, Doctor Who Magazine is continuing its celebrations with an issue dedicated entirely to Tom Baker and the Fourth Doctor’s era of Doctor Who. 

Tom Baker: The Ultimate Interview is an extravaganza split into several gripping parts, in which Tom talks about life, death and, of course, Doctor Who…

"Life is too short to be dull. Be interesting. Because not very much else matters does it? In large areas of our lives, hardly anything matters at all. I mean, nothing can beat being with loving friends, and a few wines, and a few beers, and a few lies, and a few yarns. And to still be adored after 40-odd years… yeah that’s the life. Maybe I’m the longest-serving actor, in the whole history of actors, who’s actually still, 40-odd years later, adored for the same part and enjoying it in the same way. When I get sent messages from middle-aged men… or from the wives of middle-aged men, who say, ‘Tell Mr Baker he cannot imagine how important he was to my beloved husband when he was a boy’… it moves me deeply to think about it. I was just going to work. I didn’t know, to begin with, how far-reaching this role would be. I was aware of the excitement, and the generosity, and the affection of the fans, but how could I ever have dreamed of all this?" 

The interview extravaganza is split into seven gripping parts: The Unbreakable Tom Baker, The Insatiable Tom Baker, The Impeccable Tom Baker (with June Hudson), The Irrepressible Tom Baker, The Unstoppable Tom Baker (with Louise Jameson, John Leeson and Geoffrey Beevers), The Unforgettable Tom Baker and The Irreplaceable Tom Baker.

Also featured in the magazine is Part One of brand-new comic strip The Pestilent Heart, an extended Gallifrey Guardian reporting on the latest news from the set of the new series, and DWM’s issue 500 celebrations, competitions and the much-anticipated Cave of 500 Eyes answers.

The collectable souvenir edition, available from 30th June and priced £5.99, comes in a polybag containing four amazing art cards, two classic mini-posters, and a massive multi-Doctor poster.

**Anyone interested in purchasing signed prints of Tom Baker, as seen in this issue, can do so via the photographer for the issue; Legend Studios - www.theworldoflegend.com

+  Doctor Who Magazine Issue #501 is out on Today, priced £5.99.
+  Check Out The DWO Guide to Doctor Who Magazine!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

23 June 2016

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Alan Barnes

RRP: £10.99 (CD) / £8.99 (Download)

Release Date: May 2016

Reviewed by: Bedwyr Gullidge for Doctor Who Online


"When the TARDIS lands in Brighton the Doctor and Romana have the chance to spend some time at the seaside. But with it being too early for the opening of the Pavilion, they have to look elsewhere for their entertainment - perhaps Madame Tissot's travelling waxworks, recently arrived in town?

But they're not the only ones interested in her Exposition. When an unusual thief commits an unusual theft, the time travellers are on the case.

What exactly is the sinister secret of Goole's Gallery? Is Tissot's heading for a meltdown? And what does it all have to do with the head of Marie Antoinette?"

Continuing the fifth series of Fourth Doctor adventures with Big Finish is the penultimate tale Gallery of Ghouls featuring the iconic Tom Baker in the lead role and his companion Romana played by Lalla Ward. Writer Alan Barnes skilfully manages to deliver a story in keeping with the comedic tone synonymous with Douglas Adams’ era as script editor of Doctor Who’s television output during Season 17. For example, early exchanges between the two leads regarding the randomiser and seagulls potentially being agents of the Black Guardian are delightfully played as both actors still retain their chemistry after all these years.

The Doctor and Romana find themselves with time to kill whilst waiting for the Brighton Pavillion to open but fortunately there are not one, but two waxworks in town to pass the next 18 years. The tale includes mysterious waxworks, automatons, an android and an amorphous creature in a mixed menagerie which muddies the storytelling a tad. Similarly it is tricky for the casual listener to decipher whether this is intended as a historically accurate retelling of the rise of Madame Tussaud’s with a number of conflicting references and the backstory of Madam Tissot. However putting these quibbles aside, the strength in the adventure is found in the perfectly balanced cast.

The wonderful Celia Imrie, a talented actress well-versed in both comedy and drama and already known in the Doctor Who universe as Miss Kizlet in The Bells of St John, plays Madame Tissot a French artist who skilfully creates wax representations of significant historical moments and figures. Her French accent brings back memories of popular BBC comedy ‘Allo Allo’. This is by no means a criticism as that style complements the comedic nature of the story, helping to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining romp. Imrie is ably supported by Stephen Critchlow as Tissot’s lovable and faithful ‘Mummy’s Boy’ son Noni and fellow experienced actor Nickolas Grace playing the enigmatic Mr Goole. All of whom firmly enter the spirit of the piece, not concerned with a threat to planet Earth from a malevolent force but possessing a lighter tone, despite some grim ingredients.

It is an interesting premise to consider a time when travelling waxworks, depicting violent and gruesome scenes from history would pass for entertainment, but it is still a genre which continues to this day with the Dungeon franchises in London, York, Dublin, Amsterdam and even San Francisco. Yet despite the internal analysis of why human beings would be entertained by such grotesque fare, plenty of humour is found within Alan Barnes’ witty script and it is so expertly delivered by a great guest cast that one cannot fail but thoroughly enjoy the story.



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23 June 2016

The BBC have released the first promo picture of Pearl Mackie on her first day filming for Series 10 of Doctor Who.

Pearl was on set filming scenes at Cardiff University, which is doubling for St Luke's University in Bristol. Reports from the scene suggest there is fake snow around the campus, hinting at a Winter setting.

+  Series 10 of Doctor Who will air in 2017.

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

   

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