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Welcome to the News & Reviews section here at Doctor Who Online! This is where you will find all the latest Doctor Who related news and reviews split up into easy to use sections - each section is colour coded for your convenience. The latest items can be found at the top, and older items follow down the page.

Archived news and reviews can be accessed by clicking on the relevant area on the News / Reviews Key panels to the right.

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29 September 2011

Yesterday was a dark day for Doctor Who fans, as news came in about the cancellation of Doctor Who companion series, Doctor Who Confidential.

Since that news, all corners of the internet have come together to show their support by signing online petitions, tweeting and emailing their concerns to the BBC.

Some of the older fans are particularly passionate to this campaign due to poignant memories of the cancellation of Doctor Who back in 1989, and with even more fans of the show now, the question remains if enough support can actually save the companion show?

Details have emerged today that the BBC have received over 1,100 complaints regarding Doctor Who Confidential's cancellation, with confimation being posted on the show's official Facebook page.

This Saturday will be the last episode of Doctor Who Confidential for the forseeable future, but you can do your part to show your support for the show using any one (or all) of the options below:

+  Send a complaint to the BBC regarding the cancellation of Doctor Who Confidential!

+  Sign the online petition, which currently has over 15,000+ signatures!

+  Follow the @SaveDWC Twitter account!

There is no guarantee that any of the above will ensure the safety of the show, but any show of support is a step in the right direction. With enough fans on board, who knows what could happen?!

[Source: DWO]

28 September 2011

The BBC is to axe Doctor Who Confidential, the BBC3 spin-off from its sci-fi drama, as part of the corporation's ongoing cuts programme.

Doctor Who Confidential, which features behind-the-scenes footage from the making of Doctor Who as well as interviews with the cast and crew, has aired in an early evening slot on BBC3 since 2005, when the corporation revived the main series with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Time Lord.

However, with the corporation facing budget cuts of up to 20% across its output as part of its Delivering Quality First initiative, BBC controller Zai Bennett has chosen to axe the show at the end of its current series.

Bennett is understood to be pursuing a strategy of focusing investment on original commissions in post-watershed time slots. Since taking over, he has decommissioned shows including Ideal, Hotter Than My Daughter, Coming of Age and long-running sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

Speaking last month at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Bennett said: "It's about focusing my budget on 9pm and 10.30pm; those are the time slots that count. Budgets are tight, so we have to be sensible with the money we have."

Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, will unveil the corporation's cost-cutting strategy – the outcome of the DQF process – on 6th October. It is thought to include proposals to exploit greater "synergies" between BBC1 and BBC3, with the digital channel acting as a "nursery slope" for its terrestrial cousin. BBC3 will also fill a greater proportion of its 7pm to 9pm slots with repeats of BBC1 shows.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: "Doctor Who Confidential has been a great show for BBC3 over the years but our priority now is to build on original British commissions, unique to the channel."

DWO have been contactd by a fan who has started a campaign via Twitter to save the show, you can follow @SaveDWC here.

+  Follow DWO on Twitter!

[Source: The Guardian]

26 September 2011

The final BARB viewing figures are in for 6.11: The God Complex.

The episode achieved a final figure of 6.77m viewers, with an audience share of 28.3%. This is compared to the overnight's which reached 5.2m viewers, with an audience share of 23.8%, meaning a total time shift of +1.57m viewers.

Figures do not include BBC iPlayer downloads for this episode, which have nearly a million downloads so far.

The episode also achieved an AI score of 86.

+  What did you think of the episode? Rate / Discuss in the DWO Forums!

[Source: Andy Parish]

25 September 2011

The overnight viewing figures are in for 6.12: Closing Time.

The episode achieved a figure of 5.3m viewers, with an audience share of 24.6%, and Doctor Who was the third most-watched programme for Saturday:

Top Overnights - Saturday 24th September:

1 - 10.0 - (43.0%) - The X Factor - 20:00 - ITV 1

2 - 5.6 - (26.7%) - All Star Family Fortunes - 18:45 - ITV 1

3 - 5.3 - (24.6%) - Doctor Who - 19:10 - BBC One

Final BARB ratings will be available within the next 10 days.

+  What did you think of the episode? Rate / Discuss in the DWO Forums!

[Source: Andy Parish]

25 September 2011

The BBC have released a prequel clip for 6.13: The Wedding of River Song:

[Source: BBC Doctor Who website]

23 September 2011

After this years Christmas Special, Doctor Who will return in the Autumn of 2012, Doctor Who Magazine has confirmed.

At the time of writing it is as yet uknown whether it will be a full run of the already commissioned 14 x episodes in 2012, or whether there will be a split season again, with more episodes airing in early 2013.

Some sources suggest there could be 6 epsiodes in the Spring of 2013 in addition to specials and another run of episodes in the Autumn of 2013, but nothing has been confirmed by the BBC.

DWO will keep you posted as soon as we have further information.

+  Vote on how you think the show will air in 2012, in the DWO Forums.

+  Subscribe to Doctor Who Magazine at Unique Magazines.

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

22 September 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Mark Morris

RRP: £14.99

Release Date: 30th September 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 22nd September 2011

Fear can get to us all, even the Doctor, and it is this that lies at the heart of this second of Big Finish’s releases for September featuring the Seventh Doctor and quite frankly, it is the best.  

Our story begins with a lost girl; confused and alone at the front door of Blue Fire House, a tumbledown hotel on the very edge of nowhere. She is met by Mr Soames, the elderly caretaker who tells her that she is expected by the Master of the house, and her room is ready. This is news to the girl, as she has no memory of how she got here and who she is.

Gradually, she comes to realize that she is not the first. There are others like her, all without their memories, addressing each other by their room numbers, in place of lost names. If things could not get any worse, the house seems to be haunted, plagued with strange visions and noises and just who is the tall man in the window of the tower room? These people are slowly being drawn together for a dinner date with fear, and something far more ancient is lurking in the shadows.

What is striking about the first episode of this play is that it is virtually Doctor Free. The bulk of the episode is carried brilliantly for much of its length by Amy Pemberton and Miranda Keeling who play No 18 and No 5. This should go down as one of the finest opening episodes in a Big Finish story in its history. It is beautifully atmospheric and played to perfection and when the Doctor finally turns up he gets the best line in the whole play. 

Sylvester McCoy is in fine mode, turning out another strong performance as do the rest of the cast including acting royalty Timothy West as Soames.

The rest of the play repeats a similar plot device to The Doomsday Quatrain, in that the story eventually reveals itself to be a lot more than we have been led to believe. Unlike the former, the revelation works more strongly here. It is not perfect by any means as it does somewhat diminish the wonderful atmosphere set up in the first two episodes; however it magnifies the motivations of the central antagonist, a creature who creates fear to feed off it. 

This brings us to the villain of the piece, The Mi’en Kalarash. Its presence is mostly dealt with off audio, for want of a better phrase but it is eventually given voice by possessing one of the characters. The concept of the Time Lords having their own boogieman is fascinating, and McCoy sells the threat presented by this creature, even if it eventually sounds like a sinister voice overdubbed with a vocoder. 

Overall though, with a strong story, more hints of the mysterious Black TARDIS and the tantalising suggestion of a new companion for McCoy, House of Blue Fire is definitely worth your time.

21 September 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Emma Beeby & Gordon Rennie

RRP: £14.99

Release Date: 30th September 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 21st September 2011

The Doctor meets Nostradamus; already a fascinating idea which forms the central starting point for this second release for the Seventh Doctor in the main Big Finish range.

Florence in the 16th Century. As the city runs about its normal business, the people are in intrigued and puzzled by the prophecies of the local seer Michel de Nostradame, for he has predicted the end of the world; An end that will come, when ships sail in the sky, bringing monsters from the heavens to unleash fire upon the world. So when the doomsday quatrain starts to come true no-one is more surprised than The Doctor, after all he has seen the end of the world, and it certainly shouldn’t be happening now.

Throwing the seventh Doctor together with the famously celebrated and debunked seer Nostradamus, should make for a delicious cocktail of a story, but what we get is something quite unexpected.

We begin with what seems like a standard historical romp, as the Doctor finds himself in Florence and for the first two parts we get a pretty standard run of mill history meets sci-fi run-around. When the big twist in the story comes at the end of part two, it is an intriguing but rather a small let down.

Essentially, what we thought was Florence is really an artificial reality, and from here on in the setting becomes unimportant effectively rendering Nostradamus and his world to mere window dressing for the rest of the story.

The play does deal with some interesting ideas from a result of the twist, and it stops the story from becoming too dull but, without giving too much away, the ideas themselves are strong enough on their own, that the story doesn’t really need Nostradamus in it. Sadly the mixing of both these plot lines have a detrimental effect on one another, as neither is explored in as much depth as you would hope.

The main antagonists of the piece, the crocodilian Crowe are a rather dull villain. Though they have a rather enjoyably nasty way of progressing through their chain of command, they are in effect useless and not much of a threat.

The other alien presence, the highly evolved Poldigon’s, two of which are voiced very well by John Banks and Caroline Keiff, turn out to be as much of a mystery as the Doctor says they are, and quite why they are building planet size facilities to create realities out of raw liquid material for paying clients is anyone’s guess. Again there is a wealth of ideas here, most of which are sadly glossed over or unexplored entirely.

However one of the things there is to enjoy here is a passionate and grand performance from David Schofield as Nostradamus, who finds himself at one point playing companion to Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor. McCoy himself is having a wonderful time here. As Robophobia showed brilliantly, the Seventh Doctor is at his most compelling when he has no familiar companion around him and McCoy puts in a fun performance despite the madness of the plot. It is a pity that not much more was made of the meeting of the Doctor and Nostradamus, as the potential for the butting of ideologies between the two would’ve elevated this story somewhat.

The Doomsday Quatrain is not a bad play, nor is it a strong one - there is enough to enjoy, but one cannot help feeling that the overall story was an opportunity missed.

21 September 2011

Ex-Doctor Who star David Tennant will be lending his vocal talents to Postman Pat: The Movie - You Know You're The One.

The movie, which also stars Stephen Mangan (Episodes), Rupert Grint (Harry Potter) and Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter) will see the animated postman taking part in a television talent contest and achieving overnight fame.

Postman Pat made its debut on BBC One in 1981 and the announcement was made to mark the character's 30th anniversary.

+ Postman Pat: The Movie - You Know You're The One will be in cinemas in 2013.

[Source: Empire]

21 September 2011

Production has started on the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special in which the Doctor (Matt Smith) finds himself in war-torn England embarking on a magical and mysterious adventure with a young widow and her two children.

A stellar guest cast including Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), join Matt Smith in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills.

Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, commented:

"The Doctor at Christmas - nothing is more fun to write. Maybe because it's so his kind of day - everything's bright and shiny, everybody's having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat. Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith's is the one that was born for this time of year - so it's the best news possible that he's heading back down the chimney."

The special, set during World War II, sees Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril, evacuated to a draughty old house in Dorset, where the caretaker is a mysterious young man in bow tie, and a big blue parcel is waiting for them under the tree. They are about to enter a magical new world and learn that a Time Lord never forgets his debts...

Claire Skinner said: "I am thrilled to be in Doctor Who playing Madge who is a bit of super-mum. It's a magical part."

This marks Matt Smith's second outing as the Doctor at Christmas time and will follow hot on the heels of the successful 2011 series, currently airing on BBC One until October.

The Christmas special was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama and Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One. Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer with Piers Wenger and Caroline Skinner, also executive producing.

Filming on the Christmas special will continue until mid October 2011.

[Source: BBC Doctor Who website]

20 September 2011

DWO have seen 6.12: Closing Time and have put our spoiler-free preview together:

After the heady heights of last weeks Doctor Who episode (The God Complex), it was inevitable that this weeks story would have a lot to live up to. But with a certain Mr.Gareth Roberts taking up the challenge of writing this penultimate episode of Series Six, Closing Time not only lives up - it breathes!

It's been 200 years since the events of The God Complex, and The Doctor has been off having adventures of his own. Time, though, has caught up with him, and now he pays one last visit to his friend, Craig Owens. Craig has been busy too since he last saw the Doctor - he's a dad!

It's no secret that the Cybermen are back in this episode, and they've brought an old friend with them. As people start going missing, it's up to The Doctor...and Craig to get to the bottom of things.

Closing Time has a wonderful sense of nostalgia about it, harking back to some of the 1960's Cybermen stories. It has that wonderful sense of danger lurking in the background - you know who it is, but you're on the edge of your seat waiting for their arrival and, more importantly, their purpose.

Roberts has most definitely delivered his finest script here. There's so much for fans to love, from the awesome chemistry between The Doctor and Craig, to the laugh out loud one-liners, right through to another particularly memorable scene at the end of the episode.

Director, Steve Hughes does a fantastic job matching the light and dark notes of the script with flair, whilst using lighting and camera angles to full potential and effect. Once more, Murray Gold deserves a look-in owing to his excellent scoring within the adventure, tempering the moods to perfection.

Everything just works in this episode. Ok, it may not be as serious as some of the other stories this season has to offer, but then again, it doesn't pretend to be. This is about The Doctor having a bit of fun before his inevitable demise on the shores of Lake Silencio.

With so many different elements pulling together and working harmoniously, you will be reaching for the rewind button as soon as the episode has finished to relive what proves to be one of the finest new-who episodes to date.

Five things to look out for...

1) "you've redecorated, I don't like it".

2) Stormageddon.

3) "Shhhhh!".

4) Petrichor.

5) Don't turn around!

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

18 September 2011

The overnight viewing figures are in for 6.11: The God Complex.

The episode achieved a figure of 5.2m viewers, with an audience share of 23.8%, and Doctor Who was the third most-watched programme for Saturday:

Top Overnights - Saturday 10th September:

1 - 10.8 - (44.5%) - The X Factor - 20:00 - ITV 1

2 - 5.3 - (24.6%) - All Star Family Fortunes - 19:00 - ITV 1

3 - 5.2 - (23.8%) - Doctor Who - 19:10 - BBC One

Final BARB ratings will be available within the next 10 days.

+  What did you think of the episode? Rate / Discuss in the DWO Forums!

[Source: Andy Parish]

14 September 2011

Ex-Doctor Who star David Tennant is to co-host the Children in Need Rocks Manchester concert on 17th November.

Tennant will be joining Fearne Cotton and Chris Moyles to host the event which will air on BBC One and BBC Radio 1. The show which takes place at Manchester's MEN Arena - will also feature Michael Buble, JLS, N-Dubz and Hugh Laurie.

The concert, which raises money for the popular Children in Need appeal, has been hosted at London's Royal Albert Hall for the past two years, and the move to the north-west of England ties in with the relocation of several BBC departments to Salford.

Tickets go on sale on Friday with details at www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey.

[Source: Press Association]

14 September 2011

Doctor Who, David Tennant and Karen Gillan have all won awards at this years TV Choice awards.

Hosted at London's Savoy Hotel, the 2011 TV Choice Awards saw a number of nominations for Doctor Who and its related actors.

Doctor Who won the Best Family Drama category, beating off Waterloo Road and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

David Tennant won the Best Actor category for his role in Single Father, beating off current Doctor Who star, Matt Smith and previous Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston for his role in The Shadow Line.

Karen Gillan won the Best Actress category for her role in Doctor Who, beating off competition from numerous other actors including Doctor Who stars, Elisabeth Sladen (The Sarah Jane Adventures), Freema Agyeman (Law and Order UK) and Alex Kingston (Marchlands).

Finally, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' Sherlock was also honoured at the event, scooping an award for Best New Drama.

[Source: TV Choice]

12 September 2011

DWO have seen 6.11: The God Complex and have put our spoiler-free preview together:

The God Complex is one of the most grown-up Doctor Who stories to date, quite literally taking the word complex and running with it.

It forms an important part of a season that has forced the viewer to evolve with a new, more intelligent way of story-telling. A way that pays the loyal and casual viewer in dividends...as long as you stick with it, and pay attention.

The adventure kicks off with the TARDIS team arriving in an alien hotel, where everything is not as it seems, where nightmares come true, and where a mysterious creature hunts its prey in the maze-like corridors.

Emotions run high at various points throughout this episode, and by the end you will feel quite drained (in a good way) - one particular scene springs to mind that's totally unexpected, totally genius, and utterly heart-breaking - made even more poignant thanks to a perfectly placed piece of scoring from Murray Gold.

Writer, Toby Whithouse, once again pulls out all the stops and raises the stakes on both his previous Doctor Who outings and the momentum of the series so far. His scripts are incredibly distinctive whilst having the ability to slot in seamlessly with Moffat's tone for the season.

There are some great moments too for Classic Series fans, as well as fans who have watched the New Series of Doctor Who from the beginning. Subtle and not-so-subtle nods to the past make the viewer feel like they are part of this ever-growing show that's constantly changing and evolving.

This is Doctor Who at its very best. Surely it can't get better than this...can it?

Five things to look out for...

1) Cat Nun!

2) The Doctor has a degree in cheese-making!

3) Angry Doctor!

4) Nimon!

5) The Doctor finally gives Amy a key!

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

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