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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16 July 2018

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Chris Champman

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: June 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online

"It's London, 1828, and the father-and-son team of Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel are masterminding a dangerous project - the digging of the Thames Tunnel. There's just one problem...

The Brunels' tunnel is haunted. Every night, a spectral blue lady walks the excavation.

Now, the 22-year-old Isambard, eager to step out of his famous father's shadow, finds himself dealing with not only the supposed supernatural, but a second unexpected guest - a colourful trespasser who calls himself 'The Doctor'.

Isambard would like to know a great deal more about this strange man and his mysterious blue box..."

After a couple of major lows for the monthly range, I was a little nervous stepping into this play. Big Finish and historicals usually make for good bedfellows, but the sour taste left by The Lure Of The Nomad especially made me a little wary. Please (I thought to myself, going in), please, not another one like that.

The first thing to note is the cover: it’s beautiful. The wider space for the play covers’ imagery is a welcome thing, finally ditching the awkward black bars, and the new logo? It looks superb here, really catching the eye and wowing the viewer. It all makes for a far, far nicer and more consistent ‘Who identity’ and level of design than we’ve had before and I can’t say I’ll be mourning the loss of the old any time soon. A very good move / insistence by whoever is in charge of branding.

Iron Bright is by Chris Chapman, rapidly becoming a regular contributor to Big Finish’s monthly outings. So far, he’s given us The Memory Bank, a very solid one-episode-long story that I have found myself returning to since the first listen (always a good sign), and The Middle, which I thought had some very strong ideas but perhaps didn’t quite do them justice: very enjoyable overall all the same, mind.

Iron Bright probably falls into the same category, but that’s not to slight it. Big Finish were canny when they released the first episode as a free download for newsletter subscribers as it’s a lot of fun: ghosts and history, the Doctor and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and Colin Baker giving one of his best performances for a while all make for thirty minutes of drama which whizz by. The second two episodes are not quite as strong though.

When people see ‘Sixth Doctor + Historical’, the go-to story is normally The Mark Of The Rani, and this has some similarities in that the historical figures are, at times, sidelined in favour of alien goings-on. I feel, though, that this story shares most of its DNA with Timelash.

Remember how H.G. Wells is treated less as a figure of historical importance and more as a substitute companion, and historical period settings are largely ditched in favour of alien landscapes? That’s how Brunel is treated here, and indeed how the middle of this story feels a lot of the time.

When we return to Earth, I felt the story picked up a bit and I perhaps wish we’d been given a straight historical, or one with greater earthly grounding. I don’t feel the Doctor’s meeting with Brunel is wasted, in the same way his meeting with George Stephenson in Rani is not, and perhaps it was a silly and false expectation on my part to think we’d be getting something more ghostly and less... well, traditional Doctor Who.

After all this, the final episode then arrives and things really kick up a gear in quality again. The pocket emptying scene in particular is wonderful (even if Baker does note in the extras that he’s apparently hiding a key prop from the story’s opening in the process: surely a job for a script editor and not the lead actor?), and I want to stress again that the story is never bad.  Far from it.

One thing Iron Bright really has going for it is a truly excellent supporting cast. There is not one flat performance in there; everyone gives a wonderful turn. It’s one of the best ensembles we’ve had, with Catherine Bailey and Imogen Church being particularly impressive, and all credit must go to John Ainsworth for sorting it out. That said, Colin Baker’s remark that Becky Wright should return as a companion made me shake a little: surely no more companions for him? Baker and McGann between them seem to be having a competition to see who can collect the most, like a Gallifreyan game of Pokémon.

(In addition, Wright’s character, Flo, really did sound like the lost child of Flip and Ellie from Jago and Litefoot crossed with some of the backstory of Gwen from The Unquiet Dead, so I’m not sure it would be the wisest move.)

By the time Iron Bright finished, it had won me round again. This doesn’t wash away the bad taste left by recent plays, but it goes a long way to helping.

One thing is utterly apparent, mind: keep an eye on Chris Chapman. I truly believe he is one or two scripts away from writing something utterly superb for Doctor Who and I cannot wait to hear it. The Middle and Iron Bright may not quite hit all the marks, but my word do they show a promise and verve that makes me very, very excited to see his name next to a play again before too long.


15 July 2018

The Box-Set Of Delights

With the new series still several months away, there seems to be more and more focus on classic Doctor Who as we eagerly await the new Doctor making her grand entrance in October. The Twitch marathon continues apace, 20th century companions Wendy Padbury, Carol Ann Ford, and Sophie Aldred grace the front cover of this month’s Doctor Who Magazine, and we’ve recently seen the (slightly delayed) release of the shiny new Season 12 Blu-ray box-set. (Or the ‘Tom Baker Season 1 box-set’ if you’re in America…) 


I confess to being slightly nonplussed when the announcement was first made that seasons of the classic show were going to be re-released as box-set collections. I mean, lovely as they are - how many times can we possibly be expected re-buy these old episodes…? But then the sheer amount of love and care that was being put into making this an ‘ultimate’ edition quickly became apparent - this was no rush-job cash-in. Seduced by the strikingly beautiful box artwork by Lee Binding, as well as a glorious gallimaufry of brand new extra features - it took me, ooh, minutes, before I caved in and pre-ordered. And now that I’m sitting here with this sexy and sturdy box of complete joy in my hands, it’s got me thinking about all the different ways in which we’ve welcomed these old friends into our homes over the years… Allow me to take you by the plunger and lead you on a personal voyage through thirty years of house-calls from the Doctor… 


Live Transmissions


I became a fan at the age of eight, in 1988, halfway through Remembrance Of The Daleks - so, although I didn’t know it at the time, opportunities to watch new episodes as they went out live were shortly to be subjected to something of a hiatus… We did have a video recorder by this point, but no one knew how to work the timer - someone had to be there to press ‘record’ as each episode went out, or it was lost to the time vortex forever. At that time Doctor Who was transmitted on a Wednesday evening, which clashed with the local cub scout pack meetings that I attended, so the sacred duty of capturing each week’s instalment was entrusted to my parents. Something went wrong with the taping of Part Three of The Happiness Patrol, however - they somehow managed to record the wrong channel, and I was inconsolable to find that all I had was a tape of northern people going about their everyday lives. I had to wait NINE years to see it - when the commercial VHS release finally came out in 1997. Naturally, this incident prompted me to quit the cub scouts for good. To this day I can’t make a fire or tie a knot, but I did manage to see all of Silver Nemesis, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, makes me the winner in this story. 


VHS Tapes


I’d already begun to collect the VHS releases by the time the TV show came to an abrupt end in 1989. Those early tapes, such as Pyramids Of Mars, Day Of The Daleks, and The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, were so indelibly impressed upon my young mind that I can still recite them word for word. And watching the fuzzy, unrestored, VHS quality was like looking through a time-window to a thousand years ago - I felt like a noble historian, carefully collecting and preserving these impossibly old artefacts - most of which were in reality not much older than myself. Our family home was burgled once, when I was about eleven, and I was utterly distraught to see that my collection had gone. Never mind the priceless heirlooms and family silver - I insisted upon giving the police a detailed description of each and every Doctor Who video that I owned. (It later turned out that I’d actually just not left them where I thought I had, and they hadn’t been stolen at all. Some burglars have no taste.) 


UK Gold


As with many technological innovations - satellite television was something that I only became interested in when it offered an opportunity to see more Doctor Who. My parents surprised me with a satellite dish one Christmas, when I was thirteen. This was too good to be true - they were showing my favourite show on UK Gold EVERY DAY! And the truly dedicated fan could get up at some ungodly hour on a Sunday morning and catch an omnibus of a complete story - every week! The first story I caught on this space-age medium was The Ark - I loved it so much. The following September, however, I was packed off to boarding school - where there were definitely no satellite dishes, and putting up a poster of a Sea Devil in one’s dorm room was, in retrospect, not the best way to make friends and influence people. So they were short lived, those heady satellite days, but they were UK Golden. 




I was in my first year of drama school by the time Doctor Who started to be released on DVD. Again - it was this development that prompted me to invest in the technology required to play the shiny futuristic discs. My first acquisition was The Robots Of Death. The picture was so sharp and clear! And there were extra features and menu screens - we truly were living in the promised times! (Admittedly, the main extra feature on that first disc was a copy of the studio floor plans - but I remember thinking at the time that they were a valuable and fascinating resource. I have never looked at them since.) The DVD range went on to spoil us with vast arrays of bonus content and VidFIRE restorations. For years it felt like getting a monthly video magazine, packed with making-of features and interviews - and the occasional documentary on black pudding. Truly, we thought - this is the definitive collection… 


Back to the present day…


Now, of course, there are more ways than ever to pipe Doctor Who into our homes, with the likes of Twitch marathons and iPlayer streaming. And the aforementioned blu-ray box-set, which surely is the ‘ultimate’ collection of these stories that we’ve carried with us throughout our lives. There’s a special feature devoted to a compilation of studio clocks. And half an hour of silent footage of the Season twelve cast chain-smoking. (As well as my absolute favourite extra bit - Janet Fielding, Louise Jameson, and Sarah Sutton doing a ‘Gogglebox’ style viewing of episodes that they weren’t in - I could happily watch this trio chewing the fat for hours, on any topic at all. Lots more of this please, blu-ray elves.) So, finally, we can be sure that we’re buying these episodes for the last time, can’t we…?


Yeah, right. See you in 2028 for the 3D brain-implant of Spearhead from Space - featuring an artificially intelligent and fully-restored Terrance Dicks. I can’t wait. 


Richard Unwin

Follow @Richard_Unwin on Twitter!
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7 July 2018

Our friends over at TBT Props have been in touch with an exciting opportunity for die-hard Doctor Who collector's to get their hands on a Dalek, which appeared in the 50th Anniversary Trailer.

Truly a piece of art, it mimics in a hyper realistic appearance what an original 1970’s Dalek would have appeared on screen in Planet of the Daleks. It was used on screen in the 50th Anniversary Trailer, at the Doctor Who Exhibition in Cardiff, London Excel, a Tom Baker Photoshoot, and various promotional photoshoots.

Although only a quick trailer appearance on screen, it can be classed as an official screen used Dalek, as was seen and used in the official BBC Doctor Who 50th Anniversary trailer.

Construction is a mixture of fibreglass, wood and metal. It has had a replacement gun put on as the old gun was sold separately.

A brief history on the Dalek and its components:

Uses a Planet of the Daleks Eye Stalk

Planet Style Eyestalk came from the collection of JNT through a friend and is believe to have been production used, the eye stalk was then put onto the Dalek to contribute to it’s highly accurate nature.

Doctor Who Experience Cardiff

This was a long term resident Dalek at the Official BBC Doctor Who Experience, if you visited the Exhibition or have seen photos from the Exhibition, it is more than likely that you will have seen or touched this Dalek.

Doctor Who London Excel

Dalek made appearance at the London Excel Doctor Who exhibition

Screen Used in BBC Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Trailer

Dalek was used in the Official BBC 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Trailer, making the Dalek Screen Used. We have attached screens shoots of the Dalek where it was used exterminating a unit soldier

Dalek Used in Promotional Photoshoot with Tom Baker in 2014

The dalek was used in a promotional Photoshoot with Tom Baker in 2014 to celebrate his small part return on Doctor Who – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2605430/Doctor-Who-Tom-Baker-meets-old-enemy-launch.html

Price does not include shipping and will need to arrange shipping quotes, please call / contact TBT Props before purchasing for payment option at: web@tbtprops.com.

[Source: TBT Props]

2 July 2018

The guys at Anoraks have been in touch to announce that stage and television actress, and one of the most loved Doctor Who companions of the classic series, Louise Jameson, will be joining them as a guest star in a special two-part episode of Anoraks – the sitcom about Science Fiction fandom. 

Louise will also be appearing at their December 1st minicon event in Cardiff. (Details for the minicon will be announced very soon!).

Contributors to their Indiegogo campaign will get the opportunity to meet Louise and receive autographs, but hurry as there is only 2 days left!

+ Contribute to our Indiegogo campaign and get some fantastic perks!  

+ Read more about Anoraks on their website.

Watch the first season on our Youtube Channel and subscribe for exclusive content. 


Follow Anoraks on social media:



Check out the Anoraks fundraiser video:

[Source: Anoraks]

1 July 2018

Publisher: BHC Press

Written By: Gary Morgenstein

RRP: £14.95 (Paperback) / £4.52 (Kindle) / $18.95 (Paperback) / $5.96 (Kindle)

Release Date: 29th March 2018

Reviewed by: Richard Wright

Review Posted: 1st July 2018

Book reading has been, and always will be one of humanities greatest pastimes, with countless themes, genres and styles to suit anyone. Like most things, however, there reaches a point where certain genres get saturated, and it takes the next 'big thing' to buck the trend and take things in a new direction.

Enter Gary Morgenstein with 'A Mound Over Hell' - a Science Fiction / sports genre crossover the likes of which we've never seen (or heard of - or READ), before.

If you're a die-hard SciFi nut, and sport isn't your thing (an vice versa), you'll still find solace in Morgenstein's writing.

Things kick off at a bracing pace in the year 2098 of a dystopian Earth, after World World III. It's the last ever season of baseball - a sport which has become associated with terrorism. Our central character (Baseball historian, Puppy Nedick) wakes up to "find a hologram named Greta dancing on his chest" - there's something ludicrously amazing about that line, and in Morgenstein's humour, which is peppered perfectly throughout the novel.

Radical islam has almost destroyed America as we know it, and a new world has been borne out of love. But could the very game of baseball itself usher in world peace, or could it be the cause of a new war to end all wars?

I genuinely haven't read a book so refreshingly different, well-paced, surprising and completely and utterly unique. It is incredibly pleasing to learn that this is part of a planned series for Morgenstein's 'Dark Depths' saga, and the second part cannot come quickly enough!

Highly recommended!

+  A Mound Over Hell is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com!
+  Follow Gary Morgenstein on Twitter.

6 June 2018

If you're up for a fun night out filled with Doctor Who and comedy, we highly recommend the upcoming UK tour of Rob Lloyd and his hilarious Who, Me, show.

Rob, who some of you may remember as the host of 'The Science Of Doctor Who' tour by the BBC, will be performing 7 UK venues for Who, Me:

-  June 27th Exeter.

-  June 29th Bordon.

-  June 30th Southport.

-  July 4th Chipping Norton.

-  July 5th Norwich.

-  July 7th Salford (near Manchester)

-  July 8th Inverness. 

DWO caught up with Rob for a quick interview:

What is your earliest memory of Doctor Who, and do you have a particular favourite episode of the classic / new series (or both)? 


My earliest memory of Who was after school episodes of the Sylvester McCoy era on our Australian National Broadcasting network (the ABC) when I was in Grade 5/6, so I was roughly 10/11. I distinctly remember Paradise Towers and Survival. 


It wasn’t until University that I had someone sit me down and explain ALL of Doctor Who to me…and I’ve been a fan ever since.


My favourite classic story is Inferno or The Robots of Death.


My favourite modern story is either Dinosaurs on a Spaceship or Oxygen.


You had great success at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival; how did you find the audience and would you return again? 


Last year was the second time I’ve performed Who, Me. at the Edinburgh Fringe. I was also there in 2013 for the 50th Anniversary of Who. I adore Edfringe, it is an intense experience and it is an incredible amount of hard work but it all worth it to be playing in the biggest playground (for performers) in the world. You have the opportunity to meet so many different people from around the world and see so many amazing shows. I cannot wait to return to do another one of my shows there.


This year sees you touring the UK - is there a particular leg of your tour that you are looking forward to? What can we expect from Who, Me this year? 


To be honest…and I don’t mean this to be a cop-out but…all of it really! 


I’ve never had the chance to explore England. On this tour we’ve got to cover seven cities in three weeks. So we’re hiring and car and then we will most definitely see a lot of the English landscape. I’m so excited.


Who, Me. is a solo comedy show where I put Doctor Who on trial, to see whether he has been a negative or a positive influence over my life. The audience are the jury and ultimately the fate of The Doctor is in their hands.


Finally, if you could take a round trip in the TARDIS, anywhere in time and space, where would you go and why?


Oh that’s easy... the UK in the 1960s, so I could record all the incomplete stories and missing episode of Doctor Who. Then I would bring them back to modern times and be worshipped as a god!

+ Purchase tickets for Who, Me, here!


[Source: DWO]

5 June 2018

The Day Of The Zarbi Riots

One of the biggest stories from this past week has, rather surprisingly, been original companions Ian and Barbara making it back to London in 1965. Contrary to Mr Chesterton’s claim in An Unearthly Child, it seems that time does indeed go ‘round and round in circles’… 


When the news broke a few weeks ago that Doctor Who was coming to ‘Twitch’, I confess to having no real idea what that meant - but as it happens, it’s turned out to mean something rather marvellous. Twitch is an online service for watching and streaming digital broadcasts which has acquired the rights to show almost all of the original run of Doctor Who. (Missing episodes and, sadly, several Dalek adventures are excluded - the latter on ‘rights’ grounds apparently.) It’s streamed in batches of three or four stories a day, Monday to Friday, with the whole batch on a loop that gets repeated twice. They started last week with An Unearthly Child and are working their way right through the classic series. What  makes this different from other repeats, however, is the inclusion of a chat box that allows viewers to comment on the episodes in real time - suddenly watching these beloved old treasures has become a worldwide communal experience. And judging from the rapidly streaming chat, the audience includes thousands of young people, many of whom have never experienced classic Doctor Who before - and they’re LOVING it. 


The comments whizz by at such a frenetic rate that it’s impossible to read every single thing that’s being said, but if you stare at the chat box for long enough, and relax your mind, it’s possible to achieve a zen-like state of higher consciousness that allows one to perceive the mood and general opinion without focussing in on each individual statement. It feels rather like being one of the infospike journalists from The Long Game - a massive download of information that is processed and packaged subconsciously by the human brain to become comprehensible content. Unlike many other social-media platforms, there’s no facility to ‘like’ or ‘favourite’ anyone’s contributions, so there’s no dopamine reward for outstanding efforts - people are simply joining in the chorus of commentary for the sheer joy of it. The Cave of Skulls, for example, provokes gems such as: “Za is a poser”, “Praise Orb”, and “LISTEN TO THE WOMAN”. The first glimpse of the cat in Planet Of Giants results in a bewildering blizzard of feline emojis and countless cries of “KITTY!”. 


What’s really fascinating is witnessing the formation of patterns that emerge from the maelstrom as these new viewers seize upon and celebrate certain moments and lines of dialogue, happily weaving memes from fragments of the past - ones that we’ve always been aware of, but have perhaps never celebrated to this degree. At the time of writing, Ian Chesterton’s line from The Chase about he and Barbara having made it back to London in the year 1965 has become an overnight internet sensation. This is mainly due to the clip in question being featured in a trailer for the Hartnell era that’s currently playing (twice) between each episode - along with the First Doctor’s “Believe me - I know!” from The Aztecs, which has been similarly seized upon. (In a pleasing piece of synchronicity, Russell T Davies’ currently airing BBC1 drama about Jeremy Thorpe - A Very English Scandal - happened to open with a massive caption reading ‘London 1965’. Always got his finger on the pulse that one…!) 


A truly heartwarming aspect of the week has been the degree to which this hyperactive hivemind has embraced the characters of Ian and Barbara. (The former now often referred to as ‘EEYAN’ due to the pronunciation of his name by Ixta in The Aztecs…) It’s been more than half a century since our intrepid schoolteachers first followed their unearthly child home through the London smog, and a whole new audience has fallen completely in love with them. There’s been fan-art, and memes, and a genuine connection - proving indisputably the brilliance of those wonderful performances, still shining through from all those years ago. (Though the adoration of Barbara did experience a brief wobble when she shoots Sandy the sandbeast in The Rescue… “She’s a MURDERER!”) There’s apparently even been ‘shipping’, whatever that is - probably something to do with the Mary Celeste scenes in The Chase


Then, on the forth day of the schedule, something went terribly wrong at Twitch HQ - the fluid links burnt out, the fault locator was on the fritz, and a time loop was established. Viewers tuning in for the scheduled showing of The Web Planet were instead confronted with a repeat performance of An Unearthly Child. Frustrations were vented in the comments: “Wrong Episode!”, “Wrong Episode!”, “WRONG EPISODE!!!”. After about fifteen minutes of protest, the episode was was eventually changed… to Planet Of Giants. They then proceeded to show the entirety of that story, and then The Dalek Invasion Of Earth - repeating the previous day’s playlist while an increasingly disgruntled audience continued to demand the promised trip to Vortis. The outrage was mostly good natured and healthily humorous, but still overwhelming. Variations on “We want Zarbi!”, “Justice for Vortis!”, and “ZARBI RIOT!” were repeated ad infinitum. This was one of the strangest, most surreal, and unexpected Doctor Who moments of the year so far. Thousands of young people on the internet, in 2018, threatening to riot if they weren’t shown The Web Planet immediately. All quite tongue-in-cheek, obviously - no one was actually going to take to the streets and start smashing the place up in the name of insect movement movement by Roslyn De Winter, but apparently The Web Planet was trending on Twitter. In 2018. Extraordinary. 


Eventually the time-track was corrected, and the clamouring masses got their fix of vaseline-smeared sci-fi action. Whether it was quite what they were expecting is another matter: “BLEEP BLOOP. I AM AN ANT!”… But the Day of the Zarbi Riots made one thing very clear - that these dusty old episodes are more than being enjoyed by their shiny new audience - they are being cherished.


Younger fans may well be getting rather fed up by now with the constant and sometimes rather patronising commentary from older enthusiasts on their viewing habits, attitudes, and Time Teams. Sorry about that. But honestly - seeing you take such delight from this material - that many of us had never imagined would once again be so celebrated - is actually rather moving and beautiful. We love that you love what we love, and can’t wait to see what mega-memes you pluck next from the Doctor’s adventures as the Twitch marathon progresses. We hope you enjoy it as much as we're enjoying your reactions! 


Richard Unwin

Follow @Richard_Unwin on Twitter!
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30 May 2018

Anoraks is a Nerd web sitcom. The first season saw the adventures of the three Men Behaving Sadly featuring Big Finish actor Seán Carlsen and cameos from Doctor Who actors Anneke Wills and Terry Molloy. Season Two is in pre-production and the Anoraks team need your help with our Indiegogo campaign! 

They are all fans themselves, so have first-hand knowledge of how warm, passionate, and often-times how ridiculous, self-obsessed yet warm, welcoming and creative fandom can be.


Series two sees the addition of a new cast member in the form of acclaimed stand-up comedian, Lorna Prichard, who will bring a new and younger voice to the Anorak's worlds of fandom. Season One was mostly about Doctor Who fans and fandom. Series Two sees them open their vista to have fun with Marvel, Star Trek, Star Wars and SF/Fantasy. They've included a host of new secondary characters, more guest stars and a planned bigger budget, and special guest stars to be announced! 


Help the Anoraks team make the best possible second series!


+ Contribute to our Indiegogo campaign and get some fantastic perks!  

+ Read more about Anoraks on their website.

Watch the first season on our Youtube Channel and subscribe for exclusive content. 


Follow Anoraks on social media:




Check out the Anoraks fundraiser video:

[Source: Anoraks]

25 May 2018

For a limited time, friends of Doctor Who Online can get this unique Doctor Who 2017 pure silver coin at 20% OFF the recommended retail price. In order to qualify for the discount simply use the code DOCTOR when you purchase your coin on the New Zealand Mint website before 5pm, 31st May 2018.

This stunning coin depicts the Twelfth Doctor along with key characters from the 2017 series: his foes Missy, the Master, the Cybermen and, of course, his companions Bill and Nardole. The coin is packaged in a modern, stylish case featuring black and white images of the iconic TARDIS. Inside the case you’ll find the Certificate of Authenticitywhich contains information about the coin and its unique serial number - confirming it as one of only 10,000 coins available worldwide!

This may well be your last chance to own a coin featuring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. And with a new season – and a new coin - on its way, don’t delay and start your collection here.


[Source: New Zealand Mint]

24 May 2018

Over 500 classic episodes from the 1960s to the 1980s will air worldwide on Twitch from May 29th to July 23rd.

Social video service Twitch today announced it is joining forces with BBC Studios for the first-ever digital broadcasting event of the Classic Doctor Who series. Over 500 episodes from 26 seasons dating from the show’s inception in 1963 until the 1980s will air worldwide over a seven-week period. Starting May 29th, fans can tune in each week Monday to Friday at 11 am PDT to catch episodes on Twitch.tv/TwitchPresents.

Doctor Who is a British action adventure sci fi series produced by BBC Studios which follows the adventures of "The Doctor", an alien Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels through time in a TARDIS, a spaceship shaped like a police telephone box. Accompanied by a number of friends, the Doctor combats a variety of foes, while working to save civilizations and help those in need. Instead of dying, the Doctor is able to "regenerate" into a new body, taking on a new personality with each regeneration. This has led to 13 different incarnations of the Doctor appearing in the series.

Nick Coulter, Director of Digital Sales and Business Development at BBC Studios says:

“We are constantly looking at ways to reach new audiences and make it easier for fans to engage with our most popular shows. Doctor Who, in particular, has a great tradition of pioneering new technologies, from early VHS all the way through to the new digital services of today. Twitch is another great example of this, as a brilliant service with over 15 million active daily users, we are thrilled to be able to offer them the chance to indulge in the Classic Doctor Who series and celebrate its amazing 54 year legacy of excitement and innovation.”


Leveraging the real-time shared viewer experience that has defined Twitch, Doctor Who is the latest entry in over a dozen TV shows that have aired on the service. To elevate the social experience in chat, viewers who Subscribe to the TwitchPresents channel will gain access to 14 exclusive emotes themed after each of the first seven doctors.


For Doctor Who fans in the US, UK, and Canada, Twitch is hosting a giveaway each week of the event, including a grand prize trip to London Comic Con in Fall 2018. For details on the giveaway, visit: https://watch.twitch.tv/DoctorWhoSweepstakes.


As part of the event, leading UK digital content creators The Yogscast are producing a series of shows that will introduce each Doctor. With a cast of Doctor Who screenwriters, experts, fans, and even a former companion, the Yogscast's Turps and resident Doctor Who expert and High Roller's player Matt Toffollo will be discussing why modern audiences should be watching Doctor Who. Each 20-minute episode will provide a brief summary of the stories that are about to be shown, including the actors, monsters, famous phrases or production gaffes to look out for. With first-hand knowledge from former companion Katy Manning (who played Jo Grant the Third Doctor Companion) and writers Bob Baker and Paul Cornell, the shows will give insight into the series alongside the humor and irreverence viewers expect from the Yogscast.

Also joining them will be Beth Axford of The Time Ladies, Tom Spilsbury of Doctor Who Magazine and YouTuber, Bill Garratt-John.

Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch, says:


Doctor Who and its clever take on sci-fi exemplifies the type of adjacent content to gaming that has resonated with the Twitch community. By presenting this iconic BBC show in a new interactive format, it is a fun new way to bridge several generations of Doctor Who fans, while building a new generation of them.”


For more information on the Doctor Who episodes that will air on Twitch, visit the Twitch blog.

[Source: BBC Studios]


22 May 2018

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Matthew J. Elliott

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: May 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online

"For thousands of years, it has drifted through space, unimpeded, forgotten, seemingly lifeless. Now, finally, it has been discovered.

Responding to a distress call from the mysterious hulk, the Doctor and his companion, space pilot Mathew Sharpe, walk into a desperate situation. The multi-tentacled semibionic Makara were tasked with renovating the abandoned craft, but now they’ve begun murdering their employers.

The Doctor soon realises that the Makara have been programmed to kill, but by whom, and for what reason? Finding out the truth will mean uncovering a secret that threatens the entire Universe."

The following review contains massive spoilers for this play from the very start. Please read NO FURTHER if you do not want twists and character / plot developments ruined. I cannot stress enough how from the off YOU WILL BE SPOILED should you choose to read any further.

Heard the one about the spaceship that’s about to crash with a sole occupant left behind, sending out a distress signal which is picked up at the last possible minute by a man in a Police Box, who materialises on board to save the otherwise doomed pilot? What’s that? You have and it featured the Eighth Doctor? How about you listen to it featuring the Sixth Doctor for Big Finish instead.

You like the Sixth Doctor you say? Then have you heard the one where we are introduced to his new companion after he’s been travelling with them for some time? You can pick or choose Mel or Constance here. Or perhaps the one where the Sixth Doctor has a brand new companion in spin-off media? (Hello, Grant or Flip or Evelyn or Frobisher, and so on and so forth.) 

No? Then maybe the Big Finish play where we are introduced to a new companion that turns out to be solely for this tale, as they’re secretly a baddie? Again, you can pick The Fifth Traveller or this one: it’s your call.

You catch my drift, I’m sure. The Lure Of The Nomad, written by Matthew J Elliott, is Big Finish’s 238th main range release and boy does it feel like it. Uninspired and riffing off past glories, it’s difficult to imagine that anyone genuinely read the script without a feeling of déjà vu hanging around. I simply cannot believe the CD extras where they express surprise at the ending. From the moment the story was announced with tiny fanfare for the supposed new companion, and no image of said companion on the cover art, I would have had money on them either dying or turning out to be a wrong’un by the end of the play had I been able to get decent odds anywhere, so when the twist comes that Mathew Sharpe is not the man we thought he was, it was less a surprise and more a case of “Well, obviously, yes. Can we hurry this up now please?” It’s a pity but not something that shocked me, and if anything that’s the saddest part of all.

Nicholas Briggs kicks off the play by announcing with funereal gravitas that you’re listening to a Big Finish production, but he needn’t have bothered. By the time we have references to Quarks, the very first Dalek serial and a joke about carrot juice and exercise bikes riffing on Terror Of The Vervoids, I could have guessed. Later nods to Terileptils, Harry Sullivan and Stattenheim remote controls only add to this sense of it being business as usual, where characters cannot go five minutes without making a nod to past adventures and winking unsubtly at the audience.

Done well, these sorts of kisses to the past can be fine and not derail the action, but done with the sledgehammer regularity as is the case here, they are not. Indeed, the one to Harry is the worst offender. It stems after Mathew makes a reference to the boxer John L. Sullivan, which makes no sense for the character. We’ve already had much said about how far into the future he is from and so he is unfamiliar with cultural touchstones such as Monty Python’s Flying Circus, so why would he then be able to namecheck a boxer dead since 1918CE?

I know this is a minor point, but it’s symptomatic of a script littered with clumsy dialogue. The opening scene is painfully bad with its on-the-nose exposition, for example: nobody in the world speaks how the two characters here do. It’s the sort of ham-fisted “Let us set up the backstory” chatter we mocked The Space Museum for many moons ago now, and it’s sad to see we haven’t moved on yet. Elsewhere, we’ve more than the usual quota of ‘say what you see’ descriptive lines and the conclusion features a self-sacrifice so out of the blue and out of character that it’s insulting to suggest it happens for any reason other than to wrap up the plot.

(Sadly, these are familiar issues with Elliot’s writing, similar and in some cases identical to ones in his last main range play, The Silurian Candidate, and also present in Backtrack, which he wrote for The Tenth Doctor Chronicles, which makes me suggest this clumsiness of his isn’t moving anywhere any time soon.)

The Lure Of The Nomad is not a good play. There are good aspects, but good aspects do not a good play make. For what it’s worth though, these good aspects include an amusing joke about the plural of ‘octopus’ and nice performances by Matthew Holness and Anna Barry in the guest cast. The final scene is relatively underplayed and memorable, too. It’s for these reasons and these alone that it gets 2 out of 10.

Three very good main range plays followed by two of the worst in recent memory? I really hope things pick up again soon. The Lure Of The Nomad is as forgettable as it gets.


7 May 2018

Terror Of The Time Team!

In the absence of any new news from Cardiff, the big talking point this past week has been the reveal of Doctor Who Magazine's all-new Time Team lineup. Traditionally, the Time Team - a feature launched in 1999 - has consisted of a group of four fans working their way through the entirety of Doctor Who, in chronological order, giving commentary, opinions, and observations as they go - usually accompanied by sublime illustration by Adrian Salmon. Now, however, it’s all-change, and a brand new group of twelve bold adventurers, who’ll be ruminating on a selection box of stories each month, was revealed in Issue 525 on Thursday the 3rd of May.

This may not sound like a big deal to the casual observer, but such was the interest in this unveiling that the phrase ‘Time Team’ was trending on Twitter - it appeared that everyone had something to say about this shiny new team. The responses could be broadly sorted into three main categories - celebration, apoplectic fury, and people who were confused that the news wasn’t to do with Tony Robinson and archeology.  


Most of the complaints seemed to stem from the fact that none of the new team are over the age of twenty-six, and that some of them are *gasp* only familiar with the post-2005 modern series of Doctor Who. Some people clearly felt that the magazine was betraying its loyal older readership by ‘dumbing down’ and presenting a selection of young ’n’ trendy social media types who wouldn’t know a Garm from a Gastropod. The sense of entitlement - the outrage that these whippersnappers could be permitted to pass comment on OUR holy texts - was fascinating to witness. And, at times, a little disturbing. 


There were also complaints from some quarters about the fresh team being diverse in race and gender - presumably from the same sorts of people who refuse point-blank to watch a female Doctor, get their knickers in a twist about racially diverse actors appearing in historical adventures, and think that accusing someone of being concerned with social justice is somehow an insult… You know the type - those who are convinced that even the vaguest mention of anyone who’s not a straight white cisgendered male is some sort of ‘box-ticking’ PC conspiracy. We shan’t concern ourselves with this monstrous minority any further - let’s just leave them screaming impotently into the void.


I have to confess to some brief, initial agreement with those who voiced concerns. And, as someone who was born in the year of City of Death, I’m naturally confused by, suspicious of, and a little bit scared by YouTubers and social media ‘influencers’…  The few that I’ve been exposed to in the past seemed to share identikit ‘upbeat’ personalities and unnatural uniform beauty, weaponised by ruthless commercial acumen. ‘YouTuber hair’ is definitely a thing. I quickly realised, of course, that this distrust is merely a product of my own advancing years and a failure on my part to embrace and comprehend new forms of expression. (But I still reckon that someone ought to write a Doctor Who episode where YouTubers turn out to be Autons - have that for free if you’re reading this Chris…) 


However, having done some light research on the debuting dozen, I’m pleased to report that any foolish fears have been allayed. They appear to be a delightful bunch of bright young things, many of whom have more than demonstrated phenomenal creative talents in various other projects and arenas. And of COURSE they are - they were selected and put together by Benjamin Cook, a shining stalwart of our beloved periodical since he was but a tadpole himself, and proof, if it were needed, that it’s perfectly possible to be simultaneously a YouTube sensation AND wield expertise on the life-cycle of a Vervoid. Plus I’m already familiar with, and a fan of, the work of two of our intrepid archeologists - the fabulous Fan Show presenter Christel Dee, and the smouldering Big Finish performer Jacob Dudman. We’re in safe hands. (If you’re reading this Jacob - I love you.) 


Yes - they could have plumped for greater variance in age, but isn’t it actually rather fun and exciting that they haven’t…? We’ve all heard a hundred opinions on The Claws of Axos from the old guard who can recite the production codes backwards. The fact that some of this new gang of bright-eyed beauties have never even seen a single episode of ‘classic’ Who means that we’re going to get real fresh and untainted responses to the material. In a way, this modern approach is more akin to the phenomenally successful ‘Class 4G’ articles put together by Gary Gillatt in the nineties, than the classic Time Team's who were often clearly just faking that it was their first time. I know it seems unthinkable to some that Doctor Who fans could possibly be trendy young people who don’t own even a single anorak, but to me it’s thrilling and heartwarming to see the sacred flame being passed on to the next generation of space oddities. I’d encourage anyone who’s worried by this development to do their best to put aside their concerns, embrace the future, and enjoy the ride. Sure, these youngsters may spout the occasional odd opinion - such as classic show cliffhangers being ‘cheap tricks’, or describing the Brigadier as a ‘babe’ - but surely we’ve all held odd opinions at some time or another…? (I took me until my thirties to truly appreciate the utter glory that is Time And The Rani. “Leave the girl, it’s the man I want!”) Different perspectives are what makes this interesting.


Isn’t it extraordinary that the lineup change of a humble magazine feature has sparked such passionate discourse…? But, ultimately, the only way is forward. Doctor Who is for everyone - everyone who ever caught a glimpse of the magic blue box and had it imprinted forever on their hearts. To jealously guard our fantastical treasures and deem others who are perhaps less well-versed in the scripture as somehow ‘unworthy’ of studying them is the antithesis of everything that blue box represents. If the magazine, and the show, are to survive for future generations to enjoy, we literally HAVE to welcome fresher faces to the party - none of us are immortal! I wish the Time Team of 2018 the very best on their new adventure. Enjoy! 


However, I’m FURIOUS about the new article not being accompanied by an Adrian Salmon illustration. Doctor Who Magazine is dead to me!

Richard Unwin

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2 May 2018

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Scott Handcock

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: April 2018

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online

"Daniel Hopkins thought he knew what he was letting himself in for when he joined the top-secret UNIT organisation as its latest Medical Officer.

Racing about the countryside, chasing strange lights in the sky? Check. Defending the realm against extraterrestrial incursion? Check. Frequent ear-bashings from UNIT’s UK CO, the famously no-nonsense Lt-Col Lewis Price? Check. Close encounters of the First, Second and even Third kind? Check, check, check.

But he had no idea what alien beings were really like. Until the day of the Fallen Kestrel. Until the day he met the Doctor."

The start of this year has been a joy when it comes to writing these reviews.  The main range has been well and truly riding high and each month has presented us with something funny, something well-constructed and something downright enjoyable.  It is far more fun to write a review praising something to high heavens than to write one explaining why a certain release has utterly failed to grip you.

But all good things must come to an end perhaps.

I want to state here that I have enjoyed Scott Handcock’s work elsewhere. His direction of The War Master was very strong, for example, as it was in The Worlds of Big Finish (a much underrated release) and a lot of Gallifrey. His first outing as a writer for the ‘main range’ of Big Finish plays, World Apart, was a triumph of character study and understatement. Handcock is a very capable and strong writer, producer and director, of that there is no doubt in my mind at all. It just wasn’t to be, here.

The play starts as follows: the Doctor lands on Earth, drawn there by a signal of extra-terrestrial origin. He is not alone though. UNIT are also on the scene, but this is a UNIT the likes of which the Doctor has not encountered before. Gone are Lethbridge-Stewart, Bell, Yates, Benton and the rest. In their stead is a far colder and harder military outfit headed by one Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis Price. Sometimes, it’s the lack of familiarity on your home soil that can be the biggest threat of them all…

There is a problem here. The problem is quite a big one because it goes on to undermine and underline everything that comes next. The problem is that this new version of UNIT are fully aware of who the Doctor is and his past with UNIT: and they still treat him as an alien hostile, threatening him with execution, giving him orders and acting as if he could be a traitor to the Earth and an enemy of humanity. Which makes no sense whatsoever. If they just thought he was another alien wandering around with significant intelligence, then so be it, but the Doctor? He of heroism and daring do? He who helped UNIT so often?

It doesn’t work and renders these soldiers utterly inept and stupid, thus making a huge aspect of the story just a bit… well, silly. UNIT has moved on, yes, but they know the Doctor of old and all he has done, so to try and make him out to be a threat to the planet just doesn’t wash or hang together at all.

This isn’t helped by the aforementioned Lieutenant-Colonel, who is as drab and one-note a character as the range has ever seen. There is no nuance or depth; no subtlety or, crucially, believability. He shouts, he snarls, and when the plot needs to wrap up he has a slight change of heart for no explicable reason. Everything about this character is painfully dull. It is utterly flat and this extends elsewhere sadly. The plot feels overfamiliar: aliens fall to Earth, humans experiment upon them. Aha, though! There is a twist!

Because of course there is, because you expect there to be, because nothing here feels new or exciting or fresh at all. It feels like we’ve been down this path many, many times. Misguided humans, the power of love, the Doctor poised against the authorities, a token ‘good’ character who is on the Doctor’s side against their commander’s wishes.

The same goes for the Morden Clinic and those who work there. They never convince as real people. They’re plot devices and twists. They’re there to try and make you think the story is going one way when in fact it’s going quite another: only you never believe it’s going just one way, because that sense of familiarity from the off means you never expect to be surprised.

In the end, it all makes for a rather boring play.  I don’t think I ever once failed to see what was round the corner, and even if I could not spot the specific incident about to unfold, I was certain that a twist or incident was incoming because it’s that sort of Big Finish play. The plot would be competent at least, but the UNIT element in the wider world of Doctor Who means it stumbles on that front as well. 

Across the past three releases, I’ve talked about how exciting and fresh the plays have felt; how new and interesting. This feels like a massive leap back, into predictability and stale writing; into characters poorly executed and an absence of shock. Lewis Price is the worst of them all, but he is by no means alone.

Perhaps this is just a blip; a small hiccough and no more. I hope so. Because as it is, this has been as disappointing a release from Big Finish as I think I’ve ever heard.

23 April 2018

Our friends over at Pwork Wargames make some awesome mats that we think would go nicely with the Warlord Games, Doctor Who miniatures range!

One of their recent releases includes a partnership with Osprey Games, where they have exclusively created the official Frostgrave gaming mat; a fantasy skirmish wargame of epic wizard battles.

Whether you are an Enchanter, a Thaumaturge or an Evil Necromancer with his warband, if you are a Templar or just a foot soldier, facing a snow leopard or a flesh Golem, hunting the treasures of a collapsed empire… still, you will tread the same frost ground: the ruins of an ancient abandoned frozen city.

Pwork Wargames, a passionate Italian design and manufacture company, took inspiration from the wargame background and created a dedicated landscape. The exclusive design wisely balances an enchanted fantasy atmosphere with a touch of cold (!) realism, in a scenario of collapsed snow-covered buildings and a cobblestone pavement cracked by frost and ice.

Limitless adventures can be found amidst the ruins of the Frozen City, on Pwork Wargames Official FROSTGRAVE gaming mat!

Check it out on www.pworkwargames.com

Available materials:

High quality PVC or premium Mousepad material

Available sizes:

4×6’ (122x183cm) - 4×4’ (122x122cm) - 3×3’ (92x92cm)

[Source: Pwork Wargames]

17 April 2018

Hello! Welcome to this new column! ‘What’s it about?’ I hear you cry. Good question. I’m not entirely sure of the answer yet - let’s just see what happens. 

My initial thought was that this would be a sort of ‘Doctor Who Diary’ - a monthly round-up of things that have been happening in the Whoniverse, peppered with gossip and chit-chat and gags. A bit like the ‘3AM Girls’, but with more Terileptils. With this in mind, on Friday the 13th of April I dutifully headed off to the Target Books signing at the London Forbidden Planet Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue. Due to attend were all five authors of the new adaptations, including Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat - perhaps I could get some juicy quotes from them! Maybe Russell could be persuaded to finally spill the beans on Christopher Eccleston, or Steven could explain the actual literal silence at the end of Vampires of Venice…? That sort of inside scoop could really get this fledgling feature off to a flying start! 

Quick bit of background: I have been to a few organised fan events in the past, but not many. I attended Panopticon 93 - the big 30th anniversary convention - as a precocious fourteen year old. And then, twenty years later, I trotted along to the enormous, slick, BBC organised 50th Anniversary celebration at London’s ExCel Exhibition Centre. (Where fans were herded about in giant hangers like Ood being prepared for shipping - a lot of the experience was quite miserable.) And, most recently, for the past couple of years I’ve enjoyed the annual Utopia weekends held at Eynsham Hall in Oxfordshire, relaxed affairs which are much more up my alley. Mostly a lot of drunk gay men in a big old country house fawning over Wendy Padbury and other ‘actresses of a certain age’. (I say that with the greatest of affection, and count myself among the fawners.) Throw in the odd book signing here and there, (as well as pub meets for LGBT Doctor Who fans with The Sisterhood of Karn in Soho - more on them another time…) and that’s about the sum total of my fan event experience. So I had a reasonable idea of what to expect from the Target event, but by no means consider myself an expert on such matters. 

I arrived at Forbidden Planet a good hour before the scheduled start time, and was surprised to be confronted by a snaking queue already winding its way right around the block - there were *hundreds* of people there, far more than I had anticipated. Perhaps you were one of them and saw me - looking slightly panicked as I walked along the line to join the back of the queue, trying desperately to appear terribly cool and above it all.

I’ve always had a slightly complicated relationship with my own fandom. I consider myself to be a hardcore aficionado - I own Wartime on DVD - but there’s still sometimes a slight sense of shame that can nip at my heels from time to time. Here I was, suddenly exposed and out on the street, clutching my carrier bag full of books ready to be signed. Within the first few minutes several bemused onlookers asked what was going on - the look on their faces when I explained that the queue was to meet some Doctor Who writers only helped to fuel my shame demons… Which I *know* is ridiculous - I *know* that being a fan is wonderful and magical and enriching - I think it’s just the baggage of preconceived ideas of others that sometimes weighs heavy on me. Plus there was the fact that at that precise moment I was surrounded by the worst thing in the universe - other fans. 

Fans in front of me, fans behind me - nothing but fans. I didn’t want to interact, I didn’t want them to talk to me - I steeled myself for however many hours it was going to take of standing in complete silence. I absolutely didn’t want to engage with the sort of people who would subject themselves to standing in the cold, for hours, all for the sake of a sci-fi show. So instead I popped in my headphones and played the latest Fifth Doctor adventure from Big Finish

Eventually, the people in front of me, two men and a girl, did strike up a conversation, and, reluctantly, I got drawn in. And then, of course, we talked for *hours*. Talking and talking and more wonderful talking. It is an extraordinary and liberating thing to converse with people who share the same specialised knowledge as oneself. (‘Yes, the spine numbering on the Titan graphic novels IS quite irritating…’ ) We learnt about each other’s lives and loves and favourite Virgin Missing Adventures. And it was glorious. There was I, intent on being all stand-offish and judgemental, and here were these wonderful, funny, generous people - kind and wise enough to ignore my pretentions and include me in a happy little makeshift group that smiled and laughed and queued in the cold.

When we reached the head of the line - two and a half hours later - we insisted to the Forbidden Planet gatekeepers that we should go in to the signing as a foursome, and refused to be separated. It is clear to me, and probably to you, that I had been projecting my own fears and insecurities about my own fandom onto others, and that, dear reader, is a very silly thing to do. What I had so foolishly feared wasn’t other fans at all - it was simply my own reflection. Fortunately, on this occasion the Mara was defeated, and everyone skipped off into the sunset for space buns and tea. 

I can’t say that the shame demons will never haunt me again, but this happy and enlightening experience has equipped me to better fight them off if they do. (Oh - also there was a bit where some people signed some books for us, but that was over very quickly, and I was too busy giggling with my new friends to ask them for any quotes or gossip. Sorry.)

Richard Unwin

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