DWAS – REMEMBERING VERITY LAMBERT

The Doctor Who Appreciation Society is to hold an event to remember one of the founders of Doctor Who, Verity Lambert, with a special event held at Riverside Studios in London.

Tickets to attend Remembering Verity Lambert are available free of charge from the society’s website and will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis, with a special allocation for DWAS members.

The event will mark the unveiling of a Blue Heritage plaque commemorating the work of one of the most influential individuals to work in British television. The plaque will be on display at Riverside Studios until the venue closes for development later in the year, when it will be placed into storage, then mounted at the new Riverside media centre.

To celebrate the unveiling of the plaque there will be a special high definition screening of the BAFTA winning 50th Anniversary docu-drama, An Adventure in Space and Time, on the evening of July 23rd, starting at 7pm. This will be followed by an interview with Lambert’s friend and long-time colleague, and director of the very first Doctor Who story, Waris Hussein.

To raise funds for the plaque, DWAS will be holding an auction via it’s ebay site for items donated by friends and fans.

Thanks to the Doctor Who Appreciation Society

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NEW TRAILER

The BBC have broadcast an exciting new 20 second trailer for the upcoming new series of Doctor Who, shown tonight between the France/Germany World Cup match and the BBC News.

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DOCTOR WHO RETURNS SATURDAY 23RD AUGUST

The BBC have confirmed that Doctor Who will return on Saturday 23rd August with a feature length episode called Deep Breath written by showrunner Steven Moffat.

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No transmission time has been announced as yet but BBC America have confirmed they will be showing the episode at 8pm ET.

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DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #475

DWM475_COVERVASTRA, JENNY AND STRAX TAKE CENTRE STAGE IN THE NEW ISSUE OF DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE!

DWM talks exclusively to the actors who have brought the Paternoster Gang to life: Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart and Dan Starkey.

“It’s crazy, how everyone knows where we’re going to be filming,” Neve tells DWM. “When we were doing Peter Capaldi’s first one, we went out nice and early in the morning, and there was one person there. And then you turned around and suddenly there was a whole load of people.”

“Peter himself wasn’t there, of course,” adds Dan, “cos his first actual filming was in the studio that afternoon, which was really exciting.”

“Oh, God, it was amazing watching him,” says Neve.

“And seeing it grow – seeing it happen – and occasionally having these flashes of going, ‘Ah! That reminds me of Tom Baker! Actually, no! That’s the Doctor…”

Also in this issue:

  • DWM pays tribute to the life and times of the Kate O’Mara, the actress who played the Rani in Doctor Who during the 1980s.
  • Former script editor Andrew Cartmel talks to the writers he employed on Doctor Who’s silver anniversary season back in 1988: Ben Aaronovitch, Graeme Curry and Stephen Wyatt.
  • Terrance Dicks – script editor, writer and novelist supreme – talks about his work on Doctor Who in the 60s and 70s.
  • Showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers’ questions in his regular column.
  • The Fact of Fiction takes a detailed look at the 1977 Fourth Doctor adventure, The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
  • The Crystal Throne ­– a brand new comic strip adventure starring Vastra, Jenny and Strax.
  • The Time Team watch the Tenth Doctor and Donna meet Agatha Christie in 2008′s The Unicorn and the Wasp.
  • Jacqueline Rayner and her family take a trip to see a new police box in Relative Dimensions.
  • The Watcher poses more questions and reveals dubious secrets from the archives in Wotcha!
  • Reviews and previews of the latest CDs and books.
  • The DWM crossword, prize-winning competitions and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 475 is on sale now, priced £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

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REVIEW – MASQUERADE

In the 1990′s there was a little known band called “The Family Cat”, I liked them, they had a great song called Steamroller.

How is this relevant you may ask dear reader, well, read on and be enlightened (or bored depending on whether you like my style or not!)

You see this rather great bit of 90′s indie rock could form the soundtrack to the latest offering in Big Finish’s main range – Masquerade, in fact I can imagine loads and loads of videos on You Tube made of clips had it been on TV with Steamroller as the soundtrack as the main protagonist is called “The Steamroller Man” I made my point in the end.

An odd title for an odd protagonist in an odd story, but odd in a good way if you will get my drift, and unfortunately it’s one of those stories that I really can’t say too much about as discussing beyond episode one will ruin the intricately written plot, and what a plot, mind bending or as my better half would say “a real head wrecker”.

It starts off with the Doctor, Nyssa and new companion Hannah Bartholomew arriving at a chateau in 18th century France, their memories have been altered, they think Nyssa is the Doctor’s ward and Hannah is her governess. They are all in period costume, the Doctor even has a powdered wig – nothing is as it seems, there is a dead man in the cellar talking about rats, mechanical noises that not everyone can hear and the impending threat of the Steamroller Man (go on, play the song again, you know you want to:-)) it did remind me slightly of a The Girl in the Fireplace due to setting and the Missing Adventure The Man In a The a Velvet Mask in tone, and this is all I can say without a big dollop of “Spoilers Sweetie”

Peter Davison gives his all as the Fifth Doctor, he is at his best in this one, a reasonable, intelligent man out of his depth, caught up in events, reacting rather than shaping them always one step away from blind panic and desperation, I wish we saw more of this side of him as I do like the Fifth Doctor’s fallibility. Francesca Hunt gives a star turn as new girl Hannah Bartholomew and Sarah Sutton is dependable as ever as Nyssa.

The story really dose feel of the era, with it’s one word title and sound design, I can just picture it as 80′s does pre-revolutionary France, re-using sets from a period drama the Beeb had just made, lit brightly.

A very good end to the “Hannah trilogy” and one of the best Peter Davison era stories full stop, gonna roll over you at 8/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson

SYNOPSIS:

France, the year 1770: by special invitation, the famous ‘Doctor’, friend of Voltaire, arrives at the lonely estate of the lovely Marquise de Rimdelle – once a hostess to the highest of high society, now isolated by the strange, pernicious mist that lingers round the countryside.

But there’s more in that fog than mere vapour, confesses the Marquise’s strange niece to the Doctor’s ward, Nyssa. She senses some uncanny machine circling the fringes of the estate, in the space between the shadows. Watching. Always watching. She’s given it a name: ‘The Steamroller Man’.

Meanwhile, the man in the cellar talks to the Doctor; a dead man, trapped behind the cellar walls. The Steamroller Man is coming, he says; coming to smash the place down. It seems the Doctor has been drawn into a very dangerous liaison…

CAST:

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Rebecca Night (Helene), Victoria Hamilton (Marquise De Rimdelle), David Chittenden (Vicomte de Valdac), Andrew Dickens (Steamroller Man), Sean Brosnan (Dead Man)

Written By: Stephen Cole
Directed By: Ken Bentley

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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REVIEW – DESTROY THE INFINITE

I have said it before, and no doubt I will say it again, but I absolutely LOVE Big Finish and stories like Destroy The Infinite are the reason why.

With a scope covering the first eight Doctors, they really can produce stories “too broad and deep for the small screen” (to quote Virgin Books circa 1991), but more than that, they can create epics that span the ages – just look at the last Seventh Doctor plot arc, seeded way back when and culminating in Gods and Monsters and the effects are still being felt.

So, Destroy the Infinite – to get some context on this, let’s take a look at the Sixth Doctor Story “The Seeds of War” Ol’ Sixie meets an old enemy called the Eminence, then Dark Eyes 2 – again the Eminence, this time met by the Eighth Doctor. But Destroy the Infinite is where the Eminence story begins and the really astounding thing is we have already witnessed so e of the fallout from this story with Doctor’s Six and Eight – not “timey-wimey” (yawn) just very clever story telling, like peeling away the layers of an onion, seeding something bigger and more epic and rewarding the long term listener.

As for plot it starts pretty much like any Fourth Doctor and Leela story in that he has taken Leela to visit a successful Earth colony so that she can learn about it, but the colony far from being idyllic has been occupied by the Infinite Warriors, soldiers of the Eminence. And what a villain the Eminence is, gaseous and appearing in a casket, once you breath it in, your skin begins to calcify, you lose all sense of who you were and you become an infinite Warrior. This happens at the beginning, before the Doctor arrives, and it is truly horrific, a loyal slave soldier being made to take “the breath of forever” it’s tragic, all he cares about is his family and the fact he will forget them.

This story could be a standard rebels against tyrannical rulers, but it is so much more – a true epic, Nick Briggs has written a classic homage not only to mid 70′s Who, but also to World War 2 films, and dare I say it, the Star Wars saga – all earnest young men, rebels, an incontrovertibly evil enemy, dog fights in space, plans that are a thousand to one but just might work, you get the picture!

And in the centre of this, standing like a mighty colossus is the mighty Tom Baker – at the top of his game as good, if not better than he ever was in TV, going from flippant to outraged to frightening to charming sometimes in one sentence – ably supported as ever by the wonderful Louise Jameson, surely one of the most skilled actresses we have been lucky to have on Who, and a guest cast featuring Michael Fenton-Stevens, Clive Mantle & David Sibley.

But there is always The Eminence – the antithesis of the Doctor, but part of him for his remaining regenerations due to events in this story – Nick Briggs has done something wonderful, he has changed the nature of the Doctor and how we view all stories since this one. In a way Destroy The Infinite was ground zero for the Doctor and how the rest if his life will pan out, far cleverer than adding an extra Doctor for the sake of a special – this truly is the long game and I for one can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.

Overall, an Eminently deserved 10/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson

SYNOPSIS:

The colony planet Delafoss is occupied by the army of a rapacious alien force known only as the Eminence. These slave armies of terrified humans are commanded by the dreaded Infinite Warriors – impervious to most forms of firepower, voices like icy death.

The Doctor and Leela arrive expecting to find Earth’s most successful, unspoiled colony. Instead, they are confronted by a planet choked by industrialization. And at the heart of it all, the construction of something that the Eminence intends will wipe out all human resistance once and for all.

For the first time in his life, the Doctor confronts the Eminence… and things will never be quite the same again.

CAST:

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), David Sibley (The Eminence), Michael Fenton-Stevens (Moorson), Clive Mantle (Tillegat/Lieutenant Treeves), Hywel Morgan (Larivan/Lieutenant Garrett), Christine Roberts (Sarla), Ian Hallard (Davent/Infinite Warrior)

Written By: Nicholas Briggs
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

On the surface it’s a Boys’ Own adventure, but there are some meatier issues addressed, and a new enemy introduced. Recommended. 9/10

Paul Simpson SFB

With the thrill-o-meter set at eleven, ‘Destroy The Infinite’ is a fast-paced, furious drama that doesn’t let up for even a single second, carving its plot directly into the heart of the Whoniverse, while establishing and creating the legend of The Eminence.

Tim, Mass Movement.

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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REVIEW – THE COMPANION CHRONICLES: SECOND CHANCES

As Jim Morrison once sang “this is the end”, and for the much loved Companion Chronicles, sadly it is.

It is only fitting that the final story in this series has a suitably funereal, doom laden, fatalistic feeling to it.

An aged Zoe has been captured by the mysterious “Company” she is having her memory mined for information and remembers a particularly tragic series of events when she travelled with The Doctor and Jamie – unfortunately, this is all I can say as giving any plot details away would be a major spoiler. Suffice to say the older Zoe gets a chance to revisit these events and try to make things right.

The one thing (of many) I don’t like about the Moffat era is it’s constant messing about with time to solve problems, Second Chances does time travel properly, as it was stated by the great William Hartnell “you can’t rewrite history, not one line”, and in this story it is proven, our protagonists travel back in time to avert a catastrophe, but end up as bystanders caught up in events, you don’t get a second roll of the dice, what has been will be.

As I previously stated, a very melancholy, fatalistic story, it does take a while to get going and does follow on from three previous Zoe Companion Chronicles, but it’s easy enough to get in to.

Wendy Padbury is on fine form as Zoe, and it really is her story with The Doctor and Jamie reduced to cameo appearances, the setting is pure season 6, I could visualise it in Black and White with guards in shiny jump suits and huge banks of computers and dull utilitarian corridors, it’s world building us superb.

Really sorry not to be able to give away any plot, but it really is integral to what is at it’s heart a very character based piece and a very excellent audio.

So have Big Finish saved the best for last with Second Chances? Not quite, but it is very very good indeed and well worth a listen.

With a heavy heart then, I bid farewell to the Companion Chronicles and look forward to their spiritual successor “The Early Adventures”.

Overall, Second Chances is well worth a Second Glance 8/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson

SYNOPSIS:

From time to time, everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has things from their past they’d like to undo, but nobody gets a second chance. What’s done is done and we can’t change that.

Zoe’s mistakes have led her to imprisonment at the hands of the Company. But when news reports trigger memories of the Doctor, Jamie and an appalling threat, she begins to sense a way out. An opportunity for redemption opens up to anyone willing to take it.

Nobody can alter what’s been done. Nobody gets a second chance.

Or do they?

CAST:

Wendy Padbury (Zoe Heriot), Emily Pithon (Kym)

Written By: John Dorney
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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THE ESSENTIAL DOCTOR WHO #2: THE TARDIS

tardis-specialThe Essential Doctor Who continues with TARDIS Special.

Panini’s new series of Doctor Who bookazines continues with an issue dedicated to the TARDIS.

The Essential Doctor Who: The TARDIS is a lavish 116-page guide featuring details of every major TARDIS story. There are exclusive new interviews with scriptwriters Steve Thompson (Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS) and Christopher H Bidmead (Logopolis, Castrovalva, Frontios), guest star Suranne Jones (Idris in The Doctor’s Wife), the show’s current production designer Michael Pickwoad and the Radiophonic Workshop’s Brian Hodgson, Dick Mills and Mark Ayres.

The publication also includes articles on TARDIS collectables, a history of the original police boxes by a retired superintendent, maps of the ship’s interior and a three-part guide on how to operate the console.

“The TARDIS is an essential part of Doctor Who, so we had to feature it in this series of bookazines,” says editor Marcus Hearn. “We’ve taken a fresh look at one of the show’s most familiar icons, and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to include so much previously unpublished material.”

The Essential Doctor Who: Cybermen is on sale now at WH Smiths and all good newsagents, price £9.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

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REVIEW – TOMB SHIP

Once upon a time, in the 1980′s there was a game show called “Name That Tune” hosted by Tom O’Connor, where contestants had to name tunes by listening to a few notes. A complete tangent you might think, but think again dear reader, as I challenge you to “Name That Tune” da da ra da, da da raaaa, da da ra da, da da ra da daaaaaaa.

Any takers? Anyone? Well, it was of course the theme to Indiana Jones, which leads me nicely on to this months main range release from Big Finish – Tomb Ship, or as I like to think of it “Doctor Number Five and the Tomb Ship of Doom”. If Last of the Colophon was a pastiche of the Invisible man, then Tomb Ship is a definite homage to Indiana Jones or the Mummy or that type of high octane tomb raiding adventure.

The Doctor and Nyssa arrive on the Tomb Ship of the title, the Doctor realises where they are and promptly decides to leave, but unfortunately the TARDIS has disappeared and they are stuck in the tomb of the God King of Arritt.  Problem is, this is a Tomb Ship rigged with traps for the unwary, and rigged to explode with the force to become a star so that the God King can become immortal.

If this wasn’t bad enough, on board are a family of Tomb Raiders hoping to retrieve the God King’s treasure, with a sadistic mother Vima played by Eve Karpf, who will stop at nothing and sacrifice anybody to get to her goal.

So we have a nice little melting pot of disparate elements, Davison gives his usual “breathless enthusiasm” performance, Nyssa is earnest, Vima is vile and her sons are real mummy’s boys (pardon the pun) who will do anything for their mum and it should work, but doesn’t quite manage it. It’s almost like an elongated part four of Pyramids of Mars or the Rassilon’s Tomb section of The Five Doctors. I think the real problem is that this type of story is so visual, that it is difficult to pull off on audio, the threat, though there, just didn’t feel all that urgent to me. Actually the Five Doctors is a good comparison and has many parallels to the finale of the story, greed and ambition lead to their own punishment.

We also have the return of Hannah Bartholemew (from last months story Moonflesh) who looks like she may be joining the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, at least for a while, think of a bluff Stephanie Cole type in her younger years and you won’t be far off the type of character she plays, all tweed and plummy voiced no nonsense upper class personified, she should shake up the dynamic on board the TARDIS.

Overall, an enjoyable enough story, maybe a bit long, and too much going on, I give it six crystal skulls out of ten.

Written to Ed Watkinson

SYNOPSIS:

The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Nyssa to a vast pyramid, floating in space. A tomb ship – the last resting place of the God-King of the Arrit, an incredibly advanced and incredibly ancient civilisation, long since extinct.

They’re not alone, however. Another old dynasty walks its twisted, trap-ridden passages – a family of tomb raiders led by a fanatical matriarch, whose many sons and daughters have been tutored in tales of the God-King’s lost treasure.

But those who seek the God-King will find death in their shadow. Death from below. Death from above. Death moving them back and forward, turning their own hearts against them.

Because only the dead will survive.

CAST:

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Eve Karpf (Virna), Amy Ewbank (Jhanni), James Hayward (Hisko), Jonathan Forbes (Heff), Ben Porter (Murs), Phil Mulryne (Rek/Hologram-Fresco Voice)

Written By: Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby
Directed By: Ken Bentley

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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REVIEW – LAST OF THE COLOPHON

As Freddie Mercury once sang “I’m the invisible man, I’m the invisible man, incredible how you can, see right through me”.Words that the Fourth Doctor and Leela should heed (if they have ever listened to Queen) in the latest Fourth Doctor Adventure Last of the Colophon.

Harking back more to the gritty Hinchcliffe era, this story could fit in quite easily between Robots of Death and The Talons of Weng Chiang. We begin with the Doctor and Leela arriving on the abandoned, seemingly dead planet of Colophos on a holiday, great dialogue from Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, really witty stuff about it being cold, no actually bracing, Leela enquiries as to what bracing means, the Doctor replies it’s what people on holiday call the cold!

Their “holiday” is soon interrupted by the arrival of Surveyor Hardwick and Deputy Surveyor Sutton, who, would you believe are surveying the planet, they then receive a distress call from a ruined building and decide to investigate.

How they enter the building is quite reminiscent of a Tomb of the Cybermen, deadly traps and all, but once inside, they realise they are locked in, and meet the occupant of the building, the infirm and ancient Morax, played with a sort of maniacal glee by Gareth Thomas. He is kept prisoner by his android nurse Torvik, as he once commanded her to keep him alive at all costs, and now he is virtually immortal, clad in bandages and kept alive by a life support unit.

Or maybe not….

What follows is a tense “base under siege” story with a very high body count, it’s gripping, it’s bloody and it’s tense, think Horror of Fang Rock meets Tomb of the Cybermen and you won’t be far from the mark.

Voice plays an important part in this audio, and again Louise Jameson shines as Leela she is inquisitive, intelligent and cunning, traits reflected in the Doctor as the manipulative side of 4 makes a rare appearance in the resolution. It really is a grim story with a seemingly unstoppable foe, quite downbeat really despite all the banter, the humour seems to have a gallows property again more like a Hinchcliffe era story than a Williams era one.

The incidental music is a spot on pastiche if the era, so hats off to the composers.

So, overall, I appreciated it, a great cast and a great plot, but found it a bit too grim for my taste, fans of seasons 14 and 15 will love it, but I am more of a Graham Williams era Tom fan, however it is in no way a bad story – I give it a totally transparent 7/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson

SYNOPSIS:

The planet Colophos is a dead world. Nothing but dust and rubble – and the ruins of a once-great civilisation. But is it really as dead as it appears? When the Doctor and Leela land, joined by the crew of the Oligarch survey ship, it’s not long before they receive a communication from one of the ruins. A communication from Astaroth Morax, the last of the Colophon. Attended by a sadistic robot nurse, Morax is in a wheelchair and bound in bandages to conceal his terrible injuries. But is he really as powerless as he seems? What became of the rest of his race – and why didn’t he die with them?

Entering his lair, the Doctor uncovers a terrifying secret…

CAST:

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Gareth Thomas (Morax), Jane Goddard (Nurse Torvik), John Voce (Chief Surveyor Hardwick), Jessica Martin (Deputy Surveyor Sutton), Blake Ritson (Pilot Kellaway)

Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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THE DOCTOR WHO PUBCAST #15

The Pubcast lads are back with more podcasting goodness. This month they take a break from being nice about everything and having a bit of a moan.

Simon delivers his latest omni-rumour rundown, the lads discuss New Earth, City of Death and Torchwood: Miracle Day. Plus an exclusive teaser for next month’s Interview Special!

Thanks to Nick Headley

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DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #474

THE NEW ISSUE OF DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE REVEALS THE MOST POPULAR STORIES OF THE FIRST FIVE DECADES – AS VOTED FOR BY YOU!

Doctor Who Magazine readers have voted in their thousands, giving their votes for all 241 Doctor Who television stories, and now, at last, the results can be revealed…

  • Which classic twentieth-century story hits the Top Five for the first time ever?
  • Which adventure shoots up the list to become the top story of the Second Doctor’s era?
  • Which two recurring monsters see their every appearance land inside the Top 75?
  • Which two Doctors find an incredible 50% of their stories inside the top third of the poll?
  • Which adventure will be voted the greatest Doctor Who story of all time?

The answers to these questions and much, more, as DWM celebrates the Top 10 stories of each decade, from the 1960s to the 2010s – and gives the ultimate chart placing of each and every one of the Doctor’s 241 adventures to date!

Also in this issue:

  • Showrunner Steven Moffat writes his exclusive column for the magazine.
  • The thrilling conclusion to the final Eleventh Doctor comic strip, The Blood of Azrael.
  • The Time Team watch 2008′s The Doctor’s Daughter.
  • Jacqueline Rayner reveals how Doctor Who can cause family tension in Relative Dimensions.
  • The Watcher looks back at Doctor Who polls of the past in Wotcha!
  • Previews of all the latest merchandise.
  • Reviews of the latest  CDs, and books.
  • Prize-winning competitions, the DWM crossword and more!

The bumper-sized, 100-page Doctor Who Magazine 474 – with 16 extra pages and a souvenir gatefold cover! – is on sale from Thursday 29 May, at the usual price of £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

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A CHAT WITH ANDREW CARTMEL

The pubcast lads, Nick and Simon, cordially invite you to come along for an afternoon chat with former Doctor Who script editor Andrew Cartmel.

The event is being held at The Ale Wagon pub, 27 Rutland Street in Leicester, on Saturday 31st May from 2.30 – 5.30pm.

Thanks to Nick Headley

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A THANK YOU FROM KATY MANNING

After reading a review of her latest Big Finish audio adventure, The Elixir of Doom, actress Katy Manning very kindly took the time to tweet her thanks to our resident Big Finish reviewer, Ed Watkinson.


FOLLOW KATY MANNING ON TWITTER

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LOUISE JAMESON TOURS IN AGATHA CHRISTIE CLASSIC

Louise Jameson begins touring in the next few days starring as Miss Marple in a stage production of Agatha Christie’s timeless classic, A Murder Is Announced.

The ‘announcement’ is in the local paper, stating time and place for a murder in Miss Blacklock’s house. However, the victim is not one of the several occupants, temporary and permanent, but an unexpected and unknown visitor. What follows is a classic Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a second death, a determined Inspector grimly following the twists and turns, with Miss Marple on hand to provide the final solution – at some risk to herself in a dramatic confrontation scene just before the final curtain.


BOOK TICKETS

Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, Flintshire – Thursday 29th – Saturday 31st May 2014

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, Suffolk – Friday 6th – Saturday 7th June 2014

Devonshire Park Theatre, Compton Street, Eastbourne – Tuesday 17th – Saturday 21st June 2014

The Capitol, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex – Monday 30th June – Wednesday 2nd July 2014

The Palace Theatre, 430 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea – Monday 7th – Wednesday 9th July 2014

Darlington Civic Theatre, Parkgate, Darlington – Tuesday 15th – Saturday 19th July 2014

Swansea Grand Theatre, Singleton St, Swansea – Tuesday 5th – Saturday 9th August 2014

Louise is best known to Doctor Who fans as Leela, companion to the Fourth Doctor, but has appeared in countless other TV shows during her career including Z Cars, Emmerdale Farm, Tenko, The Gentle Touch, Bergerac, Wycliffe, EastEnders, Doc Martin and Doctors. She has also enjoyed a successful career in film, theatre and radio, as well as reprising her much-loved character Leela in a series of popular Doctor Who audio adventures for Big Finish.

To find out more about Louise, her life and career, to read her blog and to visit her online shop, please check out her website louisejameson.com.

Thanks to Ed Watkinson

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DOCTOR WHO RETURNS IN AUGUST

The BBC have confirmed that the new series of Doctor Who will begin in August 2014.

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REVIEW – THE COMPANION CHRONICLES: THE ELIXIR OF DOOM

Instructions on how to make an Elixir of Doom:

Take one Katy Manning, clone her until you have two…
Add a pinch of Derek Fowlds…
Sprinkle liberally with 1930′s era Hollywood Glamour…
Infuse with essence of Eighth Doctor…
Throw in some monsters for good measure…
Allow to simmer for about an hour…
Sit back, relax and enjoy….

So the latest in the Companion Chronicles series sees the unequivocally fabulous Katy Manning in not one, but two starring roles, as Jo Jones (née Grant) and Iris Wildthyme.

This version of Jo is contemporary with our time and has been travelling with Iris Wildthyme since “Find and Replace” (well worth a listen).  They turn up in 1930′s Hollywood with the intention of crashing a few parties, hob-nobbing with celebrities and generally living it up, but they stumble upon a dark secret and also the 8th Doctor.

With the party in full swing, it is crashed by a real horror film monster, the Lizard man, not a man in a suit, the real deal, dealt with beautifully by the Doctor by singing the Venusian lullaby.  But why are the monsters real, and what relation do they have to the ex husbands of the starlet, a character Jo has met before in her past, but in the future…..?

Katy Manning excels here, if I didn’t know that she played both Jo and Iris, I never would have guessed.  She plays Jo as an older, more worldly wise version than we are used to on the TV, but retains her essential kookiness and compassion, Iris on the other hand is a hoot, a real force of nature, blundering in, thinking later, they make a wonderful double act.

Plaudits also to Derek Fowlds as Claude, a quiet lapdog of a man.

It’s a real shame that we may not see any more of the Jo/ Iris pairing as the Companion Chronicles are coming to an end, how’s about a Christmas Special? The tone of the story is a lot more serious than the title suggests, it’s real body horror and actually quite tragic, but not morose and retains a sense of fun. It’s quite strange to have a story with Jo not being paired with the Third Doctor, but, surprisingly, his presence isn’t missed, testament to the script and the strong performances by Katy Manning and Derek Fowlds.

Overall a monster mash-up of a story! 9/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson

SYNOPSIS:

Once, Jo Grant travelled in Space and Time with the Doctor. Now, she is travelling with trans-temporal adventuress Iris Wildthyme.

Arriving in Los Angeles in the 1930s, Jo and Iris are caught up in the glamour of Hollywood.

Monster movies are all the rage.

But sometimes monsters are real…

CAST:

Katy Manning (Jo Grant/Iris Wildthyme), Derek Fowlds (Claude)

Written By: Paul Magrs
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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REVIEW – CHARLOTTE POLLARD SERIES ONE

When we last saw Charley Pollard, she had solved the conundrum of travelling with Doctors eight and then six (in that order, it’s a long story, but well worth checking out) and at the end of the adventure Blue Forgotten Planet Charley had teamed up with the Viyrans, or rather been forced to work with them due to circumstances. For those not in the know, the Viyrans are an alien race dedicated to eradicating all viruses set free by the destruction of the Amethyst Station (again, long story, again, well worth checking out).

Charley is played once again by India “voice of master chef” Fisher, and she has been in the service of the Viyrans for a very very long time and fancies a change, and  when a handsome young stranger called Robert Buchan crosses her path, he proves just the inspiration to do something about her situation.

Like the Jago and Litefoot, and Dark Eyes series before it, Charlotte Pollard series one is split into four linked adventures:

Part One: The Lamentation Cypher sees Charley meet Robert Buchan, attempt to escape the Viyrans, and ends up with a choice of captivity or death.

Part Two: The Shadow at the Edge of the World is a tense thriller, Charley has crash landed in a forest in Scotland in 1936 where a desperate group of female adventurers are being picked off one by one by creatures they call Slaverings, a really tense piece of drama, actually quite tragic.

Part Three: The Fall of the House of Pollard oh boy this is good, by far the best episode of season one.  Anneke Wills plays Lady Louisa and Terrance Hardiman plays Lord Richard, Charley’s parents. Years later they are still coming to terms with having lost their daughter on the R101 airship disaster, but a caller to their home a young psychic called Michael Dee brings them hope against hope of seeing Charley again. A really bitter sweet, melancholy tale, with an ending that can either be seen as sad or happy.

Part Four: The Viyran Solution sees Charley back with the Viyrans who reveal their plan to erase the worst plague in the universe – life itself. A tense race against time and a cliffhanger ending leaving series 2 an inevitability.

This is an occasion where I liked the filling more than the bread, by that I mean, I really enjoyed part 2, loved part 3, but part 1 & 4 felt a bit overlong, then again they did serve the purpose of setting up Charley and her works and opening the door to more adventures, so in that way they do succeed and I really am looking forward to the continuing adventures of Miss Pollard and her new friend Mr Buchan without the Viyran threat as I think they make a great team. I really do think that now the continuity of almost 15 years of adventures has been boxed off, the slate is clean for Charley to become her own woman, however, if anyone at Big Finish is reading this, how’s about Charley meeting up with Jago and Litefoot? Anyone?????

Overall a promising start to a new series, 7/10

Written by Ed Watkinson

A PERSONAL NOTE

As I was listening to this box set in preparation for my review, I read the sad news that Paul Spragg had died. Paul was Planet Mondas’ contact point at Big Finish and I had exchanged several emails with him and always sent him a copy of reviews before they were posted here.

Paul was always very encouraging and supportive of me as a review writer, he always took the time to feed back to me, never asked for any amendments and valued the critique I had written.

Mine and the condolences of Mike Nuttall and all the staff and members at Planet Mondas go out to the family, friends and colleagues who knew Paul Spragg.

Thanks,

Ed Watkinson

SYNOPSIS:

Charlotte Pollard’s adventures are over. She escaped death aboard the R101 and travelled in time and space – but now in the service of the monolithic, unknowable Viyrans, their unending mission is stifling her. An encounter with would-be adventurer Robert Buchan, near the mysterious Ever-and-Ever-Prolixity, provides the opportunity Charley needs for escape…

So, the adventuress is abroad once more: meeting a lost expedition in uncharted forests, solving enigmas, and hoping beyond hope to see the people she misses most: her family. But Charley cannot run forever. The Viyrans know the power of the ‘Lamentation Cipher’ and they have a solution… for everything.

Part One: The Lamentation Cypher

Part Two: The Shadow at the Edge of the World

Part Three: The Fall of the House of Pollard

Part Four: The Viyran Solution

CAST:

India Fisher (Charlotte Pollard), Anneke Wills (Lady Louisa Pollard), Terrence Hardiman (Lord Richard Pollard), Michael Maloney (Viyrans), James Joyce (Robert Buchan), Nicholas Briggs (Bert Buchan/The Slaverings), Jacqueline King (Mrs Turnerman), Abigail McKern (Susan Broadstairs), Nicola Weeks (Charity Savage), Lucy May Barker (Emmeline Leigh), Charlie Norfolk (Violet Warren), David Dobson (Michael Dee), Louise Brealey (Millicent Belanger III), Nadia Kamil (Miss Griffin)

Written By: Jonathan Barnes and Matt Fitton
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR WINS BAFTA AWARD

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary story The Day of the Doctor has won the Radio Times Audience Award at the 2014 BAFTA Television Awards.

The adventure, starring Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt and Billie Piper, won the award based on the votes of the readers of Radio Times, beating off stiff competition from several other high profile shows, including Broachurch and The Great British Bake-Off.

The award was collected by the Head of Drama at BBC Wales and Executive Producer of the special, Faith Penhale, accompanied by Producer Marcus Wilson and Director Nick Hurran.

Penhale paid tribute to showrunner Steven Moffat, saying:

His ideas and his imagination support the show and guide the show, and we are really grateful to him

But this award is for anybody who has a hand in Doctor Who over the last fifty years. Last year we celebrated our anniversary so this is really special

The origins of Doctor Who docu-drama, An Adventure in Space and Time, narrowly missed out on winning the award for Best Single Drama, but David Bradley who starred as William Hartnell in the special, won the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Broadchurch. The show, starring David Tennant, also won the award for Best Drama Series.

The academy took time to remember some members of the industry who have died over the past year, including veteran director Christopher Barry, Edna Doré, James Ellis, Roger Lloyd Pack, Aubrey Woods and Kate O’Mara.

Thanks to the Doctor Who News Page.

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RESTORING DOCTOR WHO

Restoration Team member Paul Vanezis has released a video via youtube showing some of the restoration work carried out on the nine episodes of classic Doctor Who recovered and returned to the BBC by episode-hunter Philip Morris of Television International Enterprises Archive Ltd.

In 2013, 9 lost episodes were returned to the BBC by the archive recovery organisation TIEA. This is what then happened to the films.

The film starts with the remedial work required to get the film on the film cleaner, then the film cleaner at work.

The film cleaner works by immersing the film in a bath of specially engineered inert fluid which acts as a transmission medium for the powerful ultrasonic waves which shock the dirt on the surface of the film and loosen it to allow it to be gently scrubbed off by rotating lambswool rollers submerged in the bath. Hot air knives dry the film as soon as it leaves the bath.

Then we see the first of the film watched for the very first time since it was lost.

Thanks to Paul Vanezis

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