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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7 November 2010

The Stamp Centre is holding a signing at their London store at 79 Strand, on Monday 8th November, starting at 10am and running until about 2pm.

Joining them are Shane Rimmer, of Scott Tracy, Thunderbirds fame whose new autobiography has just been launched and he will be signing it in store from 10am. In his extensive career, he has also appeared in three James Bond movies, UFO, The Protectors, Space 1999 and even Doctor Who in the 1966 Gunfighters story.

Bob Baker will also be in attendance to sign the new Limited Edition Wallace and Gromit Stamp First Day Covers that the Stamp Centre have exclusively produced. Bob created the character of the Wererabbit, and wrote several of the popular episodes. He is also renowned for creating the character of K9 in Doctor Who.

A full range of relevant merchandise will be available to purchase in-store on the day.

[Source: The Stamp Centre]

5 November 2010

BBC Worldwide invite you on a journey of a lifetime. Step inside the TARDIS this spring to take a starring role in your very own Doctor Who adventure at the Doctor Who Experience.

Opening in London on Sunday 20th February 2011 at London’s Olympia Two venue, the Doctor Who Experience promises to be an unmissable adventure featuring an exhilarating and unique walk-through experience and an awe-inspiring exhibition.

Visitors will be invited to step through a crack in time to become the Doctor’s companion on an adventure. Their challenge will be to reunite the Doctor with the TARDIS whilst fending off threats from a Dalek spaceship and Weeping Angels along the way, before exploring the wonders of Doctor Who at an out of this world exhibition.

The Doctor Who Experience allows visitors to join the Doctor on a journey through time and space, encountering some of the best-loved and scariest monsters from the hit international television series. Special scenes filmed with current Doctor Matt Smith combine with amazing special effects and the chance to enter a recreation of the modern TARDIS interior topped off by a breathtaking 3-D finale. The walk through experience is a fully contained interactive Doctor Who adventure, which puts the public at the heart of the action.

The exhibition element of the Doctor Who Experience will chart the success of the show from the first series in 1963 to the most recent episodes starring Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. Displays will include items never seen before including original costumes, the Tom Baker TARDIS police box and two authentic TARDIS sets from the eras of David Tennant and Peter Davison. The public will also be able to get up close and personal with iconic sets from recent series, including the Pandorica Box and Chair and confront numerous monsters including several generations of the Daleks and Cybermen as well as Silurians an Ice Warrior and a Zygon.

Steven Moffat, Executive Producer and show runner for the hit television series comments: "The Doctor Who Experience is a fan’s dream come true - a fully interactive adventure that will allow viewers of the show to get as close as possible to some of the scariest monsters from the series. It will also be the first time that Doctor Who artefacts from all the show's 47 year history - classic and new - will be on display together, many of them being seen for the first time. And never mind that, this is the day the Doctor teaches you how to fly the TARDIS through time and space, and takes you into battle with all his deadliest enemies in a brand new adventure. So steady your nerves and bring your own sofa - the Doctor needs you!"

Doctor Who star, Matt Smith, who has recorded a series of special, new scenes exclusive to the Doctor Who Experience comments: ‘The whole concept of the Doctor Who Experience, which will give fans a chance to star in their very own Doctor Who adventure, is massively exciting! I hope as many people as possible enjoy boarding the TARDIS next year to embark upon an exhilarating and sometimes terrifying adventure through time and space‘.

BBC Worldwide is pleased to announce that it is planning to relocate the Doctor Who Experience to a long term home in Cardiff in 2012.

The Doctor Who Experience promises to be an unmissable adventure for the whole family to enjoy.

The Doctor needs your help – are you brave enough to step in to the TARDIS and join the adventure?

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Thursday the 18th of November 2010.

Door Price / Advance peak / Advance off-peak

• Adult: £20.00 / £18.00 / £15.50

• Child (5 to 16): £15.50 /£14.00 /£12.50

• Under 5’s are free 

• Family of 4: £62.00 / £52.00 /£46.00

OPENING AT LONDON’S OLYMPIA IN FEBRUARY 2011

 Check Out the Doctor Who Experience website.

[Source: Taylor Herring]

4 November 2010

DWO are thrilled to announce a specially recorded 'Will it Blend?' episode coming soon to both the DWO site and the Blendtec YouTube Channel.

Whilst on location filming our next documentary in Utah, the DWO team lined up a filming session with the Will it Blend team, which will see an object from Doctor Who blended in a forthcoming episode of the popular YouTube, viral sensation.

Fans wanting to find out more can view our teaser trailer below:

 Check Out some of the previous blends on the Will it Blend? YouTube Channel.

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

26 October 2010

Radio Times has produced some limited edition Doctor Who lenticular posters that create a 3D effect.

There is a Tardis poster with Matt Smith and a Dalek poster. These collectable posters are only available through Radio Times. Image and printable form can be found to the right.

The price is just £15 for the pair, and includes FREE delivery. To order, call 0844 543 9812 or fill in the coupon to the right, and send it along with a cheque, made payable to Radio Times, to: Radio Times Doctor Who 3D poster, PO Box 4445, Colchester CO2 8GD. Offer closes on 12th November 2010.

[Source: Radio Times]

13 October 2010

2|Entertain recently announced at the DWAS Time and Space convention in London, that the Day of the Daleks: Special Edition DVD is in production. Attendees were treated to a short promotional trailer for the release, which DWO have permission to show our visitors:

The release promises to have optional CGI effects as well as new Dalek voices, in addition some fantastic new features which will be announced in due course.

 Check Out the DWO YouTube Channel.

[Source: 2|Entertain]

Discuss this News

10 October 2010

The sixth series of Doctor Who will open with a two-parter set in the US, the BBC has announced.

Scenes will be filmed in the Utah desert for a story set in the late '60s in which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons to the Oval Office.

The episodes have been written by new series boss Steven Moffat and co-produced with BBC America.

Production starts in Cardiff this month with Matt Smith and Karen Gillen.

Alex Kingston will reprises her role as River Song.

Moffat said: "The Doctor has visited every weird and wonderful planet you can imagine, so he was bound get round to America eventually.

"And of course every Doctor Who fan will be jumping up and down and saying he's been in America before. But not for real, not on location - and not with a story like this one."

It has been announced previously that series six has been split into two blocks, with the first airing on BBC One in spring 2011 and the second block showing in autumn 2011.

** DWO will be flying out to Utah this Tuesday (long before filming begins) to record a short documentary in the Utah Desert itself. If you have any recommendations on places we should visit, email us: films@drwho-online.co.uk.

[Source: BBC News]

7 October 2010

2|Entertain will be exclusively revealing a forthcoming DVD title at this weekend's Time & Space convention at London's Riverside Studios, hosted by our friends at the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.

To whet your appetite in the meantime, 2|Entertain have very kindly given DWO permission to air a teaser trailer to tie-in with the announcement, which we can include below:

Don't forget to swing by the DWO stand at the event as we will have a wide range of Doctor Who merchandise for sale, as well as opportunities for you to appear on our podcast which will be recorded on the day. Oh..and a FREE jelly baby for our first 100 customers!

 Book Your Tickets for the DWAS Time & Again Convention.

[Source: 2|Entertain]

7 October 2010

DWM have sent DWO the magazine cover and details for the Series 5 Doctor Who Companion.

The Doctor Who Companion - The Eleventh Doctor: Volume 1

Your complete guide to the award-winning BBC One series!

Written and researched by Andrew Pixley.

2010 was a landmark year for Doctor Who. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan appeared on television as the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond for the first time, in a series of incredible adventures. From the Doctor's crash landing in sleepy Leadworth, through to his arrival at Amy's wedding in a rebooted universe, the last of the Time Lords faced many monsters during the course of his travels, including Weeping Angels, Silurians, Autons, Cybermen, Smilers, Venetian Vampires, Prisoner Zero... and, of course, the Daleks!

Now, Doctor Who Magazine takes you behind the scenes of the Eleventh Doctor's first six episodes with an in-depth episode guide – including original storylines, deleted scenes, media appearances, ratings information and thousands of facts about the day-to-day life of the making of Doctor Who – all illustrated with gorgeous, never-before-seen photographs. This collectors' edition examines The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks, The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, and The Vampires of Venice, as well as the specially-made 3D cinema trailer.

This is your essential guide to worlds of Doctor Who.

Get ready to discover a wealth of information – but watch out for the cracks...

 The Doctor Who Companion - The Eleventh Doctor: Volume 1 is Out Now, priced £6.99.

 Buy Now at CompareTheDalek.com.

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

7 October 2010

DWO's very own Robyn Schneider, who produces the fantastic DWO Vlog's, will be signing copies of her fantastic book, Knightley Academy at the New York Comic Con this weekend.

Robyn, who will be appearing as her pen name, Violet Haberdasher, will be signing this Saturday from 1:15-2:15pm at Table #17 in Autograph Alley. The first five people in line will receive FREE hardcover copies of Robyn's popular book, courtesy of Simon & Schuster, and Robyn will also be signing some limited edition promotional posters on the day.

Robyn will also be recording a short video from the event, so if you want to be part of it, don't forget to pop by her stand! In the meantime, Robyn has recorded a video message for our visitors to promote this weekend's signing:

About Violet Haberdasher:
Violet Haberdasher is the pen name of 24-year-old videoblogger and social media personality Robyn Schneider, whose internet memes, videos and projects have received over 8.5 million hits. She is also the writer, producer and host of the webseries Doctor Who Reviewed, which recaps episodes of the show for Doctor Who Online.

About Knightley Academy:
Knightley Academy follows the adventures of the first three commoners accepted at an elite boarding school for knights in a dystopian version of Victorian England. The series has drawn comparisons to Harry Potter and has an active online following. Film Rights are currently being packaged with producer Andrew Panay in order to further develop this franchise for the big screen.

  Check Out the DWO YouTube Channel.

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

11 April 2010

Manufacturer: BBC Books

Written By: Trevor Baxendale

RRP: £6.99

Release Date: 2nd April 2009

Reviewed by: James Sykes

Review Posted: 11th April 2010

It could be said that the New Series BBC novels have the tendency to be simpler, less engaging and frankly less enjoyable than the old ones. There are a few exceptions, however, and Prisoner of the Daleks is one of them. 

Trevor Baxendale, one of the strongest writers for Doctor Who novels, brilliantly captures the Doctor's character. You can always imagine Tennant saying the dialogue. He also turns one of the staple ingredients for these companion-less-stories on its head, in that the Doctor meets a would-be companion right away, but she is then promptly killed off, leaving him friendless with a group of bounty hunters. The other characters occasionally come off as be ing a little generic, but Baxendale does try to flesh them out a bit, making it vaguely shocking when they are gradually exterminated, although Cutting Edge resembles Cole Train, from the Gears of War Xbox game. 

The Daleks are also well written, and the different font for their dialogue is a nice touch. While Baxendale re-uses a lot of New Series stuff with the Daleks, he also manages to give the story a new spin, and it's a shame that this wasn't used as a TV story, rather than Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks, for example. 

Told at a relentless pace, with the ever crowd-pleasing Daleks, this is certainly one of the strongest, if not the best, of the New Series novels.

 

10 April 2010

Written By: Steven Moffat

Directed By: Adam Smith

Original Airdate: 3/4/2010

Reviewed by: Dale Who

Review Posted: 10th April 2010

It's Saturday, and it's just about to begin. There's a steaming mug of tea and numerous snacks next to me, the telephones are all switched off, the blinds are drawn and the Freeview box is recording. We've reached the much-anticipated, long-awaited and dear-God-I'm-worried-about-it first episode of the 2010 series of Doctor Who. New Doctor, new assistant, new TARDIS inside and out, new show runner and mostly new crew.

I'm not worried for the show itself; it's proven it can change and adapt and survive in today's climate plenty of times since 2005. I'm worried about my view of it. I'm like this every time there's a new Doctor, but that's not a bad or negative thing. I care about the character, I've emotionally invested a lot in my hero since I was knee high to a Zarbi, so it's important to me they get him right. However, mixed with that I'm also very aware it's not "my" show any more, it's for the kids that are growing up today; the family audience. Not aging fanboys with robot dogs in their living rooms... although they're always the most vocal, I find. Some Doctor Who fans do nothing but whine as well, and that annoys me. Usually the ones who still think the show should be exactly how *they* want it, and something Russell T Davies took great delight in proving to be a false claim.

The pre-title sequence begins, and such thoughts are banished from my head. It's straight into the action, more or less from where we last left off; with the TARDIS hurtling towards London out of control and on fire. The main difference is The Doctor is hanging on for dear life to the TARDIS base, having fallen out of the flapping doors. Talk about a different beginning: the TARDIS is wrecked, and the Doctor's not going to get to collapse and sleep this one through . Poor bloke's going to be knackered!

The new titles kick in, and I simply stop breathing and stare. They're *so* different. The vortex is reminiscent of the second Dalek film from the 1960s; rather smokey, and there appears to be a lightning storm happening in there too. The theme tune is very different too, a marked departure from the Tennant era. Again, different is not bad. It just means I need to adjust and let it all sink in. The titles are very slick and clever, and then we're back into the action. And I remember I'm turning blue and start breathing again.

Amelia Pond is perfect. Just wonderful. The best child actor I've seen in many a year; she's instantly likable and you're just on her side from the get-go. The whole idea of parying to Santa at Easter, and apologising if you've woken him up, is genius from Mr Moffat. The TARDIS crash-lands, and The Doctor's first line as he pops up from the new swimming pool/library combo he's got going on in the ruined Police Box is perfect. "Can I have an apple?"

After some perfect silliness with food - mmm, fish fingers and custard - and establishing that little Amelia is more than capable of holding her own already in life, there's the first pang of darkness. The crack in the wall. With draughts and voices on the other side... I think a few younger kids with cracks in their walls will suddenly be awake tonight, a little concerned about what may be behind it...

One thing becomes obvious very quickly indeed. This is not what I was expecting. The direction, the locations and the mood and feel of Doctor Who have all changed. This is a very different show to David Tennant's Who - or more correctly to RTD's Who. Again, this is not a bad thing. I loved RTD's era, and I loved Eccleston and Tennant, but this changes the whole ball game. It's still recognisably the same format it's always been, but somehow this seems bigger, better and more epic than I remember it being at any point before. I'm blown away by this. It's gotten better... again! And it was already stunning! 

The new Doctor is insanely likable. He's mad, clever, funny when appropriate, and has me bonding with him in about fourteen seconds. Not once did I think about how David or Chris or Tom would have played a scene. The Doctor - Matt Smith's Doctor - is in charge, and effortlessly so as well. However, grown up Amy's more than a match for him though; a clever new foil for his outbursts and ingenius insanity. She's going to be an amazing companion, that girl, and Karen Gillan is effortlessly natural in the part. Spot on, nailed performance.

The supporting cast are also brilliant (fanboy squee: OMG! There's Sir Patrick Moore! Brilliant!!) and the scene with Jeff and The Doctor comandeering his laptop has me bellowing with laughter. 

Prisoner Zero is another clever idea from Steven Moffat, a shapeshifter that uses comatose patients as a template; although it's a bit rubbish at getting the voices right. The silent dog and the barking man is hilarious; but the girls and the Mother having the same voice in the hopsital stand-off sequence makes my blood run cold. That's a definite chill. Taking the everyday and making it uncanny, unexpected and creepy. Gas masks. Ticking clocks. Stone Angels. We're definitely in Moffat territory. The alien itself is no more pleasant. It reminds me of a deep sea angler fish, and it's ugly. The Atraxi show up and they remind me of Axos and the Mandragora Helix set from Classic Doctor Who, and the Crystalline Enitity from Star Trek Next Gen. Not as in "nicked", just an influence creeping in.

There's a now almost reverent nod to the previous Doctors, and The Doctor's current incarnation is now dressed properly and ready to save the world from being fried with some decent advice to the Atraxi, which he does with style, before legging it back to his now finished and revamped TARDIS.

We finally get a look inside, and aside from a raised eyebrow at some of the controls (again, not negative, just unexpected!) I'm over the moon at what they've done to the best ship ever. The outside has those echoes of the 1960s series to it, and the inside just takes your breath away with the scale and love gone into it. 

It's all over in what seems like twenty minutes. It was actually an hour and five. The continuity announcers do that very, very annoying thing of talking over the credits and shrinking them to half the screen again, and it occurs to me that's the only negative thing I can find. It also occurs to me that I'm now liking the theme tune, and that I adjusted to that one really rather quickly.

I'm relieved and ecstatic that the character I still care about is in a very, very safe set of hands. More than that, I think I've fallen in love with The Doctor and his TARDIS all over again. Released from my hypnotic trance-like state that television's held me in, I glance around. The snacks are untouched, and the tea's now stone cold but undisturbed in the mug. And I remember that it was ever thus. When The Doctor's in town, everything here stops. 

Reviewed by: Chris Kilby

Review Posted: 15th April 2010

The boy done good. Definitely not sick as a parrot. Yup, it looks like football's loss was Doctor Who's gain. But does that mean there's a parallel universe where David Beckham's The Doctor? Or Wayne Rooney? The mind boggles!

The Eleventh Hour was an episode of two halves. Two halves? Four halves more like!

There was the obligatory "I'm mad, me," post-regenerative trauma malarky which was deftly handled with wit and humour - "fish fingers and custard" sounded like a Dr Seuss book and must have had every eight year old in the country going "Yuck!" And I loved the Fermat gag. And "You're Scottish, fry something." Funny's good. Yeah? Tell that to the average fanboy...

Then there was the new companion and her already-tangled history with the Doctor - "Why did you say 'five minutes'?" It shouldn't have been surprising that the first episode of the Steven Moffat era would be so timey-wimey. Starting as he means to continue? And does this mean the next time the Doctor meets River Song she won't have met him yet...? 

This was followed by the supposedly "main" plot which was a bit perfunctory but served its purpose - alarmingly sub-par CGI notwithstanding (the result of cutbacks or the increased cost of switching to HD?). Ironic after Neil Harris' recent DWM column about not-so-special effects. Did he know in advance?

And finally there was setting up the big "Crack in Time" story arc - silence will fall. Phew! No wonder it over-ran. Is it just me or did that crack look like... a smile? And the Doctor's up to something. Why else would he hastily turn that scanner off before Amy clocked it? "Why me?" indeed. It's the seventh Doctor all over again. But in a good way.

So what of the junior Doctor? Well he's a bit gawky, a bit awkward, and, yes, he is a bit young. But this Matt Smith. He's rather good, isn't he? Loved how he savoured saying "Amelia Pond." And that tweedy look's a real grower: a bit mad professor; a bit young fogey. And, it has to be said, remarkably similar to "John Smith's" getup in Human Nature. "Bow ties are cool"? Well they are now.

"Who da man?" was funny cos it made the youngest Doctor ever look like someone's dad trying to sound cool - classic Moffat! Kids think anyone over twenty's old anyway, so what do I know? As for the new Doctor emerging from the face(s) of the old with a jovial "Hello. I'm the Doctor"? Back of the net! David who...?

But sometimes the Doctor needs someone to stop him. Talking to himself, that is. Which brings us to the new companion.

Amy's a bit brittle. A bit highly-strung. A bit cynical. And who can blame her? The Doctor ruined her life - that's what she gets for talking to strangers! No wonder she clouted him with a cricket bat. This is the most interesting Doctor/companion dynamic yet. I hope the new TARDIS has circuit breakers installed, cos there's gonna be sparks. But where was Amy's auntie during all this? And no mum or dad? REJOICE! REJOICE! REJOICE!

The stunning Karen Gillan's good if a little pouty - she kept reminding me of her spot-on Angelina Jolie on The Kevin Bishop Show. And I still can't look at her without thinking "Gritty BAFTA." (Wee Caitlin was great too. It's a pity we won't be seeing her again. Or will we...?)

But it's hard to believe she's even less fleet of foot than Catherine Tate (the other "Runaway Bride") was. Maybe it was that very short skirt that got the Daily Mail in such a tizzy. A kissogram? "It was this or a French maid." What was the keyword for this episode? sexy? Saucy? Kinky?

It was probably "magical." The Moff wasn't kidding when he likened his Doctor Who to a fairy tale. Allusions abounded: apples (which the Doctor tellingly tempted Amy with); Time Bandits; "The Raggedy Doctor"; music straight out of Edward Scissorhands; and, my, what big teeth Prisoner Zero had!

But fairy tales aren't all sweetness and light. What would a good fairy tale be without the stuff of nightmares? (Who said a Disney film?) And few images are as nightmarish as a giant frickin' eye staring at you. But speaking of eyes, that flashy Doctorvision POV sequence was a bit Matrix-y; a bit Sherlock Holmes (the recent one). And it'll get old real fast if it's overused. Like bullet time did.

The vast new TARDIS is a bit busy. A bit lava lamp-y. A bit, well, orange. I think I preferred the silvery / black version on Confidential. You know, the dark one (natch)? But, like the new feme choon, I'm sure we'll get used to it. And if we don't like it we can always lump it.

I suppose the TARDIS should be a bit overwhelming the first time you see it. And a potentially Ecsher-like TARDIS interior could be interesting. But didn't the Moff (who has said the Doctor shouldn't be "young and dashing" - whoops!) say something once about us kids wanting "Narnia not the wardrobe"? Unless we're treated to Die Hard in a TARDIS! Yippee-kay-yay... er, muddy funsters?

There was no messing about here. BANG! And we were off - hurtling across the London skyline. No reprise of the regeneration. No mention of Rose. Or the Time War. Or recent events even. Good. Time to move on. Doctor Who was getting a bit self-indulgent and fan-fictionish of late (even Russell thought so). But this really did feel like series.

The first episode's never the best but this was great - easily the best series opener yet. And if that blinding trailer was anything to go by, the rest of the season's gonna be even better. Blimey!

They think it's all over. It is now!

<mce:script

14 February 2010

Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain

Written By: Louis Marks

RRP: £19.99

Release Date: 8th February 2010

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 14th February 2010

The Masque of Mandragora takes us to 15th Century Italy, where part of the Mandragora Helix (unbeknownst to The Doctor) has hitched a lift aboard the TARDIS and poses a threat to human civilisation. It's a great story that takes the deadly cult plot device to a new level, whilst incorporating history and a simple, yet, terrifying alien menace.

The features included on the disc, are quite varied, and even though not all are specific to the story, they fit right in and offer excellent value to the release.

The 'Commentary' features Tom Baker (The 4th Doctor), Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager), Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer) and Gareth Armstrong (Giuliano). Unusually, Tom seems to take a bit of a back seat, allowing for Philip to take the role of moderator for the commentary. There's a great juxtaposition between Philip and John's informative take on the story, with Tom's hilarious observations and side stories.

'The Secret of the Labyrinth' is an informative and vibrant behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Masque of Mandragora. Set in the Welsh village of Portmeirion, which doubled for the filming of the story, it starts off with Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer) explaining his reasons for the filming at the location.

All aspects of the production are covered, from casting and costumes to set design, giving a well-rounded understanding for the serial. It's backed up with interviews from Gareth Armstrong (Giuliano), Rodney Bennett (Director), Antony Carrick (Captain Rossini), Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager), Jon Laurimore (Count Federico), Barry Newbery (Production Designer), Tim Piggott-Smith (Marco), Steve O'Brien (Writer, SFX Magazine) and Jim Sangster (Film and TV Historian). Kudos to Rob Semenoff for the fantastic CGI introduction to the feature.

'Bigger on the inside' is totally unconnected to The Masque of Mandragora, but provides a thoroughly detailed, yet concise history of the TARDIS. Featuring interviews with Tom Baker (The 4th Doctor), Robert Shearman (New Series Writer), Francesca Gavin (Art Writer & Editor), Matthew Savage (New Series Designer), Barry Newbury (Classic Series Designer) and Christopher H Bidmead (Writer & Script Editor 1980-81).

'Now and Then' looks at the locations of The Masque of Mandragora, showing original shots to the modern day comparisons. It feels a little different to previous Now and Then documentaries, as this time, we follow the locations through a map of Portmeirion. As a result of the style and nature of the location, there are very few actual changes that can be noticed, but it's interesting to see where all the action happened in context.

'Beneath the Masque' offers Clayton Hickman (Ex Doctor Who Magazine Editor) and Gareth Roberts' (New Series Writer), rather amusing take of the events surrounding and including the production of The Masque of Mandragora. The pair are clearly a double-act to be reckoned with. Even Hickman's Cathy come home impersonation which also resembled a 1980's Dot Branning, can't fail to resound a palpable hit amongst the hugely entertaining feature. It's pretty much utter nonsense, but who cares? It's produced with such sheer brilliance, and will have you chuckling away at the subtle and not-so-subtle digs at the show. Oh, and Gareth Roberts as a Blue Peter presenter was...priceless. Here's to future offerings from the pair!

The 'Coming Soon' trailer is for The Space Museum / The Chase DVD release, and is a clever twist on the usual trailers by incorporating a viewscreen from one of the episodes to promote the box-set. Definitely one of the most original trailers to date.

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'Trails and Continuity', 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

Overall, it's another tidy and well-thought-out package from 2|Entertain, and although there could have been room for one or two more extras, you can't help but feel totally satisfied with the finished package.

 

9 February 2010

Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain

Written By: Brian Hayles

RRP: £29.99

Release Date: 18 th January 2010

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 9th February 2010

The Curse of Peladon

The Curse of Peladon, for many, is a textbook Doctor Who adventure. With a healthy mix of mystery, deception, villainy and suspense, the story is as entertaining as any new series offering, and has held up well to the test of time. With secret passages, allies who are villains and villains who are allies, there are more twists and turns than the underground tunnels of Peladon itself.

The selection of features for this release is adequate, and compared to previous DVD releases like 'Black Orchid', you can't help feeling there is more distance for extra content.

The 'Commentary' is moderated seamlessly by Toby Hadoke, who also provides some informative facts connected with the story. Joining Toby is Barry Letts (Producer), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Assistant). It proves to be a rather amusing commentary, with all parties contributing equally, together with a great selection of amusing and revealing stories.

'The Peladon Saga - Part One', is by far the highlight of the extras on this disc, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Curse of Peladon. Although it's not as in-depth as previous 'making of' documentaries, it looks at the production of the adventure as well as putting it in political context with the time.

'Warriors of Mars', gives us a history of The Ice Warriors. There's a chronological look at their appearances in Doctor Who, as well as the different classes of Ice Warrior. Narrated by Donald Gee, the feature provides interviews with Sonny Caldinez (Ice Warrior), Bernard Bresslaw (Ice Warrior), Sylvia James (Make-Up Supervisor) Michael Ferguson (Director), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor) Alan Bennion (Ice Lord), Barry Letts (Producer) and Brian Hodgson (BBC Radiophonic Workshop).

'Jon and Katy', looks at the pairing of Jon Pertwee (The Doctor) and Katy Manning (Jo Grant), with interviews from Katy Manning, Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts. In the feature, Katy looks back with genuine love for both her character, and John as an actor and friend.

The 'Storyboard Comparison' compares design sketches with the final shot, together with soundtrack excerpts that lead up to the clips.

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

The Monster of Peladon

The Monster of Peladon heralds the second (and final) chapter in the Peladon Saga - albeit a slightly long-winded story, weighing in at six episodes. There's a wonderful sense of continuity mixed with enough fresh elements to rejuvenate the settings and situations, and with a rather feisty Sarah Jane Smith, helps add another level to the Doctor / Companion dynamic.

As with The Curse of Peladon, this release is a little feature light - even though there is one disc for the story and another for the features, that being said, the quality of the extras is in no way compromised, and adds value to an already worthwhile box-set.

The 'Commentary' is again moderated by Toby Hadoke, and features Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Barry Letts (Producer), Nina Thomas (Queen Thalira), Donald Gee (Eckersley), Ralph Watson (Ettis) and Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri). Once more, Toby does a great job with the direction coupled with his Doctor Who knowledge, and both Terrance and Barry add some entertaining memories, but it can't help feeling a little overshadowed by the Curse commentary, owing to vacancy of Katy Manning and her boundless energy.

There's also a 'Fan Commentary' for episode Four of the story, featuring Rob Shearman, Mark Aldridge, Kate Du-Rose and Philip Newman. The commentary is well placed as it breaks up the pace and dynamic of the commentary thus far, and it's nice to hear a take on the story from a fans perspective - or in this case four!

'The Peladon Saga - Part Two', follows on from the previous part with additional interviews from Donald Gee (Eckersley), Nick Hobbs (Aggedor), Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri), Sonny Caldinez (Ice Warrior) and Ralph Watson (Ettis the Miner). The second installment goes more into the production of the story, and we also learn from cast and crew what it was like working with Jon Pertwee. The crowning moment, though, has to be Terrance Dicks' hilarious breakdown of Alpha Centauri's physical appearance.

There's a 'Deleted Scene' in the form of photos and off-air recordings featuring Eckersley trying to convince Gebek to get the miners to continue mining for the trisilicate.

'Where are They Now?' features an interview with Ysanne Churchman, conducted by David Jacobs. Ysanne is asked about providing her voicework for the Hermaphrodite exopod; Alpha Centauri, before treating us to a rather alarming Birmingham accent!

'On Target: Terrance Dicks', offers an in-depth look at the writer's work off the screen, with the Doctor Who Book range. Featuring interviews with Alan Barnes (Ex Doctor Who Magazine Editor), Paul Cornell (Writer), as well as input from Terrance himself. This is the most significant feature on The Monster of Peladon disc, as everything about it from the titles, down to the concise information and text readings from Katy Manning, smacks of sheer quality.

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

Peladon Tales is a great box-set, well worth the £29.99 RRP, but with 2|Entertain's previous history of quality extras, the bar has been raised so high, that the viewer is spoiled, and can’t help feeling a little deflated with anything less than two screens of features per story.

That being said, the quality of the features for both stories are as high as ever, and act as a great companion to the Peladon saga.

 

14 July 2009

Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain

Written By: Terrance Dicks & Malcolm Hulke

RRP: £19.99

Release Date: 6th July 2009

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 14th July 2009

The War Games is firmly regarded as a favourite amongst many Doctor Who fans, and the announcement earlier this year of the proposed DVD release was fuelled with much excitement, hype and expectation.

 

But with so much riding on what could arguably be one of the most important DVD releases from the Classic Series so far, could the BBC / 2|entertain deliver?

 

The answer, quite simply, is a big resounding YES!

 

The War Games presents Doctor Who's first and only 10-part adventure. Although a lengthy story, totaling over 4 hours, the storyline, cast, pace and suspense keep you entertained all the way through, and watching in straight succession is by no means a chore.

 

It contains some of the best villainy in Doctor Who history, with some truly engaging performances from Philip Madoc (The War Lord), Edward Brayshaw (The War Chief), David Garfield (Captain von Weich) and James Bree (Security Chief).

 

It is also clear from this story that the chemistry-fuelled partnership between Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury was coming to a close, as the adventure marks the end of The Second Doctor's tenure on the show. But what better way to bow out than on the high that this story provides.

 

The War Games succeeds on so many levels. From the underlying message of War and its consequences, the gripping cliffhangers (which count for some of the best seen in Doctor Who), to the amazing way in which the cast and crew worked together to pull off a thoroughly entertaining piece of Science Fiction Television history. 

 

The DVD package is rounded off with a cavernous collection of Special Features that each compliment and support the story.

 

The 'Commentary' features Frazer Hines (Actor 'Jamie'), Wendy Padbury (Actor 'Zoe), Philip Madoc (Actor 'The War Lord'), Jane Sherwin (Actor 'Lady Jennifer'), Graham Weston (Actor 'Russell'), Terrance Dicks (Writer) and Derrick Sherwin (Producer). Although, as commentaries go, there are a lot of guests, they are spread out over the 10 episodes, giving balance whilst coming and going fluidly. Terrance and Frazer, in particular, offer some extremely entertaining anecdotes.

 

'War Zone' looks at the genesis of the story, together with some of the cast and crew's stories from filming. With interviews from Terrance Dicks, James Moran (Writer), Paul Cornell (Writer), Tom Spilsbury (DWM Editor), Graham Weston, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Jane Sherwin, Bernard Horsfall (Actor 'Time Lord), Derrick Sherwin, David Maloney (Director), Roger Cheveley (Production Designer) and Joseph Lidster (Writer).

 

Paul Cornell's input in the documentary, is particularly worthy of note, due to his accurate and thought provoking dissection of some of the plot points in the story.

 

'Shades of Grey' focuses on the limitations and considerations of black and white television. The documentary casts a light on Producing, Designing, Graphic Designing, Performing and Sound Design for monochrome television production and features interviews with Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Jane Sherwin, Terrance Dicks, Derrick Sherwin, Timothy Combe (Director), Roger Cheveley, Bernard Lodge (Graphic Designer) and Brian Hodgson (Sound Designer).

 

'Now and Then' offers a look at the locations used in The War Games, and compares the locations as they were used 40 years ago, with footage recorded recently. This is quite possibly one of the best Now and Then features produced to date, owing to the accuracy of location positioning coupled with the informative narration and supporting music.

 

'The Doctor's Composer' gives us a long-overdue and well-presented look at Dudley Simpson's musical contribution to Doctor Who. The documentary provides a chronological look at stories and scenes from the Classic Series that Dudley provided music for, connected with interview footage of Dudley himself.

 

'Sylvia James - In Conversation', offers a chronological look at the Make-up Designer's work during the Patrick Troughton era of Doctor Who, with clips from episodes as well as stills of her work, as she describes the processes involved.

 

'Talking about Regeneration' does exactly what it says on the tin! It's a clear, concise, and informative guide to The Doctor's regenerations to date. Featuring interviews with Kate O'Mara (Actor 'The Rani'), Peter Davison (Actor 'The 5th Doctor'), Gareth Roberts (Writer), Rob Shearman (Writer), Joseph Lidster and Clayton Hickman (former DWM Editor).

 

'Time Zones', kicks off with a neat little CGI sequence, and focuses on the historical truth behind The War Games, with detailed information on some of the major points surrounding the First World War, Roman Warfare and The American Civil War. The feature adds a good grounding behind the story, and includes interviews from Martin Farr (Political Historian), Crispin Swayne (Military Historian), Lindsay Allison-Jones (of Newcastle University) and Susan-Mary Grant (Author).

 

'Stripped for Action - The Second Doctor', looks at the Second Doctor comics, and how some of the companions and villains changed from the TV episodes to the comic strips, not to mention some of the bizarre storylines. The feature includes contributions from Gary Russell (former DWM Editor), Alan Barnes (former DWM Editor), John Ainsworth (Comics Historian) and Jeremy Bentham (Comics Historian).

 

'On Target - Malcolm Hulke'; shows us how the cherished Doctor Who Writer got into writing for the show, as well as his impact on some of the other members of the production team associated with the show, such as Terrance Dicks and Gary Russell. The documentary includes interviews with Terrance Dicks, Gary Russell, Alan Barnes, David J Howe (Author) and Chris Achilleos (Illustrator). Terrance Dicks' memories in particular, make up some of the best moments in this feature.

 

'Devious' is a Fan film that attempts to bridge the 'alleged' gap between The War Games and Spearhead from Space with 'The 2nd and a half Doctor', played by Tony Garner . The film includes scenes recorded with Jon Pertwee (playing The 3rd Doctor) as well as Peter Tuddenham and Hugh Lloyd (playing Time Lords). There's also a commentary option featuring the cast and crew that offers some behind the scenes tidbits, including an explanation of how Jon Pertwee was persuaded to take part.

 

This feature was a real surprise, and makes a genuinely pleasant and bold (on the BBC's part) addition to the DVD.

 

The 'Coming Soon Trailer' features a trailer promoting the forthcoming Black Guardian Trilogy DVD box-set. Although it's not one of the best trailers to date, it certainly packs a lot of energy and seems to sell the main plot points. One can't help feeling though, after a release such as The War Games, that the DVD features should also be highlighted in the trailers.

 

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'Easter Eggs', 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

It's easy to get swept away with positive comments when reviewing a DVD like this, especially when it contains a story as successful as The War Games, but the variety and quality of the supporting features are what help to make this package shine with utter brilliance. Well... that and Clayton Hickman's vividly eye-catching cover!

 

Overall, this is quite clearly, and most definitely the finest Doctor Who DVD release thus far, and will surely take some beating.

 

 

18 March 2009

Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain

Written By: Paula Moore

RRP: £19.99

Release Date: 16th March 2009

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 18th March 2009

Attack of the Cybermen offers a bold and ambitious start to Colin Baker's first full season as The 6th Doctor. With some great locations, acting and nods to the shows past, the serial is a generally enjoyable 88 minutes.

There are, however, a few let-downs, which prevented the story from reaching its full potential.

The role of the Cyber Controller didn't really work, as David Banks' Cyber Leader had already been established within the story, and is more than a powerful enough adversary for The Doctor to face off with.

The musical score for the story, has to be one of the worst in the shows entire history, and ends up sounding both messy and terribly dated. That being said, the brief theme for The Cryons had great potential and was sadly underused.

The script also had its fair share of pitfalls, with most of the meatier dialogue given to Maurice Colbourne, who, to be fair, was instrumental in most of the areas that this story succeeds in.

The DVD release is packed with some top quality features that not only compliment, but help to mend the way for those who may feel a little short-changed by the serial itself.

'The Cold War' looks at the making of Attack of the Cybermen, and features interviews with Actors; Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Terry Molloy (Russell) and Sarah Berger (Rost), Writer; Eric Saward, Director; Matthew Robinson, Continuity Advisor; Ian Levine, and Film Cameraman; Godfrey Johnson.

It proves to be an insightful breakdown of the genesis of the story, and may even surprise some fans when the authorship of the story comes into discussion.

'The Cyber Story' blasts off with an awesome CGI introductory title sequence, and offers an in-depth look at the genesis of the Cybermen, and how there is a basis of plausibility behind their concept. Featuring interviews with Director; Morris Barry, Writer; Eric Saward, Designers; Sandra Reid and Dinah Collins, Cybermen Actor; Mark Hardy, Cybermen Voice Artist; Roy Skelton and Professor Kevin Warwick.

'Human Cyborg' features an extended version of the interview with Kevin Warwick (Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University), from the previous feature, who, as well as being a self-proclaimed Doctor Who fan, is heralded as the worlds first Human Cyborg.

The feature looks at the possibility of whether Cybermen could exist, as Kevin unveils some of his experiments, beliefs and ideas. This is a DVD extra that is bound to capture the minds of all fans of The Cybermen, as well as educating with surprising clarity.

'The Cyber-Generations' is a pictorial guide to the different types of Cybermen throughout the year s, displayed in chronological order. With photos from lost stories that some fans will never have seen before, it is great to have such a concise guide to one of The Doctors greatest villains. (The title sequence isn't quite as mind-blowing as 'The Cyber Story', however).

The 'Coming Soon Trailer' is for the forthcoming Image of the Fendahl DVD release. As with the other trailers, it fails to disappoint, with tight scene cutting and an energetic music track that work well together.

The 'Audio Commentary' features Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Terry Molloy (Russell) for Part One, with Sarah Berger (Rost) replacing Terry Molloy for Part Two. Colin in particular, provides a thoroughly entertaining narrative, thanks to his knowledge of the show, coupled with some choice one-liners - he also directs the conversation perfectly. Colin and Nicola's on-screen chemistry, carries itself off-screen for this commentary, as the pair share both affection and memories which are a genuine joy to hear.

As with previous DVD releases, the usual Photo Gallery, Info Text, Trails & Continuity and Radio Times Listings are included. There's also a Dalek related Easter Egg hidden somewhere within the menu system.

Although this release may not house the best example of Classic Who, the features are representative of some of the best examples of the impressive quality and effort that goes into the Doctor Who DVD range.

 

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