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

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

E-Mail NewsE-Mail Reviews
8 February 2022

Later this year, Terraqueous Distributors will be re-releasing their whole range of previous unofficial Doctor Who annuals, starting with the 1972 annual.

Terraqueous Distributors said:

"When we announced that we would give access to the 1988 annual alternate contributors edition cover to everyone who donated to the Lullaby Trust, we were asked if we would do the same for the past annuals, when we re-release them. We originally said no.

However, we've had a change of heart. So for everyone who has, and who will make a donation to the Lullaby Trust.  not only will they get their name (or the name of a loved one), printed in the 1988 annual, they will also have access to the 1972, 1987, 1988, 1989, and the  Master annual 2074, contributors editions, when they are re-released later this year."

All you have to do is make a £5 minimum donation over at https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/. You will then receive two emails, one from The Lullaby Trust thanking you for your donation, and the second from WORLDPAY, with your transaction confirmation. This email is your proof of donation, you can either forward this email to 'doctorwhoannual@aol.co.uk' with LULLABY DONATION - in the subject bar - (don't worry no personal, payment or bank information is included in this email).

You then need to send a 2nd email to 'doctorwhoannual@aol.co.uk' with your name or the name of a loved one, exactly how you would like it printed in the annual.

[Source: Mark W]

8 February 2022

Our friends over at Weird Rainbow Films have been in touch about a new comedy feature film, starring Colin Baker (the 6th Doctor). Secrets of a Wallaby Boy will be shot in Manchester this Spring, and is a modern, queer update on the cheeky British comedies of the ‘70s, such as Confessions of a Window Cleaner

When Tim becomes a courier for the app Wallaby, he reckons he can turn his life around: get fit, earn some money, and even get laid. He’s not accounted for his own haplessness, an antique teapot collection, and a sinister conspiracy.

Alongside Colin, Secrets of a Wallaby Boy stars Brandon McCaffrey and Billie Hindle, as well as recognisable faces Mark Benton (Anna and the Apocalypse, Waterloo Road, Murphy’s Law) and Laurence R. Harvey (The Human Centipede 2 & 3).

Colin has already recorded his voice role, and the animation of Bruce will be carried out by Ilan Sheady of Uncle Frank Productions

On Colin’s casting, writer/director Kieron Moore says:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to bring Colin Baker on board as the voice of Bruce. We had a great time recording with him – his hilarious performance had the team all laughing and we can't wait to share it with all of you as part of the movie.”

Brandon McCaffrey adds:

“Words cannot describe my feelings on Colin being cast as Bruce. I’m incredibly excited to work with him. He’s been a favourite actor of mine for many many years, as anyone that knows me will tell you. 

To be working with someone of his calibre is incredible, and especially on a project such as Secrets of a Wallaby Boy. I just know that this bonkers project just got crazier and I expect you all to love every single second.”

The team at Weird Rainbow Films have a significant chunk of budget already in place and are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Greenlit in order to make the film the best it can be.

+  The Greenlit page can be found here: https://greenlit.com/project/secrets-wallaby-boy

[Source: Weird Rainbow Films]

28 January 2022

Publisher: Pear Tree Publications

Written By: Thorne Moore

RRP: £12.41 / $20.88 (Paperback) | £1.99 / $2.99 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Inside Out by Thorne Moore, is a Science Fiction tale with heart and soul, that takes the reader to the edge of our solar system, the edge of humanity, and, at times, the edge of your seat!

We join the passengers of the ISF Heloise, as they embark on the 11-month journey to Triton Station, Neptune. It's a mixed bag for our seven principal players, but all of them share a common interest in the work ahead of them. Once they complete their seven-year mission, huge rewards potentially await them.

At first glance, this looks like Big Brother in space, but scratch beyond the surface and there's an almost Orwellian, direct style to this story. Despite being set in the future, and in space, this is a story about the people rather than the purpose - and I must say, it makes for a breath of fresh air. Each character is rich, detailed and gets their chance to shine, and by the end, they have each earned your attention and empathy.

Speaking of characters, I think one of the stand out qualities in Moore's work is her use of character dialogue. It's real, and almost tangible in the way it jumps off the page. It doesn't feel scripted or forced, but lived-in, and, more importantly, natural.

There are some shocks and surprises along the way, and without giving too much away, everything from Ganymede Alpha onwards, had me finishing the book in one sitting. Something I don't do very often, for the record.

It's worth noting that Science Fiction is a break in genre for Moore - not that you'd be able to tell, however. What we have here smacks of a seasoned storyteller in the SciFi space, but one who paints in between the cracks to flesh out the characters and bring some reality into the mix. We couldn't help but see the parallel between this style and Russell T. Davies approach when he brought Doctor Who back to our screens in 2005. Mixing the 'out there' elements of SciFi, with the mundanity of real life, somehow works so well; one tempers the other, almost enhancing it like salt in caramel.

There's an almost prophetic ending via the author's afterword, which we refuse to spoil. It is a strong drum beat that will reverberate in your mind for some time to come.

Really hoping that Moore continues this series - there's a lot of road ahead, and we can't wait to clock up some more mileage with this incredibly talented author!

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

12 January 2022

Coming March 2022 – The Dr Who Unofficial Annual 1988, the sixth release from Terraqueous Distributors.

As many fans will notice, the cover artwork is a homage to the 1969 Dr Who annual that was released in 1968 by World Distributors. The cover is beautifully illustrated by artist Daryl Joyce.

The unofficial Dr Who annual 1988 is another great mix of stories, features, puzzles and artwork.  And, thanks to the kindness of Bill Baggs and James Hornby, the Cyberons officially make an appearance in the annual. Although these Cyberons may not be the ones you’re expecting, redesigned by James Lee, their intergalactic menace proves to be a mighty force to be reckoned with.

But it’s not just the Cyberons the Doctor and Mel have to look out for. Within the pages of the 1988 annual, the great vampire Dracula is looking for blood - Time Lord blood!

As many will be aware, Bram Stoker created the original Dracula, and thanks to Dacre Stoker and Chris McAuley, we have been given permission to use the original Stoker Dracula in not one but three original blood curdling tales. The 1988 annual is certainly not a safe place for the Doctor and Mel.

And the Doctor makes a return to Kandalinga, where his first incarnation met the Fishmen. ‘The Coral Eaters’ is an epic sequel to 'The Fishmen of Kandalinga’, written by Andrew McDonald, and illustrated by Faiz RehmanThe Fishmen of Kandalinga was a story from the pages of the very first Dr Who annual. And what better way to celebrate the annuals of the past, than by visiting some old friends, well maybe not friends...

The 1988 annual includes contributions from well-known names such as John FreemanAlister PearsonBonnie LangfordSmuzzAndy WalkerPaul McCaffreyShannon Gallant, and many more.  And this time we have the sixth Doctor himself joining the list of contributors.

Terraqueous Distributors also invite you to make a £5 minimum donation to the charity 'Lullaby Trust', and all those who do, will have their name (or the name of a loved one) printed in the annual on the page of heroes. Proof of donation is required. Further details can be found on the TERRAQUEOUS DISTRIBUTORS facebook page.

This annual also marks the end of an era - the 80's era. World Distributors ended their run of classic Doctor Who annuals with the 1986 annual. With the release of the 1988 annual, Terraqueous have completed the 80's run of the classic annuals, having previously released the 1987 and 1989 annuals.

Also later in 2022, Terraqueous Distributors will be releasing The Unofficial Dr Who annual 1997. This will be the only annual dedicated to the eighth Doctor.

The Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1988, is a not-for-profit publication, and the price of the annual will be determined nearer the time of its release, when the precise date of publication and details of how it can be purchased will also be announced.

+ To donate to the Lullaby Trust, please visit https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/
Once you have made your donation, please email: doctorwhoannual@aol.co.uk.

[Source: Mark W]

14 December 2021

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Written By: Mark Rosendorf

RRP: £12.99 / $10.21 (Paperback) | £3.59 / $4.99 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Following on from our review earlier this year for Mark Rosendorf's The Witches Of Vegas, we were incredibly excited to get stuck into its new sequel; Journey To New Salem.

Set a year after the events of the first book, the Vegas show is bigger than ever, and things are equally going just as strong for teen witch Isis and her magician boyfriend Zack. That is until Isis begins suffering from seizures that have destructive effects...

In order to save Isis, they must travel across the globe to the titular New Salem, where they hope to find another coven of witches, and with it an unlikely figure as a potential remedy for her seizures.

We can't hide the fact that the evil Valeria is back and we simply love the polarity between her and Isis. It's such a typical good vs evil, principal vs absolute, driving force that elevates the story.

There's a perfect peppering of suspense and some surprising plot twists which build strongly on the precedent that Rosendorf set in The Witches Of Vegas. In fact, worthy of note is how many other breadcrumbs the author has been scattering, that come into play here in book 2. Kudos for his masterplan for world-building, and subsequently, its masterful execution.

Although the actual journey to New Salem is a relatively short one (thanks to some handy witchcraft), the true journey is the one that the characters go on both individually and in wholly in aid of Isis.

Speaking of characters, the ones you loved from the first book are built upon even more here; some even have new-found abilities, and you love them even more. There's also a new set of characters to love (and hate). Zack has a more central role in this book, and we're all for it, as Rosendorf has written an incredibly lovable hero in Zack, who really comes into his own here.

It's very rare that a sequel is considered even better than the first in the series, but that's exactly what Rosendorf has done with Journey To New Salem. It's a tighter, more suspenseful, more impactful book, that is pushing towards a greater arc. The stakes are higher and by the closing chapter, you are dropped in the middle of a bittersweet predicament that will have you clawing for book three.

+  Journey To New Salem is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @MarkRosendorf on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

13 December 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Edward M. Hochsmann

RRP: £8.30 / $10.99 (Paperback) | £2.56 / $3.49 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

For our latest review, we have Edward M. Hochsmann's 'C6S: Tales Of The Patrol Force' - an epic military Science Fiction collection, comprising of four novella-sized stories.

We begin with a great piece of expositionery prologue that gives us a potted history of the two main species; The Urtimalians and the Listrians, and how their xenophobic dislike of each other has led to present events. If this was a movie, it would make a cracking pre-credits sequence!

The First Step (the first story in the series), focuses on a Listrian ship, which picks up a distress call, and the truly difficult choice that its Captain (Therlos) has to make in order to save lives. This acts as a great study on the complexities of war and how even the slightest movements and decisions can have massive outcomes. There's a particularly moving, and ultimately pivotal scene involving a ceremony that the author has placed and paced perfectly - we won't spoil it, but it's a great piece of writing.

False Flag - the second in the series, is set a year after the events of the previous story. We also get properly introduced (after a fleeting mention, previously) to a new alien species; The Baltans. The ever present threat of the dissolution of peace is palpable, and the reader cannot help but see parallels to conflict in our own world. So much can be at stake, yet balanced on a knife-edge. Hochsmann masterfully plays with this theme, and the constant threat keeps you invested throughout.

The third story, Force Majeure, acts as a great change of pace as we somewhat put aside politics for a mission based plot. Planetary Observation Station 331-3 has been severely damaged by a solar flare, and the crew must land on a developing planet, fix the ship and leave without breaking Patrol Fleet regulations. We really loved Force Majeure as it almost felt like a textbook Star Trek story.

The final story, Pirate Crisis, mixes things up once more as we deal with the theme of space pirates. We're thrown straight into the action as merchant ship Patrakee is under attack from said pirates. Class-A frigate patrol ship, PF-238 is on the trail and together with it's crew, must uncover the identity of the pirates and bring them to justice.

This was another solid story, full of action and intensity, and the reveal of how and why PF-238 kept getting out-manoueivered is once more a masterstroke from Hochsmann's pen.

Overall, a great collection of stories that have the concurrent theme of meeting challenges and resolving them through ones own skill and integrity.

Grab a nice cup of Girondon Tea, find a comfortable chair and settle into the holiday season with this fantastic story. Recommended! 

+  C6S: Tales Of The Patrol Force is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @EdwardHochman on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

8 November 2021

One of the contributors of a fantastic new Doctor Who book has been in touch with details of a new title, chronicling the history of the Blackpool Doctor Who Exhibition. Below is the press release from the website, where you can also download the books for FREE:

Blackpool Remembered and Blackpool Revisited are FREE digital publications, collated and edited by John Collier. They celebrate the original Doctor Who Exhibition on Blackpool’s Golden Mile, which ran from 1974 to 1985, and the Doctor Who Museum, which ran from 2004 to 2009.

Both books are a labour of love for their creator John Collier and project collaborator Alex Storer. These projects are the first of their kind: in-depth, full-colour, vividly detailed and illustrated accounts of the Doctor Who exhibitions as told by the fans who visited and the people who made them possible. Explore year-by-year floor plans and hundreds of photographs alongside personal recollections and nostalgia of the era, publicity materials, merchandise and everything that made visiting Doctor Who exhibitions so special.

Whether you visited either exhibition in the years gone by or missed out completely, now is your chance to step back in time to visit the TARDIS and defy the Daleks.

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

Download the books via the Blackpool Remembered & Revisited website!
Follow @Blackpool7485 on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source: Philip Brennan]

7 November 2021

Hello Doctor Who Online Community

My Name is Barry Aldridge and I did an article back in 2018 called “Doctor Who, Autism and Me” which I'm really happy to have put out there. Big thanks to the DWO team, including Seb Brook who believed in me to talk about the issue, which gave me real confidence.

Now I am back to talk about my favourite Doctor Who Story of all time. To me this is an all-time classic that I believe, 50 years on, still holds the test of the time. It stars my favourite Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and features my favourite villains of all time; The Daleks! It was broadcasted between 20th May 1967-1st July 1967. Only one of the episodes has survived in the archives and it was the first appearance of Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield, which was Episode 2. The story I am talking about is The Evil Of The Daleks, written by David Whitaker and directed by Derek Martinus.

It's a story/serial of 7 episodes or 7 parts, which I know can be a turn off for some people, but I love long stories that go on for many weeks - especially with Patrick Troughton at the helm.

I first heard about this story back in 2003/2004 - I think, when I was getting into the show after a rest between 1999-2003, as I was more focused on college and early University. This was good in a way as it meant I could get the excitement back for the show, which I needed. I was going through different shows and remember Troughton’s performances from stories like The Dominators, The Mind Robber and The War Games. Also, around that time I had a friend who had The Tomb Of The Cybermen DVD and I loved that story! I thought of looking at more of Troughton’s era of the show and found out the shocking news that a lot of his episodes were missing from the BBC archives.

I actually saw a clip of Episode 2 of The Evil Of The Daleks, where the Doctor, Edward Waterfield and Theodore Maxtible were discussing the villain, where the Doctor was finding out why he was sent back in time and where his TARDIS had gone. Then... the villians of the hour; The Daleks! I remember Troughton’s facial expressions going from fear to being brave in a matter of seconds and it was this reaction that was a major key to me wanting to find out what happens in this story.

Around 2006, when I watched Genesis Of The Daleks “Dalek Tapes” and they briefly touched on The Evil Of The Daleks, and they said how fantastic it is and admired David Whitaker’s writing, which was the first time I heard his name, strangely, but, again, it got me wanting to find out more.

I went back and forth with the story and was looking online for the The Evil Of The Daleks scripts, and I was blown away by how he was able to write the story and keep it going for 7 episodes / parts - which amazes me! It's not an easy feat to do, as some writers can find it hard to pull off even 6 episodes. I love how Whitaker was able to create characters and give them development throughout the story. John Bailey and Marius Goring (from Episode 2) were able to make their characters believable, owing to with Whitaker’s writing. I also only found out recently that it featured Windsor Davies who starred in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

In my view David Whitaker is one of the most underrated writers in the history of Doctor Who. As mentioned, he knows how to write great characters - other examples can be seen in The Edge Of Destruction and The Rescue from William Hartnell's era. He worked with Dalek creator, Terry Nation, quite a bit during his year as Script Editor - this surely lends itself to the fact he understood how to write for the Daleks, and keep up with the pace and make it in interesting to watch.

I saw the second episode for the first time in 2009 when I got the Lost In Time DVD box-set, which contained surviving episodes of missing stories, including The Crusade, The Daleks Master Plan, The Enemy Of The World (now complete), The Web Of Fear (now nearly complete) and The Space Pirates - to name a few. When watching the episode at the opening, then hearing Roy Skelton’s Dalek voice is, to me, one of the best Dalek voices ever

Whist not the best episode in the story, I loved everything about it! It featured brilliant performances from Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, John Bailey, Marius Goring, and Windsor Davies. It was really well put together through the direction of Derek Martinus, who knew how to put shots together and knew how to direct the actors on the screen -  especially when the Doctor found out the Daleks were behind the whole thing. Let's not forget the fantastic music cues from Dudley Simpson - so well done, and it really makes the episode much more tense.

The Lost In Time box-set did contain a rough version of the finale of Episode 7, and I thought it was amazing, and if this was going to be the final end of the Daleks, I think this would have been so perfect, making the Daleks eternally memorable in the audience’s eyes.

In the early 2010’s I decided to get the audio of the story on CD and I really enjoyed Frazer Hines' narration, which helped to bridge the gap with the story. I loved the tension between the Doctor and the Emperor of the Daleks in Episode 6. I won’t spoil what happens there but it leads into Episode 7 in such an epic way. The 3 hour adventure went by so quickly that it felt like 90 minutes which is what I want in an excellent story.

I remember winning the vinyl from Zoom back in August 2019 and I couldn’t believe that I had won the vinyl of my favourite Doctor Who Story of all time. I still haven’t played it as I need the record player and I will not be selling it. It's great to have another version of the story, that I'm yet to discover.

I would still put this story at the top for years to come. When they started to do more animations from 2016, when they were doing it for the 50th Anniversary of Patrick Troughton’s debut The Power Of The Daleks, I was thinking to myself that maybe one day The Evil Of The Daleks would get the animated treatment and I would be over the moon! After they finished working on Shada, The Macra Terror, The Faceless Ones, The Power Of The Daleks: Special Edition, Fury From The Deep and The Web Of Fear, and I read that the next animated adventure being worked on was The Evil Of The Daleks, I had one reaction... Holy [expletive]!

I found out on Thursday the 1st July 2021, when I was on my final day of holiday down in Weymouth, Dorset. I switched on YouTube and watched the trailer. I was blown away! 

I just want to finish up by saying that I think we should spread positivity within the Doctor Who community. Yes, we all have different opinions on how we feel in terms of favourite doctors, stories, companions, villains, aliens, character development, political messages e.t.c, but I feel we should be more respectful to each other and more kind to each other. Sometimes there can be tension in fandom, but I think overall, Doctor Who fans are wonderful, brilliant, kind, knowledgeable and great to be around. 

Thank you for reading!


Follow @BarryAldridge on Twitter!
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7 November 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Nathan Jones

RRP: £7.99 / $9.99 (Paperback) | £2.99 / $4.12 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Imagine, if you will, a world that blends The Matrix, Mortal Engines and TRON, - this would go some way to giving you just a taste of the mind-blowingly brilliant world that Nathan Jones has given us in Travelling Without Moving. In fact, it's fair to say that, right from the off, this book, even in light of the comparisons, is genuinely unlike anything we've ever read before.

Focusing on Napalm Carton, the story explores his self awareness of the world he lives in (Kaputt) and the suspicions he has about the very reality around him. A mystery that takes you right up to the last drops of ink to unravel.

The exploration of multi-faceted aspects of reality is realised in lavish detail. From the moment we see Mokey taking Napalm's Willy Wonka-esque, mind-enhancing concoction we are catapulted into his game like world - and like all good stories, it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Jones' world-building is king here; the lore, the sounds, the shapes and the very fabric of the detail he paints, enwraps the reader in totality. It's like putting on a VR headset and being immersed in a new world; you completely forget everything around you and focus only on everything before you.

The disparity between The Americas (the Western half of Kaputt) and Kaputt Real (the Eastern half), is almost akin to The Man In The High Castle; the West VS East 'us and them' duality, almost serves as an underlying theme throughout the book - in many different forms. On this front, Jones' work feels very much on a higher intellectual plain than you may at first think. There's purpose and planning that slowly reveals itself in several 'Aha!' moments, or even back-pocketed until the very end. It's impressive to say the least. 

There was a section in the book that reminded me of a kids TV show I watched, growing up, called Knightmare, in which a team of kids enter a virtual reality type game world, where they have to survive on their wits, whilst making smart choices along the way. Every now and then they would arrive in a room with a table which has a selection of items you need to choose from - I couldn't help but feel pangs on nostalgia as I read that paragraph:

"The scullery door, yes, a scullery door, was locked. He didn’t have the key, and he needed to get out. That was all that mattered. On the table sat a selection of items: a pocketknife, a compass, a box of matches, a tin pot of glue, a length of copper wire, and a hessian sack of quick-rice.   ‘Ok,’ he said, his voice flat and mechanical.  ‘Classic locked room puzzle, I reckon.  How do we get out of here?’

It also made me sit up and realise just how worrying the prospect is of being trapped somewhere you *know* just doesn’t feel right. That every move you make is somehow pre-determined or destined to be outplayed. It can be a real rabbit-hold moment for the reader if you truly allow yourself to be immersed in the allegory.

From the clockwork sun of Kaputt's bio-dome, to the rich tapestry of realities, characters, cultures and devices, Travelling Without Moving is truly a ground-breaking piece of literature that captivates the imagination, frees the mind and ensnares the reader in Jones' mastery.

There's a hell of a cliffhanger, too - one that Doctor Who itself would be proud of. With the seeming promise of more adventures to come, this epic work - and it really IS epic - will take some beating. 

+  Travelling Without Moving is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @NathanJonesBook (Nathan Jones) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

3 November 2021

Publisher: The Pencil Princess Workshop

Written By: R.L.S. Hoff

RRP: £9.44 / $12.99 (Paperback) | £2.43 / $3.34 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

R.L.S. Hoff's Leaving Hope is a futuristic SciFi story that focuses on Anya - a strong female lead who is desperate to live up to the book's title by leaving the titular spaceship 'Hope' and join the team colonising the planet Shindashir. The wonderful thing about Anya’s s strength is how it builds throughout the course of the book - yes you have that strong-willed seed at the beginning, but there’s a hell of a journey for her. 

Hoff's world-building has to be commended first and foremost. Every word on the page has meaning and purpose and through her deliciously descriptive writing, Anya's life and her immediate world, jumps out of the book in such a rich, detailed way. 

Sometimes in life there are paths that are set before us that we don't want to take; choices that are made for us that we don't necessarily want to act on. This theme, for us at least, was the beating heart of Leaving Hope. The ability to know what is expected of you and the conflict of what you *really* want to do, was palpable here, and every wall Anya smashes through results in an air punch moment for the reader.

Leaving Hope lends a warm comparison to The Little Mermaid, but in space; a girl who has dreams and aspirations beyond her position, going against her father's wishes. This is no bad thing, by the way, it merely represents an interesting narrative that clearly follows a trend throughout history - even fictional nautical tales! Just like its comparative counterpart, you realise the safety and assurance in what's set before you, but long for the excitement of that alternative path.

Worthy of note is just how diverse the story is; there are a fantastic set of characters - each with poignance and purpose, and each with varying backgrounds. Ethnicity also plays an important role, and it's so refreshing that it isn't just touched on or glanced over, but intrinsic to plot points throughout.

The ending is magnificent; we won't spoil it, but despite being a book series, it's self contained and leaves the reader more than satisfied. We particularly loved the arc in which Anya has throughout the book, and where she ultimately ends up. So much can be said for strong female leads, but to see one written in such an interesting, intelligent, and well-thought-out way that Hoff manages to do so effortlessly, makes the journey she has, so much more poignant. A genuinely brilliant read and cannot wait to see what's next in store for the series.

+  Leaving Hope is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @RRachelH55965605 (R.L.S. Hoff) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

29 October 2021

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Andy Frankham-Allen

RRP: £14.99 (CD) | £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: August 2021

Reviewed by: Robert Emlyn Slater for Doctor Who Online

“When the Doctor, Steven, and Dodo arrive in the Himalayas, they have no idea that they are about to set off a chain events that will haunt the Doctor throughout his many lives. 

Joining a pilgrimage to the nearby Det-Sen monastery, the traveller’s discover that everything isn’t as it seems. As the situation grows increasingly dire, they will have to uncover the secrets of Det-Sen before it’s too late.”

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

This may not be our first visit to the Det-Sen monastery on the slopes of the Himalayas, but for the First Doctor, it is, and events from this story are the catalyst for his troubles with the Great Intelligence throughout his various regenerations. 

The Secrets of Det-Sen, written by Andy Frankham-Allen, is a notable release by Big Finish for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that it acts as a direct (from the Doctor’s point of view) prequel to 1967s The Abominable Snowmen, and the second reason is that it’s the first appearance of 60s companion Dodo Chaplet in the Early Adventures range. Dodo, who was previously played by the late Jackie Lane, has now been recast, with regular Big Finish contributor, Lauren Cornelius now taking on the role. With Jackie Lane’s recent passing, it was very touching to hear that her character’s first appearance in the range was dedicated to the actress who bought Dodo to life so long ago.  

The Secrets of Det-Sen is set in the 1600s in what will one day become Det-Sen Monastery in the Himalayas. When the Doctor, Dodo, and Steven Taylor land in the Tibetan Mountains, they soon come across a group of pilgrims and decide to tag along with them on their trip to Det-Sen. Once there, things inevitably start to go wrong, and the TARDIS trio’s lives are put in danger when a group of bandits attack the monastery. 

This is pretty much a classic ‘pure historical’, something we don’t get anymore on TV. The villains are humans and there’s no alien or any other supernatural presence present. The only aspect of the story which would probably not make this a 'pure historical’ story is the yeti’s, who are in the background and don’t really have much to do until the final episode of the set. If you’re going into this boxset expecting a showdown with the Great Intelligence then you’re going to be disappointed, but if you’re going into this boxset looking for a historical story with characters at its heart, then you’ll be very happy indeed. 

The Secrets of Det-Sen is definitely a bit of a slow burner, and I hate to admit it, but I did find my attention wandering at times. There’s a lot of talking about Buddhism and the cultures and beliefs of those who live in the Det-Sen Monastery in the story, which I found to be a little excessive. Whilst the chats were quite interesting at times, it did tend to slow the story down and leave me a little bored. It’s a relatively simple story (which isn’t a bad thing in the slightest) that has been stretched out to 4 episodes, which I feel was perhaps an episode or two too long. 

This isn’t like the normal Big Finish audios that I listen to, as there was a narrator present for this piece. Peter Purves acts as the storyteller in this audio drama, and he also provides the voices for both the Doctor and Steven Taylor too. I was a little apprehensive going into this audio as I’m not the biggest fan of audiobooks, but I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly integrated the narration of this story was. It didn’t slow the pace of the piece down, and it didn’t feel intrusive or annoying either. In fact, it helped keep the pace of the story up, cutting down bits of the story which could have ground the whole thing to a halt. Credit must be given to Frankham-Allen for this. The writer also deserves a lot of praise for his writing of the First Doctor, who I think he nails. He even gives him a little ‘sword fight’ halfway through the story too, which brought up some really amusing and entertaining mental images! 

As well as narrating, Purves does an excellent job with his impression of William Hartnell’s First Doctor. At times he sounded exactly like him, which was really quite cool. Overall, his impression was spot on enough for it not to detract from my immersion in the story, so I was very impressed. 

Lauren Cornelius also does a great job in the role of Dodo Chaplet. Dodo’s Mancunian accent is present in this story (I’ve read that it was replaced by RP on TV), and I felt as though the youthful energy of the character was portrayed very well. This is also a story where Dodo saves the day, which in hindsight, is very fitting. I hope to hear more of Cornelius as Dodo in the near future. 

Overall, this is an entertaining enough story that I do feel was stretched out a little too long. I did enjoy Dodo’s influential role in proceedings and I liked that Steven was a bit grumpy and like Ian does with the Thals in The Daleks, has to try and get the peace-loving Buddhist monks to take up arms and fight back to save their monastery, something they pretty much point blank refuse to do. However, I felt as though the story did drag at times with all the talk about Buddhism and the beliefs of the monks and pilgrims, though this may just be a personal thing, and you yourself may find those chats to be incredibly interesting and a rewarding listen. 

Ultimately, if you’re on the lookout for a ‘pure historical’ adventure for the First Doctor, then The Secrets of Det-Sen could well be the Big Finish audio drama for you! 

+ TEA 7.2: The Secrets Of Det-Sen is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) | £12.99 (D/L).

+ ORDER this title from Big Finish!

27 October 2021

Publisher: Three Ravens Publishing

Written By: John Drake

RRP: £12.00 / $25.84 (Paperback) | £4.25 / $5.86 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Nathan Jones

I’m definitely not the first person to compare John Drake’s Zoomers to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books by Douglas Adams, and I certainly won’t be the last. The plot, after all, revolves around a typically English character being whisked away from Earth into a madcap, hilarious sci-fi adventure.

The Arcadian people—if you can call tentacled creatures people—have decided the end of the universe is nigh. Doubting their own ability to avert the ultimate disaster, General Buck—a tea and biscuit obsessed leader—and Professor Doubt, decide to enlist the aide of a human. Their logic is that, since Earthlings tend to obsess over meaningless details and often ignore the major devastating issues in life, a human might be able to provide a completely different viewpoint on the end of everything.    

So, Scratch, a Southend-on-Sea professional burglar, is “Zoomed”, mid-job, to Arcadia, by Pdnrtk (otherwise known as Terry). Unexpectedly, Scratch does not arrive alone. He’s accompanied by Mr. Reisback, a retired human resources manager who is obsessed with the imminent delivery of his new sofa, Cantina, a Swiss pharmacogenomicist, and Glorious, the well-groomed, female plumber to the king of Kenya.

Before they begin training Scratch et al to collect data from on the demise of individual planets, Corporal Cauliflower (a “miserable optimist”) and Sargent Bakewell must practice the task themselves, Zooming through space and time to various, unexpectedly dull planets, when all they really want to do is head to the Moon Shots bar for a glass of Pomplefitzer and “cheerful”.

Elsewhere, in the Arcadian Production Corporation, Jod, Quality Control Engineer, Fourth Class, has a regrettable accident with his iron wedding ring on the lithium bracelet production line. It results in the creation of the universe’s first conscious alloy. This gift of self-awareness and intelligence spreads quickly across inanimate items, resulting in attempts to overthrow their sentient overlords in ways you would never conceive.

Despite Zoomers obvious parallels with Adam’s works—is it possible to write a space comedy without such comparisons being made?—Drake definitely has his own, individual style. Firstly, his plot moves much faster, thereby cramming more comical content into a similar space. Secondly, he focuses much more on dialogue than description. And last but not least, if you can possibly imagine so, the plot is even more eccentric and ridiculous than those of the Hitchhiker’s series.

For me, the highlight of the book is definitely the farcical dialogue of a host of characters who all—except possibly Scratch—appear to have serious mental misgivings. Each and every scene seems comparable to a stand-up routine full of wordplay, quips, and humorous miscommunication. Following Scratch through the bizarre plot gives the reader a perfect grounding, however, as he’s a plain-speaking, no-nonsense kind of chap, with the ability to see through all the nonsense thrown at him to the heart of the matter.

If you’re in need of a seriously good laugh, Zoomers is for you.

+  Zoomers is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @RavensThree (Three Ravens Publishing) on Twitter.
+  Follow @NathanJonesBook (Nathan Jones) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

23 October 2021

The team over at Arcbeatle Press have been in touch with details of their P.R.O.B.E.: Out of the Shadows, short story anthology, continuing from the BBV Doctor Who spin-off films, which is now available to purchase from Amazon.

"Welcome to the Preternatural Research Bureau, also known as P.R.O.B.E. For decades P.R.O.B.E. has defended Earth from the strange, the paranormal, and the alien. Hidden away from the eyes of the public. Times have changed. 

A threat looms in the dark, intent on utilising perihelion to further its goals. With budget cuts shuttering other organisations tailored to combat alien threats, P.R.O.B.E. alone must step out of the shadows to defend the very existence of humanity. 

But how will they cope? With the team struggling to get along, tensions fray. And for Azacca Dixon, P.R.O.B E.'s newest member, things will never be the same again. Darkness is waiting."

In conjunction with the release a short video prequel has been released to the Arcbeatle Press YouTube channel, starring Bill Baggs as Giles. 

+ YouTube: https://youtu.be/nYp4oeK8VKw
+ Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HMB1J6V
+ Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HQ7FDCQ

[Source: Arcbeetle Press]

7 October 2021

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An extensive interview discussing her first year on the programme.

View Nightmare Of Eden with optional new effects

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

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

An early cut of The Creature From The Pit Part Three

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

On Destiny Of The Daleks and Shada

BBC archive material covering the promotion of this season

A triumphant 1997 appearance from Tom Baker

Including many previously unseen images

Behind-the-scenes information and trivia on every episode


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

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

Watch the trailer for this set in the player below:

[Source: BBC Studios]

29 September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Cookson, Projects Director, Sarner International:

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

[Source: BBC Studios]

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