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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17 October 2017

In the years following the show's hiatus in 1989, Reeltime Pictures produced some fantastic Doctor Who tie-in media, to keep us entertained whilst the show was off the air. Classics such as 'Downtime', 'Mindgame' and 'Daemos Rising', featured characters and monsters from the Doctor Who universe, written and produced by key players from the show itself.

Now, in 2017, Reeltime Pictures are releasing a brand new production; 'White Which Of Devil's End', as part of 'The Daemons Of Devil's End' DVD release.

DAMARIS HAYMAN, reprises her role as Olive Hawthorne from the Doctor Who story 'The Daemons'. With a blend of dramatic monologue enhanced with visualisations and sound design to develop and tell the stories, the drama is an anthology of tales following the magical life of Olive Hawthorne, from childhood to her final days as the protector of Devil's End. Drawing on a rich heritage and appreciation of witchcraft and fokelore, the stories bring Olive's history to life, pitting her against vampire, succubus, fae, daemonic influence and more - as Guardian of Devil's End, she must do what she must to protect the village... but what happens when she reaches the end of her life? Who will protect the townsfolk then?

Also included, is the long-awaited DVD release of the classic documentary 'Return To Devil's End'. Filmed around the village of Aldbourne in 1992, this marvellous production stars JON PERTWEE (The Third Doctor), NICHOLAS COURTNEY (The Brigadier), RICHARD FRANKLIN (Capt. Yates), JOHN LEVENE (Sgt. Benton) and 'The Daemons' director, CHRISTOPHER BARRY. NICHOLAS BRIGGS (currently the voice of the Daleks in Doctor Who), takes the cast and director on a trip around the locations, deftly gleaning stories and anecdotes about filming the classic Doctor Who series in 1971. Including interviews with villagers and rare archive film and photos... this documentary is rightly considered one of the best behind-the-scenes look at the making of Doctor Who ever produced.

Both discs are packed with bonus features, making this a totally unique production!

PLUS! A third bonus disc containing video of conventions held in Aldbourne to celebrate one of Doctor Who's most fondly remembered stories.

Look out for the DWO review of this title, coming soon! 

+  The Daemons Of Devil's End is released on 13th November 2017, priced £12.99.
+  PREORDER this DVD from TimeTravelTV.com.
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who DVD & Blu-ray releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: Reeltime Pictures]

9 October 2017

In 1979, Shada was set to be the celebratory end to the seventeenth series of Doctor Who. Critically acclaimed writer Douglas Adams had completed the script, Tom Baker’s Doctor was at the height of his popularity, and the series had bigger audiences than ever before. But strike action at the BBC in November 1979, meant the studio scenes were never completed and the adventure was abandoned. The story became legendary among fans. 

Now, thirty-eight years on, BBC Worldwide has announced that Shada, is to finally be completed, combining the original, remastered footage, with brand new colour animation to complete the story. The animation will feature the newly-recorded voices of the original cast, including Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as Romana, performing the original script. Shada will be released as a digital download on Friday 24th November, and on DVD and Bluray on Monday 4th December

Tom Baker says:

“Shada was one of my favourite Doctor Who stories. I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio. I’m so glad that BBC Worldwide have found a way to bring fans a complete visual version.”

The new feature-length production incorporates all of the live-action scenes from 1979, together with new animated material. Shada finds the Doctor in Cambridge working alongside companion Romana and retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, to defeat the evil alien Skagra who is attempting to steal the secrets to the prison planet, Shada.

Shada is being produced by the team behind the highly successful and critically acclaimed animation of lost Doctor Who episode, The Power of the Daleks and lost Dad’s Army episode A Stripe For Frazer. The team have had access to nearly seven hours of raw footage from the original 1979 Shada shoot from which they are editing the new production from scratch, with all the original film negatives re-scanned in full HD and digitally remastered.

Paul Hembury, Executive Producer, BBC Worldwide says:

“Fans loved The Power of the Daleks, so we’re delighted to be able to complete and bring them another lost Doctor Who classic.”

On Saturday 2nd December there will be a special screening of Shada at BFI Southbank, London. Further information will be available from bfi.org.uk from Monday 23rd October. Tickets for BFI members will be available from Tuesday 7th November, and for the public from Tuesday 14th November.

Special Features:

-  Taken Out of Time (25' 39")
-  Now and Then (12' 45")
-  Strike, Strike, Strike! (27' 50")
-  Studio Sessions - 1979 (44' 38")
-  Dialogue Sessions (14' 16")
-  Model Filming (04' 36")
-  Deleted Scenes (01' 22")
-  Title Sequence Films (TBC)
-  Live Action Reference Footage (02' 48")
-  1979 Gallery (04' 50")
-  2017 Gallery (02' 52)

Watch the trailer for the new Shada release in the player, below:


+  PREORDER Shada on DVD from Amazon.co.uk for £19.99.
+  PREORDER Shada on Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk for £24.99.
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who DVD & Blu-ray releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: BBC Worldwide]

28 September 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Eddie Robson

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: September 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The Doctor's adventures in time and space are over. The Time Lords have recalled him to Gallifrey – but what he faces on his home planet is worse than any trial. Following the disappearance of President Borusa, the High Council condemned him to the highest office - and he can't evade his responsibilities a nanosecond longer...

So all hail the Lord High President! All hail President Doctor!

Rassilon save him. This time, there's really no escape."

Some stories and ideas fit some specific Doctors perfectly. Imagine The Curse of Fenric with the Sixth Doctor for example, or The Rescue with the Tenth: it just doesn't quite gel. Here with Time in Office though, we have the perfect marriage of incarnation and scenario, and full credit to Alan Barnes for suggesting it. You can just about picture the Fourth Doctor doing the job of President and purposely sending it up. The Sixth would be all bluster and indignation, but he would secretly enjoy the comfy seats and pomp more than he cares to admit. The Fifth though? So polite and unable to run away from a job he knows he will hate? It's the best fit.

Eddie Robson knows this, and writes for the Fifth Doctor especially well, and Time in Office is a perfect testimony to that fact. Throw in Leela and Tegan, too, and you've got a recipe for success, and thankfully 'a success' is undoubtedly what the finished product ends up being.

The Doctor's TARDIS is intercepted on the way to Frontios and before long our hero is in front of cameras, unable to escape, and being forced into office very much against his will. Leela is on hand to try and smooth things over, and Tegan is being held prisoner before being offered a position she cannot refuse.

There is something truly wonderful about seeing the Doctor, and more specifically this Doctor, run through diplomatic hoops. The trouble is, the Doctor is not without a past, and this comes to the fore in Part Two especially, which is genuinely funny and smart. The pairing of the Fifth Doctor and Leela (and indeed Peter Davison with Louise Jameson) works really well, and the addition of Tegan (and Janet Fielding) in the mix is the icing on the cake. It's easy to forget sometimes just how good the acting from the regulars is; we're so used to hearing or seeing their performances that it's easy to become blasé about it. Likewise, it's easy to forget at times just how much better served the regulars can be by Big Finish, but this blows those memory lapses out of the water and reminds you time and again just how good they all are.

Fielding especially gets to shine throughout the play with some brilliant comedy that suits both her character and the tone of the story down to a tee, whilst Robson writes to Davison's strengths with practised ease. The only thing which never really works in the play is Tegan’s love of adventure, seeing as we know she leaves soon after this play due to not enjoying things anymore.  That’s always the major problem with Big Finish plays though: they only fit to some extent and often you need wriggle room to make to really work.

Ignore that though. Nearly every facet of this play has an air of confidence and polish about it, from the script (with fan jokes about the number of regenerations a Time Lord can have to knowing comments about how male-centric Gallifrey is (a thread which ran through Doom Coalition to good effect, too)) to the performances to the direction. Indeed, the direction and performances feel the tightest we have had for a while now, and full praise must go to Helen Goldwyn for that.

Perhaps that says a lot though? Perhaps it shows that a shake-up in production team and format works wonders and gives the main range a much-needed kick and breath of fresh air?

Compare this play to nearly all the others this year and it stands out for being pleasingly different and pleasantly fresh-feeling. The story of an element coming to a dusty but well-meaning entity and shaking things up by being different feels symbolic of this play's position in the wider Big Finish pantheon right now.

Yes, this is a play which is for fans only really and takes in a lot of continuity points here and there, and yes, this is a play which still runs with the 4x4 format, albeit it with a new glance. But it's also a play which re-invigorates that format, plays with continuity in a fun and cheeky way, and actually uses the past to good purpose.

This isn't a play which says "oh, go on, let's put the Fifth Doctor with Leela" with no thought beyond. This is a story which does that because it fits perfectly and doesn't feel shoe-horned in by committee like nearly all of the Locum Doctors scripts a while ago did.

In some ways, this makes it all the more frustrating as there isn't really any excuse why it isn't this imaginative and fun every month. There are times when it feels as if the monthly/main range just rests on its laurels a little, and a play like this only shows that up.  A bit more imagination, a bit more daring do, a shake-up of the format... perhaps the future will see this happen and the now tired trilogy formula will get the injection of energy and verve it so desperately needs.

For now though, let us celebrate this Doctor's time in office and not feel too sad that it wasn't longer still.



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26 September 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Matthew J. Elliott

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: September 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The year is 2085, and planet Earth remains on the edge of a nuclear precipice. At any moment, either of two vast rival power blocs, to the West and the East, might unleash a torrent of missiles, bringing about the terrible certainty of Mutual Assured Destruction.

But there is another way - or so Professor Ruth Drexler believes. Hence her secret mission deep in Eastern bloc territory, to uncover a hidden city, never before glimpsed by human eyes: the Parliament of the Silurians, the lizard people who ruled the Earth before humankind.

There, she’ll encounter a time-travelling Doctor, who knows the Silurians well. A Doctor on a secret mission of his own."

Once a year, as part of Big Finish's main/monthly range (the name of which seems to differ depending on who you ask), two plays are released at the same time. I always feel a bit sorry for these plays as one inevitably ends up overshadowing the other for various reasons. It may be that one of them is that year's "4x1" release, or the end of an ongoing arc. Here, this month, a standalone by a highly popular writer with a very interesting premise... and this play.

Pity The Silurian Candidate.

The premise is very simple: The Doctor is clearly up to something but not letting on to either Ace or Mel, which worries the former and intrigues the latter. Ace has seen him like this before and knows that it rarely ends well; Mel is not used to this darker persona and is uncertain as to what should be expected. The good ship TARDIS lands on Earth in the future, where a party of two others have also arrived complete with an army of robot guards, and they are there to seek out the same goal: Silurians.

Only the play is not just about all this. Oh no.  It’s also very much a full-blown sequel to Warriors of the Deep and, as the admittedly very good title suggests, a nod and wink to The Manchurian Candidate, complete with dinosaurs, a dodgy French accent from Nicholas Briggs, and an Australian politician that is in no way meant to be a parody of Donald Trump. (Nope. Definitely not. Nuh-huh. Move along.)

The play is very much a story of two halves, with the first rather slow and the second not quite breakneck with its speed but far quicker in comparison, as the stakes grow higher and necessity to act heightens.  There are some good gags in there throughout (the one concerning the Doctor and broken toasters genuinely made me laugh aloud) and a few nice moments of reflection upon the nature of this incarnation of The Doctor.

But...

But as with Matthew J. Elliott’s earlier main range play, Zaltys, there are moments that fail to land as well (though thankfully none as bad as the start of that play mentioning vampires and then vampires co-incidentally turning up) and whole parts where people conveniently spell out the plot to let you catch up, speaking in a way that you only ever get in plays or stories with a relatively small cast. There is a fair whack of “let me say what I see”-style dialogue to compensate for the audio medium, too, which never helps matters, and neither Ace nor Mel feel entirely in character.  Indeed, Ace seems positively grumpy and angry and distrusting of The Doctor throughout, and the CD extras have Sophie Aldred unsure where in Ace’s timeline this play is set, which is slightly concerning as you would think someone would say so the writing and performance can be adjusted. When your lead actors are unsure, something is not right.

(To maintain the usual gripe, once again no extended extras were present with the play upon release, nor had they surfaced a fortnight afterwards.)

It’s not all bad though. As The Silurian Candidate moves along, so too does it improve, and I want to quickly highlight the musical score from Howard Carter which is the best any play has had for a long while now. Points must go to the Silurian voices, too, which are dead ringers for the Pertwee era tones, and it was genuinely interesting to hear Briggs’s rationalization for using these ones as opposed to the Davison-era tones (and I agree with his reasoning) and his efforts to get them just right.  I have an image of him hunched over his ring modulator for over an hour tweaking and speaking in a bid to nail it, which is rather endearing.

In the end, The Silurian Candidate is overall fairly average Doctor Who fare with some moments that elevate it beyond, and music and voice artistry which give it a shine it would otherwise lack.  It does not make for an especially triumphant ending to this latest run of Seventh Doctor/Ace/Mel plays, but it’s not a write-off either, nor is it Who by numbers by any stretch. There are enough glimmers of light in there to merit attention and make me curious to see what Elliott comes up with next, but enough bumps in the road to exercise caution, too.



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1 September 2017
T

Owing to the increasing popularity of our very own DWO Minecraft Doctor Who Server, and to tie-in with the release of the new Official Minecraft Guides, DWO have teamed up with Egmont UK to offer 5 sets of the four books, in an exciting new competition!

To enter, simply head over to the DWO Competitions page and click on the link for the Minecraft book guides, and you could win one of 5 sets of the following 4 books:

Minecraft Guide To Creative

Learn the finer points of architecture, art and other creative disciplines with the official Minecraft Guide to Creative, and put theory into practice to build incredible constructions in Minecraft. Find out how to combine colours and textures to create different themes, devise intricate plans for complex builds, and discover secret hacks to use blocks in clever ways.

Minecraft Guide To Exploration

The mysterious world of Minecraft is just waiting to be explored. But danger lurks around every corner and survival can prove difficult for even the bravest adventurer. The official Minecraft Guide to Exploration will help you to survive and thrive. You’ll learn how to find resources, craft equipment and protect yourself from hostile mobs. Discover which biomes to avoid when starting out, how to build a mob-proof shelter and where to look for naturally-generated structures laden with loot. 

Minecraft Guide To Redstone

Learn the art of redstone and become a master engineer with the Minecraft Guide to Redstone, and put theory into practice to construct intricate contraptions in Minecraft.  Pick up the basics of the redstone components and their uses, discover how to make working circuits, and create incredibly complex builds using your new skills.

Minecraft Guide To The Nether And The End

Now that you've mastered the Overworld, the time has come to brave the perilous Nether and End dimensions. But survival will be even more difficult here and you'll need to up your game if you want to make it back to the Overworld in one piece.   The official Minecraft Guide to the Nether and the End will help you survive as you navigate new terrain, discover new hostile mobs and attempt to collect unique materials. Learn how to kill fire-resistant mobs in the Nether and repurpose Nether fortresses, then master the art of defeating the ender dragon and explore the outer islands of the End dimension. 

The Doctor Who Online Minecraft Server is the largest Doctor Who themed Minecraft server in the world. It offers Doctor Who themed worlds, games, roleplay, survival, and creative building. It is also home to the largest collection of Doctor Who Minecraft creations in existence - made by thousands of fans from across the globe! It also has the immensely popular TARDIS Plugin, which allows players to create a working TARDIS in Minecraft! 

DWO Minecraft is a family-friendly server, and all activities and events are suitable for all ages - from a first time Minecrafter to a 900 year old Time Lord, there is something for everyone!

Check out the DWO Minecraft Server Trailer in the player, below:


+  Join the DWO Minecraft server at: www.dwominecraft.com.

[Sources: DWO; Egmont UK]

26 August 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: Eddie Robson

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: August 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The TARDIS brings the Doctor, Ace and Mel to a recently reopened shipyard in Merseyside. It's 1991, the hardest of times - but now they're shipbuilding once again, thanks to the yard's new owners, the Dark Alloy Corporation. A miracle of job creation - but is it too good to be true?

While the Doctor and Ace go in search of an alien assassin at loose in the yard, Stuart Dale, discoverer of the near-magical Dark Alloy material, has an extraordinary proposition to make to his old college friend, Mel.

But who is the Corporation’s mysterious client? Who does she really represent? And what's the secret of the Blood Furnace? Seeking answers, the Doctor and friends are about to find themselves in very deep water…"

After last month's play proved a surprisingly lacking affair despite the ingredients being so promising (great writer plus great TARDIS crew), I was a little hesitant to embark upon this play as it had the same set-up: very good writer (Eddie Robson this time) and the same crew as before. Would lightning strike twice and not in a good way?

Thankfully not. Whilst not perfect, The Blood Furnace is a highly entertaining play and a good way to spend a couple of hours.

The TARDIS lands in Liverpool, 1991, where ships are being built and Stuart Dale, an old flame of Mel's, heads up the operations. Someone has been murdered though and The Doctor suspects more than just humanity is involved, suspicions which very quickly are proven right.  Who is the mysterious manager? Why does Mel's ex- keep getting nosebleeds? And why are computers a no-go thing?

Off the bat, this one is a lot of fun but with a nice edge of realism in it.  Liverpool proves to be a very effective setting as even now Doctor Who struggles much of the time to give us locations that aren't extremely Southern (or Welsh). The colour Liverpudlian accents give proceedings is to the benefit of the tale and makes the script and story all the more notable and, I suspect, memorable because of it, even if nearly all of the cast aren't actually from Liverpool as revealed in the CD extras. (Speaking of which, there are no extended extras for subscribers in tandem with the play's download this month.  Seeing as that's one of the perks for subscribing to the range, this feels a pretty poor show, especially when the gap between the play being released and the extended extras available seems to vary on a whim from no time at all to an entire month or more.)

As is typical of Robson's work, the characters' dialogue flows easily and feels natural, and the whole play has a real heart to it. People don't just die, they die with consequences be it leaving a family behind or a grieving co-worker. This feels very in keeping with the McCoy era and grounds the play whilst giving characters some nice shading. There is an especially lovely moment of this in the final episode where a phone call needs to be made and it's amazingly awkward and painful to listen to, which only adds to the sense of truth across the four episodes.

The regulars all get a fair crack of the whip. Indeed, the rapport between them in Part One almost makes me long for an episode one day where it's just the three of them being terribly happy.

Across the play, the Doctor gets to be at once the smartest man in the room and the most fun; Ace enjoys some computer game fun (which features the best music of the play: authentic, catchy and perfectly suited to the beat-'em-up coin guzzling arcade machines of the period); and Mel catches up on the past whilst looking to the future.

I wonder if every second play in a Mel/Ace/Doctor trilogy will feature Mel being a bit loved up or if it's merely co-incidence? An ex-boyfriend here, a love interest before. Maybe we'll see her future baby next time around.

When the final episode comes and alien plans are revealed and, inevitably, unravelled, some of the momentum is lost but Julie Graham is clearly having fun and relishing the theatrics.  It's by no means bad (it's not, it's good); it's just perhaps a bit more reliant on action and descriptive dialogue of the "Look at those thousands of things that tower above us by eight feet!" ilk, but this is only notable really as it doesn't fall into the trap before then and is handled pretty well.

All in all there is a sense throughout The Blood Furnace that people are enjoying themselves, and this is a solid play in a range that has for a while now felt a little out of steam. More of this calibre is welcomed.



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23 July 2017

Peter Capaldi’s final episode of Doctor Who this Christmas will feature Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts and be called Twice Upon A Time, it was announced this evening during a cast panel at San Diego Comic Con. Viewers will have to wait until Christmas to discover exactly how Bill, who will appear throughout the episode, makes her return.

It was also revealed that Mark Gatiss, who will co-star in the episode in a guest role, will play a World War One soldier - known so far only as ‘The Captain’.

As previously revealed in the closing moments of the 2017 series finale, the special will feature Peter Capaldi’s current Doctor team up with the First Doctor, played by David Bradley

Watch the teaser trailer in the player, below:


[Source: BBC Worldwide]

   

21 July 2017

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of Classic Series Doctor Who Actress, Deborah Watling.

Deborah was loved and cherished by fans for her role as the 2nd Doctor's companion, 'Victoria Waterfield', in the Classic Series of Doctor Who.

Deborah's other career highlights include A Life Of Bliss, The Newcomers & Danger UXB (to name just a few).

DWO would like to extend our sympathies to Deborah's family and friends, and we will remember her fondly not just for her role in the series and her personality off-screen, but for the many occasions she gave her time to Doctor Who Online.

You can watch a greeting that Deborah recorded for us at the 2013 press event for the return of the missing Doctor Who episodes, in the player below:


[Source: DWO]

17 July 2017

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writer: John Dorney

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: July 2017

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The planet Dashrah is a world of exceptional beauty. Historical ruins; colourful skies; swirling sunsets…

Unsurprisingly, it’s a major tourist trap. So if you want to visit Dashrah, first you’ll have to visit Parking, the artificial planetoid that Galactic Heritage built next door. Parking, as its name implies, is a spaceship park. A huge spaceship park. A huge, enormous spaceship park.

When the TARDIS materialises in Parking’s Northern Hemisphere, the Doctor, Ace and Mel envisage a quick teleport trip to the surface of Dashrah. But they’ve reckoned without the superzealous Wardens, and their robotic servitors… the sect of the Free Parkers, who wage war against the Wardens… the spontaneously combusting spaceships… and the terrifying secret that lies at the lowest of Parking’s lower levels."

John Dorney kicks off this second trilogy of adventures for the Seventh Doctor, Mel and Ace.  The first was notable for three things (four if you include Fiesta of the Damned, Guy Adams’s finest hour):

  1. The absence of Glitz: A Life of Crime especially was all about Glitz and Mel… but no Glitz was to be found, which felt awkward at times, especially given the crime/heist nature of the play.
  2. The introduction of Gloria; a sure-to-be returning antagonist, one day (or at least, that's how she was set up).
  3. The brilliant rapport between Bonnie Langford and Sophie Aldred.

I was excited, then, to see this TRADIS crew return, and with a writer like Dorney in the driving seat, even more enthused.

The High Price of Parking starts with the Doctor promising a place of unrivalled beauty to his two companions, and landing in a car park (or rather a spaceship park) instead, much to their bemusement.  It turns out that this is simply where they are parking the TARDIS before getting a lift to see the famous home of the now-missing Dream Spinners (either a relatively obscure reference to an unmade story from the 1960s or another story arc to keep an eye on: the jury is out so far).

As ever in the Doctor’s world though, trouble is afoot: spaceships are being destroyed and the rebellious Free Parkers are being blamed by the Wardens.  But are the Wardens as innocent as they seem? It looks like one of them is in cahoots with a mysterious woman, and trying to frame the Doctor and his friends for purposes unknown. Cue story.

There are some truly great ideas in this play that are gloriously silly. Car parks the size of continents and inhabitants living there for generations having lost their vehicles? Count me in: it’s a great premise and one that feels perfectly Doctor Who-y.  The trouble is that the rest of the story doesn’t live up to this central premise.  What could be a fun satire is stretched thin and at times feels very familiar, not only to the series as a whole but to Big Finish particularly. We’ve had these sort of stories before in releases such as The Cannibalists and Spaceport Fear and it feels tired here.

A bigger issue with this release though is the direction. Lines and characters and scenarios that could be comedic are often played rather straight or directed flatly, and the cliffhangers are heralded with no punch at all. Listen to the end of Part One: it sounds like McCoy is about to launch into another line or sentence and deliver the final big build up, but instead the episode just sort of… ends and is thoroughly underwhelming. This happens a further two times, and kills the drama dead.  It’s a very rare miss for the usually solid direction of Ken Bentley.

On a more positive note, subscribers will be pleased with this play as it has been released with the exclusive Extended Extras at the same time. For some unknown reason, Big Finish often make subscribers wait anything up to a whole month (and far longer on occasion in the past) before they are available for download, which is far too long as the impetus to listen to them are long gone by the time another play has come around. It’s a pity, too, as the extended length makes for decent interviews, something the edited highlights often lack, coming across as more like PR pieces for how much the actors love working for Big Finish than anything of real substance. These extended cuts must surely be edited at the same time as the condensed versions released on the CDs, seeing as they have had a simultaneous release here and it has been this way with other plays in the past.  Hopefully this long wait is a kink that will be ironed out in the future.

Hopefully, too, the future will be kinder for this TARDIS crew and Dorney. I have full faith that they will both be back to brilliance before too long. As it stands though, this play feels like it could have been a great DWM comic strip or hour-long episode, but at four parts it’s stretched beyond breaking and the lackluster direction does not help paper up some of the cracks.



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17 July 2017

As I was watching the reveal on BBC One, I was genuinely shocked when Jodie Whittaker was revealed to be our first-ever female Doctor in Doctor Who. I've always been of the opinion that The Doctor is male, and, perhaps, always should be - it has clearly been his preference for 12 (ok 13) incarnations, but maybe now really is the time for a whole new take on the role?

We live in a time of equality and representation, and TV is an important platform to portray this. The sad reality is that it has taken so long for these issues to start being reflected realistically, and even now there's still a long way to go.

I genuinely didn't think the BBC would commit to the casting of a female actor in the role of The Doctor - especially now that Top Gear has lost its shine and put Doctor Who front and centre, but I fully support and applaud them for doing so. It's a bold move to take the franchise in this direction; just as it would be to change the gender of James Bond or Buffy, but Doctor Who lends a real opportunity now that Steven Moffat has paved the way for Time Lords to change their gender as part of canon.

I do not believe this is an "experiment" or "stunt casting" - or even an attempt to "boost ratings", which, by the way, are still excellent. I think this is the BBC, and Chris Chibnall saying "the time is right!".

When Jodie removed the hood and revealed herself as the Thirteenth incarnation of The Doctor, despite my initial shock, there was something so right about her. Having watched Broadchurch from the start, I was already aware of her as an actress, and can honestly say she has a huge amount of talent that she is going to bring to the role. I am genuinely excited, and cannot wait to support Jodie and the show when it returns in 2018 (after the Christmas special, of course).

Another happy side product of the decision is that there will be a whole new generation of fans - both female and male, growing up with a new role-model to look up to. But hasn't that always been The Doctor? Throughout the show's long history The Doctor has always been on the side of good; a character everyone can look up to, and now that he will become a she, that very same trait will still be at the core.

Back in 1986, Sydney Newman (creator of Doctor Who) sent a letter to the then head of BBC, Michael Grade, actually proposing and supporting the idea of a female Doctor:


"At a later stage Doctor Who should be metamorphosed into a woman. Don’t you agree that this is considerably more worthy of the BBC than Doctor Who’s presently largely socially valueless, escapist schlock? ... This requires some considerable thought – mainly because I want to avoid a flashy, Hollywood Wonder Woman, because this kind of heroine with no flaws is a bore."


If there was any further worry that this was a bad decision, not in keeping with the show, then surely its creator, essentially giving his consent to the idea is something to take comfort in.

Yesterday was our most active day on Twitter (twitter.com/DrWhoOnline), with literally thousands of tweets from our followers and visitors, mainly in support of the new choice. There were, however, a group of fans spouting a lot of hate speech towards the BBC and Jodie Whittaker, which is completely unacceptable. Freedom of speech is one thing, but hate speech has no place in fandom. I was appalled at some of the comments I read, with some fans saying they would stop watching. One has to ask the question if they truly are fans? 

There is no denying that this has split fandom somewhat, but now is not the time for division or segregation, we should come together and rally around our new Doctor, after all, she IS The Doctor, whether you like it or not.

Fandom should be a safe place for fans of all ages to share their opinions and discuss things, and DWO will not tolerate any hate speech or intolerance of others. We will therefore be stepping up to anyone doing so on any of our website or social media platforms.

We would love to hear from you in the comments below or via the Forum Discuss link, below.

- Sebastian J. Brook; Site Editor 

[Source: DWO]

 

16 July 2017

The BBC today announced to the world that Jodie Whittaker will be the 13th Doctor in Doctor Who. 

The identity of the new Doctor was revealed exclusively on BBC One and on social media around the world after the Men’s Wimbledon Final on Sunday 16th July.

She will be the Thirteenth Time Lord (or is that Time Lady) and take over from Peter Capaldi who leaves the global hit show at Christmas.

New head writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall who takes over from Steven Moffat on the next series made the decision to cast the first ever woman in the iconic role. 

Jodie Whittaker says:

“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey - with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

Chris Chibnall, New Head Writer and Executive Producer says:  

“After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we're thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away.  Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way.”

Peter Capaldi says:

“Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm. She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.” 

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content says:

“Making history is what Doctor Who is all about and Chris Chibnall’s bold new take on the next Time Lord is exactly that. The nation is going to fall in love with Jodie Whittaker - and have lots of fun too!”

Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama says:

"Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor." 

Matt Strevens, Executive Producer says:

"I'm so thrilled that Jodie Whittaker said yes to playing the Doctor. I've been a fan for years and always hoped to work with her. She is an actor of great emotional range and inhabits every role with complete passion and conviction. Just thinking about what she will bring to the Doctor makes me as excited as a kid at Christmas. It's going to be a lot of fun."  

13 Quick Fire Questions, Answered By Jodie Whittaker:

1) What does it feel like to be the Thirteenth Doctor?

It’s very nerve-racking, as it’s been so secret!

2) Why did you want the role?

To be asked to play the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form:  this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings: what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in that role.

3) Has it been hard to keep the secret?

Yes. Very hard! I’ve told a lot of lies! I’ve embroiled myself in a whole world of lies which is going to come back at me when this is announced!

4) Who was the first person you told when you got the role?

My husband. Because I was allowed to!

5) Did you have a codename and if so what was it?

In my home, and with my agent, it was The Clooney. Because to me and my husband, George is an iconic guy. And we thought: what’s a really famous iconic name? It was just fitting.

6) What does it feel like to be the first woman Doctor?

It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible.

7) What do you want to tell the fans?

I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.

8) What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about becoming part of a family I didn’t even know existed. I was born in 1982, it’s been around longer than me, and it’s a family I couldn’t ever have dreamed I’d be part of. 

9) How did Chris sell you the part?

We had a strange chat earlier this year where he tricked me into thinking we were talking about Broadchurch. And I started to quiz him about his new job in Wales, and asked him if I could be a baddie! And he quickly diverted the conversation to suggest I should consider auditioning to be the 13th Clooney.

It was the most incredible chat because I asked every question under the sun, and I said I’d take a few weeks to decide whether I was going to audition. He got a phone call within 24 hours. He would’ve got a phone call sooner, but my husband was away and there was a time difference! 

10) Did he persuade you? 

No. There was no persuasion needed. If you need to be persuaded to do this part, you’re not right for this part, and the part isn’t right for you. I also think, for anyone taking this on, you have to want to fight for it, which I certainly had to do. I know there will have been some phenomenal actors who threw their hats in the ring. 

11) What are you going to wear? 

Don’t know yet.

12) Is that your costume in the filmed sequence which introduced you as the new Doctor?

No.

13) Have any of the other Doctors given you advice? 

Well they can’t because they haven’t known until now, but I’m certainly expecting a couple of calls – I’ve got a couple of mates in there. I’m mates with a companion [Arthur Darvill], I’m mates with a trio of Doctors. I know Matt Smith, Chris Eccleston and obviously David Tennant. Oh! And let’s throw in David Bradley! Four Doctors! So I’m hoping I get some calls of advice. 

Watch the official reveal video in the player, below:


[Source: BBC Worldwide]

   

1 July 2017

Following tonight's thrilling episode of Doctor Who, the BBC have released a new image (pictured right) featuring The 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and The 1st Doctor (David Bradley).

The cliff-hanger ending saw The Doctor fatally shot by a Mondasian Cyberman and begin to regenerate. Stepping out of the TARDIS into an arctic landscape, he fought off the glowing regeneration energy and fell to his knees, vowing that this time he would not live on and change into a new Doctor. This was declared “ridiculous” by an approaching figure, who mocked the Doctor as he stepped forward through the snow to reveal himself as the very first incarnation of the Timelord ("The original, you might say") just before the credits rolled. The story will continue at Christmas.

This will be the first time that the First Doctor has played an active onscreen role in Doctor Who since 1983's The Five Doctors, when the character returned to the series following his regeneration almost 20 years prior. Doctor Who's most recent multi-Doctor episode aired in 2013, when The Day Of The Doctor marked the series' 50th anniversary. 

Viewers will have to wait until Christmas Day to find out what happens next, and how exactly The Doctor finally meets his end and regenerates into the (as yet unknown) 13th Doctor!  

DWO also have a second image, which you can view in the image pane to the right, which features a distance shot of the two Doctors on the snowy landscape we saw at the beginning of World Enough And Time, and at the end of The Doctor Falls

Watch an interview DWO conducted with David Bradley back in November 2013, about the possibility of returning to the role of The 1st Doctor:


[Sources: BBC Worldwide; DWO]

   

29 June 2017

What an amazing 60 minutes of TV that was! Steven Moffat has capped off Series 10 in an utterly satisfying way, giving us a finale that will be remembered in the annals of Doctor Who history for some time to come.

We pick up pretty much where World Enough And Time left off, and thanks to some little flashback scenes to move the story forward a bit, we find The Doctor has been captured by Missy and The Master and that the Cybermen are planning an en-masse attack. The battle lines are drawn, and there is a feel of The Time Of The Doctor about this episode.

Missy and The Master are deliciously despicable together, but you sense the disparity between them. It is clear that Missy is conflicted and that she really does want to change, but The Master is so deeply rotten, that you don't know which way she will settle. There's a particularly poignant moment where The Doctor gives a passionate speech to the pair and you expect John Simm's Master to at least show a glimmer of hope, but even we were shocked at his response; it's pretty heart-breaking, actually. What happened that made these two best friends go down completely different paths, and what made The Master hate The Doctor so much?

We do learn a little more about what happened to The Master after the events of The End Of Time, and that after returning to Gallifrey there was a "mutual decision" to kick him out, in turn, removing the drum beat in his head. 

Both Missy and The Master's story / timelines are wrapped up by the end of The Doctor Falls, with maybe a little wiggle room for John Simm's Master to return. We have loved Michelle Gomez as Missy, but we're not quite ready to say goodbye to Simm's Master yet - he has found the sweet spot as The Master (possibly our favourite portrayal of the character to date) and if the show's producers can find a way to somehow retain him, they really must!

One final point regarding Missy / The Master is that Steven Moffat makes a decision that would have been so wonderful to see through to fruition, but, rather cruelly (and totally for the right reason), we never will.


Were not 100% sure, but we think this is our last episode with Nardole, played so wonderfully by Matt Lucas. He has been the comic relief that has been needed in a season with such high stakes, and whilst we fully admit we weren't a fan of his character at the very beginning, all the way back in The Husbands Of River Song, he has completely won us over. Nardole gets to show his mettle in The Doctor Falls, and there's even a glimmer of a happy ending. 

After the terrible events of the previous episode, Bill is coming to terms with what has happened to her, and its crushing to see. The big question is can she ever go back to the way she was before the cyber conversion? The answer lies somewhere in this spoiler-free preview!

In The Doctor FallsPearl Mackie has delivered her finest performance to date in Doctor Who, and after the events of this episode, we really hope it's not her last. 
What she has done for the role of the companion, equality and diversity is truly amazing, and she has inspired and empowered a whole new generation of fans. We've run this fan site for over 20 years now, and we've never seen a companion received as well as Bill Potts has!


And finally...Peter Capaldi as The Doctor; his final days are numbered, and with Christmas just a few months away, we have just a little longer to prepare ourselves for the inevitable regeneration that's coming - even if there may be a few false starts along the way ;) It was so good to see The Doctor share some decent screen time with Missy and The Master, and you'll want to lap up every second they are all in together.

There is very little we can say about the end of the episode except we end at the beginning.

Steven Moffat's contribution to Doctor Who has been immense; rich characters, scary monsters and plots that actually make you think and make you feel clever for following them through to conclusion. He's made gutsy decisions that take the show (and its characters) into bold new directions. But even with all that in mind, he has taken a show that we all love - including himself - and stayed true to its roots. We'd like to go on record by saying a big Thank You to Steven for all he has done, and we are going to be very sad to see him go. With just one episode to go at Christmas, we know he's going to go out with a bang, and the aftershocks will no doubt be felt throughout Doctor Who fandom for many years to come.



5 Things To Look Out For:

1)  Jelly Babies
2)  Guyliner
3)  "Where there's tears, there's hope..."
4)  "I don't want to go!"
5)  The _______ will ______ at _________.

+  10.12: The Doctor Falls airs This Saturday at 6:45pm on BBC One.

[Source: DWO]

21 June 2017

And so it came to pass that the players took their final places, making ready the events that were to come...

We want to start off by saying just how hard this episode was to preview without spoiling anything; and as you will all know by now, this is the episode that John Simm's Master makes his return. It is this fact that the BBC wanted us all to know about, that we feel is the only real let-down in the whole story. If this could have been kept secret, the reveal would be right up there with Series Three's YANA!

The episode kicks off with one of the most jaw-dropping pre-titles sequences the show has ever had, and a scene which we will no doubt be revisiting thanks to some more timey-wimey magic from Steven Moffat. Yep - that's about all we can say about that!

The main episode itself is the Cyberman story that most fans have been waiting for. We get to see the original Mondasian Cybermen from The Tenth Planet, here, and crikey do they work well! Barely anything has changed - even their voices are exactly the same. These are hands-down the scariest, creepiest version of the Cybermen to have ever hit our screens, and we're so glad they are back!

The Doctor, Missy, Bill and Nardole land on a 400-mile long spaceship, perched at the edge of a black hole. The unique setting is a brilliant concept that means that the front of the ship is at a different point in time to the rear - something that is a key device throughout the story.

There is something quite shocking that happens quite early on, and the consequences of what happens lead to even more shocks that will likely make this episode of Doctor Who one of the most horrific in its entire history. The show quite possibly dips its toe over the line of what it can get away with, but we think it just about works. Yep - that's about all we can say about that!

Once again, Bill (Pearl Mackie) takes up a good chunk of the episode, which dips back and forth to The Doctor, Missy & Nardole. Pearl has been truly amazing in Series 10, so far, and this episode gets her digging deep and delivering everything that's thrown at her. Likewise, Missy (Michelle Gomez) further explores her nicer side, and it seems that The Doctor may have just brought her back to the light. It's so exciting to see this new facet of her character, and the obvious mercurial conflict she is facing within.

Peter Capaldi's Doctor continues to break our heart with the realisation we are just a couple of hours away from his final moments. This man was born to play The Doctor, and he has wiped the floor with all of the naysayers who thought an older actor couldn't carry the role in this modern era of Doctor Who. He actually doesn't have a great deal to do in this episode, but his presence in the scenes he is in adds important grounding and gravitas, which will carry through to The Doctor Falls.

But what about John Simm, you all ask? Well, despite some rumours online, The Master is very much back - not a dream, not a 'Moment-esque' type appearance - he is back, and at his evilest. There were flashes of redemption when he faced The 10th Doctor, and near the conclusion of The End Of Time, it seemed he had made a noble choice. We are still unsure of whereabouts in Simm's Master's timeline this episode sits, but it seems to be set after the events of The End Of Time (we may be wrong, though).

Rachel Talalay delivers another belter on the direction front; full of atmosphere and weight and everything that has always made her episodes stand out. Can we please bring her back for every finale?

As for the musical score, Murray Gold has given us something bigger and bolder, with hints of Series Three (his finest soundtrack in our opinion), and a chilling undertone that haunts throughout the episode. 

World Enough And Time gives us match point for Series 10 of Doctor Who, and it's all eyes on The Doctor Falls as to whether Moffat can cap off one of the strongest and most well-written series in its modern history.



5 Things To Look Out For:

1)  The Doctor emerges from the TARDIS...
2)  "Is your real name Doctor Who?"
3)  Venusian Aikido
4)  "Pain."
5)  "I'm very worried about my future."

+  10.11: World Enough And Time airs This Saturday at 6:45pm on BBC One.

[Source: DWO]

18 June 2017

The BBC have released a new iconic image for the Series 10, 2-part finale; 'World Enough And Time' & 'The Doctor Falls'.

The new image (pictured-right) features Missy (Michelle Gomez) and The Master (John Simm) together for the first time. The pair are seen either side of The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) as they put their own chilling spin on the iconic poster image that previously accompanied Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor.

Simm will return to Doctor Who as The Master for the first time since New Year’s Day 2010, when he was responsible for the regeneration of The Tenth Doctor. This time the Master will come face-to-face with Missy, his later regeneration, and battle The Doctor during the series’ two part finale which begins next weekend.

The episodes will also feature the return of the Cybermen – including the original Mondasian Cybermen, for the first time in over 50 years – plus Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) in an epic adventure that will change Doctor Who forever. 

Doctor Who’s series finale begins with Episode 11, World Enough And Time, at 6:45pm on Saturday 24th June on BBC One. It concludes on Saturday 1st July with Episode 12, The Doctor Falls – an extended, 60 minute episode.

Watch the trailer for 10.11: World Enough And Time in the player, below:


[Source: BBC Worldwide]

   

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