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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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9 June 2020

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

2.3: To The Last Man

We open this episode with an escaped, conventional ghost hunter, as we follow two people through St. Teilo’s military hospital with what looks like a GPS tracker, not something that belongs in 1918. As the two strangers run around the hospital, a shocked nurse is surprised they’re not ghosts; not a typical reaction to the situation, which makes you question for how long this has been going on? As the two strangers run around the hospital looking for these ghosts, they see a vision of a soldier with none other than Tosh!? The solider tells the strangers to take him from 1918 and the tension builds up as the strangers comply with the soldier’s orders. They rush to the bedside of the shell shocked soldier as we get the final build up to the hugely cheesy line, as the two strangers reveal themselves as “Torchwood.”


We then flash forward to the present time and we see a very excited Tosh getting ready for what looks like a date. However, this isn’t any normal date as we see the exact same soldier Tommy, who is in a cryogenic chamber. Gwen’s role is the perfect platform to explain why they have to defrost Tommy once a year, as one day they’re going to need him. In another plot scenario, there is a magical box, sorry temporal locked box, that can only be opened by psychic powers. There are some elements in “Torchwood” that always seem to have a convenient way to sort out of all of their problems. It’s something that closely resonates with the sonic screwdriver in episodes of “Doctor Who.”


There’s also a touching moment between Tosh and Owen, as Owen says “be careful”. It really resonates  as when Owen lost Diane in “Out of Time”. It’s a great moment which shows Owen is really taking responsibilities for his history. 


Tosh and Tommy have a little date, as they both try and make the most of the time Tommy is awake for. It’s another great insight into Tosh’s innocence and maybe answers why she hasn’t been dating in previous episodes.  In a weird time travelling way, Tosh has known Tommy for 4 years, which for him has only been 4 days. It’s a very Doctor and companion kind of relationship, as Tommy has seen many things but is still a young man. For a couple to know each other technically only for a few days, shows how close as a dynamic duo these two are.


Gwen and Jack go to explore the the hospital to find clues as to why Tommy is so important in this tangled web of ghosts and time. They both find the ghost sightings are becoming more and more frequent because the hospital itself is being torn down. And suddenly the box of tricks that has been time locked all this time, pops open with instructions on how to fix everything. Regrettably it feels a bit of a cop out for the episode and everything seems too easily fixed.


The jeopardy element in this whole story, is the two time zones merging together destroying reality, as well as the consequences of the actions by Torchwood. Tommy is a man literally condemned to death, as no sooner he returns to his own time, he is shot by his own platoon for desertion, which was brought on by shell shock. It brings up the questions of do Torchwood’s actions in saving the universe outweigh their moral?. “To The Last Man” is a great story exploring these decisions.


Tosh is such a stand out character in this whole story, as she takes it upon herself to help guide and bring comfort to Tommy as he makes his noble attempt to save the universe. She acts like his guardian angel, as Tommy uses the switch to close the rift in time and she watches over him. Owen claims that Tosh was strong however, she said it’s because of Tommy. They were the perfect pair to save the universe and she hopes it was worth the sacrifice. The end shot focusing on Tosh’s face says there’s hope, and she smiles as she walks away.

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 



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


2 June 2020

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

2.2: Sleeper

Oh Torchwood, it was a valiant effort but a difficult one to keep up with after a triumphant first episode. “Sleeper” is an episode that tries to combine the elements of Paul Cornell’s Virgin New Adventure “Human Nature” but with more grown up themes of violence, death and alien spies. 


We start the episode with a very happy couple sleeping away in their bed, when a noise disrupts them as burglars break into the house. There’s a lot of close up camera shots to create a sense of distraction and confusion, as murderous screams ring through and dissolve into the Torchwood theme. 


The Torchwood team once again are called in by the police as they try and investigate how the two burglars were murdered, as there were puncture wounds to chest and forehead and one was thrown from the window onto the car below. Not a typical self defence technique. This is a very true typical Torchwood style kind of story, however this is when it all starts getting a bit messy.


Owen and Gwen go to the hospital to interrogate the couple from the flat. This is when the plot moves at a million miles an hour. We’re introduced to Beth who was in the flat and all of a sudden we’re dragged into the Torchwood interrogation room with Jack screaming “We know you’re an alien”. We then take a trip around Torchwood and on to meet Janet the Weevil, who is scared of her. Unfortunately all of this happens in the space of about 5 minutes and it really detracts from the emotional connection we’re supposed to feel towards Beth, as we can’t slow down enough to take in everything she’s feeling. Jack again seems to be really unlikable for no reason. I know we had a lot of this through series 1, but there’s usually a reason that builds up and Gwen confronts him. This time, his attitude is almost down played as Ianto sees the interrogation and Jack as a joke. It’s all very strangely paced and again I found this really distracting to what’s going on. 


The direction of the story is also somewhat distracting, with quick pans and zooms in scenes that don’t appear to require it, such as a conversation between the Torchwood team as they try to work out who she is. Unfortunately this technique happens quite a few times though the story and iit really distracted me from the plot.


The Torchwood team think it’s a good idea to use the mind probe. What!? No, not the mind probe I hear you cry? Well I like what James Moran was trying to do, as most Doctor Who fans will know the mind probe is something you do not mess with; however, other than the shock factor, the whole design of it disappointed me a bit. I liked the archive shots  which were used to show how the mind probe digs through the subconscious and suddenly we find Beth is a sleeper agent.


As they discover this, suddenly all the other sleeper agents activate and go on a murderous rampage around Cardiff. I like what they were trying to do by taking out the military base and use the nuclear war heads to destroy the world to take over, however there’s not enough build up in the episode and too much exposition to take in before we even start to care about the situation.


What makes this episode stand up is the relationship between Beth and Gwen. It challenges the conventions of what it takes to be human, as Beth discovers she’s an alien. Beth explains she is someone who fell in love and wants to start a family and Gwen takes it upon herself to say “What is it that makes us human, anyway?” It’s not about the body, it’s about your mind and how you feel, which was a nice take on her facing this identity crisis.


Once Jack and the team take out the last sleeper agent, Beth knows she can’t go on. She’s seen the devastation the sleeper agents have caused and makes the ultimate sacrifice by getting herself killed, by pretending to attack Gwen before being gunned down. Beth chose to be the person she wanted to be and I think that’s the clear moral message here.

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 



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


29 May 2020

Get ready for some dimensionally transcendental meditation! Qualified hypnotherapist - and former TARDIS traveller - Nicola Bryant will be hosting a ‘Quantum Hypnosis’ session via Zoom on the evening of June 18th at 7pm.

Lie back and let Nicola - who played companion Peri opposite Colin Baker’s Doctor - help you to exchange stress for relaxation, as she takes you on a mental voyage to create resilience and a deep sense of peace. The session will last for approximately one hour. You will need somewhere quiet and relaxing where you can lie down to fully participate. 


Nicola is putting on this unique wellness event to raise money for ‘Dogs on the Street’ and ‘Chimney Farm Rescue’ - two charities close to her heart, dedicated to helping vulnerable canines and their owners. 


Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased from: https://www.outsavvy.com/event/4650/quantum-hypnotherapy-with-nicola-bryant-tickets

[Source: Richard Unwin]

27 May 2020

Doctor Who Magazine have sent DWO the cover and details for Issue 552 of DWM.


Thirty-two First Doctor stories battled for the top spot in our epic Twitter contest. Which is the fans’ favourite? 

Issue 552 also includes:

•  Series 11 writers Pete McTighe, Vinay Patel and Joy Wilkinson interview each other.
•  Mark Gatiss answers questions from the TARDIS tin.
•  Time and Space Visualiser presents a rare William Hartnell interview, conducted during rehearsals for The Sensorites in 1964.
•  50 brilliant things about Doctor Who – not including Doctor Who!
•  A tribute to Doctor Who writer Pip Baker.
•  A previously unpublished interview with Pip and Jane Baker.
•  The Fact of Fiction explores Parts Nine to Twelve of 1986’s The Trial of a Time Lord.
•  More of DWM’s recommended lockdown viewing, with a guide to stories available on DVD and streaming services.
•  A look at Race Against Time, a game book in the 1986 Make Your Own Adventure with Doctor Who series.
•  A review of The Maze of Doom, the latest Doctor Who book by David Solomons.
•  The final part of The Piggybackers, a new comic-strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends.
•  Big Finish previews and reviews, news, prize-winning competitions, The Blogs of Doom and much more!

+  Doctor Who Magazine Issue #552 is out Thursday 28th May, priced £5.99.
+  SUBSCRIBE to Doctor Who Magazine, digitally from just £2.69 a month!
+  Check Out The DWO Guide to Doctor Who Magazine!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

27 May 2020

Commencing January 2022, Big Finish will relaunch its regular Doctor Who release schedule as a series of dedicated ranges for each of the first twelve incarnations of the Doctor.  

For more than two decades, Big Finish has been producing brand new Doctor Who audio adventures starring the actors who originated the role on TV; Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, David Tennant and John Hurt.  

In recent years, many new ranges have been introduced to the release schedule, incorporating all of the Doctors’ eras from 1963 to 2017. As the company looks to the future, a revised schedule will see a number of new range additions.  

Senior Producer David Richardson said:

“There are so many exciting new directions ahead. Where did the First Doctor and Dodo go next after leaving the planet of The Savages? What happened to the Second Doctor after The War Games? What new adventures await the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith? What happened on the Seventh Doctor’s Last Day? The adventures are only just beginning...” 

The original Big Finish audio drama range – now called the Monthly Adventures – represents a continuous, unbroken run of new Doctor Who audio adventures, one every month, since 1999. This range, of late featuring adventures for the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors, will end with release number 275. Thereafter, there will be a regular rotation of releases, with each Doctor starring in their own box sets of adventures throughout the year.  

Big Finish chairman and executive producer, Jason Haigh-Ellery said:

“One comment we hear more often from new listeners is that they find it hard to know where to begin with our back catalogue of Doctor Who adventures. This change to our release schedule will make it easier for people to start. With a range for each Doctor, there will be a natural ‘stepping on point’ for fans.”  

Creative director and executive producer, Nicholas Briggs, added:

“As well as making our ranges much less confusing for Big Finish beginners, these changes will allow us more exciting new possibilities and creative freedom.  

By freeing the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors from the constrictions of the Monthly Adventures schedule, and giving them their own distinct ranges, we will be able to introduce more surprising cast combinations, different story lengths, and more story arcs.” 

Big Finish listeners keen to complete their collection of Monthly Adventures should read the following:  

-  A 3-release CD / download subscription will be available, starting from #271, #272 or #273, which should enable the majority of subscribers to extend their subscription to the end of the range. Three-release subscriptions are priced at £32.50 for collector’s edition CDs and £27.50 for downloads. 

-  Any existing subscribers who find themselves unable to purchase #274 or #275 via a combination of the 12/6/3-release options should contact sales@bigfinish.com, who will be able to process their orders offline. 

+  Discuss all the Big Finish releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: Big Finish]

15 May 2020

A new feature for the DWO News page we are thrilled to now include relevant book recommendations from new authors we have discovered. These will include themes that are similar or concurrent with those in Doctor Who and which we think would be of interest to our many readers.

We're pleased to kick off our first recommendation with 'The Loop' by Ben Oliver. Below are the book details, synopsis and purchasing information:

Publisher: Chicken House
Released: 2nd April 2020
Price: £7.99
Ages: 14+ 


Luka Kane will die in the Loop, a prison under the control of artificial intelligence. Delays to his execution are granted if Luka submits to medical experiments. Escape is

made impossible by a detonator sewn into his heart.


About the author:

Ben Oliver began writing creatively at age seven, and was promptly placed into the lowest reading and writing group at school. Frustrated by his lack of immediate success, Ben chose to step down from the world of writing. A mere twenty-five years later, and now a high school English teacher, Ben’s first novel The Loop is scheduled to be published in 2020.

+  BUY this title on Amazon!

Do you have a book recommendation that you'd like us to cover? Perhaps you are an author that would love to be featured? Get in touch by emailing the DWO News team at: news@drwho-online.co.uk.

+  Follow @benjamin0liver on Twitter!
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

6 May 2020

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Darren Jones

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: April 2020

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online

"Violently ejected from the Space-Time Vortex, the TARDIS crash lands on the remote planet of Cygia-Rema, a mountainous world ruled by the bird-like Vultriss. Their newly-crowned Queen Skye is expecting first contact with alien ambassadors – Ice Warriors - and the sudden arrival of the Doctor, Flip and Mrs Constance Clarke causes confusion.

However, Skye is no ordinary ruler, she is the Fabled One gifted with the deadly power of ‘The Cry’. The queen who will enable the Vultriss to fly once again – at any cost.

But as the Doctor investigates why the TARDIS crashed, he discovers that the Vultriss are hiding a deadly secret. An ancient legacy that if left unchecked will plunge half the galaxy into an eternal living end."

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

I’ll get the awkward part out of the way now: this is not going to be a positive review. I wish it were. I always find it hard to write a review like this about something like an audio play: some people probably find it easy to do so, but I struggle. The hours that must have been put in by the writer, the director, the actors, the sound designer, the musician. Good intentions run deep in most art, and certainly here nobody has gone out of their way to create something unenjoyable. Also, what one person finds unenjoyable another will delight in, and that’s how it should be: reviews will only ever be subjective. Sadly though, this play failed to land for me in every single way.

We open with a rousing political speech given, promising a population of bird people that good times are ahead. Soon after, we join the TARDIS crew as they sail through the vortex while the Doctor is having a bit of trouble with the controls: so far, so traditional. A callback to Static reminds you how long it has been since this particular TARDIS crew (the Doctor, Flip and Constance Clarke) graced our ears, and it is undoubtedly nice to hear them back as they’ve proven to be a successful team. In fact, I would say that Flip and Constance are far better together than they ever were apart, and perhaps this is one of the play’s problems as they’re separated for much of the play. We lack their spark as they play second-fiddle to a series of uninspiring supporting characters.

Indeed, all the writing and dialogue feels uninspired. At best, it’s gracelessly functional and gets the job done; at worst, it’s overwritten and steeped in cliché. The dialogue is perhaps the greatest offender of the lot with dozens of examples of say-what-you-see writing, which is incredibly grating and unrealistic. I get that you need to paint a picture without visual aids, but it doesn’t work when someone with perfectly fine eyesight tells someone else with equally good eyesight exactly what they can both see, from the position of birds in the sky to rocks that are jutting to the size of places or the design of props. It’s audio exposition at its very worst. Perhaps, like the overall plot, it’s trying to ape a certain style, but to me it felt tired, with twists and turns in the plot flat and predictable.  I’m not sure how that is possible in a play about bird people, political intrigue and Ice Warriors, but here we are.

‘Flat’ also sums up the direction and sound design. This is unusual given how Big Finish usually excel in these matters, but in the opening episode especially it all sounded very studio-bound and lacked sparkle. Early on, the TARDIS crew is attacked by birds and we are told they are attacking from above but there is no indication of this in the sound, just loud squawking with the bare minimum of shift in the stereo field. Again, maybe it’s a feel they are going for: to make this feel televisual in its static soundscape and writing, but it’s a huge miss for me.

From start to finish I found myself clockwatching, wishing the next scene would hurry up and get here. It’s not a nice experience to be listening to a play because you have to, knowing full well that if you did not you’d have given up a long while ago and instead listened to something actually enjoyable instead.

It is tired, boring, overlong (bar the opener, every episode clocks in at over half an hour in length) and obvious, with lacklustre sound design and flat performances from many of the guest cast. I could not in any good conscience recommend this play to anyone. I am sure Cry of the Vultriss will have its fans but for me personally, listening to it made for one of the least enjoyable experiences I have had with Big Finish for quite a while.

+ Cry Of The Vultriss is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!

30 April 2020

Doctor Who Magazine have sent DWO the cover and details for Issue 551 of DWM.


The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine also includes:

•  Extended Production Notes from current showrunner Chris Chibnall.
•  Composer Segun Akinola reveals his inspirations for the Series 12 soundtrack.
•  In the first virtual Out of the TARDIS, Neil Gaiman answers questions from the TARDIS tin.
•  The Fact of Fiction explores the 1984 classic The Caves of Androzani.
•  A tribute to the late David Collings (Revenge of the Cybermen, The Robots of Death, Mawdryn Undead), including extracts from a previously unpublished interview.
•  How Doctor Who fans around the world are staying connected during the lockdown.
•  A lockdown viewing guide to Doctor Who stories that are available on DVD and streaming services.
•  A look at Birth of a Renegade, a short Doctor Who story from the Radio Times 20th Anniversary Special.
•  A review of the Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 14 Blu-ray box set.
•  Time and Space Visualiser presents a lockdown special, with contributions from former Doctors and companions.
•  Public Image presents a full round-up of how Series 12 performed in the ratings.
•  Part Three of The Piggybackers, a new comic-strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends.
•  Big Finish previews and reviews, news, prize-winning competitions, The Blogs of Doom and much more!

+  Doctor Who Magazine Issue #551 is Out Now, priced £5.99.
+  SUBSCRIBE to Doctor Who Magazine, digitally from just £2.69 a month!
+  Check Out The DWO Guide to Doctor Who Magazine!

[Source: Doctor Who Magazine]

28 April 2020

BBC Studios have just announced the surprise updated special edition release of The Power Of The Daleks on DVD & Blu-ray.

While no complete film recordings of The Power of the Daleks are known to have survived the purge of the BBC’s archive in 1975, fresh animation in high definition breathes new life into this much-loved story.

The six animated episodes replace the 2016 physical and digital release, with new and improved animation and authentic black and white visuals. The latest release also showcases a vast array of exciting new special features, in addition to all of the VAM on the 2016 release.

New additional material includes:

·  Two new documentaries about Power of the Daleks.
·  1993 BBC audio version of The Power of the Daleks narrated by Tom Baker.
·  Raw incidental music.
·  Photogrammetry Featurette.
·  Whicker's World - I Don't Like My Monsters to Have Oedipus Complexes.
·  Daleks - The Early Years: A 1992 documentary presented by Peter Davison.
·  Robin Hood - 1953 Episode: Patrick Troughton’s earliest surviving TV appearance.
·  BBC archive footage from BBC regional news, BBC Breakfast, Blue Peter and Newsnight.
·  Previously unreleased animation trailers and animatics.
·  Easter Eggs.

And old favourites including:

·  Audio commentaries by Anneke Wills on each episode
·  Animation test footage
·  Photo Gallery, including previously unreleased and rediscovered full colour on-set photos from 1966.
·  Servants & Masters - The Making of The Power of the Daleks
·  Doctor Who – The Highlanders

+  The Power Of The Daleks: Special Edition is released on 6th July 2020.
PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk

[Source: BBC Studios]

28 April 2020

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

2.1: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

We kick series 2 off in true Torchwood fashion, with a Blowfish driving a sports car in a high speed car chase. I laugh at the fact that the Blowfish lets a little old lady cross the street before speeding off, then Gwen pulls up in the Torchwood mobile asking if she has seen a blowfish driving a sports car? The lady points in the general direction of where the car drove off towards, shouting "Bloody Torchwood” at them. Torchwood is meant to be a top secret organisation, so to then have a little old lady know who they are, If that doesn’t set the theme of what Torchwood is about, I don’t think anything will.


It’s all feeling like a very typical scenario, as the Blowfish holds a family hostage to try and get away from the team. This part does feel slightly clunky as the Fish recounts all the characters flaws. Without having Captain Jack with them, it’s almost like having a ‘Previously on Torchwood’ mid episode to remind the audience of who the team are. However just as the Blowfish vindictively taunts Ianto about not being able to kill him, who should pop up in the knick of time, Captain Jack himself with probably one of the most iconic lines of the show; “Hey kids. Did you miss me?”


We cut back to the famous Cardiff rooftop carpark, where an altercation is taking place. However at the same time, a sparkly rift appears with a very distinguished looking man appearing in a redcoat military uniform to confront the attacker. As the audience, you start thinking oh great, here we have another person who could join Torchwood, before he grabs the attacker by the throat and throws him off the top of the carpark. This mysterious anti-hero becomes more and more intriguing as the story progresses. He swiftly moves onto the local club for a celebratory drink.


Meanwhile back at the Torchwood hub the team are not happy with Jack’s disappearance. It’s never clearly explained for how long Jack left the team. It could be months, or even years? With time being reset in “Last Of The Time Lords”, this is another time, when we as an audience know a lot more about what happens with Jack and the world, than the Torchwood team itself. Is Jack keeping the meeting with the Doctor a secret because he doesn’t want to explain the trauma he had to go through to get back here? But there’s no time to confront this before the team zoom straight off again as Jack’s vortex manipulator beeps for the first time. Then, who should be leaving a message, but the mysterious redcoat man himself. There’s a great reference to ‘Star Wars’ before Jack shoots off again. This person seems very familiar with Jack, however maybe not the best of friends, as Jack doesn’t want the team to follow him. The Torchwood team have learnt too many times not to do this, as Ianto quickly whistles for a Taxi as soon as possible.


The bar scene is brilliant. It carries all the connotations of a true western movie, as Jack walks through the saloon style doors with the redcoat stranger at the other end of the club. Both of them have pure hatred in their eyes as they walk towards one another. You think this is going to be a full on fight before suddenly, they start kissing! It’s a moment that makes you think, why is Jack so familiar with such a brutal character, before they end up in an all out fist fight. It’s almost like they have a mutual level of respect, in a weird way, as they stop the fight once the guns come out. After a heavy drinking session, we see Jack’s face, hilariously showing his disgust and the Torchwood team nearly getting fired upon. The myserious man finally reveals himself as Captain John Hart (James Marsters) a Time Agent and former partner of Captain Jack. Again it’s a reference into Jack’s past. Is this something that’s going to be divulged more as the series goes on? 


Captain John explains the reason why he’s come to this time and place is to find three radiation cluster bombs, before they go off affecting the future of the world. Captain Jack has the look of a man who is going with this story, just to find out what’s going on, however the Torchwood team seem pretty convinced by it. I mean with everything that’s happened in the previous series, would you really dispute it?


The Torchwood team are still very cautious of this new stranger, especially Gwen. There’s a nice moment when Jack holds Gwen’s hand for comfort when he realises she’s got engaged. It’s a moment when you think, yes she listened to Jack about keeping some normality in life when Gwen actually says “No one else will have me.” It creates a sombre mood, as Gwen has not only been rejected by Owen but she’s lost that love she once had for Jack.


Jumping back straight into the action in true Torchwood fashion, they locate all three canisters for Captain John and split up to go and search for them. Now again if anyone has watched Scooby Doo, you know this is not a good idea. Surprise, surprise, Captain John quickly poisons Gwen once they found the first canister, smacks Tosh in the face and shoots Owen in the hip. Now I'm not saying it was stupid to leave Gwen on her own… but it was stupid to leave Gwen on her own. 


We then find Captain Jack and Ianto searching a very bland office, which Jack surprisingly treats  like a winter wonderland. There’s a lovely moment between Ianto and Jack as he finally asks Ianto on a date. Ianto agrees, but does it in a shy school boy way as he doesn’t look at Jack through embarrassment. It doesn’t take long for Captain John to find Ianto before shoving him in a lift to have Jack all to himself.


Captain Jack up on the roof (I mean where else would you find him), finds the last capsule. Jack having none of John’s game ,mocks him, calling the capsules “radiation cluster bombs” John in this scene, genuinely wants Jack to come back with him and there are moments that you think, oh Jack, don’t trust him, it’s a true conflict of emotions. John’s failing conviction in his speech, makes Jack throw the canister over the edge. It’s a moment you finally feel that Jack has one up on John but suddenly with a push and a “Whoops!” he shoves Jack off the roof. Now this moment is shocking, with pure dark humour, as you cut to a shot of Jack almost split in half on a concrete bench. This is the moment you know, nothing will stop John.


Tosh and the team use her tech to find Gwen in one of the containers and honestly this moment really shows how close and united the Torchwood team have become. They all use their skills to save Gwen before her organs shut down from the nerve toxin gloss.


We then go back to John in the Torchwood hub, putting all the pieces of the canister together  where it almost seems he’s won a swift victory, before the Torchwood team rock up in a bad ass fashion. It’s a moment when AC/DC Back in Black could start playing. John seeming surprised isn’t put off by this, until Jack rocks up. John really acts as if he’s just seen a ghost and in his disbelief seems to be out of his depth this time. It’s a fantastic contrast between the cocky man we saw at the start of the episode.


So what’s this episode about? John wants to steal one of the most precious gems in the universe, kills his lover and his lover takes revenge. It’s a moment that feels triumphant before he kidnaps Gwen, nearly killing her with a bomb. However, in true Torchwood fashion, they find a way to save her and the anti-hero gets away. It’s a feeling that this won’t be the last time we see him. 


It’s a brilliantly, well balanced episode and a strong starter for the second series. Welcome Torchwood series 2.

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 



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


27 April 2020

BBC Studios is pleased to announce that Doctor Who will be the focus of a multi-platform story launching later this year. Time Lord Victorious will see partners including Penguin Random House, Doctor Who Magazine, Titan Comics, Escape Hunt, Big Finish Productions, Eaglemoss Hero Collector, Immersive Everywhere, Maze Theory, BBC Books and BBC Audio, unite to tell a brand new Doctor Who story.

Time Lord Victorious will launch later this year, with products and experiences scheduled to launch over a twelve week period.

Time Lord Victorious will tell a new and untold story, set within the Dark Times at the start of the universe, when even the Eternals were young. Following several Doctors across space and time as they defend their home planet from a terrible race, this is a story like no other.

The story will feature the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Doctors, companion Rose Tyler and monsters including the Daleks and the Ood, with more to be revealed over the coming months as products are announced.

James Goss, Producer, said:

"BBC Studios’ Doctor Who licensees have come together to tell an amazing epic – one that’s full of monsters, fun and heart. All strands of the story unite into a mighty patchwork that ranges from one end of the universe to the next. There's more to be revealed, but the enthusiasm and ideas which the licensees have come up with are breath-taking. It's going to be such fun." 

Doctor Who is one of the longest running action adventure television series in the world, spanning 56 years and winning over 100 awards. The brand has a proven track record in consumer products and live events with over four million Sonic Screwdrivers sold in the past eleven years, over 12 million action figures sold since 2005, over 18 million DVDs sold globally and over one million tickets sold for live events.

Further information about Time Lord Victorious can be found on DoctorWho.TV, where a timeline of product releases will be collated as products are announced.

[Source: BBC Studios]

14 April 2020

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

1.13: End Of Days

Here we go ladies, gentleman and everyone in between. If you want a proper Russell T. Davies era finale, look no further. Written by the current Doctor Who show runner Chris Chibnall, we look on how the whole of series 1 is summarised into the most climatic and emotional episode we’ve had of the series. 


The episode starts with everything seeming quite normal. Gwen watches Rhys as he sleeps and it all seems a calm morning until Captain Jack calls Gwen to watch the news. It appears as if a weird cascade of events are occurring, as if people and aliens are falling through the cracks in time.


Back in Torchwood, Ianto reads apocalyptic accounts in order to find some resolution to what has happened to the world. (Quite an apt thing for Torchwood to face, as we battle our own troubles in 2020. Owen and Jack aren’t convinced by the readings as they abruptly interrupt Ianto describing a creature known as Abaddo, but that won’t appear, will it? Captain Jack brings the conversation right round to the point in hand, and that is if the splinters in time are anything to do with them? Well, yes but more to the fact, it was Owen. Owen denies any responsibility for his actions, as he proclaims he opened the rift to save Jack and Tosh. This may be partly true, however as the audience ,we know he was doing it to prove whether he could go back and see Diane again. Captain Jack can’t even respond to Owen’s claims or even thank him. The conflict between the team and Jack becomes even more visible during this episode.


Despite the cracks in time affecting the world, Captain Jack and the team appear to have it all under control. In Doctor Who this would be a good laugh to try and get everyone back to their own time zones, however what happens if the people who fall through the cracks, end up brining something with them? Owen and Tosh have a harrowing shock when they discover a person who has fallen from the 14th century, has infected a whole hospital with the black death. The Doctor (no not that one) in disbelief, shouts at Owen “You’re Torchwood! You’re supposed to fix all this!” However as Owen knows he’s responsible for this outbreak, all he can do is manage the situation and leaves it in the Doctor’s hands.


With the cracks in time becoming more and more apparent, Tosh is suddenly stopped in her path, as if she has seen a ghost and more importantly, the ghost of her mother. The shock on Tosh’s face, shows her mother had possibly died sometime in the past, as she has blood running down her forehead. Her mother claims only “It’s coming, out of the darkness.” A series arc that has followed through with people who have died seeing some thing which is too scared to describe. But what is it? What are they afraid of? Not only does Tosh have this ‘vision’ but Gwen also stumbles across Bilis Manger sitting in the cell of the police station. Gwen appearing to be hypnotised, stares at Bilis as he telepathically says “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Is this a coincidence that he appears at the same time as Tosh’s mum? It all seems to be a tangled spiders web and Bilis is in the centre, a spider waiting for his prey.


What raises even more questions, is while Ianto is in the cell block of Torchwood, Lisa appears in front of him. No cyber conversation, just as she was before the battle of Canary Wharf. She proclaims opening the rift will save the lives of everyone on Earth.


This scene hits home quite hard at the moment with what’s going on in 2020. Owen arguing with Jack, as he says they need to be more prepared for the eventualities of a new virus or plague coming through the rift, as Jack wants Owen to fix it. Jack appears to be taking a step back from the role of leader, to force Owen to come up with a solution as he was the one to cause all these problems. Owen feeling guilty wants Jack to take control, but Jack proclaims “this was never meant to happen.” He has no resolution to his problem and it’s at that moment we see Jack being vulnerable for the first time. At this moment he may have turned to the Doctor for help, however he needs to be that leader, delivering guidance. The situation quickly escalates as Jack fires Owen. The Torchwood team stand motionless as they can’t believe what they’re hearing, as their leader isn’t who they thought he was. Owen questions Jack, as they found out his secret past from the World War. How can anyone trust a leader who lies? Owen staggers away as he knows he’ll be RetConned in 24 hours and can’t face the fact he won’t remember Torchwood or being able to fix the devastation of the rift.


The Torchwood team need to find what Bilis is up to and quickly. They track him down to an antique clock repair shop in Cardiff. Bilis explains how he can walk through time, however it comes at a price. He claims to see the past, as well as the future and suggests to Jack and Gwen the only way to save the world is to open the rift. Jack errs on the side of suspicion but Gwen looks on slightly convinced by Bilis’s words. Bilis in what he portrays as an accident, shows Gwen a vision of Rhys, horribly murdered in their flat. ‘Cue Murray Gold running music’


Gwen reaches the flat, but all seems well. Rhys is cleaning the oven without a care in the world. Gwen in a state of panic tells Rhys to come along before tasering him to the floor. I do feel sorry for Rhys, first drugged, now tasered, Gwen has really changed her attitude to dealing with her home life / Torchwood situation.


After everything that has happened to Owen, he is now face to face with his vision of a love, long lost - Diane. She claims she is lost within the rift and begs Owen to open it. Now you’d hope by this point all the Torchwood team would have spoken to one another about seeing these visions and being highly coincidental, but the team are now too broken to fix any of their problems. 


Just as the team think they have some kind of control by keeping Rhys locked in a cell, a security breach opens the door and lets him out. Rhys spots Bilis and asks what’s going on, before Bilis brutally stabs him, killing him. Eve Myles plays Rhy’s death brilliantly. You can feel the pain of grief and guilt from Gwen as she knows she’s failed him. It’s a heart breaking scene that makes me cry every time I watch it.


Bilis’s plan all seems to be falling into place as Owen comes back to open the rift, no matter how much Jack convinces the team their visions of their loved ones are too strong for everyone to think clearly. In a last attempt to stop the team, Jack becomes almost the villain as he plays on their weaknesses. Jack takes it one step too far when he attacks Gwen “You’re so in love with Rhys you spend half your time in Owen’s bed.”Gwen in a fit of rage at losing her loved one, punches Jack in the face as Owen takes the gun from him. It’s a dramatic scene with fast cuts and close up on the team members and it really becomes claustrophobic. Jack ,in one last attempt to stop them is shot down by Owen to the horror of the team.  


There’s no turning back.


The Torchwood team open the rift with Captain with Jack reviving just as the rift opens to the shock of the team. Their whole world is turned upside down as the Torchwood hub is blown to pieces. It’s a brilliant build up as as Bilis Manger is waiting for them to unleash the evil onto the world that has been living under the rift. Abaddon. Now I know this is 2006 GFX and need to take this into consideration, however I believe there is too much happening right now. Bilis should have been the central villain or Abaddon. Abaddon does feel like the cousin of the demon in Doctor Who, The Satan Pit For me, seeing less of the monster, creates more of a sense of threat, as what you imagine can be more powerful than what is shown on screen. The shadow cascading over Cardiff killing everyone, is a brilliant and terrifying scene, as you don’t see what the beast looks like.


In the final battle between Jack and Abaddon, I take my hat off to John Barrowman for playing the role so well. He really makes the final sacrifice of his life so convincing and emotional, that you can feel the love he has for his team and the duty he shows in protecting them. It’s a powerful scene as Jack appears to have finally used up his remaining life force given to him by Rose.


Gwen doesn’t give up on Jack as he doesn’t revive as quickly as before. As the Torchwood team give up, Gwen accepts that Jack is not coming back. She kisses him on the cheek before only taking a few steps before Jack’s very weak voice says “Thank you.” It’s a complete fist bump in the air moment, which gives hope for the team and the audience. 


The final scene is very much silent. Tosh runs over to hug Jack.  Ianto in a comedic light goes to shake Jack’s hand before they kiss,  which makes for a sweet final moment between them. There’s one last resolution to fix as Owen steps in front of Jack. When Jack says “I forgive you,” you can feel all the pain and guilt just wash away, ready for the Torchwood team to come back stronger than ever.


Jack goes on one last trip with the Doctor, as we faintly hear the TARDIS landing in the distance. We as the audience know what happens, but for the Torchwood team… well they’ll just have to wait and see.


There’s a lot of things that need tying up in End of Days but I applaud the ambition of what it achieved with the limitations of both the budget and 2006 effects. With its flaws, it's a well paced story and filled with brilliant character development and emotion. It has to be said it’s a great conclusion for the first series.

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 



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14 April 2020

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Helen Goldwyn

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: March 2020

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online

"London, 1945. Winston Churchill campaigns for re-election. His new strategic adviser assures him that Britain has a bright future under his continued leadership. It’s a vote he can’t possibly lose. But the Doctor knows that he must.

The Monk is meddling, altering history for his own selfish ends. With spies and aliens in the mix, Winston realises victory may not be so simple. But at least he can trust his old friend... can’t he?"

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

Big Finish: We Love Stories.  ‘And Vardans and Churchill’ could be the postscript to their tagline, and so it is that the former Prime Minister has crossed over to the monthly range at last in this play by Helen Goldwyn. He’s not come alone though, as the Monk is there for good measure, too, in his Rufus Hound incarnation.

The year is 1945, Churchill is campaigning for the election (an election he is going to lose, or so history states), and the Monk is up to his usual shenanigans, trying to stop this being the case for reasons that are never really stated.  He just likes stirring the pot. The Doctor, meanwhile, is on hand to try and stop this happening, knowing that in doing so he is risking his friendship with Churchill.  Plus, there are other aliens afoot.

There is a lot going on in Subterfuge and it’s to Goldwyn’s credit that it never feels cluttered or weighed down by its baggage. There is some genuine mystery and tension in her script, and she really shows the darker side to the Monk. For all his jokes and humour, there is a sadistic and nasty aspect to the character; a man willing to sacrifice many just to see what happens. That side is briefly glimpsed here and it’s all the better for it, making the Monk seem more of a threat than has arguably ever been the case before.

It’s perhaps trickier territory with Churchill. He is what is nowadays termed a ‘problematic figure’, which is shorthand for “had good bits and awful bits”, like so many people. (I’m aware I’m over-simplifying things here.) It has made some fans very uneasy about the Doctor’s relationship with him though, with even Steven Moffat stepping in to defend it in a recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine. That slight unease is not going to vanish here, and the Doctor refusing to come down firmly on one side of the fence with his politics and Churchill at that time is bound to wind up fans across the political spectrum: which probably shows that Goldwyn has done a good job of balancing things as best she can. Some will wish she had come down harder on one side though, and I must admit having the Doctor not outright praise and defend the welfare state felt a bit uncomfortable: surely he’d be in favour? But I think Goldwyn is smarter than I by purposely not saying a word, and perhaps that’s more my political leanings showing.

Eggshell treading aside, it’s a strong script bolstered by strong performances. Hound feels increasingly at home in the role of the Monk, and I especially liked Mimi Ndiweni as Alicia, feeling she captured that sense of slight distance at all going on around her that the character needs. At first it may seem a little too distant and perhaps wooden, but that’s not the case at all as later scenes show. It’s a very carefully chosen and curated performance.

Goldwyn is on a roll at the moment, with this and the rather wonderful Mother Tongue in the third Gallifrey: Time War box set. A lesser writer would have made an absolute mess of all the elements in this play: bring back the Monk, bring back Churchill, throw in aliens, set it in a pivotal political moment in Earth’s history. That Subterfuge is anything but is a triumph in itself.

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

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!

7 April 2020

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

1.12: Captain Jack Harkness

After all this time, we finally take a glimpse into the life of Captain Jack.


The story starts with Jack and Tosh entering an old abandoned building to check out reports of music coming from inside the building. (Any eagled eyed viewer will spot the Vote Saxon posters and the Bad Wolf graffiti in the building). Jack is very much enchanted by the music of the past, as both Tosh and Jack think they’re seeing ghosts of the past. It’s been done before with the ghost machine, however this time feels different, more real. It doesn’t take long before the distressed room is filled with a grand party for the airforce, ready to take on WW2. This is when Tosh and Jack realise they haven’t just seen ghosts, they’ve time travelled.


The transition of the scene is done very fluidly as the camera pans around the room. Of course the Torchwood team get into a tight spot straight away, even when trying to blend in, however who should be the person helping out the fight, but the original Captain Jack Harkness (Matt Rippy). Jack finally gives the explanation about his name to Tosh and his past history of being a conman, something we all know from “The Empty Child”. However, when Tosh confronts Jack about who he was before becoming Captain Jack, he doesn’t reply. And so the mystery still lives on.


The Torchwood team are very much split up for this entire story, as we have Jack and Tosh stuck in the past, Owen and Ianto wanting to tear the rift apart to take them back to the future and Gwen who uses her police initiative to explore the old building. Owen’s obsession with losing Diane never seems to leave him, as he’s desperate to solve the equation of opening the rift from Tosh’s partial equations.


Tosh has to get her laptop data to the future. This is where the manager, Bilis Manger (Murray Melvin) comes into play. This oddly dapper, yet sinister looking gentleman strangely enough has a type of polaroid camera. You don’t have to be a Time Lord to know the technology is way advanced of anything that should be around in World War 2. What are the Manager’s motives as he sneakily takes out a folder labelled ‘Torchwood’ from his desk?


The plot involves a lot of going to the past and you suddenly have the Caretaker, Bilis Manager appear again, without having aged a day. Gwen uses a cover story about Torchwood exploring the building with her mates, to enable them to have a look around. But we all know Bilis Manager knows exactly what’s going on. Its that forward knowledge that makes you want to scream at the TV, Gwen get out of there!


Ianto suddenly realises where and to what time Captain Jack and Tosh have travelled, as he finds the polaroid photo from the dance. Owen in a blind panic, realises that Jack and Tosh are in the Cardiff Blitz and will do everything to get them out of there, or is this just to prove a theory of time travelling to see Diane again? They make it their duty to find the key to the equation to using the Rift Machine.


In complete juxtaposition, Jack seems so relaxed and at home with his memories of the past. He’s having a good few drinks with the real Captain. There’s a huge sense of guilt in this moment, as the real Captain kisses his girlfriend with a lack of passion on the cheek as a goodbye. Our Jack, knowing this will be the last time he sees her, pleads with the Captain to give her a proper goodbye. It’s the fact that Jack and the Captain have only just met which shows how much trust and love there is between them; something straight out of Disney, is what Owen might say, aye?


Jack and the Captain share a heart to heart as they confront their fears of the conflict they’ve seen during the war. Jack mentions about his friend getting tortured and killed however, was this during WW2 or was this a fight that took place many years in the future? We never find out, but it’s the conflict connection which brings both Jack and the Captain even closer. Indeed, Murray Gold’s music strikes again in my heart for this scene.


As the bombs fall in the past, the team in the present day are desperately trying to find the missing piece to fix the rift machine. Owen turning Mangers’ office upside down, suddenly realises this is a mystery of time. It was quite apt for Manger to hide the missing piece in a clock. Gwen also manages to find the rest of Tosh’s equation written in Tosh’s blood, however Bilis has got there first and scribbled out the last few numbers. Why didn’t he destroy the whole thing? Is this a trick the Torchwood team are not seeing? The heart breaking message from Tosh, “Tell my family I love them,” makes the team even more determined to get them back. 


Jack tells the Captain to spend one last night with his girlfriend but this doesn’t last long, as the Captain returns to face his true self. The moment they sit together and hold each others hands is the moment of acceptance between both of them. This is the last night they’re both going to have together and Jack wants the Captain to be true to who he is.


In contrast we have Ianto and Owen beating each other up in a desperate show of loyalty, love and anger to try and get Jack and Tosh back from 1941. The conflict between Ianto and Owen becomes very clear as Ianto raises his gun. Their friendship is truly tested as hateful words are thrown about their past mistakes. Owen goes to open the rift but in a moment of loyalty to Jack, Ianto takes the shot. The close up shows the desperation in Owen’s and Ianto’s eyes, as Owen finally uses the key to open the rift. 


Now the moment that makes my heart flutter. The Captain finally accepting who he is, grabs Jack’s hand and takes him on the dance floor. The 1940’s music blends in with Murray Gold’s masterpiece, a unity between the past and the present. The rift opens for Tosh and Jack to escape, but just as Tosh calls, Jack in a moment of love runs towards the Captain for his true goodbye kiss. In a moment, the Captain fades away in one last salute, before he fights his last battle.


Jack and Tosh make it back to the present day. In a true send off, they both have a glass of scotch and toast his name. Tosh said the Captain would have been proud of him for taking his name, something I believe is a consolation to Jack after all these years.


However, what happened to Bilis?

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 



Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
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1 April 2020

Fans of Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) can look forward to a brand new memoir; How To Walk Through A Door: A (Mostly) True Memoir, which will be released by Ebury Publishing, later this year!

Just who do I think I am? Tom Baker is a British original - a charismatic actor, writer, and innate storyteller who has lived more lives than the Time Lord he so famously portrayed on Doctor Who.

His new memoir collects some of his best stories, from some of his best lives. In his unique voice, Tom serves some glorious gossip about Doctor Who, Little Britain, and the great and ghastly of Soho in the 70s (all of whom he's rather surprised to have outlived). He also talks about his years after leaving the TARDIS: a period of personal and professional wandering where it seemed he was employed by people mostly curious to know if he was still alive.

What was it like being the most sought-after voice in Britain? (Was he really the model for Steven Toast?) Did he really spend his days declaiming sonnets on long walks with his cats and settling old scores with rivals in Waitrose? Or does the legendary hellraiser of the Coach and Horses still burn bright?

You'll discover the truly amazing job he turned down and why he decided to don that famous scarf one final time and return to Doctor Who. Tom once famously said that acting is mostly figuring out how to walk through a door, and in his remarkable life, he has walked through (and into, and out of) so many of them.

Blackly comic, intimate, gossipy, thought-provoking, and always wildly entertaining, How to Walk through a Door takes you into the private world of Tom Baker.

+  How To Walk Through A Door is released on 29th October 2020, priced £20.00.
+  PREORDER this title from Amazon.co.uk.
+  Discuss all the Doctor Who Book releases in the DWO Forums.

[Source: Amazon.co.uk]

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