The Sixth Doctor never had a proper regeneration story on television – so now Colin Baker has returned to record The Last Adventure for audio production company Big Finish…

“Big Finish came to me, and said, ‘If we write you a really good story, and if we released your seven cats which we’ve kidnapped, which are suspended above this flame getting lower and lower, will you perhaps do this story?’” Colin jokes, “and I reluctantly agreed, and my cats are safe!”

“I did require a little persuasion,” he admits, more candidly. So what changed his mind? “Oh, the idea of a release. A release from the tension of saying ‘no’ repeatedly. And… it’s Big Finish! That’s what changed my mind.”


    DWM tells the remarkable story of writer Malcolm Hulke, the creator of the Time Lords, Silurians and Sea Devils – and why he came under under scrutiny by MI5…
    Ellis George, the actress who plays cheeky schoolgirl Courtney Woods talks to DWM about travelling in the TARDIS, and what its like to be a teenager starring in Doctor Who.
    The much-anticipated results of the 2014 DWM Season Survey are in! Discover which story from Peter Capaldi’s début season  topped the poll, and who won the accolade for best writer, what was the favourite monster, and more…
    The Fact of Fiction takes a close look at the 1974 serial The Monster of Peladon, and digs deep to unearth fascinating new facts about this Third Doctor adventure.
    There’s ghostly goings-on for the Doctor and Clara in a brand-new comic strip adventure, Spirits of the Jungle by Jonathan Morris, illustrated by John Ross.
    Doctor Who’s showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers’ questions – and comes face-to-face with his 10-year-old self!
    Jacqueline Rayner considers what time of year it’s traditional – and best – to watch Doctor Who – and comes to a surprising conclusion…
    The Time Team fight for space behind the sofa as they watch David Tennant’s penultimate, chilling story: The Waters of Mars.
    DWM talks to the people involved in the latest Doctor Who CD releases, including Bonnie Langford, Nicholas Briggs, Lisa Bowerman and Mike Tucker.
  • PLUS! All the latest official news, reviews, competitions and The DWM Crossword.

Doctor Who Magazine 489 is on sale from Thursday 23 July 2015, price £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

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dark_convoy_cover_mediumSaturday afternoons in the 1980’s, remember them? If it wasn’t World of Sport or Grandstand then it was Open University on BBC2 followed by a classic war film. The Cruel Sea seemed to be on almost every Saturday (on a related note, there was ONE weekend in 1984 when Operation Crossbow was on the BBC on a Friday and ITV on a Sunday. Definitely!). So World War two films were as much part of growing up for me as Doctor Who (we only had three channels…) and this months Short Trips release is a great homage to those films – especially the naval ones.

Read by Sophie Aldred this short trip is a rarity for the Seventh Doctor, it is a pure historical. The TARDIS materialises on board the Submarine HMS Thunder, it is on a rescue mission to save another allied sub, but is caught in a game of Cat and Mouse with a German U-Boat. The Doctor helps with the radar whilst Ace befriends some of the crew and volunteers for a rescue mission to collect survivors. Wow, another cracker from Big Finish, this, and massive kudos to writer Mark B. Oliver, director Lisa Bowerman, and Sophie Aldred for performing the play.

In my head I saw it as a grainy black and white Saturday afternoon film and was transported back to my teenage years watching The Cruel Sea with my Grandfather. This release gets it just right, small scale, not a wasted line, yet so much happens and you really do care for the characters, you see them through Ace’s eyes, and even though they are all performed by Sophie, she instills them with a sense of reality, camaraderie and honour which typifies our servicemen in World War 2. The end is shocking, but very very realistic – not all war stories have happy endings and even the shortest amount of time can see people forming bonds in adversity.

July has been a magnificent month for Big Finish and this release continues the level of excellence.

Overall, a dark portrayal of a dark time for the world but the light of bravery and defiance in the face of adversity is wonderful, another 10/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Materialising aboard the corvette HMS Thunder during the Second World War, the Doctor and Ace join Commander Fitzgerald and his crew as they track an allied submarine in trouble.

While the Doctor advises the Captain on navigational matters, Ace joins in a daring mission to rescue sailors in the water. With German planes overhead, no-one’s survival is guaranteed…


Sophie Aldred (Narrator)

Written By: Mark B Oliver
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman

Producer Michael Stevens
Script Editor Michael Stevens
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs


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counter_measure_series_four_holding_cover_largeThe Worlds of Doctor Who (as Big Finish call it) is a big diverse place including many spin off series – Counter Measures is one of these. Series 4 however is NOT a great jumping on point, so dear listener, I have some homework for you, go and watch Remembrance of the Daleks, listen to Counter Measures series 1, 2 and 3 and the main range audio The Assassination Games.

All done and up to date? Then I will continue.

Counter Measures is a spin off from the popular Remembrance of the Daleks TV story and sees Group Captain Gilmore (Simon Williams), Professor Rachel Jensen (Pamela Salem), Dr Alison Williams (Karen Gledhill) from the TV episodes team up with the decidedly amoral Sir Toby Kinsella (Hugh Ross) to investigate strange happenings – a sort of prototype UNIT, but with more cloak and dagger and not half as much family atmosphere!

This fourth series as I have previously said, is not for the faint-hearted, in fact if you were not familiar with the first three series it is fair to say that you would be completely lost – Counter Measures wants you heart and soul, not just for the odd story, and discussing the individual episodes would spoil the enjoyment for long time listeners and confuse newcomers, so I will talk about something that Counter Measures has by the tonne – it has atmosphere. If you close your eyes, you can just imagine Counter Measures as a 1960’s ITC filmed TV show, it is an incredible homage to the 1960’s, the incidental music, the pictures drawn with words, the Cold War cloak and dagger espionage feeling that runs through this series – and what a series it is. Beginning where season 3 left off, it hits the ground running in the first story “New Horizons”, slows down and gets its bearings in the second “The Keep”, ramps up the tension in the third “Rise and Shine” and then reaches a crescendo in the final part, “Clean Sweep”.

Without giving any spoilers away, the theme that runs through is mind control, identity, trust and conspiracy – and the ending of part four literally left me slack jawed – Big Finish have completely raised the bar with this release – the much used phrase (commonly attributed to P.T Barnum) “leave them wanting more” really does apply to this release as the cliffhanger to part four has left me chomping at the bit for Series 5.

The main cast all play their parts excellently and effortlessly, they are so believable, but if I had to pick a favourite it is Hugh Ross as Sir Toby, completely amoral a good man to have in your corner, but don’t turn your back on him – devious, calculating, manipulative and brilliant – Hugh Ross plays him with an oily charm, a truly multi faceted character. The thing about Counter Measures is its sense of realism, yes it deals with extra terrestrial threats, but it is the way that the characters treat each other, the way that each is willing raise the stakes to win at any cost, our heroes (maybe not Sir Toby…) seem a last bastion of decency in a world where honour and chivalry are being lost  to a new generations ambition – they are undoubtedly the same characters we met in Remembrance, but given real believable lives outside the job – I am so pleased with this as I believe that the bedrock of a good story is good characterisation.

So, a great box set, but a set to listen to as part of an ongoing series rather than as a stand alone – it really rewards long time fans (and if you are not a fan already then why not?) So, why not buy the whole lot and then catch up with Series 4??? Highly enjoyable 60’s homage this box set Measures up at 9/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Four brand new adventures with the Intrusion Counter-Measures Group, as long-held secrets are torn open… and the deadly truth dawns at last:

New Horizons by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott

When an explosion disrupts work on a monorail, Gilmore, Allison, Rachel and Sir Toby investigate the enigmatic company behind the project. But with government interference on one side, and dangerous businessmen on the other, who can they possibly trust?

The Keep by Ken Bentley

For many years Sir Toby has used the Keep – the most secure and secret prison in England – to hide away incredibly dangerous threats to the country. But now two prisoners are attempting to escape – and they’re not the only ones.

Rise and Shine by John Dorney

Old enemies are becoming friends. Old friends are becoming enemies. As they finally discover who they’re up against, and with the future of the planet at stake, the Counter-Measures team have to risk everything to survive.

Clean Sweep by Matt Fitton

The dust may have settled, but the threat lives on. With the team in hiding, and an unknown enemy at their heel, they need to turn the tables, and quickly. But can they ever really be safe?


Simon Williams (Group Captain Gilmore), Pamela Salem (Rachel Jensen), Karen Gledhill (Allison Williams), Hugh Ross (Sir Toby Kinsella),  Philip Pope (Templeton), Richard Hope (Heaton), Oscar Pearce (The Captain), Nigel Carrington (Graham Finlay), Francesca Hunt (Bryant), Dominic Rowan (Sergeant West/Shurik Barkov), Adrian Lukis (Professor Jeffery Burridge), Denise Black (Control), Phillip Bretherton (Sir Keith Kordel), Alex Ferns (Mr Parks), Mary Conlon (Hilary).

Written By: Mark Wright, Cavan Scott, Matt Fitton, John Dorney, Ken Bentley
Directed By: Ken Bentley

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs


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dwmr201_wearethedaleks_1417_cover_largeCan the 1980’s really be THAT long ago to be nostalgia? I remember the first broadcast of Time and the Rani like it was yesterday – however 28 years really have passed since Season 24, and the more things change the more they stay the same – The Doctor is Scottish again, we have a Tory government again, the world seems just as dangerous as it did in the 1980’s, the legacy of Thatcherism is running rife after Osbourne’s first all Tory budget. As I said, the more things change…

What is different though is how Big Finish have unlocked the potential of Mel Bush – never a fan favourite for her TV appearances Big Finish have really transformed her into the companion she was never really allowed to be on the TV. Bonnie really was hamstrung on TV by the legacy of Violet Elizabeth, and really all she did was scream. Big Finish have rectified this completely, and nowhere better than We Are The Daleks.

Coming after the momentous 200th release, this starts a new era for Big Finish, a great jumping on point for new listeners, and what a great story it is – an homage to previous Dalek stories, a satire of the 1980’s mantra of “greed is good”, a period piece in the same way that Remembrance was a period piece in 1988.

Imagine if Season 24 had been a bit more like season 25 and 26, still with the kitsch and the glitz, but Sylvester playing the darker rather than the clownish Seventh Doctor, imagine Bonnie being given the same sort of character development as Ace or Rose had, and you are somewhere near to We Are The Daleks.

It’s 1987, and London is dominated by the Zenos Tower, a modern construction in the shape of a Dalek – Alex Zenos has made a business partnership with The Daleks who rather than “conquer and destroy” have the mantra “invest and return” – the ultimate nightmare for an old Liberal – THATCHERITE DALEKS! They have an offer to make the UK the centre of a galactic trading zone, and are at their devious best manipulating newly elected MP Celia Dunthorpe (Mary Conlon) into their way of thinking, playing on her greed and prejudices, her lust for personal glory, her ambition to make the UK head of an empire again – perfect Dalek Quisling fodder.

As a background to this a new computer game console called Warfleet is sweeping the nation, offering state of the art graphics and online play in 1987, and it isn’t long before the connection between the two becomes apparent…

This is a classic Dalek story, it works on so many levels – it feels familiar, it has rebels, oppressed worlds, an Emperor Dalek and the beginnings of the Dalek Parliament seen in Asylum of the Daleks. McCoy is wonderful, he is my favourite classic era Doctor by a country mile, and he has rarely been better than he is here, completely shedding his Season 24 persona and becoming the frightening, dark, manipulative Seven of seasons 25 and26 and beyond. His speech to the Dalek Emperor in the final act is chilling – he lists his names The Doctor, the Ka Faraq Gatri, The Oncoming Storm – brilliant stuff.

I cant finish this review without heaping more praise on Bonnie Langford, getting to play the character Mel really should have been, using her skills as a computer programmer, showing her bravery, using her intelligence, she is absolutely stunning here – a completely believable, three dimensional character.

So a great beginning to another (hopefully) 200 releases for Big Finish, my favourite classic era Doctor being the Doctor he should be, Daleks, politics, multi layered thought provoking story about greed and ambition and the exclusion of the other. Well worth the investment of time, as it returns a 10/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


The year is 1987, and Britain is divided. In Bradford, strikers are picketing and clashing with the police. In the City of London, stockbrokers are drinking champagne and politicians are courting the super-rich. The mysterious media mogul Alek Zenos, head of the Zenos Corporation, is offering Britain an economic miracle. His partners wish to invest – and their terms are too good to refuse.

While the Doctor investigates Warfleet, a new computer game craze that is sweeping the nation, Mel goes undercover to find out the truth about Zenos’s partners.

The Daleks have a new paradigm. They intend to conquer the universe using economic power. The power of the free market!


Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush), Kirsty Besterman (Serena Paget), Angus Wright (Alek Zenos), Mary Conlon (Celia Dunthorpe), Robbie Stevens (Niles Bunbury/Frank Lewis), Ashley Zhangazha (Brinsley Heaton), Lizzie Roper (Shari), Dominic Thornburn (Afrid), Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks).

Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Ken Bentley


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dw4d0407_thefateofkrelos_1417_cover_largeThink back to City of Death, all that wonderful dialogue about Paris having a bouquet, like a fine wine. Wonderful stuff, eh? So to allow wines to taste their best, they have to be allowed to breathe, to be opened and given time for the air to react with the wine before pouring and enjoying.

In the case of The Fate of Krellos Nick Briggs takes on the role of oeneologist and sommelier – he crafts an excellent vintage from the component parts in episode one, gives it just the right time to breathe in the early stages of part two and pours a particularly good glass of vintage Who in the closing moments. To put it in simple terms, The Fate of Krelos is a bit of a classic – Nick Briggs truly is a renaissance man – actor, director, writer, raconteur and at his very best in this story. And what a story!

What starts off as a light-hearted interlude with The Doctor and Leela going fishing, gets more and more sinister. The cast is small, Tom, Louise, John Leeson, Michael Cochrane and Veronica Roberts with the main bulk being Tom, Louise and John – but the atmosphere, the world building the tension is superb.

Krelos is a world that has reached total connectivity, every item connected to another, this is proudly announced by the Mayor of Krelos City. The Doctor and Leela decide to do some fishing on Krelos and meet the robotic form of Geralk (Michael Cochrane) an old explorer reliving his youth through his robot avatar. But something is wrong in the TARDIS – K9 has been interfacing with the TARDIS – the console room has turned back to how it looked in the era of the second Doctor, K9 tries to warn of danger and acts more and more strangely…

Any more would give away way, way too much – needless to say the tension is ramped up, the danger level goes up to 11 and you really truly do get a sinking feeling when it finally clicks in to place as to what is going on. Long time listeners may well be able to work it out before the Doctor does, but this does not in any way spoil the enjoyment.

The performances are spot on; there is a wonderful scene between Tom and Louise where they discuss going back in time to avert the catastrophe that they witness; it is very reminiscent of the scene between the Eleventh Doctor and River Song in “The Wedding of River Song” where River says all Eleven has to do is ask and an army will come to his aid – the 4th Doctor is under no illusions about the answer he will get and a lot more cautious about changing time than his future version. Michael Cochrane is quite, quite heartbreaking as Geralk, in a few lines you can picture his life, what he looks like, how he will react to situations – Nick Briggs has the characterisation spot on. Oh, and it ends on an almighty doom laden cliffhanger so there is more to come.

Really couldn’t ask for more in a Doctor Who story, disparate threads coming together, the threat of an almighty catastrophe hanging over everything, wonderful characterisation and a story that is perfectly paced – one of the best this year so far 10/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


There are dark skies on Krelos… and something gigantic is descending.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Leela set off for some fishing in the mountain pools of Krelos. K9 has interfaced with the TARDIS and has reactivated the architectural configuration from the days of the Doctor’s second incarnation. In passing, the Doctor notes it could do with a good clean. And there’s a familiar piece of material snagged on the console.

Far up the mountain, an aged explorer is in trouble. Will the Doctor and Leela be able to save him and his planet? And what is it that K9 has discovered in the TARDIS?


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Michael Cochrane (Geralk), Veronica Roberts (Relly/Krelos Mayor)

Written By: Nicholas Briggs
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs


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The Doctor Who Comic Con Panel in full with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Steven Moffat.

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Doctor Who Adventures #4 is set to materialise on UK newsstands on 16th July and promises a summer holiday in Ancient Greece, a Sontaran Extravaganza and more excitement than most Time Lords can cope with in seven lifetimes!

When Clara asks the Doctor to introduce her to Homer, he whisks her off to Ancient Greece where our heroes soon find themselves on the menu for a tribe of hungry Cyclopes. Doctor on the Menu is drawn by Russ Leach, written by Jason Quinn and coloured by John Burns.

The Cyclopes aren’t the only legendary creatures the Doctor has met in his travels, here we take a look at Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts and Sirens!

Ideal for all messy humans; Clara shows you how to make a TARDIS shelf to help keep your bedroom tidy. It may not be really bigger on the inside but it’s the coolest bookshelf ever!

We then sneak into the UNIT ALIEN ARCHIVE to uncover the raging truth about yet another so-called mythological creature… the Minotaur, last seen in the Doctor Who episode The God Complex.

This month, Strax takes a break from his guide to the galaxy and takes you into Earth’s past where he gives you his views on Alexander the Great, Zeus, Heracles and Mount Olympus.

Strax seems to have taken over this issue and this time we are treated to a Sontaran Field Report as Strax relates the case of the House of Sorrows, in which he comes face to face with an alien threat in the heart of Victorian Yorkshire.

Doctor Who Adventures #4 contains all your favourite features, posters, games and puzzle activities and is sure to excite adventurers of all ages from 3-3000!

Issue 4 comes with a Free Doctor Who Stationery Set and a collection of awesome glow in the dark stickers!


DOCTOR WHO ADVENTURES #4 on sale 16th July 2015, price £3.99

Thanks to Jason Quinn

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bfLogoBig Finish has announced a new range of boxsets featuring heroes and monsters from the new series of Doctor Who.

Leading this new wave of adventures is Alex Kingston who first appeared as River Song in 2008′s Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead.

River will be stepping into the era of the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) for Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 2, alongside Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) and Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan). But how can River help the Doctor if, in this incarnation, she must never actually meet him?

Producer David Richardson says:

The idea of River meeting previous Doctors was actually proposed by Steven Moffat and it’s just irresistible, isn’t it? Alex embraced the idea of returning to the role, and so she will be starring in no less than two box sets next year. And yes, we are still pinching ourselves!

River will then return later in 2016 in Doctor Who: The Diary of River Song, an epic four-hour adventure that takes River across space and time, seeking out the secret rulers of the universe. Paul McGann will reprise the role of the Eighth Doctor in the final installment.

The New Series adventures will continue in Doctor Who: The Churchill Years, in which Ian McNeice returns as the indomitable Winston Churchill. In the four-hour saga, Winston relates a number of encounters with the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors in his memoirs, battling alien incursions, metamorphosing creatures… and a Dalek! The stories are told by Ian McNeice, supported by a full cast of guest actors, including Danny Horn as Kazran Sardick, in a story taking place within the 2010 special A Christmas Carol.

Executive Producer Nicholas Briggs says:

Ian has played Churchill in just four episode on TV, and yet it feels like it was many more. It was such a brilliant, definitive performance, and how wonderful that we will be continuing Churchill’s adventures with the Doctor on audio.

Finally, the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors will face a new generation of monsters in Doctor Who: Classic Doctors, New Monsters, a brand new, four-story run featuring creatures from the New Series. Peter Davison takes on the Weeping Angels, Colin Baker encounters the Judoon, Sylvester McCoy will meet the Sycorax… and Paul McGann will face a new clone batch of Sontarans on the edge of the Time War…

Executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery says:

It’s the ultimate mash-up and we have some great scripts lined up for these landmark stories. There is no doubt that 2016 is going to be a brilliant year for Big Finish!

All four boxsets will be released across 2016, and are available to pre-order today from the Big Finish website. Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 2 will be released in February, and is available as part of a special bundle of all four Doom Coalition boxsets.

Doctor Who: The Diary of River Song, Doctor Who: The Churchill Years and Doctor Who: Classic Doctors, New Monsters can be pre-ordered for just £20 each on CD or Download, and are also available as part of our Doctor Who New Series bundle.


Thanks to Big Finish

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The popular UNIT science whizz was apparently killed off at the hands of Missy in Death in Heaven – but the rumours of her death may have been exaggerated! Actress Ingrid Oliver tells DWM about her joy at Osgood’s unexpected return.

“When I died, I was like ‘Oh. That’s a shame. That is a shame.” I really didn’t think I would return,” Ingrid tells DWM, revealing that she was shocked at the response to the UNIT operative’s demise. “I can’t watch myself on TV, so I deliberately made the decision to go out. And then I got a text from my agent saying, ‘Oh my God, you’re trending on Twitter!’ It was absolute insanity to me.”


    Doctor Who’s resident special effects supervisor Danny Hargreaves reveals the science behind blowing stuff up – but don’t try this at home!
    Cold War’s Professor Grisenko ­– movie and TV star David Warner – chats about his brief era as the Doctor, and shares some fascinating stories from a career spanning six decades.
    DWM’s history of Doctor Who on home video reaches its final part, with the dawn of a new shiny new format. DVD took the series into remastered territory, and made it look better than it ever had before.
    The Fact of Fiction heads to Voga – the planet of gold – to reveal fascinating facts about the 1975 Fourth Doctor adventure Revenge of the Cybermen.
    Will the Doctor and Clara defeat the macabre plans of Dr Audley, and has Winnie really betrayed them? The comic strip adventure Blood and Ice – written by Jacqueline Rayner and illustrated by Martin Geraghty – reaches its thrilling conclusion.
    Showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers’ questions and pays tribute to 1980s Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner.
    DWM talks to Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford, novelist AL Kennedy and actor Jon Culshaw to preview upcoming books and audios from the worlds of Doctor Who.
  • PLUS! All the latest official news, reviews, Relative Dimensions, The Time Team, competitions and The DWM Crossword.

Doctor Who Magazine 488 is on sale from Thursday 25 June 2015, price £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

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THE SECRET HISTORYBeing a life-long Doctor Who fan, I have come to realise that if there is one thing Who fans love it’s an anniversary celebration! The frenzy over the 50th had only just died down when fans were clamouring for a celebration of ten years of New Who (which didn’t happen) – no, despite our differences we are a celebratory bunch who enjoy celebrating our shows history.

200 is a good number to celebrate, but unlike the celebratory release 100, this one is not so obvious a celebration. Some stories are for the general viewing or listening public, some stories are “for the fans” and The Secret History falls most definitely in to the latter category. But lets take a step back, readers of my reviews of the last two main range releases The Defectors and Last of the Cybermen will know that something very strange is going on. The Seventh Doctor has somehow been reunited with Jo Grant, the Sixth Doctor has joined forces with Jamie and Zoe – someone or something is manipulating the Doctor’s timeline and who that is and why it is being done is revealed in The Secret History.

This one is the last in the “locum Doctor’s” trilogy, the theme of later Doctor’s being teamed up with their previous companions continues, this time The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) is teamed up with First Doctor companions Steven Taylor (Peter Purves) and Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) for what, on the surface of it, appears to be a pretty standard Hartnell era historical. They arrive in the city of Ravenna in the year 540 AD – the Roman Empire is falling, Rome itself has fallen, the Emperor Justinian is based in Constantinople and his general Belisarius (Giles Watling) is laying siege to the city to try to reclaim it for the Empire. So far, so Hartnell – Davison even comments on the team not splitting up as this was the cause of all his problems back in his first incarnation; with comedy foreshadowing, they get split up, Steven gets caught up in a riot and taken to Constantinople, The Doctor and Vicki team up with Procopius (Tony Millan) sage and writer to track Steven down. This story has a lot to do, it has to be celebratory, be a great homage to the Hartnell era and it has to finish off the “locum” trilogy satisfactorily. In the words of Meat Loaf “two out of three ain’t bad”.

Firstly as a celebration, it works, past glories of the Big Finish main range and of other ranges are referenced (one particular plot line from a few years ago is central to the plot, no spoilers, but you will know it when you hear it). Secondly it is a fantastic recreation of feeling for the Hartnell era historicals – for the first two and a half episodes at least – it has our heroes getting split up, captured, meeting historical characters and trying desperately NOT to get caught up in Historical events. Thirdly it has to finish off the trilogy, and here for me at least it is only a partial success – the villain of the piece is revealed and they really have been “hidden in plain sight” to use an old phrase, very clever work by Big Finish there – but the resolution, its just too New Who involving redundant timelines, changing the future, altering the past and all those annoying cheats that Moffat is so fond of. A shame as I really was enjoying it up until the reveal of the villain.

Back to positives, the whole cast are universally excellent; Davison is effortless, Maureen O’Brien actually sounds like a younger woman, Purves is suitably heroic and stoic as Steven – and the guest cast really do get in to the spirit of things, no-one camps it up, all the performances are convincing and very “Hartnell Era”. The reasons for the villain’s actions are also very believable, the motive is there, but to have the emotional connection you really do have to have been a very dedicated Big Finish fan.

So, in summing up, some great things, some disappointing moments – on reflection the good outweighs the bad but the denouement just seems a little, I don’t know, maybe “off” is the best description. For the brilliance of the first half (and a bit) of this historical homage, I give release 200, 6/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


The TARDIS brings the Doctor, Steven and Vicki to the Italian city of Ravenna in the year 540 – besieged by the army of the celebrated Byzantine general Belisarius. Caught up in the fighting, Steven ends up on a boat bound for Constantinople, the heart of the Roman Empire.

Rescuing Steven, however, is the least of the Doctor’s problems – because he shouldn’t be mixed up in this particular adventure at all. Someone has sabotaged his own personal timeline, putting him in the place of his First incarnation… but who, and why? The truth is about to be revealed – but at what cost to all of the Doctors, and to the whole future history of the planet Earth?


Peter Davison (The Doctor), Maureen O’Brien (Vicki), Peter Purves (Steven), Lysette Anthony (Sophia), Sarah Woodward (Theodora), Tony Millan (Procopius, Yazid), Giles Watling (Belisarius), Tim Wallers (Justinian)

Written By: Eddie Robson
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards


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Essential Doctor Who 5 - MonstersIssue 5 of Panini’s The Essential Doctor Who comprises 116 pages of all-new material exploring the dark side of the series…

Horror has been Doctor Who’s most consistent genre since the Daleks first threatened viewers in 1963. The metal-cased mutants are still notorious, but the programme’s shadows are occupied by many equally grotesque and disturbing creatures.

This is a comprehensive guide to the monsters that have been haunting our nightmares for more than 50 years. Everything from the Abzorbaloff to Zygons is covered in a richly illustrated, encyclopaedic format.

“When I was a kid I wished for a book that included all the Doctor Who monsters,” says editor Marcus Hearn. “Now I’m a grown-up my ambitions haven’t really changed. It’s been a labour of love for all of us to channel the spirit of Terrance Dicks’ Doctor Who Monster Book, and a treat to add so many aliens from the show’s now greatly expanded universe.”

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

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

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dwnabs02_slipcase_1417sq_cover_largeSo there you are in 1989, minding your own business, enjoying season 26 – and what a wonderful season that was! – and as 1990 comes around you speculate as to what will happen in Season 27. Rumours of McCoy regenerating into Richard Griffiths part way through, a new female companion who’s a safe-cracker, Ace becoming a Timelord. So I, like millions of other Who fans, tuned in in September 1990 to watch… STOP!!!! – you are using the Bernice Summerfield trick of putting post-it notes over the most painful parts of you memories!

Actually what happened in 1990 was pretty awful as we all know, but in June 1991 something rather wonderful happened, they were small in size but big in concept, totally bigger on the inside – they were Virgin’s New Adventures Novels; and, do you know, they were not just as good as the TV series they were better.

Then in October 1992 a character would be introduced who was the companion, one Professor Bernice Surprise Summerfield (Benny to her friends), archaeologist, drinker, witty, intelligent, smart, flawed and brilliant and we were treated to my TARDIS team 7, Ace and Bernice.

This box set is a celebration of the 1990’s New Adventures era, but it also carries Benny’s story forward.  This is set later in her timeline after her divorce and the death of her husband, but it also sees the long overdue return of one of the most popular villains from classic Who, in the form of Sutekh – and he is once again voiced by Gabriel Woolf.

This box set has a very delicate balancing act to play, and two very distinct types of fans to please – classic series fans who hold Pyramids of Mars with reverence and New Adventures fans who love the “Times Champion” Seventh Doctor, gung -ho Ace and wise cracking Bernice – are the two compatible? – oh yes, indeedy they are!

Told over a hefty four hours, but split into four parts, the story tells of an epic plot for Sutekh to be reborn and bring his gift of death to all mankind. The best way to describe this set is a blockbuster, a real Hollywood style blockbuster, if Michael Bay got together with Marvel to make a Doctor Who film, The Triumph of Sutekh would be the result.

Part One is called The Pyramid of Sutekh by Guy Adams. On Mars during a conflict, a pyramid has been uncovered and Professor Bernice Summerfield is sent to investigate and what she finds will change everything forever. Any more would spoil the story, but a youtube trailer below will give you the idea.

It hits the ground running and does not let up for the whole length of the episode. Think Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider and The Mummy, but with added depth and an emotional punch, because this truly is epic, the stakes really have never been higher – the Doctor is locked in battle with Sutekh and he is losing…

Part Two is called The Vault of Osiris by Justin Richards – If the first installment was Indiana Jones, this is a classic heist movie complete with gangsters, crosses and double crosses. Ace and Bernice are in Egypt 2015 trying to track down The Doctor. This leads them into the shady underworld of stolen antiques and artefacts as they desperately try to obtain the Eye of Horus – but they are part of a much bigger plan and the forces in action have been manipulating things for a very long time. Oceans 11, Taken, Thomas Crown Affair spring to mind whilst listening to this one, it’s so filmic, so visual, and the resolution is so unexpected.  If this was on TV you would be shouting at the screen.

Part Three is called The Eye of Horus and is by James Goss. Bernice finds herself in Ancient Egypt in the time of the reign of female Pharaoh Hatshepsut (Sakuntala Ramanee) and the pace finally lets up. This is the most cerebral part of the story, The Doctor has been in Egypt for years before Benny arrives, and his plans are far advanced, but he genuinely does not know Benny and whats more is engaged to be married to the Pharaoh. This story is the calm before the storm; Sutekh is growing in power and this episode has him gaining control over Pharaoh to be Tutmosis (Matthew J Morgan) by charm, flattery and manipulation and having him usurp Hatshepsut. This is quite a horrific piece, the true cruelty of Sutekh is shown in all its horror, no punches are pulled and Gabriel Woolf chills as Sutekh; the power in his voice is chilling.

Part Four is called The Tears of Isis by Una McCormack. The world has ended, Sutekh has won, just a small enclave of his most loyal servants still live. Have the Doctor’s plans come to nothing, has Sutekh brought his gift of death to all mankind? All this and many more questions will be answered in this final cataclysmic episode. No more here, too tempted to spoil…

Wow, what a box set! What an epic and what a genuine rollercoaster ride. The undoubted star of this set is the lady herself, Lisa Bowerman. If there is just one wish I could have, it would be for Bernice to be in the TV series, just for one episode, it would make this New Adventures fanboy who kept the flame of New Who alive in the 1990’s very happy.

Lisa just brings Benny alive; she gets every nuance, every inflection, every sarcastic put down just right; she just is Bernice and long may she play her. Gabriel Woolf is oilily menacing as Sutekh – though in this set and especially in the last episode he comes across like Judge Death from 2000AD and in my eyes McCoy, especially the “Times Champion” version just is the Doctor, my Doctor, in a way none on TV have ever managed to convey, along with the gun-toting, gung-ho Ace and the wonderful Benny, they are the perfect TARDIS team.

Is this box set perfect? Probably not. It zips along at such a pace that it is almost too much to take in in one session.  It’s very “graphic novel” and would sit well in such a format and has a certain Marvel Superheroes film feel to it, but these are no bad thing and not a criticism of this superb production, which is a triumph and I have no hesitation in giving it a triumphant 10/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


The Pyramid of Sutekh by Guy Adams

Professor Bernice Summerfield, archaeologist and adventurer, has discovered a Pyramid on Mars. Inside she finds her old friend the Doctor is fighting a battle with the Osiran God Sutekh. One he is losing.

The Vaults of Osiris by Justin Richards

Egypt in 2015 is an unsettled place. The trade in stolen antiquities is a murky one, and it’s about to get a whole lot worse, as an ancient and terrible force enters the market.

The Eye of Horus by James Goss

Ancient Egypt is enjoying a golden age – peace, prosperity and a powerful Pharaoh. But something is moving through the sands. A forgotten god requests an invite to the feast.

The Tears of Isis by Una McCormack

Russell Courtland prophesied the world would end on Tuesday. No-one was more surprised than he was when it did.


Lisa Bowerman (Professor Bernice Summerfield), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Gabriel Woolf (Sutekh the Destroyer), Diveen Henry (Alozza), Nicholas Briggs (Vasha), Sakuntala Ramanee (Hatshepsut), Matthew J Morgan (Tutmosis), Dan Bottomley (Kamos), Matthew Bates (Courtland), Rachel Atkins (Susannah), Naomi McDonald (Alyx), Guy Adams (Cultist)

Producer and Script Editor James Goss
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs


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THE SHADOWS OF SERENITY COVERShort length, big content has been a theme of this season of Short Trips so far and this Sixth release does not in anyway disappoint. As this is a Short Trips, I will try to keep my review short and to the point without my usual rambling style. Of course I remember when I first heard a short trips it reminds me of the time that……


See what I did there…

Right, enough silliness, on to the review!

Read by Nicola Bryant (who still amazes me that she sounds nothing at all like Peri when she is herself), it tells a story of Old Sixie and Peri visiting the planet of Malgar whilst the TARDIS recharges (something that happened quite a lot in the Sixth Doctor’s era that, TARDIS needing a recharge). Malgar has a history of violence, just one gunshot from their army could take out an entire invading fleet – however the denizens that Old Sixie and Peri meet are nothing like that, they are pacifists to the point of being a danger to themselves – The Doctor finds out that they have been this way since they were visited by the Sisters of Serenity. But who are they and why have they removed all traces of aggression from the Malgarians?

This is a story about freedom of choice, thematically similar to A Clockwork Orange, the choice to be good or bad has been removed by a third party – can the Doctor in all conscience restore this? and what about the dark heart of The Doctor himself, what if this is removed, where will it go?

Nicola Bryant gives a great dramatic reading, when she acts the Peri parts you forget it is the same woman; she delivers an urgency to the story and her tone build the world very well. This is a very visual script and Nicola really does bring this to life, I love it when you can “see” events without them being described – and this is a great example of visual story telling.

Another big concept story told in a very short time, but without a wasted line. Definitely a winner and a very serene 8/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


The Guns of Malgar once defended their planetoid from any who strayed too close; just one gun could obliterate an entire star fleet.

The Malgarians are known as a vicious, belligerent species – so when the TARDIS brings the Doctor and Peri to their homeworld, they are puzzled to be greeted by a pacifistic population.

Peri assumes the Doctor has just got his facts wrong, but he is reluctant to accept the Malgarians’ uncharacteristic behaviour. What lies behind it, and what is the secret of the Sisters of Serenity?


Nicola Bryant (Narrator)

Producer Michael Stevens
Script Editor Michael Stevens
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Written By: Nigel Robinson


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THE CLOISTERS OF TERROR COVER“The same but different”; it was how I thought of Doctor Who when it came back in 2005. I loved it with RTD in charge. 10 years on, well, hmmm… Capaldi is wonderful, but the episodes lack a little something to make them feel as special as they used to. Trying to recapture the magic of a bygone era is a difficult balancing act; you don’t want to be a pastiche or a tribute act, but you can’t be so different that you are nothing like the era you are trying to recapture.

Series 4 of the Fourth Doctor Adventures has reminded me of series 8 of the TV series in so much as it hasn’t quite hit the spot for me – brilliant leading man, sublime companion, well written stories but lacking a certain something in a few of the stories. Maybe they were just TOO different from the era they are representing. Actually yes, that what it is, apart from The Darkness of Glass, the stories just have not screamed LATE ERA HINCHCLIFFE! to me in a way the previous pairings of Tom and Louise have, maybe they have been a little too experimental. Luckily The Cloisters of Terror has come along and restored my faith in the series and if you want to find out why dear reader, then read on.

St Matilda’s College, in Oxford, is a woman only college with a strange history; there is a legend that if you see the ghostly “Three Sisters” that they will come and take you away. When a young student tells her friend she has seen them and then disappears, the Dean of the College, Emily Shaw calls in the Police – but gets more than she bargained for when her call is intercepted by The Doctor and Leela. Wow, what a story! This feels just like Who did in late Season 14, dark, gothic, frightening, engaging – everything a Tom Baker story should be – and of course it features Tom Baker! Half way between his serious earlier persona and his madcap later persona, Tom’s commanding presence booms and quips his way through the story. The Dean of the college is Dame Emily Shaw – Mother of past companion Elizabeth Shaw and is aware of The Doctor and UNIT. There is a long standing mystery to solve here, girls have been going missing for almost a millennium…

How are the Nuns of the convent involved? Is the kidnap of the girls for the greater good? Can Leela do a Lancashire accent? All these questions and many more are posed and answered in the story.

It’s a triumph of a production – it’s not the best Who story ever, but it is so well done it really does feel like an audio recording of a 1970’s episode. There is a creepy, doom laden atmosphere, possession, treachery and a 1000 year old secret. Can I at this point make my monthly “we are not worthy” comment on Louise Jameson – she is incredible in this one, such a visual performance, when she answers one of the girls in a Lancashire accent it’s funny but it is also a considered study of Leela’s thought processes; she has never heard the word before, it is spoken to her in a Lancashire accent so why wouldn’t Leela pronounce it in this way – it’s little touches like this that make Louise a cut above and one of the best actresses to have graced Doctor Who.

So a Fourth Doctor Adventure that ticks all the boxes – acting, plot, sound, atmosphere. But at the same time its not a tribute act, its just a very well written story. Yes some of the plot devices are cliched, the ending may be predictable, but it really does give you the 1970’s Saturday teatime glow.

This one definitely is not a terror. 9/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


St Matilda’s College, Oxford is haunted. The building was formerly a convent and, so the story goes, three ghostly nuns wander its passages during the hours of darkness. The story goes on to say that anyone who sees the ‘three sisters’ will not be long for this world.

When one of the students mysteriously disappears, the Dean of the College, Dame Emily Shaw, has no option but to call in the police. Her call appears to be answered when a Police Box arrives in her study; the Doctor and Leela have come to investigate and uncover the dark secret that has lain buried beneath the college for almost a thousand years…


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Rowena Cooper (Emily Shaw), Richenda Carey (Sister Frances Beckett), Claudia Grant (Megan Matthews), Allison McKenzie (Lynn Pickering), Jane Slavin (Ancient Nun/Brenda)

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs


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Steven MoffatSteven Moffat, lead writer of Doctor Who and co-creator of Sherlock, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Steven said:

I never thought I would get something like this, I’m astonished and more thrilled than I ever thought someone like me would be. I’m not the least bit cynical, or the least bit trying to be cool about it. I’m just really, really happy.

The full interview can be read here.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Cymru Wales, commented on Moffat’s honour:

We’re thrilled to see Steven’s creative brilliance being recognised today.

Not only has he enthralled countless millions of viewers across the world, he has helped rocket-boost the Welsh creative sector, inspiring a new generation of talent here in Wales to make their mark on the global stage.

I’m so delighted to see his remarkable achievements being honoured.

Moffat’s predecessor Russell T Davies was awarded an OBE in 2008.

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Companion Chronicles First Doctor Vol 1They are back – and its about time!

Since their apparent demise last year the Companion Chronicles have been missed. Yes there were the “Early Adventures” – and very good they were too, but the style of storytelling in those was more akin to the main range, more full cast rather than dramatic narration and as such lost some of the intimacy of the Companion Chronicles. This month they are back, albeit in a slightly different format, whereas the previous Chronicles were a single CD monthly release, these new ones are in the box set format, and looking at the release schedule on the Big Finish website, these are looking like they are going to be an annual release.

The first release is aptly enough a First Doctor box set – a set of four stories told by his companions Susan, Vicki and Steven. The final two stories are linked by being Steven-centric, but thematically the box set seems to deal with the theme of consequences, consequences of action, inaction, and choices made, and over the four stories we experience consequences.

The First story is called The Sleeping Blood by Martin Day – it is told by Susan, and is a rare thing, a story set before An Unearthly Child. Susan (Carole Ann Ford) tells of a time that the Doctor became ill after being infected by an alien plant, and her search for antibiotics to aid his recovery. The TARDIS (which at this point has a functioning Chameleon Circuit!) takes her to a seemingly abandoned medical research facility, unfortunately it is not as abandoned as she would hope. Soldiers are searching for a terrorist known as “The Butcher” who is holding the whole world to ransom with his genetically engineered nanobots. It’s a great morality tale, where is the line between terrorism and idealism? Is killing in the name of the state ever justified? The experiences of this story have a profound effect on Susan and impact the development of her character throughout the TV series.

The Second Story is called The Unwinding World by Ian Potter – it is told by Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) and details the time that she, Ian, Barbara and The Doctor become stranded on a totalitarian world, with the TARDIS taken away, the food drugged to make concentration difficult, inane soulless TV shows to keep the masses entertained, our heroes must expose the lie at the centre of this society in order to retrieve the TARDIS, but is the truth something that the inhabitants want to face? This is an intriguing story, consequences are all over it, the consequences which have lead to the totalitarian society, and the consequences for the citizens once the Doctor and companions bring it down. It’s not a black and white situation, sometimes ignorance may be bliss, sometimes the Doctor may not be actually acting in the best interest of an oppressed population. Intriguing little morality play this one, very much worth a listen.

The Third Story is called The Founding Fathers by Simon Guerrier – it is told by Steven Taylor (Peter Purves). A bit of different take on a historical here, Steven uses a pure historical encounter that he, The Doctor and Vicki had with Benjamin Franklin. Steven is an old man here, he was once King of the planet seen in the TV story The Savages, but abdicated this position, now he recalls his tale to his granddaughter Sida in order to prove to her that the copy of The Doctor’s mind that they have kept since the Doctor visited is actually not the real Doctor and lacks his moral compass. The actual story would have made a great two part historical in the TV series in the 1960’s in which The Doctor uses Franklin’s experiments with electricity to open the TARDIS, which he has inadvertently managed to lock himself out of. Along the way our heroes are involved in intrigue with a woman called Abigail that history has not recorded, is she a Time Agent or something more??? An enjoyable historical, which poses many questions on ethics and morality.

The Final Story is called The Locked Room by Simon Guerrier. Steven Taylor (Peter Purves) is a very old man, it is some years since the events of The Founding Fathers and his granddaughter Sida is now President. Steven has become a recluse and as his obsessive project to build a radio telescope comes to fruition, he summons Sida for its first use, to use it he locks them in a time-locked, lead lined room, for this is no ordinary radio telescope… Steven has managed to track down The Doctor and is planning to bring him to his planet, but Steven has caught up with the Doctor at a crucial point in his timeline – The Doctor is dying. A fabulous ending to the set, it twists and turns all over the place, its a four-hander between Steven, Sida, The Doctor and one other protagonist who to quote River Song: “Spoilers” – you will have to listen to it to find out! A great end to a very good box set, gripping to the last.

So an interesting set, thematically very challenging, it really makes you consider the character’s actions and the consequences they may have, and its great to have the Companion Chronicles back, there is a certain something to their style of story-telling that makes them an integral building block in the diverse tapestry of the Doctor Who canon.


Written by Ed Watkinson


The Sleeping Blood by Martin Day

When the Doctor falls ill, Susan is forced to leave the safety of the TARDIS behind. Exploring a disused research centre in search of medical supplies, she becomes embroiled in the deadly plans of a terrorist holding an entire world to ransom – and the soldier sent to stop him.

The Unwinding World by Ian Potter

Office life is tough, the commute is a grind, nothing works quite as well as you’d like. Vicki seems to remember things being better once, before the little flat. It’s time she put some excitement back in her life. It’s just a shame the Doctor can’t help.

The Founding Fathers by Simon Guerrier

The TARDIS lands in Leicester Square in the summer of 1762. When the Doctor, Steven and Vicki find themselves locked out of the TARDIS, only one man can possibly help them. But the American, Benjamin Franklin, has problems of his own…

The Locked Room by Simon Guerrier

Steven Taylor left the Doctor and the TARDIS to become king of an alien world. But it’s now many years since he gave up the throne and went to live in a cell in the mountains, out of sight of his people. He’s not escaping his past – quite the opposite, in fact. As his granddaughter, Sida, is about to discover…


Carole Ann Ford, Maureen O’Brien, Peter Purves, Alix Dunmore, Alice Haig, Darren Strange

Producers: David Richardson & Ian Atkins (The Sleeping Blood)
Script Editor: Jacqueline Rayner
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs



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Sarah DollardThe BBC have announced that Sarah Dollard has written Episode 10 of the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. Sarah is an Australian screenwriter, living and working in the UK, who began her career writing for the well-known Australian soap, Neighbours. Other credits include Merlin, Primeval, Being Human, and The Game.

Dollard said:

Getting to play in the Doctor Who toy box is a dream come true. It’s a total honour to contribute to a show that has brought me such joy as a fan. However, writing for Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman has presented a serious problem: some days I’ve been too excited to actually sit down and type!

Filming has begun on episode 10 of the new series of Doctor Who and Joivan Wade, who played Rigsy in last year’s Flatline, is back! The episode is directed by Justin Molotnikov and written by Sarah Dollard whose previous credits include Being Human and the BBC’s acclaimed spy drama, The Game.

The episode sees the return of Joivan Wade as Rigsy, the young graffiti artist who helped save the world in Flatline. He’ll be reunited with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) in this new adventure although how and why he finds himself mixed up with the time traveling heroes is currently under wraps!

The guest cast for the new series includes Maisie Williams, Michelle Gomez, Rebecca Front, Rufus Hound, Paul Kaye and Jaye Griffiths. The BBC Cymru Wales produced drama will return to BBC One this Autumn with further casting to be announced.

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