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16 February 2018

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: James Goss

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: February 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"This is a city of ghosts and no-one knows them better than Leanne. Twice a night she leads tourists to visit the most haunted sites - the Hanging Yard, the Witch Pool, the Screaming House, and, of course, the Catacombs.

Leanne’s realised the ghosts of the city are real. Something’s lurking in the Catacombs - an ancient force that has been growing in the darkness for centuries. Sabaoth is returning and they must be stopped before they devour the world. Leanne knows this, because a ghost told her."

I don't know who it was that made everyone decide the Fifth Doctor should be funny and find himself in comedies, but I suspect it was Steven Moffat. When Time Crash aired, that mix of old and new Who felt utterly new and alien. In many ways, so did the Fifth Doctor. He cracks gags here and seems a bit peeved off. He has far more in common with the Sixth Doctor than the Fifth Doctor we originally saw on our screens, but that's okay. It's not as if the Sixth Doctor we've had from Big Finish is much like the one on screen at times.

It cemented the Fifth Doctor's fate though, and his comedy efforts in audio have been on the up ever since. It feels especially ironic given John Nathan-Turrner's firm stamping out of humour during his era, but it's a welcome shift as Peter Davison has taken to it like a duck to water.


Ghost Walk is written by James Goss. Goss and Doctor Who are two things which compliment each other perfectly. His list of successes with Who and its assorted spin-offs is quite frankly alarming: City of Death and The Pirate Planet; The Art of Death and Dead AirThe Scorchies and Asking for a FriendWorld Enough and Time and Mask of Tragedy. All this, and no mention of The Blood Cell or What She Does Next Will Astound You or The Sky Man. And there’s far more on top of all this. That's one hell of a hit rate!


Ghost Walk is the latest triumph for Goss: because I'm not going to play it coy and keep you in suspense until the end. This is another brilliant story by a brilliant writer.


As alluded to earlier, it's a funny play. It's also far more than just funny though; it's a play about ghosts and ordinary people being put in extraordinary circumstances, and it's one that tries to scare you.


Horror and the Fifth Doctor? Other unfamiliar bedfellows. Just as the Fifth Doctor of new is unlike the Fifth Doctor of old, so this story feels pretty alien to the original series, something remarked upon in the extras. This is completely true. Ghost Walk, with its talk of fixed points and e-mails, its time travel-heavy twists and turns, its humour, and its pre-credits teaser is straight out of the series post-2005, but you know what? That's no bad thing. This is the play that proves that so.


Last month, Kingdom of Lies kickstarted this new trilogy of Fifth Doctor plays and I mentioned there that Adric and Matthew Waterhouse were especially well suited to comedy, and that's the case here again. His comments on quantum states and Australia had me snorting, and the Fifth Doctor patiently waiting for the end of the world is beautifully observed, too. Tegan and her, at times, fractious relationship with everyone else is written for with deft skill, too, but when the drama really needs it, Janet Fielding gives us one hell of a performance. The same is true for Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. Nyssa has a far straighter role in this play than the other TARDIS companions, but it works well. It has echoes of The Curse of Peladon and Jo and the King about it, something cemented by Sacha Dhawan sounding eerily like David Troughton at times. It works though, despite the brevity of time in which to develop any relationship.


I've got this far and not mentioned Fenella Woolgar as Leanne yet, which is remarkable as she is front and centre of much of the play and carries a lot of the plot with seeming effortlessness. The support from John Banks as rival ghost walk host Louie is great as well, Goss once again showing a great ear for comedy and naturalistic relationships and patter with his dialogue.


Another thing to note is the sound design, which feels pleasingly ambitious with wide stereo swoops as people move from left to right, and some nice effects as time goes all awry later on. Barnaby Edwards' direction is perfect throughout, too. I noted last month that he really gets comedy and that assertion is only strengthened here.


I honestly don't think a foot is put wrong in Ghost Walk. I have often observed that Big Finish continually use the same writers over and over and over and over again with predictably diminishing returns, even when they're great writers. Goss seems to be immune to this though. I suspect it's because he is so busy elsewhere, too.  That palate cleansing works wonders.


Whatever the case may be, Ghost Walk is as good as they're saying and these two plays mark the most astonishing highs which the main range has reached in years, and that's not an exaggeration. For a range which felt deflated and tired, this is no small achievement. Long may it continue.


When I scored Kingdom of Lies, I was unsure whether to award it full points or not. The more you score things at the very top, the more it lessens that score, and the same with the lows. There is no hesitance here at all though. This is one of the easiest 10 out of 10s I've ever given. Sublime!

+  ORDER
this CD via Amazon.co.uk!



8 February 2018


Publisher: BBC Books

Written By: Cavan Scott & Mark Wright

RRP: £14.99 (Paperback)

Release Date: 11th January 2018

Reviewed by: Richard Binnington


Test your knowledge of the last Time Lord and the worlds he’s visited in Who-ology, an unforgettable journey through over 50 years of Doctor Who.

Packed with facts, figures and stories from the show’s galactic run, this unique tour of space and time takes you from Totters Lane to Heaven itself, taking in guides to UNIT call signs, details of the inner workings of sonic screwdrivers, and a reliability chart covering every element of the TARDIS. 

Now fully updated to cover everything through to the 12th Doctor's final episode, and with tables, charts and illustrations dotted throughout, as well as fascinating lists and exhaustive detail, you won’t believe the wonders that await.

As Doctor Who fans, it's a fact that we spend 77% of our lives rewatching episodes of our favourite Time Lord. Well, actually, you’ve got me there - that’s a false fact. But this brand new, updated edition of WHO-OLOGY- The Official Miscellany is bursting with well-researched, fun and interesting facts, you may never have even thought of; I mean, it would be rude not to have it in your collection.

The book itself is broken up into eight main sections:

The 55 Year Diary: A Doctor Who Timeline. These 24 pages delve into key dates of the shows history, summarising it in short, interesting passages. It’s amazing to see how much really has happened in the past 55 years, a favourite of mine: 21 March 1970, The theme tune ‘sting’ to emphasise the cliffhanger ending to each episode is used for the first time at the suggestion of Michael Ferguson.

Everyone’s Favourite Timelord: The Many Lives and Changing Faces of The Doctor. Filled with Biographies of the actors to play The Doctor, our heroes height and even a collection of all the alternative names used throughout time - (There's 75, I counted!).

The Doctor’s Best Friends: Companions & Other Allies. With the actors birthdays, reasons for leaving The Doctor and a multitude of sections devoted to UNIT. For me, the section of this chapter that stands out the most is The Lives and Times of Nicholas Courtney. Similar to the 55 year diary, this details all the Doctor Who related events to our beloved Brigadier, who is still very much missed.

A Carnival Of Monsters. Have you ever wanted an A-Z of The Daleks? A Sontaran Roll Call? Or Even a list of familiar voices that helped to make the plethora of monsters send a chill down your spine? Well this part of the book is fantastic and dives into the history of, what I think, makes the show so special.

Lots of planets have a north: A rough guide to Earth and other worlds. How many countries has The Doctor actually visited on Earth? A wonderful infographic provides us with the answer of 32, but you will have to get the book to find out where. The detailed list of Planets attacked by The Daleks is brilliantly researched, there's 4 pages of them, who would have thought?!

A Kettle and a piece of string: Technology in Doctor Who. Whether you’re looking for 14 facts about the Whomobile or how many different things the Sonic Screwdriver has been used for, this section of the book has it. Scrambling Scribble Monsters, an essential reason of why we need the Sonic Screwdriver in the real world!

Relative Dimensions: Doctor Who & Pop Culture. Outside of the fandom, our beloved show has attracted a lot of attention and become a cult icon. This section delves into music, TV and connections to famous books such as The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. A key section for random knowledge you can dispel at dinner parties.

And last but not least, The Matrix: Behind The Scenes. Ever wondered what stories name check themselves in the episode? Or how about a list of the most prolific directors in the show? A fun informative section that is a great addition to have all in one handy place.

Cavan Scott & Mark Wright have provided us with this wonderful series bible, full of fun facts and key moments in Doctor Who history. This book is the ultimate gift for any Doctor Who fan. Full to the brim of 55 years of information on our favourite Time Lord, organised perfectly into 355 pages. The ultimate guide to study before attending a Doctor Who Pub Quiz, ooh would you look at that, that timed nicely, I’m off to one tonight.

A real treat and a joy to see the 13th Doctor joining the historical line up. The beauty of this official miscellany is that it caters to all fans, whether you're an Eccleston-er, a Baker Boy or even a member of the Colin Club - each Doctor gets their fair share at the bat.



+  Who-ology - The Official Miscellany: Regenerated Edition is Out Now.
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk for just £10.53!
+  Follow Cavan Scott (@CavanScott) on Twitter.
+  Follow Mark Wright (@MWrightWriter) on Twitter
+  Follow Doctor Who Online (@DrWhoOnline) on Twitter
.


 

7 February 2018

Doctor Who Magazine have sent DWO the cover and details for Issue #522 of DWM.

PETER CAPALDI, SUSAN CALMAN AND COSPLAY IN THE NEW ISSUE OF DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE!

Issue 522 also sheds new light on the Dalek craze of the 1960s, as agent Beryl Vertue and writer Brad Ashton remember the roles they played. “The Daleks were really the beginning of the BBC handling merchandise,” says Beryl. “None of us really knew what we were doing, so one might say we invented it.”

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS ISSUE...

 

BERYL VERTUE

In the 1960s Beryl Vertue was Terry Nation’s agent – now she’s Steven Moffat’s mother-in-law! Beryl discusses an association with Doctor Whothat began before the first episode was even transmitted. 

 

BRAD ASHTON

The comedy writer recalls his friendship with Dalek creator Terry Nation and the role he played in The Dalek Outer Space Book.

 

TERRY NATION'S DALEK EMPIRE

How did the Daleks become so popular in 1964? And why did they suddenly disappear three years later?

 

WALKING DALEKS

The BBC’s archive gives up its Dalek secrets – including details of the prototype toys that were never manufactured.

 

PETER CAPALDI

Previously unpublished quotes from the last four years reveal a new side to the man who played the Twelfth Doctor.

 

SUSAN CALMAN

Comedian, Strictly Come Dancingfavourite and now Doctor Whowriter – Susan Calman discusses her love for the Time Lord in this exclusive interview. 

 

EMMA FREUD

The organiser of Comic Relief’s ‘Breakfast with the Doctors’ event explains how she managed to unite seven Time Lords, two companions and a showrunner.

 

COSPLAY

In the first part of a new regular feature, Christel Dee presents a guide to recreating Ace’s jacket.

 

PUBLIC IMAGE 

A detailed survey of Doctor Who’s television ratings during the Peter Capaldi years.

 

NEW EARTH

This issue’s Fact of Fiction explores the 2006 story featuring the Tenth Doctor and Rose.

 

THE PHANTOM PIPER

Part Four of The Phantom Piper, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Bill.

 

PLUS...

The Blogs of Doom, previews, reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and your letters.

+  Doctor Who Magazine Issue #522 is out this Thursday, 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: Marcus Hearn at Doctor Who Magazine]

6 February 2018

Amazon.co.uk have let slip one of the upcoming 2018 Doctor Who, Classic Series DVD releases.

The Enemy Of The World: Special Edition will be released on 19th March 2018, and whilst more information on the special features is yet to be forthcoming, we believe there with be a whole host of new features and commentaries. The next issue of Doctor Who Magazine (#522 - released this Thursday), should have more information on the releasee

As it happens, DWO got in touch with BBC Worldwide today to ask about the future of the range, and we still have the same (3-year-old) statement:

“We're hoping to release more classic Doctor Who and we'll let you know when we have news.”

Owing to the fact that this is to be released next month, it is odd that there has been very little fanfare for the DVD, and whilst we expect there to be other Classic Series DVD (and possibly Blu-ray) releases later this year, it is hard to read what BBC Worldwide's plan is for the marketing of the range.

UPDATE: 7th February

BBC Worldwide have now confirmed the release and have sent DWO the synopsis and full list of Special Features:

Synopsis:

Recovered and restored – a classic Patrick Troughton adventure!

The TARDIS lands on an Australian beach in the 21st century. But this is no seaside holiday - within minutes, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are under attack.

They soon discover that the Doctor bears a startling resemblance to Leader Salamander, a would-be dictator intent on world domination. Before long, the Doctor and his companions are plunged into a dangerous game of intrigue and deceit as they face off against the enemy of the world...

Special Features:

· Remastered episodes.  Even though all episodes were restored in 2013 for the previous DVD release, Peter Crocker from the Restoration Team is using advances in technology since then to go over each one with a fine tooth comb to ensure they are now presented in the best possible quality for this special edition. 

· “Treasures Lost and Found” - produced by Ed Stradling.
With so much information now available about every Doctor Who serial, it's not easy to learn anything new, so Toby Hadoke embarks on an exciting treasure hunt to find out all he can about the production. Along the way he'll interview some of the cast and crew including Frazer Hines, Mary Peach and David Troughton - who made his first TV appearance in this serial as an extra. 

· “Recovering the Past – The Search for The Enemy of the World” - produced by Paul Vanezis.
A brand new interview with the episode hunter Philip Morris, we hear how he tracked down the last surviving film copy of the serial to a dusty room in the African desert.  

· “Remembering Deborah Watling” - produced by Cameron McEwan.
Family, friends and colleagues pay tribute to Debbie Watling who played Victoria Waterfield, companion to Patrick Troughton’s doctor. 

· Audio commentaries on all six episodes produced by John Kelly.  Contributors include Frazer Hines, Mary Peach, Gordon Faith, Milton Johns and Sylvia James.  Moderator is Simon Harries. 

· Production subtitles on all six episodes written by Martin Wiggins.

· Photo gallery produced by Derek Handley.

· Scripts of all six episodes as PDFs.

+  The Enemy Of The World: SE is released on 19th March (DVD), priced £20.42.
+  PREORDER The Enemy Of The World: SE DVD from Amazon.co.uk for £19.99.
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who DVD releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: Amazon.co.uk]

5 February 2018

A limited number of tickets are available for a special screening of David Tennant's new movie; You Me & Him, for just £36 each.

The premiere, will be held at Cineworld; Broad Street; Birmingham, on 31st March 2018 at 6.30pm.

There's an even greater incentive behind the special opportunity, however, as it helps support Baby Lifeline - a unique mother and baby charity supporting the care of pregnant women and their newborn and unborn babies. David Tennant has become an Ambassador for this charity’s £5 million Monitoring for Mums Appeal, to provide monitoring equipment for maternity and neonatal units across the UK.

This premiere promises to be a dazzling event with David and others in attendance and walking the red carpet!

About the movie:

You Me & Him is a lesbian romantic comedy about a couple at different points in their lives: high-powered lawyer Olivia (Lucy Punch) is nearly 40 and wants to start a family but her free-wheeling younger partner Alex (Faye Marsay) doesn't share her urgency. What happens next involves recently-divorced neighbour John (David Tennant) and creates a tangled web of consequences, and pregnancies.

David TennantGeorgia Tennant (who is also Producer), Daisy Aitkens and more stars of You, Me & Him will attend the premiere and address the audience before the screening.

Celebrities from the world of sport, television and radio will join the cast on the red carpet, and to watch the film.

For tickets please contact Hayley McCaffery: communications@babylifeline.org.uk or call 01676 534 671.

[Source: Baby Lifeline]

5 February 2018

Publisher: Independently Published

Written By: Marc W. Johnson

RRP: £9.95 (Paperback) / £9.99 (Kindle) / $12.99 (Paperback) / $7.99 (Kindle)

Release Date: 14th October 2017

Reviewed by: Richard Binnington

Review Posted: 5th February 2018

Legacy follows the story of Rebecca ‘Rose’ Healy, whose life seems to all be falling perfectly into place. But little does she know it's about to take an incredibly dark, life-changing turn. When a secret is unearthed from deep within her family, she must take up the reigns left behind by her late father, who was killed in a vicious attack by a werewolf in front of her very eyes. Rose does not know who she can trust; rumours of a spy within the group of hunters kick her into action to track the traitor that has slowly destroyed her perfect little life. The book finished with an intense confrontation, that the less said of it, the better the ending.

This story really doesn't hold back in any department and is most definitely not for children. With tonnes of extreme violence, this gruesome tale deals its audience a very descriptive experience that puts a fantastic, adult twist onto a classic cult fairytale. Within the first chapter, its straight in with the blood, guts and gore - lovely!

The underlying tale comes across as a thoroughly enjoyable modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, pushing Rose to her limit, and for the audience, a real struggle to put down. This is the sort of book you would read by candlelight on a cold winter's night accompanied by a pot of tea - the ideal setting of course, but it also translates to being very readable on the morning tube, taking its reader into the world of the supernatural.

This is the second publication from Johnson, the first being a collection of dark short stories and poetry. But this first fiction feature is a triumph in incredibly visual storytelling. Each description detailed to give the audience a truly vivid image of the vicious scenes in question. One of the most engaging parts of this story is how it constantly throws twists and turns, leaving you to ponder for more. I found it an intense read and it left me squirming and, quiet literally, has the hairs on the back of my neck spiking up on several occasions; what a brilliant experience!

Legacy is a chilling and thrilling read which is sure to make you cringe in horror as the story unfolds. I highly recommend it for a multitude of audiences. Whether you enjoy a good old horror story or if you’re a fan of the more fantastical, this book will cater to your thrill-seeking needs.

I look forward to seeing more work emerge from Marc W. Johnson and I can only hope it is as exciting as this read. This review has been tough to write as I really don’t want to spoil the story for anyone. Just pick it up, get reading and get enthralled by it!

 

+  Legacy is Out Now.
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com!
+  Follow Marc W. Johnson on Twitter.

2 February 2018

Publisher: MyIdentifiers.com

Written By: Gary C. Mele Jr

RRP: £7.64 (Paperback) / $9.99 (Paperback) / $1.38 (Kindle)

Release Date: 10th October 2017

Reviewed by: Richard Binnington

Review Posted: 2nd February 2018

Leadership, Heaven and hell; a Cybersentient hero is the story of how the human race must go to the most extreme methods in order to survive. The Earth, our home, has ceased to revolve causing half the planet to plunge into a devoid new ice age, with the other to burn in the scorching heat of the sun. Refugees of our planet stream out into the safety of the great unknown, space.

After 20 years, resources are depleting and a method is required to survive without the requirements of a human body, an upgrade. This is the story of Samuel, and his cousin Eve, as he approaches his segue into a Cybersentient, the next step for the human race. The process is not simple or safe and not everyone makes it through. The threat of being hijacked by ‘demons’ in the middle of the process is very high and a risk which they have lost many inhabitants too. With leader Byallanon seemingly up to something, anarchy begins to develop within the ranks and something must be done to stop the destruction of the Cybersentient race.

One of the most persistent themes within the book is that of the importance of family and the bond it holds. This story is driven by the relationship between Samuel and Eve and their closeness really ties the story together. The picturesque descriptions of the Cybersentients and their individual designs are incredibly vivid and provide a strong image for yourself whilst reading. Samuel’s journey shows him progress from an angst-filled young man to a confident individual, ready to take a stand. Eve’s charm and wit is a strong presence within creating a duo of characters in which you want to follow their adventure.

The first published book from Gary C.Mele Jr give us an insight to the human condition and what we are prepared to do for future generations to survive. With aspects feeling like a mirror being turned on ourselves, Mele has crafted a story that really engages the audience to think about what we are doing to our planet and what could inevitably come next. Mele has drawn on many current events and has called this “My Sci-Fi answer to Trump.” The tone of the story reminded me of so many various franchises rolled into one creating an exciting read. So if you’re interested in a story with the essence of Doctor Who / Pacific Rim / Star Trek / Transformers, this is the book for you.

This book flowed wonderfully and the pages flew past. Without realising, I was 330 pages in and it was sadly over. With a sequel in the works, this is a must read for any sci-fi fan especially at the bargain price of 99p on Amazon Kindle.
 

 

+  Leadership, Heaven And Hell is Out Now.
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com!
+  Follow Gary C. Mele Jr on Twitter.

23 January 2018

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: January 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"On the planet Cicero Prime, the kingdom of Cardenas is divided, with the whole population forced to swear allegiance to either the effete Duke or the fiery, hard-edged Duchess. This is a situation both parties have grown tired of. What use is half a kingdom when, thanks to a carefully engineered murder, you could have it all?

Surely, neither of them would be rash enough to summon the deadly off-world assassin The Scorpion to help with their problem? And surely, this terrifying figure wouldn’t arrive wearing a long cream coat and striped trousers…?"

The 2018 main range of Doctor Who plays kicks off the year with Kingdom of Lies; an outing for the Fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan. 2017 started the year running with this team with The Star Men, but will lightning strike twice? Frankly, yes.

Set in the pseudo-medieval kingdom of Cardenas, the Doctor and his friends land after a timely intervention in the TARDIS from Tegan (when it doubt, whack it and see what happens) and soon find themselves embroiled in a tangled web of assassination, marital troubles, and assumed identities.

It doesn't take long for this story to set out its credentials as a comedy and Nyssa in particular benefits well here. One minute she's simply Nyssa of Traken, the next she's the apparent assistant to the Scorpion, feared assassin and mercenary for hire. Sarah Sutton has a lot of fun with the material, and Barnaby Edwards milks it for every drop of comic potential, giving us a masterclass in how to handle this sort of material.

Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky's first Big Finish outing, The Ravelli Conspiracy, was a bit hit-and-miss, with the actors seemingly uncertain at times in their faith in the material, as evidenced in the extras where Peter Purves and Maureen O'Brien confessed they were not too sure about the script before recording it. You get the impression that wasn't the case this time around as everyone commits to the comedy with full gusto. Matthew Waterhouse is an especial revelation in this case, and I wish we'd had a bit more of Adric in here. Janet Fielding, meanwhile, observes that Tegan takes a bit of a backseat here this time. It's a pity for certain, as the relatively recent Time in Office (my favourite main range release in 2017 by far) shows just how compatible Fielding and Tegan are with comedy.

The test of any comedy really is twofold: will it stand up to repeated plays (untested, but I suspect there's enough going on here to let that be the case) and does it remain entertaining for the duration? Thankfully, Khan and Salinsky realize that having four episodes of comedy on the trot may well test listeners' patience and wear the story's premise thin, so the final episode shifts gears to become a chase of sorts where death is a very real possibility and things feel a lot more dangerous than the lighter tone before then would have you necessarily expect. It's a smart move.

I've mentioned the regular cast, but praise must also go to the guest cast here. Patsy Kensit is clearly enjoying herself, for example. I'd quite forgotten she was in it, but the second she started speaking I found myself unable to shift the song I'm Not Scared from my head: I swear her voice hasn't aged a day since she sang that. Elsewhere, Charlotte Lucas is superb as Miranda. Selfish, rude and egotistical, she is that rare hated character where you boo her not because she is inherently evil, but because she is thoroughly dislikable. She's the sort of person you'd go out of your way to avoid in the workplace, knowing she would find fault in everyone else's attitudes bar her own.

Humour is subjective of course and your mileage will vary, but for my money this is a very bold and genuinely amusing start to the year's Big Finish offerings and all praise must go to the writers, the cast (both regular and guest) and Edwards' direction. I'm fairly hesitant to give anything full marks, especially when the impact of something like this is very much weighted on the first listen. Comedies are rarely as fun the second time around; horror films lack the initial impact; thrillers are devoid of some of their thrill once the twists are there. I'm going to make an exception here though. This one's very fun indeed.



+  ORDER this CD via Amazon.co.uk!


4 January 2018

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Jonathan Morris

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: December 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"Deep in the heart of nowhere, near a place called Abbey Marston, there’s a caravan site. The perfect place to get away from it all. Close by, there’s a stone circle they used for human sacrifice in olden times. A little further afield, there’s an old RAF research station, where they did hushhush things in the War.

There’s only one rule: the use of radios, cassette recorders and portable televisions is strictly forbidden.

People come here to get away from it all, you see. No-one wants to hear the noise. No-one wants to hear the voices in the static…

No-one wants to hear the ghosts."

You can tell that Big Finish have a lot of good will behind this one. For months now, all we’ve heard about with regards to the ‘Main Range’ is that Static is on its way, and it’s scary, thrilling, chilling and not to be missed. Some are even saying it’s better than The Chimes of Midnight.

You wouldn’t think as whole trilogy of Sixth Doctor, Flip and Constance plays had been released, only this one. Is it any good though? Yes!

The Doctor and his friends land on a creepy campsite, to the disappointment of his companions who both want to go home (is it just me or does that come from seemingly out of nowhere? Even the actors sound a little confused in the extras on this point). The site is creepy, wet and a place where portable televisions, radios and cassette recorders are not allowed. Oh, and ghosts abound. It’s a good set-up milked for all it’s worth by Jonathan Morris, with some good, meaty drama for the guest cast to get into.

As with last month’s The Middle, the opening episode is very strong and arguably the best of the four. The sound design by Joe Kraemer and Josh Arakelian are the real stars of the show here, sweeping hiss and crackle and rain around us after a rather bizarre spoken introduction by Nicholas Briggs letting us know it’s a Big Finish play we’re listening to (or at least, that happened on my download. I can’t speak for the physical releases). The music is less good though, at times being pretty intrusive: you notice it because it doesn’t quite fit.

Now, most soundtracks for Big Finish do not really evoke the eras the stories are set in, sounding like... well, Big Finish soundtracks instead, but that’s fine. The actors don’t sound as they once did either, so you let it pass. Here though, it fails to either evoke the Colin Baker era or be its own Big Finish thing, standing somewhere between the two and falling short at both ends.

That’s okay though because the atmosphere in performance and dialogue is more than enough to make up for it.

I could niggle and point out the fact it’s steeped in cliché, but that’s rather the point at the start and by the time it’s become its own thing, it has carefully let you know its genre and made you comfortable in the surroundings. The final episode arguably is a bit too signposted with its beats and could benefit from a bit more focus on reactions from the supporting cast and regular crew (the Doctor feels especially cold at times and gets away with it, which feels a wasted opportunity), but again, everything else is working hard to make up for it.

This is Jamie Anderson’s finest hour as director, and his casting here is brilliant with every supporting character being perfectly chosen. David Graham is as good as you would expect, but Scott Chambers, Pippa Nixon and Jo Woodcock are all equally impressive and names to watch out for.

It’s a pity that, as is always the case seemingly nowadays, the extended extras for subscribers are (inexplicably) not available from the off as the interviews we do get seem to jump around and Colin Baker especially, is very enthusiastic about the play. It would have been nice to hear his and the other cast’s full thoughts instead of the rather obviously edited highlights.

It’s been a long-term grumble of mine that Big Finish run their writers dry, leading to far lesser productions than the writers would give us otherwise, and I stand by that still. Keep using the same shirt and it’ll run ragged in the end. A play like Static only ups this feeling in my mind. Morris is a brilliant writer and this is a brilliant script, and with a bit less elsewhere, you feel that other writers of his ilk could hit these high spots time and again instead of increasingly fleetingly.

Is it the Chimes of Midnight beater, others are claiming it to be? No, frankly, but then again they’re two very different plays so it’s an utterly silly and redundant comparison.

Static is its own thing, and it’s bloody good. No wonder Big Finish have been celebrating it loudly. It’s worth every shout.



+  ORDER this CD via Amazon.co.uk!


22 December 2017

As we write our spoiler-free preview for Peter Capaldi's final outing as The Doctor, we are reminded of a particular verse from 'Beauty And The Beast';

Tale as old as time,
Tune as old as song,
Bitter-sweet and strange,
Finding you can change,
Learning you were wrong.

This is a show that has been around for over 50 years, and whilst many of us think we know it inside out, now and again a writer comes along and adds a new slant on things, that allows us to understand and appreciate it in a whole new light. This episode is bitter-sweet, its strange, and if you would allow us to follow this comparison through to conclusion, it's about finding you can change and indeed learning you were wrong.

Everything begins with a poignant "previously" recap, with some on-screen text stating "709 episodes ago". We see The 1st Doctor in scenes from The Tenth Planet, and William Hartnell's Doctor morph into that of David Bradley's, and at no point after this moment do we ever question that Bradley's Doctor IS The 1st Doctor. It's loyally executed and cleverly explains why Bradley doesn't look exactly like Hartnell, and even hammers a nail into a question that arose from 'The Brain Of Morbius', regarding the Doctor's past regenerations.

Mark Gatiss, provides a third male lead in the story as 'The Captain', who is, by far, our favourite of all of Mark's characters in the show to date - yes - even more than Gantok! His character is layered and without stereotype, and will have you reaching for the hankies by the end. We cannot give away much regarding his role, but the setting is incredibly important and leads to a memorable close.

We mentioned about this being a strange story, but this is no bad thing. It is strange in the fact we don't really have a villain; it's more a beautiful character piece, that affords us an interesting, well-paced send-off for Capaldi's Doctor. It brings The 1st Doctor back to life in all the ways we knew, but gives us something new, and Bradley's performance is just fantastic! Capaldi and Bradley spark off each other incredibly well, and there are some truly laugh-out-loud moments during the episode - some of which include Pearl Mackie's Bill and The 1st Doctor. Bill is a very modern woman, and The 1st Doctor...isn't.


There are little 'timey-wimey' moments that Steven Moffat has peppered throughout the story, that hardcore fans will recognise and love, without alienating or distracting from the story. Steven has to be commended for this beautiful tale; for it IS beautiful, in so many ways. It rounds off his tenure as head writer and showrunner, perfectly, and sets him up to be remembered as one of the most important guiding forces in the shows entire, long history.

If recent rumours are to be believed that the show's composer, Murray Gold, will indeed be stepping down after this Christmas special, then there are most definitely hints of this in the score. Look out for new versions of some of his most memorable compositions, including a slightly melancholic rendition of the 'Doomsday' theme from the end of Series 2. It feels like Murray is saying goodbye to us throughout the episode, and it's heart-breaking. It's no secret that we're huge fans of his work; you only have to look back through our many reviews and previews to see how much we mention him, but then, his music has become an important part of the show - a constant that helps you feel that little bit more emotion in pivotal scenes. For this we salute you Murray, and thank you for all you have done.

Whilst we are saying our goodbyes, we have to pay tribute to Peter Capaldi for his tremendous portrayal of The Doctor. Series 10 was hands-down the best to feature his Doctor, and he takes all of the gravitas and hard work gained throughout the momentum of Series 10, and literally goes out in a blaze of glory in 'Twice Upon A Time'. We always wondered just how amazing a fourth series with Capaldi could be, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. That being said, there is someone new, exciting and totally right for the job, and she's about to take the show in a new, exciting direction! Welcome aboard, Jodie!



5 Things To Look Out For:

1)  3 perspectives.
2)  "Smacked Bottom".
3)  An old friend in a tower.
4)  "So that's what it means to be a Doctor of war!"
5)  A gift that, if you're a regular viewer, will give you a lump in your throat.

+  11.X: Twice Upon A Time airs Christmas Day at 5:30pm on BBC One.

[Source: DWO]

11 December 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writers: John Dorney, Guy Adams & Matt Fitton

RRP: £35.00 (CD) / £25.00 (Download)

Release Date: November 2017

Reviewed by: Beth Axford for Doctor Who Online


2.1 Infamy of the Zaross by John Dorney

"When Jackie Tyler takes an away day to visit her old friend Marge in Norwich, she finds her holiday immediately interrupted in the worst way possible - an alien invasion! The infamous Zaross have come to take over the Earth. Or have they? After Jackie calls in the Doctor and Rose to deal with the menace, it soon becomes clear that this is a very unusual invasion indeed. The Doctor is about to uncover one of the most heinous crimes in the history of the galaxy. And if he can't stop it an awful lot of people are going to die."

2.2 The Sword of the Chevalier by Guy Adams

"1791 and the Doctor and Rose get to meet one of the most enigmatic, thrilling and important people in history: The Chevalier d’Eon. She used to be known as a spy, but then she used to be known as a lot of things. If there’s one thing the Doctor knows it’s that identity is what you make it. Choose a life for yourself and be proud. Mind you, if the Consortium of the Obsidian Asp get their way, all lives may soon be over..."

2.3 Cold Vengeance by Matt Fitton

"The TARDIS arrives on Coldstar, a vast freezer satellite, packed with supplies to feed a colony world. But there are cracks in the ice, and something scuttles under the floors. Soon, Rose and the Doctor encounter robots, space pirates and... refuse collectors. As Coldstar's tunnels begin to melt, an even greater threat stirs within. An old enemy of the Doctor puts a plan into action - a plan for retribution. Nobody's vengeance is colder than an Ice Warrior's."

Infamy Of The Zaross

John Dorney pulls Doctor Who straight out of 2006 and brings us an absolute nostalgia fest of fun in Infamy Of The Zaross. The long-awaited return of one of the most popular duos in Doctor Who history was always going to be hard to recreate, but he hits the nail on the head perfectly. Light hearted, human and adventure galore, it's exactly the kind of story that made us fall in love with the Tenth Doctor and Rose in the first place!

As well as our beloved pair returning, Doctor Who’s best-loved mother is back to save the day with her daughter. A genius move for this story, Camille Coduri falls right back into her character with ease, bouncing off the rest of the cast brilliantly. She even gets a shining moment in space, making us fall in love with her even more.

And for what is one of the most anticipated returns in Doctor Who history, Billie Piper most certainly delivers. After some worry that she may not be able to pull off her characters iconic voice 12 years later, our minds are put to rest within just a few minutes of the episode. Her and David could have recorded this all those years ago for all we know - it fits that well. And his Doctor doesn’t disappoint either, bringing the enemy down with ease and saving the earth once more.

The story itself features one of the more…stranger alien invasions. Norwich is taken over by the villainous Zaross, and the reason why is even more disturbing. Once the plan is eventually revealed, you can’t help but wonder how such an original, exciting plot hasn’t been written into the show before. The adventure ends with a brilliant moment between Rose Tyler and some family friends, and a speech that resonates with people of all ages. The messages behind the dialogue and plot are key to this episode and is exactly how Doctor Who should be; leaving a warm, fuzzy feeling in our hearts.

Overall this story is an exact replication of the 2006 Doctor Who series we all know and love, bringing our favourite characters back to life and creating a memorable adventure for them. There’s even a reference to a certain organisation that crops up a lot in series two… you know the one we mean!

Sword Of The Chevalier

The second part of The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume Two kicks off in another iconic British location: Slough. In 1791. The Doctor and Rose meet The Chevalier D’Eon who according to The Doctor, was an ex-spy born male now living their life as a woman, or something. Probably. What’s important is that right now, she’s a woman. ‘She’s amazing!’ Utters Rose, and we agree. Challenging The Doctor to a sword fight, we get a brilliant sense of this historic character and what they stand for, and over the course of the story, they prove that the legends are correct.

David and Billie really come into their own with the witty humour of the script and bring our favourite characters to life with as much vigour as 2006. Their guest star Nikolas Grace absolutely nails the character of The Chevalier and fits in with our TARDIS team, perfectly. It’s fun to hear from a figure in history that many might not know about, and get a bit of a history lesson along the way! Guy Adams has got their characterization spot on as well as creating an exciting, fresh, historical adventure. The psychic paper also gets a fun feature and works against The Doctor's advantage ending in a hilarious mishap that it's hard to believe hasn’t happened before!

The threat of the episode is another fantastic idea; an alien with three heads looking to sell humans off into slavery. It’s a classic invasion plot that is enhanced by the brilliant dialogue and cast, keeping up the strong start we had with Infamy Of The Zaross. It can be hard to engage with an audio drama without visuals to keep you hooked but this story shows that with astounding actors, voicing and sound work, it can be just as exciting as a television adventure.

Overall, The Sword Of The Chevalier holds up the high standards of this terrific boxset so far. It just seems a shame that we only get three adventures! Now, I wonder what awaits next…

Cold Vengeance

Our heroes are thrown in at the cold end in the last adventure of this series, Cold vengeance. Matt Fitton rounds off the stories spectacularly with this fun space adventure, with brilliant characterisation and a tantalising plot. So, how does the Tenth Doctor fare against the Ice warriors?...

The Doctor and Rose find themselves in a giant icy space freezer carrying food for a colony world. Promising Rose a perfect ski slope, it soon becomes apparent that they’ve not quite landed where they’re supposed too. Classic Tenth Doctor. The two get some outstanding scenes in this adventure, and some moments that truly feel iconic for Rose Tyler. The pair are split up for much of the story, bringing out the best in each character as they work to save the ship. This is a massive advantage and gives some brilliant guest characters a chance to shine - most notably Lorna, who could easily be a Doctor Who companion in her own right.

As well as the perfect characterisation, the Ice Warriors get another exciting outing in an unfamiliar setting, making it all the more fun. I don’t know about you, but the whole thing makes me feel a little bit chilly inside! The hiss of their voices is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. They carry out their vengeance unapologetically, and for a moment it leaves you wondering just how The Doctor and Rose are going to get themselves out of this one. In fact, the resolution to the Ice Warriors brutal ways is even more simple than one could imagine, but fits perfectly with the essence of 2006 Doctor Who.

As the theme tune fades out, a warm feeling stirs. Experiencing three new episodes of 2006 era Doctor Who seemed like an impossible dream, but here we are with some of the best of the Tenth Doctor and Rose, yet. It is the minimalism of only 3 stories that makes it so special, and the hard work and effort gone into every episode shines spectacularly. Present day earth, historical England and a space ship full of ice warriors - there’s something for every fan in this boxset!



+  ORDER this CD via Amazon.co.uk!


11 December 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Chris Chapman

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: November 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"It’s L/Wren Mrs Constance Clarke’s birthday - and Flip is determined to make it an anniversary to remember.

The futuristic colony of Formicia, where the pampered populace pass their days in endless leisure, seems the perfect place for a ‘Wren Party’. But all is not as it seems. Looking down from the Middle, the skyscraping tower that ascends as far as the colony ceiling, Formicia’s overseers can see that the Doctor doesn’t fit in - and it’s not just his coat that makes him conspicuous...

“The End is the Beginning,” say the propaganda-like posters all over Formicia. Because to be part of this perfect society comes at a price. And the Doctor's already in arrears."

Last time around, I joked that the Gods of co-incidence must have been smiling when Big Finish put out The Behemoth with its head-on tackling of slavery so close to Series 10. This month, we have suits that people wear and a faceless corporation exploiting humanity... ring any bells? I wonder if next month’s much-touted scare-fest spectacular will include a whole bunch of knock knock jokes?

Yes, it seems that someone at the branding department has been hitting snooze on their clock as of late, but pushing that aside, what can be made of The Middle? Thankfully a fair bit of good.

The first thing of note is how well the TARDIS crew of the Doctor, Flip and Constance is working. The two companions have never been as strong as they are here together, and the Sixth Doctor proves to be a nice foil to the excesses of them both. Chris Chapman, the play’s writer, ably uses the comedy potential of Flip and Lisa Greenwood as an actor to good effect, and also makes good use of Constance’s background as a Wren in the plot and its settings.

The script has some good, solid ideas behind it, but does perhaps suffer again from a case of the Co-incidences: the TARDIS crew just so happen to be talking about birthdays when they land on a planet where birthdays play a huge role and Constance just so happens to be approaching a plot-integral age. They then befriend a man who just so happens to be the father of another important regular character and knows a lot about the technology being used because of... reasons. It’s a bit too neat and co-incidental to be glossed over really.

Likewise, just as the story has echoes of Series 10, so too does the play have echoes of other plays surrounding it from Big Finish; the Sixth Doctor in an office block? See World Enough And Time (say, that would make a good TV story title one day...). Memories playing an integral, crucial role in proceedings? See Chapman’s own play, The Memory Box.

Indeed, The Middle feels like its roots are firmly embedded in Chapman’s first Big Finish outing, which is no bad thing as it was a very strong single-episode affair, but also means at times things feel a bit too familiar.

That’s not to take away from the good though, which include a strong guest cast (Mark Heap is especially fun) and a very sturdy opening episode: you can see why Big Finish were giving it away for free as a sampler.

Despite the air of having seen some of it before, the script still feels fresh for the most part, though I wish Colin Baker didn’t have to cry “Nooooo!” as often as he does here as it brings back nasty memories of Slipback.

These are mostly slight niggles though, as The Middle proves to be an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours, just not an overly original one. What it does do though it show Chapman as a writer worth paying attention to, and is a good case for this being one of the Sixth Doctor’s strongest TARDIS teams.

Overall, this one is far from a middling affair.



+  ORDER this CD via Amazon.co.uk!


15 November 2017

For the 30th anniversary all the adventures of the Seventh Doctor appear in a high-quality hardcover book in a coffee table format. The Special Collector's Edition slipcase is limited to 1,000 pieces and numbered. On 52 pages, the chief dramaturge of the seventh Doctor, Andrew Cartmel, written exclusively for this release background information on all adventures. The texts are in the original English and in German translation.

In addition to all adventures in German and English, the 17 DVDs also contain over 24 hours of bonus material of the Season publications, subtitled in German and English. The 17 disc is exclusively available in this release and includes BBC America Special "Doctor Who - Seventh Doctor - Revisited," an exclusive new interview with Andrew Cartmel and worldwide exclusively the restoration of the lost "Extended Version" of "Silver Nemesis ". Estimated delivery date is the second week of December.

Important Note: If you order the product before 19th November 2017, you will get your name in the credits on the bonus disc.

+  The 7th Doctor Special Collector's Ed. set is released Decemeber 2017, priced €150.00.
+  PREORDER this DVD set from Pandastorm Pictures!
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who DVD & Blu-ray releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: Pandastorm Pictures]

31 October 2017

Manufacturer: Who Dares Publishing

RRP: £14.99

Release Date: 1st October 2017

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 31st October 2017

Purchasing your annual Doctor Who calendar is a must for any Doctor Who fan, but the choices out there are extremely limited, and the focus is mainly on the new series / current Doctor.

Those of us of a particular age will remember the Target Doctor Who books range, with their beautiful cover art, with great fondness. Following on from last year's relaunch of Who Dares Publishing, the company have just released the brand new Andrew Skilleter Target Art Calendar for 2018, which features 12 of some of Andrew's finest covers for the range.

Each page is filled with about 90% artwork / 10% calendar, meaning you have large scale versions of the art, along with info text for each piece from Andrew himself.

It's a real eye-opener to learn just how little reference material Andrew had to go on, but the finished results were always impressive. The Dominators is a prime example of this; no visual reference, but a stunning gouache with blue and pink hues that capture the essence of the story perfectly!

Definitely worth purchasing; not just because of the nostalgic gratification you get from seeing memories from long ago, but for the sheer delight you will get from the brilliance of Andrew Skilleter's artwork.

+  Click Here to buy now from Who Dares Publishing for £14.99!

<mce:script

23 October 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Marc Platt

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: October 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"Bath, 1756 – and a very dashing gentleman known only as the Doctor is newly arrived in town, accompanied by his lady friends Mrs Clarke and Mrs Ramon. He’s created a stir among the gentlefolk of Georgian high society – and a stir in the heart of merry widow Mrs Theodosia Middlemint, rumour has it.

They are not the only strangers from abroad causing tongues to wag, however. The mysterious Lady Clara, come from Amsterdam in the company of the noble Captain Van Der Meer, has the whole of Bath agog. Who is she, really? What is she, really?

But there’s something terrible beneath the veneer of Georgian gentility. As awful a horror as the Doctor has ever exposed, hidden inside Balsam’s Brassworks. Something that needs to be brought to light, for the sake of all humanity."

It’s typical, isn’t it? You wait years for Doctor Who to tackle, and two takes turn up at once.

The latest to do this is this month’s Sixth Doctor play, The Behemoth. Written by Marc Platt after Colin Baker himself requested a pure historical adventure, it’s undoubtedly unfortunate timing coming so soon after Thin Ice, even though the way the subject is tackled in both plays is very different, as are setting and script, and in fairness to this play, it is suggested in the play’s extras that Platt himself suggested writing a play about this subject, and it’s not another case of Big Finish riding on the coattails of themes or plots used in the new series, which has happened a lot in the past. (The extended extras for subscribers may reveal otherwise but as is more often than not the case, these were not available at launch and if last month in any indication, it may take up to a month for them to be so.)

The Behemoth starts off simply enough. The Doctor lands in Bath in 1756 with his companions in tow: Mrs. Constance Clarke and Mrs. Flip Ramon (still credited as Flip Jackson, despite the play making clear that’s not the case throughout). There is a ball to attend if they can get the tickets, the mysterious Lady Clara to investigate, and a dark secret that runs through the society, which is where the subject of slavery comes up.

Some accept it, some rage against it, some are knee-deep in the trade, and some turn a blind eye towards it. It’s not the only thread running through this story though. We’ve also the oppression of women in society, animal cruelty and class as themes to greater and lesser extents.

It should feel cluttered perhaps, but it’s to Platt’s credit that it works well and gives us a decent snapshot of a time gone by through a modern-day prism. I’m not sure all of the attempts are as successful as others though, it must be said. The tone can sometimes wobble, some beats or lines feel a bit stereotypical, and the blurb of the play makes it sound like an alien menace or mystery is the real evil here which is a bit tactless.

Some of it rings as perhaps a bit heavy-handed with its approach and not all of it hits, but honestly I don’t mind. I think with subjects like this you can afford to be a bit less nuanced and more on the nose, even if perhaps not all of it chimed as strong or true as other parts.

As a white man myself, the owner and undoubted user (even if unintentionally) of great privilege with race and sex even now, the history of our country is depressing and grim and dark at times, and any attempt to highlight that is surely a good thing? Better to learn from it than ignore it, especially right now with the resurgence of far-right politic and emergence of sex scandals against women.

If this all feels a bit preachy and heavy then I make no apologies. I don’t think it would be right to make light of any of it.

Let’s look at some other parts of the play though. Georgina Moon is very good as Mrs. Middlemint (and I am sure I’m not the only one who saw a future Evelyn in her character), the music in the ball scene is especially lovely, and Jamie Anderson does a nice job of directing the play, though his declaration in the extras that the Sixth Doctor and Mel had a prickly relationship is slightly... off. That said, it’s been so long since Peri was in a play that perhaps it’s easy to get mixed up.

If I’ve made it sound all dark and weighty, then that’s wrong of me as parts of it are fun and light and quite funny, not least just who Lady Clara turns out to be and the Doctor’s attempt as an entertainer (the second time that’s happened this year, with The Carrionite Curse also showing him in this situation).

All in all, The Behemoth is an important play even if it’s not always my favourite, and whilst the relatively close proximity to Thin Ice is a shame, it is perhaps indicative of the time we live in and that these stories still cry out to be told.



+  ORDER this CD via Amazon.co.uk!

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