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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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31 August 2020

Publisher: BHC Press

Written By: J.W. Garrett

RRP: £10.95 / $14.95 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 31st August 2020

Following on from our recent review of Remeon's Destiny, we are thrilled to have just finished the sequel (or rather, prequel); Remeon's Quest.

This time around, we find ourselves back in time to 1930, where America is still in the crux of the Great Depression. The story sees our main character, Jack Livingston, dealing with a tragedy at work that takes his best friend Sam from him. Left with a note from Sam, Jack begins to carve out the new future he initially planned with his friend, when life takes another, unsuspecting turn...

I want to begin by commending J.W. Garrett for such a gripping start to this story. From the  gut-wrenching loss Jack deals with, to the journey he goes on with Harry, the reader is pulled along at a fantastic pace that somehow also allows you to breathe in the sights along the way. Such is Garret's attention to detail, from the cold beginning in Utah to Las Vegas and - quite literally - BEYOND, you really feel like you are travelling a first class, evocative ticket with the characters.

Speaking of characters, Remeon's Quest is brimming with a whole host of rich, new characters, as well as some old (or should that be younger?) favourites from the previous chapter in the Realms Of Chaos saga. Of these new characters, Whisterley is definitely our favourite; another strong, female character that helps balance the book, whilst giving our central character some much-needed happiness.

Again, we have a wonderful, expertly crafted blend of Science Fiction and Fantasy, with the added sprinkling of a love story between Jack and Whisterley, that holds central to the book.

As with Remeon's Destiny, you never know what is around the corner; be it a new best friend, an oncoming spaceship or true love, but one thing you can count on is a thrill-ride full of adventure.

This is some genius storytelling, and whilst it's not a movie (gosh what a movie series this would make!), it does reflect a little of the clever use of time travel seen in Back To The Future. Little nods that come back to play out later on - not to mention the time jumps.

There's some real momentum with this series and with book 3 (Remeon's Crusade) having just been released, I cannot wait to see what happens next, chronologically.

+  Remeon's Quest is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @GarrettJLW on Twitter.

28 August 2020

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Written By: Beverly Torres

RRP: £2.27 / $2.99 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 28th August 2020

At just 93 pages long, Beverly Torres' The Moon's Pull is one of the shortest books we've  reviewed so far, but boy does the author pack a lot into those pages!

Right from the off, we're thrown into the action as our lead character, Sam - a small town detective who seeks her peers' acceptance - arrives at a horrifying and rather mysterious crime scene. Sam is being watched from the nearby foggy hillside, by an equally mysterious character who we come to learn is Quentin Blackstone - our other main protagonist, and who also happens to be a Werewolf...

The story flip-flops between Sam and Quentin's point of view until they are thrown together through their attraction for each other and the common interest in the recent spate of murders.

The change of scenery between the detective work, with that of the exciting, supernatural world of werewolves acts as a fantastic contrast. Whilst you are constantly wanting to get back to anything with Sam and Quentin in it, you realise that the mundane gives necessary balance.

Torres' use of names is inspired, too. Carrick, Quentin and Baylock all sound like they are from an age gone by and fit perfectly within the Werewolf genre. Indeed, it feels like the author has done some incredible research on Werewolf lore as it feels so fleshed out and believable.

As one would hope, there is a poignant and utterly perfect climax to the story. Torres has got everything right here and on paper, for a story so short, it shouldn't work - but it does. This is a lesson in world-building and storytelling that proves you don't have to write an epic saga to pull off a good story.

There are so many well-written moments, and without giving too much away, there was a whole section near the end featuring a werewolf/human ceremony that was so beautifully written that the visuals it conjured are still vibrant in our mind.

The Moon's Pull would make a terrific TV movie; it's like a cross between Torchwood and Twilight, and let's be honest, werewolves are much cooler than vampires. Speaking of which, there are some racy scenes in the middle of the book that will please those wishing for a little bit more than what we got from Bella and Edward's foray in Twilight.

There's no word on a sequel, but we're hoping that Torres may dip back into this world in the future as there's loads of potential for further adventures. Whilst it was undoubtedly short, The Moon's Pull is an incredibly easy and captivating read. 

+  The Moon's Pull is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @Btorres3 (Beverly Torres) on Twitter.

25 August 2020

Young gamers can now transport themselves inside the iconic world of Doctor Who for a limited time in Nightfall, the BBC’s online multiplayer game.

Nightfall’s REM Zone 2 has been transformed until 29th September, and it’s up to Nightfallers to work together and keep the Doctor’s most infamous villains – the Daleks – at bay.

The free-to-play game gives players the chance to claim new outfits and style their Nightfaller as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, or as one of the Doctor’s long-standing enemies, the Cybermen. Once they’ve unlocked the outfits, they’ll be able to keep them forever. 

In Nightfall, players control a version of themselves that exists in their dreams – a Nightfaller. Their purpose: to work with other Nightfallers and defend the Dream from Nightmares, made up of worries from the waking world. 

The Doctor Who takeover of REM Zone 2 is one of five REM zones available within the game, hosting up to 20 players across them at a time. Nightfall is being continuously updated and this time-limited feature is the latest in a series of collaborations with BBC brands, with more coming soon.

Rachel Bardill, executive editor, BBC Children’s says:

"Nightfall puts collaboration before competition, and this new Doctor Who zone is an exciting addition, transporting children inside the world of the Doctor to unite and take on the Daleks together. It’s especially important now for kids to connect when they’re apart from friends and classmates, and Nightfall is bringing them together in an online dream world to help defeat Nightmares.”

 The Doctor Who zone is available until 29th September.
+  Download Nightfall now for 
iOSAndroid and Amazon devices, or play online here

[Source: BBC Studios]

19 August 2020

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Robert Valentine

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: July 2020

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"The Doctor, Constance and Flip join forces with 51st-century bounty hunter, Calypso Jonze, to hunt down the Somnifax: a weaponised mind-parasite capable of turning its host's nightmares into physical reality. Chasing it through the time vortex to Providence, Rhode Island in 1937, they arrive too late to stop it from latching onto a local author of weird fiction... Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

With time running out before Lovecraft's monstrous pantheon breaks free and destroys the world, the Doctor must enter Lovecraft's mind to fight the psychic invader from within.

Can he and Flip overcome the eldritch horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos? And will Constance and Calypso survive babysitting the infamously xenophobic Old Gentleman of Providence himself?"

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

Boy, is this a difficult one to review. The Lovecraft Invasion was intended to be Big Finish’s monthly audio play for June 2020, but ended up releasing at the end of July 2020. Bizarrely, Big Finish went out of their way to not tell people it had been delayed: think of that scene in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with the stairless cellar and sign reading ‘Beware of the Leopard’ and you’re close to their approach. Anyhow, now it’s out the question has to be, was it worth the wait?

The answer to that should be a resounding yes… but unfortunately there are huge caveats, which we’ll come to in a bit. Before that though, let’s look at the positives because they really deserve highlighting.

The Lovecraft Invasion is not the range’s first brush with H.P. Lovecraft, having ridden his tailcoats before back in Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge, a play which was doomed from the off by following the superb A Death in the Family, but which didn’t help itself either by forgetting to be any good. This time around though, rather than pay homage to/parody the author and his creations, we tackle them head on.

We start at the end of another adventure entirely, with Flip, Constance and the Doctor joined by Calypso Jonze, a bounty hunter from the future. In the way these things often go, a terrible something, a mind parasite called the Somnifax, has escaped and travels back through time, with our heroes and Calypso rushing through space and time in the TARDIS to hunt it down. It lands in America, 1937, and latches onto Lovecraft, making his world and creations come to life. The Doctor and Flip journey into Lovecraft’s mindscape to tackle the Somnifax, whilst Constance and Calypso look after their unconscious bodies and help Lovecraft to deal with manifestations of his works in the real world.

First up, the cast: this is the best we have had from Big Finish for ages now. Alan Marriott is fantastic in his duel roles as Lovecraft and Randolph Carter, differentiating the two subtly and with nuance. The real standout though is Robyn Holdaway as Calypso. They are brilliant from start to finish and I’d gladly see Calypso back in a recurring supporting role: not something I say lightly given the overabundance of companions in Big Finish. Their performance and the character are just that good.

Secondly, the story. This one cracks along at a fair lick, with a lot of action well-executed. Little in the way of say-what-you-see clunkiness is on show and the runtime of just under two hours mostly flew by and proves yet again that less is more with episode lengths. This is Robert Valentine’s first story in the monthly range and I dearly hope he has more to give us of this strength on the evidence shown here. You don’t need to know Lovecraft to enjoy it (I’ve never read a word and only really knew Cthulhu was a big squidy god creature), with explanations feeling organic.

A good script, a great guest cast, good action and good pace. What could go wrong? Thus we turn to the elephant in the room. For the most part, the script engages with Lovecraft’s racism really, really well. It doesn’t shy away from his xenophobia but it also doesn’t milk it or make it monotonous, tackling it with maturity and recognising that people are flawed and can hold horrific views, but that in itself does not make them horrific people. It’s the best way they could have dealt with Lovecraft.

But then rewrites have clearly happened and new scenes bolted on: and I mean bolted on. The sound quality in these moments is totally different to the sound quality elsewhere, which only helps to betray their after-the-event nature, and the scenes added are so out of touch with the rest of the play and so ham-fisted that they drag you right out and had me looking for the off switch.  

Calypso punching Lovecraft on the nose in a retread of Thin Ice? Good, and followed up with a superb line about their background and characteristics. The Doctor telling Lovecraft he’s a terrible racist at the end of the play, just in case we haven’t got the point? Bad.

The worst offender, however, comes roughly 22 minutes into the first episode and has the Doctor and Flip discuss problematic authors. In theory this should be fine, but it isn’t. It’s not given the same mature approach as elsewhere. It reduces the subject of “can/should I enjoy the work(s) of ‘problematic’ content creators?” to the Doctor saying no, you can’t. By the time the Doctor is alluding to a children’s author whose work he can’t read because of their personal views (wink wink, see what they did there?), I had to pause the play and go do something else for a while lest I delete the download there and then.

It’s a simplistic answer to an incredibly complex question, reducing it to the most patronising, didactic fluff Doctor Who can possibly give us - worse still, it betrays every point made in the script elsewhere.

Do I understand why Big Finish did this? In part. There is a lot of anger and argument online at the moment around the subject, but much like a lot of Twitter outrage, it’s a far tricker subject than a Tweet or two can deal with and by falling into the trap of trying to appease this, Big Finish drag play to the lowest common denominator, badly at that. There is a healthy and serious discussion to have on the subject of artist vs. work, and everyone will have their own mileage and limits (goodness only knows it’s something I’ve thought about a lot with various authors or musicians whose work I like, or liked, not least including the alluded-to children’s author), but reducing it to “bad viewpoints make people just bad” is as reductive and poor a way of tackling this as you can get. (And to stave off any accusations now, no, I am not far-right-leaning politically or think people are ‘snowflakes’ (god, I hate that term) or ‘virtue signalling’ by wanting to discuss these things. They should be discussed, but with decent writing and scope, which was the case for the play as was, but which was not the case when it comes to these extra scenes.)

I long for the original cut of this play without these additions: it would be a far stronger work for it. They tackled the subject well, then they panicked and tackled the subject terribly. It makes it a difficult one to score. The good largely outweighs the bad, so that in the end influences the score (which would have been higher without these scenes). I just dearly hope that future releases do not settle for simple preaching as has been inserted here. We, all of us, deserve better.


+ The Lovecraft Invasion is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


18 August 2020

Immersive Everywhere today revealed further details for Doctor Who: Time Fracture, a new immersive theatrical event from the team behind The Great Gatsby, the UK’s longest running immersive show. Officially licensed by BBC Studios, Doctor Who: Time Fracture will take place at Immersive | LDN, a former military drill hall dating back to 1890, from 17 February 2021, with tickets available through to 11 April 2021.

Priority booking access is available for Gallifreyan Coin holders from today, prior to tickets going on general sale from 10am on Thursday 20th August: https://www.immersivedoctorwho.com/

Immersive Everywhere will be offering a free preview of Doctor Who: Time Fracture as a special thank you to care workers at the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. Further details to follow.

1940 – it’s the height of the Blitz. A weapon of unknown origin destroys a small corner of Mayfair, and simultaneously opens up a rift in space and time. For decades, UNIT has fought to protect the people of Earth from the dangers it poses, but they’ve been beaten back as the fracture multiplies out of control.

Earth as we know it is at stake – now is the time for you to step up and be the hero. Travelling to impossible places, confronting menacing monsters and ancient aliens along the way, it’s a journey across space and time to save our race, and our beautiful planet.

Featuring an original story arc, Doctor Who: Time Fracture will invite audiences to become immersed in the world of Doctor Who. Placed at the heart of the story, audiences will meet Daleks, Cybermen, Time Lords and many other strange and mysterious characters as they travel across space and time to discover amazingly realised worlds and undertake a mission to save the universe as we know it.

Doctor Who: Time Fracture will allow guests to meet a character from Time Lord Victorious, BBC Studios’ brand new multi-platform Doctor Who story.

Working in close collaboration with BBC Studios, Director Tom Maller (Secret Cinema’s Casino Royale, 28 Days Later, Blade Runner), writer Daniel Dingsdale (Dark Tourism, Stardust, The Drop Off) BBC consultant James Goss (Dirk Gently, Torchwood), Production Designer Rebecca Brower and the creative team at Immersive Everywhere will bring to vivid life the worlds of Doctor Who giving audiences a chance to experience the Doctor’s adventures like never before.

Director, Tom Maller said:

“We are incredibly excited to be at the creative helm of this project. It has been an enjoyable experience already, working with BBC Studios to make sure Doctor Who: Time Fracture not only meets the extremely high expectations of fans, but exceeds them."

Writer Daniel Dingsdale added:

“Drawing from the rich legacy of Doctor Who, which spans over half a century, we are creating an adventure that will entertain both fans that have immersed themselves in the show’s universe for years, and audience members who will walk in from the street having never seen an episode. It’s going to be an absolute blast.”

Louis Hartshorn, joint CEO of Immersive Everywhere said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with BBC Studios to bring the incredible universe of Doctor Who to life in a way that only immersive theatre can. We can’t wait for audiences to step into the world of The Doctor, and find themselves closer to the action than ever before, in this expansive and ambitious new show. 

Based on everything we know now, we are confident that Doctor Who: Time Fracture will be able to go ahead as planned in early 2021 and will be taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our audiences and full creative team.”

Doctor Who: Time Fracture will take place whilst adhering to the social distancing guidelines announced by the UK Government this month. Immersive Everywhere will also be operating a no-questions-asked exchange policy where customers who are no longer able to attend can exchange their ticket for an equivalent ticket on an alternative date.

Immersive Everywhere will be offering a free preview performance of Doctor Who: Time Fracture as  special thank you to care workers at the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. Further details to follow. 

GET ON BOARD BY FOLLOWING THE STORY SO FAR:

FIELD LOG 1 available to upload at midday Tuesday 18 August here.

FIELD LOG 2 available to upload from midday on Wednesday 19 August

FIELD LOG 3 available to upload from 10am on Thursday 20 August

Watch FIELD LOG 1
in the player, below:

[Source: BBC Studios]


18 August 2020

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

2.11: Adrift

We start off the episode with a young lad walking home, and he’s running a bit late. His mum played by the wonderful Ruth Jones, sees him walking on across the bridge and he appears to be safe. This is until she averts her gaze for a second, and in a flash of light, Jonah disappears, remaining unseen for a period of 7 months. The episode starts with this brilliant build of mystery and we also get to see the wonderful PC Andy played by Andy Davidson, once again. There is a wonderful moment as we get to see what Gwen left behind for Torchwood and this really makes me wish we had some more Gwen and PC Andy adventures, especially during the first series of Torchwood. It really establishes their love/hate relationship as they exchange a bit of banter about Rhys etc, and it demonstrates the tension they share since Gwen left their partnership in the police force.

 

What this episode plays so strongly with, is Gwen being the main protagonist once again after we’ve followed the escapades of Owen for the past couple of stories. It really showcases how far her character has developed and changed as PC Andy confronts Gwen; she dismisses the case as insignificant, whereas if she was still working with the police, she’d be straight on the case. The words appear to resonate with her and the next thing we see is that she heads straight round to the mother’s flat. Gwen’s character has developed so well through the series, confronting the way Torchwood works; the way in which she works as an ex-police officer really demonstrates a good balance, coping with all the otherworldly situations, whilst also maintaining her humanity surrounding the situation. 

 

However, this can also be her downfall. As Gwen takes up the task of finding Jonah, we get a lovely scene of Gwen using her detective skills along with Tosh. It’s a nice moment to see them both working together, as they later discover people are going missing due to negative rift energy spikes - the same case with Jonah. Captain Jack is very quick to dismiss the whole situation, which immediately raises alarm bells with us as an audience and Gwen, however the other members of the Torchwood team stick by Jack as they always have done, to Gwen’s annoyance.

 

With this whole situation overwhelming Gwen, she tries to take comfort in Rhys, who at this point is getting fed up with how Gwen has been treating him. There is a very clunky scene to begin with, that gives a huge amount of exposition as Rhys and Gwen begin talking about babies, Gwen changing her personality, PC Andy still fancying Gwen and it all feels very odd at the start of the episode. It only becomes clear about their argument, as we rejoin them later in the park as Rhys and Gwen both can’t cope with their incredibly different lives coexisting simultaneously.

 

Getting back to Gwen and her sense of justice and humanity, she doesn’t let Jack stop her from investigating  Jonah’s disappearance. Gwen and PC Andy team up and find out that the missing people appear to be living on an island in the middle of nowhere. Gwen tricks Andy and goes on the boat on her own. It’s a moment that appears showing she just wants to save Andy from the horrors she’s witnessed whilst working for Torchwood, and wants to keep him safe. We get to the island to discover that Jack, in a not so shocking twist, knew about the whole situation of the rift taking people. However, it’s what has happened to Jonah that really makes the episode the brilliant thing it is.

 

Jonah has aged 40 years. He is no longer the young lad who disappeared only 7 months ago, as he’s now an older, deformed figure, as if he landed on a burning planet. It’s a harrowing situation to witness, as Gwen has to decide if she tells his mum everything that has happened. Gwen confides in Jack for advice, which he ultimately says is not a good idea, but never explicitly says why. This is why I like Jack and Gwen’s relationship. Jack has lived through these moments before and he can only guide and advise. If people go against his advice, they have to face the consequences and this truly happens when Gwen brings Jonah’s mum to see him.

 

The scene is a very difficult watch, as Jonah’s mum faces what has become of her son. It’s the level of emotions she goes through of denial, hatred, fear and eventually acceptance that really pulls on your heart strings. However, just when you think all is right with the world, the carer suddenly mentions he’s relapsing into a bad moment, as Jonah lets out a primal scream -  they can’t do anything but cover their ears to try and block the noise. It transpires that Jonah had looked into the heart of a dark star, which has driven him completely mad, screaming up to 20 hours everyday.

 

The consequences of every mistake in this episode really hits hard, as Jonah’s mum confesses that whilst he was missing, that one day he would turn up unchanged. However, with Gwen revealing the true situation, all that hope has gone. It’s those kind of moments that Torchwood is so great at addressing and confronting,  something that Doctor Who could never do. 

 

So overall, Adrift is an odd one to me. The whole theme behind this episode, is one of pure Torchwood Sci-Fi genre and themes, so it should be the perfect episode. However, it’s only perfect in the last 10 minutes, making all the themes tie in for the pinnacle moment. The first half seems to be really disjointed and some of the dialogue seems very clunky in what it’s trying to address, however this has been one of the more stand out episodes and I can’t wait to see how series 2 finishes.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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[Source:
DWO]

11 August 2020

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

2.10: From Out Of The Rain

From Out Of The Rain feels like a true Torchwood episode once again. This time around, we’ve left behind the very heavily character driven stories which we’ve had recently. It was nice for the series to step into the weird and wonderful themes of horror once again. With this episode written by Peter Hammond who wrote the amazing Small Worlds, it was no surprise that it was very reminiscent to series one.

 

The start of the episode builds up the creepily dramatic flare with the Ghostmaker, a stereotypical showman with his top hat and big moustache, welcoming all people into his circus. It’s a true classic horror in the way it is filmed, feeling as if you’re someone wondering around the circus, as everyone looks towards the camera. The Ghostmaker hands a girl a ticket to the circus when all of a sudden, the whole circus disappears, leaving only the girls mother behind. This story feels like it could be straight out of a Sarah Jane Adventure series.

 

In true Torchwood style, they are already on the case, as Ianto finds some rift disturbance at an old cinema he used to go to as a kid. As they watch the film believed to be old footage of Cardiff, the Ghostmaker mysteriously appears, gesturing to the audience to come up to the screen. The themes of the circus living within the film is a truly horrifying concept, as it suggests the possibility of the circus performers eternal life. In a shocking twist, it turns out that Jack went undercover to find out what these circus performers were up to 80 years ago, when many people went missing when the circus came to town. This would have been an amazing path to take to delve into Jack’s history once more as he tries to cover up who originally sent him. That would have been the moment to develop Jack’s character just a little more, but unfortunately was missed.

 

What’s nice about this story, is it’s very heavily lead by Ianto as he seeks to find out who these people are and why they’re taking the souls and the very essence of their being. It really gives Ianto a leadership side which we haven’t seen previously in stories. If we wanted to go down the more character driven route as with Owen previously, this would have been Ianto’s time to shine.

 

Another missed opportunity was with the Ghostmaker and Pearl. The idea of these two going around capturing life essences from people is great, but the threat of the whole situation seemed incredibly mild in comparison to other events the Torchwood team have endured. What would have been amazing, was if the circus had already re established itself travelling around the country and everyone started to disappear again; it would have created more of a deadly impact for the team to sort out. However, the resolution to this episode is a quick finale as if they were running out of time for the episode. 

 

The Torchwood team quickly work out the only way they can stop the night travellers from taking the life of any more people, is to destroy the film they were living in. It’s a great concept, but it would have been more amazing if the team had to work this out in a last minute escapade. It’s never really explained why the circus people are doing what they are doing - they just seem to appear and not do all that much. What would have been amazing is if they turned out to be some kind of alien water vampire, or was that the plot of “Waters of Mars” I’m thinking about? Instead, we get a very speedy, Jack saves the day again ending, which has become a repetitive problem throughout Torchwood as a series.

 

Overall From Out of the Rain had a great concept that could have been helped with maybe this being a two part story. There are so many opportunities to establish character and plot, however it was all very rushed to fill the 40 minute time frame. There is a great little twist at the end of the episode. Just as Jack is about the put the flask away that captured the souls for the circus performers, a boy and his dad find another film canister with the same logo as the flask has on it. Has Jack really defeated the night travellers?


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

9 August 2020

Big Finish Productions, in association with BBC Studios, today announces the long-awaited return of Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor in a brand new series of audio adventures.

First seen on screen in 2005, Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor introduced a whole new generation of fans to Doctor Who.

Now he's back in Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures - a brand-new series of twelve fantastic full-cast audio adventures in space and time, due to be released across four box sets, starting with volume one in May 2021.

Christopher Eccleston said:

“After 15 years it will be exciting to revisit the Ninth Doctor's world, bringing back to life a character I love playing.”

Story details, writers and additional guest cast are being kept under wraps at present but this Doctor Who audio series promises to be, once again, the trip of a lifetime.

Big Finish’s Chairman, Jason Haigh-Ellery said:

“I first talked to Christopher about returning to the role of the Doctor at a fan convention in February this year. Christopher said he was enjoying meeting the fans and was pleased that his Doctor was remembered so fondly. I am so pleased that Christopher has decided to return to the role with us – and I'm excited to welcome him to the Big Finish family as we discover the new adventures of the Ninth Doctor.”

Big Finish’s Creative Director, Nicholas Briggs, added:

“Working with Chris was a very special time for me. The beginning of my Doctor Who TV career. So, writing for and directing him feels incredibly exciting. He’s such a powerful performer and it’ll be amazing to work with him again.”

Doctor Who fans worldwide can now pre-order all four volumes, which are available in three formats – collector’s edition CD, digital download or limited edition gatefold triple LP vinyl – exclusively from the Big Finish website.

Each of the four volumes in Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures will be released as a 4-disc collector’s edition box set or download containing three brand-new full cast audio adventures, plus a selection of behind-the-scenes extras.

Below is the teaser trailer, released by Big Finish:

;

[Source: Big Finish]

6 August 2020

Big Finish has today revealed its final contribution to the Doctor Who multi-platform adventure Time Lord Victorious with a new limited edition vinyl – starring David Tennant and Paul McGann

Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious - Echoes of Extinction comprises of two separate adventures that listeners can play in any order and form a greater narrative.

This very special double-A side vinyl Doctor Who release features a different incarnation of the Doctor on each side and will be released on split red/blue vinyl.

Trapped, a haunted monster waits to consume new victims. It needs help. It needs a doctor. Unfortunately, it also needs to kill whoever it meets. Thrust into immediate danger, and on the back-foot, it will take all of the Doctor’s ingenuity to triumph.

Two interlinked adventures. Two Doctors. One foe. 

The stellar supporting cast also includes Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, Broadchurch), Burn Gorman (Torchwood, The Expanse), Mina Anwar (The Thin Blue Line, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Kathryn Drysdale (Benidorm, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) and Paul Clayton (The Crown, Him and Her).

David Tennant said:

“The Doctor in Time Lord Victorious is a different character. He's slightly lonelier, slightly scratchier, when he doesn't have one of his pals to hold him back. But it's nice to tell stories from different times of his life. You just have to try and make sure you're in the right mindset. The script is fascinating. I've only got one side of it, but I'm very aware there's more to this story, that there's another Doctor on the other side of the disc. I look forward to getting my LP so I can listen to it all.”

Paul McGann added:

“I've read this script twice through and I'm still none the wiser. I'm more confused after the second time than I was after the first. It's only while working on it that I've become aware of how it's going to be structured. It really appeals to me, the idea that it's in two parts, on two sides of vinyl. I think it's fun for people listening. Part of the excitement is when the different incarnations meet... or nearly meet.”

Writer and Producer Alfie Shaw said:

“Director Scott Handcock has pulled together an amazing who’s who of Doctor Who for the cast. We’ve got alumni from the series as well as Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. It’s been an honour to create Big Finish’s first commissioned-for-vinyl story, and utterly thrilling to write for both the Eighth and Tenth Doctors.” 

The vinyl will launch in selected UK ASDA stores on 27th November 2020.

A digital download of the story will be available globally from the Big Finish website from 4th December 2020 and is now available for pre-order at £8.99.

[Source: BBC Studios]

3 August 2020

DWO have received the cover art and details for the upcoming DVD, Blu-ray & Steelbook release of Doctor Who's missing serial Fury From The Deep, which will be released on 14th September 2020.

Following the success of existing animations The Power of the Daleks, The Faceless Ones, Shada and The Macra Terror, Fury From The Deep fills another gap in missing Doctor Who content lost in the purge of the BBC’s archive in 1975.

The three-disc release gives fans the opportunity to enjoy Fury From The Deep in high definition, either in full colour or in black & white. The release will include the surviving clips from the original 1968 production as well.

Fury From The Deep is told across six episodes and stars Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. The storyline concerns a colony of sentient, parasitic seaweed, last seen in the eighteenth century, returning to attack a number of gas instillations in the North Sea in an attempt to take over humanity.

Animated episodes from Big Finish Creative Limited in association with Digitoonz Media & Entertainment and Thaumaturgy are joined by a wealth of exciting extras.

A making-of featurette ‘The Cruel Sea - Surviving Fury From The Deep’ sees original cast members Frazer Hines, June Murphy and Brian Cullingford revisit filming locations with production assistant Michael Briant, assistant floor manager Margot Hayhoe and helicopter pilot Mike Smith. Other contributors to this segment include writer Victor Pemberton and actress Deborah Watling. There’s also an archive audio interview with director Hugh David.

Additional material includes: 

· Audio commentaries
· The Cruel Sea – Surviving Fury From The Deep
· Original surviving footage
· Behind The Scenes 8mm footage
· Animating Fury From The Deep
· Archive interviews with Peter Day and Victor Pemberton
· Teaser Trailer
· Photo Gallery
· The Slide Audio Drama
· PDF scripts

Check out the teaser trailer in the player, below:

+  Fury From The Deep is released on 14th September 2020.
+  
PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk

[Source: BBC Studios]

28 July 2020

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

2.9: Something Borrowed

We start the episode with a flash back scene to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang where Gwen announces her engagement to Rhys. It was about time we finally faced the family of Rhys and Gwen, as keeping their lives and Torchwood separate couldn’t last much longer.

 

The best way I can describe this episode, is a more adult version of “The Wedding of Sara, out to kill Gwen who has been impregnated by a murderous shape-shifting alien - pure Torchwood. It’s a great way to make fun of soap opera style weddings which always end in some kind of disaster but with a sci-fi element to it. Gwen wanting the marriage to take place no matter what, really shows a strength of character and the love between Rhys and Gwen.

 

I do have to mention the issues of Gwen’s relationship with Owen, as again the affair from series 1 is never brought up, even at the key moment when Gwen has to be honest with Rhys about getting married because she loves him. What makes the situation even more awkward is in fact that Owen is there at the wedding with the pair of them. I do feel hugely sorry for Rhys in the series, as his character gives so much love and dedication, even to the point of marrying someone who is pregnant with an alien. He’s given no kind of redemption story arc for everything that has happened without his knowledge. This has been a problematic theme throughout Torchwood, but I’ve come to terms  with the fact that it’s something that will never now be resolved.

 

This episode reinforces the Torchwood cheesy storylines we’ve come to know and love. The shape-shifting alien mum out to kill Gwen, almost feels as if it was toned down in respect of the blood and gore which would fit in well with a “Sarah Jane Adventures” story line. To have the shape-shifting alien hide in between their relatives and even taking the form of Rhys’s mum, does create a somewhat comical effect as in a lot of Scooby-Doo style chase scenes that would work perfectly with the “Doctor Who” episode “Love and Monsters.” Again the problems are very quickly resolved with the Singularity Scalpel as it zaps away the alien baby before the mum can tear open Gwen’s stomach to get to it. The Singularity Scalpel is becoming as common as the sonic screwdriver from “Doctor Who.”

 

A lovely final moment for the relationship between Jack and Gwen is when Jack finally takes out the shape-shifter and he picks her up as a trophy. Realising that Rhys is there, Jack places her on the ground and puts Rhys and Gwen’s hands together saying “The hero always gets the girl.” Again it’s the final resolution that is needed for their relationship now that Gwen is committed to Rhys and loves him, so he should be the man with whom she celebrates her victories.

 

It does start to feel that Torchwood has found a truly good balance between the gore, sex and violence from its previous series. This is very prominent with Phil Ford’s writing, as he creates some fantastic one liners throughout the episode - “That’s what I love about Torchwood. By day, you’re chasing the scum of the universe, come midnight, you’re the wedding fairy.” It’s a wonderful send off, as the Torchwood team retcon the entire wedding so nobody will remember the event thats happened. That will be fun to explain when the wedding photos are finally developed. 

 

We finish the episode with a touching scene of Jack looking through all his past photos, which appear to date back to the late 1800’s. One is of what appears to be a wedding photo, as Jack softly smiles, reminiscing about his past life and why he feels so comfortable letting Gwen marry while she’s working in Torchwood. It’s a nice send off to the episode as the camera pulls back, and the world is right once again. 


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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

[Source:
DWO]

21 July 2020

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

2.8: A Day In The Death

A Day in the Death is a very solid story about what I’m calling the how Owen is coping with being dead saga. This episode heavily surrounds the character development of Owen, from being the arrogant man we saw in series 1, to a more understanding but still problematic character in the way he now has to come to terms with being dead.

 

The story delves into the world of death and the problems that surround life and how those two should intertwine. The great way in which this story is depicted, is because it’s from the narrative view point of Owen, as he sits next to Maggie, a woman who is about to take her own life. But what’s Owen doing there? Was he there first or was he there to help Maggie? 

 

We experience this story as a historical event, so whatever happens as the story progresses, Owen will always end up on the rooftop. It’s quite worrying to see his character stripped of his Torchwood duties as Jack is worried about Owen’s more fragile personality and physical state. Again in a retaliative response, Owen gives up everything that makes him seem human; his food, booze, aftershave and even the loo roll. He throws it all away as if he’s giving up all his material possessions and facing the harsh reality that he won’t be able to enjoy life the way he does anymore. The music progresses to a repetitive tune as he faces these facts. Owen not taking this very well, lashes out at Tosh yet again, as she pops over with a pizza, just to make sure Owen is ok.

 

Owen finally giving in, heads towards Cardiff Bay, runs and jumps into the bay to try and drown himself. However, he suddenly opens his eyes and pulls himself out as he realises he can’t drown if he can’t breathe. Captain Jack, conveniently in the same area at the time it happened, watches Owen as he pulls himself out of the bay and queries for how long will this keep going? 

 

The whole theme of Owen being dead, heavily impacts the story, as millionaire alien artefact collector Parker (played by the wonderful Richard Briers) has a device that’s going to blow up the whole of Cardiff. Again, we have the typical Torchwood Mcguffin, as this alien device must be stopped. Owen is the only man who can stop Parker using the device, but he has to get through the heat sensors in the house without being detected. Owen and Parker have quite a nice but short bonding session over the themes of death and the resemblances it has with being alive. Being in a dark room, all alone, it all seems to be working well until Parker has his fourth and final heart attack, dying in front of Owen. To Owen’s horror, he can’t give him CPR as he doesn’t breathe and therefore can’t save Parker.

 

So this appears to be why Owen is on top of the roof with Maggie. It also turns out that the alien device is called the Pulse and it isn’t actually a nasty bomb but a message from beyond the stars, from aliens Torchwood haven’t met. Owen uses this symbolic moment to help Maggie, who we later find out is trying to kill herself as her husband died on their wedding day. It’s symbolic of a message of hope for the both of them, to carry on living and reflect on their past, which they’ve both done in this story.

 

What this story does so well, is it finally gives Owen some kind of resolution. He accepts the fact that he is now dead, because to be fair, for how long could the woe is me storyline play out before the audience themselves find the repetitiveness of the themes uninteresting. The major flaw for me, is not a reflection on this specific episode, but  the overall issues of Martha returning. Unfortunately, I feel for the past three episodes she was in, her character was heavily underused as it played under the Owen accepting death story arc. I wish we had one more episode with Martha after this, to establish her relationship with the Torchwood team, as Jack says she can come back at any point.

 

With the Torchwood team back to their usual antics, where will this take the final few episodes of the series? Only time will tell.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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

[Source:
DWO]

14 July 2020

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

2.7: Dead Man Walking

The themes of this storyline, compare very closely to the ‘Doctor Who’ episodes “The Impossible Planet” and “The Satan Pit”.

 

From the  experience of the dramatic cliffhanger concerning Owen’s death in “Reset”, I was ready for the emotional impact of losing another Torchwood member. Even with Owen’s problematic traits, the other Torchwood members have a strong connection with him. You feel grief on their behalf, that is until Captain Jack comes running through the door claiming he has a way to save Owen.

 

The character I do feel most sorry for in this whole story is Martha. I was hugely excited as we finally had the chance to see her use her skills as a UNIT doctor to help the Torchwood team grow and develop into an awesome team. However, she’s sidelined in Owen’s story and then turned into an old woman by the resurrection glove. 

 

I do like the way Ianto has a sassy joke about there being another resurrection glove, as they usually come in pairs. It’s a throw back to series one where they tried to bring Suzie back and are now using the same technique with Owen. Miraculously Owen is back, and again he stays alive after the 30 seconds -  but what energy is keeping him alive? It turns out it literally is Death itself that is keeping Owen alive, using him as a portal to get through to earth to take it over again. The event leads to quite a dramatic cliffhanger style event, which is very oddly cut away from as Death goes to attack everyone; suddenly we’re in the hospital to look after Martha? I am assuming there must have been a scene to tie these together, but it leads to a somewhat abrupt and very confusing episode that feels very clunky in its story telling. 

 

The themes of death have been a recurring aspect from series one, as you can’t have a main character who is immortal without addressing the consequences of cheating death. In terms of Owen, he’s not like Jack. All his bodily functions have stopped working, leading to a somewhat revolting scene as he throws up beer in a police cell as he can’t digest the alcohol. It’s a really weirdly comical scene for the tone of the episode which is meant to be quite sombre with Owen trying to take everything in about being alive again. Its conflicting themes, tend to leave the scenes in this episode somewhat jarring and pardon the pun, leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

 

Unfortunately for me, the character of Owen hasn’t been that likeable, so it’s been really tough trying to feel sorry for him as the episode progresses. I found this especially in the scene when he emotionally hugs Gwen. It reminds me of the time Gwen drugged Rhys for cheating on him with Owen and eventually leads to no real consequences for either of those actions. It is also the case for Tosh who finally confesses her love for Owen, something which is cruelly dismissed by Owen. Again she is sidelined for the rest of the story.  

 

I really wanted to like this story as series two of Torchwood has made a vast improvement with its story telling over the last couple of episodes. There are some elements to this story which are very quickly glossed over or too easily resolved. This is where we come to the hugely clunky part of the story, the fight between Owen and Death. So Death needs 13 souls to transfer his energy to the Earth and live permanently there. So the resolution to the story? Owen, in a very awkward wrestling match, throws Death around for a bit as he’s a man with nothing to lose, quite literally as he’s not alive and somehow that defeats Death once again. There’s no real explanation to anything that has happened in this story, not even a throw away line of some techno-babble. The only thing that continues with the series arc, is there is something to the darkness of death that is coming. Does Jack know what it is and has he seen it himself?

 

How long will the Torchwood team be able to keep Owen safe or will this end up being a tale like the film “Death Becomes Her”? Only time will tell.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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

[Source:
DWO]

12 July 2020

Publisher: Independently Published

Written By: Meg MacDonald

RRP: £3.99 / $4.99 (Kindle) | £12.99 / $15.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 13th July 2020

Meg MacDonald's world building is the first thing that hits you in Oath Sworn; an epic gaslamp fantasy that feels so much bigger than the sum of its parts. The sheer scale and richness of detail make this a read that even Tolkien would be proud of - for this is the calibre that the author deserves to be compared to.

To give you but a taste of what we mean, here is an extract, mere pages into the first chapter:

"Beyond mullioned windows, the late-winter sky was plum-dark, the low-lying parish streets cloaked in mist. Even on a clear night, the broad expanse of the northern heavens offered precious little moonlight so close to year’s end. Only a single moon shone brightly, the others waning crescents, slivers of melting ice soon to turn dark faces on their world."

It's by far one of the most original fantasy stories we've read in a long time, and we've read some truly fantastic titles over the past few years. Think Lord Of The Rings meets Star Wars meets The Witcher and you are starting to enter an adjacent postcode to Aralt's world.

We drew the comparison to Tolkien at the start and like The Fellowship Of The Ring, it's a slow build, but one that you can savour every description and character that graces the page. There's adventure, too... You want sky pirates - you got it! Awesome weapons in the form of crystal swords that are tuned to the hands of their keepers - you got it! A foreboding enemy hell-bent on destroying souls - you better believe it! 

There's bags of emotion, too; due to the hard work put in early on, you really care for the characters and cultures within, and the tumultuous relationship between the main protagonists (Aralt & Lian), will keep you entertained throughout. Not ashamed to say we *may* have reached for the tissues more than once.

All the effort put in by both the author and the reader at the start, gradually build to an epic conclusion - you could not of hoped for a better conclusion than the one we get here!

One final thing we would be remiss not to mention and which we absolutely loved were the many journal extracts, teachings and notations that prefaced each chapter. Whether or not it was intentional, they allowed for a brief pause to take yourself out of the action and ponder the sentiments, before being launched back in again. Excellent tool from the author!

To have left things where they are in just one book would have been a disservice to all the hard work that MacDonald has poured into Oath Sworn, and without giving anything away, we thankfully have a sequel in the form of Blood Sworn, which is slated for release later this year!

If you want an engrossing Summer read that will take you away to a far off world (and then some) - THIS is the book for you!

+  Oath Sworn is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @Kyrrimar (Meg MacDonald) on Twitter.

8 July 2020

BBC Audio and Demon Records have today announced that they will be publishing a brand new Doctor Who audio story for the Tenth Doctor as part of the Time Lord Victorious multi-platform adventure.

Doctor Who: The Minds of Magnox will be released on CD and digital download by BBC Audio on 3rd December and will be released on vinyl by Demon Records on 4th December, marking the first simultaneous publication of a BBC Audio title across CD, digital and vinyl formats. The CD and digital editions will also feature a short Coda to the story.

The audio story is available to pre-order on Amazon and Audible now and will be available to purchase globally.

In this original story, the Doctor travels with Brian, the Ood assassin, to the planet Magnox, one of the greatest receptacles of knowledge the universe will ever know, and home to the Minds of Magnox. The Doctor needs to ask a vital question, but the answer is Grade 1 Classified. In order to gain an audience with the Minds of Magnox he must take a dangerous test.

Meanwhile, Brian gets involved with a criminal group and is asked to assassinate the Minds of Magnox. However, others also have the planet within their sights...

Doctor Who: The Minds of Magnox is written by Darren Jones and narrated by Jacob Dudman. Darren Jones has written several previous Doctor Who stories for BBC Audio, including Doctor Who: Paradise Lost, Sleepers in the Dust and The Eye of the Jungle.

Jacob Dudman has previously read Doctor Who: Paradise Lost for BBC Audio, and has recently starred in Netflix’s The Stranger alongside Richard Armitage.

+  Time Lord Victorious: The Minds Of Magnox is released on 3rd December 2020, priced £10.99.
+  PREORDER this product on Amazon.co.uk for just £9.98!
+  DISCUSS the Doctor Who audio released in the DWO Forums!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

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