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

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

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29 November 2019

Every month DWO like to take a little side-step from the Doctor Who universe to help spotlight an up and coming author who we feel shares something in common with the greater whoniverse. This month is the turn of Joe Basile; author of 'The Last Qumranian'.

"Time travel has been used to stop the birth of Christ, altering the timeline of human history.

Lukas is the last Qumranian, an ancient sect sworn to secrecy and to protect the prophecies that bind the worlds together. When they develop a powerful technology that can control time, their discovery attracts unwanted attention.

When the Unclean -- a militant force powered by dark magic -- attack the hidden Qumranian compound under what once was the Dead Sea, Lukas barely escapes. But at what cost? With his life intact, he finds himself a prisoner in an alternate timeline not his own.

Alone in a foreign landscape ravaged by wars, advanced by technology, oppressed by a corporation partnered with a ruthless religious group slaughtering any who oppose them in the streets, sinister supernatural forces, and an artifact that literally can -- and has -- changed human history, Lukas must not only struggle to stay alive, but locate the only thing that can prevent the Unclean and the powers that control them from destroying the world.

Will Lukas manage to retrieve the artifact before more damage is done to the timeline of history, or will he be too late, forever lost in a nightmarish alternate reality?"


5 Question with... Joe Basile (Author)

1) When did you first get into writing, and did you have any influences / favourite authors?

I love writing!!! :) I wrote my first screenplay with some help from friends 16 years ago, which subsequently became this book...The Last Qumranian. Yay!

I have written sermons for 20 years and shorter stories, but this story has been my passion, and I had no idea how much I would LOVE writing it! A true joy! 

Edgar Rice Burroughs is my favorite author of all time! No rules. Dreamed so big, and his heroes were soooo noble and good that I wished I were them.

2) What was it like to get your first book published and to have a tangible copy?

A trip! Most people asked what it feels like, but I said it is a little weird, but that is the vehicle. The destination is people reading it and being swept away in an adventure. That’s my goal. Punished is the vehicle.

3) Can you tell us a bit about The Last Qumranian? What inspired you and who was responsible for that awesome cover?

Matthew Thrush commissioned an AMAZING artist and I LOVE IT! 

I just couldn’t fathom the idea of time travel and no one wanting to use to stop the birth of Christ! Seemed obvious to me. And then I dreamed about what that world would look like. I Set it in Israel, a secret society not affected by the birth of a Christ, and a hero with the strength and training to take on an army of evil with supernatural demonic powers, and a mission to get his time travel machine back to set things right. 

4) Are you a fan of Doctor Who, and if so, what was your earliest memory of the show? Do you have a particular favourite episode?

I LOVE Dr Who! My earliest memory of the show is watching it in black and white. But I became HUGE FAN during the David Tennant Era! LOVE Matt Smith too!!!

They risk soooo much and are able to weave it all together so creatively and satisfactorily. Time Travel stories are a recipe for disaster in lesser hands, but Dr Who crushes it!!! IMO, from one time travel dreamer to another.

5) Finally, if you could take a round trip in the TARDIS, anywhere in time and space, where would you go and why?

First of all, I really want to try and figure out how big it actually is on the inside! The resurrection of Christ! I want to be in that room. Put my fingers the holes in his hands and feet. I have faith, but I would LOVE to see it with my own eyes too!! Amazing!!!

+  BUY The Last Qumranian via Odyssey Books!
+  Facebook: facebook.com/JoeBasileAuthor
+  Twitter: twitter.com/jesustattoos

[Source: DWO]

27 November 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Chris Chapman (Warzone) & Guy Adams (Conversion)

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: November 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


Warzone by Chris Chapman

"At Warzone, competitors gather from across the galaxy to test the limits of their endurance and achieve their personal best. So, when the TARDIS materialises in the middle of a racetrack, the Doctor and his friends must literally run for their lives."

Conversion by Guy Adams

"On the fringes of the galaxy, techno-pirates and research medics fight for the secrets of advanced extra-terrestrial technology. For the Doctor, however, a more personal battle awaits as he confronts his own guilt and the creatures that killed a friend: the Cybermen."

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

Warzone 

Warzone and Conversion are the final two plays in this latest trilogy for the Fifth Doctor. We kicked things off with extended episodes in Tartarus, then had a pair of adventures last month. This follows that trend, but with the two stories joined at the hip. This varying story structure has felt like a breath of fresh air and a welcome kick to the range.

What of the stories themselves this time around though? We begin things with Warzone by Chris Chapman. Back when I reviewed Iron Bright, I said it was a good story but that I felt Chapman had something rather great to bring to the table. I think Warzone is possibly that play, and if it's not then it's pretty close to being.

Weaponising Parkrun (and the current trend for running, Couch To 5K training routines and suchlike) is a superbly Doctor Who-ish idea which Chapman melds with a comic book setting: a race to the death across a planet of pitfalls and killer obstacles. The idea may be familiar, but the execution is what counts and Chapman milks it for all it's worth.

Better still, the slow segue into the second story is well done. We all knew the Cybermen were back in Conversion but the reveal that their plans start here is a genuinely good and slightly unexpected surprise. The penny drops a couple of scenes before the reveal, and it's a thrill when the hunch is proven correct. Again, more of this is always welcome and credit must go to Chapman for hiding the reveal in plain sight and still pulling the wool over the listeners' eyes: or should that be ears?

Warzone ends with things looking bad for Marc, who is dying and has unwittingly started to become conversed into a Cybermen.



Conversion

Cue Conversion by Guy Adams, the final play in this run. We start with the Doctor uncharacteristically angry and hell bent on revenge; indeed, he does not so much exit the previous story as flee it.  Even Tegan comments on this and the Doctor admits he's not being rational. Back in Tartarus, the spectre of Adric was raised and a dark fate for Marc hinted at, and Conversion ties this all together.

It's a great idea in theory, but the play itself suffers where Chapman's flourished. Where that may have had familiar elements executed well, here such elements feel overfamiliar and as such a bit dull. It doesn't help that we've very clunky exposition at the start, with a supporting character speaking in a way no-one ever does in day-to-day life.  I know the listener needs to be brought up to speed about characters' roles and power dynamics, but there is surely a better way of doing this than having characters say things along the lines of "As well you know, my role here is leader and I'm an expert scientist and so you should trust me!"

It's awkward to listen to and drags the listener out. This isn't the first time I've raised this complaint, but it's a valid one all the same.

Unfortunately, the rest of the play feels similarly clunky in its execution. The idea of the companion turning into a Cyberman has been done better, by Gareth Roberts in Closing Time and Steven Moffat in The Doctor Falls (Craig counts for the sake of this comparison). Here in Conversion though, it feels under baked.

Arguably though, the true cardinal sin in this play comes from confusion thanks to several actors all sounding the same. I genuinely found it hard at times, especially near the cliffhanger to Part One, to work out who was talking, so similar are the accents and tones and line delivery. This is a huge no with audio, and I'm staggered it passed any sort of checks.

The release ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, if the Doctor leaving to mope alone while his companions are abandoned on a nice holiday location can get counted as such. He is sad; sad that Marc is now part Cyberman as he could not save the day, and sad because it reminds him of Adric. Whilst I appreciate the attempt to do something more with Adric's death, again I am not at all convinced it works as it feels very out of character for the Fifth Doctor to be as he is here. The desire for repercussions and more believable responses to trauma is not necessarily a bad thing, but trying to reconcile any of this with the show we saw on screen in this era is, at best, a bit of a leap. I'm not wanting my characters to be one-dimensional, but the lack of fidelity here leads to a lack of conviction. (Speaking of, the modulation on the Cybermen voices is off throughout. It's nearly but not quite close to being right, which makes it all the more distracting.)

There are hints at better things for the main range across these past five stories. Not every one hits it for six, but it's a start. I just hope the writing is a bit more consistent going forward.


+ Warzone / Conversion is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


25 November 2019

Doctor Who Infinity, the follow up to the fan favourite Doctor Who: Legacy video game by Tiny Rebel Games, which soft launched in late 2018, has gone live as a full, 5- story release today for mobile devices, PC, and Mac. The game brings the world of the Doctor to life with brand new, stand-alone, comic-book style interactive audio adventures. Players can now delve into all five episodes including The Silent Streets of Barry Island, The Horror of Flat Holm, The Dalek Invasion of Time, The Orphans of the Poloypotra, and The Lady of the Lake.

Each of the stories in Doctor Who Infinity was created as a collaboration between Tiny Rebel Games and Seed Studio; they include an incredible roster of primarily Wales-based artists and writers and each features narration and dialogue from well-known British actors.

Doctor Who Infinity episodes include:

●  The Horror of Flat Holm: One of the new stories, this was written by the multi-talented Mike Collins, drawn by Patrick Goddard, and colored by John-Paul Bove. It is an epic U.N.I.T. Cyberman story told in several time periods with the Fourth Doctor joined by Captain Mike Yates (voiced by Richard Franklin) and with modern day Osgood (voiced by Ingrid Oliver) and Kate Stewart. The cast will be joined by a Cyberman (voiced by Nick Briggs).

●  The Silent Streets of Barry Island: Another new adventure, this was written by Jacqueline Rayner, drawn by Emma Vieceli and colored by Kris Carter. It features the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams in mods-n-rockers era Barry Island. It's a summertime love story in an unseasonably snowy Barry Island which is plagued by mysterious, gruesome deaths and disappearances. They've arrived for a planned holiday but quickly have to ditch the beach gear and blend in with the locals. Their guide is Ted, a down-on-his-luck fish ‘n’ chip shop owner, voiced by Steffan Rhodri. Look for a startling reveal for Doctor Who fans!

●  The Dalek Invasion of Time: The first story to be released was written by George Mann, the critically-acclaimed author and screenwriter, including many Doctor Who stories; drawn by acclaimed artist and writer Mike Collins, known worldwide for his history of work with Doctor Who and other major comic properties; and colored by Kris Carter, who has a long history of working on brands such as Doctor Who, Torchwood and Shrek, among many others. The game is narrated by actors Michelle Gomez, who reprises her TV series role as Missy; Ingrid Oliver, who reprises her TV series role as Osgood; and Bella Ramsey, who voices new villain Freya in the game. 

●  The Orphans of the Polyoptra: This adventure was written by Gary Russell, which he has stated is his final Doctor Who story.  He is well-known as a writer of Doctor Who novels producer and writer of Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish productions, formerly a Script Editor for Doctor Who, Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood and was formerly Editor of Doctor Who Magazine. The game’s art has been drawn by David Roach, noted inker of comic strips for Doctor Who Magazine; and also colored by Dylan Teague. The story is narrated by actor Katy Manning, who returns as Jo Grant, her role from the Doctor Who TV series, and also voices the enemy.

●  The Lady of the Lake: This story was written by Scott Handcock, author of many Doctor Who audio dramas and short stories; drawn by Neil Edwards, noted comic book artist whose work includes Marvel, DC, Doctor Who, Titan Comics and many others; and colored by John-Paul Bove, known for his colorist work on G.I. Joe, Doctor Who, Transformers; and Dylan Teague, known for his work as a comics artist and colorist for Doctor Who Magazine, DC Comics.  The story is being narrated by Celyn Jones as Geraint, a critically acclaimed and award-winning actor and screenwriter, who is known for films such as Set Fire to the Stars and Submergence and the TV series Joe.  Other voices featured include Katy Manning as Delyth and Marilyn Le Conte as the eponymous “Lady of the Lake”.

Doctor Who Infinity is being published and developed by Tiny Rebel Games in collaboration with Seed Studio, and is under official license from BBC Studios. The new game was funded as a joint effort between the Welsh Government’s Media Investment Budget and British game publisher/developer Double Eleven Limited

The game is available on the App Store, Google Play, Steam, Humble Bundle, and Green Man Gaming.

Watch a trailer for the game in the player, below:



[Source: 
BBC Studios]

24 November 2019

Publisher: Rude Cat LLC

Written By: Randy Smith

RRP: £15.99$17.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 24th November 2019

Something that Doctor Who and Star Trek has taught us is that Science Fiction doesn't always remain a fiction. Whilst Randy Smith's The Raffle may be nestled in a SciFi / Cyberpunk genre, the story itself is set in a dystopian future, just a few years from now (2026-2027), and serves more as a speculative glimpse into what could be.

There's an alternative history where on July 4th 2016, a multi-angle terror attack changed America forever; so much so that it is now known as the New United States. Our central character, Ramsey, has been separated from his wife and daughter for 10 years, and without trying to spoil anything, The Raffle sees his once-in-a-lifetie chance to be reunited with them.

Talk about prophetic; The Raffle predicted the election of Donald Trump, and there are many more instances within where the reader cannot help but feel spooked by the near-future clairvoyance in which author Randy Smith is worryingly good at.

If we could describe the series in a few words it's The Handmaids Tale meets The Matrix meets The Hunger Games. That being said, it's still very much its own thing and you will be swept along for the ride - a ride that is shocking, unpredictable and so addictive that you just want to keep reading and reading.

The Raffle was initially released as four separate novellas, and one can only imagine the torture as a reader as they got to the end of each book, desperately waiting to find out what happens to Ramsey next. Fortunately, this version brings all four novellas together, so you can tackle the saga in one sitting. The fourth part is considerably longer than the others and reads more like a full-on novel, and feels like a natural evolution of both the story and the author.

Perhaps, rather soberingly, The Raffle is the authors mouthpiece for the state of a country he so blatantly loves, and what could happen. Anyone that can predict the election of Trump NEEDS to be heard; The Raffle doesn't only serve as a fantastic piece of fiction, but a worryingly believable projection into where we are going if we don't change our ways.

After four distinct parts, there is still plenty more life in the series, and with an open ending, we really hope that Ramsey's journey continues!

+  The Raffle is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @TheRaffle2027 on Twitter.

15 November 2019

A few years back, you helped DWO raise over £1000 for Children In Need and today being the official Children In Need TV campaign, we want your help to do it again!

This year, we've put together another bundle of Doctor Who goodies for you to bid on; something old, something new, something rare and all things WHO! 100% of the proceeds from the auction will go to Children In Need and we will even pick 3 runners up (who have all placed bids in this auction) to win a Doctor Who related consolation prize. HURRY as you have just 24 hours to place your bids. Our target is £1000 and anything you bid all goes towards the final total.

Up for auction in this special bundle is:

1 x Poster SIGNED by Karen Gillan

2 x FREE tickets to 'An Evening With Sylvester McCoy' at the Penny Cars Stadium in Airdrie, c/o The Ross Owen Show. (Date: Friday 17th January 2020 at 7:30pm)

1 x copy of Series 9: Volume 1 on Blu-ray
1 x copy of Series 9: Volume 2 on Blu-ray
1 x copy of SHADA on Blu-ray

1 x copy of The Lost TV Episodes: Collection Two - 1965-1966 on Audio CD
1 x copy of The Ten Doctor Novels on Audio CD
1 x copy of The Tenth Doctor Novels: Volume 4 on Audio CD
1 x copy of Scratchman (by Tom Baker) on Audio CD
1 x copy of The Daleks Masterplan LIMITED EDITION vinyl

1 x copy of The Target Storybook

1 x LIMITED EDITION The Two Doctors Collector Figure Toy set
1 x LIMITED EDITION The Seventh Doctor Collector Figure Toy set
1 x LIMITED EDITION The Seventh Doctor & Axis Strike Squad Dalek Action Figure Toy set
1 x LIMITED EDITION The Fourth Doctor And TARDIS From SHADA Collector Figure Toy set

DWO will be covering the postage, too, so there is nothing to pay except the final bid price :)

If you're feeling extra generous, please also consider donating directly on the Children In Need website

+  BID NOW on the DWO Children In Need eBay auction!

[Source: DWO]

12 November 2019

Amazon.co.uk have confirmed that the upcoming Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 set (due out on 23rd December) has been delayed until 20th January 2020.

In an email to customers who have preordered the title, the company stated: 

Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below was changed by the supplier, and we need to provide you with a new estimated delivery date based on the new release date:

"Doctor Who - The Collection - Season 26 [Blu-ray] [2020]"

Estimated arrival date: January 20 2020

One of our aims is to provide a convenient and efficient service but in this case, we've fallen short. Please accept our sincere apologies.

The news didn't come as a surprise to many fans owing to the fact that previous releases in the collection series have all faced delays. That being said, the general consensus from fans is that, due to the fantastic quality of the sets, they are happy to wait a little longer for the release. On the plus side, we all have something to look forward to, to help get rid of the January blues!

+ PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk for just £39.99 (RRP: £56.16)!

[Source: Amazon.co.uk]

11 November 2019

Demon Music Group presents The Web Planet (including an Amazon Exclusive version), a vintage six-part adventure starring William Hartnell as the Doctor in one of his most weird and wonderful adventures!

The records will be released in 2 versions; a Limited Edition Amazon Exclusive ‘Animus Splatter’ vinyl and standard edition pink vinyl.

In this vintage 6-part adventure, first shown on BBC TV in February and March 1965, a strange magnetic force pulls the TARDIS down to the craterous surface of Vortis. The Doctor and his friends learn that the planet has been invaded, and the parasitic Animus is slowly enveloping it in a web-like domain. The giant ant-like Zarbi are under its control, whilst the butterfly-like Menoptra are battling to reclaim their planet.

Presented across 3 x heavyweight 180g pieces of pink vinyl, this narrated TV soundtrack evokes a classic Doctor Who adventure in all its aural magnificence.

The alien ambience of Vortis, the insistent chirruping of the Zarbi, and the supernatural voice of the Animus are all accompanied by the eerie sonics of Ron Grainer & Delia Derbyshire’s theme tune.

Written by Bill Strutton, this was the Doctor’s most exotic and lavish adventure yet. Linking narration is provided by Maureen O’Brien (Vicki) and the cast includes William Russell as Ian, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara, Martin Jarvis as Hilio and Roslyn de Winter as Vrestin.

Accompanying the vinyl LPs are full episode billings, cast and credits, and eight illustrated panels form a superb artwork montage. This is a first-time audio release for this very special adventure.

+  The Web Planet is released on 13th December 2019, priced £49.99.

+  PREORDER the exclusive edition on Amazon.co.uk!

 

[Source: BBC Studios]

7 November 2019

Our friends over at Character Options have been in touch to let us know about their brand new Doctor Who: Sonic Screwdriver Collection, which is available exclusively on Amazon!

The set includes 6 of the most iconic screwdrivers featured in the much loved TV series including replica toys of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th/8th, 10th and 11th Doctor Sonic Screwdrivers, all featuring a variety of sound and light effects.

The team have even put together a little video showing off the set:


+  ORDER the set at Amazon.co.uk for £69.99.

[Source: Character Options]

7 November 2019

At DWO there's nothing we love more than wrapping our brains around a puzzle, and these Doctor Who-themed puzzles from Say What You Seereally captured both of our hearts. They're taken from the Official Doctor Who Say What You See app that was released a few years back, which was one of our favourite apps at the time.

Say What You See - Puzzle 1

If you've not played the game before, the Say What You See app is a bit like the TV show Catchphrase, only instead of trying to solve individual puzzles, you have a giant painting with 50 of them to solve. Take a look at this Tardis-themed painting for example:

Say What You See - Puzzle 2


This canvas contains references to both classic and modern Who, featuring puzzles that represent companions, planets, episode titles and monsters. Check out the "Sea Devil" in the bottom right - amazing, right?

Say What You See are currently running a Kickstarter to bring the app back, complete with the three Doctor Who paintings - That's 150 Doctor Who puzzles! They also have 47 other paintings which come with the game, on similarly geek-friendly subjects like Fantasy Movies, Superheroes, Super Villains, and Sci-Fi Movies.

This is the Fantasy Movies canvas: 

Say What You See - Puzzle 2

The artwork is really spectacular, and the puzzles are great fun to unravel. The Kickstarter is only running for two more weeks though, so unless you have your own TARDIS, you should head over to their page before time runs out altogether...

+  Kickstarter Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/swys/say-what-you-see-ultimate-edition?ref=628b1j

[Source: www.swys.co.uk]

6 November 2019

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: Marc W. Johnson

RRP: $12.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 6th November 2019

Back in early 2018 we discovered author, Marc W. Johnson and his 'Legacy' title. A chilling, yet thrilling horror that was incredibly intelligently put together. This is something that Johnson carries through perfectly in his latest offering; 'Husker', which focuses on our central character, Jennifer, her father's savage murder and how events from the past come back to play a part in Jennifer's life.

This is truly one of the most terrifying stories we've ever read; and we've read a LOT of Stephen King :) - Dare we say it, but even Mr King could learn a thing or two from Husker - it's as psychologically chilling as it is descriptively.

Johnson has such a talent as a writer; everything is so visual and has a real cinematic texture to the description and flow. In that respect, it really is unlike most horrors or thrillers we've read.

Below is an excerpt from Husker which encapsulates the suspenseful and cinematic genius of Johnsons words:

"Molly's ears perk up when a low wooden creak seeps through the dark, but the sleeping couple does not stir. Molly fixates on the rocker in the dark, she growls softly as she backs out into the hallway and sits, still extremely alert. The rocker sways without a sound while Molly watches." 

Earlier we mentioned about the authors intelligence in his writing, and this is heavily based in the way that, as a reader, you feel like you know where things are going (and feel rather clever in the process), only to have the rug pulled from under your feet and taken in a whole new direction. There's nothing more refreshing or exciting than surprise and Johnson knows exactly how to use it! 

You want settings, you got 'em; attics, corn festivals, parking lots (complete with chocolate pudding cups - something that you may find you have in common with the titular Husker). The characters are rich and drawn not from stereotypes, but complex palettes that make them feel the more genuine for it.

The journey that Jennifer goes on is both emotionally and psychologically draining and we're doing our very best not to give anything away, but every page is a step closer to the answers you are desperate to find out as the reader. The resolution, as with everything that goes before it, is a complete surprise, and, unlike some Stephen King novels, Johnson knows how to end his stories with reader satisfaction. 

We are genuinely terrified to see what Johnson comes up with next, and if form is anything to go by, we're probably going to need some holy water, a priest and a clean change of underwear!

+  Husker is Out Now!
+  Buy this book / Kindle from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @WoordMan on Twitter.

4 November 2019

Publisher: Self Published

Written By: J.H. Barron

RRP: £7.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 4th November 2019

It’s Sarah Penworthy’s sixteenth birthday! The sun is shining, the school bell is ringing, she’s got a birthday party to prepare and there’s that boy she really wants to ask out on a date... But all of Sarah’s plans are shattered when a strange silver ball comes crashing through her bedroom window.

Right from the off, J.H. Barron's 'Sarah: The Empress Of The Galaxy' calls out to Doctor Who fans. The main character's parents are called Ian and Barbara, there's a character called Alpha Centauri (although this one is quite different from the one we know in Doctor Who), and there's even a robot called 'Robot Holmes' - surely a nod to the much-loved Doctor Who script editor of the 1970's!

Peppered with tongue-in-cheek references to cult movies and tv (Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek and Sapphire And Steel - to name just a few), oh - and even one for Kate Bush fans, this is a science fiction adventure that has a lot of fun along the way, and despite the genre, is surprisingly rooted in real moments, emotions and decisions.

Sarah, the central character, is 16 years old, and we get a very real glimpse of what it's like to be a girl of her age, and the struggles she faces in her day-to-day life. Barron makes the reader feel her frustration of the monotony of her life, and we too want more for her. It is also rather interesting the way that Barron plays things when Sarah finally does get an opportunity to mix thing up; despite wanting something new, she shows apprehension at the exciting path before her. This was an unpredictable, yet totally believable way of playing the situation.

One of our favourite bits in the whole book was the following exchange between Sarah and Robot Holmes:

“You are to accompany me to the Starship Hound of Love.”

“I can’t do that!” she said.

The robot hovered closer to Sarah’s face, its one great eye piercing into hers. “Do not worry, my Lady,” it assured her, “the teleportation beam is accurate to a degree of ninety-eight percent. The chances of molecular disintegration are very slim indeed.”

“No, no, no!” Sarah blabbed hastily. “You don’t understand— I can’t go anywhere like that! It’s my birthday and I’m going out tonight!”

Barron's use of description for places and people are terrific; there's a particular moment later in the book when Sarah arrives at Voxxen, and Barron's detailing really adds flesh to the world as you feel the almost claustrophobic atmosphere as they venture deeper into the bowels of Voxxen.

There are thrills, twists, turns and enough exciting changes in pace and setting to keep your interest throughout. We were genuinely sad to reach the end of the book and it most certainly left us wanting more.

Without spoiling too much, there's a rather sobering epilogue that addresses the consequences of Sarah's story, and with an ending that unquestionably paves the way for a sequel, we cannot wait to see what adventures Sarah gets up to next.

+  Sarah: The Empress Of The Galaxy is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @JH_Barron on Twitter.

27 October 2019

Speaking at MCM Comic Con in London, this weekend, BBC Studios have confirmed there will be a 'limited run' reissue of Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 12 sets to allow fans who missed out the first time around to complete their collection.

Season 12 was the first in the series of deluxe box-sets featuring whole seasons from the classic series of Doctor Who. It was also the very first season to feature Tom Baker as the hugely popular 4th Doctor.

Demand for a reissue has been incredibly high since its release in 2018, with some sets going for as much as £500 on eBay! 

A release date for the reissue is yet to be confirmed, but DWO will post more news as we get it...

[Source: BBC Studios]

27 October 2019

BBC Studios has announced that Fury from the Deep will be released in 2020. It will follow the release of The Faceless Ones, announced earlier this year, and fill another gap in missing Doctor Who content.

Following the success of existing animations The Power of the Daleks, Shada and The Macra Terror, Fury from the Deep will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and as an exclusive Steelbook later next year. Pre-order will be available from midnight tonight on Amazon.

Fury from the Deep is the missing sixth serial of the fifth season of Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from March to April 1968. Starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, the story 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.

No full episodes of this story exist within the BBC archives, and only snippets of footage and still images are still around to represent the story. However, off-air recordings of the soundtrack do exist, thus making the animation of a complete serial possible once again.

The six new animated episodes are being made in full colour, in the original black and white and in high definition and the release will include the surviving clips from the original 1968 production. It also stars Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon and Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield.

Watch the announcement trailer in the player, below:

+ PREORDER this title on Amazon.co.uk!

[Source: BBC Studios]

23 October 2019

Publisher: September Publishing

Written By: Marshall Julius

RRP: £12.99 (Paperback)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 23rd October 2019

Question: When is a quiz book not just any old quiz book?
Answer: When said quiz book is written by master of all things fandom, Marshall Julius.

Vintage Geek is quite literally the ultimate quiz book for fans of classic tv, film and comics, from 2000AD to Walt's Wonderful World Of Disney, Marshall has chosen topics you can tell he is passionate about.

The Doctor Who section, for example, sees Marshall focusing on arguably one of the most popular tenures of the shows history; the Tom Baker years, rather than it's wider 56+ year history. Likewise, with the James Bond section, he chooses to focus on the Roger Moore years.

Vintage Geek is split up into 2 main sections; the questions and the answers. Marshall starts off each section by introducing the topic and what it meant to him, making it feel like a journey through his love for each of the shows and movies - such a wonderfully fresh and personal take on the quiz book format.

Along the way there are questions from celebrity guest stars (some true crackers, too), and there's a real mix of questions that will have even the most die-hard fans questioning their encyclopaedic knowledge.

Marshall has included something for everyone in Vintage Geek; Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, Doctor Who, Jurassic Park, The Simpsons and Marvel (to name just a few) all get their own sections - each filled with 50 questions to test your fandom credentials.

Then we get to the answers, and this is where Marshall really brings home the goods. If you think you're going to get just the answer, think again (this is Marshall we're talking about!) - many of the answers are filled with detailed information and trivia, such as actors names, serial numbers and years.

We would be remiss not to acknowledge Mike Reiss' (Simpsons writer) hilarious foreword, followed by Marshall's own touching introduction that makes the reader feel an overwhelming sense of inclusion and 'its-ok-to-be-nerdy-ness'. One particular line really stood out to us, however, and it really is incredibly apt, poignant, and most of all, true:

"I've always felt that to completely grow up, to turn your back on the things that once meant the most to you, would be the most terrible betrayal of the child you once were."

Due to Marshall's immense fandom knowledge, and after educating us with quite a few fact-filled gaps in our own knowledge (that even surprised us), we genuinely felt like better fans after reading Vintage Geek! Go get a copy and add it to your life NOW!

+  Vintage Geek is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @MarshallJulius on Twitter.

23 October 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Carl Rowens & Martyn Waites

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: October 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


Interstitial by Carl Rowens

"When the TARDIS is drawn off-course by temporal disruption, the Doctor and his companions discover a research facility conducting dangerous experiments. But how do you fight the future when time itself is being used as a weapon?"

Feast of Fear by Martyn Waites

"At the height of the Irish famine, a carnival travels the country bringing cheer to all they encounter. But it also brings something else along with them… and it already has the Doctor."

Doctor Who has not been shy of (at times) cribbing from its own past; be it with cast members (here's looking at you, Michael Wisher), titles (The Mutants does have a nice ring about it) or plots (Planet of the Daleks feels very familiar for a reason, after all).

Likewise, Big Finish have certainly never been shy about plundering the past. We've recently had an entire trilogy featuring one-shot character Mags, two outings across two ranges for the same trio of Masters and a Missy, giant maggots pestering Torchwood, and more besides. This trilogy is bookended by a guest star from Big Finish's own original series, and a story with the 1980s Cybermen. Here in the middle, we've two stories with rather familiar beats.

We begin with Interstitial by new writer Carl Rowens. The title conjures up memories of The Time Monster, experiments with time doing likewise, but what we get instead is a fairly generic sci-fi story of differing timelines and the responsibility one has if one can alter events. (That's not a criticism, just an observation.)

The story justifies its two-episode length, not outstaying its welcome and using a small cast well, even if the guest cast are largely familiar tropes with dialogue.

Having joined the TARDIS team in the previous adventure, with hints of a sad ending, Marc is all wide-eyed innocence, a traveller from the past flung into the future, and Rowens gets to toy with his fate at times. I'm not sure how Marc is going to play out yet: confusion and enthusiasm with a dash of bravery are all well and good, but I feel we've seen this before and he will need something more to really grab our affection.

The ending of Interstitial feels rather quick after the gentle pace across the rest of the tale, but all in all this one is not bad. It even manages to take one of my pet hates (people on screen or in audio reading aloud letters whilst writing them) and give it an amusing pay-off when Nyssa signs it off. Hats off to it.

* * * * *

Next up is Feast of Fear by Martyn Waites, another new author. It's always good to see new names in this range, so having two in this release is something to be praised.

Feast of Fear is an odd one though. We sadly begin things with two characters spouting exposition at one another as they run, which made my heart sink and attention wander: there are ways of filling in characters' backgrounds organically and this isn't it.

As for the play itself, you'll be forgiven for thinking you've heard this one before. A circus taken over by a malevolent evil from outer space? I guess any story set around a circus or carnival was going to invoke comparison with The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, but the way around this is surely to do something radically different? As it stands, it just makes it feel like the well is running dry.

Elsewhere, things feel very in tune with Doctor Who in its post-2005 guise. Love saving the day and people able to break conditioning through memories and friendship? Closing Time and The Rings of Akhaten spring to mind.

This makes the play feel derivative. Heck, even a plot thread about the Doctor unable to stop talking has strong echoes of Tell Me You Love Me from Big Finish's (underrated) Class plays.

In some ways, Feast of Fear feels like the most Chibnall-era play we've had so far, with a (very) lengthy justification by the Doctor before taking any action against the monster and an emphasis time and again on friendships and relationships. Even plundering stories from the past is in keeping, seeing as Chibnall has riffed on Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Green Death on screen rather heavily in two of his tales.

It doesn't make for a wholly successful play here, though, if you know the show's past, and let's be honest, most people listening to these plays do. Big Finish are even doing a prequel to Greatest Show in this very range, so I am left scratching my head at the approach taken here.

This release is a story of two halves in more than one respect, then. It boasts one of the best covers Big Finish have given us for years, throws two new authorial voices into the fray, and stumbles as often as it succeeds.

I think on balance that I am okay with this. This release is not going to get a huge score from me, but at least it's attempting to do something vaguely different, albeit by treading a well-beaten path. Perhaps the future will see more success down this route.


+ Interstitial / Feast of Fear is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


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