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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16 April 2019

BBC Studios continues to offer Doctor Who fans the opportunity to build their own home archive on Blu-ray. The first jam-packed release for Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor, Doctor Who – The Collection: Season 10, debuts on Monday 8th July, the very day after Pertwee himself would have turned 100.

The title is now available to pre-order from Amazon. 

In 1973, Doctor Who celebrated its tenth anniversary with a very special story reuniting the first two Doctors – William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – with Jon Pertwee’s then-current Doctor. The Three Doctors kicks off an explosive, colourful series of adventures across all of time and space as the Doctor and Jo Grant (Katy Manning) encounter the rogue Time Lord Omega, the terrifying Drashigs, the noble Draconians, fearsome Ogrons, deadly Daleks and slithering giant maggots. Season 10 also includes the final appearance of Roger Delgado as the Doctor’s arch nemesis The Master, plus adventures alongside Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) and UNIT. 

Starring alongside Jon Pertwee are Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney, Roger Delgado, Richard Franklin and John Levene. 

With all episodes newly remastered from the best available sources, this Blu-ray box set also contains extensive and exclusive special features which include: 

·  A brand new feature-length documentary examining the Third Doctor’s Era, with archival contributions from Jon Pertwee, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks plus all-new interviews with Katy Manning, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, presented by Matthew Sweet.

·  Updated special effects and surround sound mix for Planet of the Daleks.

·  Five new instalments of Behind the Sofa, featuring Katy Manning, Richard Franklin (Captain Yates) and John Levene (Sergeant Benton), along with 21st century Doctor Who panel Phil Collinson (Producer/Executive Producer), Pete McTighe (Writer) and Joy Wilkinson (Writer).

·  Looking for Lennie, a documentary investigating the life of director Lennie Mayne.

·  Keeping up with the Jones’, which sees Katy Manning with Stewart Bevan (Cliff Jones) pay a return visit to the Welsh locations from The Green Death.

·  Plus: a repeat omnibus of The Green Death unseen since Christmas 1973, rare Panopticon convention footage, Blu-ray trailer, HD photo galleries plus scripts, production files and rare documentation provided as PDFs.

·  The six-disc box set also includes hours of extensive special features previously released on DVD including two episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures that saw Katy Manning’s Jo Jones meet the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith).

A specially shot announcement trailer – and sequel to classic adventure The Green Death – has debuted on the Doctor Who YouTube channel; written by new series contributor Pete McTighe (Kerblam!) and starring original Doctor Who companion, Katy Manning. 

Doctor Who - The Collection: Season 10 includes the following stories from 1972/73:

The Three Doctors
Carnival of Monsters
Frontier in Space
Planet of the Daleks
The Green Death

+ PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk for just £39.99 (RRP: £56.16)!

[Source: BBC Studios]

4 April 2019

Showmasters have confirmed that Christopher Eccleston (The 9th Doctor) will be joining them for London Film & Comic Con this July!

Christopher will be attending on the Saturday only, and details on ticket prices are below:

Autograph Price: £95

Photo Shoot Price: £85

Diamond Pass Price: £235 (1x Guaranteed in person autograph, 1x Guaranteed standard photo shoot & 1x Exclusive gift).

In addition to Christopher, there are a number of other Doctor Who guests in attendance, including:

Sylvester McCoy (The 7th Doctor)
Colin Baker (The 6th Doctor)
Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald)
John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness)
Bernard Cribbins (Wilf)
Sophie Aldred (Ace)
Nicola Bryant (Peri)
John Leeson (Voice of K9)
Peter Purves (Steven Taylor)
John Levene (Sgt. Benton)
Mike Collins (Doctor Who Artist) 
Jeff Cummins (Doctor Who Artist)  

+  Click Here to get tickets for this event!

[Source: Showmasters]


3 April 2019

Doctor Who Magazine have sent DWO the cover and details for Issue 537 of DWM.

DWM Issue 537 reveals the remake of Mission To The Unknown!

Doctor Who Magazine 537 also includes:

• What does it takes to become a Stenza warrior? Actor Samuel Oatley explains.

• An interview with the man behind the new version of Mission to the Unknown.

• Colin Baker and the cast of The Ultimate Adventure look back on the Doctor Who stage play.

• Backstage with Colin Baker at Leeds' Grand Theatre in 1989.

• War World – an in-depth look at the script originally intended for the 1989 stage production.

• Cyber Leader David Banks dips into the TARDIS tin.

• Tributes to the king of Doctor Who extras Pat Gorman and visual effects designer Richard Gregory.

• Former script editor Andrew Cartmel remembers Happiness Patrol writer Graeme Curry.

• A preview of this year’s Record Store Day releases.

• Part Three of Herald of Madness, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends.

• How to dress like the First Doctor – along with his friends and foes.

• Does the 1996 TV movie impress the Time Team?

• The Blogs of Doom, audio reviews, previews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!

+  Doctor Who Magazine Issue #537 is out 4th April, priced £5.99.
+  SUBSCRIBE to Doctor Who Magazine, digitally from just £2.69 a month!
+  Check Out The DWO Guide to Doctor Who Magazine!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

29 March 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: John Dorney

RRP: £8.99 (Download) each

Release Date: February 2019

Reviewed by: Chris Swaby for Doctor Who Online


The Perfect Prisoners: Part One

"The Doctor, Ann and K9 are hot on the trail of the Syndicate, and straight into trouble. 

After contending with killer robots and dangerous aliens, the clues lead straight to a machine that can literally make your dreams come true. A device that in the wrong hands could lead to misery for billions.  

But who’s the real villain here? And what exactly is their master plan?"

The Perfect Prisoners: Part Two

"Secrets have been revealed, and the Doctor and his friends at last know who they’re fighting.

An epic journey across space leads them to the true mastermind of the Syndicate conspiracy.

Alliances will shift. Friends will die. Can even the Doctor come out of this alive?"

As this is the finale to the eighth series of “The Fourth Doctor Adventures” it begs the question, can this be enjoyed without having listened to the rest of the series? Well, the answer is yes but it comes with two caveats. Both parts are perfectly enjoyable and easy to follow without listening to the proceeding six stories. However, to get the most out of this finale, I would suggest listening to these first. Added to this, it would be worth checking out “The Daleks’ Master Plan”, why? Because it gives a nice bit of background to this story and well, it’s one of the classics of Who! It may be 12 parts, many of which are sadly still missing but this does not detract from a fantastic serial. 

Part One starts in a pretty lively fashion. We first encounter The Doctor on the run from killer robots whilst trying his best to avert a rocket launch that would mean certain doom for many planets. As usual, not only is he fighting a deadly foe, but also a long standing enemy - a countdown! Meanwhile, the newest addition to the Big Finish roster, WPC Ann Kelso, is chasing down a suspect in true Policewoman style. Here we get a big departure from the usual companion territory, and we experience the first of many shocks and twists that this finale throws up. 


Following the successful stopping of a nefarious plot, a clue is picked up to the existence of the mysterious “Syndicate”, an ever present threat throughout series eight. From here to the end of part one, we stay pretty static on one planet and one building as The Doctor and Ann investigate a media conglomerate on their way to unravelling what The Syndicates’ master plan is. The episode moves along slowly without ever feeling like it is dragging, a hard task to accomplish for a writer but John Dorney manages it flawlessly here. 

 

Towards the end, the story flicks into another gear and the action really ramps up finishing with a huge twist at the end, setting it up nicely for the next part. Again, even without being invested in the series as a whole, the reveal still manages to shock and leaves you instantly wanting to get straight on to the next part. I was intending to listen to it over consecutive nights but as soon as part one finished I couldn’t stop myself from playing the next part, which is always the sign of a good cliffhanger.

 

Whereas Part One kicked off with an all action set piece, Part Two goes the other way and is a lot more understated, which given the huge reveal makes sense. In this part we get a far wider scope in terms of location, moving from one to another as The Doctor works to piece together the fall out from the cliffhanger, whilst also trying to stop The Syndicate’s plan from coming to fruition. On the whole this has more action than the former part, but it is evenly spaced between some great dialogue scenes, with one near the end being a particular highlight of the finale. 


The ending has plenty of twists and turns. At one point you really feel like the ending is clearly signposted, with one character killing another but it defies expectations and goes in another direction completely. In the dying moments, you really think you can tell what is going to happen but again, the writer throws convention out of the window which left me with a feeling of heartbreak followed by happiness at the final words. This is a true talent for any writer to accomplish and John Dorney nails it perfectly.

 

Both parts are full of well acted, entertaining and engaging characters. Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor is as fun as ever. He comes across fun and banterous to start but by the end of the first part and throughout the second his serious side comes out. That’s not to say its a complete 180 degree turn and the humour stops but he is definitely far more on the silly side to start.

 

Ann Kelso is a tough one to discuss without going all in on spoilers so I will try my best to pass comment without ruining any surprises. I found during the first part it was a bit difficult to really pin down her character, there are some interesting things that she is involved in but does come across as a bit unremarkable for bits of part one. I am pleased to say that although she is hard to pin down character wise at times, there is a lot going on with her and there is much to enjoy from the character throughout. Jane Slavin handles the character well and puts in a great performance given the different things she was required to do.

 

K-9 features heavily in this story and the back and forth with The Doctor is as comedic as ever. At times it can feel like K-9 is used as a bit of an easy “out” to certain situations and I found it to be a bit grating in a few places. The main highlight of the supporting cast is Ronan Vibert as “Zaal” who gives a wonderful performance, whether it be confident, duplicitous, smooth, schemer, manipulator or crazed despot. This is one of the best villains Big Finish has thrown up in a little while and I’m hoping we haven't seen the last of him.

 

There isn’t much to dislike here, the only things I found I didn’t enjoy or out right annoyed me can be boiled down into several things. I really didn’t like the voice acting for the character of “Drarn”, as it is such an over the top performance. It reminded me very much of Alex Maqueen’s Master, which for him works well given the character but here it feels a little out of place. Secondly, I thought was a bit needless that this is a two part story that is then further broken down into four episodes. This means halfway through each part, we get a mini cliffhanger, then the outro music followed immediately by the intro music which just feels jarring, needless and interrupts the flow of the piece. 

 

In my opinion, if you are a fan of the Fourth Doctor and / or “The Daleks’ Master Plan” then you are not going to want to miss this. Even if you have never seen that or have never dived into the Fourth Doctor’s Big Finish run you will still find this an enjoyable story. If you want my advice on the best way to get the most out of this - listen to 8.1 through 8.7, then “The Daleks’ Master Plan” finally finishing up with “The Perfect Prisoners”, you will not regret it!
 


+ The Perfect Prisoners - Part 1 & Part 2 are OUT NOW, priced £8.99 (Download) each.

+ ORDER these titles at Big Finish!


18 March 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Jonathan Morris

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: March 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"Once upon a time, a people of great artistry and great knowledge ruled the planet Mekalion: the Kamille. For a thousand years, they prospered peacefully.

Then came disaster, when their sun set forever. Facing extinction, the Kamille made the Locus, a device to sustain their minds; and fashioned shape-changing machines, to act out their wishes on the physical plane…

Servants they called the Kamelion."

Three releases and four stories in, the latest trilogy from Big Finish ends here with The Kamelion Empire by Jonathan Morris. The play answers questions about just who Kamelion was, explains why no-one mentioned him after The King's Demons on-screen, throws in casual references to The Sensorites and less casual ones to The Invasion Of Time, and takes us straight up to the redecoration of the TARDIS in The Five Doctors. All this with a cast of only five actors.

It's a lot to pack in, which only makes it sadder that this play is curiously lacking. In fact, at times it's almost a bit dull.

I think it was when a cast of Kamelion robots deliver exposition in the form of a Jackanory-style tale that I found myself wondering when something big was going to happen. There are primitive grunts who want to overthrow the Kamelion robots, rival factions of a parliament of sorts vying for control of the titular Kamelion Empire, trips into a dreamlike realm, and a lot of backstory, but despite all this it feels like very little really happens. You could trim an episode off and retain the meat and bones of the story.

It doesn't help that The Kamelion Empire feels isolated from the rest of the trilogy. Tegan has defaulted to disliking Kamelion again, for example, despite the opening play in this trilogy of releases (Devil In The Mist) being entirely about her coming to an understanding with him.  Turlough seems to veer between his feelings on Kamelion depending on the scene. There's also some especially clunky writing where Tegan recalls some family history, by a battlefield, despite Kamelion continually interrupting her and warning her to stop. It all feels rather slapdash. The fact the regular TARDIS crew cast sound utterly unenthused in the play's extras only adds fuel to the fire.

Its biggest failing though is with Kamelion himself. It'll surprise no-one who has heard the other stories in this trilogy, but the play deals yet again with Kamelion being possessed and fighting for some sort of control with an antagonist. That makes all four stories in a row to have this as a central theme. In the end, I think it's this more than anything else which turned me off.

Why should I care when the plays have covered this ground before? Worse still, Morris has to actively change bits of Kamelion's backstory to try and do something new. It shows a proper problem with the character and, once again, its limitations.

The opening story in this trilogy got a carbon copy with its themes regarding Kamelion in the second story. This was followed by a lovely play about 1980s television, but one where you could remove Kamelion entirely and not really change a thing. This final story tries to alter what we do know of the character from his on-screen appearances, but winds up retreading old ground.

There have been good things about this trilogy. Black Thursday / Power Game was a lot of fun. Jon Culshaw was fantastic. The CD cover for this play is lovely and the music apes the 1980s soundtracks well. I've little else to really cheer about though.

In the end, this trilogy is more of an argument in favour of the character being dropped than one in favour of more outings.

What a terrible shame.


+ The Kamelion Empire is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


9 March 2019

Publisher: Amazon Media EU

Written By: Jude Austin

RRP: £2.37 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 9th March 2019

The SciFi/Thriller genre is chock-full of tales of a dystopian future, heaped on with a bucket load of aliens and apocalyptic doom, but Jude Austin's 'Project Tau' takes the genre in a refreshingly different - and scarily realistic direction.

Leaving behind the dystopian angle, Austin instead gives us a future that is totally believable; where human cloning is at an advanced stage.

When a frat stunt initiation goes horribly wrong, our lead character Kalin Taylor finds himself in a world of trouble. He is offered a way of his problems in exchange for him taking part in a few 'experiments'. A decision that will have dire ramifications for Kalin, and the world itself...

There are moments when you feel like you have been truly catapulted into the future, but then Austin pulls you back and reinforces the foundation of reality:

"Is this going to hurt?" Kalin said edgily. The scientist (Renfield, he'd said his name was) gave him a rather patronizing smile that set the normally passive Kalin's fists itching, and shook his head. "Of course not. You'll be given a general."

Just that line; "given a general", instantly connects you to something you would hear in a modern day hospital. Such a tiny point to mention, but its utter simplicity and nonchalance ends up being an incredibly clever tool that makes the reader fully immersed in this story.

There were some moments that were hard to read; without giving too much away, a certain 'modification' and a shock end to a chapter leaves the reader feeling a little nauseous. This actually gets even worse during the next chapter, but, again, it's totally down to the realism in which the author paints the world and the scenes within.

At its heart, Project Tau is a morality tale that leads the reader to a stark realisation of where we're headed and what we cannot allow to happen. It makes us assess what it really means to be human, and that you don't HAVE to be human, to BE human (if that makes any sense). By the time you finish reading Project Tau, you genuinely feel glad to be back in the present.

The door is left open at the end for more adventures in Austin's world, and with writing like this, we are very much looking forward to what happens next.

+  Project Tau is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow Jude Austin on Twitter.

20 February 2019

Missing 1965 episode ‘Mission to the Unknown’ is authentically brought to life in unique project, authentically recreated by students, graduates and staff from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The project, known as Sci-fi in a Week, saw a large university cross-disciplinary team remake the lost episode in just five days of rehearsals and filming. This episode is unusual in that it was the only single episode story in the entire 26-year original series run, and also because it is the only story not to feature the regular cast including the Doctor himself who was played at the time by William Hartnell.

Mission to the Unknown’ is one of a large number of missing Doctor Who episodes. Unlike some that have been returned to the BBC, this one is likely to stay lost forever as it was never sold or distributed overseas. But, thanks to UCLan’s efforts, it has now been brought to life again in full 1960s glory.

The 25-minute episode, which was originally written as an introduction to the 12-part story ‘The Daleks' Master Plan’, featured Edward de Souza as Space Security Agent Marc Cory and his efforts to warn Earth of the Dalek’s latest plot. Audio recordings from the episode exist and have informed the development of the UCLan version but no original footage is known to have survived.

UCLan Pro Vice-Chancellor (Digital and Creative Industries) Dr Andrew Ireland directed and produced the episode after being given special permission from the BBC and the Terry Nation Estate, which holds the rights to the Daleks. Nicholas Briggs, who has been the voice of the Daleks on Doctor Who since the series returned in 2005, lent his support to the project by voicing the Daleks for the special UCLan episode. 

Dr Ireland said:

"I’m a huge Doctor Who fan and this episode in particular has always held an air of mystique for me because it experimented with the notion of the Daleks carrying their own storyline without the Doctor present. We kept it as close to the original as we possibly could, so everything from the props and costumes to the acting style, pace and camera techniques are designed to be very 1960s. It was filmed to simulate the low-resolution, black and white look of the era and we’ve been able to use the audio from the original recording to inform stage directions and the mood of the episode.”

The whole show has been created by UCLan students, graduates and staff, with help from Accrington and Rossendale College pupils who were in charge of make-up and prosthetics. It means that students on courses including acting, fashion and TV and media production gain hands-on experience of creating a drama from scratch and are able to compare techniques from more than 50 years ago with modern day drama production.

Dr Ireland added:

“It’s a cracking script and remaking it proved to be an exciting challenge and learning experience for all concerned. We often talk about the theory of historical television production techniques, but this project meant the students lived the high-pressured reality of it! We will give the BBC a copy of the episode and hopefully one day it may become available for people to see. Who knows? To achieve what we have in the time we had is a massive achievement and I want to thank everyone involved for all their efforts.”

To make the programme, the UCLan team had to make four sets; a futuristic conference room, a jungle, a rocket ship, and the Dalek Control Room, which was filmed as a miniature set, as well as creating all the props and costumes. It involved four speaking parts plus three Daleks with seven other actors playing aliens.

The cast and crew were given a treat mid-week when Peter Purves, who played the Doctor’s companion in 1965, and original cast-member Edward de Souza visited the set to see how things were progressing and take part in a special question and answer panel.

Peter said:

“This is an absolutely wonderful project, even more so as this episode was a one-off introduction to the massive 12 part ‘Dalek Master Plan’. I can remember at the time that we (That is me and Bill Hartnell) were a bit miffed not to be included in any way at all, but actually it was a nice week off in the end. I am intrigued to see what has been done and hope it could be a precursor to more reconstructions in the future."

UCLan already has strong links with Doctor Who through acting graduate Mandip Gill who currently plays the Doctor’s companion in the series alongside Jodie Whittaker as the first ever female Doctor.

Mandip said:

“I am really excited to not only see this lost episode finally, but to see what the team has created in just five days of rehearsals and filming. I am very proud of UCLan, it gave me a lot and I am thrilled to see it also give back a lost part of sci-fi history. Who knows where it could end up!”

The UCLan team treated the BBC as the client for the project and that set a high professional bar for the cast and crew to aspire to.

Peter Purves has shared some images [pictured in the right-hand column] from the production on his Twitter account, and, as you can see from our comparison, the attention to detail is incredible!

[Source: UCLan]

18 February 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Roy Gill, John Dorney, Nev Fountain & Jonathan Morris

RRP: £23.00 (CD) / £20.00 (Download)

Release Date: February 2019

Reviewed by: Chris Swaby for Doctor Who Online


A Spoonful Of Mayhem - By Roy Gill

"In a spot of bother in Victorian London, Missy is forced to take on governess duties.

But she has another scheme in mind, and her charges are simply in the way. She’s going to have to teach the children some rather harsh lessons about getting what you want."

Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated - By John Dorney

"Missy arrives in Tudor England, throwing the plans of another renegade Time Lord into chaos.

King Henry VIII is on the throne, and aliens are stomping through the countryside. Missy just wants to be Queen.

And the Monk? Once he knows who else is on the scene, he’ll be glad just to stay alive…"

The Broken Clock - By Nev Fountain

"Tonight, on Dick Zodiac’s America’s Most Impossible Killers, Detective Joe Lynwood hunts the most impossible killer of his career.

There’s a trail of bodies. Impossible bodies. And Joe has one long night to solve the case.

Luckily, DI Missy Masters from Scotland Yard in England, London, England is here to help…"

The Belly Of The Beast - By Jonathan Morris

"Missy’s scheme nears completion. All she must do is subjugate one little planet and bend the inhabitants to her will. Not too much to ask…

But slaves will keep rebelling. It’s almost as if they don’t want to unearth an ancient artefact to fulfil Missy’s plans for universal domination.

She’ll have to do something about that."

One sentence. A world of possibilities. When these words featured in “The Lie of The Land", it seemed so obvious yet so overlooked, what does The Master do when The Doctor isn’t around? Well, thanks to Big Finish this question has been answered.  

A Spoonful of Mayhem
By Roy Gill

So, to open, Missy is stuck in Victorian England. Punished for a crime she is yet to commit, she is trapped by Mr. Cosmo (her warden) with no TARDIS, no Vortex Manipulator and worst of all? Not being allowed to dispatch anyone who gets in her way. 

On advice from Mr Cosmo, she finds a job. The one you would never expect Missy to take is exactly the job she gains. A nanny. Despite the outfit and umbrella, Mary Poppins she isn’t! Well, she teaches the kids in her charge, but in true Missy fashion, this is a means for her own ends. The kids, as supporting characters are a bit under-realized but perfectly serviceable for the story with a nice bit of conflict thrown in towards the end

Missy’s aims are simple, escape the constraints that have been placed on her. This involves a lot of different steps and missions, which slowly come together in the climax. There is plenty of fun for her to have along the way and Michelle Gomez sounds like she is having a blast reprising this role.

This is a very different Missy we are introduced to in the first episode. She is at her sarcastic and threatening best in the opening scene but if you think that sets the tone for the character in this episode then you may be a bit let down. We get to see a bit of a softer version of Missy, whether this is down to her as a character or the fact she is constrained from being able to seriously hurt others is left pretty ambiguous here.

The story is very well written. It moves along at a good pace without ever feeling padded or that scenes are dragging. There is a good amount of mystery than unravels without ever feeling like there are signposts to how it is going to end, which ties up well with the unpredictable nature of Missy as a character. The only minor quibble that I have is some of the acting of Oliver Clement. There are points when the story reaches the climax and the character is supposed to be scared but you just don’t get that from the vocal performance at all. Added to this, the same character provides narration and although this isn't performed badly, it does take you out of the story and feels a bit unnecessary to the story overall. 

All in all, a very promising start to the box set! 

Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated
By John Dorney

Sticking with a historical theme, the second episode is set in Tudor England. The Meddling Monk, hiding from The Time War and stuck with a broken TARDIS is attempting to alter existing time-lines in the hope of rescue from his fellow Time Lords. Missy, on the other hand, is also stranded, needing a vital piece to fix her Vortex Manipulator. Each knowing a fellow time traveller is at work nearby, they both have designs on obtaining what they need from the other.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with Rufus Hound's incarnation of The Monk in “The Side Of Angels”. I’m glad to say that this episode has redeemed the character somewhat. It still isn't my favourite incarnation but this is a vast improvement. This is entirely down to the dialogue and the way Hound and Gomez bounce off each other. The back and forth at times is a riot and it was a genius move to pair these two together.

The problem this causes for the episode it that, as so much is focused on Missy and the Monk, there isn't much room for an actual threat to be evident. The villains of the piece are the Gramorians, a race of collectors that are looking for significant people throughout the galaxy to vacuum pack for their own personal enjoyment. As such, they barely feature apart from a few brief interludes in the run-up to the climax, and when they do come face to face with Missy and the Monk it ends up being very underwhelming.

Having said that, there was no feeling of disappointment when it finished. The good in this episode far outweighs the bad. Again Missy is far less erratic or psychopathic in this episode and it is nice to see another side of her rather than hitting the same beats that are expected of the character again and again.

A very worthy entry into the series and one I would have no problems sitting through again!

The Broken Clock
By Nev Fountain  

Moving on from the historicals, this episode finds us still on Earth, but back in the present day. Detective Joe Lynwood is facing multiple murders and the toughest and most impossible case of his career to date. Fortunately for him, help is at hand from DI Missy Masters of Scotland Yard…. 

The story is told, mainly in the format of an American true crime T.V show, “Dick Zodiac’s America’s most impossible killers”, so you can expect a lot of narration over the running time. However it isn't as straight forward as it seems and at times the fourth wall is not so much broken as it is smashed, pulverized and turned to dust. 

I found this to be a strange and ambitious entry into the series and unfortunately I don’t think it really works as well as it should have. It takes a while to get going as the first two tracks are told in the format of the aforementioned American T.V style and it really starts to grate after a minute or two. It is so over the top and the initial voice acting from the narrator and cast really starts to jar. I’m aware that this is the angle that they are going for but it just didn’t land for me at all.

The constant interjection of the narrator and how it is linked into the story really feel like it gets in the way of what should be an interesting story and leaves the pacing of the piece a bit all over the place. The pace does pick up a little bit towards the end and once the killer is revealed it does become a lot more interesting, however at this point it all feels too little too late.

Missy is a bit different in this story from the preceding two. The sarcasm and madness are still there but the fun side to her has been toned down and there is not much or her psychopathy on display to make up for that either. This also contributes to the story feeling a bit flat, which is a real shame given the premise promises so much and delivers very little. 

The Belly Of The Beast
By Jonathan Morris 

After three Earthbound stories, finally, we get to see what Missy gets up to when out and about in the rest of the universe. What is it that she is up to? Well surprise, surprise it’s enslavement, subjugation, and scheming. Perfect!

In full control of a planet, she is using the local population to work in the mines in the hope of uncovering an ancient artefact. There is just one small problem, they would rather rebel than suffer. The story rattles along and is probably the most action-packed along with the first episode. Each scene takes you forward and there is not much in the way of lengthy dialogue scenes. The end of the episode leaves Missy on a high and a very intriguing prospect if there is to be a second series. 

This story really brings together the feeling of any number of The Master's grand plans and a healthy dash of every quality from Missy that we have seen from Doctor Who and the other parts of this release. Missy really gets to show off her psychopathy, lack of empathy, sarcasm and just how “Bananas” she can be. It is easily the strongest script for Michelle Gomez to show off her wide range of skills and for any fan of Missy, this will tick every box. 

So, would I recommend this release?

Well, if you’re a fan of Missy then it really is a no brainer, there is plenty of the familiar for fans and a fair touch of new stuff to keep it interesting and non repetitive. If your not the biggest fan of Missy then I would still recommend this based on three out of the four episodes, I think there is enough there to be enjoyed story wise even if you are not enticed by the main draw of Missy.

All I can say is, bring on series two!


Missy - Series One is OUT NOW, priced £23.00 (CD) / £20.00 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


18 February 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Jamie Anderson & Eddie Robson

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: February 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


Black Thursday - By Jamie Anderson

"1902. Deep beneath the Welsh village of Abertysswg, men have worked the black seam for generations. Until the day of the disaster. The day that a blue box from the future materialised inside the mine.... and things would never be the same again."

Power Game - By Eddie Robson

"Welcome to the Incredible Power Game, in which three brave Earthlings enter the Void Pit in search of strange gems to help return the alien Hostess to her home dimension. Today's contestants include Graham, Sadia... and Tegan, an air stewardess from Brisbane!"

It's funny how history can impact upon the present in unexpected ways. Despite an audibly older cast, stories which deal with concepts the 1980s run of TV episodes would never have done, and episode running times that often far outrun the original format’s restrictions, give me a Big Finish Peter Davison story which is but two episodes in length and I find myself nodding: “Yes. This feels right.”

The presence of two-episode-long stories in this era's original run lend the format here an air of authenticity that would be absent for, say, Patrick Troughton’s Doctor. Here though, it fits well and whilst I think the ‘pure historical’ label sometimes ascribed to Black Orchid is wildly misleading, its existence lends the opening story in this release, Black Thursday, extra weight.

Written by semi-regular Big Finish director and sometimes-writer Jamie Anderson, Black Thursday takes us to Wales in the early 20th Century where a mining disaster strikes and the TARDIS crew soon find themselves in the middle of it all, helping save lives where they can, comfort the grieving where they cannot, and, naturally, winding up in trouble.

Kamelion and human emotion are the main focus points in this story, leading to a masterclass performance by Jon Culshaw. This is a script which gives us a man having to perform as a robot speaking in a slightly-off Welsh accent that's still recognisably robotic. It's incredibly impressive: to make his accent here authentically Welsh enough while holding back a little but in a way that doesn't distract is one hell of a task but he pulls it off superbly.

Much of the rest of the cast bring a similar level of depth and skill to their performances, too, with Tim Treloar turning in his strongest outing for Big Finish yet and Lizzie Roper giving an equally impressive showing. Add to this the best script Anderson has written so far and you've a recipe for success.

Oddly enough, its weakest element is also its strongest: Kamelion. His plight is heartfelt and understandable and Anderson writes it well with sympathetic strokes, but it undoubtedly feels rather familiar, being yet another case of ‘Kamelion is overwhelmed by another's emotions / mind and changes as a result’. Coming so soon after the exact same plot point being a fairly big hunk of Devil In The Mist, it really does show up limitations with the robot's plot potential, even if it's executed well as is the case here.

That it pops up again in the very next story only further this sense of familiarity, though writer Eddie Robson keeps it on the back burner and lets the rest of his story do the talking.

If Black Thursday was an intelligent and weighty slice of education that effectively grabbed the heartstrings, then Power Game is an intelligent and light slice of adventure that effectively tickles the funnybone.

Set in York in the 1980s, Power Game tells of a television series that mysteriously appears in the middle of scheduled transmissions, much to the bemusement and confusion of the TV schedulers but the joy of a local Science Fiction and Fantasy group. Anyone who has watched television shows such as The Adventure Game or, to a certain extent, Knightmare will recognise this story's use of early computerised effects, contestant interaction and gameplay, and come away smiling. It uses nostalgia well, but better still it doesn't just rely on that to woo the audience but has a strong script with well-realised characters to back it up: Ready Player One this (thank god) is not.

As before, the cast are more than up to matching the high quality with Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson in particular turning in fantastic performances. Match this with a delightfully amusing script (Robson writes for the regular cast brilliantly) and you've one of the most enjoyable hours Big Finish have given us for a while now.

Kamelion may be at once the weak link and focal point / highlight of a good portion of this release (a contradiction I'm still wrapping my head around) but this release of two halves does not waiver in quality.

A story featuring the prominent use of early BBC Micro computer graphics? One about miners? This release has “The Eighties” tattooed upon its chest and it's only a surprise that Big Finish have not gone down this road before.

How utterly delightful that they have done now with such a strong release.


+ Black Thursday / Power Game is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


15 February 2019

Doctor Who fans will soon be able to step inside a virtual reality version of the TARDIS, in an upcoming immersive VR film based on the beloved series called Doctor Who: The Runaway. Jodie Whittaker reprises her role as the Doctor in animated form in the interactive story, which will run for around 12 minutes and will be available on selected VR headsets in the coming months.

Viewers will join the Thirteenth Doctor on board the TARDIS in this animated interactive story from the BBC and Passion Animation Studios. Fans will get the chance to be the Doctor's champion and help her on this exciting adventure, as they find themselves at the centre of the action facing a deadly threat.

Jo Pearce, creative director for the BBC's digital drama team, said:

“Fans will experience the TARDIS like never before in this thrilling new interactive story. As ever, the Doctor is full of warmth, wit and charm – helped by a wonderful performance from Jodie – which puts fans at the heart of the story as they immerse themselves in this beautifully animated world.” 

Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, said:

“Our team at the BBC VR Hub has been creating new experiences with the goal of helping to usher virtual reality into the mainstream, and Doctor Who is exactly the sort of series that can help more people to try this new technology. The show has been pushing boundaries for over 55 years, and VR enables Doctor Who to explore a whole new dimension of storytelling.” 

Featuring new original music from series composer Segun Akinola, Doctor Who: The Runaway has been written by Victoria Asare-Archer and directed by Mathias Chelebourg, whose previous VR films include Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. It has been produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studios

[Source: BBC Publicity]

24 January 2019

Stage and screen star Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, BBC1; Doctor Who, BBC1; The Madness of George III, Nottingham Playhouse; The League of Gentlemen, BBC Two and UK tour) will be lending his voice to the part of Kosley, a hysterical talking computer, in the world premiere of Dark Sublime.

Gatiss joins the previously announced Martina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation) who will be making her West End debut.

Gatiss comments:

"I'm delighted to be a small part of Michael Dennis' delightful, funny and touching play. All lovers of telefantasy and beyond will have their ribs tickled, their minds probed and their spurious morality catheterised (or something). Puny humans, prepare yourselves for the Dark Sublime!"

Directed by Andrew Keates (As Is and Dessa RoseTrafalgar Studios), Dark Sublime explores the complexities of relationships, especially in the LGBTQ community, and the contrast in lived experiences across generations.

This thrilling debut play by Michael Dennis is a theatrical love-letter to British sci-fi television which examines the feeling of belonging that comes with finding your place among the outcasts.

Further casting will be announced in April 2019.

[Source: Chloe Nelkin Consulting]


24 January 2019

The award-winning actor David Tennant will launch his brand new interview podcast ‘David Tennant Does A Podcast With...’ on January 28th.

Promising intimate and in-depth conversations with some of the biggest names in film, television and politics, the podcast’s first special guest will be Olivia Colman. The interview comes ahead of an award season in which Colman is nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars and the BAFTAs for her role as Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos’ critically acclaimed ‘The Favourite’.

Future episodes will see Tennant welcome a diverse selection of influential names including Whoopi Goldberg, Sir Ian McKellen, Jon Hamm, the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Michael Sheen, Krysten Ritter and Samantha Bee. Doctor Who fans will also be excited to hear that Tennant will host the current Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, in the coming weeks. More names will also be announced imminently.   

Recorded in London, Los Angeles and New York, new episodes of ‘David Tennant Does A Podcast With...’ will be released every Tuesday on Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all good podcast providers. It was produced by Somethin’ Else’s podcast division, Sound Directions, in collaboration with David Tennant’s No Mystery and is hosted by Acast. 

Steve Ackerman, managing director of Somethin’ Else said: 

“This is an interview podcast series like no other. David is chatting with stars who he knows and who know him and the resulting intimate conversation is compelling.”

+ SUBSCRIBE to 'David Tennant Does A Podcast With...', here!
+ FOLLOW @DavidTennantPod on Twitterhere

[Source: Acast]


22 January 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Cavan Scott

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: January 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The TARDIS deposits the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and their android ally Kamelion aboard a prison ship. A ship with just one prisoner: Nustanu, last warlord of the Zamglitti – monstrous, mind-bending mimics able to turn themselves into mist.

A ship that's in trouble, and about to make a crash-landing...

On a planet of mists."

With Doctor Who having as many stories under its belt as it does, it’s unsurprising that at times the show wishes to celebrate this. Done well, a brief nod or wink to the past can be amusing and encourage people new to the show to dip into the past. Done badly, it can be off-putting, make the series feel like it is tailor-made for a small audience, and give characters the strange habit of not being able to walk five metres without referencing a former adventure.

Big Finish have historically veered between the two, sometimes in the same scene, and their reputation at times can be of pandering too much to the sort of fan who thinks simply name-checking Vardans makes for a good story, no plot required. The trouble with this attitude is that it means genuinely good nods to the past can perhaps be overshadowed: cue Kamelion.

Kamelion is oft-forgotten, not least by the TV series itself. Almost impossible to operate, superfluous to requirements and absent for months on end, the poor android was pretty much done and dusted as soon as he had set foot upon the good ship TARDIS (I’m using the male pronoun here: if it’s good enough for the character’s new voice artist, Jon Culshaw, then it’s good enough for me). There was potential there though: a shape-shifting companion with the ability to have its mind controlled by outside influences!

The trouble is, the two stories in which he appeared (no, I’m not counting Androzani) show this potential off and so one if left to wonder what else there is to be done with the android. Devil In The Mist by Cavan Scott does not really put those fears to rest, but it does show that there is some exploration to be had with the relationship between bot and human, even if it is largely resolved by the end of things. (It also has a lovely cover, which shows off how gorgeous the android’s design was if nothing else.)

The story starts with a very wary Tegan. Kamelion has links far too close to the Master in her eyes and when he is apparently caught tampering with the ship, her fears appear to be confirmed and she sees red. It’s this fractious relationship between the pair (Tegan angry, Kamelion unable to solve this problem) that forms the crux of the emotional heart of this four-part adventure, and adventure is very much the right word. We’ve crashing spaceships, rivers to cross, a jungle to explore, and secrets to happen upon and the running time does tick on nicely enough. Throw in some space hippos (Scott’s own creations, the Harrigain, who have popped up across media now) and ne’er-do-wells and you’ve something that feels like it’s taken a shot of adrenaline before breakfast.

The regular cast are more than up to the game. Mark Strickson remains thoroughly underrated as Turlough and Janet Fielding is as brilliant as ever. Culshaw, meanwhile, fits into Kamelion’s shoes with utter ease. If anyone has been dipping into the Target audiobook range, they’ll know already how soothing and gorgeous his voice can be on the ears and there’s no change here. He could read the phone book and I’d be content.

I mentioned earlier that not much new is really done with Kamelion though, and I stand by that. There is a nice exploration of companion dynamics (Tegan’s slipped confession that she still feels uneasy around Turlough is beautifully done) but does this story really show the need for Kamelion’s return? I’m not sure it does. (I’m also not sure having one of the story’s cliffhangers revolving around a boat accident is in especially great taste given the tragic death of the android’s original operator. I am 100% sure it’s just a nasty co-incidence but even so, I did wince a little.)

Adventure aside, the script itself passes the time nicely but I can’t say it made much of an impression. Think of this as a blockbuster popcorn movie: the sort you watch with half a mind elsewhere whilst grazing and forget much of the plot hours down the line. That’s not a criticism of the genre at all: sometimes that sort of entertainment is necessary and I’d take it over being bored. I definitely wasn’t clock-watching during this outing, but give me a few months and I am not sure I will be able to regale you with many specifics about it.

Kamelion is now due for a further two stories, and I am more curious than anything else. Will we see the potential hitherto untapped? I do not know, but I am confident that they’ll give it a good go. As a starting block Devil In The Mist is not bad, even if it is not an especially convincing argument for a need for more outings for the character. Perhaps with some of the dramatic tension now eased we’ll see what could have been, with a happier Tegan, a busier TARDIS and a calmer Kamelion.

And if you can’t end a review on a terrible Culture Club joke when talking about a creation from the 1980s, when can you?


+ Devil In The Mist is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


21 January 2019

BBC Books have sent DWO the cover and details for the hardback edition of the classic series adventure; 'Revelation Of The Daleks' - the first time the story has been released in book form!

After the success of the new-era Target novelisations in 2018, which included books by Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, BBC Books are proud to announce the publication of Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks, novelisations of two iconic Doctor Who adventures by Eric Saward, one of the show’s longest serving script editors.


Written by Saward himself, these novels are the only two classic-era Doctor Who adventures yet to be novelised, and their publication more than three decades after their first TV transmission will fill a long-held gap in fans’ collections the world over.


Product Synopsis:

 

"Beware the hands that heal... The Doctor and Peri land on the planet Necros to visit the funerary home Tranquil Repose – where the dead are interred and the near-dead placed in suspended animation until such time as their conditions can be cured.

 

But the Great Healer of Tranquil Repose is far from benign. Under his command, Daleks guard the catacombs where sickening experiments are conducted on human bodies. The new life he offers the dying comes at a terrible cost – and the Doctor and Peri are being lured into a trap that will change them forever."

 

+  Revelation Of The Daleks is released on 14th November 2019, priced £12.99 (Hardback).
+  PREORDER this title on Amazon.co.uk

 

[Source: BBC Books]

21 January 2019

BBC Books have sent DWO the cover and details for the hardback edition of the classic series adventure; 'Resurrection Of The Daleks' - the first time the story has been released in book form!

After the success of the new-era Target novelisations in 2018, which included books by Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, BBC Books are proud to announce the publication of Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks, novelisations of two iconic Doctor Who adventures by Eric Saward, one of the show’s longest serving script editors.


Written by Saward himself, these novels are the only two classic-era Doctor Who adventures yet to be novelised, and their publication more than three decades after their first TV transmission will fill a long-held gap in fans’ collections the world over.


Product Synopsis:

 

"The universe is at war. Action takes courage... The TARDIS is ensnared in a time corridor, catapulting it into derelict docklands on 20th century Earth. The Doctor and his companions, Tegan and Turlough, stumble on a warehouse harbouring fugitives from the future at the far end of the corridor – and are soon under attack from a Dalek assault force.

      

The Doctor’s oldest enemies have set in motion an intricate and sinister plot to resurrect their race from the ashes of an interstellar war. For the Daleks’ plans to succeed, they must set free their creator, Davros, from a galactic prison – and force the Doctor to help them achieve total control over time and space. But the embittered Davros has ideas of his own..."

 

+  Resurrection Of The Daleks is released on 18th July 2019, priced £12.99 (Hardback).
+  PREORDER this title on Amazon.co.uk

 

[Source: BBC Books]

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