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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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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.  

20 August 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Giorgio Garofalo

RRP: £12.66 / $17.50 (Paperback) | £2.25 / $3.09 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Nathan Jones

Giorgio Garofalo’s Korian: The Manian’s Spear - the first book in his Korian Epic Fantasy Adventure Series - is nothing short of a truly epic fantasy tale. 

An evil force approaches, casting darkness over the humans and ruids of Endura, thereby bringing an end to centuries of peace and stability. Although he remains entrapped in solitude, Adam Hades still wields considerable power. Through his envoy, Aaron, a hulking, deadly creature with burning eyes, and his army of stragoy (for want of a better word, zombies) and skines, Hades once again intends to take control of the planet Endura, and he seems intent on burning everything to the ground on his journey towards dominance.

In the face of such evil, humans and ruids are forced to retreat and hide into remote and isolated communities, their only real hope for salvation the legendary Azura, a saviour foretold to restore balance to the world. Otherwise, all will be lost, as Hades’ armies are sure to overwhelm the remaining pockets of humans and ruids eventually.

So, who might this Azura be? Three young boys named Doric, Will, and Korian are the most likely candidates. We follow these three boys on their decades-long, challenging, often tortuous journeys to adulthood. One of them, we hope, will pass through the mystical portal constructed by Crogan, a magical warrior or “manian”, to retrieve the legendary manian’s spear. 

Korian: The Mainan’s Spear is truly Homeric in its scope. Garofalo clearly worked hard to build a rich, convincing environment, full of detail, history, and complex, distinct characters. Readers are taken on a brief journey through time, from the days of Endura’s greatest leader, Zoren Ro (who defeated Adam Hades the first time), to “modern times” and even hints towards technology and civilised planets beyond “medieval” Endura. The story will keep you on your feet with unexpected plot twists, and some very dark, emotional moments sure to keep you invested in the complex story.

This is not just another standard, formulaic fantasy tale but an intense, intelligent, quite individual saga that sets the scene for a thrilling series. It’s a real page-turner, full of heartless villains, legendary battles, inventive flora and fauna, impressive scenery, and heroes that must undergo challenges so cruel and arduous they will make you wince in sympathy. Garofalo’s fluid, descriptive writing, entertaining from the first to last page, will transport you to a world you’ll swear you’ve walked on yourself.  

+  Korian: The Manian's Spear is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @GiorgioGarofa17 (Giorgio Garofalo) on Twitter.
+  Follow @NathanJonesBook (Nathan Jones) on Twitter

18 August 2021

Our friends over at Chop Shop Store have been in touch with details of their new Kickstarter featuring Series 3 of their Robotic Spacecraft poster designs.

Due to huge popularity the project has already reached the funding goal, but there are still some great perks to be had by helping them to fund the collection further.

The new collection includes posters for Pioneer and an updated poster for Mars Science. Backers can also help choose the designs for posters 11 and 12.

When Chop Shop Store started their first series eight years ago… SpaceX was just starting out having won their first of several large contracts; and the European Space Agency was about to release its Philae lander to become the first mission to make a soft landing on a comet. Since that time SpaceX is now the clear industry leader; several nations have joined the interplanetary exploration club; and NASA expects the first manned moon missions since Apollo to begin in just three short years.

For anyone unfamiliar with the earlier campaigns, Series 1 successfully funded three mission posters for Voyager, Cassini, and Curiosity. The campaign went so well that they also funded another three posters as stretch goals for Sputnik, Mars Exploration Rovers, and LightSail for The Planetary Society. A year later they funded Series 2 and produced three more posters for New Horizons, Rosetta, and Galileo. Later they also funded their Giant Leaps in Space Series which featured the crewed missions Apollo 11, ISS, and Vostok 1.

As of today, a few missions are sold out in the screen printed variation. These include; Voyager, Cassini, Curiosity, and LightSail (not shown). If funded, this campaign will produce new copies of Voyager, and will replace Curiosity with Mars Science. Cassini will be reprinted at the stretch goal of 12K. 

All missions will always be available as giclée prints in various sizes.

+ SUPPORT Chop Shop Store's Kickstarter Campaign!
CHECK OUT the Chop Shop Store website!
+ FOLLOW @ChopShopStore on Twitter!

[Source: Chop Shop Store]

5 August 2021

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Roy Gill, John Dorney & Robert Valentine

RRP: £24.99 (CD) / £19.99 (Download)

Release Date: July 2021

Reviewed by: Robert Emlyn Slater for Doctor Who Online


"These tales take the Tenth Doctor, Anya Kingdom and Mark Seven deeper into family histories, aboard the strangest of space stations and to a truth that might tear them apart...

2.1 Cycle of Destruction by Roy Gill

After Mark starts behaving oddly, the Doctor and Anya find themselves on a strange planet with their friend missing. Searching for him they find their way to an isolated research base. The corridors show signs of animal incursions and the scientists are behaving strangely. But a big surprise is waiting for them.

Because this is where Mark Seven came from. They’re about to find out who he is. But is that information too dangerous to know?

2.2 The Trojan Dalek by John Dorney

The Doctor, Mark and Anya head for an SSS space station searching for the missing temporal scientist, Arborecc. But the officer in charge denies all knowledge of his presence and demands their departure.

Unwilling to leave so easily, the group split up to investigate... and uncover a heinous plot involving the Doctor’s oldest foes. Or do they?

2.3 The Lost by Robert Valentine

When the Doctor’s latest scheme to get back to the future fails, the team’s ship crashes on a strange world, potentially trapping them for ever.

Searching for replacement parts, they find their way to a building where heart-breakingly familiar faces await them.

Lies are about to be exposed. Everyone will learn the truth. And nothing will be the same again.

This boxset release contains all three stories, plus additional behind the scenes interviews."

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

The Tenth Doctor, Anya Kingdom, and Mark Seven’s adventures continue in the second volume of the Dalek Universe trilogy. In these three adventures, histories are explored, hearts are broken, secrets are revealed, and the Daleks finally turn up. Sort of. 

Last time out, the Daleks were nothing more than a 10-second cameo. Though their presence was felt throughout, it wasn’t their story just yet. Fans will therefore be pleased to know that they do have much more to do in this volume, though by the end of the boxset, you still don’t really feel as if they’re properly here yet. Everything seems to be leading into the final volume of the set, which looks like it’ll see the dastardly pepper-pots finally make their big entrance. I hope.

So if the Daleks don’t really feel as if they’ve arrived yet, then just what is Dalek Universe 2 actually about? Well, if anything, it’s an exploration of who the members of this TARDIS team actually are, what makes them act the way they do, and what they do when experiencing grief, loss, and anger. It really is as intriguing as it sounds. 

The first episode, The Cycle of Destruction by Roy Gill, gives us an opportunity to learn more about the android Mark Seven, and his ‘life’ before he joined the Space Security Services. 

Gill’s story follows straight on from the cliffhanger that we were left with at the end of the first boxset. Mark has started to behave oddly and has rendered the Doctor and Anya unconscious whilst flying a ship. The pair wake up to find that the ship has landed and Mark isn’t anywhere to be seen. It is here that we’re introduced to ALARC, an android development centre, and Mariah Six (Nina Toussaint-White), an android who wants freedom. 

Cycle of Destruction is essentially the counterpart of volume one’s House of Kingdom, in that it takes a detailed look at Mark Seven’s past, giving the character even more, well, character. We get glimpses of Mark’s past, which sounded utterly horrific and explains why he’s fighting against the Daleks and looks at how the lines blur between humans and life-like androids. Though this is a trope that has been done many times before, this is still an interesting take on it all the same.

Though this story does feel like more of a pit-stop than an integral part of the overall Dalek Universe arc, it’s a great addition to the story all the same, mainly due to how much it makes you care for Mark Seven, a literal robot. Gill’s script gives the listeners an opportunity to learn more about this particular TARDIS team and their dynamic, which just makes the next entry into the series that much more tragic.

The second episode, The Trojan Dalek by John Dorney throws us back into the Dalek Universe story proper with a trip to Beltros Station, with the TARDIS team in search of Arborrec, the temporal scientist who the Doctor is relying on to get him back to the right side of the Time War. 

We’re past the halfway point now in the Dalek Universe saga, and things are starting to get serious, and very, very dark. With shades of Revelation of the Daleks present, The Trojan Dalek sees the return of the Daleks, but not as we know them. 

The Trojan Dalek is excellent. As well as being a very disturbing story that left me feeling a little uncomfortable, this episode also features yet another brilliant performance from David Tennant. His fury at finding out what Major McLinn (Blake Ritson) and the SSS have been up to is spine-tingling, and his explosive confrontation with Ritson’s character when he learns the shocking truth about the ‘Daleks’ return is the highlight of the episode. 

Without going into too many spoilers, we learn that really nothing and nobody is safe in this episode, with a shocking twist in the final few minutes devastating our TARDIS team, leaving us wondering where the hell the story is going to go next. 

The third and final episode of this boxset is The Lost by Robert Valentine, and if you thought The Trojan Dalek was good, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This, for me, is the highlight of the boxset, though choosing my favourite episode was obviously a tough decision. 

When the Doctor’s plan to travel through time back to his time goes wrong, their ship crash lands in a bubble universe that is in the process of breaking apart. There they meet Lost, a god-like entity who wants to escape from his self-built domain and get back into the universe proper, a premise that sounds very similar to series eleven’s It Takes You Away

This story is very different from what’s come before in Dalek Universe 2, and is, essentially, an hour-long character piece with a minimal cast that examines, mainly, the Doctor’s psyche, grief for all those he’s lost, and guilt for all those he failed to save. 

Facing familiar faces from the past, as well as having devastating secrets revealed, this story changes the relationship of this particular TARDIS team forever. It also felt to me personally, like the last slower story we’re going to have before the third volume of adventures. 

And that cliffhanger? I loved it, though I wish Big Finish hadn’t revealed the cover and cast details for Dalek Universe 3 so far in advance. You’ll understand what I mean when you hear it. It’s still great though and has definitely left me counting down the days until the next volume is released in October. 

As with the first volume, and as is expected when Tennant is involved, the performances from all three main cast members (David Tennant, Jane Slavin, and Joe Sims) are of a very high quality, and by the end of this volume, I really felt as though I knew who these characters were, and was beginning to really enjoy their dynamic and bickering by the end. Nicholas Briggs somehow, yet again manages to find a new, interesting take on how to perform the Daleks, and the guest cast, in particular Blake Ritson, give excellent and enjoyable performances throughout. 

Overall, whilst I don’t feel as though this volume is any better than Dalek Universe 1, I don’t think it’s any worse either. It’s three enjoyable, well-written adventures that get progressively darker as the boxset goes on, and the volume as a whole is an interesting and emotional look at who these characters are and what makes them tick. Whilst these stories may not impact the overall arc in a big way (though this remains to be seen), the impact they have on the Doctor, Anya, and Mark, and their friendship, will be felt in the next volume for sure. Ultimately this an equally enjoyable volume as the first that has really whet my appetite now for whatever comes next in October.


+ Dalek Universe 2 is OUT NOW, priced £2
4.99 (CD) / £19.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title from Big Finish!


29 July 2021

Having been in charge of the TARDIS since filming for the Thirteenth Doctor began in 2017, Showrunner Chris Chibnall and the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, have confirmed they will be moving on from the most famous police box on Earth - and the universe.

With a six-part Event Serial announced for the autumn, and two Specials already planned for 2022, BBC One has now asked for an additional final feature length adventure for the Thirteenth Doctor, to form a trio of Specials for 2022, before the Doctor regenerates once more.

After taking the helm of the show, Chris Chibnall made the groundbreaking decision to cast Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. He also brought in ‘the fam’ of Tosin Cole (Ryan), Mandip Gill (Yaz) and Bradley Walsh (Graham), and cast the acclaimed Sacha Dhawan as the latest incarnation of The Master, plus Jo Martin as the mysterious Fugitive Doctor, adding new characters, layers and twists to the mythology of the show.

Episodes such as Rosa, Demons of the Punjab and Spyfall have thrilled audiences across the globe garnering critical acclaim and award recognition, including two BAFTA Must See Moment nominations, along with multiple National Television Award, BAFTA Cymru, TV Choice, Screen Nation, Hugo, Saturn. and Critics Choice nominations. Under Chris’ tenure, the series has been awarded the Visionary Awards TV Show of the Year, the Canadian Rockie Award from the BANFF Television Festival for best sci-fi and genre series, while Mandip Gill and Vinay Patel were recognised with wins from the Eastern Eye Awards. The 2020 series won Best Science Fiction Show voted for by readers at Radio Times.com, beating out competition from The Mandalorian, Lucifer and The Boys, as well as winning both Best Moment and Most Incredible Twist from the Digital Spy Reader Awards 2020, for Fugitive Of The Judoon and Ascension Of The Cybermen. In 2019, the entire current cast and crew were awarded Honorary Doctorates by Sheffield Hallam University for their work on the show.

As the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker stepped aboard the TARDIS to begin filming in 2017. As the first woman to play the iconic role, Jodie has thrilled audiences with her portrayal of the Time Lord, winning the hearts of Doctor Who fans across the globe. Jodie’s multi-layered, warm, funny and inspiring depiction of the Doctor not only created a first in Doctor Who history, but in 2020, Jodie was voted 2nd Most Popular Doctor of all time, coming within a whisker of her friend David Tennant, in a poll of more than 50,000 fans for Radio Times.

Chris Chibnall says:

“Jodie and I made a “three series and out” pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast. So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys.

Jodie’s magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She’s been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour. She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production. I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!

For me, leading this exceptional team has been unrivalled creative fun, and one of the great joys of my career. I’m so proud of the people we’ve worked with and the stories we’ve told. To finish our time on the show with an additional Special, after the pandemic changed and challenged our production plans, is a lovely bonus. It’s great that the climax of the Thirteenth Doctor’s story will be at the heart(s) of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.

I wish our successors - whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose - as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!”

Jodie Whittaker adds:

“In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them. My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life. And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories. We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side, and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever.

I know change can be scary and none of us know what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Travel Hopefully. The Universe will surprise you. Constantly.”

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama says

“Over the last four years Chris and Jodie have made Doctor Who history and their time on the show is indelibly marked on our memories. From Rosa Parks to Ascension of the Cybermen, Chris and Jodie have given Doctor Who some of its most life-affirming and tear-jerking moments to date and we are beyond excited to see what they have in store for us in the new series this Autumn. Jodie's final adventure to mark the BBC's Centenary in 2022 is set to be a Doctor Who Special to remember. I’d like to thank them both for their incredible work on the show”

[Source: BBC Studios]

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