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.

Archived news and reviews can be accessed by clicking on the relevant area on the News / Reviews Key panels to the right.

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12 November 2019

Amazon.co.uk have confirmed that the upcoming Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 set (due out on 23rd December) has been delayed until 20th January 2020.

In an email to customers who have preordered the title, the company stated: 

Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below was changed by the supplier, and we need to provide you with a new estimated delivery date based on the new release date:

"Doctor Who - The Collection - Season 26 [Blu-ray] [2020]"

Estimated arrival date: January 20 2020

One of our aims is to provide a convenient and efficient service but in this case, we've fallen short. Please accept our sincere apologies.

The news didn't come as a surprise to many fans owing to the fact that previous releases in the collection series have all faced delays. That being said, the general consensus from fans is that, due to the fantastic quality of the sets, they are happy to wait a little longer for the release. On the plus side, we all have something to look forward to, to help get rid of the January blues!

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

[Source: Amazon.co.uk]

11 November 2019

Demon Music Group presents The Web Planet (including an Amazon Exclusive version), a vintage six-part adventure starring William Hartnell as the Doctor in one of his most weird and wonderful adventures!

The records will be released in 2 versions; a Limited Edition Amazon Exclusive ‘Animus Splatter’ vinyl and standard edition pink vinyl.

In this vintage 6-part adventure, first shown on BBC TV in February and March 1965, a strange magnetic force pulls the TARDIS down to the craterous surface of Vortis. The Doctor and his friends learn that the planet has been invaded, and the parasitic Animus is slowly enveloping it in a web-like domain. The giant ant-like Zarbi are under its control, whilst the butterfly-like Menoptra are battling to reclaim their planet.

Presented across 3 x heavyweight 180g pieces of pink vinyl, this narrated TV soundtrack evokes a classic Doctor Who adventure in all its aural magnificence.

The alien ambience of Vortis, the insistent chirruping of the Zarbi, and the supernatural voice of the Animus are all accompanied by the eerie sonics of Ron Grainer & Delia Derbyshire’s theme tune.

Written by Bill Strutton, this was the Doctor’s most exotic and lavish adventure yet. Linking narration is provided by Maureen O’Brien (Vicki) and the cast includes William Russell as Ian, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara, Martin Jarvis as Hilio and Roslyn de Winter as Vrestin.

Accompanying the vinyl LPs are full episode billings, cast and credits, and eight illustrated panels form a superb artwork montage. This is a first-time audio release for this very special adventure.

+  The Web Planet is released on 13th December 2019, priced £49.99.

+  PREORDER the exclusive edition on Amazon.co.uk!

 

[Source: BBC Studios]

7 November 2019

Our friends over at Character Options have been in touch to let us know about their brand new Doctor Who: Sonic Screwdriver Collection, which is available exclusively on Amazon!

The set includes 6 of the most iconic screwdrivers featured in the much loved TV series including replica toys of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th/8th, 10th and 11th Doctor Sonic Screwdrivers, all featuring a variety of sound and light effects.

The team have even put together a little video showing off the set:


+  ORDER the set at Amazon.co.uk for £69.99.

[Source: Character Options]

7 November 2019

At DWO there's nothing we love more than wrapping our brains around a puzzle, and these Doctor Who-themed puzzles from Say What You Seereally captured both of our hearts. They're taken from the Official Doctor Who Say What You See app that was released a few years back, which was one of our favourite apps at the time.

Say What You See - Puzzle 1

If you've not played the game before, the Say What You See app is a bit like the TV show Catchphrase, only instead of trying to solve individual puzzles, you have a giant painting with 50 of them to solve. Take a look at this Tardis-themed painting for example:

Say What You See - Puzzle 2


This canvas contains references to both classic and modern Who, featuring puzzles that represent companions, planets, episode titles and monsters. Check out the "Sea Devil" in the bottom right - amazing, right?

Say What You See are currently running a Kickstarter to bring the app back, complete with the three Doctor Who paintings - That's 150 Doctor Who puzzles! They also have 47 other paintings which come with the game, on similarly geek-friendly subjects like Fantasy Movies, Superheroes, Super Villains, and Sci-Fi Movies.

This is the Fantasy Movies canvas: 

Say What You See - Puzzle 2

The artwork is really spectacular, and the puzzles are great fun to unravel. The Kickstarter is only running for two more weeks though, so unless you have your own TARDIS, you should head over to their page before time runs out altogether...

+  Kickstarter Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/swys/say-what-you-see-ultimate-edition?ref=628b1j

[Source: www.swys.co.uk]

6 November 2019

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Marc W. Johnson

RRP: $12.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 6th November 2019

Back in early 2018 we discovered author, Marc W. Johnson and his 'Legacy' title. A chilling, yet thrilling horror that was incredibly intelligently put together. This is something that Johnson carries through perfectly in his latest offering; 'Husker', which focuses on our central character, Jennifer, her father's savage murder and how events from the past come back to play a part in Jennifer's life.

This is truly one of the most terrifying stories we've ever read; and we've read a LOT of Stephen King :) - Dare we say it, but even Mr King could learn a thing or two from Husker - it's as psychologically chilling as it is descriptively.

Johnson has such a talent as a writer; everything is so visual and has a real cinematic texture to the description and flow. In that respect, it really is unlike most horrors or thrillers we've read.

Below is an excerpt from Husker which encapsulates the suspenseful and cinematic genius of Johnsons words:

"Molly's ears perk up when a low wooden creak seeps through the dark, but the sleeping couple does not stir. Molly fixates on the rocker in the dark, she growls softly as she backs out into the hallway and sits, still extremely alert. The rocker sways without a sound while Molly watches." 

Earlier we mentioned about the authors intelligence in his writing, and this is heavily based in the way that, as a reader, you feel like you know where things are going (and feel rather clever in the process), only to have the rug pulled from under your feet and taken in a whole new direction. There's nothing more refreshing or exciting than surprise and Johnson knows exactly how to use it! 

You want settings, you got 'em; attics, corn festivals, parking lots (complete with chocolate pudding cups - something that you may find you have in common with the titular Husker). The characters are rich and drawn not from stereotypes, but complex palettes that make them feel the more genuine for it.

The journey that Jennifer goes on is both emotionally and psychologically draining and we're doing our very best not to give anything away, but every page is a step closer to the answers you are desperate to find out as the reader. The resolution, as with everything that goes before it, is a complete surprise, and, unlike some Stephen King novels, Johnson knows how to end his stories with reader satisfaction. 

We are genuinely terrified to see what Johnson comes up with next, and if form is anything to go by, we're probably going to need some holy water, a priest and a clean change of underwear!

+  Husker is Out Now!
+  Buy this book / Kindle from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @WoordMan on Twitter.

4 November 2019

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: J.H. Barron

RRP: £7.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 4th November 2019

It’s Sarah Penworthy’s sixteenth birthday! The sun is shining, the school bell is ringing, she’s got a birthday party to prepare and there’s that boy she really wants to ask out on a date... But all of Sarah’s plans are shattered when a strange silver ball comes crashing through her bedroom window.

Right from the off, J.H. Barron's 'Sarah: The Empress Of The Galaxy' calls out to Doctor Who fans. The main character's parents are called Ian and Barbara, there's a character called Alpha Centauri (although this one is quite different from the one we know in Doctor Who), and there's even a robot called 'Robot Holmes' - surely a nod to the much-loved Doctor Who script editor of the 1970's!

Peppered with tongue-in-cheek references to cult movies and tv (Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek and Sapphire And Steel - to name just a few), oh - and even one for Kate Bush fans, this is a science fiction adventure that has a lot of fun along the way, and despite the genre, is surprisingly rooted in real moments, emotions and decisions.

Sarah, the central character, is 16 years old, and we get a very real glimpse of what it's like to be a girl of her age, and the struggles she faces in her day-to-day life. Barron makes the reader feel her frustration of the monotony of her life, and we too want more for her. It is also rather interesting the way that Barron plays things when Sarah finally does get an opportunity to mix thing up; despite wanting something new, she shows apprehension at the exciting path before her. This was an unpredictable, yet totally believable way of playing the situation.

One of our favourite bits in the whole book was the following exchange between Sarah and Robot Holmes:

“You are to accompany me to the Starship Hound of Love.”

“I can’t do that!” she said.

The robot hovered closer to Sarah’s face, its one great eye piercing into hers. “Do not worry, my Lady,” it assured her, “the teleportation beam is accurate to a degree of ninety-eight percent. The chances of molecular disintegration are very slim indeed.”

“No, no, no!” Sarah blabbed hastily. “You don’t understand— I can’t go anywhere like that! It’s my birthday and I’m going out tonight!”

Barron's use of description for places and people are terrific; there's a particular moment later in the book when Sarah arrives at Voxxen, and Barron's detailing really adds flesh to the world as you feel the almost claustrophobic atmosphere as they venture deeper into the bowels of Voxxen.

There are thrills, twists, turns and enough exciting changes in pace and setting to keep your interest throughout. We were genuinely sad to reach the end of the book and it most certainly left us wanting more.

Without spoiling too much, there's a rather sobering epilogue that addresses the consequences of Sarah's story, and with an ending that unquestionably paves the way for a sequel, we cannot wait to see what adventures Sarah gets up to next.

+  Sarah: The Empress Of The Galaxy is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @JH_Barron on Twitter.

27 October 2019

Speaking at MCM Comic Con in London, this weekend, BBC Studios have confirmed there will be a 'limited run' reissue of Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 12 sets to allow fans who missed out the first time around to complete their collection.

Season 12 was the first in the series of deluxe box-sets featuring whole seasons from the classic series of Doctor Who. It was also the very first season to feature Tom Baker as the hugely popular 4th Doctor.

Demand for a reissue has been incredibly high since its release in 2018, with some sets going for as much as £500 on eBay! 

A release date for the reissue is yet to be confirmed, but DWO will post more news as we get it...

[Source: BBC Studios]

27 October 2019

BBC Studios has announced that Fury from the Deep will be released in 2020. It will follow the release of The Faceless Ones, announced earlier this year, and fill another gap in missing Doctor Who content.

Following the success of existing animations The Power of the Daleks, Shada and The Macra Terror, Fury from the Deep will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and as an exclusive Steelbook later next year. Pre-order will be available from midnight tonight on Amazon.

Fury from the Deep is the missing sixth serial of the fifth season of Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from March to April 1968. Starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, the story concerns a colony of sentient, parasitic seaweed, last seen in the eighteenth century, returning to attack a number of gas instillations in the North Sea in an attempt to take over humanity.

No full episodes of this story exist within the BBC archives, and only snippets of footage and still images are still around to represent the story. However, off-air recordings of the soundtrack do exist, thus making the animation of a complete serial possible once again.

The six new animated episodes are being made in full colour, in the original black and white and in high definition and the release will include the surviving clips from the original 1968 production. It also stars Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon and Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield.

Watch the announcement trailer in the player, below:

+ PREORDER this title on Amazon.co.uk!

[Source: BBC Studios]

23 October 2019

Publisher: September Publishing

Written By: Marshall Julius

RRP: £12.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 23rd October 2019

Question: When is a quiz book not just any old quiz book?
Answer: When said quiz book is written by master of all things fandom, Marshall Julius.

Vintage Geek is quite literally the ultimate quiz book for fans of classic tv, film and comics, from 2000AD to Walt's Wonderful World Of Disney, Marshall has chosen topics you can tell he is passionate about.

The Doctor Who section, for example, sees Marshall focusing on arguably one of the most popular tenures of the shows history; the Tom Baker years, rather than it's wider 56+ year history. Likewise, with the James Bond section, he chooses to focus on the Roger Moore years.

Vintage Geek is split up into 2 main sections; the questions and the answers. Marshall starts off each section by introducing the topic and what it meant to him, making it feel like a journey through his love for each of the shows and movies - such a wonderfully fresh and personal take on the quiz book format.

Along the way there are questions from celebrity guest stars (some true crackers, too), and there's a real mix of questions that will have even the most die-hard fans questioning their encyclopaedic knowledge.

Marshall has included something for everyone in Vintage Geek; Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, Doctor Who, Jurassic Park, The Simpsons and Marvel (to name just a few) all get their own sections - each filled with 50 questions to test your fandom credentials.

Then we get to the answers, and this is where Marshall really brings home the goods. If you think you're going to get just the answer, think again (this is Marshall we're talking about!) - many of the answers are filled with detailed information and trivia, such as actors names, serial numbers and years.

We would be remiss not to acknowledge Mike Reiss' (Simpsons writer) hilarious foreword, followed by Marshall's own touching introduction that makes the reader feel an overwhelming sense of inclusion and 'its-ok-to-be-nerdy-ness'. One particular line really stood out to us, however, and it really is incredibly apt, poignant, and most of all, true:

"I've always felt that to completely grow up, to turn your back on the things that once meant the most to you, would be the most terrible betrayal of the child you once were."

Due to Marshall's immense fandom knowledge, and after educating us with quite a few fact-filled gaps in our own knowledge (that even surprised us), we genuinely felt like better fans after reading Vintage Geek! Go get a copy and add it to your life NOW!

+  Vintage Geek is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @MarshallJulius on Twitter.

23 October 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Carl Rowens & Martyn Waites

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: October 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


Interstitial by Carl Rowens

"When the TARDIS is drawn off-course by temporal disruption, the Doctor and his companions discover a research facility conducting dangerous experiments. But how do you fight the future when time itself is being used as a weapon?"

Feast of Fear by Martyn Waites

"At the height of the Irish famine, a carnival travels the country bringing cheer to all they encounter. But it also brings something else along with them… and it already has the Doctor."

Doctor Who has not been shy of (at times) cribbing from its own past; be it with cast members (here's looking at you, Michael Wisher), titles (The Mutants does have a nice ring about it) or plots (Planet of the Daleks feels very familiar for a reason, after all).

Likewise, Big Finish have certainly never been shy about plundering the past. We've recently had an entire trilogy featuring one-shot character Mags, two outings across two ranges for the same trio of Masters and a Missy, giant maggots pestering Torchwood, and more besides. This trilogy is bookended by a guest star from Big Finish's own original series, and a story with the 1980s Cybermen. Here in the middle, we've two stories with rather familiar beats.

We begin with Interstitial by new writer Carl Rowens. The title conjures up memories of The Time Monster, experiments with time doing likewise, but what we get instead is a fairly generic sci-fi story of differing timelines and the responsibility one has if one can alter events. (That's not a criticism, just an observation.)

The story justifies its two-episode length, not outstaying its welcome and using a small cast well, even if the guest cast are largely familiar tropes with dialogue.

Having joined the TARDIS team in the previous adventure, with hints of a sad ending, Marc is all wide-eyed innocence, a traveller from the past flung into the future, and Rowens gets to toy with his fate at times. I'm not sure how Marc is going to play out yet: confusion and enthusiasm with a dash of bravery are all well and good, but I feel we've seen this before and he will need something more to really grab our affection.

The ending of Interstitial feels rather quick after the gentle pace across the rest of the tale, but all in all this one is not bad. It even manages to take one of my pet hates (people on screen or in audio reading aloud letters whilst writing them) and give it an amusing pay-off when Nyssa signs it off. Hats off to it.

* * * * *

Next up is Feast of Fear by Martyn Waites, another new author. It's always good to see new names in this range, so having two in this release is something to be praised.

Feast of Fear is an odd one though. We sadly begin things with two characters spouting exposition at one another as they run, which made my heart sink and attention wander: there are ways of filling in characters' backgrounds organically and this isn't it.

As for the play itself, you'll be forgiven for thinking you've heard this one before. A circus taken over by a malevolent evil from outer space? I guess any story set around a circus or carnival was going to invoke comparison with The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, but the way around this is surely to do something radically different? As it stands, it just makes it feel like the well is running dry.

Elsewhere, things feel very in tune with Doctor Who in its post-2005 guise. Love saving the day and people able to break conditioning through memories and friendship? Closing Time and The Rings of Akhaten spring to mind.

This makes the play feel derivative. Heck, even a plot thread about the Doctor unable to stop talking has strong echoes of Tell Me You Love Me from Big Finish's (underrated) Class plays.

In some ways, Feast of Fear feels like the most Chibnall-era play we've had so far, with a (very) lengthy justification by the Doctor before taking any action against the monster and an emphasis time and again on friendships and relationships. Even plundering stories from the past is in keeping, seeing as Chibnall has riffed on Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Green Death on screen rather heavily in two of his tales.

It doesn't make for a wholly successful play here, though, if you know the show's past, and let's be honest, most people listening to these plays do. Big Finish are even doing a prequel to Greatest Show in this very range, so I am left scratching my head at the approach taken here.

This release is a story of two halves in more than one respect, then. It boasts one of the best covers Big Finish have given us for years, throws two new authorial voices into the fray, and stumbles as often as it succeeds.

I think on balance that I am okay with this. This release is not going to get a huge score from me, but at least it's attempting to do something vaguely different, albeit by treading a well-beaten path. Perhaps the future will see more success down this route.


+ Interstitial / Feast of Fear is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


15 October 2019

On 5th November 2019, the first ever business selling nothing but official, BBC-licensed Doctor Who merchandise will launch; The Time Meddlers!

Based in the UK, but offering worldwide shipping, The Time Meddlers will not only sell merchandise via their online store, but also at their stand in the heart of London’s Covent Garden Jubilee Market which will open the very same day!

As well as that, The Time Meddlers will be attending conventions across the UK, with plans to expand to Europe & beyond in the very near future.

25% OFF PRE-LAUNCH SALE

From today, fans can register for access to the pre-launch online sale, which will gain them access to the site a few days before its official opening, with a whopping 25% off of ALL products!

To register, simply head to www.timemeddlers.co.uk - enter your name and email address, and you will then receive details on how to gain access to the site for the pre-launch sale which takes place November 1st through November 3rd.

SAVING THE UNIVERSE, ONE PLANET AT A TIME...

The fact that every single product available from The Time Meddlers is BBC-licensed means that the factories in which goods are produced are audited by the BBC (i.e. conditions are safe, workers are paid fairly etc.). This is one of the key principals of The Time Meddlers - that everything is done ethically, sustainably, and as environmentally-friendly as possible.

Products are never individually plastic-wrapped, T-Shirts will be packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard packaging which The Time Meddlers have designed and developed with the manufacturer exclusively. Goods being sent out via mail order are also packed using recyclable materials.

THE TIME MEDDLERS THEMSELVES

The business is owned and run by Shane and Dylan, both experienced in the world of retail and fan events/conventions. 

Speaking on the businesses’ launch, Dylan said:

“Enjoying what I do is one of the most important things for me, and ‘The Time Meddlers’ fills me with so much enthusiasm. Our goal is not only to give Doctor Who fans exactly what they’ve needed for years (a friendly service and affordable merchandise), but also grow & rejuvenate the community for everyone to enjoy and be a part of what we are doing. My main focus is making our stands look incredible, fun and modern. The days of displays looking like something at your local boot sale or a charity shop are gone!”

Shane added:

“This isn’t just a business to us. We’ve been involved in designing and developing new products (which are currently in production), getting really hands-on, because we are fans ourselves. Our goal is to become a part of the fan community and even get the fans involved in what we do. They are our customers, and they know exactly what they want. We have big plans for The Time Meddlers, including a YouTube series which is actually in production as we speak, where genuine fans unbox, review and discuss our products. We’re also working on additional content, but we will announce more in due course! Our priority right now is getting the online shop up and running on time.”

The site is launching with a modest collection of around 50 pieces, and will expand and evolve as new stock arrives and the  business grows. 

You have until midnight, October 31st (GMT) to register for access to the 25% off pre-launch sale.

Once launched, customers will be able to pay using all major credit and debit cards, as well as Paypal.

+  Website: www.timemeddlers.co.uk
+  Facebook: facebook.com/timemeddlers
+  Twitter: twitter.com/timemeddlers
+  Instagram: instagram.com/timemeddlers

[Source: The Time Meddlers]

11 October 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: David Llewellyn

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: September 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"63BC. Following the overthrow of Catiline, Cicero and his wife retire to the coastal town of Cumae, safe from the threats of Rome.

But when a stranger and his companions arrive at Cicero’s villa, new dangers lie in wait and Cicero finds himself plunged into a realm of gods and monsters.

His only hope of returning home lies with a man known as the Doctor. But can Cicero trust him?"

Every year, there is one month where Big Finish give us two main range releases at once instead of the usual solo effort. 2019 throws two historical pairings at our feet at the same time: the Doctor and Houdini in Harry Houdini’s War, and the Doctor and Cicero here in Tartarus.

I heard a few cynical rumblings when this play was announced along the lines of it being less a good idea for a Doctor Who play and more a good excuse for an extended advert for Cicero, Big Finish’s original series from 2018.

There is a decent enough Doctor Who story in here to silence the critics, in part because the series has taken elements of mythology and created a story from them before, as is the case here. It doesn’t necessarily feel overfamiliar though, partly because they’ve decided to buck this incarnation’s norms (Resurrection of the Daleks aside) and give Tartarus two episodes over 40 minutes in length each. It benefits this script, giving room for moments to really breathe and lending the tale a pace that’s gentle without being lazy.

I am not saying there isn’t an element of cynicism here, mind, and crossed fingers hoping people will jump from Tartarus to Cicero. Certain plot points clearly take their lead not just from history but from the series, and having the Doctor enthuse about how amazing Cicero is, while not out of character perhaps comes across as a bit too forced, ditto his arguments with him about who should be in charge and early scenes where the Doctor explains concepts from the future to him at a party. It’s the same with Nyssa and Tegan’s reactions to everything, and an observation and plot point about Adric’s death. It feels a tad like someone is trying really hard, and too self-consciously, to write ‘this is how they would react’ rather than creating something truly organic and true to the characters.

The ending of Tartarus points to more to come in, one presumes, a future trilogy. I’m not sure how keen or excited I am for this development, especially as it rather gives away the ending already. That said, I’m guessing the ending, as painted here, isn’t quite what it appears to be: and if it is, it’s almost identical to that which they’ve done before with post-Terminus Nyssa, which will seem a little lazy. Perhaps it will surprise me further down the line. Perhaps.

I do have to wonder. As of late, much of Big Finish’s output across its various ranges feels rather like we’ve seen this before, often riffing on something we have already had or filling blanks no-one really cared about and making a poor job of it. From Emissary of the Daleks to the sixth series of adventures for River Song to the fan fic slog that was Battle Scars, it feels utterly tried. Those are perhaps extreme examples of bad releases, but that weariness seeps in elsewhere more often than not nowadays, and that’s upsetting.

I genuinely hate writing reviews like these; so down and lacking in real joy or spark; I know people pour their heart and soul into writing words. But I also am not about to lie and pretend it’s all sunshine and roses, as it’s not. Every so often, we’ll be blown away by something really special or brilliant from Big Finish; The Master of Callous here, the genuinely touching Still Life there, the fun and atmospheric Krampus two-parter from Ravenous in the centre. It proves that there is life in the old dog yet, and exciting life it is, too. But with such releases few and far between, I do wonder how long it is before the well is truly dry.

Prove me wrong, Big Finish. I reckon, or at least I hope, that you can, because I know you’re brilliant when you really put your mind to it: you have been dozens upon dozens upon dozens of times before. It’s why I’m still going with you, all these years on. But perhaps I’m just tired of the increasing ‘that’ll do’ releases? And if I am, I’m sure I am not alone.

Prove me wrong. Please.


+ Tartarus is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


2 October 2019

54 years after the original BBC television broadcast, BBC Studios will premiere a new production of Mission to the Unknown, a missing Doctor Who episode that has been faithfully recreated by a team of students, graduates and staff of the University of Central Lancashire.

Mission to the Unknown will be premiered on the Doctor Who YouTube channel at exactly 5.50pm BST on the 9th October to mark the anniversary of the original broadcast of the episode, which was first aired on BBC One in 1965.

The episode will be followed by a making-of documentary short created by YouTuber Josh Snares featuring the cast and crew of Mission to the Unknown with voice of the Daleks, Nicholas Briggs, original cast member Edward de Souza and the classic Doctor Who companion Peter Purves (Steven Taylor) who played the companion to the First Doctor in the 1960s

Luke Spillane, Digital Publishing Manager for Doctor Who at BBC Studios, said:

“I’m delighted that we will be bringing the story of Space Security agent Marc Cory to our 1.3 million subscribers on the Doctor Who YouTube channel as it is such a fantastic recreation, made lovingly with real craft and expertise by everyone at the University of Central Lancashire. I hope audiences around the world can imagine that it’s tea time on the 9th October 1965 as they rather excitingly watch a black and white episode of Doctor Who premiere on their television sets, mobile phones and tablets.”

The project was master-minded by Andrew Ireland, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Digital and Creative Industries at the university, and brought together a dedicated group of students from a wide range of disciplines including film and television, acting, fashion, music, design and dance to recreate the episode from the original script as authentically as possible, carefully researching and reproducing as faithfully as possible the original 1960s production techniques to re-create the classic look of the series.

Andrew Ireland, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Digital and Creative Industries at the University of Central Lancashire, said:

“It is such a loss to our cultural heritage that so many episodes of 1960s Doctor Who are missing from the BBC archives. This project presented us with an exciting opportunity to address that, to explore a new way of bringing these missing slices of TV history to life, and in the process, help students learn their craft by comparing contemporary production methods with historical approaches. The project gave so many people great experiences, and it is wonderful to see the Daleks menacing a black and white jungle once more.”

The recreation caught the imagination of several Doctor Who luminaries including Nicholas Briggs, who has provided the Dalek voices for the recreated episode, and stars including Peter Purves, who played 1960s companion Steven Taylor, and Edward de Souza, who played Marc Cory in the original episode, visiting the new set to lend their support.

You can view the trailer in the player, below:


[Source: BBC Studios]

2 October 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Steve Lyons

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: September 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The world is at war, and Harry Houdini wants to fight for his adoptive country. He might get the chance, when an old friend crashes his New York show.

The Doctor is on the trail of a Central Powers spy ring, which has somehow acquired unearthly technology. But he is also keeping a dangerous secret...

Finding himself on the run behind enemy lines, the world’s greatest escape artist has to work out who he can trust – and fast."

Harry Houdini’s War is the final play in the latest Sixth Doctor and Peri trilogy. Despite being pushed as pre-Trial tales, the use of Dominic Glynn’s theme tune arrangement quickly suggests things aren’t all they appear with this play (either that or someone in post-production has dropped the ball), which is either a clever clue or a bit of a twist killer. The jury is undecided.

We start off slightly on the back foot then, and pre-publicity highlighting that Harry Houdini and the Doctor have met before in Smoke and Mirrors (a play that was one of the better parts of the Destiny of the Doctor series from 2013) it may seem a little off-putting: does one need to know that to enjoy this? Thankfully not, and indeed the relationship between the two men is the most enjoyable aspect of this release.

The combination of Houdini and the Doctor is a rather neat one: the illusionist who wowed the world with the person who saves it. As celebrity and Time Lord duos go, it certainly makes for an easier pairing than the ‘Doctor and Churchill’ one which has to skirt around and turn a blind eye to numerous issues and (ironically) politics to really work, and in the case of the two Big Finish series, also decent scripts and a full cast. I just hope Big Finish resist a trilogy with this pair or an ‘enhanced audiobook’ set: there’s a fine line between being intrigued to see more and seeing far too much. Even Houdini couldn’t work his magic on this.

Aside from the Houdini/Doctor partnership, there is some nice colour to this play. Educational titbits and facts concerning Houdini are dropped in neatly in a way that would make Sydney Newman happy, and I rather like the reason that’s given for why the Doctor seems to be fighting for the opposition. All this said, the script itself feels rather flabby at times, which makes the episodes’ running times feel lengthier than they are in actuality. There is also a strange thing in the first two parts where you reach a cliffhanger... and then it goes on for another scene or two before wrapping things up with a far less effective ending.

More bizarrely, the sound design for Harry Houdini’s War lacks the usual polish which Big Finish brings to the party. There is a scene that especially stood out which cuts from people in an aeroplane to people watching the aeroplane, with what is essentially a fading down of an aeroplane sound effect to denote the transition. I can see what they’re going for here, suggesting more of a pull-back shot than a hard cut between scenes, but it’s too subtle, lacking the visual immediacy audio needs to really sell the moment and creating a slower and messier picture in the mind accordingly.

In the end, perhaps that sums the play up: good ideas and nice intentions, but the finished product is lacking. As mentioned before though, there is mileage to be had with Houdini as an occasional guest star in these main range plays, certainly more than some returning elements or partnerships we’ve seen Big Finish delve into in the past. This particular play may not have the magic one wishes, but perhaps an encore can do it justice.


+ Harry Houdini's War is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


27 September 2019

BBC Studios has announced its first licensing partnership with the popular global brand specialising in customisable stuffed animals, Build-A-Bear, to create a new collection of plush, outfits and accessories based on the Doctor Who franchise.

This is the first time that Doctor Who plush are going to be offered at Build-A-Bear Workshop, with products launching online in both the UK and USA in 2020.

Doctor Who is one of the longest running sci-fi television series in the world, spanning 55 years and winning over 100 awards. This quintessentially British show has a proven track-record in consumer products and live entertainment with over four and a half million Sonic Screwdrivers sold in the past eleven years, over 13 million action figures sold since 2005, over 19 million DVDs sold globally and over one million tickets sold for live events.

Julie Kekwick, Senior Licensing Manager, BBC Studios said:

“We’re excited to be partnering with Build-A-Bear to create a collection that will appeal to fans of the show both young and old. Doctor Who has a huge following and with the launch of Series 12 early next year we’re looking forward to this new range launching online.” 

Anjali Khosla, Senior Manager of Brand Management, Build-A-Bear Workshop said:

“We are thrilled to partner with BBC Studios to bring the iconic Doctor Who franchise to Build-A-Bear Workshop. We look forward to sharing our version of this beloved story with fans and collectors around the world in early 2020.”

The announcement follows the news that Series 12 of Doctor Who is due to air in early 2020 and will see the return of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.

[Source: BBC Studios]

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