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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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17 March 2011

Michael Gough, the actor best known to Doctor Who fans as The Celestial Toymaker, has died. As well as his fondly remembered portrayal of the Toymaker, opposite the first Doctor William Hartnell in 1965, Gough also appeared as the Doctor’s old friend Hedin, in the 1982 story ‘Arc of Infinity’.

Gough was born in Kuala Lumpa in either 1916 or 1915 – he never knew which. Despite the uncertainty about his year of birth, he holds the honour of being the longest-lived actor to have appeared in Doctor Who. His career was extraordinary. Between 1947 and 2000, he recorded at least one film per year, often more, in addition to a busy TV and stage career, which included tours with the Royal Shakespeare Company

Michael Gough’s unstoppable film career began in the forties, with ‘Androcles and the Lion’, but it was his role as Nicholai in ‘Anna Karenina’ that set in motion a prolific and distinguished movie career. By the early sixties he was well-known to TV viewers through such series as ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’, ‘The Count of Monte Christo’, ‘The Saint’, ITV’s ‘Play of the Week’ and many more.

After appearing in the title role of the 1965 Doctor Who story  ‘The Celestial Toymaker’, Gough started to achieve a cult status among horror film fans, appearing in several notable productions from Hammer and Amicus, while continuing to be a regular face on British TV, with roles in ‘The Avengers’, ‘Orlando’, ‘The Champions’ and ‘Theatre 625’, to name just a few. Throughout the seventies, he continued making several movies and TV series each year. Among the many classic series he appeared in during that decade are ‘Colditz’, ‘The Protectors’, ‘Crown Court’ and ‘Blake’s 7’. His career continued into the eighties with ‘Brideshead Revisited’, ‘Smiley’s People’ and a second appearance in Doctor Who – this time with the fifth Doctor, Peter Davison.

After a further decade of TV and film appearances, Gough found new adoration among a new generation of film-goers as Batman’s butler, Alfred, in the new films in that franchise which began in 1989. His relentless work-rate continued during the 90s and into the 2000s, and he established a long friendship with director Tim Burton, appearing in ‘Sleepy Hollow’, ‘Corpse Bride’ and, in 2010, ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Even this however, was not his final appearance. Released in February 2011, ‘All Star Superman’ features one last outing for his legendary and unique voice. 

Gough was married three times – his third wife being Doctor Who actor Anneke Wills. Wills had encountered him at various times during her life – firstly during a theatre trip with her mother in 1952 – but they first met formally, on the set of ‘Candidate for Murder’ and the attraction was instant. Gough adopted Anneke’s daughter Polly, and in 1965, their son Jasper was born. 

Anneke says, “As his body was deteriorating this week, he said that he wanted to hang on for St Patrick’s Day. And he did, just. In the end... there is only love.” 

Michael Gough leaves his wife Henrietta, his daughter Emma and sons Simon and Jasper (Yogi).

[Source: Tim Hirst]

23 February 2011

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of much-loved Classic Series Actor, Nicholas Courtney.

Nicholas (born in Egypt in 1929), was known to fans for his role as Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in the Classic Series of Doctor Who. He was the only actor to have worked with all of the first five Doctors, as well as the Seventh Doctor from 1965-1989, and was one the longest-serving co-stars in the show's entire history.

Courtney's first appearance in Doctor Who was as Space Security Agent, Bret Vyon, in the First Doctor adventure; The Daleks' Master Plan, but it was for his role as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (later Brigadier), who made his first appearance in The Web of Fear in 1968, that fans regard most.

In total, the character of The Brigadier appeared in 23 stories:

The Web of Fear, The Invasion, Spearhead from Space, Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death, Inferno, Terror of the Autons, The Mind of Evil, The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space, The Daemons, Day of the Daleks, The Time Monster, The Three Doctors, The Green Death, The Time Warrior, Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Planet of the Spiders, Robot, Terror of the Zygons, Mawdryn Undead, The Five Doctors & Battlefield.

In 2008, Courtney returned to the role in the spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, in an episode titled, Enemy of the Bane. Fans had long been requesting his return to Doctor Who, but, alas, it never came to pass.

As well as taking part in several Big Finish audio adventures, Courtney also featured as a regular cast member in Cosmic Hobo's The Scarifyers, as Detective Inspector Lionheart, in which his co-stars alongside Terry Molloy (Davros in the Classic Series).

Courtney is survived by his wife, Karen and children, Bella and Philip, whom DWO would like to extend our deepest sympathies to.

DWO Editor, Sebastian J. Brook had the following to say about Nicholas:

"Hearing this news is indeed an incredibly sad blow to fans worldwide. On a personal note, I have had the pleasure of meeting, and indeed working with Nicholas over the years. He was always an incredibly warm, generous and wickedly funny man, who always found time for his fans. He will be sorely missed and leaves an irreplaceable void in Doctor Who."

On hearing the news early this morning, DWO asked our Facebook and Twitter followers for your memories and comments about Nicholas. Below are just a few:

Alan Dobbie via DWO Facebook

"I last met Nick at a fundraiser 18 months ago in a Tottenham restaurant where of course he was on good form; everyone wanted to speak to him and not the guest speaker!! A fond memory I also have is at breakfast at a convention and dear Nick just couldn't work the tea machine and turned to me and "Benton's never around when you need him". He always had time for the fans, thanks Nick and we'll raise a pint for you!!!"

Dale Who via DWO Facebook

"I was fortunate enough to meet Nick on many occasions, and he was always such good value. He was very well respected by both fans and peers alike, always in demand and always a witty, clever and thoroughly professional man. The acting world - and Doctor Who in particular - has lost a shining star, and my heart goes out to the many affected by his passing."

Brian Stultz via DWO Facebook

"I was not fortunate enough to meet Nic! I have watched so many hrs of Dr. Who that included this fine actor. He has made such an impact on my life, brought me many hrs of enjoyment and I feel as though I have lost an old friend or family member. He will be truly missed and never forgotten!"

@andy984 via Twitter

"@drwhoonline RIP Nicholas Courtney 1929-2011. In memory I'll be watching Inferno cos he was just bloody brilliant in it!"

@mrdavidj via Twitter

"@drwhoonline I don't think I've seen anyone or anything else applauded and welcomed with such passion."

@cpn_jack via Twitter

"@drwhoonline R.I.P nicolas courtney I may not of watched all your episodes but you were brilliant in SJA and the five doctors."

Finally, to commemorate Nick's life and contribution to Doctor Who, DWO have put together the following tribute video via our YouTube Channel:

[Source: BBC]

15 February 2011

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of Classic Doctor Who Actor, T.P. McKenna.

T.P. was perhaps best known to Doctor Who fans for his role as Captain Cook in The Seventh Doctor adventure; The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.

DWO would like to extend our sympathies to T.P.'s family and friends.

[Source: Neil Marsh]

30 November 2010

There’s no doubt that the appearance of Doctor Who on LOVEFiLM’s catalogue has gotten us excited – the chance to enjoy our favourites whenever we like (within reason) seems a good enough reason as any to get in a good mood.

And while the presence of Matt Smith’s recent outing is good enough for now, one thing that has caught our eye is the wealth of old episodes that LOVEFiLM has to offer.

We all know that the Doctor has been on fire since 2005 and we need little excuse to revisit any one of hundreds of moments from the run. However, it’s reassuring to know that if we need to recap an episode, catch up with one that we’ve missed or simply relive the excitement all over again, LOVEFiLM has it covered.

To have classics such as Jon Pertwee’s Inferno, Tom Baker’s City of Death, and Sylvester McCoy’s The Curse of Fenric available as well as other movies online whenever you want them, thanks to the LOVEFiLM Player, is a treat that we’re really looking forward to – even if it doesn’t come to fruition.

For now, of course we’re happy with whatever we’re given, and LOVEFiLM are allowing us to get our hands on copies of Doctor Who for a fraction of what it would cost to buy the box set, or even to rent it in the conventional way.

So, in truth, there’s no excuse for going without a Doctor Who fix thanks to LOVEFiLM, providing a fantastic TV back catalogue at a great price!

[Sources: Doctor Who Online; LOVEFILM]

23 November 2010

It is with deepest regret that DWO announces the passing of Classic Doctor Who Actress, Ingrid Pitt.

Ingrid was perhaps best known to Doctor Who fans for her roles as Galleia in The Third Doctor adventure; The Time Monster, and as Solow in The Fifth Doctor adventure; Warriors of the Deep. Recently, Ingrid co-authored Doctor Who audio adventure; The Macros, for Big Finish's 'Lost Stories' range.

DWO would like to extend our sympathies to Ingrid's family and friends.

[Source: BBC News]

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