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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.

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27 August 2021

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Lisa McMullin, Tim Foley & Timothy X Atack

RRP: £24.99 (CD) | £19.99 (Download)

Release Date: August 2021

Reviewed by: Robert Emlyn Slater for Doctor Who Online

"Three brand new adventures featuring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor.

2.1 Girl, Deconstructed by Lisa McMullin

Marnie is missing. But she hasn't run away, as her dad fears - Marnie is still very much at home. But not quite as she was.

The Doctor joins forces with Missing Persons detective Jana Lee to help solve the mystery of a girl who's gone to pieces.

2.2 Fright Motif by Tim Foley

In post-War Paris, musician Artie Berger has lost his mojo, but gained a predator - something that seeps through the cracks of dissonance to devour the unwary.

Luckily for Artie, the Doctor is here. Unluckily for everyone, he needs bait to trap a monster...

2.3 Planet Of The End by Timothy X Atack

The Doctor arrives on a mausoleum world for sightseeing and light pedantry, correcting its planetary records. The resident AI has other ideas.

Deep within a tomb, something stirs. Occasus is the last resting place of a species far too dangerous to exist. And the Doctor is its way back."

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

Christopher Eccleston is back again in Respond to All Calls, the second volume in Big Finish’s Ninth Doctor Adventures series. In three more adventures spanning the past, a future world, and Dundee, the Ninth Doctor literally does what the title of the boxset suggests, and responds to all distress calls that come his way.

The boxset gets off to a very strong start with Girl, Deconstructed, which was written by Lisa McMullin. Set in Dundee in 2004, this story follows Missing Persons detective Jana Lee (Pearl Appleby) who is on the hunt for children who have seemingly vanished into thin air. Meanwhile, the Doctor is tracking a distress call from Marnie (Mirren Mack), a young Scottish girl who’s disappeared too…or has she?

In my opinion, this is the strongest story of the set, and easily my favourite so far from both volumes. The story was engaging and kept me hooked right until the very end, the performances from all involved, Eccleston, Appleby, and Mack, in particular, were excellent, and I felt as though I knew the characters inside out by the time the end credits rolled. Unlike the stories from the last volume, this really did feel like it could have easily have slotted into Series One in 2005. That’s not a criticism of the last boxset, by the way, it’s just the down to Earth nature of Girl, Deconstructed was more in keeping with the feel of Series One, that’s all. 

The small cast of characters gave this story a more intimate, contained feel which I really enjoyed, and the dynamic between Doctor and Jana was fun and left me wanting more adventures with them. 

I also got series 1 vibes from the ‘antagonists’ (if you can call them that) of this story too. McMullin’s story features a race called the Serapheem, a species of tiny dust-like aliens that accidentally cause humans some issues without trying to, in a similar vein to what the Nanogenes did in The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. Whilst the ‘misunderstood aliens’ theme does feel as though it’s been done a hundred times before now, it really didn’t take away from the story as a whole. 

The second episode, Fright Motif by Tim Foley, is set in Paris, 1946, and features a musician called Artie who’s lost his groove and is currently being stalked by a vicious inter-dimensional monster made of sound. Once again, this tight contained story could just as easily fit into Series One as the previous story, and its down to Earth nature is definitely one of its highlights. 

The limited cast of characters works in this story’s favour too, and once more gives us an opportunity to get to know the Doctor’s new friends over the 45-minute run time. Though Artie (Damian Lynch) is the main focus of this episode, and he does give a great performance where he actually does sound genuinely depressed about the loss of his muse, it’s Maurice Le Bon (Adrian Schiller), the grumpy, snooty hotel manager, who really steals the show. It’s his character who we learn the most about, and it's his character who goes on the biggest emotional journey. The scene where he visits the flat of the man he loved was very touching and extremely well done too. A definite highlight of the episode. 

Gemma Whelan is also in this episode, but not as the Meddling Nun as she was in Dalek Universe 1 (or the upcoming Missy 3). This time around she plays Zazie, Artie’s friend. I do feel as though she was sidelined a little in this story, with Lynch and Schiller getting the biggest chunks of emotion and story, but it’s still a top performance from Whelan. 

This story, again, has some similarities to what’s come before on TV. An artist who’s struggling with his muse being stalked by an invisible creature? Sound familiar? Whilst I do still think Vincent and the Doctor did this kind of story better, Fright Motif is still an entertaining way to pass an hour or so, and features yet another excellent performance from Christopher Eccleston, who, somehow, keeps going from strength to strength. Foley has nailed the Ninth Doctor in this episode, and the Time Lord's constant stream of witty one-liners and sarcastic comments give this episode a huge boost, especially at times when it feels like it’s slowing down. 

If Girl, Deconstructed and Fright Motif are very Series One-esque, then The Planet Of The End by Timothy X Atack is something else entirely. The great thing about Big Finish is that they can explore interesting, complex new worlds and stories that would perhaps be too expensive or complicated to put on tv. In this story, on the deserted cemetery world of Occasus, the Doctor is kept busy for a very long time as his regenerative abilities are exploited by the money-hungry Incorporation.  

The thing with exploring the Ninth Doctor pre-Rose is that he doesn’t have a full-time companion yet. Throughout this boxset, the Doctor has been meeting new temporary companions to help him in his adventures, and I think Fred (Margret Clunie) in this episode is my favourite of the lot. Fred is an AI who’s started to develop a personality and is so endearing, and her chemistry with the Doctor and growth as a character is so much fun to listen to, that I really wish we could have just a few more episodes with her.

This episode is a bit different from the others too in that it takes place over a very long period of time - 90 years in fact. The Doctor is incapacitated for a lot of the story, and parts of it take place inside his mind, which I thought was really interesting and very different from anything we saw on-screen back in 2005. 

I think this is the episode that stretches Eccleston’s acting chops as the Doctor the most (from the audio dramas) too. It gives him so much to do (including having a motivational chat with himself at one point), and I really do like to think that Eccleston was having a great time acting out this episode (and the boxset as a whole). 

The only factor that stops this episode from being my favourite is that it was a little too complex at times. I struggled to keep up in the last few minutes, but maybe that was just me not paying attention properly. I also feel as though the ‘evil businessmen/corporation who only care about money’ trope has been done a million times before too, so I wasn’t too interested in the villains of the piece unfortunately. 

Other than that these minor issues, this is a great end to the second volume of adventures in the Ninth Doctor series! 

The stand-out performance of this boxset is obviously Christopher Eccleston. I was worried that he wouldn’t sound as interested or as ‘into it’ as he did in the first boxset, but I was thankfully proven wrong, yet again. He’s amazing. He’s such a good actor and such a good Doctor, and I’m so, so glad that he decided to come back. He’s been tested in so many different ways already in the 6 episodes Big Finish have already provided us with, and I really can’t wait to see where they (and Eccleston) take his character next. The next boxset features the return of the Cybermen, so I’m really excited to see how the Ninth Doctor deals with them! 

Overall, this is yet another success from Big Finish. This is 3 more strong stories for the Ninth Doctor, written by three excellent writers who have nailed Eccleston’s Time Lord perfectly. Fantastic stuff! 

+ 9DA 1.2: Respond To All Calls is OUT NOW, priced £24.99 (CD) | £19.99 (D/L).

+ ORDER this title from Big Finish!

23 August 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Terry Geo

RRP: £9.49 / $9.38 (Paperback) | £3.99 / $5.48 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

When we think of Science Fiction, our first thought is almost always that of a futuristic plot, but Refraction by British author, Terry Geo, is a very different beast, set in our present, but still with all the bells and whistles you could hope for in a book of this genre.

At its heart, this is a story about dreams and how they can be harnessed, but, in fact, this only scratches the surface of what Geo explores, and the ramifications for our characters. Speaking of characters, there’s a wonderfully diverse mix, with rich backstories given for each of them. We're also given different aspects of dreams which are attributed to these characters - a fascinating way to explore the lucidity and yet complex nature of our dream world.

Despite being a science fiction story, there's so much reality in Geo's writing; not just the familiar around us, but the way in which characters interact with one another. Right off in Chapter One we go from San Francisco to Bedford in just a couple of pages - the first time we've ever seen Bedford in a SciFi novel :) It's then onto Yorkshire with a very real situation that a lot of family-owned farmers find themselves in; giving up their dreams to follow the family business. Without wanting to digress, the author hails from Derbyshire and the few people we do know from that part of the UK are as down-to-earth and 'keep it real' as you can get. Despite the SciFi nature of the book, that very same 'keep it real' approach, grounds Refraction at even its most 'out there' moments - and it's to the credit of the story (and Derbyshire)!

It's also in these mundane moments that the genius of Geo's writing blooms; the juxtaposition of these ordinary moments against the exciting world of dreams creates a richer story - just as lucid as the worlds we explore when we're sleeping.

It's clear the author enjoyed the process of writing Refraction; there are so many nods and winks to  TV programmes and Movies from yesteryear - even computer games we played as kids. Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Super Mario, Donkey Kong - heck, even Flight Of The Navigator all get a namecheck here, and every mention peppered throughout gives you a warm, Mr Kipling-esque feeling as you reconnect with moments from yesteryear.

There's a big rug-pull moment, which we won't spoil, but it's testament to the journey the author takes us on in Refraction. The skill in its execution and the journey it takes to get there in the set piece, is utter brilliance. This is Geo's first novel, and we were blown away by this fact due to the level of literary mastery and detail in the world-building. We highly recommend this book and eagerly await the author’s next release.

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

21 August 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Michael A. Gordon

RRP: £7.95 / $9.99 (Paperback) | £0.99p / $1.37 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Barnaby Brown And The Time Machine is the first instalment in Michael A. Gordon's thrilling time travel series. The story follows the titular Barnaby Brown - a 15-year-old boy from England - now living in New York (and very much missing his favourite brand of bread). As well as the bread, Barnaby is missing his old life; he lives with his Mother and mad scientist Uncle Finch, who spends most of his time in the basement.

It is in this basement that Barnaby discovers the doorway to a new, exciting life, and Gordon's way of introducing it is classically magical. Whether it's Lucy Pevensie discovering the wardrobe to Narnia or Kay Harker discovering the magic of the box of delights, you feel that same warmth and familiarity when Barnaby and his friends make their way down to his uncle's basement in Chapter Three.

Kudos to the author for his incredible detail behind the time travel elements; there's lots of science and common sense behind how the time machine actually works and the ramifications of altering history, and as the story progresses, you'd be forgiven for believing that time travel could actually be possible (who knows...perhaps it could be?!). 

There's such a wonderful balance of drama, humour and suspense; as for the humour in particular, there are several laugh out lout moments that spring to mind, namely the absolute corker of a line; "There’s no point turning up for the birth of Christ in jeans.".

With thrills, shocks, scares, rescues and a decidedly perfect villain to round things off, Barnaby Brown And The Time Machine is the time-hopping adventure tonic we could all do with right now.

At the time of writing there are five books in the series, with Barnaby Brown And The Dark Star being the most recent. After this first instalment, we cannot wait to see where Barnaby's adventures take him next!

+  Barnaby Brown And The Time Machine is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @MAGauthor (Michael A. Gordon) on Twitter.
+  Follow @SebastianJBrook (Sebastian J. Brook) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

20 August 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Giorgio Garofalo

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

Reviewed by: Nathan Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Source: Chop Shop Store]

5 August 2021

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Roy Gill, John Dorney & Robert Valentine

RRP: £24.99 (CD) / £19.99 (Download)

Release Date: July 2021

Reviewed by: Robert Emlyn Slater for Doctor Who Online

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

2.1 Cycle of Destruction by Roy Gill

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

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

2.2 The Trojan Dalek by John Dorney

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

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

2.3 The Lost by Robert Valentine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ ORDER this title from Big Finish!

29 July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Chibnall says:

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

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

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

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

Jodie Whittaker adds:

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

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

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama says

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

[Source: BBC Studios]

18 July 2021

Publisher: Inklings Publishing

Written By: Fern Brady

RRP: £12.04 / $14.95 (Paperback) | £3.92 / $5.43 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Nathan Jones

Fern Brady's United Vidden - the first book in her Thyreins’s Galactic Wall series - is a highly creative, compelling Science Fantasy / Space Opera story set in an imagined future of our universe, with a unique romance theme at its core.

The story revolves around Princess Verena, daughter of the widowed King Dekkyle, ruler of Dravidia—the northern half of the Vidden continent on planet Jorn, one of fifty-one major populated planets in Thyrien’s Galactic Wall (wall, we believe, meaning galaxy). The second major player is Prince Amiel, ruler of the southern half of the Vidden continent—Aulden. Amiel seems set on ruling over the whole continent and winning the heart of the fair and courageous Princess Verena. His motivations, however, are questionable.

Across the eastern Black Ocean, or western Green Ocean, the Gortive people of the Parthia continent seem to be preparing for war, so perhaps a United Vidden would be in favour its people, who usurped the aboriginal Gortive from “their” lands eons earlier.

More than anything else, United Vidden is a wonderful combination of royal court drama (reminiscent of Elizabethan times) and adventure. The changing allegiances of the aristocracy as the story progresses are captivating and led by the intriguing twists and turns of the masterful plot. The main characters are truly unforgettable and far from static, changing and developing as the gripping story unfolds. Their tempestuous journeys make this a real page-turner.

The machinations of the Wall’s magical religious sects (Rajin, Nijar, The Elamin Order, and more) overlay the plotting and romances of the book’s “ordinary” folk. And on a higher level than this, we get hints at The Wall’s interplanetary politics, between members of the Intergalactic Council such as planets Schol, Drulin, Fratern, and Fridgia. The various levels of power and influence give the read a true sense of being a space opera, along the lines of Frank Herbert’s Dune.

This book would make an amazing movie, it very much plays out like a blockbuster in the reader’s head. One that would appeal to both Sci-fi and Fantasy fans. Understandably, as this is the first book in a series, many of the plot lines remain open at the climax, but the ending of the novel is very satisfying regardless.

As this was released in June, 2020, we’re very much hoping the sequel will be released sometime soon.

+  United Vidden is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @Fbrady03 (Fern Brady) on Twitter.
+  Follow @NathanJonesBook (Nathan Jones) on Twitter

16 July 2021

Back in May, a section from the old BBC Doctor Who 'FAQ' page turned up online, with fans concerned at the policy on fan fiction and artwork. The policy read as follows:

Can I create Doctor Who fan fiction?
You are welcome to write Doctor Who fiction for your own enjoyment, but we should remind you that it is not permitted for you to publish this work either in print or online.

Following a growing number of worried tweets from fans wanting to know if this was still current policy, DWO got in touch with the BBC Brand Protection Team for clarification on the matter. Yesterday we received their official reply:

Hi Sebastian,

Thank you for your email.

In answer to your question, while we do not have objections to fans creating and publishing their own Doctor Who inspired fiction, artwork or other content, we request that these do not copy a substantial part of the Doctor Who TV programmes or other official Doctor Who content such as scripts, books, magazines, artwork or photography.

Also, we request to avoid use of official Doctor Who or BBC logos and would appreciate if the fan art is not presented in a way as to suggest or confuse viewers into believing that the fan creations are ‘official’ Doctor Who content, or are endorsed by or associated with the BBC. In this regard, we ask fans to add a clear and visible disclaimer stating that the content is fan-made and un-official. 

As for the old BBC FAQ section you have attached in your correspondence, we confirm this is no longer available.

We trust this is helpful for you.

Kind regards

Content & Brand Protection Team

The response definitely shows a shift in policy, and whilst there are some important requests from the BBC in way of the use of logos and existing text, they appear to be embracing the creativity of fandom more. This is a truly positive step from the BBC, and one that many fans will appreciate.

[Sources: DWO, BBC Content & Brand Protection Team]

14 July 2021

Publisher: Journey Fiction

Written By: Grimly Darkwood

RRP: £9.99 / $9.99 (Paperback) | £1.46 / $2.01 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Grimly Darkwood's 'The Shop On Peculiar Hill' (book 1 in his 'The Vale Of Strange' series), is a captivating children's fantasy that equally and wonderfully captures the imaginations of adults alike.

The story focuses on Peter - an orphan who has been sent to live with his Uncle Bob and Aunt Maggie, who are shop owners in (the awesomely named) Peculiarshire. Lurking within Peculiarshire is the mysterious Vale Of Strange - a foreboding place where tourists go missing and are never heard of again. A young boy goes missing and Peter, together with new-found friend, Amanda, begin a truly thrilling journey to discover what is really going on...

The author has peppered the mystery, intrigue and suspense perfectly throughout the book, and despite being aimed at kids, even as an adult I have to admit that it had me on the edge of my seat on several occasions. There are shocks and scares and Heeble-Greebs and...ahem...Bogeys (no, not those kind), and at every turn, there’s a genius new plot twist or device that propels the reader into the adventure further.

Whilst there is darkness, Darkwood gives us a much needed dose of humour throughout. Actual laugh-out-loud moments, that make you question whether the author had a previous life as a comedian! This balance of dark and light sews together a truly charming adventure that feels so much larger than the sum of its parts.

Everything is so vivid and visual - even in the darker places, and you cannot help but hope that this gets turned into a tv series or movie. Its practically begging for the big screen!

The reader can be forgiven for drawing parallels to Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events, as there is definitely a similar vibe here, also flavours of Harry Potter with the in-depth, in-world characters and ecology, but Darkwood very much cuts his own creepy path here. 

Book 2 ('Stranger Days On Peculiar Hill') is already out, and you better believe we're going to be along for the ride to find out what happens next in this brilliantly bonkers fantasy for all!

+  The Shop On Peculiar Hill is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @DarkwoodGrimly (Grimly Darkwood) on Twitter.

5 July 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Jim Hamilton

RRP: £8.09 / $9.95 (Paperback) | £1.64 / $2.27 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Back in April we had the pleasure of reviewing Jim Hamilton's first entry in his Chaos Trilogy; The Chaos Machine - an epic Science Fiction adventure that spans 7000 years. For book 2; Second Contact, Hamilton brings down the timeframe from 7000 years (in the first book) to a much smaller one here, but don't think that you get short-changed on any of the action... It's all here in spades, and we'd actually argue that this is an ever better story than the first.

"When aliens from different parts of the Universe encounter each other in 5342 AB, old friendships are renewed and new friendships begin as 19-year-old Cassiopeia upends the ancient Shoomaran Empire. And when she's done, nothing in the Universe will ever be the same again."

Set mainly in the year 5342AB, we follow our protagonist, Cassiopeia (and by god what a great, strong female lead she is) who is at the centre of a multi-faceted fight for Human / Shoomaran acceptance and harmony. This is moreso a political tale that its precursor (akin to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace), where you can almost foresee the foreboding ramifications if our heroine isn't successful in her mission.

Ultimately, this is a story of hope - something that in a year of viruses and restrictions and lockdowns, we can all sympathise with. That hope resonates with the reader - not just because of the events in the story, but for the parallels of our own world.

Once again we have clear-cut characters who are believable and naturalistic in the way they're described as well as their inter-species dialogue. Sure there are aliens, but Hamilton paints them in such a real way that suspends your disbelief without question.

As with The Chaos Machine, the author's use of timelines is genius; whilst on the outside it may look complex with all the many strands, Hamilton's peripheral hand-holding (without patronising) really makes you feel like you are present in the action, and it somehow all somehow feels transpicuous.

This is an author who is clearly full of great ideas and knows exactly how to execute them. He also knows how to hold onto ideas and put them in his back pocket for use later. Little things from book 1 come back here for book 2, and its not hard to see how the events in Second Contact are going to play out in the third part of the trilogy (Mankind 2.0). Another palpable hit here from Hamilton!

+  Second Contact is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @Chaosity8 (Jim Hamilton) on Twitter.

2 July 2021

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: David Llewellyn

RRP: £10.99 (CD) / £8.99 (Download)

Release Date: June 2021

Reviewed by: Robert Emlyn Slater for Doctor Who Online

"Paris, 1809. The Fifth Doctor takes a tour of the Catacombs and meets a sassy Time Agent doing the same...

Paris, 1944. The Tenth Doctor misses his target and lands in occupied France. He hides from the Nazis – in the Catacombs.

A collision of two Doctors' timelines triggers a temporal catastrophe, granting the Cybermen dominion over the Earth.

The Doctors must travel back in time to find the source of the Cyber-invasion and close the Gates of Hell..."

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

Fourteen years after Time Crash, the Tenth and Fifth Doctors reunite in Paris, as they battle Cybermen and try and close the Gates of Hell in this second volume from the Out of Time mini-series. 

Out of Time 2: The Gates of Hell was arguably one of my most anticipated Big Finish releases for 2021, so I definitely went into it with high hopes. I think it’s pretty safe to say that it didn’t let me down.

David Llewellyn’s script wastes no time in getting down to business. Not as soon as the opening theme is over are we thrown into the adventure, with the Fifth Doctor encountering the Cybermen and meeting the Tenth Doctor in twentieth-century Paris. 

The story doesn’t really pause for breath once the Doctors unite, and we’re taken on a timey-wimey adventure featuring Cybermen, explosions, yet another Time Agent with an American accent, and a mysterious golden orb.

I’m cutting to the chase a bit here, but it was so much fun hearing David Tennant and Peter Davison bouncing off each other once again. Ten and Five sound like they really enjoy each other’s company, and almost seem to be reluctant to part ways at the end. I know I was hoping that they’d stay together and have a couple more adventures before sailing back off into the time vortex to go their separate ways. 

I’ve said before in a previous review that I find that multi-doctor stories can be a bit tedious at times, but that wasn’t the case at all in this story. There wasn’t really much of your typical multi-doctor ‘shenanigans’ and insult matches at play here, really. The Doctors just bumped into each other, teamed up, and got on with the job. Usually, multi-doctor adventures feel like big epic events, but I don’t feel like that was the case here, and that’s not a bad thing in the slightest. 

Also, the references to the past were a hell of a lot of fun too, and I loved the catty comments the pair made about the Fourth Doctor and Tegan. 

The guest cast in this adventure is minimal but strong. Shelley Conn plays a time agent called Tina Drake, who pretty much calls the shots and saves the day here, whilst Mark Gatiss was unrecognisable as Joseph Delon, the man who the Cybermen corrupted and turned into their slave. I had no clue Gatiss was even in this play, so I was particularly impressed to find out it had been him who’d been playing the evil Frenchman all along! It also goes without saying that Nicholas Briggs was great as the Cybermen too, as he always is, and he sounded really menacing going up against the two Doctors as they battled against them and attempted to foil their plans. Glen McCready also appears as both Marcel (Joseph’s father) and King Charles VI, and though I didn’t feel as if he had too much to do, he still gives a strong performance all the same.

If I had any criticisms of The Gates of Hell at all, it’s that a very interesting setting wasn’t explored nearly enough, which I was left a little disappointed by. Paris under Cyber-rule sounds like such an interesting, cool concept, and yet I feel like we hardly experienced any of it during this adventure. But with the audio only lasting an hour or so, things like that can’t really be helped. 

The pace of the story was definitely a big plus and made for a very entertaining hour on an otherwise boring Friday evening.

Overall, this is a great little adventure that will definitely keep you entertained for an hour, and will leave you wishing you had more time with Doctors Five, Ten, and the Cybermen. David Llewellyn’s script is tightly paced, and I really enjoyed how quickly he threw us into the adventure, and really appreciated all of his little nods to days gone by. The guest cast was very strong, and it’s always a good time when the Cybermen turn up and try and take over planet Earth. I could have quite easily listened to another hour of this story, as it was such a fun time! 

Out of Time has been a really entertaining mini-series so far, and long may it continue. I know we’re getting an adventure with Six, Ten, and the Weeping Angels next year, but here’s hoping that Doctor number ten get adventures with Doctors Seven, Eight, Nine, and hopefully even Five and Four again! Fingers crossed!

+ Out Of Time 2: The Gates Of Hell is OUT NOW, priced £10.99 (CD) / £8.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title from Big Finish!

1 July 2021

DWO's Matt Chambers takes a trip back in time to 1985 to play the Doctor Who text adventure video game; Doctor Who And The Warlord.

Don't forget to like, subscribe & comment on this video - we'd love to hear from you!

to the DWO YouTube channel!
+ FOLLOW @DrWhoOnline
on Twitter!
+ FOLLOW @WalsallMatt
(Matt Chambers) on Twitter!

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

29 June 2021

DWO's Matt Chambers unboxes and gets hands-on with the Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 24 box-set.

Don't forget to like, subscribe & comment on this video - we'd love to hear from you!

to the DWO YouTube channel!
+ FOLLOW @DrWhoOnline
on Twitter!
+ FOLLOW @WalsallMatt
(Matt Chambers) on Twitter!

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

25 June 2021

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Spaulding Taylor

RRP: £9.34 / $19.67 (Paperback) | £0.99p / $1.37 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

For a first SciFi novel, Spaulding Taylor has hit the ground running with 'Last Star Standing' - a truly well-thought-out, dystopian thriller with bags of adventure, suspense and well-placed humour.

The story focuses on our protagonist, Aiden Tenten, and is told in a first-person narrative, which makes you feel that much closer to the action. It's a post World War Three setting, where Earth is all but decimated by aliens, and we're in it for the long haul as Aiden tries to complete his mission against all odds.

There are tremendous action scenes which Spaulding brings to life in such a way that it feels like it has all the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster movie, and due to the narrative style it's close, real, and perfectly epic. 

'Last Star Standing', whilst obviously a work of fiction, has a lot of echoes into our world, and you can almost forsee some of the events within coming to fruition. It somehow feels like a warning to the reader and you'll notice many parallels that make you stop and think.

With flavours of Star Wars, 1984 and a tiny dash of Starship Troopers thrown in for good measure, this is a Science Fiction yarn that will offer much needed escapism in a time where, let's face it, we all need to escape for a bit. 

Without spoiling things, there isn't a cliffhanger as such, and a lot does get wrapped up whilst also  offering a springboard for a sequel. Looking forward to seeing what's next from this talented author!

+  Last Star Standing is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!

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