NEW TEASER

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REVIEW – THE ABANDONED

the-abandoned_cover_largeSometimes a story comes along with a lot of expectations, The Abandoned is one of these.
Why is this? You may well ask, well dear reader, but the reason that there has been so much expectation about this story is because of its co-author, none other than Leela herself, the wonderful Louise Jameson.

So with the bar already raised high, I listened to The Abandoned, then I listened to it again, then I thought about it, then listened again, then mulled it over for a few days, then talked to Mrs Wings about it, then sat down to write the review, couldn’t, had a glass of Cider, watched The Seeds of Death, slept, woke up and started to write the review.

It’s a bit of a puzzler this one, a beautiful stream of consciousness with disturbing surreal imagery, if anyone has seen Twin Peaks, think of Doctor Who in the Black Lodge directed by David Lynch  and you won’t be far off.

This story is as near Doctor Who has ever been to “Arthouse”. Episode one is a total dreamscape, a descent into the maelstrom, voices heard, things happen for no apparent reason. Episode two explains things nicely, albeit in an abstract sort of way, and also goes back to a piece of Doctor Who mythology that is seldom touched upon, that is, if the Doctor stole the TARDIS, who were the previous owners, and where are they and what if they want their TARDIS back?

A minimal cast, minimal “sets” this feels like a stage play, the guest cast are uniformly superb and deranged with special kudos to Stephanie Cole as Lady Marianna.

Big Finish make great stories, and thus is no exception, not for the faint hearted or casual listener The Abandoned demands to be listened to with your full attention, then listened to again.  It’s like a delicious meal that you savour, or a painting or piece if music that you can keep coming back to and getting something new every time. Rarely has Doctor Who been so brave or dared to be so different, a testament to the formatless format and the creativity of Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs.

Not everyone’s cup of Tea, but definitely my mug of Ty-Phoo.

A mind bending surreal trip down the rabbit hole and for the second month running a well deserved 10/10.

SYNOPSIS:

The Point of Stillness. A place the Time Lords are forbidden to go. It cannot be drawn, it cannot be whispered, it cannot be thought. And yet somebody is very keen to reach it.

Deep within the TARDIS, something unusual is happening. One of the ship’s oldest secrets is about to be revealed, and once it is, nothing will ever be the same again.

As danger materialises deep within the ship, spectral strangers lurk in the corridors and bizarre events flood the rooms, someone long-forgotten is ready to reappear. The Doctor and Leela are soon to discover that their home isn’t quite the safe stronghold they thought.

CAST:

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Stephanie Cole (Marianna), Mandi Symonds (One), Andy Snowball (Two), Nigel Fairs (Three)

Written By: Nigel Fairs and Louise Jameson
Directed By: Ken Bentley

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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REVIEW – BREAKING BUBBLES AND OTHER STORIES

breaking_bubbles_cover_image_largePerception, that what this is all about. What is perception though? I see it as a way of explaining my world view – 1000 people may view the same events and when asked about it come up with 1000 different explanations. I listened to Metallica at Glastonbury and thought it was a wonderful, beautifully constructed sweeping, moving performance, others just saw it as shouty noise, & don’t let’s get started on Love and Monsters (though if you want to there is a thread here.

So perception eh, there you have it, which brings me neatly (or in a roundabout rambling way, depending on your perception) to this months main range release from Big Finish – Breaking Bubbles and Other Stories.

This is one of Big Finish’s periodic breaking of the usual format, in that it is four short stories of an episode long each rather than a complete four part adventure, each story is complete on its own, but in some ways tackles the theme of perception.

Breaking Bubbles by LM Myles is the first story and sees Ol’ Sixie and Peri arrive in what they perceive to be the gardens of a stately home, but as with the theme of this anthology, nothing is as it seems and everything is not as black and white as it is painted. Easily the most traditional of all the stories, a space opera with Galactic Empires, deposed emperors and a human cost this starts off the collection very nicely and feels very cosy and familiar 7/10.

Of Chaos Time The by Mark Ravenhill throws you in at the deep end, we enter part way through the story, if Breaking Bubbles was traditional classic Who, this is Old Sixie meets the Moffat era. Initially confusing, as the messed up title suggests, this is not played out in a linear fashion, The Doctor jumps back and forth through different parts of the story about time being used as a weapon. It’s a clever take on time travel and wall does stand up to repeated listening 8/10.

An Eye For Murder by Una McCormack The Doctor and Peri visit St Ursulas College for women at the dawn of World War 2, something there could change the course of the war…
This feels like an Agatha Christie, all stuffy upper class academics in a women’s university, Peri mistaken for an author and seen as the Doctors boss, him pretending to be her typist. There is a poison pen mystery to solve and an alien artefact that effects viewers perception all in the space of one half an hour episode, great build up, fantastic characterisation I really could see it happening, but the ending felt (again my perception) a little rushed 8/10.

The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time by Nev Fountain and so ladies and gentlemen, we come to the last story on the anthology, and boy oh boy was it worth waiting for. The main protagonist is Michael, a fourteen year old boy who is a little different to the norm, he likes to solve mysteries, doesn’t like “invisible rules” that no one tells you about, and knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that his Dad had 129 garden Gnomes and NOT 130, as he had counted them. Sometimes a story completely knocks you for six and this is one of them. I will go as far to say that this is the “Love and Monsters” of the Big Finish range and long time readers and forum members will know how much I love that story. It’s a story about people and how loss effects them, how one boy makes sense of the mystery of his missing Dad, and then accepts the world in a very new way. And that last scene, Colin Baker, just Colin Baker, as wonderful a performance as he has ever given as the Doctor, it makes me sad that his potential wasn’t realised on TV if I could rate it higher than 10/10 I would, it is one of the very best not only Big Finish releases, but Doctor Who stories in general, that I have had the pleasure to experience in any format.

So there you have it, something for everyone, from classic who, to new who, to period drama to human drama all on two shiny discs (or downloads which probably won’t be shiny) Colin Baker continues to be astounding, and it is lovely to see him paired with Peri, a too rare an occurrence in the audios, but the upcoming trilogy will rectify that.

Overall, see individual story scores, but highly recommended bite size pick’n'mix of top class Doctor Who.

SYNOPSIS:

An anthology of four tales on the theme of perception.

Breaking Bubbles by LM Myles

The Doctor and Peri find themselves in the palatial gardens of the deposed Empress Safira Valtris where nothing is ever quite what it seems.

Of Chaos Time The by Mark Ravenhill

Cast adrift in his own chronology, the Doctor must avert the consequences of a catastrophic experiment in using time as a weapon of war.

An Eye For Murder by Una McCormack

The year is 1939, and a case of poison pen letters at St Ursula’s College threatens to change the course of the Second World War. Fortunately thriller writer Miss Sarah Perry is on hand to investigate…

The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time by Nev Fountain

Michael is a young boy who likes to solve mysteries, such as the mystery of the extra gnome, the mystery of the absent father, and the mystery of the strange man in yellow trousers at the bottom of the garden.

CAST:

Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Jemma Churchill (Safira Valtris/Dr Maria Backhouse), Andy Secombe (Laris/Akros/Policeman), Allison McKenzie (Tondra/Dr Joan Dalton), Janet Henfrey (Dr Petherbridge), Jessica Knappett (Dr Ruth Horwitz), Paul Panting (Maylon/Geoff/Llangragen), Anjella Mackintosh (Standing/Olivia), Phil Mulryne (Trobe/Warma), Johnny Gibbon (Michael), Toby Fountain (Young Trobe)

Written By: Mark Ravenhill, Una McCormack, LM Myles, Nev Fountain
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

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REVIEW – SURVIVORS: SERIES ONE BOX SET

survivors1_cover_largeI have a confession, I have never seen the original 1970′s series of Survivors. I watched the remake a few years ago, it was ok, but apparently not a patch on the original. And then it was axed, and apart from vague memories of Julie Graham looking stunning and pointing out to Mrs W that Patterson Joseph was DEFINITELY GOING TO BE THE NEXT DOCTOR, I forgot all about it. Until last month.

Full forward to June 2014 and Big Finish release their first series of their audio adaptation of Survivors. Twitter was full of praise.  I had no expectations.  It had some Doctor Who people in it, Terry Molloy, Louise Jameson, Sinead Keenan, and also Lucy Fleming and Ian McCulloch reprising their roles as Jenny and Greg from the original series. All very nice, but not exactly setting my world alight. Until I started to listen.

Never before have I been so completely drawn into a world, completely captivated.  It’s the realism I think. This is our world, (albeit a 1970′s one), and we really are only one step away from chaos, barbarism, and madness.

The world we enter is suffering from a global pandemic, a flu like virus has taken hold.  People are literally dropping like flies, as more and more become sick.  The authorities struggle to maintain order, and then, when people start dying by the million, there are no authorities left any more. The story is told in the beginning through the eyes of different groups of people – Maddie Price (Chase Masterson) the American attorney desperately trying to get a flight home to her fiancé, John Redgrave (Terry Molloy) the man from the ministry, sent to Heathrow to maintain a facade of the authorities “doing something”, Daniel Connor (John Banks) a journalist trying to come to terms with the new world he finds himself in, Jackie Burchall (Louise Jameson) a wife and mum, lost in the new world order, James Gillison (Adrian Lukis) University lecturer turned tyrant or saviour.

The world building is exceptional, it is our world turned upside down, 95% of the population are dead. Fear, hunger, barbarism and hope vie for top spot in the Survivors lives and as the plot progresses, this new extreme world takes it’s toll on our heroes. The characters act like real people with hopes dreams and ambitions, but also fear, paranoia and despair – a real melting pot of ideas. Some despair, some find opportunity to make a new life for themselves some descend into paranoia and madness – Adrian Lukis as Gillison gives an incredible portrayal of this descent, he starts off with good intentions but gets more paranoid and extreme as the story goes on.

The acting really is top notch, the actors really do convey desperation of a situation none of them know how to cope with, but I must make a particular mention of Terry Molloy. Like many Who fans, I only know a Terry for Davros, but in his role as John Redgrave Molloy gives the performance of a lifetime.  A grey man in a suit from the ministry, sent to reassure that “everything will be fine” coming to the realisation that it won’t.  No superiors for instruction, no establishment, to authorities, a real journey of character an incredibly under stated and moving performance.

So is it recommended? Put it this way, I ordered the original 1970′s series on DVD after hearing episode one of this version, it is by far and away the most realistic, hard hitting and thought provoking work Big Finish have produced and I cannot comment it highly enough. It is grim, it is shocking and it isn’t easy listening, but it is a masterpiece.

An unreservedly and deservedly given 10/10 and I can’t wait for Series Two.

Written by Ed Watkinson

SYNOPSIS:

It begins with just a few people falling ill. Another flu virus that spreads around the globe. And then the reports begin that people are dying…

When most of the world’s population is wiped out, a handful of survivors are left to pick up the pieces.

Cities become graveyards. Technology becomes largely obsolete. Mankind must start again…

NOTE: Survivors contains adult material and is not suitable for younger listeners.

1. Revelation by Matt Fitton
When people begin to die of a new strain of a flu virus, newspaper journalists Helen Wiseman and Daniel Connor investigate. They uncover a terrifying story – but will anyone ever get to read it?

2. Exodus by Jonathan Morris
Billions of people have died across the globe. Cities are rife with secondary diseases, and the survivors attempt to make their way out of London.

3. Judges by Andrew Smith
After a storm wipes out much of their community’s supplies, Greg and Jenny go in search of new provisions – much to Abby’s diaapproval.

4. Esther by John Dorney
Greg, Jenny and their new friends are trapped. Will they ever make it out alive?

CAST:

Lucy Fleming (Jenny Richards), Ian McCulloch (Greg Preston), John Banks (Daniel Connor), Louise Jameson (Jackie Burchall), Sinead Keenan (Susie Edwards), Caroline Langrishe (Helen Wiseman), Adrian Lukis (James Gillison), Chase Masterson (Maddie Price), Terry Molloy (John Redgrave), Camilla Power (Fiona Bell), Phil Mulryne (Pnil Bailey), San Shella (Sayed)

Special appearance by Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant)

Written By: Matt Fitton, Jonathan Morris, Andrew Smith, John Dorney
Directed By: Ken Bentley

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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NEW TRAILER

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DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #476

DWM476_COVERSTEVEN MOFFAT REVEALS SECRETS ABOUT PETER CAPALDI’S FIRST SERIES IN DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE 476

Showrunner and head writer Steven Moffat gives DWM readers an exclusive guide to the new series of Doctor Who…

‘Oh, it’s a proper blockbuster this episode,’ writes Steven about one of the brand new adventures, ‘so many explosions that Peter Capaldi came in on his day off to watch the Daleks blowing up! I like a Doctor who revels in the destruction of evil in his downtime…’

Also in this issue:

  • Doctor Who’s production designer Michael Pickwoad on how to create entire worlds.
  • Former script editor Andrew Cartmel talks to the writers he employed on what could have been Doctor Who’s very last season: Ben Aaronovitch, Ian Briggs, Marc Platt and Rona Munro.
  • Terrance Dicks – script editor, writer and novelist supreme – talks about his work on Target’s Doctor Who books.
  • DWM pays tribute to the life and times of director Derek Martinus, the man who introduced the Cybermen, Ice Warriors and Autons to Doctor Who.
  • The Fact of Fiction takes a detailed look at the 1982 Fifth Doctor adventure, Kinda.
  • The Crystal Throne ­– the brand new comic strip adventure starring Vastra, Jenny and Strax continues.
  • The Time Team watch the Doctor meet River Song for the first time in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead.
  • Jacqueline Rayner and her family get World Cup fever as they wait for the start of the new series 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.
  • Official news, the DWM crossword, prize-winning competitions and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 476 is on sale now, priced £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

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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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