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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14 January 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: AK Benedict

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: December 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The Doctor arrives in present day Iceland and receives a frosty reception from Inspector Yrsa Kristjansdottir when he becomes the chief suspect in a murder enquiry. But the Doctor knows that the real killer is of extraterrestrial origin.

Joining forces with Yrsa, the Doctor goes in pursuit of a ruthless alien that is hunting humans for sport. Yrsa unearths a dark conspiracy which reaches back into her own past.

Determined to expose the truth and prevent further deaths, the Doctor and Yrsa soon find themselves running for their lives, prey on the hunting ground."

2018 ends in the snow for Big Finish. The wolves are running, but it’s Colin Baker and not Patrick Troughton taking centre stage for this tale of hunting, police procedure and cover-ups. Plus aliens and robots, because what's Doctor Who without a nasty monster waiting in the wings every so often? Dull, that’s what.

Things get off to a pleasingly disorientating start with a child’s bedtime story interrupted by screaming and pleading and roaring, all before the theme tune kicks in. We’re soon introduced to Inspector Yrsa Kristjansdottir and placed in the middle of a murder investigation that smells of Forbrydelsen, to the point where I kept expecting Sarah Lund to turn up in one of her trademark cosy jumpers. Again, it’s a pleasingly Doctor Who thing where you have something so familiar interrupted by the Doctor and alien activity and that’s exactly what we get. Chuck in a singing printer and unusual wolves, and you have an entertaining start to the adventure.

Despite all this good work though, the play throughout feels like it lacks a certain something. The ingredients for something wonderful are all there and the story continues to throw such things at us, from hidden spaceships to bickering bureaucrats, to car crashes to traitors, but the glue holding all these things together is web-thin. Doctor Who meeting Scandinavian crime drama is a nice idea, in theory, but there is a notable disconnect between these elements in The Hunting Ground, to the extent that it feels like the two genres are fighting for the spotlight and as a result they both feel a tad undercooked.

It’s a shame as, as noted above, there is much to praise in AK Benedict’s script. I enjoyed her crack at the Eleventh Doctor in The Calendar Man, and there is a similar blend of fairytale with normality here, too. Unlike there though, again these two things sometimes work against one another.

I really like the approach taken towards what is often dismissed as supernatural and ‘other’ in this play. People speak of elves and trolls with a shrug, as if they’re nothing out of the ordinary, which is at once unusual and refreshing. It feels like a nice and respectful blend of traditional Icelandic folklore and the show’s existing mythology, but this lack of wonder at the ‘other’ sadly bleeds over to elsewhere.

I can understand the natural extension of the police accepting magic folk so therefore not finding it a great stretch to accept that the Doctor is an alien and that alien activity may be involved with the murder case. I see, too, why this may have crossed the mind of Yrsa Kristjansdottir before, seeing as her father died in similarly unusual circumstances. However, she is then almost roundly unimpressed and surprised as time travel, alien hunters and robots all announce themselves and as such it’s a bit hard for the listener to be enthused or excited.

And then we have the very ending which hints that Yrsa may be about to become a new companion of the Sixth Doctor. I actually let out a small groan at this point as it just feels so ordinary and expected and, again, underwhelming. They’ve tried to pull off the ‘Sixth Doctor and an unexpected companion!’ trick once already in 2018, in the truly terrible release The Lure Of The Nomad, so by now it’s like a bad joke. Whether Yrsa does make it aboard the TARDIS or not seems unclear for now, but the door is open so I suspect it will be but time. I can’t say I am counting down the days.

The Hunting Ground, then...  It’s a strange story with much to praise and celebrate, but it’s also one that feels disjointed and lacking. It’s a bit of a damp end to 2018’s monthly releases from Big Finish, but perhaps you can exaggerate the peaks and troughs here to make a good symbol for how the main range has been this year: some terrific highs and some perilous lows.

I hope that 2019 provides us with a bit more consistency. More monsters and fewer people shrugging off the wonderful. A bit less of the predictable and a bit more of the surprising. We shall see. For now, let’s look at the good here and hope it’s built upon After all, what is a new year if not a chance to reflect upon the good and bad and vow to do better?


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

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


14 January 2019

Publisher: World Castle Publishing

Written By: Colin Sinclair

RRP: £17.99 (Hardback) / £9.05 (Paperback) / £3.01 (Kindle)

Release Date: 23rd June 2018

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 14th January 2019

Every month we get sent a large number of books to review - so many, in fact, that we can't get through them all. We've actually become a little guilty of judging a book by its cover, but in Colin Sinclair's case, we're glad we did... his book 'Elji And The Galrass' has a striking cover that instantly called to us, and what lay within was nothing short of a pure joy to read.

"Elji, a boy from a village outside the city of Mehem discovers a "Galrass" a tool usually wielded only by those who understand its power. Perhaps it was left for him to find or perhaps it was just a random happening?

The Galrass embroils him in a struggle he never expected to be part of or even imagined existed. Dregar, a being from a different planet and galaxy ‘feels’ the boys interruption of the universal essence and takes him under his wing and so his journey begins.

Friendships are made and lost and many lives must be put in danger to usher the civilization into its rightful place among the Universal essence. Will Elji fulfill his potential and help save his world or will it fall into darkness?"

Elji And The Galrass is epic fantasy adventure at its best, and really takes the reader on a breathtaking journey - not only through its richly detailed locations, but for the characters within. On top of all that, there are some important messages and morals for the reader to take home, and Sinclair seamlessly embroiders his good nature and true heart throughout this tale.

There is an incredible attention to detail, from floral fountains to fire pits, Sinclair evokes sights, sounds and smells in such clarity that he not only ensnares your imagination, but your senses too. In fact, I've never read a book that has been able to do this quite so effectively, before.

The topography of the book is also to be marvelled; one minute you are peering out the shutters of a room, overlooking bustling streets, and the next you are navigating a mountain range, or a desert. Again, this further adds to the feeling of having travelled far and wide, and when you're done reading, you almost feel out of breath.

Elji And The Galrass was easy to read thanks to its short chapters and attention-grabbing storyline. It never felt weary, and you almost always end up reading more than you planned to.

I eagerly await the sequel, and will be pestering the author until its release. Fantastic!

+  Elji And The Galrass is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow Colin Sinclair on Twitter.

14 January 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Paul Magrs

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: December 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"Oooh la la! It's been a long time coming, but the Doctor is about to be reunited with Iris Wildthyme! They're both in 1920s Paris and everyone's flocking to Iris's salon.

But wait...! What's that noise..? Thud thud thud...! It's the soft, approaching feet of a small and acerbic Art Critic Panda...!"

December 2018 for Big Finish’s main range of Doctor Who plays gives us two Winter treats. With Colin Baker in The Hunting Ground, we’ve snow and isolation and wolves a-running, whereas with Muse of Fire we’ve something with a far lighter, end-of-term feel.

The play gets off to a very good start, bursting in with the full edit of the Sylvester McCoy opening theme tune instead of the truncated version Big Finish usually use. It’s a small thing, but it grabs your attention immediately and suggests an attention to period detail… that is almost immediately kicked to the curb for pandas, nude modelling and a bus bound for Putney Common via the Multiverse.

Yes, Iris Wildthyme is back in all her glory and wild eccentricity and Muse of Fire takes that as its lead. The play is set in Paris in the 1920s, a time of artists and poetry and creativity and - but of course - alien ne’er-do-wells. It’s a fun setting that fits Iris well and also the Doctor, not to mention Panda, whose art criticism is sending waves rippling through the city and perverting the known course of history.

Now, I’ve heard some grumbles about Ms Wildthyme in the past; people claiming she should be confined to spin-off media and her own series instead of lumped in with the good ship TARDIS, irrespective of her roots (discounting the Phoenix Court Iris, that is). These same voices will hold up the charge of silliness, idiosyncratic writing and everything being a bit over the top: to which I say, go for it.

Give me an authorial voice that has purpose and drive (and love him or no, Paul Magrs’ writing certainly does when given freedom as is the case here). Give me over-the-top action (seriously, have people never seen the show?)

And as for silliness? Yes please. I said earlier that this play is lighter, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s lightness with a wink and a breath in its lungs, in a script with depth and heart and weight amid the silliness: and oh! How glorious it is to be silly sometimes. Doctor Who is often at its best when it’s smiling and Muse of Fire is worth grinning over.

I noted depth a moment ago, because this play has it in spades. It’s a sincere and sweet look at artistic integrity and feeling valueless when surrounded by others more successful than yourself. It’s a search for validity in your work and voice, and a sombre warning to not let that make you blind to the love of others who aren’t possessive of an artistic mindset. That it has that weight and also a cybernetic panda is about as Doctor Who as you can possibly get. Plus, Hex gets his kit off, which will get a lot of fan approval from certain quarters.

There are fingers one could point if one was minded to. The disposal of the big bad near the end feels rushed, for example, and the final line feels a bit like there is meant to be a musical swirl or follow-up sentence after it; the end theme tune coming in surprises the listener a little. But frankly, I don’t care.

This is a fun play to listen to and everyone, from Magrs to the cast, to Jamie Anderson directing, all seem to be having a lot of fun. Indeed, McCoy is full of enthusiasm in the extras for this release and that’s lovely to hear. Hopefully it’ll encourage more intelligent nonsense: and I mean that in the most loving way possible. Let’s hope that the flame lit by this muse of fire keeps on burning for a while yet and inspires more of this quality down the line.


+ Muse Of Fire is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


11 January 2019

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Mark J.G. Fahey

RRP: £8.00 (Paperback) / £7.19 (Kindle) / $11.95 (Paperback) / $9.15 (Kindle)

Release Date: 25th January 2016

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 11th January 2019

Imagine if Halley's Comet wasn't really a comet...but an intergalactic Casino! In that one sentence you get a taste of the bonkers but brilliant mind of Mark J.G. Fahey!

Set in 1986 (a time period experiencing renewed exposure in current pop culture) Halley's Casino follows the adventure of Nebula (Neb) Yorker; a 26-year old stargazer who's life is about to be turned upside down as the comet he has been waiting for turns out to be something very different indeed...

Thus heralds the beginning of a whirlwind adventure, with a clever use of time travel and well-researched historical side-steps.

If you're a fan of Douglas Adams' work, then Fahey is rooted very close to Adams' sense of humour and sheer inventiveness with rich, crazy storylines and characters. Humour is laced throughout the story, and it's better for it - not just the odd laugh, but well-paced, timed and intelligently placed humour.

There are some particularly long chapters in Halley's Casino - in most cases the reader would be flicking forward to see a suitable pause point, but such is Fahey's writing and momentum, that time seems to literally stand still whilst you're reading it.

With cult references a-plenty, including Star Trek and...yes...even Doctor Who, there are many, many moments within that will have you knowingly smiling or chuckling away at them.

Fahey has crafted a rich and vibrant story and we genuinely cannot wait to read the sequel!

+  Halley's Casino is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com!
+  Follow Mark J.G. Fahey on Twitter.

7 January 2019

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of New Series Doctor Who Actor, W. Morgan Sheppard.

W. Morgan Sheppard featured in the opening episode of Series 6 ('The Impossible Astronaut') as Canton Delaware III. His real-life son (Mark Sheppard) played the younger version of the character in the series.

It may surprise some fans to learn that he (along with his son) was actually born and raised in London, England. Both actors nailed the American accent for Doctor Who!

W. Morgan's long career includes the following credits; Z Cars, Shogun, Max Headroom, Star Trek (Movie & TV series) & Biker Mice From Mars (to name just a few).

DWO would like to extend our sympathies to W. Morgan's family and friends.

[Source: DWO]

4 January 2019

2018 was an incredibly exciting year for Doctor Who; we got our first female 'Doctor' - something that would change the history of the show, and take it into a new, exciting direction. Having now seen the entirety of Series 11 and the New Year's Day Special ('Resolution'), we are thrilled with Jodie and her awesome TARDIS team. It's just such a shame we now have to wait a whole other year until the next series. :( - I guess, though, when you really think about it, it's actually not that much of an extended wait than we're used to. The Christmas special was the only thing that really broke up the wait between series, and what makes it feel longer is the fact that 2020 - a year which, to many of us, still feels like a futuristic SciFi movie setting - is one whole year away from us, at the time of writing.

Of course, 2018 also brought with it some other key Doctor Who moments; Doctor Who On Twitch was a particular revelation, and with it saw some fantastic memes and personalities that emerged as a result. In case you missed it, we got confirmation yesterday that another Twitch run will begin as of tomorrow!

There was also the release of some terrific Doctor Who merchandise; a new sonic, new toys, clothing - and the long-awaited release of Classic Who box-sets on Blu-ray.

As for the DWO site, we are now in our 22nd year (crazy, I know?!), and we have lots of exciting things planned in this (slightly quieter) year. We are planning a full site revamp, and the return of a few features that many of you will consider to be some old favourites. Our Forums continue to grow, with over 49,000+ members - again, we will be unveiling some design tweaks on there, as well as some new guests for our popular 'Ask & Answer' section.

On social media, DWO continues to amass a large Twitter following (@DrWhoOnline); we now have over 130,000+ followers, and we plan on some exciting new content and interactivity on the platform during 2019.

In a recent tweet, we asked you to tell us some of your favourite moments / memories & merchandise during 2018, and, as promised, here are some of your replies:

As always, thank you all for your continued support of Doctor Who Online! It's hard work - especially as I also juggle it with taking care of my young family, but reading your emails and tweets is a genuine highlight of my day.

I posted a blog entry last year about some health issues, which impacted some of the regular updates on the site, and whilst I'm still getting through these, I can confirm that things are much better, and shouldn't affect the regularity of updates going forward.

I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and am very much looking forward to what 2019 has in store! 

Sebastian J. Brook - Site Editor
Doctor Who Online
January 2019

+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!
+ Follow @SebastianJBrook on Twitter!
+ Join the DWO Forums!
+ Donate to DWO's running costs via PayPal!

[Source:
DWO]

3 January 2019

Doctor Who is returning to popular streaming platform Twitch, starting from 5th January 2019, the BBC has confirmed!

2018 saw a hugely positive reaction from fans - old and new - who tuned in to watch episodes from the Classic Series, which were streamed on Twitch. Meme's such as Ian and Barbara returning to "London 1965" catapulted the service to reach even more fans, and talented personalities such as Pip Madeley (@pipmadeley) emerged. Madeley (previously of the Planet Skaro site) produced trailers for the stream as well as some hilarious observations.

For a full list of streams, episodes and times, check out the doctorwho.tv website.

[Source: BBC Studios]

   

31 December 2018

Series 12 of Doctor Who will air "very early in 2020" according to comments by Tony Hall (BBC Director General) at the recent BFI preview screening of 'Resolution', Digital Spy reports.

The news means that we could be having another New Year's Day special! Jodie, and her companions have all been confirmed to return for the new series when it airs in 2020, with Chris Chibnall at the helm, once more.

In the meantime, you can catch the 2019 New Year's Day special 'Resolution' at 7:00pm on BBC One.

[Source: Digital Spy]

5 December 2018

The 4 x 25 min missing episodes, which were originally part of Doctor Who’s (now mostly lost) fourth season, have been animated for the first time, to be released on DVD, Blu-ray, special edition Steelbook and digital download. 

Pre-order will be available from midnight tonight on Amazon and HMV (links will go live at 00:00). 

Originally broadcast in four weekly parts from 11th March to 1st April 1967, and starring Patrick Troughton, Anneke Wills, Michael Craze and Frazer Hines, no full episodes of this serial are known to have survived on film. Fortunately for fans, a complete audio recording of all four parts still exists. Now, 52 years later, the four episodes will be brought back to life through the power of animation, available on disc and digital download, in both colour and black and white, from 18th March 2019. 

Anneke Wills says:

"Back in 1967 “There's no such thing as Macra!” was the cry; and for many years after there was no such thing as “The Macra Terror”. Now, thanks to the magic of animation, we can see the story come to life again. I can't wait to see this adventure and how gratifying to have a little more of Ben and Polly’s time with the Doctor available to be seen by new generations."

The Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and his companions arrive on a human colony in the far flung future. The colony appears to be a giant recreational complex - a holiday camp for rest and relaxation. Everyone looks happy and carefree but all is not as it seems. The colony has been infiltrated and brainwashed by a race of giant parasitic crab creatures called the Macra. 

The Macra have only returned once since, 40 years later, coming face to face with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) in the 2007 episode Gridlock. 

Paul Hembury, Executive Producer, BBC Studios says:

"After the success of Shada, we were very excited by the possibility of further animations. We are therefore delighted to be able to bring fans these missing episodes in a completely new form."

Special features for the DVD and Blu-ray release include: Animation Gallery, Behind the Scenes Film and Audio Commentary.

Doctor Who: The Macra Terror will be released on digital download, DVD (RRP £20.42), Blu-ray (RRP £25.52) and special edition Steelbook (RRP £40.84) on 18th March 2019.

A special screening of Doctor Who: The Macra Terror will be held at the BFI Southbank, London on the 16th March 2019. Tickets will go on sale to BFI members on Tuesday 5th February with public sale opening on Tuesday 12th February. Further information will be available soon via the BFI website.

+ PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk

[Source: BBC Studios]

28 November 2018

BBC Studios continues to offer Doctor Who fans the opportunity to build their own home archive on Blu-ray. Following the sell-out success of Tom Baker’s debut season, his seventh and final series will be released on 25th February as Doctor Who - The Collection: Season 18.

Tom Baker’s final year saw the programme undergo radical changes in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. Producer John Nathan-Turner revamped the series with new writers, new directors, a new title sequence and theme arrangement, glossy production standards and – throughout the course of the season – a brand new regular cast. Over seven classic adventures the Doctor and his companions encountered the Foamasi, Meglos, the Marshmen, vampires and Tharils, building to a final deadly showdown between the Doctor and his arch nemesis the Master. As a special bonus this set also includes the 1981 K9 & Company Christmas pilot episode, plus hours of brand new material.

Starring alongside Tom Baker are Lalla Ward as Romana, Matthew Waterhouse as Adric, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Janet Fielding as Tegan, Anthony Ainley as the Master, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah-Jane Smith and John Leeson as K9.

Special Features exclusive to this set include: a new Making-Of documentary and updated special effects for Logopolis, revealing new 2019 commentaries moderated by Matthew Sweet (Tom Baker on The Leisure Hive, Lalla Ward & Rachel Davies on State Of Decay), surround sound mix for Warriors’ Gate, rare behind-the-scenes footage from The Leisure Hive, Full Circle and Logopolis, eight more editions of Behind The Sofa, brand new documentaries The Writers Room and Weekend With Waterhouse, a new interview with K9 & Company’s Ian Sears, another dip into the Panopticon convention archives with Tom Baker, HD photo galleries plus scripts, production files and rare documentation provided as PDFs. The eight-disc box set also includes hours of extensive special features previously released on DVD.

All material has been remastered for Blu-ray by Peter Crocker and Mark Ayres. Lee Binding has provided stunning packaging and new series writer/content consultant Pete McTighe has written another extensive booklet. Russell Minton is Executive Producer.

Blu-ray trivia: when filming took place for Logopolis (1980), Tom Baker’s last adventure, the intention was to shoot at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory. Instead, production took place at Crowsley Park with the team using model shots. For the brand new Blu-ray, almost 40 years later, BBC Studios received permission to film at Jodrell Bank with a drone. Offered as an alternative viewing option, fans will now be able to experience the finished product just as it was originally intended. 

The set will be released on 25th February 2019, priced £56.16, although we expect the date could be pushed back if there are any technical issues.

+ PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk

[Source: BBC Studios]

22 November 2018

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Steve Lyons

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: November 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"It’s time the truth was told. About UNIT. About the Cybermen invasion. About the so-called ‘Doctor’. About what happened all those years ago, at Warlock’s Cross. About the man they keep locked up in a cage, in a secret prison…

It’s time. Because UNIT scientific adviser Elizabeth Klein is going to help ensure the truth is brought to light.

Today’s the day… that UNIT falls."

The Seventh Doctor’s five-release-run in the Main Range from Big Finish continues here with Warlock’s Cross by Steve Lyons; the final play in the ‘New UNIT’ trilogy.

It’s a bit of an odd play for various reasons, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Things kick off with some set up and well-executed exposition (sometimes a rarity in audio). The Doctor himself is sidelined fairly early into proceedings with a nice gag on how he wasn’t really much of a player in the 1990s, and it’s not long before all the main players are established, including the return of Blake Harrison as Daniel Hopkins and Tracey Childs as Klein. They are joined by others along the way, but it’s Colonel McKenna who takes central stage. He is the man in charge now and proves to be as waspish as he predecessors; the moment he name-checks Lewis Price as the best of the best is a nice shorthand for everything you need to know about his character.

By the end of the first episode, we’ve a mystery to solve, a jailbreak, betrayal and uncertainty over some characters’ motivations. It’s a lot to work with, so it’s a surprise then that the episode itself is a bit of a damp squib. Much happens, but not an awful lot of it is all that interesting. The same goes for Part Two, which had me concerned. The previous two entries in this trilogy have failed to land for me and I was very concerned this one was heading the same way.

Thankfully, we have here a Doctor Who story which bucks the trend by actually improving as it goes along and Part Three in particular is enjoyable with some fun concepts. Part Four is perhaps more pedestrian, but Lyons throws us some nice bones here and there with interesting character development for Klein and weighty discussion on what the Doctor did to her by interfering with her past. It helps justify her inclusion in the play, which otherwise would be hard to do, regardless of how good Childs is in the role (and she is: she’s very, very good).

A lot of the issues at the start of the story really boil down to the performances of some of the cast, but a lot of that is down presumably to directorial decision and tics in the script itself.  It’s very similar to the problem with Ashildr back with Series 10 on television. If you write a character as having a tough exterior and being emotionless, the performances given are going to lack warmth and subtlety and so it is here, too. The actors in this cast are very good actors but I would be lying if I said I felt they gave us incredible performances. I don’t feel that’s really something they can be entirely blamed for though, especially when it comes to the character of Hopkins. It’s a decision taken at a higher level, to make him the way he is, and it’s made for a very bland character that you wish had been flagged up as a misstep somewhere down the scripting or script editing road.

Compare Blake Harrison’s performance here to that in The Helliax Rift. I didn’t enjoy that play, but it’s fair to say Harrison had a lot more to go with and his performance is accordingly better for it. Harrison is a good actor, but saddled as he is here with scripts and character development that are lacking, it’s a wonder he does as well as he does.

In the end, the decision to go down the route they did with Hopkins weighs down the New UNIT trilogy, a trilogy which has felt ill-conceived and poorly executed from the start. I can see where they were aiming with it all (UNIT in Battlefield, for example, feels very different to how UNIT was in the Pertwee era or indeed Tennant’s, Smith’s or Capaldi’s) but it lacked the believability to really make it sing, populated by characters who should know better when dealing with the Doctor and stories that feel largely tired.

The 1990s were not the kindest of times to Doctor Who in many ways and perhaps ending the trilogy in this era rubbed off. Warlock’s Cross is by far the best of the three in the loose arc, but I don’t think it’s a play I’ll be returning to any time soon.


+ Warlock's Cross is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


20 November 2018

BBC Audio have sent DWO the cover and details for an exclusive audiobook edition of Doctor Who: Warriors’ Gate by Stephen Gallagher, based on the author’s original, never-before-seen version.

Warriors' Gate, first broadcast on BBC1 in 1981, was a four-part TV serial in Tom Baker’s final season as the Fourth Doctor. Notable at the time for its high-concept story and its cinematic visual style, it has subsequently become highly regarded as a unique slice of Doctor Who

 

Writer Stephen Gallagher novelised his scripts for the Target Books range, under the pen name John Lydecker. Before publication, however, the book was substantially reworked and reduced in length. Ever since, Doctor Who fans have speculated about what the original manuscript might have contained. 

 

Now, for the first time, Stephen Gallagher has reassembled that original manuscript from his original paperwork, enabling listeners to experience the novelisation as he originally intended it, substantially longer and with significant structural changes. This version also now better reflects the author’s original vision for the TV episodes.

 

Stephen Gallagher says:

 

“I couldn’t be more delighted with the way it’s all worked out. Performed by Jon Culshaw, with John Leeson reprising the voice of K9, it’s feeling more like a resurrection than a reconstruction.”

 

+  Warriors' Gate is released on 4th April 2019, priced £20.00 (CD) / £7.00 (Download).
+  PREORDER this title on Amazon.co.uk

 

[Source: BBC Audio]

15 November 2018

The BBC have confirmed recent rumours that the traditional Christmas Special slot has moved from Christmas Day to New Year's Day. Below is the BBC press release in full:

With 2018 marking a brand new era for Doctor Who it is only right that 2019 kicks off in spectacular style. 

So to mark the occasion, in this year’s festive episode the TARDIS will travel through the time vortex from its traditional timeslot on Christmas Day and will land in style on New Year’s Day.

Charlotte Moore, Director of Content, says:

“We’re delighted the Doctor and her companions will be welcoming BBC One audiences into 2019 with this exciting new episode. The Doctor's fans are in for a special treat on the first day of the new year.”

Showrunner, Chris Chibnall says:

“We’re thrilled to be starting the New Year with a bang on BBC One, as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends face a terrifying alien threat in an action-packed, hour-long special adventure for all the family.”

As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?

[Source: BBC Studios]

11 November 2018

Our friends over at TBT Props have just taken delivery of some of the new MFX Doctor Who mask replicas, and you can get your hands (or rather, heads) on them now!

The masks are all made from the original moulds and are hand-painted by the highly skilled artists at Millennium FX.

 

Other masks currently available, include:

 

-  Davros
-  Clockwork Droid (Male)
-  Clockwork Droid (Female) 
-  Weeping Angel (Serene)
-  Scarecrow 

 

+  Check out the range now at: http://tbtprops.com/product-category/mfx-masks/

 

[Source: TBT Props]

5 November 2018

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Guy Adams

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: October 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The Doctor and Ace are locked up. The TARDIS is gone. Things just couldn’t get worse, could they?

Of course they could. Things can always get worse — the new President of the Solar System, Josiah W Dogbolter, didn’t get where he is in life without learning that. That’s why he has a Quantum Possibility Engine. It’s a wonderful machine, creating a wonderful Solar System. And with this wonderful device, he can bring happiness and peace to all.

Possibly.

Either that or tear the universe to shreds, it’s hard to be sure which."

Right now as I write this, Doctor Who on screen is going out of its way to be accessible to new audiences. If you dived in to The Woman Who Fell To Earth having never seen the show before, you’d find your feet soon enough and not feel you’re missing out on anything - fleeting reference to a white-haired Scotsman aside.

On the other side of the fence, Big Finish seem to be increasingly catering for a niche audience; one which is familiar and comfortable with several dozen strings of continuity. Take the Main Range right now; the latest trilogy ends with this play here, The Quantum Possibility Engine by Guy Adams, but that’s not it for the Seventh Doctor. The next release is Warlock’s Cross, a solo outing for this incarnation at a later point in his lifetime and a sequel to the ‘Modern UNIT’ trilogy that’s been running across the year which also sees the return of Klein. Straight after that we dip back in his timeline and also Ace’s (in relation to this month’s play) with Muse of Fire. It’s a tangled web of time and placement at odds with everything else right now.

Even this month’s play is not immune. We have Narvin in it; a popular character from the spin-off series Gallifrey, but a younger Narvin than the one in much of that series, and the main antagonist is Dogbolter from the Doctor Who Magazine comic strips. In fairness, both elements are explained away in the script, so no prior knowledge is necessary but it shows a far more insular and fan-focussed approach to the show.

Perhaps appropriately then, this play often feels like a bit of a greatest hits collection at times. The main bulk of Part Two and Part Three for Ace, the Doctor and Narvin will be very familiar to anyone who has read the comic strip The Glorious Dead, watched Forest Of The Dead and to a lesser extent Human Nature, or listened to Big Finish’s own The Crowmarsh Experiment. That’s nothing compared to the ending though, where a great portion of it isn’t so much similar to The Girl Who Died as a direct rip-off. It’s hard to not have a sense of slight fatigue at times thanks to this, all of which makes it surprising that I enjoyed the play as much as I did. In fact, I’d say it’s one of Adams’s best outings so far.

The points about repetition aren’t its only problem, mind. Mel falls into the tired trap of telling someone a load of exposition for no reason at all other than to have this information used against them later on, which always irks me (it’s justified when Dogbolter does similar later on), and I’m not sure I ever once bought the reason Mel didn’t tell the Doctor or Ace about her predicament: that smacks more of needing a cliffhanger ending and arc across a trilogy than anything truthful. But everything else has a real sense of fun about it, so much so that I’m happy to let these niggles pass.

I’d somehow completely missed the fact Narvin was in the play, so that came as a genuine surprise.  His inclusion here makes sense, far more so than it ever did with Dark Eyes years ago now. I must be honest that I was uncertain when he first popped up that it would be an inclusion for the sake of an inclusion as was the case there, but thankfully not. Sean Carlsen is always brilliant value regardless of script and he’s a welcome addition here, too.

The same goes for Toby Longworth, whose Dogbolter is as fun here as he was in The Maltese Penguin, many moons ago when our canonical Doctors numbered but eight. His inclusion feels perfectly suited to the overall comic-y ambience of the play and whilst I think continual cameos and kisses from the past aren’t healthy when done with regularity, I wouldn’t be against more of this type on occasion if handled with equal skill.

Big Finish may be playing hopscotch with the story placement in their release schedule, but plays such as this one leave me smiling. Perfect? By no means, and yet here I am giving it a thumbs up. A patchwork of past glories it may be, but it’s fun and a nice way to pass a couple of hours. In the end, Doctor Who should aspire to be this way, always.


+ The Quantum Possibility Engine is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


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