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 May 2011

Manufacturer: Character Building

RRP: £9.99

Release Date: 13th May 2011

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 12th May 2011

When a Doctor Who construction set arrives in the mail, it's the perfect excuse to be a child again (unless, of course, you actually are one). Firstly we need to address the elephant in the room; this is Lego, but without Lego actually having anything to do with the product. For years we have championed the fact that Doctor Who Lego products would be a hot item for kids (and adults), but, alas, it seems they didn't spot the gold in them there hills.

Thankfully, Character Options did! And what a treat to behold these new Mini-sets are.

Our first review for the range is the Dalek Progenitor Room. It's not as big as you might think, in fact the packaging can just about fit through a standard letterbox, but this is no problem as it's a great little standalone set.

There are 188 pieces in total, and build time takes between 15-20 minutes. Construction is simple, although a couple of the images in the build booklet are a tiny bit confusing - the hardest part is applying the stickers to the consoles and the progenitor door flaps.

Also worthy of mention is the Supreme Dalek figure that is included in the set. A loyal replica of its on-screen original, easily constructed from 9 parts, but for convenience, comes pre-assembled.

Hopefully at some point Character Building (Character Options' construction range who manufactures the Micro Figures and Sets), will release some extra bases and building bricks so fans can build around the Mini-sets.

12 May 2011

DWO have seen 6.4: The Doctor's Wife and have put our spoiler-free preview together:

When we first heard Neil Gaiman was to write a Doctor Who story, it would be an underestimation to say we were bloody excited. After all, this is the very same Neil Gaiman who wrote the awesome Sandman comic book series - not to mention the Nebula Award-winning American Gods.

BUT... then we heard his episode was being 'bumped' to series six, and were a little worried things would go the way of Fry...

Fear not though! As right in front of us is the (still-warm-owing-to-the-fact-we've-just-watched-it) preview disc for 6.4: The Doctor's Wife - Neil Gaimain's love letter to Doctor Who. (Yes, they are his words, but it really is!). 

In 45 minutes, Gaiman's script takes us to another universe (in more ways than one), and dips several toes into the show's past, present and future - something that will please fans old and new.

As a viewer, prepare to experience a plethora of emotions that will leave you feeling you've run a mental marathon, with no time to stop for liquid refreshment, as you will almost certainly miss something witty, clever or heartbreaking.

As with every episode this season thus far, it is almost impossible to describe the story without giving too much away, but we will tell you this; Suranne Jones, and her character truly shine at the centre of all of this, and the sets and beautiful CGI scenery with its mesmerising bluey-green hues are truly epic. Also stealing some of the spotlight is the TARDIS, and something fans have been begging for since the show's revival in 2005...

Some die-hard fans may view this as a slightly unconventional episode, but this is not a bad thing. There are actually more strands of a traditional Doctor Who story here than you may notice at first, and all the ingredients are there from the cracking story to a purposeful threat, right through to an unforgettable conclusion.

Gaiman takes his turn to hold the proverbial Doctor Who torch, runs with it, and has it burning even brighter by the end.

It's no secret that The Doctor's Wife has had a lot of hype, but honestly, truly, it lives up to everything a fan of Doctor Who could hope for, and will have you hoping this isn't the last Doctor Who script from Neil Gaiman.

Our preview disc is now cold again…time to warm it up!

Five things to look out for...

1) Knock, knock - Who's there?

2) A cupboard with a terrible truth.

3) Uncle's looking a little green.

4) Rory shows his mature side.

5) "The only _____ in the ______ is the _____".

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

11 May 2011

Following today's comments from Steven Moffat on BBC Radio 5 Live, DWO have made the decision to make our online Forums, completely spoiler-free.

The site itself has already been spoiler free since 2006, and our forums have spoiler related discussion contained in one board. However, we now feel that any spoiler discussion at all has no place on our forums, and therefore, as of today, will be removed. Instead we will allow speculation and mild teasers, as per the BBC format, and have renamed the Spoiler & Speculation board to Speculation (No Spoilers).

We are aware that a few fans will not like this decision, and may not wish to use the forums anymore, but we feel it is the right decision, and one that the majority of our members will see as a good thing.

This may sound like a drastic step, but we think this is what the show, the fans and indeed the production team deserve, especially considering how much hard work and effort goes into the making of Doctor Who.

+  Link: The DWO Forums.

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

11 May 2011

Doctor Who Showrunner, Steven Moffat, has spoken out against fans who leak spoilers of the show ahead of transmission.

Speaking this morning to BBC Radio 5 Live, Moffat had the following to say regarding the recent plot leaks that were posted online for the series 6 opener:

"You can imagine how much I hate them, it's only fans who do this, or they call themselves fans, I wish they could go and be fans of something else."

"It's heartbreaking in a way because you're trying to tell stories, and stories depend on surprise, so to have some twit who came to a press launch, write up a story in the worst, most ham-fisted English you can imagine, and put it on the internet. I just hope that guy never watched my show again, because that's a horrific thing to do."

"Stories depend on shocking people. Stories are the moments that you didn't see coming, that are what live in you and burn in you forever. If you are denied those, it's vandalism."

On a personal note, hearing Steven speaking about this was quite upsetting, as you could clearly hear how deeply hurtful it was to find out that so called fans of the show could do this. We remember reading the plot twist at the end of 3.11: Utopia, and wishing that we hadn't. It was after that point that we made the decision to be a spoiler-free site.

Following today's comments, we are going to be extra vigilant against spoilers, and are taking the drastic step of making our online forums completely spoiler free. We originally partitioned off any spoiler related discussion on our online forums to a specific section to enable the rest of the forums to be 100% spoiler free, but as of right now the Spoilers and Speculation section of the forum has now become the Speculation forum, and all spoilers removed.

We are aware that a portion of fans will be angry at this decision, but owing to the fact of how much we love this series, and the work everyone puts into it, we feel this is the right thing to do.

+ Join the DWO Forums for Spoiler-Free discussion of Doctor Who.

[Source: BBC Radio 5 Live]

10 May 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Paul Finch

RRP: £8.99

Release Date: 30th April 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 10th May 2011

The Companion Chronicles have become of late, spring boards for new series such as Jago and Litefoot, or a way to explore concepts only hinted at in previous audios. The Sentinels of the New Dawn is one of these. Conceived as a prequel to the Sixth Doctor lost story Leviathan, it's written by the same writer Brian Finch, using the opportunity to flesh ideas hinted at in Leviathan and offering the tantalising possibility of further stories to come.

The story has Liz Shaw; now back at Cambridge, finding herself caught up in a colleague’s time travelling experiments. Concerned about the potential effect this could have, she calls her old friend the Doctor to have a look for himself. After an accident in the midst of testing her colleague’s machine, the Doctor and Liz are transported to the year 2014, and find themselves guests of the enigmatic Richard Beauregard, the head of a strange and rather sinister political movement called New Dawn. As the ugly truths of New Dawn’s practices are discovered by Liz and the Doctor, they begin to be hunted down by New Dawn’s devoted followers and something far more terrifying...

For an audio intending to expand on ideas touched upon in a previous story, The Sentinels of the New Dawn is a rather 'by the numbers' affair. It does a terrific job of authentically recreating a Third Doctor story with an earth bound adventure filled with numerous chase sequences, Venusian aikido and the Doctor flying a helicopter, but it feels too standard for the Companion Chronicles which have become a great forum to further explore the ideas raised in Doctor Who.

But that is not to say it is a bad story. It is thoroughly engaging and Caroline John gives a marvellous delivery, with great interaction from Duncan Wibsey playing the various supporting characters.

There are some lovely moments such as Liz expressing her regret at leaving the Doctor so soon, though it sadly only comes from hindsight. Exploring this idea more dramatically and allowing the Doctor’s own opinion of Liz’s departure to be heard would have been a rather interesting idea to explore, something very much in keeping with the Chronicles themselves. 

In the end, the play shows itself to be a set up for a greater plot arc in future releases, a bit too readily. Although there are enough ideas in this story to entice listeners to hear more about the New Dawn, this Companion Chronicle, although enjoyable, comes across as merely the stepping stone for something far more intriguing.

10 May 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Marc Platt

RRP: £14.99

Release Date: 30th April 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 10th May 2011

When the closing credits of Survival rolled in 1989, no one watching knew that Doctor Who would not return for a good long while. Production on what would have been season 27 had been suspended leaving potential future storylines for the Seventh Doctor and Ace in limbo.

After the very successful first Lost Stories season featuring the Sixth Doctor, Big Finish have brought to life the missing Season 27, giving us an incredibly fascinating insight into where the show would have gone if it had not been taken off the air.

The first of these stories is Thin Ice, known popularly as Ice Time in fan lore. 

It is Russia in 1967. The Cold War is raging and the Russians are hoping to gain an advantage with the retro engineering of captured Alien Technology but not just any alien tech. This is the ancient horde of a Martian war lord and his devoted followers want it back. Meanwhile the Doctor and Ace arrive and in the midst of getting entangled in the various powers wanting this technological prize, Ace begins to suspect that the Doctor once again knows more than he is letting on.

It is no secret that the returning monsters in this story are the Ice Warriors, who have become something of a favourite recurring foe in the recent audios. But that isn’t a bad thing, due to the vocal mastery of Nicholas Briggs who brings real, dare I say it, humanity to the reptilian warriors.

The appropriately named Hhessh is a fantastic character, speaking one line in particular that had this reviewer stifling laughter on public transport. Various supporting Ice Warriors as well as a number of key supporting parts are played very well by veteran Nigel Lambert.

Sylvester McCoy is in fine form, accurately recreating the rather secretive seventh Doctor from his time on the show and Sophie Aldred slips back into a younger Ace with such ease that is completely believable. The supporting characters are equally well drawn with special mention going to Ricky Groves who makes a convincing Harry Palmer/James Bond turn as Markus Creevy. Beth Chalmers, who will have a greater part to play in the upcoming season, is brilliant in a play in which everyone has a moment to shine.

Writer Marc Platt has done something quite remarkable with Thin Ice, in that he creates the feel of a McCoy era television story on audio so convincingly you can see it in your head... most of the time. However little touches such as the biker gang with Ice Warrior helmets recall the Cyber Henchmen from Silver Nemesis; visual ideas so baffling they could only work on television, which is one of the weaker points of the audio in that a lot of visual ideas fall a bit flat in the audio medium.

All in all, Thin Ice is a rather fun and exciting way to kick off this season of Lost Stories, with some rather unexpectedly dark moments and little hints of the stories to come. If Season 27 had seen the light of day on television, this story would’ve given Doctor Who a strong direction in the nineties.

10 May 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Alan Barnes

RRP: £14.99

Release Date: 30th April 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 10th May 2011

Since Big Finish began producing audio adventures for our favourite Time Lord over a decade ago, they have brought back many of the classic and more obscure monsters from the television series, yet, Heroes of Sontar marks the first time the company have used the Sontarans.

Quite why it has taken so long to bring these clone soldiers to audio is baffling considering how much fun this story turns out to be.

Heroes of Sontar is the first instalment of the second series of adventures for the Fifth Doctor, Turlough, Tegan and Nyssa, and focuses on a platoon of seven Sontaran troopers being deployed to the Planet Samur; a peaceful haven conquered by the armies of Sontar twenty years earlier. 

These soldiers have been given sealed orders for a secret mission, sending them into the furthest reaches of Rutan space. Unknown to the Sontarans, the Doctor and his companions have arrived on Sumar too, looking for some rest after Tegan’s latest encounter with the Mara. Eventually, after crash landings and getting separated the travellers and the Sontarans are thrown together, for there is something ancient and deadly hunting in the dark.

Let us begin with the stars of the audio, the Sontarans. These are the Sontarans of the classic series. You can hear in the pitch perfect voices the echo of the late Kevin Lindsay as Linx and Styre from adventures gone by. It is thoroughly authentic and one of the great pleasures of this release.

What strikes you listening to this play is its rather light approach. The seven Sontarans have very different personalities but all are by the book soldiers and just a little bit thick. Writer Alan Barnes has made no secret that these are the Dad’s Army of the Sontaran Empire and he is not joking. 

They are all very individual characters with their own quirks, strengths and failings, whether it is  Seargant Mezz, an officer driven exclusively by protocol or the incredibly doom laden thoughts of the subtly brilliant character Trooper Jorr.

Some listeners may have an issue with the humorous tone of the story, but it is a clever plot device as it becomes quite clear as the story unfolds, there is a much darker reason as to why these Sontarans are so utterly useless. These are Sontarans that we, dare I say it, care about and it is all the richer for it.

The performances are all very good indeed. Peter Davison excels as always and Sarah Sutton, as the older Nyssa is wonderful, but a special mention must go to Derek Carlyle who puts in a very touching performance as Trooper Vend.

If anything negative can be said about this play is that some of the humour doesn’t quite work. Tegan’s acerbic put downs to the Sontarans become a bit annoying and Turlough has moments of cowardice that seem at odds even with his cowardly personality. The mysterious antagonists could have done with a bit more back story but what we are given is enough to make them work as rather chilling villains. 

With excellent direction by Ken Bentley and a superb musical score by Jamie Robertson, Heroes of Sontar is a highly recommended debut for the Sontarans at Big Finish and a strong start to the new Fifth Doctor season. 

9 May 2011

US breakfast TV show, The Today Show, has a Doctor Who feature presented by Meredith Vieira.

Below is the 8-minute video feature, which includes a clip and mild spoilers for Episode 13:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

[Source: MSNBC]

8 May 2011

The final BARB viewing figures are in for 6.2: Day of the Moon.

The episode achieved a final figure of 7.30m viewers, with an audience share of 36.7% (comparing to the 5.4m / 30.5% Overnights). This is a time shift of +1.9m.

6.2: Day of the Moon also achieved an Appreciation Index rating of 84.

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

[Source: Andy Parish]

8 May 2011

The overnight viewing figures are in for 6.3: The Curse of the Black Spot.

The episode achieved a figure of 6.2m viewers, with an audience share of 30.9%.

Doctor Who was the second most-watched programme for Saturday, with Britain's Got Talent taking the top slot with 10.4m viewers.

Final BARB ratings will be available within the next 10 days.

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

[Source: Andy Parish]

6 May 2011

Forbidden Planet have teamed up with Mego to produce a new range of Exclusive Doctor Who Dolls.

There are currently 4 dolls in the range which are exclusive to Forbidden Planet, and will be sold in pairs:

The 4th Doctor & Sontaran Major Styre

Cyber Leader & The Master

+  The Doctor Who Dolls range are released on 30th August 2011, priced £19.99 a pair.

+  Buy Now from Forbidden Planet!

[Source: Forbidden Planet]

<mce:script

6 May 2011

Any episode following on from the series 6 two-part opener would have a tough job on its hands, but Stephen Thompson's The Curse of the Black Spot, has delivered a mighty fine story that will unreservedly and undeniably buckle your swash.

The adventure begins on board a 17th-Century pirate ship that has been stranded for over a week. Members of the crew are falling prey to a curse of a black spot on their hands, which promptly summons a beautiful but deadly siren, played by Lily Cole.

The TARDIS team appear to be stowaways on board the ship - a situation that  Captain Avery (Hugh Bonneville), doesn't take too kindly to. After a few scuffles and a re-pegging of authority, the hunt begins for a cause, and indeed a cure for the curse.

It all feels very classic who, but yet unmistakably new who too, and a little bit Moffat-y in places also, but one of the biggest winning elements here is the wonderful atmosphere that the story and indeed the set, paints.

It's also good to see Rory being used more this season, and we certainly get to see some different sides to him in this adventure.

Expect some shocks and a couple more signature plot twists that Doctor Who is becoming famous for, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable 45 minutes, made more enjoyable by the fantastic guest cast.

If there is anything negative that could be said about the story, it would be the final scene, which, without giving too much away, feels all too similar to the penultimate scene from 6.2: Day of the Moon.

Rating: 8/10

Five things to look out for...

1) The tiniest scratch could mean death.

2) The brief return of the mysterious eye patch lady.

3) Shiny treasure isn't always rewarding.

4) I'm a _____. I can teach you how to save me!

5) Positive / Negative?

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

5 May 2011

BBC Magazines has today launched the Doctor Who Monster Invasion Magazine Trading Card partwork.

Start collecting the awesome new Doctor Who Monster Invasion and build up a mega-monster magazine and cool trading card collection.

Every issue comes with a pack of nine trading cards and is bursting with cool alien facts, monster slamdowns and puzzles! Learn how to play brilliant games with your cards and how to use them on the Doctor Who Monster Invasion website, to bring your 3-D cards to life and unlock brilliant game bonuses!

This new partwork launches today, so order now and be one of the first to receive it! PLUS receive a FREE TARDIS box with issues 2&3.

+  Subscribe now via the Doctor Who Monster Invasion website.

+  Fill in the blanks with your collection at CompareTheDalek.com.

+  Discuss the Monster Invasion Trading Card series in the DWO Forums.

[Source: BBC Magazines]

<mce:script

3 May 2011

it was bound to happen sooner or later...At last you can now play Doctor Who Monopoly.

The board game, which is limited to just 5000 sets, features all your favourite heroes, villains, monsters, planets and places from the worlds of Doctor Who.

The game will be available to buy from 31st August 2011, priced £29.99, but our friends at Forbidden Planet are currently offering it for the discounted price of just £26.99.

+  Preorder Doctor Who Monopoly for just £26.99 from Forbidden Planet!

[Source: Forbidden Planet]

<mce:script

1 May 2011

Forbidden Planet have teamed up with Character Options for another Exclusive Doctor Who Toy.

The 4th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver is an electronic version of the Fourth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver with 2 sounds and spring loaded sound activation.

The Sonic Screwdriver is a versatile tool and defensive device first used by the Doctor in his second incarnation for opening up hatches, panels and controls. 

Later uses included cutting through wall sections and even as a conventional screwdriver.  During the Fourth Doctor's reign, he remade yet another similar style of Sonic Screwdriver but with many more features and functions including micro soldering of circuitry, cutting wires and bulkheads and even detonating Dalek explosives.

+  The 4th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver is Out Now, priced £19.99.

+  Buy Now from Forbidden Planet!

[Source: Forbidden Planet]

<mce:script

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