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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.

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25 November 2020

BBC Studios continues to offer Doctor Who fans the opportunity to build their own home archive of classic content with Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 8. Starring Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning, this hotly anticipated instalment can be pre-ordered now and will be available from 23rd February 2021.

Doctor Who – The Collection: Season 8

TERROR OF THE AUTONS
THE MIND OF EVIL
THE CLAWS OF AXOS
COLONY IN SPACE
THE DAEMONS

Stranded on 20th Century Earth, the Third Doctor teams up with UNIT and new companion Jo Grant to thwart alien invasions! And that’s not all, he must also contend with the arrival of his deadliest foe – arch nemesis the Master.

Battling Autons, Axons, an alien mind parasite and a mighty Daemon, the Doctor, Jo and UNIT must defend the Earth – and its future pioneers - in five action-packed adventures.

With all episodes newly remastered, this Blu-ray box set also contains extensive and exclusive special features including:

• Behind the Sofa - New episodes with Katy Manning, Stewart Bevan, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Sacha Dhawan and Anjli Mohindra.
• In Conversation - Matthew Sweet chats to companion Katy Manning.
• A Devils Weekend - Actors Katy Manning and John Levene take a personal trip back to the picturesque village of Aldbourne, 50 years after they recorded the Doctor Who story The Daemons there.  
• The Direct Route - Doctor Who directors Michael Briant, Graeme Harper and Tim Combe take an epic road trip to all the filming locations from Season 8 as they discuss directing the show in the early 1970s.
• Terrance and Me - Lifelong Doctor Who fan, Frank Skinner sets out to meet the family, friends and colleagues of the late, much-loved writer, Terrance Dicks.
• Blu-Ray trailer - A specially shot mini-episode
• Extended Episode 1 of The Claws of Axos
• 90 minute omnibus edition of The Daemons
• Immersive 5.1 surround sound on Terror of the Autons and The Daemons
• Optional updated special effects and CSO clean-up on Terror of the Autons
• Unseen studio footage
• Rare archive treats
• Convention footage
• HD photo galleries
• Scripts, costume designs, rare BBC production files
• And lots more!

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

+ The Collection - Season 8 is released on 23rd February 2021, RRP: £61.27
+ PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk for just £44.99!



[Source: 
BBC Studios]

24 November 2020

Back in 2005, for many fans of a certain age, a long period of Doctor Who televisual drought had finally come to an end; the wilderness years were over.

Despite having so much to live up to, Christopher Eccleston's first series was a palpable hit, with Russell T. Davies having rooted the show with more story arcs, more emotion and more budget than we could have possibly dreamed of. 

There were a number of takeaway favourites from that first series; Rose and the Doctor's chemistry, the (previously mentioned) season-long story arc, "Are you my Mummy!" and good old Captain Jack Harkness, played so wonderfully by John Barrowman.

During the closing moments of Series One, poor Jack was left for dead, and it wasn't until Series Three's three-part finale that we would see him again in Doctor Who. But the minute he reappeared on that screen, you couldn't help but feel the excitement and love that this character brings to the Doctor Who universe. A big part of that is down to Barrowman's own love for the show and his character, and it effortlessly comes across on-screen.

Captain Jack would make one more cameo appearance in the Series Four finale (The End Of Time: Part Two) - and then nothing for a further eight series...

Whilst the show has evolved over the years and several Doctors have come and gone, Jack has always been at the back of our minds. Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat left us with a number of big questions and mysteries surrounding Jack, that even his own Torchwood series never got to the bottom of. What happened in those missing years? Did he really become the Face Of Boe? If so, how?

And such is the enigma of Jack; a character who has always left us wanting more. Peppered lightly, but so meaningfully in Doctor Who - a force for good who always has the Doctor's back. 

For us, Jack almost seems to be the embodiment of Doctor Who fandom; someone that is there to support the Doctor. Someone who is clearly thrilled to be in the Doctor's presence and who has been changed by the Doctor to make choices for the better. Like Jack, we all have the Doctor's back and to take the analogy to its conclusion, fandom will go on living for many years to come.

Earlier this year saw the long-awaited return of Jack in the Series 12 story Fugitive Of The Judoon. Jack had an important message for The Doctor, and left with the promise that he would see her again (although we didn't actually get to see them together in the episode). Having witnessed the joy at Jack's surprise return via fandom on Twitter, it was so clear just how much he was missed and just how much he means to fans. Jack is a touchstone to the show's return 15 years ago, and seeing him back rebuffs all those happy memories and emotions.

Last night we all got the news we were hoping for... Jack is back once more, and finally...FINALLY, he gets to meet our fantastic new Doctor. A Christmas special, no less, with Daleks and futuristic prisons and...well... at least an hour of two old friends thrown back together. 

How apt is that?! It's all of us - The Doctor, his friends, and no matter how much time goes by, we're all still here and ready for the next adventure.

+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

   

23 November 2020

One of the most iconic characters in the Whoniverse is returning for the upcoming Festive Special of Doctor Who as John Barrowman MBE puts on his famous coat once more and reprises his role as Captain Jack Harkness.

The cheeky Captain left viewers reeling in the series 12 episode, ‘Fugitive of the Judoon’, when he made a brief surprise appearance with a stark warning for Yaz, Ryan and Graham to pass on to the Doctor before disappearing.

In the upcoming special titled, ‘Revolution of the Daleks’, Captain Jack will be on hand to help ‘the fam’ as they discover a disturbing plan forming involving one of the Doctor’s most feared and dangerous enemies, the Daleks. With the Thirteenth Doctor locked away in a space prison, will Captain Jack be able to help save planet Earth?

On returning for the Festive Special, John Barrowman MBE revealed:

“Putting on Jack’s coat and setting foot back on the set of Doctor Who was just like going back home.  It’s always thrilling  to play Captain Jack. He’s a character very close to my heart who changed my life, and to know the fans love him as much as I do makes his return even sweeter. I hope everyone enjoys Jack’s Heroic adventure with Thirteen.” 

Chris Chibnall, Executive Producer, said:

“A Doctor Who Festive Special means treats galore, and there’s no bigger treat than the return of John Barrowman to Doctor Who, for an epic and emotional feature-length episode. If anyone can blast away the sheer rubbishness of 2020, it’s Captain Jack. Daleks beware!”

Matt Strevens, Executive Producer BBC Studios, added:

“After a tantalisingly brief appearance in Fugitive of the Judoon it’s a total joy and thrill to welcome back John as Captain Jack. One of the most iconic characters in Doctor Who lore, his presence ignites this Festive Special from the start.”

Revolution of the Daleks’ will air over the festive period on BBC One with more details to be revealed soon.

[Source: BBC Studios]

11 November 2020

The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way back as filming for series 13 of Doctor Who is now underway. With Jodie Whittaker once again reprising her role as the Doctor, fans can look forward to seeing her on her adventures once again as she fights the good fight across space and time. 

With safety protocols in place, the Doctor Who team are now filming under strict industry and government guidelines to ensure the safety of all cast and crew. With the added time and protocols required, the team will be completing a total of eight episodes rather than the usual eleven.

Talking about the new series, Showrunner Chris Chibnall said:

“In this strangest of years, the Doctor Who production team have worked wonders to get the show back into production. We’re thrilled to be back making the show. Given the complexity of making Doctor Who, and with new and rigorous COVID working protocols, it’s going to take us a little longer to film each episode, meaning we expect to end up with eight episodes, rather than the usual eleven. But rest assured, the ambition, humour, fun and scares you expect from Doctor Who will all still be firmly in place. For everyone around the world, this is a challenging period — but the Doctor never shirks from a challenge!”

Matt Strevens, Executive Producer BBC Studios, added:

“We are so thrilled to have unlocked the TARDIS, dusted down the sonic and be able to start filming again for the next series of Doctor Who. The amazing production team, crew and cast have worked wonders to get us shooting again in these challenging times.  It’s going to be as fun filled and action packed as ever - with plenty of surprises.” 

Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama, said:

“We are thrilled that filming series 13 of Doctor Who is now underway. The team have gone to great lengths to safely bring the TARDIS back to BBC One. We are all looking forward to seeing what adventures are in store for the Doctor but whilst we await her return, we can all look forward to the festive special.”

The Thirteenth Doctor was last seen in the dramatic series 12 finale where the fate of the Doctor was seemingly left hanging in the balance after she was locked away in an eternal prison. In the upcoming festive special, titled ‘Revolution of the Daleks’, the Doctor’s best friends Yaz (played by Mandip Gill), Ryan (played by Tosin Cole) and Graham (played by Bradley Walsh) have to pick up their lives without her. However they soon discover a disturbing plan forming involving one of the Doctor’s biggest and most feared enemies – the Daleks. How do you fight the Daleks without the Doctor? With the Doctor’s fate unknown, just what will series 13 bring?

Revolution of the Daleks will air on BBC One over the festive period. Doctor Who is a BBC Studios production.

[Source: BBC Studios]

9 November 2020

Publisher: HK Doodles

Written By: Kip Koelsch

RRP: £8.09 / $9.99 (Paperback) | £3.21 / $4.15 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 9th November 2020

Not knowing what to expect in a book is a rare treat for a reader, in a world where certain themes, plots, devices and even characters can seem like they're treading old ground or rehashing old favourites. Kip Koelsch's Piercing The Celestial Ocean, however, constantly has the reader guessing and wondering what direction it will go in.... and we LOVE it!

This is an epic story, essentially, about two universes coming together (in more ways than one). With wormholes, multiverses, time travel and AI (to name just a few popular devices), there's so much going on that you can't wait to find out what crazy turn is around the corner. That being said, at no point does the narrative become muddy or complicated; we get explanations along the way and if there does appear to be a short moment of time where you start to wonder what's happening, it's not long before Koelsch sets things on course again.

The sheer amount of work that has gone into fleshing out one of the main cultures in the story (the P'nesians) has to be commended. You really get a feel for the people and their hierarchy and it's so interesting when you blend this with the multiverse and other cultures.

Anyone who has read Koelsch's other works, particularly Wendell's Lullaby, will know that the author has a close affinity with the ocean - something that is very much present here in this book, and is rather cleverly used as a key part of the whole story. To draw a parallel to Star Trek (something that you will feel strong flavours of in this book) it had us thinking back to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - except this time, the author got it right!

Piercing The Celestial Ocean is old-school Science Fiction that seamlessly connects to modern day aspects of the genre. It seems the multiverse is very much an in thing at the moment within SciFi, but rather than feeling like it's keeping up with the trend, this books use of it feels natural and certainly not shoe-horned in.

The tagline of this book is 'The Saga Of The Cerulean Universe Begins' and begin it most definitely has! By the time you reach the end, you feel like you're only just scratching the surface of what's in store. We very much looking forward to following this saga!

+  Piercing The Celestial Ocean is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @KipAAuthor (Kip Koelsch) on Twitter.

31 October 2020

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Written By: Mark Rosendorf

RRP: £12.99 / $15.99 (Paperback) | £3.98 / $5.19 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 31st October 2020

Mark Rosendorf's The Witches Of Vegas is a fantastic new YA / Urban Fantasy with a thrilling supernatural twist. Think The Greatest Showman meets Twilight and you get the recipe for this thoroughly entertaining book.

Set against the titular backdrop of Las Vegas, the story follows Isis; a young witch getting to grips with her magical powers. Following a troubled childhood she is saved and subsequently taken in by a coven of witches who give her the family she's always wanted.

And now to the really clever bit... the Witches have a sell-out show at the Sapphire Resort in Vegas -  displaying (unbeknown to the audience) real magic. This is a genius move by the author to create a device where the Witches can hide in plain sight, whilst using their talents, and earn a tidy crust on the side.

As well as Witches we also have a rather nasty Vampire, which compliments the story wonderfully by giving us a worthy, and may we say unexpected adversary. There's also room for a little Romance in The Witches Of Vegas, and whilst we don't want to give anything away, we did enjoy the fresh way in which it unfolds in the story.

There are characters that you will simply love; outside of Isis, Sebastian, Luther, Valeria and Zack were among our favourites and were all layered and delightfully complex.

Not only does Rosendorf bring to life a rich palette of characters, but he also brings Las Vegas to life in the pages of the book. It's clear this is somewhere he has researched, walked the streets and breathed the atmosphere, and it reads very much as a character in its own right.

The conclusion was incredibly satisfying, whilst leaving you wanting for more, and you will love how everything regarding the show itself has a poignant part to play for our beloved coven.

The Witches Of Vegas is simply screaming out to be a movie series. The glamour and sparkle of Vegas juxtaposed with the magic and dark undertones of the story would convert so well on the big screen. One can only hope that Hollywood snaps up this incredibly engrossing adventure.

In a conversation with the author, we were pleased to learn that there will be a sequel, which is just as well, as we felt like we weren't done yet with Isis and her fascinating world. Expect big things from Mark Rosendorf - an author you most definitely have to have in your library!

+  The Witches Of Vegas is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @MarkRosendorf on Twitter.

30 October 2020

The team over at Arcbeatle Press have been in touch with news of another Doctor Who spinoff book title, Cwej: Down The Middle, which is now available!

Chris Cwej. Once a policeman, tasked with maintaining order through the galaxy. Once, a traveler in space and time, writing wrongs with his friends.

Now - an operative for powers far beyond humanity's comprehension. A soldier in cosmic games, trying to obey the commands of his Superiors, but facing, time and again, heartbreak and sacrifice. Far from everything and everyone he once cared about, and drifting through an infinity of wars, conspiracies and betrayals...

These are his stories - tales of unlikely allies, of doomed love affairs and of wild interventions in Earth's history. From battlefields to cozy meetings with adventuress Iris Wildthyme: a chronicle of a man split down the middle.

More information can be found at arcbeatlepress.com.

+ BUY the Paperback version of Cwej: Down The Middle on Amazon.co.uk.
+ BUY the E-book version of Cwej: Down The Middle on Amazon.co.uk.  

[Source: James Hornby]

29 October 2020

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: James Kettle, Jonathan Morris, Simon Guerrier & Dan Starkey

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: October 2020

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


Something is very wrong. The Fifth Doctor is lost in the Time War, heading for an encounter with his oldest and deadliest enemies... the Daleks!

Aimed at the Body by James Kettle

"An encounter with a notorious cricketing legend should be right up the Doctor’s street. But the unexpected appearance of an old enemy is about to send the Doctor on a quest."

Lightspeed by Jonathan Morris

"The trail has led the Doctor to a spaceship in the far future - where he finds himself trapped in the middle of a terrifying revenge plot."

The Bookshop at the End of the World by Simon Guerrier

"It’s very easy to forget yourself and get lost in a bookshop. But in some bookshops more than most..."

Interlude by Dan Starkey

"The play’s the thing! Or is it? The Doctor is roped into a theatrical spectacular - but who is he really performing to?"

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

I’m going to level with you: when I first heard the idea behind this story, I groaned a little. “Classic Doctor + the Time War” sounded like the same tired sandbox thinking that has plagued Doctor Who for a long time now on audio, in print, in comics, and thanks to the Series 12 finale, on screen as well. There was a time when a surprise Kroton in a book or a shock Nimon in a play really were surprising and shocking, whereas nowadays it feels all-too-predictable and, bizarrely, dull: less really is more.

How pleased I was, then, when Shadow of the Daleks 1 turned out to be the best Main Range play Big Finish has released for years now.

It starts off on an odd note, mind. Aimed at the Body was released as a freebie to entice listeners in, but I’m not sure half an hour of walking and vague talk about cricketing etiquette was the best way to go. It’s by no means a bad episode, and author James Kettle has proven himself tenfold with the phenomenal Barrister to the Stars earlier this year in the seventh series of The Diary of River Song, but really not all that much happens. It sets up a few threads for later on and all of the cast are great (more on them later) but it’s a bit of a strange opener.

Things really step up a gear with Lightspeed by Jonathan Morris, which combines intrigue, humour and thrills with a practised ease. A hijacked ship, a countdown, and a cheeky but intelligent conclusion? Count me in. It’s here that you really notice just how brilliant the cast are, too. I want to draw special attention to Dervia Kirwan (who was also exceptional in the recent Class box sets, both of which are well worth your time: more Blair Mowat scripts please?) and Anjli Mohindra, who is continually proving herself to be a versatile actor deserving of great acclaim. But it feels remiss of me to then not note how good Glen McCready and Jamie Parker are, too, not to mention Peter Davison and Nicholas Briggs. Everyone is at the very top of their game here.

This is evident in Simon Guerrier’s The Bookshop at the End of the World. It leans heavily on the amnesia gimmick (which is such a Doctor Who cliché now that when the recent Eighth Doctor Time War series used it twice across its four box sets, I hardly batted an eyelid) but uses poetry, effective performances, atmospheric sound design and well-paced writing to generate tension and heartache that has stayed with me in the days since I listened to it. Would that all stories were this good.  Would that all bookshops were this cosy, too.

We wrap things up with Interlude, Dan Starkey’s best script yet. Much like Mohindra, Starkey has proven himself to be a real gem who is flourishing under Big Finish’s eye (not that either of them wilted on screen). The play-within-a-play trope may be familiar but again, the script gets around this by letting the actors have a lot of fun, with some genuinely clever twists in there and winning performances by everyone.

I finished this release excited for what comes next, and that has not happened for a long, long time. The trailer for the next release is sadly the usual mix of noise and unrelated scenes which Big Finish often put out (do they really entice anyone?) but the promise shown here in this release has whet my appetite.

What an impressive finished result this is. Shadow of the Daleks 1 is a fantastic showcase for Big Finish in Lockdown. A limited cast used in an inventive way, solid sound design, and lots of proper, weighty drama. Sure, you can nitpick if you like: Mohindra’s microphone isn’t quite as good as everyone else’s, and there is a line in Aimed at the Body where the Doctor remarks upon the design of the Daleks which sticks out like a sore thumb. Is it just very bad sound mixing to make that line scream out at you as being dropped in later, or perhaps it’s that the Time War angle was only hit upon later on? Hard to tell. These are small niggles though.

Speaking of smalls things, let’s quickly mention the Daleks. Though present, they hardly feature: shadows indeed and all the better for it. The Time War does not really rear its head either, and again this is to the story’s success.  Perhaps it’ll fall apart a little and fully dive into this in the second half, but I hope not, or if it does embrace this angle, I hope it doesn’t falter. Prove me wrong again, just as you’ve proven me wrong here.

Honestly, this is the most energised I’ve been with a release for ages now. How wonderful to have this treat, just as the range nears its end. I cannot recommend it enough.


+ Shadow Of The Daleks 1 is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


28 October 2020

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Gemma Arrowsmith & Katharine Armitage

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: September 2020

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


The Flying Dutchman by Gemma Arrowsmith

"The Doctor, Ace and Hex find themselves on a seemingly deserted boat in the middle of the ocean. Eventually locating the crew, they discover that the men have been in hiding to avoid the attack of the legendary ghost ship The Flying Dutchman that they’ve recently glimpsed approaching through the fog. But ghosts don’t exist. Do they?"

Displaced by Katharine Armitage

"The Doctor, Ace and Hex arrive inside a mystery. An ordinary house where something extraordinary is happening. There are no occupants, the doors are sealed, and someone - or something - is attempting to communicate. And when the TARDIS locks them out, Ace and Hex suspect the Doctor of his usual tricks.

But the truth is even more disturbing..."

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

Perhaps more than anything else, this sudden showing of shorter plays (one 4x4 release and four two-parters in a row, with another two 4x4 releases up next) shows off the schedule disruption which Big Finish have endured thanks to Coronavirus. It's an unexpected upheaval just before the main range is completely changed, but not necessarily a bad one as these shorter, punchier plays sometimes yield good results. What about here though? 

The Flying Dutchman
By Gemma Arrowsmith

We kick things off with The Flying Dutchman, the main range debut for Gemma Arrowsmith whose play for The Paternoster Gang, Spring-Heeled Jack, impressed me. The Doctor, Ace and Hex land on a seemingly abandoned ship but soon discover its crew in hiding, avoiding a ghostly apparition: the Flying Dutchman has been sighted and no-one is safe… or are they?

First up, the regular cast. There's a lovely bit near the start where the Doctor is guessing the century they are in. Hex points out that he only knows because the date is printed elsewhere and the Doctor shuffles off, a bit embarrassed, as Ace tells Hex not to be a killjoy and that the Doctor just enjoys showing off. It's a really nice piece of character work that showcases the regulars well, with McCoy in particular being in good form.

Philip Olivier notes in the extras that Hex doesn't do all that much in this play, and that's certainly true. He's made out to be seasick and you don't get too much else from him, though Olivier puts in a game performance as ever.

This play is really Ace's, with her forming a bond with a cabin boy with a secret (a secret you'll guess fairly quickly, to be honest). It's here that things fall apart though, as you soon discover that this is less an episode of Doctor Who and more an episode of Scooby-Doo, complete with sailors doing their best "Arrrrgh me hearties!", ghosts that are just men with special powder on them, and some extremely simplistic "girls are great!" vibes: a very good message to be made, but made here with little subtlety, if any.

It's all a bit too twee in the end. By the time we had Archie able to hold their own in a sword fight against old sailors despite only being taught swordfighting a few minutes ago, I think I'd given up looking for depth.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind. Who is good at dipping into different genres and styles, and if young children's comic book yarn is what was sought, this definitely ticks some of those boxes. I did rather like Ace and Hex desperately looking for an alien or ghostly cause of everything occurring, as if they were aware they're not in a usual Doctor Who adventure and they're trying to rationalise things. Ace seemingly knowing what the Flying Dutchman is one moment and not in the next just to let the Doctor explain it to the audience however smacks of sloppiness.

This is a hard one to grade. On the one hand, it does what it sets out to do very well, so it's unfair really to criticise it for that. On the other, I think its goal has been achieved better elsewhere at times. If you like the simple approach, add another number to the score below. If you don't, then there is at least Sylvester McCoy on top form, rather nice cover art for the release, and the sense that the guest cast, especially Nigel Fairs, are having a lot of fun.

Displaced
By Katharine Armitage

The second and final play here marks the Big Finish debut of Katharine Armitage. On the evidence here, she will surely be back before too long.

The Doctor, Ace and Hex land in an abandoned house which seems to be trapping its occupants inside. With only an automated home help along the lines of Siri and Alexa to aid them, they most solve the mystery of what happened to the family here: something alien? Something human? A bit of both?

Armitage has a really good grasp on all the regulars, writing Hex especially well and using his background as a nurse from 2020, and his relationship with Ace, to full effect, even if a bit with a badge near the start smells strongly of "this will be a plot point in the future", which it is.

Ace and Hex are both a bit fed up with the Doctor and challenge him, something the extras tries to paint as unusual but which feels pretty par for the course nowadays from Big Finish and Who in general. However, it works well here and is used for genuinely sound plot reasons instead of feeling like the done thing. There is a sense of true, solid character and plot work here that sometimes rings hollow elsewhere. Or to put it more simply, Armitage is a better writer than some in the Doctor Who fold.

The ending is grounded and somewhere between downbeat and refreshingly true. I felt perhaps the exposition made it falter a little and run out of steam, but I'd take that over something rushed or out of the blue. The Doctor awkwardly trying to convey how much he values his companions is rather sweet, as is the awkwardness of Hex and Ace avoiding their feelings for one another.

Displaced may not be perfect but it's a cut above a lot of Big Finish’s latter day output and I'm hoping Armitage comes back before too long. Until then, this play is well worth your time.


+ The Flying Dutchman / Displaced is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


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.

+  Sombre is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @SBNorton1 on Twitter.

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