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Roderick Donald

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.

E-Mail NewsE-Mail Reviews
7 October 2021

BBC Studios has today announced the next instalment in the Doctor Who: The Collection range with Season 17, offering Doctor Who fans the opportunity to continue building their own home archive on Blu-ray. Starring Tom Baker in his penultimate season, Doctor Who – The Collection: Season 17 consists of:

DESTINY OF THE DALEKS
CITY OF DEATH
THE CREATURE FROM THE PIT
NIGHTMARE OF EDEN
THE HORNS OF NIMON
SHADA 

In 1979, Tom Baker’s Doctor was in full flight. With Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) as script editor, the series leaned into Baker’s penchant for humour, and paired his Doctor with a regenerated Romana (Lalla Ward) as his traveling companion. Together, they would form one of the most popular Doctor/companion duos of all time.

Although Season 17 was halted behind-the-scenes by strike action (resulting in the season finale being abandoned part-way through production), it remains a beloved slice of Doctor Who history, featuring the return of Davros and the Daleks, and one of the all-time classic stories, Douglas Adams’ own City Of Death. 

With all episodes newly remastered from the best available sources, this Blu-ray box set also includes extensive and exclusive Special Features including:

BRAND NEW DOCUMENTARIES
Including a Making-Of documentary for Destiny Of The Daleks, and new featurette for The Creature From The Pit.

TOM TALKS
A candid interview with Tom Baker as he gives us his unique take on life, the universe and everything.

DOUGLAS ADAMS TRIBUTE
Friends and colleagues remember the Doctor Who writer/script editor and creator of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. 

IN CONVERSATION
Matthew Sweet chats to Bob Baker, writer of Nightmare Of Eden, co-creator of K9 and one of the creative forces behind Wallace & Gromit. 

BEHIND THE SOFA
New episodes with actors Colin Baker, Katy Manning, Matthew Waterhouse, Nicola Bryant, June Hudson, Graeme Harper & Mat Irvine

LALLA WARD INTERVIEW
An extensive interview discussing her first year on the programme.

UPDATED SPECIAL EFFECTS
View Nightmare Of Eden with optional new effects

SHADA
An updated version of the ‘lost’ story, completed with enhanced animation and presented in six episodes for the very first time, alongside the original 1992 VHS and 2017 versions

EXCLUSIVE NEW AUDIO COMMENTARIES
With Tom Baker on episodes of Destiny Of The Daleks and City Of Death, and Lalla Ward & Catherine Schell on City Of Death

EXTENDED EPISODE
An early cut of The Creature From The Pit Part Three

BLU-RAY TRAILER
A familiar face returns in a brand new mini-episode of classic Doctor Who

IMMERSIVE 5.1 SURROUND SOUND
On Destiny Of The Daleks and Shada

RARE GEMS FROM THE ARCHIVES
BBC archive material covering the promotion of this season

CONVENTION FOOTAGE
A triumphant 1997 appearance from Tom Baker

HD PHOTO GALLERIES
Including many previously unseen images

PRODUCTION SUBTITLES
Behind-the-scenes information and trivia on every episode

SCRIPTS, COSTUME DESIGNS, RARE BBC PRODUCTION FILES AND OTHER RARITIES FROM OUR PDF ARCHIVE AND LOTS MORE! 

The seven-disc box set also includes hours of special features previously released on DVD.

+ The Collection - Season 17 is released on 13th December 2021
+ PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk for just £44.99!

Watch the trailer for this set in the player below:

[Source: BBC Studios]

29 September 2021

BBC Studios and Sarner International today announce a brand new exhibition, Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder: Where Science meets Fiction. The exhibit will explore the science behind the global hit series Doctor Who and will give fans a chance to experience the Doctor’s adventures from a scientific perspective.

Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder will be wowing audiences at several locations across the UK from May 2022, with an ambition to tour internationally.

This ground-breaking venture plunges fans of all ages into a scientific universe to explore the various ways in which science has played a part in the longest running science fiction show in the world, Doctor Who. 

The eight zones set within this educational exhibition cover a diverse selection of exciting scientific topics while drawing in content pieces from the full canon of the TV show.

Visitors can journey through Cosmic Curiosities, while discovering more about the time traveling Police Box in the TARDIS Tech room, learning about the science behind time travel and whether it is really possible. Or visit the Monster Vault to get up close with some of the weird and wonderful characters that have graced our screens.

The user journey for this engaging experience will take approximately 90 minutes, inspiring schools, family groups and fans of the show. Tickets will be available for purchase to the general public, from October 2021. 

Following their work on the hugely successful Doctor Who Experience in both London and Cardiff, Sarner worked closely with BBC Studios to design, create and produce this new experience, Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder, to WOW fans next year. Sarner, a renowned international experiential design and production practice are behind many world leading visitor attractions and will be sure to deliver a wonderous experience for ticket holders.

Paula Al-Lach, BBC Studios Events Director, Live Entertainment said that the team were:

“delighted to be working with Sarner again, following their creation of the Doctor Who Experience. It is really exciting to explore Doctor Who from this perspective and have the opportunity to take the exhibition to fans globally.”

Ed Cookson, Projects Director, Sarner International:

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the opportunity to work with BBC Studios again. For almost 60 years Doctor Who has been exploring mind-bending scientific developments, and has also influenced a generation of scientists, engineers, and artists. The iconic characters, monsters, stories, and settings of the television series provide a perfect guide through the wondrous worlds of space, time and life sciences."

[Source: BBC Studios]


24 September 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Jeremy Dwyer

RRP: £0.77 / $1.06 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Our latest fantasy review is for Jeremy Dwyer's Potion Voyages series, as we delve into Book 1: Castle & Conceit.

Right from the start the author launches straight into his world-building, and immediately paints a vivid  world, rich in detail and description. Hot blue suns, far-reaching oceans and jewel-encrusted palaces tease the menu of the delicacies to come in this epic fantasy series.

Written in third-person prose, the writing style works wonderfully in an almost 'Fighting Fantasy' type way, and any character interactions are made all the more prominent because of this.

Speaking of characters, we have a terrifically diverse cast here; from the magical Taesa, the conflicted historian, Judith, to the deliciously evil Prince Octavian and his equally despicable advisor Cassius, to the awful Keallach (Captain of the Burning Bones). There are many more, but these were among our favourites.

As with all good fantasy, this is a tale of good vs evil, but rather more than that, what's interesting is the various levels between each - on both sides, and the clever way in which Dwyer plays them off against each other. The empire that Octavian, and moreso, Cassius is building, neatly and cleverly ties into key players throughout the book, and it interesting seeing the conflict in those with better intentions.

There is a brilliant magic system, which isn't complex and really invigorates the plot through its perfectly peppered usage - rather genuinely it all ties into the water-based theme that is current throughout the story.

Perhaps most genius of all is Dwyer's ability to pull in an audible experience to the Potion Voyages series. Those of you with access to SoundCloud, will find a selection of free music that go hand-in-hand with those referenced in the book. Chapter 10's 'Praise Every Sun Upon The Sea' is a wonderful, almost lamentful song, sung by Taesa. It's incredibly immersive and genuinely adds to the overall experience, and we HIGHLY recommend you make use of it when reading.

When you get to the end you just know this is the start of something much bigger, and kudos to the author in his craftsmanship of this entire world and its rich detail and characters. Here's looking excitedly towards Book 2!


+  Potion Voyages - Book 1: Castle & Conceit is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @Jeremy_pv (Jeremy Dwyer) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

24 September 2021

Publisher: Fresh Ink Group

Written By: Robert G. Williscroft

RRP: £3.57 / $20.54 (Paperback) | £2.16 / $2.95 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Icicle: A Tensor Matrix, is the first book in the Oort Chronicles by Robert G. Williscroft - a story that holds no bars in its opening prologue. Right from the off we are thrown right into the action as our protagonist, Millionaire, Braxton Thorpe, dies of prostate cancer and is whisked off to have his head cryogenically preserved. And just like that...BOOM!...we head forward in time by 100 years, straight into the 22nd Century, where Braxton wakes to come to terms with his new *ahem* life.

This is a bold opening gambit from Williscroft, and one that works so well due to the 'matter of fact' drive in which he pushes the story forward. One could be forgiven for drawing comparisons to The Matrix and Tron, where similar themes are explored - however - it is our sincerest belief that Williscroft actually trumps the aforementioned with this thrilling new take on uploading one's consciousness to a digital mainframe.

Despite being told in third-person prose, you feel every moment of pain and anguish that Braxton goes through. In fact, anyone who has had paralytic sleep, will find a rather eerie parallel in some of the moments our protagonist goes through.

Let's make no mistake, this is Science Fiction - and really good SciFi at that, but Williscroft's evident knowledge of technology and science, shines through to make this feel more like a foreshadowing of what will come to pass. Every technological detail is described in such detail that it's almost tangible to the reader, which make feel all the more intimate a read.

There's interstellar travel, wormholes, aliens and the threat of inter-planetary war, which, together with Braxton's personal and wider quest, adds up to one hell of an adventure. Not bad for a dead man!

We're thrilled to report this is only the first book in a planned series, and eagerly await the follow-up!


+  Icicle: A Tensor Matrix: The First Oort Chronicle is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @RGWilliscroft (Robert G. Williscroft) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

19 September 2021

Publisher: Melange Books

Written By: Arrendle

RRP: £14.94 / $22.91 (Paperback) | £4.74 / $6.51 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Nathan Jones

Arrendle's debut novel, The Dragon Within: The Threat of Crowns, is an incredibly engaging fantasy adventure story with a refreshing take on the standard tropes of the fantasy genre. I truly loved every moment of this read, and even skipped a meal to continue reading.

The Dragon Within is set on a world of five distinct and isolated realms: Ahan, home of the sparkling star people; Mazati Iskus, where the vibrational sound people live; Badari, home to animal-headed humans (with a clear nod to Ancient Egypt); Wazari Eren, the realm of humans; and Indu, home of the shadow people. Each realm also has its associated type of Dragon, but at the point the book begins, dragons are believed to be merely mythical creatures.

Arrendle provides us with a comprehensive historic set-up to the story, but I’m not going to spoil it by revealing it here. I’ll just say that rather than giving the history as inactive exposition, it’s told through wonderfully immersive real-time events.

Once we’ve been grounded, the story begins. We get to follow the cocky, arrogant antagonist, Samil, as he attempts to unleash a terrible power upon the world, and his mysterious “co-conspirator”. Aubra, a powerful, ancient wizard, sets off to re-form the Magnus Concilium (magic council) in order to stop Samil, and is aided by his adopted daughter, Eshney, and an old friend, Char. Eshney must make a brave journey into learning the skills of magic as Char struggles with the complex, confusing assault of emotions that spur from his recent transformation into human form. And, of course, there’s a charming story of blossoming love woven throughout the main plot.

The descriptions as we travel through the fantastical realms are nothing short of beautiful. Arrendle’s use of language to conjure up such intricately woven societies and breathe life into peoples who look, operate, move, speak, and even think differently is stunning. In fact, Arrendle’s descriptions are delightful throughout; I believe a forty-two word sentence to describe laughter may be a record breaker!

The second big highlight is the novel’s comprehensive, very real journey through the thoughts and emotions of the main characters. They’re some of the best painted characters I’ve encountered. It’s a real pity this is a stand-alone novel, as it would have made an excellent series of books.

I could wax lyrical about this book for some time, but I’ll conclude by saying the epic ending, expertly bringing together all the elements and diverse characters encountered throughout the book, is one of the most satisfying and rewarding endings I’ve ever read.


+  The Dragon Within: The Threat Of Crowns is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @Arrendle on Twitter.
+  Follow @NathanJonesBook (Nathan Jones) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

19 September 2021

If, like us, you're a fan of CCGs - particularly Pokemon, then why not take a minute to check out the awesome products for sale over at our friends at Titan Cards www.titancards.co.uk

They have an awesome selection of Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Cardfight!! Vanguard, Digimon CG, Flesh & Blood TCG and more! They even sell card sleeves, dice, coins and binders, so you can keep your collection safe and secure. 

Ever since the 2018 Doctor Who episode, 'The Tsuranga Conundrum', which featured a vicious but cute little alien called a 'Pting', we've seen an influx of fans asking if we sell Pokemon (which we don't) - hence why we're hooking you up with our friends at Titan Cards :) 

If you follow them on Instagram or Facebook you'll be among the first to hear when they have exciting new products coming out (like Pokemon Celebrations & Fusion Strike - which we're particularly looking forward to!) 

+ Check Out the Titan Cards website.
+ Follow Titan Cards on Instagram.
+ Follow Titan Cards on Facebook.

[Source: Titan Cards]

16 September 2021

The team over at Unbound have been in touch with news of a new Kickstarter project to fund their Across Time and Space: An Unofficial Doctor Who Companion book - the ultimate journey through the Whoniverse by a life- long fan. The new beautifully designed 800-page book contains reviews of all 852 episodes of the televised Doctor Who story up to the end of the Jodie Whittaker era.

Head of Publishing for Unbound, Mathew Clayton developed the project with author Tony Cross based on his story-by-story blog The Patient Centurion which he began in 2011 and now runs to over 200,000 words. The epic undertaking includes an introduction from Doctor Who podcast host and Sunday Times bestselling author Daniel Hardcastle.

The Guinness Book of World Records cites Doctor Who as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world as well as the most successful science fiction series of all time, based on its overall broadcast ratings, DVD, and book sales.

Since the first episode was broadcast in 1963, the Doctor Who series has attracted a very large, loyal, and devoted fan base. This proudly unofficial book written by a fan for the fan community is about celebrating that fanbase in all its vibrant, vociferous, idiosyncratic, and argumentative glory. Many professional Doctor Who writers, for both the current TV series and the books began their careers writing for fanzines including Paul Cornell, Rob Shearman, Matt Jones, Marc Platt, and Stephen James Walker. Russell T Davies was himself a childhood fan of the series and wrote a Doctor Who novel before reviving the show.

Everyone that pledges for the book at the standard level will receive:

• 800-page large format book (234 x 153mm) and eBook.
• An Excel spreadsheet that lets you map your journey through the Whoniverse and keep a record of what you have watched and what you own.
• Your name printed in the book as a supporter (along with the name of the first episode you watched).
• Invitation to a series of watch parties hosted by Tony starting with the very first Dr Who episode 'An Unearthly Child' on November 23, 2021, the 60th anniversary of its first broadcast.

Mathew Clayton, who was also a former publisher of the official BBC Doctor Who books said:

“In a previous job I was lucky enough to be the commissioning editor for the official range of Doctor Who books. We published some great titles but being 'official' was also a straight- jacket - you can't offer opinions! You can't say who the best Doctor was (Tom Baker, obviously) or who the best companion (another no brainer: it has to be Rose). And it struck me that the best thing about being a fan is having opinions and sharing them (whether agreeing or disagreeing) with other fans. But in official books there is no room for a fan's point of view or expertise. This is not just a book by a fan - but there are various ways fans can become involved in the project whether attending watch parties with Tony or having their name and the first episode they watched printed in the book. The rest of the entertainment industry recognises the importance of fans - it's time that publishing caught up.”

Author Tony Cross said:

"Across Time and Space is a journey through all of televised Doctor Who. It began as a blog. I had decided to watch all of Doctor Who in order... It's not meant to be the final say on anything. They're my opinions. But I wanted something that might encourage others to take up the journey. To dip back into the William Hartnell era. Or find out why Sylvester McCoy is hard done by. It's why there's a spreadsheet with the book: you too can map your progress, if you're that way inclined. And I don't expect people to agree with my opinions. Indeed, I'd be disappointed if you did. You can use this as a guide or read the blogs once you've watched the story and curse my foolishness or praise my perspicacity. You can mock my attempts to compare stories to Shakespeare plays. You can see through my blatant nostalgic love for Tom Baker and (almost) all his works.”

+  Across Time and Space is now live on Kickstarter!
+  Follow @Unbounders (Ubound) on Twitter!
+  Follow @Mathew_Clayton (Matthew Clayton) on Twitter!
+  Follow @Lokster71 (Tony Cross) on Twitter!
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source: Unbound]

16 September 2021

Doctor Who stars, David Bradley (The 1st Doctor) and Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), have sketched original drawings for a charity eBay auction, which will be going under the hammer this Friday for National Doodle Day.

The auctions are to support Epilepsy Action and the 600,000 people across the UK who are living with epilepsy. The live auction will start on eBay on Friday afternoon and it runs until Sunday.

Philippa Cartwright, director of fundraising at Epilepsy Action, said:

“National Doodle Day is a fantastic event which whips fans and collectors into a bidding frenzy. This is their chance to buy original artwork from celebrities, artists and designers and every doodle sold raises vital funds for people affected by epilepsy.

Every year we are overwhelmed with submissions from all kinds of doodlers. Since launching National Doodle Day 17 years ago, we’ve had over 1,500 celebrities and artists support us. After all the lockdowns, we can’t wait to unveil their new creations. Don’t forget to get bidding on Friday 17 September and all weekend!”

Since National Doodle Day began in 2004, doodlers far and wide have raised over £180,000 for Epilepsy Action, all to improve the lives of people with epilepsy.

+ Click Here to visit the Epilepsy Action website.
+ Click Here to visit the National Doodle Day page.
+ Follow @EpilepsyAction on Twitter.
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter

[Source: Epilepsy Action]


16 September 2021

Publisher: There Is No Design LLC

Written By: K. Leigh

RRP: £8.44 / $12.06 (Paperback) | £4.31 / $5.97 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

If Space Opera with an LGBTQ+ twist is your thing, you would go far to find a more satisfying story than that of K. Leigh's Constelis Voss Vol.1: Colour Theory.

Our story centres on Alex, a human who has been reincarnated as a robot on board the titular Constelis Voss - a planet-sized spaceship. We follow Alex' struggle for self-understanding and acceptance in his new form, as he ventures into a much wider mystery with good and evil in the balance. We flip-flop between the far future and 90's New York with both settings brought to life in meticulous detail.

Never before have we seen colour used in a story in such a beautiful way. First and foremost they are used as descriptors, but much more than that they almost act as a poetic canvas that highlights the LGBTQ+ beating heart of the book. At the beginning of Colour Theory, the author states:

"I aim to let my readers know I see them in all their complicated inner paintings"

It is this statement that constantly hits home throughout the story. No matter who you are, inside or out, you can't help but find some form of recognition and representation within the pages of this truly unique novel.

It's a given that there is diversity in the story, but nothing prepares you for just how vivid, real and almost tactile that these characters feel. There is an intimacy in Leigh's writing that makes you feel you are inches away from them and that you are more than just an observer.

There are some strong themes and scenes explored within (as outlined in the author's content warning at the start), as well as a fair few choice words, but nothing fans of Torchwood wouldn't be accustomed to. At no point, however, do they distract or feel out of place. In fact, nothing in Colour Theory feels like a happy accident; there is immense artistry in the broad strokes of Leigh's work, and it shines through every character, scene and page in the book.

Volume 1 ends on both a high note and a cliffhanger which very neatly leads us into Volume 2: Pattern Recognition. Whilst Colour Theory isn't necessarily a large book per se, you feel like you've been on a hell of an adventure with a lot to unpack. You would almost certainly benefit from a second reading, which is no bad thing, and just like a piece of art, it almost requires it so you can appreciate it from all of its wonderful angles.

Incredibly surprised and impressed with how much I enjoyed this book. Even if you don't hit one of those important letters or symbols in the LGBTQ+ acronym, you will find familiarity and relevance in Leigh's multi-layered work, as well as a much deeper love for the world and fellow humans around us.


+  Constelis Voss Vol.1: Colour Theory is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @KiraLeigh (K. Leigh) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

15 September 2021

DWO have received the cover art for the upcoming DVD, Blu-ray & Steelbook release of Doctor Who's mostly missing serial Galaxy 4, as well as a sneak peak of what's included in the release, which comes out on 15th November 2021.

Galaxy 4 (alternatively spelled Galaxy Four) is from the third season of Doctor Who, which originally aired in four weekly episodes from 11th September to 2nd October 1965.

Following the success of the existing animations, Galaxy 4 fills another gap in the missing Doctor Who content lost from the BBC’s archive soon after the programme’s original transmission. However, audio-only recordings of all four episodes have survived and have been used here to create a brand new fully animated presentation of the entirety of this lost classic, alongside the original surviving Episode 3 and over five minutes of original footage from the otherwise lost Episode 1.

The Doctor (William Hartnell) stars alongside his travel companions Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) and Steven (Peter Purves) which sees the TARDIS landing on a planet on the verge of total annihilation as it drifts too close to the three suns which it orbits. Trapped on the planet with them are the Drahvins, a race of warrior women, and the reptilian Rills. The Drahvins want to steal the Rill spaceship to escape the planet's death throes, and enlist the Doctor's help, which he is forced to give when Maaga, the cunning Drahvin leader, keeps first Vicki and then later Steven as her hostage.  Even though the Doctor is determined to broker a peace deal between the two sides in this conflict and help everyone escape safely, Maaga doesn't trust him, or the Rills... 

The two disc release gives fans the opportunity to enjoy the four new animated episodes of Galaxy 4, in either colour or black and white.

The release will also include:

-  Remastered Surviving Original Episode 3
-  Remastered Surviving Clip from Episode 1
-  Telesnap Reconstructions of Episodes 1,2 and 4.
-  Audio Commentaries 
-  Making Of Documentary
-  Finding Galaxy 4 Documentary
-  Photo Gallery
-  Production Subtitles 

Gary Russell, Executive Producer from Big Finish Creative of the 2021 production said:

“After a gap of many years, it is very exciting to bring the era of the First Doctor back into the animation world. Galaxy 4 is one of the most traditional adventures of 1960s Doctor Who and it’s been a real honour to work on this alternative version which hopefully reflects those technicolour thrills that sci-fi moves of the '60s had but which Doctor Who’s monochrome TV limitations couldn’t yet achieve.” 

BFI Southbank will host a special screening of all 4 episodes of the newly animated story Galaxy 4 on 7th November 2021; tickets go on sale on 16th September at 11:30 to BFI Champions and Patrons, at 12:30 to BFI Members and at 16:00 to the general public.

+  Galaxy 4 is released on 15th November 2021.
+  
PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk

[Source: BBC Studios]

28 August 2021

The team over at Ten Acre Films have been in touch with news of a reprint of their Verity Lambert biogrpahy; Drama And Delight: The Life And Legacy Of Verity Lambert.

DRAMA AND DELIGHT: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF VERITY LAMBERT

Richard Marson's acclaimed biography returns for a limited reprint.

For five decades, the name Verity Lambert appeared on the end credits of many of Britain’s most celebrated and talked about television dramas, among them Adam Adamant Lives!, Budgie, The Naked Civil Servant, Minder, Edward and Mrs Simpson, Eldorado, G.B.H. and Jonathan Creek. 

She was the very first producer of Doctor Who, which she nurtured through its formative years at a time when there were few women in positions of power in the television industry. Later, she worked within the troubled British film business and became a pioneering independent producer, founding her own highly-successful company, Cinema Verity.

Within her profession, she was hugely respected as an intensely driven, sometimes formidable but always stylish exponent of her craft, with the stamina and ability to combine quantity with quality. Many of her productions have had a lasting cultural and emotional impact on their audiences and continue to be enjoyed to this day.

But who was the woman behind all these television triumphs and what was the price she paid to achieve them?

Combining painstaking research and interviews with many of Lambert’s closest friends and colleagues, Drama and Delight will capture the energy and spirit of this remarkable woman and explore her phenomenal and lasting legacy.

2021 Reprint
Softcover: 380 pages in black and white, plus 28-page photo insert in black and white and colour.

+  Pre-orders for this title will be dispatched from 20th September 2021.
+  More information can be found at the Ten Acre Films, Big Cartel page

[Source: Stuart Manning]

28 August 2021

Publisher: Silverback Books

Written By: A.T. Duguay

RRP: £11.61 / $16.17 (Paperback) | £1.71 / $2.33 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Beginning a new fantasy novel is always exciting; especially if the front cover is as striking as A.T. Duguay's 'The Guardian' - book 1 in his 'Soulstone' series. Somehow it ramps up the anticipation as you pick out elements from the cover and wonder how they will play out in the story.

Right from the off, our protagonist Gauthak, and his Night Jay (of which we discover, he has the ability to 'enter' to scan the path ahead), are hurled into the action, having just jumped off a waterfall to escape his giant pursuers. There is a sense of urgency and danger that is palpable to the reader, and you cannot help feeling it lurks around every corner. We then follow Gauthak on his journey to the city of New Alannah, where he soon lands himself in a spot of trouble...

As we delve further, we learn more about Gauthak's history and abilities, as well as discovering more about his own kind - the Northmen. For those who like magic in their fantasy stories, Duguay has you covered, but it's in a way more believable way. There's even a bit of romance thrown in for good measure too, and, again, it's done in such a realistic, meaningful way.

There's a great turning point in the plot, too - one you won't see coming, and it gives fresh focus to our character and the direction of the story. Kudos to the author for his skill here as everything in The Guardian seems to have such purpose and meaning. You don't feel like there's any padding and there is no character that feels like dead weight.

There is a mastery of description in Duguay's work; an almost poetic blend of rich detail through landscapes, colours, sights and sounds. This breathes life into his Medieval-esque world, which jumps off the pages of the book in the most vivid way.

The third-person style, together with the setting was almost reminiscent of the old school Fighting Fantasy books, and that sense of danger we mentioned earlier, further lends itself to this comparison. As such, there's a wonderful sense of familiarity, whilst obviously on a completely fresh and uncharted path.

As this is part of a trilogy, we hope it's not spoiling things by saying the story ends on a cliffhanger, of sorts. Whilst the reader feels content with the ending, there's a great springboard for the next book, and we know personally that we won't be content until we've read it :)

A final note we wanting to pick up on was in the book's acknowledgments at the end; in it, the author bravely explains his process in writing the book and the stress, depression and anxiety he suffered from. He cites his fears of change, risk, desires and for being himself. Having read the book, we genuinely believe he has triumphed in the very act of producing The Guardian. It is a testament to his hard work and persistence, in spite of those fears.


+  The Guardian is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @ATDuguay (A.T. Duguay) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

27 August 2021

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Lisa McMullin, Tim Foley & Timothy X Atack

RRP: £24.99 (CD) | £19.99 (Download)

Release Date: August 2021

Reviewed by: Robert Emlyn Slater for Doctor Who Online


"Three brand new adventures featuring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor.

2.1 Girl, Deconstructed by Lisa McMullin

Marnie is missing. But she hasn't run away, as her dad fears - Marnie is still very much at home. But not quite as she was.

The Doctor joins forces with Missing Persons detective Jana Lee to help solve the mystery of a girl who's gone to pieces.

2.2 Fright Motif by Tim Foley

In post-War Paris, musician Artie Berger has lost his mojo, but gained a predator - something that seeps through the cracks of dissonance to devour the unwary.

Luckily for Artie, the Doctor is here. Unluckily for everyone, he needs bait to trap a monster...

2.3 Planet Of The End by Timothy X Atack

The Doctor arrives on a mausoleum world for sightseeing and light pedantry, correcting its planetary records. The resident AI has other ideas.

Deep within a tomb, something stirs. Occasus is the last resting place of a species far too dangerous to exist. And the Doctor is its way back."

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

Christopher Eccleston is back again in Respond to All Calls, the second volume in Big Finish’s Ninth Doctor Adventures series. In three more adventures spanning the past, a future world, and Dundee, the Ninth Doctor literally does what the title of the boxset suggests, and responds to all distress calls that come his way.

The boxset gets off to a very strong start with Girl, Deconstructed, which was written by Lisa McMullin. Set in Dundee in 2004, this story follows Missing Persons detective Jana Lee (Pearl Appleby) who is on the hunt for children who have seemingly vanished into thin air. Meanwhile, the Doctor is tracking a distress call from Marnie (Mirren Mack), a young Scottish girl who’s disappeared too…or has she?

In my opinion, this is the strongest story of the set, and easily my favourite so far from both volumes. The story was engaging and kept me hooked right until the very end, the performances from all involved, Eccleston, Appleby, and Mack, in particular, were excellent, and I felt as though I knew the characters inside out by the time the end credits rolled. Unlike the stories from the last volume, this really did feel like it could have easily have slotted into Series One in 2005. That’s not a criticism of the last boxset, by the way, it’s just the down to Earth nature of Girl, Deconstructed was more in keeping with the feel of Series One, that’s all. 

The small cast of characters gave this story a more intimate, contained feel which I really enjoyed, and the dynamic between Doctor and Jana was fun and left me wanting more adventures with them. 

I also got series 1 vibes from the ‘antagonists’ (if you can call them that) of this story too. McMullin’s story features a race called the Serapheem, a species of tiny dust-like aliens that accidentally cause humans some issues without trying to, in a similar vein to what the Nanogenes did in The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. Whilst the ‘misunderstood aliens’ theme does feel as though it’s been done a hundred times before now, it really didn’t take away from the story as a whole. 

The second episode, Fright Motif by Tim Foley, is set in Paris, 1946, and features a musician called Artie who’s lost his groove and is currently being stalked by a vicious inter-dimensional monster made of sound. Once again, this tight contained story could just as easily fit into Series One as the previous story, and its down to Earth nature is definitely one of its highlights. 

The limited cast of characters works in this story’s favour too, and once more gives us an opportunity to get to know the Doctor’s new friends over the 45-minute run time. Though Artie (Damian Lynch) is the main focus of this episode, and he does give a great performance where he actually does sound genuinely depressed about the loss of his muse, it’s Maurice Le Bon (Adrian Schiller), the grumpy, snooty hotel manager, who really steals the show. It’s his character who we learn the most about, and it's his character who goes on the biggest emotional journey. The scene where he visits the flat of the man he loved was very touching and extremely well done too. A definite highlight of the episode. 

Gemma Whelan is also in this episode, but not as the Meddling Nun as she was in Dalek Universe 1 (or the upcoming Missy 3). This time around she plays Zazie, Artie’s friend. I do feel as though she was sidelined a little in this story, with Lynch and Schiller getting the biggest chunks of emotion and story, but it’s still a top performance from Whelan. 

This story, again, has some similarities to what’s come before on TV. An artist who’s struggling with his muse being stalked by an invisible creature? Sound familiar? Whilst I do still think Vincent and the Doctor did this kind of story better, Fright Motif is still an entertaining way to pass an hour or so, and features yet another excellent performance from Christopher Eccleston, who, somehow, keeps going from strength to strength. Foley has nailed the Ninth Doctor in this episode, and the Time Lord's constant stream of witty one-liners and sarcastic comments give this episode a huge boost, especially at times when it feels like it’s slowing down. 

If Girl, Deconstructed and Fright Motif are very Series One-esque, then The Planet Of The End by Timothy X Atack is something else entirely. The great thing about Big Finish is that they can explore interesting, complex new worlds and stories that would perhaps be too expensive or complicated to put on tv. In this story, on the deserted cemetery world of Occasus, the Doctor is kept busy for a very long time as his regenerative abilities are exploited by the money-hungry Incorporation.  

The thing with exploring the Ninth Doctor pre-Rose is that he doesn’t have a full-time companion yet. Throughout this boxset, the Doctor has been meeting new temporary companions to help him in his adventures, and I think Fred (Margret Clunie) in this episode is my favourite of the lot. Fred is an AI who’s started to develop a personality and is so endearing, and her chemistry with the Doctor and growth as a character is so much fun to listen to, that I really wish we could have just a few more episodes with her.

This episode is a bit different from the others too in that it takes place over a very long period of time - 90 years in fact. The Doctor is incapacitated for a lot of the story, and parts of it take place inside his mind, which I thought was really interesting and very different from anything we saw on-screen back in 2005. 

I think this is the episode that stretches Eccleston’s acting chops as the Doctor the most (from the audio dramas) too. It gives him so much to do (including having a motivational chat with himself at one point), and I really do like to think that Eccleston was having a great time acting out this episode (and the boxset as a whole). 

The only factor that stops this episode from being my favourite is that it was a little too complex at times. I struggled to keep up in the last few minutes, but maybe that was just me not paying attention properly. I also feel as though the ‘evil businessmen/corporation who only care about money’ trope has been done a million times before too, so I wasn’t too interested in the villains of the piece unfortunately. 

Other than that these minor issues, this is a great end to the second volume of adventures in the Ninth Doctor series! 

The stand-out performance of this boxset is obviously Christopher Eccleston. I was worried that he wouldn’t sound as interested or as ‘into it’ as he did in the first boxset, but I was thankfully proven wrong, yet again. He’s amazing. He’s such a good actor and such a good Doctor, and I’m so, so glad that he decided to come back. He’s been tested in so many different ways already in the 6 episodes Big Finish have already provided us with, and I really can’t wait to see where they (and Eccleston) take his character next. The next boxset features the return of the Cybermen, so I’m really excited to see how the Ninth Doctor deals with them! 

Overall, this is yet another success from Big Finish. This is 3 more strong stories for the Ninth Doctor, written by three excellent writers who have nailed Eccleston’s Time Lord perfectly. Fantastic stuff! 


+ 9DA 1.2: Respond To All Calls is OUT NOW, priced £24.99 (CD) | £19.99 (D/L).

+ ORDER this title from Big Finish!


23 August 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Terry Geo

RRP: £9.49 / $9.38 (Paperback) | £3.99 / $5.48 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

When we think of Science Fiction, our first thought is almost always that of a futuristic plot, but Refraction by British author, Terry Geo, is a very different beast, set in our present, but still with all the bells and whistles you could hope for in a book of this genre.

At its heart, this is a story about dreams and how they can be harnessed, but, in fact, this only scratches the surface of what Geo explores, and the ramifications for our characters. Speaking of characters, there’s a wonderfully diverse mix, with rich backstories given for each of them. We're also given different aspects of dreams which are attributed to these characters - a fascinating way to explore the lucidity and yet complex nature of our dream world.

Despite being a science fiction story, there's so much reality in Geo's writing; not just the familiar around us, but the way in which characters interact with one another. Right off in Chapter One we go from San Francisco to Bedford in just a couple of pages - the first time we've ever seen Bedford in a SciFi novel :) It's then onto Yorkshire with a very real situation that a lot of family-owned farmers find themselves in; giving up their dreams to follow the family business. Without wanting to digress, the author hails from Derbyshire and the few people we do know from that part of the UK are as down-to-earth and 'keep it real' as you can get. Despite the SciFi nature of the book, that very same 'keep it real' approach, grounds Refraction at even its most 'out there' moments - and it's to the credit of the story (and Derbyshire)!

It's also in these mundane moments that the genius of Geo's writing blooms; the juxtaposition of these ordinary moments against the exciting world of dreams creates a richer story - just as lucid as the worlds we explore when we're sleeping.

It's clear the author enjoyed the process of writing Refraction; there are so many nods and winks to  TV programmes and Movies from yesteryear - even computer games we played as kids. Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Super Mario, Donkey Kong - heck, even Flight Of The Navigator all get a namecheck here, and every mention peppered throughout gives you a warm, Mr Kipling-esque feeling as you reconnect with moments from yesteryear.

There's a big rug-pull moment, which we won't spoil, but it's testament to the journey the author takes us on in Refraction. The skill in its execution and the journey it takes to get there in the set piece, is utter brilliance. This is Geo's first novel, and we were blown away by this fact due to the level of literary mastery and detail in the world-building. We highly recommend this book and eagerly await the author’s next release.


+  Refraction is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @TerryJGeo (Terry Geo) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

21 August 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Michael A. Gordon

RRP: £7.95 / $9.99 (Paperback) | £0.99p / $1.37 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Barnaby Brown And The Time Machine is the first instalment in Michael A. Gordon's thrilling time travel series. The story follows the titular Barnaby Brown - a 15-year-old boy from England - now living in New York (and very much missing his favourite brand of bread). As well as the bread, Barnaby is missing his old life; he lives with his Mother and mad scientist Uncle Finch, who spends most of his time in the basement.

It is in this basement that Barnaby discovers the doorway to a new, exciting life, and Gordon's way of introducing it is classically magical. Whether it's Lucy Pevensie discovering the wardrobe to Narnia or Kay Harker discovering the magic of the box of delights, you feel that same warmth and familiarity when Barnaby and his friends make their way down to his uncle's basement in Chapter Three.

Kudos to the author for his incredible detail behind the time travel elements; there's lots of science and common sense behind how the time machine actually works and the ramifications of altering history, and as the story progresses, you'd be forgiven for believing that time travel could actually be possible (who knows...perhaps it could be?!). 


There's such a wonderful balance of drama, humour and suspense; as for the humour in particular, there are several laugh out lout moments that spring to mind, namely the absolute corker of a line; "There’s no point turning up for the birth of Christ in jeans.".

With thrills, shocks, scares, rescues and a decidedly perfect villain to round things off, Barnaby Brown And The Time Machine is the time-hopping adventure tonic we could all do with right now.

At the time of writing there are five books in the series, with Barnaby Brown And The Dark Star being the most recent. After this first instalment, we cannot wait to see where Barnaby's adventures take him next!


+  Barnaby Brown And The Time Machine is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @MAGauthor (Michael A. Gordon) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

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