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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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11 August 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

2.10: From Out Of The Rain

From Out Of The Rain feels like a true Torchwood episode once again. This time around, we’ve left behind the very heavily character driven stories which we’ve had recently. It was nice for the series to step into the weird and wonderful themes of horror once again. With this episode written by Peter Hammond who wrote the amazing Small Worlds, it was no surprise that it was very reminiscent to series one.

 

The start of the episode builds up the creepily dramatic flare with the Ghostmaker, a stereotypical showman with his top hat and big moustache, welcoming all people into his circus. It’s a true classic horror in the way it is filmed, feeling as if you’re someone wondering around the circus, as everyone looks towards the camera. The Ghostmaker hands a girl a ticket to the circus when all of a sudden, the whole circus disappears, leaving only the girls mother behind. This story feels like it could be straight out of a Sarah Jane Adventure series.

 

In true Torchwood style, they are already on the case, as Ianto finds some rift disturbance at an old cinema he used to go to as a kid. As they watch the film believed to be old footage of Cardiff, the Ghostmaker mysteriously appears, gesturing to the audience to come up to the screen. The themes of the circus living within the film is a truly horrifying concept, as it suggests the possibility of the circus performers eternal life. In a shocking twist, it turns out that Jack went undercover to find out what these circus performers were up to 80 years ago, when many people went missing when the circus came to town. This would have been an amazing path to take to delve into Jack’s history once more as he tries to cover up who originally sent him. That would have been the moment to develop Jack’s character just a little more, but unfortunately was missed.

 

What’s nice about this story, is it’s very heavily lead by Ianto as he seeks to find out who these people are and why they’re taking the souls and the very essence of their being. It really gives Ianto a leadership side which we haven’t seen previously in stories. If we wanted to go down the more character driven route as with Owen previously, this would have been Ianto’s time to shine.

 

Another missed opportunity was with the Ghostmaker and Pearl. The idea of these two going around capturing life essences from people is great, but the threat of the whole situation seemed incredibly mild in comparison to other events the Torchwood team have endured. What would have been amazing, was if the circus had already re established itself travelling around the country and everyone started to disappear again; it would have created more of a deadly impact for the team to sort out. However, the resolution to this episode is a quick finale as if they were running out of time for the episode. 

 

The Torchwood team quickly work out the only way they can stop the night travellers from taking the life of any more people, is to destroy the film they were living in. It’s a great concept, but it would have been more amazing if the team had to work this out in a last minute escapade. It’s never really explained why the circus people are doing what they are doing - they just seem to appear and not do all that much. What would have been amazing is if they turned out to be some kind of alien water vampire, or was that the plot of “Waters of Mars” I’m thinking about? Instead, we get a very speedy, Jack saves the day again ending, which has become a repetitive problem throughout Torchwood as a series.

 

Overall From Out of the Rain had a great concept that could have been helped with maybe this being a two part story. There are so many opportunities to establish character and plot, however it was all very rushed to fill the 40 minute time frame. There is a great little twist at the end of the episode. Just as Jack is about the put the flask away that captured the souls for the circus performers, a boy and his dad find another film canister with the same logo as the flask has on it. Has Jack really defeated the night travellers?


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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[Source:
DWO]

9 August 2020

Big Finish Productions, in association with BBC Studios, today announces the long-awaited return of Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor in a brand new series of audio adventures.

First seen on screen in 2005, Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor introduced a whole new generation of fans to Doctor Who.

Now he's back in Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures - a brand-new series of twelve fantastic full-cast audio adventures in space and time, due to be released across four box sets, starting with volume one in May 2021.

Christopher Eccleston said:

“After 15 years it will be exciting to revisit the Ninth Doctor's world, bringing back to life a character I love playing.”

Story details, writers and additional guest cast are being kept under wraps at present but this Doctor Who audio series promises to be, once again, the trip of a lifetime.

Big Finish’s Chairman, Jason Haigh-Ellery said:

“I first talked to Christopher about returning to the role of the Doctor at a fan convention in February this year. Christopher said he was enjoying meeting the fans and was pleased that his Doctor was remembered so fondly. I am so pleased that Christopher has decided to return to the role with us – and I'm excited to welcome him to the Big Finish family as we discover the new adventures of the Ninth Doctor.”

Big Finish’s Creative Director, Nicholas Briggs, added:

“Working with Chris was a very special time for me. The beginning of my Doctor Who TV career. So, writing for and directing him feels incredibly exciting. He’s such a powerful performer and it’ll be amazing to work with him again.”

Doctor Who fans worldwide can now pre-order all four volumes, which are available in three formats – collector’s edition CD, digital download or limited edition gatefold triple LP vinyl – exclusively from the Big Finish website.

Each of the four volumes in Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures will be released as a 4-disc collector’s edition box set or download containing three brand-new full cast audio adventures, plus a selection of behind-the-scenes extras.

Below is the teaser trailer, released by Big Finish:

;

[Source: Big Finish]

6 August 2020

Big Finish has today revealed its final contribution to the Doctor Who multi-platform adventure Time Lord Victorious with a new limited edition vinyl – starring David Tennant and Paul McGann

Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious - Echoes of Extinction comprises of two separate adventures that listeners can play in any order and form a greater narrative.

This very special double-A side vinyl Doctor Who release features a different incarnation of the Doctor on each side and will be released on split red/blue vinyl.

Trapped, a haunted monster waits to consume new victims. It needs help. It needs a doctor. Unfortunately, it also needs to kill whoever it meets. Thrust into immediate danger, and on the back-foot, it will take all of the Doctor’s ingenuity to triumph.

Two interlinked adventures. Two Doctors. One foe. 

The stellar supporting cast also includes Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, Broadchurch), Burn Gorman (Torchwood, The Expanse), Mina Anwar (The Thin Blue Line, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Kathryn Drysdale (Benidorm, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) and Paul Clayton (The Crown, Him and Her).

David Tennant said:

“The Doctor in Time Lord Victorious is a different character. He's slightly lonelier, slightly scratchier, when he doesn't have one of his pals to hold him back. But it's nice to tell stories from different times of his life. You just have to try and make sure you're in the right mindset. The script is fascinating. I've only got one side of it, but I'm very aware there's more to this story, that there's another Doctor on the other side of the disc. I look forward to getting my LP so I can listen to it all.”

Paul McGann added:

“I've read this script twice through and I'm still none the wiser. I'm more confused after the second time than I was after the first. It's only while working on it that I've become aware of how it's going to be structured. It really appeals to me, the idea that it's in two parts, on two sides of vinyl. I think it's fun for people listening. Part of the excitement is when the different incarnations meet... or nearly meet.”

Writer and Producer Alfie Shaw said:

“Director Scott Handcock has pulled together an amazing who’s who of Doctor Who for the cast. We’ve got alumni from the series as well as Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. It’s been an honour to create Big Finish’s first commissioned-for-vinyl story, and utterly thrilling to write for both the Eighth and Tenth Doctors.” 

The vinyl will launch in selected UK ASDA stores on 27th November 2020.

A digital download of the story will be available globally from the Big Finish website from 4th December 2020 and is now available for pre-order at £8.99.

[Source: BBC Studios]

3 August 2020

DWO have received the cover art and details for the upcoming DVD, Blu-ray & Steelbook release of Doctor Who's missing serial Fury From The Deep, which will be released on 14th September 2020.

Following the success of existing animations The Power of the Daleks, The Faceless Ones, Shada and The Macra Terror, Fury From The Deep fills another gap in missing Doctor Who content lost in the purge of the BBC’s archive in 1975.

The three-disc release gives fans the opportunity to enjoy Fury From The Deep in high definition, either in full colour or in black & white. The release will include the surviving clips from the original 1968 production as well.

Fury From The Deep is told across six episodes and stars Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. The storyline concerns a colony of sentient, parasitic seaweed, last seen in the eighteenth century, returning to attack a number of gas instillations in the North Sea in an attempt to take over humanity.

Animated episodes from Big Finish Creative Limited in association with Digitoonz Media & Entertainment and Thaumaturgy are joined by a wealth of exciting extras.

A making-of featurette ‘The Cruel Sea - Surviving Fury From The Deep’ sees original cast members Frazer Hines, June Murphy and Brian Cullingford revisit filming locations with production assistant Michael Briant, assistant floor manager Margot Hayhoe and helicopter pilot Mike Smith. Other contributors to this segment include writer Victor Pemberton and actress Deborah Watling. There’s also an archive audio interview with director Hugh David.

Additional material includes: 

· Audio commentaries
· The Cruel Sea – Surviving Fury From The Deep
· Original surviving footage
· Behind The Scenes 8mm footage
· Animating Fury From The Deep
· Archive interviews with Peter Day and Victor Pemberton
· Teaser Trailer
· Photo Gallery
· The Slide Audio Drama
· PDF scripts

Check out the teaser trailer in the player, below:

+  Fury From The Deep is released on 14th September 2020.
+  
PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk

[Source: BBC Studios]

28 July 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

2.9: Something Borrowed

We start the episode with a flash back scene to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang where Gwen announces her engagement to Rhys. It was about time we finally faced the family of Rhys and Gwen, as keeping their lives and Torchwood separate couldn’t last much longer.

 

The best way I can describe this episode, is a more adult version of “The Wedding of Sara, out to kill Gwen who has been impregnated by a murderous shape-shifting alien - pure Torchwood. It’s a great way to make fun of soap opera style weddings which always end in some kind of disaster but with a sci-fi element to it. Gwen wanting the marriage to take place no matter what, really shows a strength of character and the love between Rhys and Gwen.

 

I do have to mention the issues of Gwen’s relationship with Owen, as again the affair from series 1 is never brought up, even at the key moment when Gwen has to be honest with Rhys about getting married because she loves him. What makes the situation even more awkward is in fact that Owen is there at the wedding with the pair of them. I do feel hugely sorry for Rhys in the series, as his character gives so much love and dedication, even to the point of marrying someone who is pregnant with an alien. He’s given no kind of redemption story arc for everything that has happened without his knowledge. This has been a problematic theme throughout Torchwood, but I’ve come to terms  with the fact that it’s something that will never now be resolved.

 

This episode reinforces the Torchwood cheesy storylines we’ve come to know and love. The shape-shifting alien mum out to kill Gwen, almost feels as if it was toned down in respect of the blood and gore which would fit in well with a “Sarah Jane Adventures” story line. To have the shape-shifting alien hide in between their relatives and even taking the form of Rhys’s mum, does create a somewhat comical effect as in a lot of Scooby-Doo style chase scenes that would work perfectly with the “Doctor Who” episode “Love and Monsters.” Again the problems are very quickly resolved with the Singularity Scalpel as it zaps away the alien baby before the mum can tear open Gwen’s stomach to get to it. The Singularity Scalpel is becoming as common as the sonic screwdriver from “Doctor Who.”

 

A lovely final moment for the relationship between Jack and Gwen is when Jack finally takes out the shape-shifter and he picks her up as a trophy. Realising that Rhys is there, Jack places her on the ground and puts Rhys and Gwen’s hands together saying “The hero always gets the girl.” Again it’s the final resolution that is needed for their relationship now that Gwen is committed to Rhys and loves him, so he should be the man with whom she celebrates her victories.

 

It does start to feel that Torchwood has found a truly good balance between the gore, sex and violence from its previous series. This is very prominent with Phil Ford’s writing, as he creates some fantastic one liners throughout the episode - “That’s what I love about Torchwood. By day, you’re chasing the scum of the universe, come midnight, you’re the wedding fairy.” It’s a wonderful send off, as the Torchwood team retcon the entire wedding so nobody will remember the event thats happened. That will be fun to explain when the wedding photos are finally developed. 

 

We finish the episode with a touching scene of Jack looking through all his past photos, which appear to date back to the late 1800’s. One is of what appears to be a wedding photo, as Jack softly smiles, reminiscing about his past life and why he feels so comfortable letting Gwen marry while she’s working in Torchwood. It’s a nice send off to the episode as the camera pulls back, and the world is right once again. 


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
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[Source:
DWO]

21 July 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

2.8: A Day In The Death

A Day in the Death is a very solid story about what I’m calling the how Owen is coping with being dead saga. This episode heavily surrounds the character development of Owen, from being the arrogant man we saw in series 1, to a more understanding but still problematic character in the way he now has to come to terms with being dead.

 

The story delves into the world of death and the problems that surround life and how those two should intertwine. The great way in which this story is depicted, is because it’s from the narrative view point of Owen, as he sits next to Maggie, a woman who is about to take her own life. But what’s Owen doing there? Was he there first or was he there to help Maggie? 

 

We experience this story as a historical event, so whatever happens as the story progresses, Owen will always end up on the rooftop. It’s quite worrying to see his character stripped of his Torchwood duties as Jack is worried about Owen’s more fragile personality and physical state. Again in a retaliative response, Owen gives up everything that makes him seem human; his food, booze, aftershave and even the loo roll. He throws it all away as if he’s giving up all his material possessions and facing the harsh reality that he won’t be able to enjoy life the way he does anymore. The music progresses to a repetitive tune as he faces these facts. Owen not taking this very well, lashes out at Tosh yet again, as she pops over with a pizza, just to make sure Owen is ok.

 

Owen finally giving in, heads towards Cardiff Bay, runs and jumps into the bay to try and drown himself. However, he suddenly opens his eyes and pulls himself out as he realises he can’t drown if he can’t breathe. Captain Jack, conveniently in the same area at the time it happened, watches Owen as he pulls himself out of the bay and queries for how long will this keep going? 

 

The whole theme of Owen being dead, heavily impacts the story, as millionaire alien artefact collector Parker (played by the wonderful Richard Briers) has a device that’s going to blow up the whole of Cardiff. Again, we have the typical Torchwood Mcguffin, as this alien device must be stopped. Owen is the only man who can stop Parker using the device, but he has to get through the heat sensors in the house without being detected. Owen and Parker have quite a nice but short bonding session over the themes of death and the resemblances it has with being alive. Being in a dark room, all alone, it all seems to be working well until Parker has his fourth and final heart attack, dying in front of Owen. To Owen’s horror, he can’t give him CPR as he doesn’t breathe and therefore can’t save Parker.

 

So this appears to be why Owen is on top of the roof with Maggie. It also turns out that the alien device is called the Pulse and it isn’t actually a nasty bomb but a message from beyond the stars, from aliens Torchwood haven’t met. Owen uses this symbolic moment to help Maggie, who we later find out is trying to kill herself as her husband died on their wedding day. It’s symbolic of a message of hope for the both of them, to carry on living and reflect on their past, which they’ve both done in this story.

 

What this story does so well, is it finally gives Owen some kind of resolution. He accepts the fact that he is now dead, because to be fair, for how long could the woe is me storyline play out before the audience themselves find the repetitiveness of the themes uninteresting. The major flaw for me, is not a reflection on this specific episode, but  the overall issues of Martha returning. Unfortunately, I feel for the past three episodes she was in, her character was heavily underused as it played under the Owen accepting death story arc. I wish we had one more episode with Martha after this, to establish her relationship with the Torchwood team, as Jack says she can come back at any point.

 

With the Torchwood team back to their usual antics, where will this take the final few episodes of the series? Only time will tell.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
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[Source:
DWO]

14 July 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

2.7: Dead Man Walking

The themes of this storyline, compare very closely to the ‘Doctor Who’ episodes “The Impossible Planet” and “The Satan Pit”.

 

From the  experience of the dramatic cliffhanger concerning Owen’s death in “Reset”, I was ready for the emotional impact of losing another Torchwood member. Even with Owen’s problematic traits, the other Torchwood members have a strong connection with him. You feel grief on their behalf, that is until Captain Jack comes running through the door claiming he has a way to save Owen.

 

The character I do feel most sorry for in this whole story is Martha. I was hugely excited as we finally had the chance to see her use her skills as a UNIT doctor to help the Torchwood team grow and develop into an awesome team. However, she’s sidelined in Owen’s story and then turned into an old woman by the resurrection glove. 

 

I do like the way Ianto has a sassy joke about there being another resurrection glove, as they usually come in pairs. It’s a throw back to series one where they tried to bring Suzie back and are now using the same technique with Owen. Miraculously Owen is back, and again he stays alive after the 30 seconds -  but what energy is keeping him alive? It turns out it literally is Death itself that is keeping Owen alive, using him as a portal to get through to earth to take it over again. The event leads to quite a dramatic cliffhanger style event, which is very oddly cut away from as Death goes to attack everyone; suddenly we’re in the hospital to look after Martha? I am assuming there must have been a scene to tie these together, but it leads to a somewhat abrupt and very confusing episode that feels very clunky in its story telling. 

 

The themes of death have been a recurring aspect from series one, as you can’t have a main character who is immortal without addressing the consequences of cheating death. In terms of Owen, he’s not like Jack. All his bodily functions have stopped working, leading to a somewhat revolting scene as he throws up beer in a police cell as he can’t digest the alcohol. It’s a really weirdly comical scene for the tone of the episode which is meant to be quite sombre with Owen trying to take everything in about being alive again. Its conflicting themes, tend to leave the scenes in this episode somewhat jarring and pardon the pun, leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

 

Unfortunately for me, the character of Owen hasn’t been that likeable, so it’s been really tough trying to feel sorry for him as the episode progresses. I found this especially in the scene when he emotionally hugs Gwen. It reminds me of the time Gwen drugged Rhys for cheating on him with Owen and eventually leads to no real consequences for either of those actions. It is also the case for Tosh who finally confesses her love for Owen, something which is cruelly dismissed by Owen. Again she is sidelined for the rest of the story.  

 

I really wanted to like this story as series two of Torchwood has made a vast improvement with its story telling over the last couple of episodes. There are some elements to this story which are very quickly glossed over or too easily resolved. This is where we come to the hugely clunky part of the story, the fight between Owen and Death. So Death needs 13 souls to transfer his energy to the Earth and live permanently there. So the resolution to the story? Owen, in a very awkward wrestling match, throws Death around for a bit as he’s a man with nothing to lose, quite literally as he’s not alive and somehow that defeats Death once again. There’s no real explanation to anything that has happened in this story, not even a throw away line of some techno-babble. The only thing that continues with the series arc, is there is something to the darkness of death that is coming. Does Jack know what it is and has he seen it himself?

 

How long will the Torchwood team be able to keep Owen safe or will this end up being a tale like the film “Death Becomes Her”? Only time will tell.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
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[Source:
DWO]

12 July 2020

Publisher: Independently Published

Written By: Meg MacDonald

RRP: £3.99 / $4.99 (Kindle) | £12.99 / $15.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 13th July 2020

Meg MacDonald's world building is the first thing that hits you in Oath Sworn; an epic gaslamp fantasy that feels so much bigger than the sum of its parts. The sheer scale and richness of detail make this a read that even Tolkien would be proud of - for this is the calibre that the author deserves to be compared to.

To give you but a taste of what we mean, here is an extract, mere pages into the first chapter:

"Beyond mullioned windows, the late-winter sky was plum-dark, the low-lying parish streets cloaked in mist. Even on a clear night, the broad expanse of the northern heavens offered precious little moonlight so close to year’s end. Only a single moon shone brightly, the others waning crescents, slivers of melting ice soon to turn dark faces on their world."

It's by far one of the most original fantasy stories we've read in a long time, and we've read some truly fantastic titles over the past few years. Think Lord Of The Rings meets Star Wars meets The Witcher and you are starting to enter an adjacent postcode to Aralt's world.

We drew the comparison to Tolkien at the start and like The Fellowship Of The Ring, it's a slow build, but one that you can savour every description and character that graces the page. There's adventure, too... You want sky pirates - you got it! Awesome weapons in the form of crystal swords that are tuned to the hands of their keepers - you got it! A foreboding enemy hell-bent on destroying souls - you better believe it! 

There's bags of emotion, too; due to the hard work put in early on, you really care for the characters and cultures within, and the tumultuous relationship between the main protagonists (Aralt & Lian), will keep you entertained throughout. Not ashamed to say we *may* have reached for the tissues more than once.

All the effort put in by both the author and the reader at the start, gradually build to an epic conclusion - you could not of hoped for a better conclusion than the one we get here!

One final thing we would be remiss not to mention and which we absolutely loved were the many journal extracts, teachings and notations that prefaced each chapter. Whether or not it was intentional, they allowed for a brief pause to take yourself out of the action and ponder the sentiments, before being launched back in again. Excellent tool from the author!

To have left things where they are in just one book would have been a disservice to all the hard work that MacDonald has poured into Oath Sworn, and without giving anything away, we thankfully have a sequel in the form of Blood Sworn, which is slated for release later this year!

If you want an engrossing Summer read that will take you away to a far off world (and then some) - THIS is the book for you!

+  Oath Sworn is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @Kyrrimar (Meg MacDonald) on Twitter.

8 July 2020

BBC Audio and Demon Records have today announced that they will be publishing a brand new Doctor Who audio story for the Tenth Doctor as part of the Time Lord Victorious multi-platform adventure.

Doctor Who: The Minds of Magnox will be released on CD and digital download by BBC Audio on 3rd December and will be released on vinyl by Demon Records on 4th December, marking the first simultaneous publication of a BBC Audio title across CD, digital and vinyl formats. The CD and digital editions will also feature a short Coda to the story.

The audio story is available to pre-order on Amazon and Audible now and will be available to purchase globally.

In this original story, the Doctor travels with Brian, the Ood assassin, to the planet Magnox, one of the greatest receptacles of knowledge the universe will ever know, and home to the Minds of Magnox. The Doctor needs to ask a vital question, but the answer is Grade 1 Classified. In order to gain an audience with the Minds of Magnox he must take a dangerous test.

Meanwhile, Brian gets involved with a criminal group and is asked to assassinate the Minds of Magnox. However, others also have the planet within their sights...

Doctor Who: The Minds of Magnox is written by Darren Jones and narrated by Jacob Dudman. Darren Jones has written several previous Doctor Who stories for BBC Audio, including Doctor Who: Paradise Lost, Sleepers in the Dust and The Eye of the Jungle.

Jacob Dudman has previously read Doctor Who: Paradise Lost for BBC Audio, and has recently starred in Netflix’s The Stranger alongside Richard Armitage.

+  Time Lord Victorious: The Minds Of Magnox is released on 3rd December 2020, priced £10.99.
+  PREORDER this product on Amazon.co.uk for just £9.98!
+  DISCUSS the Doctor Who audio released in the DWO Forums!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

7 July 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

2.6: Reset

We start the episode with a mysterious VIP visitor who Jack is very excited to see and who would Jack be most excited about? Well it had to be Martha Jones played by the wonderful, Freema Agyeman.

 

What’s amazing about this episode is that you can feel and see the love and friendship Martha and Jack have from their time travelling with the Doctor. It’s the kind of chemistry you get when you see a friend to whom you haven’t spoken for a long time, and when you finally meet, it’s just as if hardly a day has passed. Martha has gained a job at UNIT as a doctor and this makes you cheerfully punch  the air. You know Martha  has just got on with life after The Doctor and has become a hugely successful person in the process. It’s a great piece of character development which is amazing to see in the spin-off series that’s so highly regarded.

 

Back to the story, Martha is drafted in by Jack and she’s found a connection of mysterious deaths that appear to be unrelated until you look at the finer detail. It’s nice to see Martha use her medical knowledge in ways we didn’t get to see in “Doctor Who.” Owen and Martha quickly form a partnership as they’re working together to find out what’s been injected into the victims bodies to kill them. Naturally, it would turn out to be an alien threat, manipulated by humans for their own gain. In this case, it’s small bugs that appear to cure all kinds of cancers, diseases etc in the human immune system. But what doesn’t make sense is why people are being injected with bleach to hide the evidence. Just before one of the victims dies, she tells Martha and Owen about this place called The Pharm, that is using volunteers in their clinical trials to help with their medical history. Of course, where there’s a cure, there’s some kind of money making scheme behind it and that’s when we meet Professor Aaron Copley, the chairman of the whole operation.

 

Martha volunteers to spy on the medical trials to find out what is going on and to recover the missing medical records from the victims that were killed. During the process, she is quickly discovered after being chased by one of the alien creatures being used to create the miracle cure. What’s also great in the episode, is Martha is still affected by what happened to her on her travels with the Doctor - her blood cells having unique properties manipulated by the Time Vortex. This could be a theme to a whole episode in itself. Torchwood usually has its famous McGuffin’s, as Owen luckily has a device which can get the alien creature out of Martha just in the knick of time, before it bursts out of her stomach in “Alien” style. 

 

Reset delivers the very conventional Torchwood plot of the big baddy who needs to be stopped no matter what. The narrative of this episode parallels that of “Meat” where the alien meat was being chopped up to be sold on the  open market for money. What makes the difference, is Professor Aaron Copley thinks that experimenting on aliens and humans is ok if the outcome means he can save the world in the future with this new cure.

 

Just as you think the Torchwood team has just saved the day once again as they shut down the facility, Professor Aaron Copley steps out from the darkness with a gun, ready to take vengeance for destroying his life’s work. Owen, no stranger to facing a gun, steps forward to disarm the situation. As the audience, you believe he’ll come out fine as they always do in Torchwood, until he takes a fatal shot to the heart. It all doesn’t seem real until Martha confirms “He’s dead.” It’s a moment that really is shocking as we’ve just got Martha back and everything felt like it was becoming a bigger family unit; it’s all cruelly taken away in an instant. Jack immediately fires back in anger killing the Professor on the spot. The camera then appears to be flying higher and higher into the air, as if it were following Owen’s soul to heaven.

 

Knowing how Torchwood deal with scenarios, I don’t think this will be the last time we see Owen.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

1 July 2020

Publisher: BHC Press

Written By: J.W. Garrett

RRP: £10.95 / $14.95 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 1st July 2020

Remeon's Destiny follows the story of Thomas, a young man growing up in 1940's rural Virginia, who dreams of more than the expected path set before him. Immediately we felt pangs of nostalgia due to the loose parallels with Superman and Star Wars; Clark Kent growing up in rural Kansas - destined for greater things, and Luke Skywalker growing up on a moisture farm on the desert planet of Tattooine - destined to bring peace and order to the galaxy.

It's a recipe that works so well as we all root for the central character to achieve their aspirations, but it's always so refreshing when an author actually adds something new and unexpected to that recipe - and that's exactly what J.W. Garrett has done here.

The juxtaposition between the setting of post-World War II America and that of the futuristic world of Remeon is stark and ultimately meaningful as events, experiences and choices made in the future, make for fantastic character development in Thomas and for the messages and warnings that are underlying for our own planet.

Speaking of characters, those featured in Remeon's Destiny are rich and well-rounded, and whilst Thomas is our main protagonist, there are some fantastic female characters full of depth and who give great poignance to the story. It feels wonderfully balanced and, as a result, real.

Garrett's skill of painting both mundane life in rich, beautiful detail, coupled with the far out complex strokes of a distant world in the same brush is commendable. All this whilst maintaining a driven, entertaining story that compels you to keep on reading - and boy does it do that! 

There are so many moments that jump off the page and feel like a full-on emotive scene that you'd expect to see in a big-screen movie.

There's one particular line near the end of the story, and without giving too much away, it captures a moment every son hopes to have with his father; an acknowledgement of change and being accepted as an adult:

"James desperately searched for answers as he combed the face he thought he knew so well. “Son,” he said, as he grasped Thomas’s shoulders, his voice quivering, “you’ve changed. I can see it in you. A man’s eyes don’t lie.""

That sense of journey; a beginning, a middle and an end - the load-bearing principles of good story writing are all here, but there's so much colour and attention to detail that, (if you pardon us one more arty metaphor), you end up with a masterpiece so full of depth you'll want to bask in it time and time again.

Whilst we are aware the is a prequel to this story now available (and we are very much looking forward to reading it), we cannot help wanting to see what happens next in Thomas' story. As of writing we have just had news that Book 3 in the series (Remeon's Crusade) is out in August - and we cannot wait!

+  Remeon's Destiny is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @GarrettJLW on Twitter.

24 June 2020

Escape Hunt has today released booking slots for customers to play a remote version of their 5 star escape room Doctor Who: Worlds Collide.

Now booking, this remote experience invites friends, family and colleagues to come together via Zoom and play Escape Hunt’s physical escape room from their own homes. You and your team will direct a real-life expert games master, move them around the room, find hidden clues, solve puzzles, and see if you can escape before time runs out!

In Doctor Who: Worlds Collide, The Doctor needs you: a tear in space and time has been detected, and the Cybermen are about to break through! Step into the future. Enter the offices of ChronosCorp HQ, where eccentric billionaire Alastair Montague’s efforts to develop commercial time travel have caused a tear in the fabric of space and time. The Cybermen are ready to take advantage and attack Earth. You, the Doctor’s friends, must investigate the incident. The remains of Montague, his prototype time engine and the extensive collection of time-related artefacts acquired over the course of his experiments, are all that you have to work with. The fate of the universe is in your hands. Take too long and the human race will be “upgraded”.

Richard Harpham, CEO Escape Hunt PLC, says:

“We’re delighted to be expanding our range of at home experiences with remote play games. It’s fantastic that now, using technology, we can give people the opportunity to play our much-loved physical escape rooms in their own homes.”

The play at home experience allows players from the same or separate households to take part together and solve the puzzles.

It's a 1 hour experience replicating the in-room play experience suitable for 1 to 6 players aged 8+. Prices are charged per game play and are set for all group sizes. Doctor Who: Worlds Collide costs £60 per gameplay.

+ For more information on how to book – https://escapehunt.com/uk/play-at-home-games/

[Source: BBC Studios]

23 June 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

2.5: Adam

We begin with the Torchwood theme, but hang on a minute, there’s a new addition to the team, who we as the audience, have never seen before. I love that the opening has immediately smashed the 4th wall perspective by adding this new team member, Adam, to immediately create a sense of confusion, implying he had been there since the beginning of the series.

 

The whole concept of this episode is the theme of, “What If?” What if Tosh became a more confident woman; what if Owen was more of the reserved nerd. It’s an interesting twist we’ve seen a fair few times with superhero/ Sci-Fi genres, to really change the dynamic of the team and how they’re going to combat this. I love that with Rhys being more involved with the team, there’s a sense of gravitas and consequence to their actions and how they need to keep the team safe. The whole first half of this episode does leave a long trail of what does Adam want and why has he decided to become part of the Torchwood team in this way? Again as the audience, we’re treated as the people who always know more than the team and for me, I find myself shouting at the TV as soon as you know they’re being used or put in imminent danger. It’s a kind of weird,out of body experience watching the episode. 

 

Adam is an alien existing by living in other people's memories. Everything all seems fun and games as the team carry on as normal, up until Gwen fails to recognise who Rhys is. After a very intense fight between Gwen and Rhys, Jack turns the tides and there is a compromise between them both. Rhys almost has built a slight sense of trust, despite everything else.

 

In an interesting turn of events for this story, we delve into Jack’s history and where he’s come from. Adam tricks Jack into remembering his past which he has long forgotten. With Adam’s alien powers, he’s able to access Jack’s memories of losing his family when he was younger and we as an audience, start to get that understanding of why Torchwood means so much to him. The scene of Jack letting go of his little brother’s hand, is heart breaking. Jack Montgomery, who plays young Jack, puts so much into showing the pain of his mistake and the burden this places on  himself as the older Jack. Torchwood is the stable family he found enabling him to recover from his past.

 

You feel Adam is almost helping the Torchwood team until - well let’s just say Ianto is the character who takes a considerable chunk of heartbreak and emotional torment in this episode. We’ve seen up until half way through the episode, that Adam has given the team good memories, as well as exploring forgotten memories; but what happens when things don’t exactly go Adam’s way? Ianto in his dorky way, kept a diary of all the teams adventures and finds that in a not so shocking twist, Adam isn’t in any of the entries. This is where the episode becomes incredibly dark and twisted. Adam not only has the ability to provide good memories but also bad ones. In a horrific montage of images, he leads Ianto into thinking he’s a predatory murderer, making him believe all the false memories. It turns into a scene which is incredibly uncomfortable to watch but Gareth David-Lloyd really puts everything into the emotions and you can feel the pain and anguish.

 

This is the last straw for Captain Jack. He takes Ianto to a lie detector to prove he didn’t murder anyone and also convinces the team that Adam can only exist by using their memories. They realise the only way to get rid of Adam, is to retcon themselves. However, Adam is not quite done yet. He convinces Captain Jack to relive family memories and the good times they had, however, Adam tries to distort them and leaves Jack with a conflict; he either lets Adam live by remembering these memories or  he has to forget everything he’s discovered about his family. In the end, Jack makes the ultimate sacrifice for the team by forgetting the last 48 hours as if nothing happened.

 

The ending has a sombre tone as the team wake up after taking the retcon and can’t remember anything. At the end, Jack finds an open box which belonged to Adam showing the sands of Jack’s home world;  however, with Jack’s memories gone of his home world, in confusion, he places it back where it was found. It’s an ending that breaks your heart completely.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

16 June 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

2.4: Meat

Meat” is an episode that guides you towards a pretty simplistic story line, well simplistic in terms of Torchwood, with an alien being chopped up and being sold to distributors to sell as cheap meat to go in all kinds of food. However, “Meat” throws the curve ball of Gwen having to finally make her choice of staying with Torchwood or choosing Rhys.

 

I always feel sorry for Rhys. He’s the boyfriend who always seems to be 5 steps behind not only the Torchwood team but the audience as well. As the series has been going on, we’re finally getting to terms with the Torchwood team and their dynamic as Gwen finally seems to be settling in, but there’s always been this niggle at the back of Gwen’s mind and that is Rhys. Coincidently, as one of his lorries has an accident, Rhys finally gets his chance to call Gwen out on her job, as he sees her investigating the accident.

 

The argument scene between Rhys and Gwen is the build up we’ve all been waiting for. The tension and the rapid cuts and zooms in the scene create the heated tension of their relationship. The one moment that makes me slightly annoyed is when Rhys asks if Gwen has been sleeping with Jack and she replies “all I ever asked, is for you to trust me.” Now this should have been the moment Gwen confesses about sleeping with Owen; it’s a moment from series 1 that seems to be completely glossed over with no consequences to her actions. However, it is finally nice that we have got over the secrecy between Gwen and Rhys, as it allows his character now to develop within the series.

 

Rhys’s plan was to find out what Gwen was up to and thereby he inadvertently becomes involved with the alien meat trade. What I think would have made this episode interesting, would have been if Rhys was directly involved with this illegal alien meat trading. It would have raised a great conflict in Gwen, deciding if her duty of working for Torchwood outweighed her love for Rhys, rather than just being coincidental involvement because  of the gang running the alien meat operation with Rhys’s distribution company.

 

With Rhys being involved, we get a kind of Scooby-Doo plot, finding out who these people are, why they’re selling the meat and trying to stop them. In true Torchwood style, it really tries to create a sense of relatable moments of humanity as again the Torchwood team face the decision of saving the poor alien whale that’s being used for the meat, or to end it and the horrific life it’s had to endure on Earth. Tosh does have what seems quite a throwaway line of ‘Its sentient,’ -  how does she know? It’s all brushed over very quickly. Unfortunately, the special effects haven’t aged too well as time has gone on, I always still believe less is more. The eye has been animated so well and you can really feel the true pain of the sentient creature as it’s being cut into. However when the camera pans back, the emotion is somewhat lost, as it gives it a cheapened look.

 

The whole episode is very quickly resolved as it turns out about only 5 amateur gang members are involved with this crime and are very quickly taken out. It leaves loads of open questions such as, how did they know this meat is edible and would grow back again and again? This is a very relationship centred story, more than anything before, and does explore how dysfunctional the Torchwood team really are at the moment, even to the point where Gwen would volunteer to be Retcond if it meant she would stay with Rhys. With all its’ flaws, it’s a great episode for the development of the characters of the team; with Rhys knowing more about Gwen’s life, what is now left in store for the both of them?


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

15 June 2020

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Chris Chapman

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: May 2020

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"July 1944. The TARDIS materialises in a small village near Rouen, where celebrations are in full swing. A joyful France is in the midst of liberation as the local population welcome a battalion of Allied soldiers – along with a colourfully dressed Doctor and his two rather excited friends.

But there are screams amidst the celebrations as an angry crowd dish out their brand of justice to one of their own that they have branded a traitor. While Constance and Flip find themselves on opposite sides of a war beyond a war, the Doctor has other concerns. 

The local community is used to the fires of battle, but a new type of blaze is burning – leaping from aircraft to aircraft, man to man – and this fire seems to be just as eager for revenge as the village mob."

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers. You have been warned!

Scorched Earth by Chris Chapman takes us back into the war, landing us in France after its liberation. It feels like you cannot move for World War II-related things when it comes to Big Finish right now. We’ve the ersatz Third Doctor and Churchill in Operation Hellfire, Churchill again bothering the Seventh Doctor but a couple of plays ago, and now this. Whether this was all done to coincide with the VE Day celebrations in 2020 or just a coincidence, it does feel like we’re riffing on the same territory time and again right now, which made me slightly sigh as the play started up.

This is unfair really as there is a lot to celebrate in Scorched Earth. The sound design seems to be back to its usual strength after last month’s notable blip, and Chapman paces the script really well. We move from action to drama to quiet character moments to big incidents with ease. Were it in print, you’d call it a page-turner and as it is, it passes two hours very quickly.

That said, there are some strange moments in here. Flip seems to be playing some sort of game where she is only allowed to talk in quips and pop cultural references, which feels forced and lacks credibility. I know the point of her character is often to contrast with Constance but we move into the realm of being unbelievable here. She also seems to be fire retardant, able to withstand standing in a burning building, smoke and all, for ages. Perhaps it’s not real fire though, as the Doctor is also able to stand in the middle of the inferno and spout some exposition before saving the day.

Elsewhere, there is drama to be had with Constance realising just where, and when in time, she is, but the Doctor’s anguish over it seems to evaporate fairly quickly so that the plot can get on with telling a story. This is probably for the best, but again it ranks as one of the play’s strange moments.

Likewise, soon after the play starts we witness a woman, Clementine, being called a traitor and singled out for punishment by a braying mob, and rather than stop this, as Flip wants to, the Doctor decides to let them be, for the sake of blending in with the locals. This leads to clashes between Constance and Flip throughout the rest of the play. Constance believes the woman should be punished if she has betrayed the town to the Nazis; Flip just sees a scared and crying woman. The clash between them both on this is not subtly drawn but works well, reminding us of their different timeframes and perspectives, and it remains a thread throughout, with the play siding with Flip and agreeing she’s in the right. Whether or not you personally agree, it is inarguably the stance Doctor Who usually takes in such matters; the Doctor, too.

On the one hand, you can see just why the Doctor does as he does, not interfering, but on the other it feels very atypical of him to just stand by and let these things unfold. It’s not like in Rosa where inaction is key, it’s just slightly strange and hard to really justify. Colin Baker clearly feels the same way as he goes to some lengths to do just that and defend the scene in the extras, but not entirely with conviction. For me, it left a slightly bad smell in the air, reminding me a little of Timewyrm: Genesys and its rather infamous excusing of sexual assault as a ‘product of the time’.

Still, it’s nothing compared to the Doctor later on thanking a couple of Nazis for their help. A notable part of this play is Chapman, rightly, pointing out that many were forced into fighting against their will and even against their own beliefs, but it’s still a slightly strange thing to hear. Nothing wrong with being a bit challenging in your content though, so hats off to Chapman for that.

We end the play with things largely resolved between the TARDIS team after Constance is able to help save the day with a nice speech (a personal grumble of mine in Doctor Who in general. It feels a very tired resolution, and almost never a convincing one), though it will be interesting to hear if actions here prove to be the first cracks in an otherwise mostly watertight team.

Is Scorched Earth perfect at all? By no means, and the WWII fatigue doesn’t help, even if that’s not Chapman’s fault but that of scheduling. However, it’s also a largely enjoyable affair with neat sound design and very good ideas in there. A definite up after last month’s outing.


+ Scorched Earth is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


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