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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3 February 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Nev Fountain

RRP: £12.99

Release Date: 31st January 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 3rd February 2011

Perpugilliam Brown, or as we all know her: Peri.

Companion to both the Fifth and Sixth Doctor, her importance in Doctor Who history should not be summarized as that annoying American who wore inappropriate clothing in life threatening situations. There is far more to Miss Brown than you would think and we finally get to see who she really is and, incredibly, who she will be in this very complex and rich release from Big Finish.

The second double length release for the Companion Chronicles since The Suffering, you may be forgiven for thinking that to dedicate two CDs to Peri Brown was mere indulgence on Big Finish’s part. You couldn’t be more wrong, because what we have here is a Companion Chronicle that not only pushes the format in a new and interesting way, but for my money is one of the best audio plays Big Finish has ever put out.

The story begins with young Peri, arriving wi th the Fifth Doctor in Los Angeles in 2009, to track down a Piscon by the name of Zarl, intent on causing mischief as only a Fish relative of the Pescatons would do. But the Doctor and Peri are joined unexpectedly in their hunt by a future version of Peri, claiming to work for a government division that protects the Earth from Alien invaders.

So far rather intriguing but what grabs your attention is that the future Peri is not only older, but she is not very likeable. In fact she is so cynical she could give Lauren Bacall a run for her money.

But as with the best of the Big Finish audio plays, not everything is a simple as it seems.

The very nature of the Companion Chronicles is to allow the listener an experience of travelling with the Doctor through the eyes of his companions. It is their perception of him and his actions that make them compelling listening, and here Peri’s perception of the events that unfold are the key to the whole story, but rather incredibly, we get the story not from one Peri, but by future Peri too. This is a simple but brilliant device, as certain heroic events related by the younger Peri, become not so heroic, in fact rather farcical when told by her future self.

Peri, played brilliantly as ever by Nicola Bryant, makes for a very engaging narrator. Shes funny, surprisingly open about her hopes and dreams in life, such as her desire for motherhood, and warm. One of my favourite moments in the play is where she addresses why she is always wearing high heels, referring to them as “Optimism Shoes”, that by wearing them, she hopes the next planet she and the Doctor land one will be a nice one with no danger. It is little moments such as this, which make you fall in love with her character, making the sombre and cynical narration by the future Peri all the more intriguing.

Not only do we get two Peris, we also get two Doctors, with one, unusual for the Companion Chronicles, played by one of the actors himself and not impersonated by the companion.

Colin Baker’s presence in the play as The Sixth Doctor is not there for the sake of it, for he plays a rather important role in events and to say anymore would be a spoiler too far.

This release rather boldly gives us the answer to really happened to Peri after we last saw her in Mindwarp? Did she really go off and marry Brian Blessed? Well we finally get our answer, and it is devastating.

Throughout the play, the madness of the adventure gives way to some heart wrenching moments as we learn of Peri’s fate and it is a credit to writer Nev Fountain that with all the mad comedy and emotional drama going on the tone of the play does not jar, but flows beautifully between the two.

If any criticism could be brought up is that some of the running jokes, particularly those about plastic surgery wear a bit thin early on and some of the supporting characters are merely plot devices, but they are rather small issues when, as a whole, this audio play is a triumph.

 

1 February 2011

Former EastEnders actor Lee Ross and Misfits guest star Danny Sapani have both landed roles in the new series of Doctor Who, their agency CVs reveal.

Lee Ross, who played alcoholic wife beater Owen Turner in the BBC One soap between 2006-2009, has been cast as Boatswain in Episode 3, written by Steve Thompson (Sherlock) and directed by Jeremy Webb. Ross also played Gene Hunt’s rival, DCI Derek Litton, in both Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes.

Danny Sapani, who played doomed probabtion officer Tony Morecombe in Episode 1 of Misfits, has been cast as Colonel Manton in Episode 7, titled 'Demons Run'.

[Source: Cultbox]

1 February 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Eddie Robson

RRP: £10.99

Release Date: 31st January 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Young for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 1st February 2011

Part of the on-going fourth series of Eighth Doctor stories, Prisoner of the Sun marks another great Paul McGann adventure which, although sagging in some sections, is filled with brilliant ideas and sets up a drama-rich dilemma for The Doctor to face...

While all Big Finish dramas help expand the scope of the Doctor Who world, Paul McGann’s recent adventures hold particular appeal to fans. Any story involving The Eighth Doctor allows us to speculate on what direction the ‘lost series’, abandoned following the 1996 TV movie, might have taken. Into its fourth series of Eighth Doctor stories, Big Finish has revealed McGann as a brilliant Doctor. 

The story to Prisoner of the Sun immediately attracts your attention. We find the Doctor a prisoner; having been trapped inside a scientific station, located within a sun, for six years. Assisting a rebel group in their efforts against the sinister ‘Consensus’ – a collection of leaders who, having bought an end to wars in their system, themselves became tyrannical despots – The Doctor has been captured and forced to maintain the base. Having originally being intended as a method of using the sun’s energy as a weapon, the base now needs to be operated in order to stabilise the star and prevent a super-nova that would destroy the two billion lives on nearby planets. 

This provides a brilliant twist to the ‘prisoner’ story line. The Doctor describes himself not as a prisoner of force, but one of responsibility. Perfectly fitting with The Doctor's character, he could escape at any time but instead remains until he can ensure the safety of the planets below. This cleverly shifts the story away from a simple ‘great escape’ focus to more dramatically rich territory. The Mercurials, a mercury-like species hired to guard the base, are a great idea but also are presented as fleshed out characters. The rebels who arrive on the base, however, provide the key drama. Through the majority of the story you are left unclear whether they want to save The Doctor, kill him, or use him for their own ends. 

As The Doctor would be nothing without a companion, he has been provided with an android assistant whose character and appearance he can adapt to his will. In a brilliant scene, The Doctor dictates his preferred personality settings: “why don’t we start off with loyal, eager, earnest...sense of humour.” By doing this, The Doctor in effect ‘creates’ his perfect companion and, while this description could match most past companions, giving the android the voice of Lucie Miller demonstrates that The Doctor has become very attached to the character. Although his choice of voice becomes a story element later on, this is a very clever way to develop the relationship without Lucie being present in the story (having left The Doctor in the previous instalment). It also provides Sheridan Smith with an opportunity to play two very different characters: The Doctors current, sweet android Daphne and his previous, sinister android Sophie. Smith embraces the opportunity and provides some very humorous scenes to those in the know about the real Lucie’s relationship with The Doctor.

Throughout the story, The Doctor is forced to question the very reality of the situation he is in. The drama centres on whether the characters in the story are willing to risk the lives of billions to further their own ends. However, while fun at first, the discussion between The Doctor and Hagan the rebel – during which they each present different theories about nature of their scenario – goes on for too long. While McGann’s Doctor is, by nature, calm and reasoned in his discussion, this is complimented by the performance of Antony Costa which comes across slightly flat in these scenes and detracts from the potential drama.

Still, the story quickly picks up the pace and leads to a very satisfying conclusion. Of particular note is the sound effects used throughout. The use of different alarms in a number of scenes really adds to the tense atmosphere. There is an alarm for various dangerous scenarios and more sound as the situation grows more and more dire. It’s a very simple method, but also very effective. Add to all this a gripping final moment that will have you counting the days till the next release in the series, and this story comes highly recommended.

 

31 January 2011

The Spotlight entry for actor, Simon Fisher-Becker, who played Dorium Maldavar in 5.12: The Pandorica Opens, states that he will return to the role in Episode 7 of Series 6.

The entry also confirms the title as being 6.7: Demons Run, although this could still change.

To add further substance to this, a recent image has surfaced online via DoctorWhoSpoilers.com, which you can see to the right. This image is copyright to Steve Joes.

** DWO do not post spoiler related information on our news pages, but as this pertains to a an episode title, we thought it newsworthy. For spoiler related discussion as well as other pictures from filming, you can check out the Series 6 Spoilers and Speculation thread on the s425_S6-Spoilers-and-Speculation.aspx">DWO Forums.

[Source: DWO Forum Member; Kavien]

27 January 2011

Manufacturer: BBC Children's Books

Written By: Justin Richards & Trevor Baxendale

RRP:  £6.99

Release Date: 3rd February 2011

Reviewed by: Rebecca Holbourn for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 27th January 2011

I found the idea of a two in one book rather exciting, but you instantly face this awful dilemma of which to read first due to the fact that both have fronts. So, naturally I turned the book over several times before choosing. I was excited to find out that Rory featured in both stories but disappointed he hadn’t made it on to the cover too.

I settled down to read Heart of Stone and was not disappointed as was instantly presented with a mysterious event to which there seemed no logical and immediate reason. How does a wall fall down as though hit by a lorry that doesn’t exist and why have all the rocks turned in to moonstone? Intrigued I read on, the characters capturing me and feeling very in tune with the show. The Doctor, in his Doctory way flounced around getting under everybody’s feet with Amy and Rory desperately trying to keep up. It is quite a light plot, although it does have its darker moments. There are several parts which make you laugh out loud and a few which have you on the edge of your seat. All the way through the twists and turns keep you constantly guessing and intrigued. Everything turning to stone really makes you wonder how can everything turn back? Although occasionally, it can have a slight lack of clarity and the occasional illogical moment, it is a book which keeps you captured and despairing that normality can ever return to the village, which is just what you look for in any good plot.

Thrilled with the first half I eagerly turned the book over and started reading Death Riders. Well, with a ride called “The Death Ride”, that is just asking for trouble. Why are some tunnels out of limits? And will the death ride actually lead to death? There is a lot of suspense built up in this book and you constantly long to know what is waiting round the corner. The funfair itself is enjoyable and Rory in particular jumps off the page whilst trying to win something. I found this half to have a more comedic Doctor and it is really easy to imagine all the scenes taking place. I always find it enjoyable to make the connections at a similar pace to The Doctor as it feels like I am being lead down the path at the correct pace. It had some really wonderful characters and even made you recoil at imaginary smells. Occasionally a bit more description was needed but aside from that it was a really simple plot to follow and I look forward to rereading it in the future.

Both books are very enjoyable and make you want to keep reading till the end in one sitting. I really enjoyed both endings and they felt very satisfying and cheering. They are both very close to character and feel very believable. They are definitely books I would recommend even though they feel aimed at a younger audience then normal. There is enough depth and mystery to all so that you aren't constantly reminded that you are older.

I enjoyed the layout of the books and it was with a pang of sadness that I couldn’t turn over and find another book waiting for me to read.  Very enjoyable and I look forward to reading more in the future, as both Authors are always top class and reliably so.

 

Reviewed by: Matthew Edge for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 27th January 2011

The only problem with this book is deciding which of the two stories to read first. The book is designed so there is no preference shown to either story. I recommend flipping it (carefully) and start with which ever is facing up, either way you won’t be disappointed.

Both stories are set after Series five and include Rory in the TARDIS crew. Both stories capture the characters of the main cast well and the dialogue fits so well I can hear the voices in my head. They don’t have a crowded TARDIS problem; both Amy and Rory have important moments in both stories. It is Rory that jumps out at me in this he has some very nice moments which fit him perfectly.

Heart of Stone is an unearthly mystery story set on a farm in England. Moon rocks are scattered around after a ‘not a lorry’ hits a wall but that is just a minor inconvenience, the bigger problem is about to walk in. The setting ties in well with Season Five, being set on a farm out yonder far from any place of interest. The characters are well built and rounded and they all add to the story with no added padding. The monster is well thought-out and is a big threat to all the characters. The short chapters help the story flow along at a fast pace. The Science is just there to move the plot along, which is all it needs to be.

All the fun of the Fair and so much more. Death Riders has its fair share of funny, strange, puzzling and musical moments all fitting together to give an enjoyable yarn. A story of dangerous tunnels, smelly old ‘men’, a funfair in an asteroid and an aptly named ride. This is a well plotted story leading up to an unpredictable climax. The only disappointment being that The Doctor doesn’t dust off his recorder.

The book is seemingly aimed at any fan of the TV show, it has something for everybody; Monsters, Aliens, Jokes and for the older fan, many references to the classic series (how many references to The Chase can you spot). It is a book that hits the heart of Doctor Who and doesn’t let you down. But putting it down and not reading it in one sitting was hard. The end of each chapter was a cliffhanger drawing you into the next page.

Overall it is a strong book and highly recommended.

 

Reviewed by: David J. Bascombe for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 27th January 2011

Death Riders starts, as many of my favourite Doctor Who stories do, in an underground cave system. The first chapter providing what would essentially be the pre-credits sequence if this was to be adapted for an episode of the current television incarnation of the series.  That being said, whilst The Doctor, Amy and Rory are all very much of the 21st century, elements of the story, particularly the monster of the piece, and the mystery surrounding the cave system, reminded me of the 80s era of the television show. 

Once the mystery of the cave system and the mysterious deaths is revealed the story turns into a high risk adventure and a race against time. One of the benefits of Doctor Who in print form is that it is able to do things the TV series can’t do due to budget or safety limitations. I doubt that the Death Ride scene could be realised on screen as I imagined it without taking a large amount of the budget.

Whilst Death Riders is an enjoyable read that captures the characters we know well, Heart of Stone feels like it’s influenced by the show, rather than an actual part of the on-going story of the three characters.  Whilst the names are the same the characters don’t actually feel like the Doctor, Amy and Rory that I know.

In terms of the story I felt Heart of Stone to be less enjoyable than Death Riders. I found it rather difficult to care about the characters and after a while, the mystery surrounding the Rock Man.

Reading the book I was conscious of the target age range being 8-11. A good book can be enjoyed by all and the reader shouldn’t notice the author writing for a specific age range. Whilst this seemed true of Death Riders I felt that Heart of Stone was written for the younger end of the target audience.

The book is worth buying for Death Riders, as you’ll also have Heart of Stone as well, you might as well read it. You might like it after all. 

 

Reviewed by: Richard Orr for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 30th January 2011

Death Riders

The Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive on the planet of Stanalan and walk straight into a Galactic Fair. Underneath the fun facade evil lurks in the shadows and when people start dying in mysterious circumstances the Doctor has a new mystery to solve.

Death Riders is a new story by long time Doctor Who novel writer Justin Richards and transports our heroes onto the planet as its residents await the completion of the adrenaline fuelled Death Ride.

However dark forces are at work and all is not as it may seem when Amy takes pity on a man and his furry friend.  Before long the whole universe is in danger as a long buried secret waits to be released.

The story itself starts off slow and calm, much like the Death Ride, and then begins to pick up pace as it hurtles with breakneck speed to a fantastic conclusion.

The characters are well written and the story feels epic in scale owing to the amount of people the Doctor, Amy and Rory come into contact over the course of the book as well as the sheer length of time it takes for the Death Ride to reach from one side of the planet to the other.  This is a fantastic story that will grip the reader from beginning to end.

Heart of Stone

A quiet farm in the middle of nowhere. Sounds normal doesn’t it? Well all is not as it seems especially when night falls and stone comes to life.

Heart of Stone is the latest story from Doctor Who novelist Trevor Baxendale and drops the Doctor, Amy and Rory into what looks like a normal quiet farm. Upon arrival it becomes obvious that all is not what it seems especially when pieces of moon rock are found among the rubble of a destroyed wall.

So begins a story of death and destruction which takes the reader to the moon and back. The writer gets the characters of the Doctor, Amy and Rory spot on and the supporting cast are equally well written, so much so that you really feel for them during some rather traumatic events throughout this half of the book and like Death Riders before it feels like an old school Doctor Who television story.

In contrast to Death Riders this story feels a lot smaller in scale with only 7 main characters in play during the course of the adventure. Not that this is a bad thing.

My one problem with the story was that the writer felt the need to introduce the Doctor, Amy, Rory and the TARDIS like we didn’t already know who or what they are but as it takes up so little time in the book itself and the story is so good I shall forgive this.

Reviewed by: Emma Dudley for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 30th January 2011

The new style of Doctor Who books (2 in 1) is an ingenious idea, as the Doctor would say - especially as when you finish one book and you're left craving just a little bit more, you can just turn it over and there's another book! The covers themselves are wonderful illustrations of the monsters contained within each of the books. Flipping over from to the other is a great advantage and each title attracts you to look inside. However there is one slight problem in choosing which book to read first! Do I go for the Death Riders with the luring line of "It's not all fun at the Galactic Fair," or Heart of Stone and its "A single touch could turn you to stone forever," which sounds quite frankly, terrifying.

I made the tough decision of reading Death Riders by Justin Richards first. The initial chapter pulls you in just like a rollercoaster, (awful pun there, I apologise) and you are left wondering what has happened. Richard's has written the three characters perfectly, particularly the Doctor's randomness that he has and his urges to lick rocks. As well as Amy's persistence, the Doctor is always late. The talk of 'off limits' rings alarm bells and the Doctor does his usual raggedy investigating. Three new characters come to light in this adventure: Perpetual Pete, Gravo the musician and his "animal" Drexxon. 

There are many twists in the story and life for the humans within the meteorite they call home has its own danger they are unaware of. A hidden history threatens to bring home to both the Doctor, Amy, Rory and the human community. You'll have to read the nail biting conclusion yourself to find out about Drexxon and if the Doctor and his friends do indeed save the day. 

Heart of Stone by Trevor Baxendale is the next Doctor Who adventure, literally a page away. A mysterious beginning yanks you into the pages - is it a meteorite? An aeroplane? An alien? You'll soon find out. The TARDIS landing in a pigsty is amusing and our three regulars reveal themselves to two new ones, a farmer and his daughter and not forgetting Percy the pregnant pig. The Doctor jumps right into the heart of the matter and just as night falls a creature returns to wreck havoc. A farmhouse is destroyed and lovers separated. The moon involves itself and Rory even gets a trip there; one small step for Rory etc. 

The fast paced adventure goes on and you wonder how the Doctor and his friends will save the Earth. In the only way he knows how, the Doctor confuses everyone with his technobabble. A jaunt to a laboratory shows hidden a secret of an experiment gone wrong. The farmer becomes one of the enemy and the technobabble becomes out of control. You will have to read on yourself to see how Heart of Stone ends. 

Both books are fantatatic reads and being able to read 2 in 1 is just a great advantage. They read just like an episode would and the characters are described wonderfully. The separate adventures with their own twists and turns. I can't wait to get my hands on more adventures. 

26 January 2011

Doctor Who failed to win the Best Drama & Best Drama Performance categories at this years National Television Awards.

The Best Drama award, which the show has won for the past 5 consecutive years, instead went to Waterloo Road, in a shock twist that even the bookies couldn't predict.

Even the Best Drama Performance category failed to snag the show an award for Matt Smith, who lost out to David Jason.

Clearly this is a shock for fellow fans, especially as the show has ranked so highly at the awards in previous years.

There was, however, solace in the form of a 3-minute Doctor Who sequence at the be ginning of the show, which featured Matt Smith and Dermot O'Leary. A search on YouTube for 'NTA Doctor Who 2011' will bring up the video.

Regardless of the outcome, it is DWO's opinion that Series Five was one of the finest for Doctor Who to date, with excellent writing, a fantastic cast, and a painstakingly hard working production team to boot. Chins up guys and gals - you were robbed!

The nominations were voted for by the public and the winners announced live on television earlier this evening.

[Source: National Television Awards]

26 January 2011

BBC Books have sent DWO the covers and details for the April 2011 Doctor Who Novels:

Dead of Winter

Written by James Goss

‘The Dead are not alone. There is something in the mist and it talks to them.'

In Dr Bloom’s clinic at a remote spot on the Italian coast, at the end of the 18th century, nothing is ever quite what it seems. Maria is a lonely little girl with no one to play with. She writes letters to her mother from the isolated resort where she is staying. She tells of the pale English aristocrats and the mysterious Russian nobles and their attentive servants.

She tells of intrigue and secrets, and she tells of strange faceless figures that rise from the sea. She writes about the enigmatic Mrs Pond who arrives with her husband and her physician, and who will change everything. What she doesn’t tell her mother is the truth that everyone knows and no one says – that the only people who come here do so to die.

Hunter’s Moon

Written by Paul Finch

‘There's no end to the horror in this place - it's like Hell, and there are devils round every corner.’

Welcome to Leisure Platform 9 – a place where gamblers and villains rub shoulders with socialites and celebrities. Don’t cheat at the games tables, and be careful who you beat. The prize for winning the wrong game is to take part in another, as Rory is about to discover – and the next game could be the death of him.

When Rory is kidnapped by the brutal crime lord Xorg Krauzzen, the Doctor and Amy must go undercover to infiltrate the deadly contest being played out in the ruins of Gorgoror. But how long before Krauzzen realises the Doctor isn’t a vicious mercenary and discovers what Amy is up to? It’s only a matter of time. And time is the one thing Rory and the other fugitives on Gorgoror don’t have. 

They are the hunted in a game that can only end in death, and time for everyone is running out...

The Way Through the Woods

Written by Una McCormack

‘The motorway bends around the woods. So did the old road. So did the Roman road. As long as people have lived here, they've gone out of their way to avoid the woods...’

England, today. Between the housing estate and the motorway lies an ancient wood. The motorway bends to avoid it. Last week, teenager Laura Brown went missing. Tonight, Vicky Caine will miss her bus and take a shortcut through the wood. And she will disappear too. England, 1917. Between the village and the main road lies an ancient wood. The old Roman road bends to avoid it.  Tonight Emily Bostock and a man called Rory Williams will go to the woods.

Investigating events in the present day and back in 1917, the Doctor and Amy are desperate to find out what’s happened to Rory.  He was supposed to look after Emily – and now they’ve both vanished. Something is waiting in the woods. Something that’s been there for thousands of years. Something that is now waking up...

+  All three novels are released 28th April 2011, priced £6.99 each.

+  Compare Prices for these books on CompareTheDalek.com.

[Source: BBC Books]

26 January 2011

Tonight sees the announcement of the winners at the 2011 National Television Awards, where Doctor Who features in two categories:

Best Drama - Doctor Who

Best Drama Performance - Matt Smith, Karen Gillan

Regardless of the outcome, however, Doctor Who fans will be treated to a short Doctor Who themed sketch, in which Matt Smith and Dermot O'Leary travel in the TARDIS to the EastEnders and Coronation Street sets.

+  The National Television Awards, airs at 7:30pm on ITV1.

[Source: Steven Day]

25 January 2011

Classic Series Doctor Who Editor, Tariq Anwar has been nominated for Film Editing in the 2011 Academy Awards.

Anwar, whose previous Doctor Who editing credits include; The Face of Evil, The Sun Makers and Shada, received the nomination for his work on The King's Speech.

The King's Speech has a total of 12 nominations in this year's awards.

[Source: Neil Marsh]

25 January 2011

Yesterday, the BBC Press Office issued a press release outlining plans for a 25% cut in the budget for BBC Online's service listing budget - a move that will see half of the Top Level Domains closing.

As a result of this news, DWO was inundated with emails from our visitors wanting to know if the BBC Doctor Who Site was included in the cuts. We got in touch with the publicity team for BBC Online who gave us the following statement:

"The BBC Doctor Who site will not close.

As background, we’ve just posted a blog about the proposed reduction in top-level domains which explains how we’ve identified which directories or sites we’ll be removing from BBC Online over time.  To ensure quality for our audiences it’s necessary to reduce the number of individual websites we manage and concentrate resources in areas where they can be used to best effect.

To streamline efforts further, in future automatically-generated programme pages which will be hosted at bbc.co.uk/programmes – these are dynamically populated and will help us to ensure our web publishing operation is as cost-effective as possible.  But, rest assured, bespoke online offerings for popular programmes like /doctorwho will remain due to the continued value they deliver to large audiences. 

We hope you continue to enjoy the content on offer!"

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

21 January 2011

Forbidden Planet have teamed up with Character Options for another Exclusive Action Figure set.

The Sontaran Experiment Set features The 4th Doctor with Sontaran Field-Major Styre and Sontaran Ship from The Sontaran Experiment.

The Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan arrive on a desolate and apparently deserted Earth to discover that a group of shipwrecked astronauts from a human colony, GalSec, have been lured there by a fake distress call!

Contains the Fourth Doctor in duffle coat and hat action figure with Sonic Screwdriver.Sontaran Field-Major Styre action figure with helmet and gun and Sontaran Ship.

The Sontaran Experiment Set is released 20th February 2011, priced £34.99.

+  Buy Now from Forbidden Planet!

[Source: Forbidden Planet]

<mce:script

21 January 2011

2|Entertain have sent DWO the cover and details for the March 2011 DVD release of Mara Tales.

Kinda

On a beautiful, paradise planet, Deva Loka, its inhabitants, the Kinda, are a gentle and seemingly primitive people. On the surface, a perfect place to colonise. But if it is so perfect, why are the colonisation team disappearing one by one?

Unaware of this, the Doctor and his companions choose to rest on Deva Loka. Enchanted by the beautiful Chimes, "the place of dreams", Tegan sleeps and falls prey to the Mara, a malevolent force out to steal her mind. But just what are its ultimate evil intentions?

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Adric are captured by the surviving colonisation team's officers, Sanders and the unstable Hindle. When Sanders disappears, Hindle collapses into a world of paranoid delusions and suddenly the security of the entire base is at risk.

Can the Doctor rescue Tegan from the Mara and defeat it - before it pushes Hindle over the edge? And who is the mysterious blind woman who appears in visions? Will she help the Doctor or ultimately impede him...

Kinda - Special Features:

• 4 x 25 mins approx colour episodes with mono audio.

• Commentary - stereo. With actors Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Matthew Waterhouse and Nerys Hughes.

• Dream Time (dur. 34’ 05”) – cast and crew look back at the making of the story. With actors Janet Fielding, Nerys Hughes, Simon Rouse and Adrian Mills, director Peter Grimwade, writer Christopher Bailey, script editors Christopher H. Bidmead, Eric Saward and Antony Root, designer Malcolm Thornton, new series writer Robert Shearman.

• Peter Grimwade - Directing with Attitude (dur. 22’ 57”) – a look at the Doctor Who career of writer and director Peter Grimwade. With Peter Grimwade, actors Janet Fielding and Nerys Hughes, writer Christopher Bailey, script editor Eric Saward, production assistant Margot Hayhoe, designer Malcolm Thornton, production secretary Jane Judge, script consultant Ian Levine, and Target Books editor Nigel Robinson. Presented by Mark Strickson.

• Deleted and Extended Scenes (dur. 14’ 36”) – a fascinating collection of deleted sequences taken from timecoded domestic videotape copies of the story’s early edits.

• Optional CGI Effects Sequence – option to view episode four with the original giant puppet snake replaced by a CGI snake.

• CGI Effects Comparison (dur. 1’ 34”) – a side by side comparison of the original puppet and new CGI snake shots.

• Trails & Continuity (dur. 4’ 13”) – BBC trails and continuity announcements from the story’s original transmission.

• Photo Gallery (dur. 4’ 42”) - production, design and publicity photos from the story.

• Isolated Music – option to watch the story with the isolated music score.

• Coming Soon (dur. 1 min approx.) - a trailer for a forthcoming DVD release.

Snakedance

Surely Tegan must have made a mistake when she set the TARDIS' co-ordinates, because the Doctor certainly hadn't intended landing on Manussa? But upon learning that Manussa was once home of the Sumaran Empire, the Doctor knows that their arrival has been no accident but has been orchestrated by a hostile force - a force which is rapidly gaining control of Tegan's will.

By first infiltrating Tegan's subconscious mind, through strange and disturbing dreams dominated by the image of a huge snake's skull, this force - the Mara - is planning on as a vehicle for its return to power on the planet Manussa.

So just as Manussa prepares festivities to commemorate the destruction of the Sumaran Empire by the ruling Federation, it seems that the Legend of the Mara could be about to come true. According to this Legend, the Mara was never destroyed by the Federation but merely banished.

Furthermore, the Legend claims that the Mara will return in a dream - a precursor to its gaining control of all their minds... It is clear to the Doctor that the first steps in the Mara's return have already been taken...

Snakedance - Special Features:

• 4 x 25 mins approx colour episodes with mono audio.

• Commentary - stereo. With actors Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton.

• Snake Charmer (dur. 24’ 37”) – cast and crew look back at the making of the story. With actors Peter Davison and Janet Fielding, director Fiona Cumming, writer Christopher Bailey, script editor Eric Saward, designer Jan Spoczynski, and new series writer Robert Shearman.

• Deleted Scenes (dur. 3’ 05”) – scenes from the original ending of episode four, courtesy of a timecoded recording kept by producer J ohn Nathan-Turner.

• In Studio (dur. 6’ 12”) – a rare glimpse inside the studio during recording of effects sequences for the story, including the infamous ‘farting Mara’!

• Saturday Superstore (dur. 14’ 16”) – Peter Davison guests on the Saturday morning children’s show, where he plays cricket with Mike Read and John Craven and takes questions from callers.

• Photo Gallery (dur. 5’ 21”) - production, design and publicity photos from the story.

• Isolated Music – option to watch the story with the isolated music score.

• Coming Soon (dur. 1 min approx.) - a trailer for a forthcoming DVD release.

• Radio Times Listings in Adobe PDF format.

[Source: 2|Entertain]

20 January 2011

Assignment X have added an interview with previous Doctor Who showrunner, Russell T. Davies:

Russell T. Davies, the man most directly responsible for the resurrection of the Doctor Who franchise in 2005, was on hand at the Television Critic’s Association to promote his upcoming fourth season of Torchwood, also a Who connected show. And, of course, Assignment X couldn’t resist asking his thoughts on the new Doctor Who series post his exit.

“Of course I love it! Stephen Moffat’s most important role is to get me a DVD before that Saturday of transmission,” says Davies. “This new season it’s going to go out on BBC America on the same day, but I still want the DVD because it won’t have adverts!”

Davies, who was a fan of the show from childhood, has re-discovered his passion for the series and can’t get enough of it.

“I’m loving it, I am absolutely loving it,” Davies says. “This morning before I came to Pasadena I was sitting there reading the Doctor Who Series Companion Part 2 and reading about the cut scenes from ‘The Hungry Earth’, and I thought, ‘What a fan am I?' ’Can’t wait for the new series, can’t wait!”

The former Who showrunner went on to explain that he does have some creative links to the series, since he is in charge of the Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, but he does like to be left in the dark

“I really don’t want to know what’s happening,” he explains. “I have to know some things, because I am still running The Sarah Jane Adventures, and there’s no specific crossover, but we have to make sure we’re in the same universe. For example I got a call from my agent yesterday about something in Doctor Who, that I’m not going to tell you, but it thrilled me, and I thought God that’s exciting! I have tiny moments of contact, but I don’t want too many of them because I want to sit and watch it like a kid.”

[Source: Assignment X]

20 January 2011

Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain

Written By: Paul Erickson and Lesley Scott

RRP: £19.99

Release Date: 14th February 2011

Reviewed By: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 20th January 2011

Right from the off, The Ark is a story that grips the viewer, owing to the magnificent jungle set that gives us a sense of scale - not to mention the striking sight of the eventual villain, all within the first 60 seconds.

But all is not what it seems in this serial, that packs some shocking twists and suspenseful builds, to what turns out to be an incredibly intelligently constructed adventure.

The twist that comes at the end of Episode Two in particular is a direct example of the intelligence in the script. Throughout the first two episodes, the viewer simply accepts the fact that the Monoids are essentially slaves to the humans of the Ark. And only when the situation is flipped in Episode Three, do you suddenly realise the poignancy of this acceptance and how actions have consequences.

There are several morals within the story, but perhaps the most painstakingly obvious one is never time travel if you have a cold!

The DVD is rounded off with some connecting features that compliment the story.

The 'Commentary' is moderated by Toby Hadoke and features Peter Purves (Steven) & Michael Imison (Director). Toby does an excellent job of guiding the guests, of which both contribute evenly with some great stories and memories. One such story tells us how unaccommodating the BBC was to the Elephant (seen in Episode One) at the time, and how the director had to keep it in a van outside of his house, overnight.

'All's Wells That Ends Wells' looks at Doctor Who's connection to H.G. Wells, and the inspiration taken from his work. In particular looking at the similarities between The Ark, and H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The Sleeper Awakes and The War of the Worlds. It includes interviews with Matthew Sweet (Historian & Writer), Kim Newman (Novelist & Critic), Dominic Sandbrook (Historian & Writer), Tony Keen (Research Associate, Open University) & Graham Sleight (Editor, "Foundation").

Even fans of Wells' work will be surprised at just how much influence he appears to have given to this story.

'One Hit Wonder' casts a light on why some Doctor Who monsters only appeared once, with a spotlight on The Monoids, in particular. The feature includes interviews with Jacqueline Rayner (Author), Dominic Sandbrook (Historian & Writer), Kim Newman (Novelist & Critic) & Matthew Sweet (Writer & Historian).

This feature could have been a little longer, perhaps focusing on some of the other 'one hit wonders' such as The Zygons, The Sensorites or The Axons.

'Riverside Story' is a 20-minute feature that looks at London's Riverside Studios; Doctor Who's temporary home from 1964-1968.

Presented by Matthew Sweet as he brings Peter Purves back to the location, we learn about some of the challenges that The Ark faced, not to mention, how to build a Jungle within a spaceship!

The documentary also features sit-down interviews with Peter Purves and Michael Imison (Director).

Apart from the main story itself, this documentary is the set piece in The Ark DVD, adding newfound respect for a building that was instrumental in one of Doctor Who's most important periods.

The 'Coming Soon Trailer' is for the Mara Tales box-set. It's a terrific trailer, cut perfectly together with a slick soundtrack and CGI titles that will have you counting down the days until its release. The final spoken line in the trailer sums up the imminent release perfectly... "The Mara's waited a long time for this return, I think it plans to be spectacular".

As with previous releases, there are the usual 'Radio Times Billings', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Information Subtitles'.

Overall another solid release from 2|Entertain, with some excellent value added material. If the DVD could benefit from one thing, it would be a feature on the costume and make-up behind the visually stunning Monoids.

A more than worthwhile purchase for any fan of Doctor Who, H.G Wells or big wigs and one-eyed monsters!

20 January 2011

AudioGO have sent DWO the cover and details for the forthcoming CD release of The Gemini Contagion.

The ice-planet Vinsk, in the year 2112. The all-new anti-viral handwash, Gemini, has been laced with Meme-Spawn: a sentient micro-organism which makes the user fluent in every language in the universe. However, manufacturer Zalnex made one crucial mistake. They didn’t test Gemini on humans, who are seized by the violent urge to communicate but speak every language all at once – with a manic, garbled shriek – and pass on the virus by touch.

The Doctor and Amy arrive on an Earth-bound cargo-ship loaded with Gemini, where a human crew are succumbing to the virus which has nasty second and third phases in store. When the Doctor and Amy are separated, they both know that it’s only a matter of time before Amy is infected.

With the ship locked on course, and no way of curing the sufferers, the Doctor is faced with a terrible decision: does he save Amy, or Earth?

Meera Syal reads this exclusive audio story featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond.

Written specially for audio by Jason Arnopp, ‘The Gemini Contagion’ is read by Meera Syal, who played Nasreen Chaudhry in the BBC TV episodes ‘The Hungry Earth’ and ‘Cold Blood’.

 The Gemini Contagion is released on 3rd March 2011, priced £9.25.

 Compare Prices for this product on CompareTheDalek.com!

[Source: AudioGO]

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