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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.

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
16 October 2020

Penguin Random House have been in touch with details of a brand new Doctor Who charity anthology; Adventures In Lockdown, comprising some of the stories that featured during Lockdown, as well as all-new ones - all in aid of BBC Children In Need!

A star-packed collection of stories from the Whoniverse published in aid of BBC Children in Need, including new fiction from Neil Gaiman, Chris Chibnall, Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Joy Wilkinson, and Vinay Patel, with illustrations from Chris Riddell, Sophie Cowdrey, Mike Collins and more.

Darkness Never Prevails

Penguin Random House is excited to announce Doctor Who: Adventures in Lockdown, a collection of stories written by Doctor Who writers in response to COVID-19. During challenging months of global uncertainty and isolation, the Doctor and the TARDIS has remained a dream that drew many - allowing them to roam the cosmos in search of distraction, reassurance and adventure. This very special short story collection brings these epic tales together, along with three brand new stories and beautiful illustrations in support of BBC Children in Need.

Adventures in Lockdown is a book for any Doctor Who fan in your life, stories that will send your heart spinning wildly through space and time...

Full list of stories:

1. A Message from the Doctor
2. Things She Thought While Falling by Chris Chibnall
3. The Terror of the Umpty Ums by Steven Moffat
4. Doctor Who and the Time War by Russell T Davies
5. Revenge of the Nestene by Russell T Davies
6. Rory’s Story by Neil Gaiman
7. One Virtue, and a Thousand Crimes by Neil Gaiman
8. The Simple Things by Joy Wilkinson
9. The Tourist by Vinay Patel
10. Fellow Traveller by Mark Gatiss
11. The Shadow Passes by Paul Cornell
12. Shadow of a Doubt by Paul Cornell
13. The Shadow in the Mirror by Paul Cornell
14. Press Play by Pete McTighe
15. Listen by Steven Moffat
16. The Secret of Novice Hame by Russell T Davies.

+  Adventures In Lockdown is released on 5th November 2020, priced £8.99.
+  PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk.
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who Book releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: Penguin Random House]

16 October 2020

Publisher: Bookbaby

Written By: Ryan Hastings

RRP: £7.06 / $10.76 (Paperback) | £6.04 / $7.80 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 16th October 2020

Ryan Hastings' Rituals is a fresh take on the SciFi / Fantasy mash-up genre, and takes no time in throwing the reader straight into the action. In the city of Evermore a treacherous son is about to make a decision that will be the catalyst of a war between good and evil.

Our protagonist's, Galai'el and Yana battle the evil Dom'rel, together with Baalta, whilst saving a princess along the way. All the right ingredients are here for a fantastic adventure and Hastings pulls it off with lustre.

There is some fantastic world-building in Rituals, with the world of Harth and the kingdom of Malene painted in glorious detail - sometimes at the cost of added character depth, but with such a wonderful roster of characters, the author can be forgiven for painting some with lighter brush strokes than others.

All the action (and there's a LOT of action) ticks along at great speed, and as a reader you are constantly being propelled to continue reading - even, at times, when your eyes may need a rest, there's a wonderful propulsion to find out what happens next. 

There's a wonderful morality tale at the heart of Rituals. Sure there is the obvious strands of good vs evil, but there is a religious theme that beats away gently throughout, and you can't help but feel like being a slightly better human at the end of it all. In fact, Hastings' closing paragraph is rather apt and bookends this story perfectly.

We were pleased to learn that there are two sequels to Rituals (Rituals: Storm And Serpent and Rituals: Wars, Worlds And Wards) - both titles we hope to review in due course. We enjoyed the escapism of Harth and cannot wait for our return ticket!

+  Rituals is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @DragonFrisky (Ryan Hastings) on Twitter.

15 October 2020

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Philip Raymond Brown

RRP: £9.60 / $15.99 (Paperback) | £2.39 / $3.08 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 15th October 2020

It Gives You Strength by Philip Raymond Brown is a SciFi / Fantasy / Historical mash-up, set in New York during the Prohibition in the 1920's.

The story begins in 1918, with a spaceship carrying the royal family of the planet Dagan, in a mid-space standoff in our own solar system. Faced with a shocking ultimatum, the family are forced to send their Daughter (the Princess Halana) to Earth, using an experimental procedure that deposits a person's life-force into the nervous system of another, until it can be retrieved. I love that the time period of 1918 conjures up a post-World War I, non-technological era, yet, in contrast, hovering over the planet is an established, technologically advanced alien civilisation, capable of transferring one's life-force. Just because it's 1918 on Earth, it could be the equivalent of the Year 3000 to others. Brilliant!

We then skip forward 8 years as we're introduced to alien anthropologist, Tashan Zho. Zho is transported to Earth on a mission to recover the princess, before the Dagan's launch all-out war on the Humans as 'revenge' for killing the Daganian Royal Family. Zho himself is deposited into the body of Ryan Costello; a (recently deceased) alcoholic bootlegger. Due to the.. *ahem* state of Costello's body, Zho has trouble accessing his mission files, and only has a nugget of information to go on. And so begins his mission to find the princess and save the planet in the process.

Along the way, Zho encounters a number of real-life historical figures, including Jack "Legs" Diamond, Edith Cavell and Jack Dempsey - something that felt right off the screen of a Doctor Who adventure. It's these moments that add connectivity to what is ultimately an alien recovery story, and it's wonderful having Earth as the touchstone.

As the story progresses, Zho's mission objectives change, which lead to some surprising and unforeseen outcomes for both the character and the reader - expertly executed by Brown, this page turner always has you on the back foot, guessing what could possibly happen next.

If one could draw a comparison, It Gives You Strength is Quantum Leap meets Battlestar Galactica meets Once Upon A Time In America - there are elements from all 3 that are echoed throughout, and it makes for fantastic reading!

Without spoiling the end, it is clear that the author has done his historical homework - especially considering one particular character (albeit with some rather neat dramatic license). We're unsure if there will be a sequel, but as a standalone, this was an incredibly engaging book with some clever tools and devices by its author. Readers will be gripped and nowhere else can you throw boxing, bootlegging and aliens into a story and expect it to stick, but stick it does and it's purely down to Brown's literary craftsmanship.

+  It Gives You Strength is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @philipraymondb1 on Twitter.

11 October 2020

Join Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker and Tenth Doctor David Tennant on a quest to save reality in a new console and PC game!

Dive back into Blink and explore the hidden past of the Weeping Angels in a groundbreaking ‘found phone’ handheld and mobile game!

Digital entertainment studio, Maze Theory, in partnership with BBC Studios, today reveals the expansion of the Doctor Who interactive universe with two brand-new video games launching in Spring 2021

Coming to consoles and PC, Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality reimagines, and builds upon, last year’s VR experience, Doctor Who: The Edge of Time, with a new and compelling first-person adventure. 

With brand-new gameplay, new monsters and new worlds to explore, players will wield the Thirteenth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver on a quest to save the universe. Players will be guided by the Thirteenth Doctor, voiced by Jodie Whittaker, and joined by the Tenth Doctor, voiced by David Tennant.

Jam-packed full of easter eggs, terrifying foes and Doctor Who lore, players will experience an unforgettable escapade taking them across space and time. 

Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality features:

●  A Console and PC adventure across Space and Time  - built with current and next-generation consoles in mind, Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality features new worlds to explore, new puzzles, new challenges and new gameplay.

●  An Original Doctor Who story - uncover a universe-spanning threat as you seek to  save reality from a series of time-breaking glitches. Continue the story that began in The Edge of Time and partner with the Doctor to unearth a greater mystery.


●  New Enemies and AI - come face-to-face with classic Doctor Who monsters including the Daleks and Weeping Angels. Experience the metal-clad terror of the Cybermen and more foes yet to be revealed…

Also revealed today is Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins, coming to iOS and Android mobile devices as well as Nintendo Switch. The game is being developed by award-winning Malaysian studio Kaigan Games, renowned for pushing the boundaries of storytelling within mobile.

The game will see players uncover and decipher the mystery of a ‘found phone’, unravelling a sinister series of events taking place at Wester Drumlins, the iconic ‘uninhabited’ home featured in the legendary Doctor Who episode Blink. Someone is missing and a menacing new nemesis has emerged. Players will work with Petronella Osgood and other classic characters as they get steadily closer to the truth.

There is only one rule: don't turn your back, don't look away and don't blink!

Ian Hambleton, CEO of Maze Theory said:

“With our partners at BBC Studios, we are expanding the Doctor Who universe through a ground-breaking trilogy of experiences, now delivered across multiple devices and platforms. The uniting of The Thirteenth Doctor and The Tenth in Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality is set to be an epic moment in a game that completely re-imagines last year’s VR experience. 

While The Lonely Assassins tells a brand new story exploring the legend of one of the most iconic episodes ever. As part of Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious, we have also delivered an amazing fan-centric update to the VR game Doctor Who: The Edge of Time. These launches reaffirm the studio’s commitment to take players on exciting and unexpected narrative journeys.”

Kevin Jorge, Senior Producer – Games & Interactive, BBC Studios said:

“The Edge of Reality and The Lonely Assassins bring Doctor Who to life on console and mobile in a new and thrilling way. From saving the universe with the Thirteenth and Tenth Doctors, to bringing back the Weeping Angels, it’s going to be an exciting year and we can’t wait to reveal more!”

Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam in Spring 2021. Stay tuned for more information on next-gen console support!

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins will launch on iOS, Android & Nintendo Switch in Spring 2021.

[Source: Maze Theory]

8 October 2020

As mentioned last month, Cyberon, the first novelization of a BBV property, which was due for release this Autumn, is now available!

The book, like the film, sees psychologist Lauren Anderson become witness to a disturbing drug trial on several mental patients and sufferers of dementia, in an effort to reconstitute their failing health. As she begins to uncover dark secrets, and the drug known as Cyberon starts showing hallucinogenic effects on nearly all the patients, will Lauren make it out of this horrific experiment alive?

“We’ve made contact with something better than us. They are stronger, they don’t die. They’ll cast off their human bodies and spread to the stars, nothing will stop them.”

Cyberon is the new miracle drug, boasted to cure the untreatable. When Dr. Lauren Anderson agrees to Thomas Mordley testing the drug on her brain damaged patients she expects little benefit.

Doctor Anderson is wrong.

Cyberon is different. Mordley knows it’s a wonder drug, and it’s going to revolutionise medicine. He thinks it may even revolutionise the world. But neither of them realise Cyberon has its own plans. Even if they did, could they do anything to stop it?

Also featuring three additional tales of silver terror from James Hornby, James Wylder, and Tyche McPhee Letts.

More information can be found at arcbeatlepress.com.

+ BUY the Paperback version of Cyberon on Amazon.co.uk.
+ BUY the E-book version of Cyberon on Amazon.co.uk.  

[Source: James Hornby]

7 October 2020

Publisher: Grimprint Publishing

Written By: S.B. Norton

RRP: £12.00 / $15.00 (Paperback) | £2.83 / $3.49 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 7th October 2020

By day, Hope Kelley is a bespectacled, dorky, adolescent girl, but by night she enters the dream world of Sombre and becomes Halliday Knight; a kick-ass 'Gatherer' who battles the violent incumbents of this nightmare world. This Clark Kent / Superman type duality works wonderfully in S.B. Norton's spirited yet macabre story.

Just three pages in, you realise this isn't your average fantasy, as horror very much plays a (rather exciting) part in this Gaiman-esque tale. In fact, the horror goes about as far as you may be comfortable with, and just dips its toe on the other side, at times - something that makes you feel uncomfortable in a surprisingly welcoming way.

The many journeys Halliday goes on almost makes us reminisce the Fighting Fantasy books of our youth, with such gruesome details in the creatures (and their inevitable demise). You can almost imagine John Blanche's artwork being accompanied with Norton's monstrous descriptions.

"The devil-imp was a hideous cross of Neanderthal baby-human and shaven mangy street dog. Claw-like hands scratched at the dirt. A wasted, bony body and leathery, oily skin. Prowling on all fours it coughed and spat more blood."

Norton, S.B.. Sombre (p. 5). Grimprint Publishing. Kindle Edition. 

Hope / Halliday is joined by a cast of incredibly likeable, diverse characters who lift off the page; both good and evil. Dave is probably our favourite - an almost foil, to Halliday. 

We mentioned the Fantasy and Horror genres, but one other that fits so perfectly in this world is that of Steampunk. In fact, it's a genre that - quite literally - sits at the beating heart of Sombre. Take Halliday's Machanihorse, for example:

“A mechanical horse,” Dave pondered scratching his stubbly chin. “Does she ever breakdown? What does she eat?” “A Machanihorse, Dave,” Halliday corrected him as she stirred the balance of her drink with a straw, she nodded, “And not a lot, really. Pecks the grasses, drinks from The River occasionally. She is quite chock full of her mechanisms, you know. She needs a tweak from The Menders here and there.”

Norton, S.B.. Sombre (pp. 28-29). Grimprint Publishing. Kindle Edition. 

This is most definitely a fast-paced story that will have you putting off your daily duties, just to get a little further. Rather aptly, you almost feel like Hope; trading your mundane life to pick up the book and enter a vividly more exciting one.

Without spoiling things too much, it's safe to say that a sequel is coming in 2021 and we're rather excited (if a little scared) to re-enter this wonderful world that S.B. Norton has created.

+  The Beauty In Darkness is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @SBNorton1 on Twitter.

6 October 2020

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

2.13: Exit Wounds

So here we go, we have reached the finale of series 2 and oh boy, this one will make you cry.

 

Chris Chibnall has really shone with the writing in this episode as the Torchwood team finally face their biggest adversary, and it’s not Captain John.

 

We start the episode with an end of the world/end of Cardiff style threat as loads of Weevils escape the sewers to attack the police station causing chaos across Cardiff, but what for? Amongst the commotion, John Hart kidnaps Jack and takes him back to Cardiff 27AD. In a shocking little twist, it turns out that John himself is under the control of Jack’s missing brother Gray, who has vowed to seek revenge against Jack after he let go of his brother’s hand as they were escaping an alien invasion. In a horrific turn of events, Jack is buried alive to suffer the equivalent fate that Gray faces himself, always on the verge of death. A slight criticism is when Torchwood finally find Jack again in 1901; he seems remarkably calm about the whole situation and going back to sleep for another 100 years. The whole issue about being buried alive seems like a whole story in itself without the sibling rivalry involved.

 

This episode shows the true skill and determination of the Torchwood team, as Gwen immediately takes command of the situation as Jack is taken away. Her police officer duties really display themselves, as she orders everyone to do their job the best way possible. However it’s also touching to see her vulnerable side, as the whole situation becomes overwhelming and she seeks Rhys for that little bit of security as he always has done. The scenes with Tosh and Ianto are precious, as it’s nice to seem them working together to take down the so called ghosts in the Cardiff server room, which turned out to be people dressed up. 

 

The whole situation seems to be clearing up quite nicely, as the Torchwood team take down the Weevils and try to keep a nuclear power station under control (after a huge explosion rips through Cardiff). Torchwood never fails in slowing down the pace in its 50 minute time slot. However, this wouldn’t be a good old fashioned episode without something going horribly wrong and this is when we’re faced with Tosh getting shot by Gray.

 

The whole episode revolves around the death of Tosh and Owen. Tosh whilst not telling Owen that she is also dying, tries to save his life from being obliterated by radiation. This is why Tosh is such an incredible, bold and down right legendary character. She’s stood by all of her team, even when they’ve treated her like the outsider and she followed her duty to her very last breath. The scene between Owen and Tosh as they both die, is beautifully written by Chris Chinball, as they reminisce about the times they should have taken the opportunity with life. It really gives a true display of their relationship with one another and actually shows that Owen really does care about life. Tosh dying in the arms of Jack, just proves how much Jack wanted to take care of Tosh even after her problems with UNIT, she was family and he wanted to protect her, but Torchwood is just too dangerous.

 

The finale scene of Jack, Gwen and Ianto watching the video of Tosh really gave her character the closure she deserved. It’s a different perspective watching how the audience would have felt during the time, not knowing if the series was going to carry on etc. Torchwood has its' happy and its’ sad times and in a weird sci-fi sense, really reflects the world we’re living in right now. 

 

Finishing this series, with everything that has happened and developed with everyone, what it really comes down to is Tosh. And you know what…


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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

[Source:
DWO]

23 September 2020

Following on from the summer’s B&M release, Character Options is delighted to announce a brand new wave of Doctor Who action figure sets for Autumn 2020. The new collection will be available in the UK on shelf in B&M Stores from early October. Sales in the US will begin mid-October via The Official North America Doctor Who Store, and Amazon.

This exciting launch will introduce six brand new Action Figure Sets - an all new look for the Friends of the Thirteenth Doctor set, a new Companions of the Third and Fourth Doctors set, a very special U.N.I.T set, plus a Fifth Doctor & TARDIS set. Rounding up the release will be two more History of the Daleks Sets which chart their chronological TV appearances.

Each and every set of this detailed series will include highly detailed 5.5 inch scale figures featuring multiple points of articulation and come presented in the now well established ‘classic’ Doctor Who packaging.

The sets in detail

The Companions of the Third & Fourth Doctor set features new figures of Sarah and Romana 1 and 2 and spans the dates April 1974 to December 1979. This set includes Sarah Jane Smith in her outfit from 1974’s ‘Monster of Peladon’ story, Romana 1 in her outfit from December 1978’s ‘The Power of Kroll’ story and Romana 2 in her red outfit from the story ‘The Horns of Nimon’.

Staying with the ‘companion’ theme, is the Friends of the Thirteenth Doctor set with updated figures of companions Yasmin (Yaz) Khan, Graham O'Brien and Ryan Sinclair. These, most recent companions all feature in a brand new set of outfits inspired by their onscreen adventures.

For many collectors, the arrival of the 1971 U.N.I.T Claws of Axos Set can’t be bettered but with the addition of the 1975 U.N.I.T Terror of the Zygons Set, Character Options has added what is possibly the most anticipated and eagerly awaited variant of the Fourth Doctor to the mix; decked out in his fetching tartan scarf and Tamm ‘O’ Shanter hat. The set is completed by the addition of Sergeant John Benton, this time in camouflage fatigues and an additional U.N.I.T trooper, both with Sterling SMG machine guns as seen in the timeless 1975 story battling the shape shifting Zygons.

Next up is the updated release of the Fifth Doctor and TARDIS Set featuring detailing from February 1982’s ‘The Visitation’. The set comprises a crisp moulding of the Fifth Doctor with his floppy hat, while the TARDIS comes in a pristine blue livery.

Finally, Character Options is to release the next two History of the Daleks Sets.

“The Daleks’ Collector Set Number 3 comprises of a Twin Dalek Set and features the Daleks as seen fully in in 1965’s ‘The Chase’. This set features one of the ‘guest’ Daleks brought in from the Doctor Who and the Daleks film which appear in the Dalek Control room sequences of Episode 3 and one of the Standard silver drone Daleks.

Additionally, “The Daleks’ Collector Set Number 4 features two Daleks as seen in 'The Dalek's Master Plan' from 1966. This set features the attractive Black Dalek with Grey shoulders, a silver neck bin and silver solar struts alongside one of the Silver Drones seen in the jungle sequences clearing foliage with a flame

Al Dewar, Character Options’ Creative Director, said:

“This is another first for the Doctor Who line and good news for the fans in what has been a difficult year. We are delighted therefore to announce this full second wave of figures being released which has comes in addition to our recent Internet exclusive.

We were determined to give the fans something exciting and again hopefully we have genuinely surprised them with the new additions that have been coupled with some of our previous released figures. The inclusion of a new Fourth Doctor, Sarah and Romana 1 will hopefully surprise everyone in what is an astounding number of new figures this year and hopefully we will continue to exceed the expectations of fans and collectors alike.”

+  All sets will be available from B&M Stores from 5th October. RRP will be around £19.99 each.

[Source: Character Options]

22 September 2020

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Dan Abnett & Guy Adams

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: August 2020

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


Thin Time by Dan Abnett

"Hallowe’en, 1892. Celebrated novelist Charles Crookshap claims to have been receiving time communiqués, promising secrets that could change the world forever. But when the TARDIS interrupts the household’s evening, the Doctor realises he isn’t the only alien interloper in London."

Madquake by Guy Adams

"Abandoned on the planet Callanna, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc take advantage of its therapeutic atmosphere to come to terms with recent events; but others seek to take advantage too. The Slitheen are on their way – and they’re ready to sell this world to the highest bidder!"

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

Thin Time
By Dan Abnett

After last month’s 4x4 outing, this month we get one of Big Finish’s occasional dips into shorter stories. Comprising two, two-part tales, we pick up where Conversion (and presumably all of Time Apart) left off with Thin Time by Dan Abnett. It’s been a long time since Abnett was in the fold and on the strength of some of this play, I hope he’s back again before too long.

The Doctor lands in London on Hallowe’en, but much to his surprise he’s been expected. Pretty soon, the household in which he’s arrived is in trouble with a terrible something from outside, which is using visions and visages to tempt people. It’s a ghost story, in some ways, but one told with real flair and tension. Peter Davison sounds energised by the script and he’s supported by a very good supporting cast.

Sadly, it’s not perfect. The opening is fairly clunky with its exposition and scene setting, and the resolution is less drama and more the Doctor explaining what is going on to an attentive audience, which is never especially satisfying. You just wonder why the monster hasn’t eaten someone mid-sentence and instead just stands there patiently.

And then we’ve the final scene where (spoilers) the Fifth Doctor meets up with the Eleventh Doctor. Jacob Dudman is often celebrated in fan circles for his pitch-perfect impressions, but I’ll freely confess that it took me a good 30 seconds to realise it was even meant to be the Eleventh Doctor here. It’s not his finest hour by any stretch, but then again it’s a big ask for him to do an impression for so long and try to sustain it. Much like the Chronicles box sets he’s narrated, it doesn’t land.

Neither does the chronology of it all still. I mentioned before that I just don’t buy the Fifth Doctor swanning off to mope; the idea of him abandoning his companions fails to ring true at all: heck, The Caves of Androzani is about a Doctor who won’t ever do such a thing! Frustratingly, the talk here of the Doctor not wanting to endanger his companions does have a potential spot in established TV continuity which would fit far better: after Tegan has left, disgusted by the violence she has seen. You can buy the Doctor needing time to reflect after that, but not so here. I’m retreading old ground though. Overall, Thin Time isn’t perfect but it has moments that are achingly close.

Madquake
By Guy Adams

And then we have Madquake, a play that in part tackles PTSD and mental illness. But they called it Madquake. Ironic jibe or bad taste? You decide.

The approach to these topics doesn’t feel great at times. The relationship between a therapist and her patient is unlike any I’ve come across (full disclosure, I’ve done therapy many times now) and smells less of authenticity and more of someone wanting to have an excuse to have their characters talk a lot. Dialogue is largely less natural and more ‘we need a bit of exposition or character development here’.

This slightly sub-par feel runs through the script overall, sadly. A few scenes in, we have Marc tell us he’s not sure he’ll ever feel again. But he does it while panicking, before getting angry and then crying. It’s not exactly consistent, though later he clarifies that he fears he will never be happy again. The Cybermen seem to have left him with the ability to soliloquise at length about how bad his life is now, in tones that would make college-level amateur dramatic groups take a second pass at the scripts, but also, handily, they’ve also left him with the ability to detect drama: something bad is about to happen, he intones funerally at one point, a handy spidey-sense to have when you’re part of the TARDIS crew.

It’s frustrating as there are a couple of genuinely brilliant moments: Tegan worrying that all she is is anger, and what will happen if she’s robbed of that is heartbreaking, and Nyssa having a backbone and standing up for herself against Tegan is properly triumphant. I just wish the Guy Adams who wrote those moments was the same Guy Adams who wrote the rest.

As for the Slitheen? Well, they're definitely here. Their appearance would have been a genuine surprise had Big Finish not announced their presence beforehand, and it's a shame that didn't come to pass. I've not much else to say about them though, beyond that their defeat is pretty awful. Riffing on the "go to your room!" cliffhanger resolution of The Doctor Dances, this has neither its wit nor its logic or context.

It's funny. For all I didn't like Madquake all that much, what it represents fascinates me. Not too long ago, the mere idea of mixing New Series monsters with Classic Series Doctors was enough to warrant a fanfare and two box sets.  Contrast also the celebration for the first River Song box set, and how the latest series was announced in a paragraph at the bottom of an entirely unrelated piece of news from Big Finish in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine.

I'm not sure what it represents. Complacency and lack of respect for the material? Indication that repetition means things are less special? Or realisation that despite the bells and whistles, this is all one and the same silly old series (whether we like it or not, to quote the series itself)? Maybe the answer lies somewhere in-between.

As for this arc, one suspects that it'll be some time before we have any answers thanks to the pandemic. We end here though with a conclusion to the arc waiting in the wings. I'm sure many are enjoying it, but I'll be glad to see it gone. But I'm interested all the same in seeing what happens next. Perhaps I'm not as burnt out as I suspected.


+ Thin Time / Madquake is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


22 September 2020

Penguin Random House have been in touch with details of an exciting new festive Doctor Who book; The Wintertime Paradox by Dave Rudden.

The incredible stories of Doctor Who Christmases past, present and future...

Did you know Davros and the Doctor met for three Christmases, on different planets, across time and space? Have you heard the one about the time the Plasmavores came to pay a festive visit?

This thrilling anthology presents a fantastic collection of adventures through time and space, featuring the best- loved characters and places from the Doctor Who world. The perfect stories for the bleakest - and sometimes brightest - time of the year, these festive, thrilling and often moving tales make the ideal gift for Doctor Who fans and young sci-fi lovers alike.

Dave Rudden is a former actor, teacher and time-displaced Viking currently living in Dublin. He is the author of the award-winning Knights of the Borrowed Dark trilogy, and enjoys cats, adventure and being cruel to fictional children. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Dave is also author of Twelve Angels Weeping.

+  The Wintertime Paradox is released on 15th October 2020, priced £12.99.
+  PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk.
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who Book releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: Penguin Random House]

21 September 2020

DWO have just added our unboxing and review video for the brand new, Character Options' The Jungles Of Mechanus set.

Please also welcome Matt Chambers to the DWO team as YouTube channel manager and chief reviewer. You can watch the review in the player, below:

+  SUBSCRIBE to the @DrWhoOnline YouTube channel!
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!
+  Follow @WalsallMatt on Twitter

[Source: DWO]

21 September 2020

Hot on the heels of the latest series of Doctor Who, every year fans would travel the length and breadth of the country to visit the TARDIS and defy the Daleks at the Blackpool Doctor Who Exhibition - no other television show had its own permanent exhibition, and this was a chance to get up close and personal!

Blackpool Remembered charts the history of the exhibition, bringing together special memories, stories and photographs from the fans who visited it, as well as documenting the ever-changing exhibits which, like the series itself, regenerated every year to bring new thrills and excitement. Alongside this, are detailed recollections from some of the people who made it happen. 

Travel back in time through a feast of nostalgia, with many previously unseen photographs, exclusive interviews and illustrations. Contributors include Steve Cambden, Julie Jones, Bob Richardson and Mike Tucker

Although there have since been many Doctor Who exhibitions, Blackpool was unlike any other and remains fondly remembered by generations of fans. This is their story.

Watch the trailer for the book in the player, below:

+  The ebook can be downloaded from https://blackpoolremembered7485.wordpress.com/

[Source: Philip Brennan]


21 September 2020

Radio Times have announced the results of a recent poll for Doctor Who fans to cast their votes for their favourite Doctor.

With nearly 50,000 votes, David Tennant's 10th Doctor narrowly beat Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor, with both snagging 21% of the votes. Tennant got 10,518 votes and Whittaker got 10,423 - a difference of just 95 votes!

Whilst we're not particularly big fans of pitting Doctors against each other in polls (they're all fantastic, right?), it was rather exciting to see Jodie and David's Doctor's rank so highly. Following this news, the Daily Mirror newspaper got in touch with DWO to ask why we thought David's Doctor was such a fan favourite, and below was our response:

"David's popularity is thanks to his role in making the franchise a bigger success in the US. David's Doctor was the first that really made it internationally. He also helped even out the fan base. It used to be about 70-80% male back in the day [when DWO first started out], and now it's pretty much 50/50. Jodie helped that as well, so I'm pleased she's so high up on the list.

For many, Tom Baker is the top one. It's interesting to see he isn't in the top three. David Tennant pipped him to the post. His stories are really well written as well, under Russell T. Davies". 

A full breakdown of the votes can be viewed below:

1) David Tennant 10518 / 21%
2) Jodie Whittaker 10423 / 21%
3) Peter Capaldi 8897 / 18%
4) Matt Smith 7637 / 16%
5) Tom Baker 3977 / 8%
6) William Hartnell 1983 / 4%
7) Paul McGann 1427 / 3%
8) Christopher Eccleston 1144 / 2%
9) Jon Pertwee 1038 / 2%
10) Patrick Troughton 915 / 2%
11) Sylvester McCoy 462 / 1%
12) Colin Baker 359 / 1%
13) Peter Davison 351 / 1% 

[Source: Radio Times]


21 September 2020

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Leah Reise

RRP: £8.33 / $11.00 (Paperback) | £3.20 / $3.99 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 21st September 2020

This time around we're dipping back into the world of vampires in Leah Reise's 'The Beauty In Darkness: A Vampire Story'; a refreshing take on the supernatural genre.

Edrea, our central character, is dead. That is, she has just died - on her 29th Birthday of all days. It gets worse though, as Edrea has been turned into a Vampire and she's not keen on this new "life". With an opportunity to end her existence once and for all, she's about to go through with it until she hears the scream of a woman in trouble. Suddenly, Edrea is given fresh new purpose and, rather fortunately for us, (spoiler alert) doesn't go through with her initial plan.

This story is also about Edrea's sister, Rena; someone who only knows her sister is missing - and not the grave truth about what actually happened to her and what she has become. The story flip-flops between each sister's perspective, but rather unusually we get a third-person perspective for Rena as opposed to Edrea's first-person. Not a critique - it still works and I guess it focuses us more on Edrea.

I think what makes this book so engaging is the inner turmoil that Edrea is constantly going through. She is fighting against her new instincts and it wonderfully emboldens just how strong she is in doing so. You want a strong, female character here - you got it! I also love her self-titled 'dark heroine' persona that she eventually comes to accept. Taking the supernatural out of it, there are so many parallels to everyday struggles we as humans face, and it's so nice, regardless of gender, to see them reflected in Edrea's own struggles.

At its heart, this is a morality tale, and one that despite the subject matter and some of the macabre tone, will actually give you hope and comfort. No better can this be evidenced than by something Edrea says, herself:

"No one is ever truly alone, because we're all lonely together"

There are some great characters throughout, although some which you wish you knew a little more about and have fleshed out. Finally, I want to commend Reise for her excellent use of pacing; everything starts off with a bang before settling down to the meat of the story with a gradual build to a satisfying conclusion.

The Beauty In Darkness is an easy read, to the point that (at the risk of sounding cliche) you don't want to put it down. When you do reach the end, there's a rather lovely letter from the author with the promise of a sequel - something we are very much looking forward to reading.

+  The Beauty In Darkness is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @LeahReise on Twitter.

15 September 2020

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

2.12: Fragments

We start this episode again in true Torchwood fashion as they’re on a mission to find a mysterious message originating from an abandoned warehouse. In a twist of events, it turns out the team have been lead straight into a trap and a huge explosion happens as a bomb goes off. Buckle in for this one as all their lives flash before their very eyes.

 

The first person to have the flashback is Jack and references how he ended up becoming a part of Torchwood today. It’s still never clear how Jack managed to get back to Earth, however we see him during the victorian era getting brutally killed again and again by what turns out to be some of the earlier Torchwood agents. After experimenting with Jack and finding out he can never die, they take the opportunity of convincing him to join Torchwood, more for the sake of a stable job and money. In addition, his future is read to him and he finds out he won’t be seeing The Doctor for at least another 100 years, so by joining Torchwood, well what does he have to lose? It does throw a few paradoxes into the works, such as; what did Jack do during the war when he knew he had already encountered The Doctor and Rose? Also how did Jack not meet previous incarnations of The Doctor when UNIT were fighting the Yeti’s, Cybermen and even The Doctor being their scientific advisor? It would have been nice for some explanation as to why he had to meet The Doctor at a specific point otherwise consequences could happen. Moving on, Jack is eventually forced to take charge after his commander commits suicide after killing the entire team in 1999. It was an atrocious way to gain ranks in the team, but explains hugely why Jack is very protective over his Torchwood team now.

 

We then move onto Toshiko’s introduction to Torchwood and what a twist and turn of events takes place here. You could write an entire episode on what Tosh had to go through. Her mum is kidnapped by a criminal organisation, who force Tosh to build an alien weapon -  the sonic inducer - which is then taken down by UNIT themselves!? Tosh goes through absolute hell whilst locked up in the UNIT cells, with all of her basic human rights taken away. No wonder she has such a close bond to Torchwood as a company, as Jack comes in to save the day, with the caveat that she has to use her skills to benefit the Torchwood team. It again does leave a huge question as to why Tosh can’t see her mum after all of this? She had been retconed to save her sanity, so why can’t Tosh keep Torchwood secret just as Gwen did with Rhys?

 

Next, we have Ianto Jones. We all know that Ianto used to work at Torchwood in London. This was before moving to Cardiff to use the facilities to save Lisa as she was partly converted into a Cyberman. However, we get an almost comedic style approach as to how he transferred from London to Cardiff. He bumps into Jack and helps him fight a pterodactyl, brining him coffee sporadically before Jack finally gives him a job. It gives a bit of a reason as to why Ianto didn’t have a more technical role at the beginning, as the only job Jack could think of  for him was making coffee. Unfortunately the style in which it’s done, feels like it undermines the implications of why Ianto wanted to join Cardiff Torchwood, when we all know he was doing it from serious intentions.

 

We then finally get Owen’s backstory. This is the one that shocked me the most, as we find out that Owen was actually going to get married. It was a plot twist I didn’t expect to see. Unfortunately Owen’s fiancé has early onset alzheimer’s, which is heart breaking to see and explains why he was so passionate about becoming a doctor in order to help seek some kind of a cure. However in Torchwood style, it turns out that an alien being inside her head is causing the condition which inevitably kills her before Jack can get there in time. Jack tries to help Owen overcome the situation by making him think his fiancée died in a peaceful way, but the horrors were too great. Jack and Owen have a confrontation in the graveyard before Jack takes Owen under his wing like a father, and takes him away to start his new life in Torchwood. It does reveal why Owen keeps a lot of his emotions bottled up and his relationships have been far from straight forward.

 

So as we reach the end and the Torchwood team escape with minimal damage, which is a little bit unbelievable with the massive explosion that happened, they find out it’s Captain John Hart who was behind the attack. In true Chris Chibnall style, the villain has returned for the last episode to face the final fight. Overall this episode is a great insight into the Torchwood team once again and it gives a sense of impending doom, as we finally know what these characters are all about.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

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