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1960006_10152586354303025_3674495000890646720_nIt’s nearly Hallowe’en, and this year, something truly terrifying is going to happen…

Six seemingly random strangers are drawn by a mysterious figure to a disused, semi-derelict theatre in a sleepy, seemingly innocuous, seaside town. There they begin their journey into the bowels of the building where their innermost darkest thoughts will be revealed in an encounter that will change their lives forever…

This anthology features a series of six macabre and deliciously funny short stories from the imaginations of writers Jon Arnold, Simon A Brett, John Davies, Tony Eccles, Lee Rawlings and J.R. Southall. In true portmanteau horror film fashion the threads are all drawn together into a thrilling conclusion penned by lead writer, Dan Barratt.  The book is lavishly illustrated with the work of brilliant artist Paul Griffin and features a foreword written by acting legend David Warner.

All proceeds from the sale of THÉÂTRE DIABOLIQUE are being donated to the mental health charity, MIND.

To order your copy make a donation on Dan’s JustGiving page. Leave your email address and you will be sent a PDF/Kindle copy of the full standard black and white book. Anyone making a donation (of any amount) will be sent a copy! Please don’t be shy… donate whatever you like or feel you can afford. All donations are very welcome.

Alternatively click on the following link to access the book’s Lulu store page where you will find the currently available print versions of TERRORS OF THE THÉÂTRE DIABOLIQUE. All copies ordered from Lulu include a small donation to MIND so, if you wish to do so, you may also make an additional donation here and you will also be sent a PDF/Kindle copy via email. Please note; this is the only way to get your hands on the full colour edition which contains additional lavish artwork! Print copies will be available from the end of October.

Thanks to Dan Barratt

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bfi_logo_transpThe BFI have announced their new season of programming, Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, featuring some of the best sci-fi films and and works at events across the UK.

In December the BBC Radiophonic Workshop will be taking part in two events. Tickets will be on sale in the near future.

The Boy From Space + Panel discussion and Q&A with BBC Radiophonic WorkshopSaturday 6th December – 13:00

To celebrate our BFI DVD release of the remastered and rarely seen The Boy from Space we present a specially edited 70min version of the series. Made by the BBC education department, The Boy From Space tells the story of two children who try to conceal an alien, and has since become legendary as one of the finest children’s series ever made. The eerie nature of the show was greatly assisted by the music and audio effects supplied by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with key Workshop figures Paddy Kingsland, Dr Dick Mills and Roger Limb, who provided the original music for this and many more TV series. We’ll also screen clips of other rarely seen series that the BFI is releasing such as The Changes and Out of The Unknown, and our special guests will demonstrate their working methods and how they contributed to these unique productions.

Sonic Cinema Presents: Radiophonic Workshop Live – Saturday 6th December – 18:00

Taking Days of Fear and Wonder as their theme, Radiophonic Workshop have created a unique set that highlights their seminal work in TV and radio and their influence on electronic music in the UK. Drawing on the principles of musique concre?te, found sounds, early electronics, handmade synths and tape loops, the Workshop created the otherworldly soundtrack to many iconic shows, including Horizon, Quatermass, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy… and Delia Derbyshire’s realisation of the iconic Doctor Who theme. Join us for a special evening of analogue history and frequencies from the future.

For more details check out the BFI website.

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Head writer Steven Moffat talks about the return of the Cybermen in this year’s final adventure.

“I really wanted to do a Cyberman story,” says Steven, “because they were always my favourites when I was a kid, and I was quite surprised that one way or another I’d never used them in any of my own scripts, except as supporting characters. So I wanted to do a proper scary one…”


  • Extensive previews of Episodes 9 to 12 of the new series – Flatline, In the Forest of the Night, Dark Water and Death in Heaven. DWM talks exclusively to writers Jamie Mathieson, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Steven Moffat.
  • DWM interviews Samuel Anderson, aka Danny Pink .
  • Steven Moffat answers readers’ questions in his exclusive column.
  • DWM talks to Derrick Sherwin, Doctor Who’s producer in the late 1960s.
  • Kill the Moon writer Peter Harness talks in depth about the script for his episode.
  • Reviews of the latest TV adventures: Time Heist, The Caretaker, Kill the Moon and Mummy on the Orient Express.
  • DWM talks to the stars of the Eighth Doctor’s latest audio series, Dark Eyes 3, including Paul McGann, Alex Macqueen & Georgia Moffett.
  • The Doctor and Clara’s comic strip adventures continue in The Eye of Torment written by Scott Gray, illustrated by Martin Geraghty.
  • The Time Team comment on the 2008 Tenth Doctor episode The Stolen Earth.
  • Jacqueline Rayner writes about the different ways of watching new episodes in Relative Dimensions.
  • The results of the DWM 2013 Merchandise Poll are revealed.
  • The Watcher tackles the controversial subject of last-minute edits in Wotcha!
  • The DWM crossword, prize-winning competitions and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 479 is on sale from Thursday 16 October 2014, priced £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

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worldsofdoctorwhoforwebcopy_cover_largeI finished listening to this a few days ago, it’s a big story and needed a lot of thinking over before putting fingers to keyboard.

Usually I start my reviews with a bit of a preamble (or incoherent ramble!) about how I am feeling, what memories the story stirs up, the music I am listening to.  If you are a long-time reader you will know what I mean, if not Hello and thanks for reading. Anyway, and I don’t know why, but this story reminded me of Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. Maybe it’s the ebb and flow of the story, that it’s broken up into distinct but linked chapters in the same way that Tubular Bells is broken up into movements, or maybe it’s the way both have a haunting melody as their constant.  Actually that’s probably it, whilst Tubular Bells has, well, Tubular Bells as its theme, the Worlds of Doctor Who has a haunting rendition of Ding Dong Bell played on a music box.  It’s really chilling. Yes children’s nursery rhymes as a horror staple are a bit passé these days, but when done as well as this it can be indulged.

So the story – it really does encompass the whole worlds of Big Finish Doctor Who, an epic spanning the centuries told in four parts, each starting different friends of the Doctor.

Part One is called Mind Games written by Justin Richards and features my favourite characters Jago and Litefoot.  I just can’t get enough of their bi-annual box sets of breathtaking bonhomie. Ok, no more alliteration I promise. To the uninitiated Henry Gordon Jago & Professor George Litefoot appeared in The Talons of Weng-Chiang with Tom Baker, were revived by Big Finish for Companion Chronicle – The Mahogany Murderers and then for a series of box sets, series 8 is due in October 2014. So, Jago has booked an act in his theatre, the act is Mr Rees a hypnotist who uses a music box playing a haunting version of Ding Dong Bell, but those who take part in his act are committing terrible crimes and then thinking they dreamed it.

Jago and Litefoot are on fine form (when aren’t they?) and get the story going, Rees is the worst sort of villain, not using his powers for any gain or power, but because he can. A great start to the story and a great introduction to Jago and Litefoot’s adventures too.

Part Two is called ‘The Reesinger Process’, again by Justin Richards. We have moved on from the 1890′s to the 1960′s and the story is continued by the Counter Measures team, Group Captain Gilmore, Rachel Jensen, Alison Williams as seen in Remembrance of the Daleks along with their boss Sir Toby Kinsella. Several high ranking civil servants and Military personnel have been inexplicably committing random murders, the Counter Measures team’s investigation leads them to the Reesinger Institute, a place where anti interrogation techniques are taught. The institute is run by brother and sister James and Stephanie Wilton and on her desk, Stephanie has a certain music box… Full of Cold War era paranoia it feels like it could have been a show made by ITC in the 1960′s and the team are on fine form. I really do like Sir Toby, even though I shouldn’t. Again the story ends with a hook for the next part.

Part Three is The Screaming Skull by Jonathan Morris.
An older Captain Mike Yates seeks the help of Captain Ruth Mathieson (Daphne Ashbrook) and Charlie Sato (Yee Jee Tso) to enter The Vault, an archive of dangerous alien artefacts gathered by UNIT over the years.  A team of soldiers have been sent in but the Vault has gone dark. Yates, Mathieson and Sato have an hour to solve the problem in the Vault and get out before it is destroyed. Wow, this one drips with atmosphere, it’s the most overtly “horror” of all the stories, having not heard any of the previous “Vault” stories I didn’t know what to expect, but my expectations were exceeded. A tense heart in mouth, edge of seat story full of twists and turns, I will definitely be seeking out the other Vault Stories.

Which brings us on to Part Four, Second Sight by Nick Wallace and Justin Richards.
Not a lot I can say about this without spoiling, but suffice to say, things are bad.  The Doctor has been called in, Romana has sent Leela to help and the true extent if Rees’s plans are revealed. It’s all rather epic really and a crescendo to the four movements of this symphony. To take the Tubular Bells analogy a bit further, there is a quiet moment after the main story has finished and then…..well, that would be telling (it’s not the sailors horn pipe though!)

A real epic spanning not only the centuries but the whole range of Big Finish’s Doctor Who worlds.  A great pilot for each of the series if you have not heard them (I will certainly be investigating the Vault) not perfect, but very good indeed.  I found the ending a little bit of a cheat, a variation on a theme that has become very over used in New Who on TV, but used in a slightly different way here.

Worth the entry fee? I would say so.  Welcome to my world, won’t you come on in because I give it 9/10.


An epic adventure uniting the Doctor’s friends across time and space, featuring Jago & Litefoot, Counter-Measures, the Vault and Gallifrey!

1: Mind Games by Justin Richards
In Victorian England, Henry Gordon Jago and Professor Litefoot investigate worrying events on the streets of London – which seem to be linked to the New Regency Theatre’s resident act, the mesmerist Mr Rees…

2: The Reesinger Process by Justin Richards
London, 1964, and the repercussions of Jago and Litefoot’s adventure are dealt with by Sir Toby Kinsella and his crack team of specialists at Counter-Measures. What is the Reesinger Process – and who is behind it?

3: The Screaming Skull by Jonathan Morris
Disgraced soldiers Ruth Matheson and Charlie Sato are called back into action by Captain Mike Yates, when the UNIT Vault is mysteriously locked down by a deadly force. Together they must infiltrate the Vault and get those trapped out alive. But what enemy are they facing?

4: Second Sight by Nick Wallace and Justin Richards
The actions of Mr Rees have alerted the Time Lords of Gallifrey, and Romana has assigned her best warrior. Independently, the Sixth Doctor has arrived on Earth. A power from the dawn of the Universe is about to be unleashed once more…


Colin Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Lalla Ward (Romana), Daphne Ashbrook (Ruth Matheson), Trevor Baxter (Professor George Litefoot), Christopher Benjamin (Henry Gordon Jago), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Karen Gledhill (Allison Williams), Hugh Ross (Sir Toby Kinsella), Pamela Salem (Rachel Jenson), Yee Jee Tso (Charlie Sato), Simon Williams (Group Captain Gilmore), Jamie Glover (Mr Rees), Sinead Keenan (Stephanie Wilton), Rory Keenan (James Wilton)

Written By: Justin Richards, Jonathan Morris, Nick Wallace
Directed By: Ken Bentley and Lisa Bowerman

Producer: David Richardson
Script Editor: Matt Fitton
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs


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signs-and-wonders_cover_largeTen years is a very long time, in fact, it’s a really long time. Thinking back to how things were ten years ago, no smartphones, no tablets, music still mainly CD, Tony Blair was Prime Minister. A lot has changed in the intervening decade. We have been through a recession, had the first coalition government and the way people watch television has changed beyond all recognition due to PVR’s and online viewing. Big changes, little changes but all now part of daily life.

Ten years ago, Doctor Who was back in production, Eccleston and Piper in the lead roles and Russell T Davies at the helm, did they ever dream that their daring and brave reboot would now be a staple of Saturday night viewing and would last so long? Ten years later we are four new Doctor’s down the line and the show is as popular as ever. Why am I obsessing about ten years, the decade from 2004 to 2014? Despite all these changes, Big Finish have been a constant, and in 2004 they introduced a character called Thomas Hector Schofield. His story has been ten years in the making and in the latest story from Big Finish – Signs and Wonders it comes to an end.

I know, I know, “spoilers” but I feel they are justified, like Rose Tyler saying “this is the story of how I died”. I won’t tell you how it ends, but it’s really worth the effort, the pay-off is wonderful.

So, Signs and Wonders. Not for the faint hearted, it has ten years worth of continuity and what you get out of it depends on how much you have invested in the “Hex arc”.

Potted history (spoiler-phobes may wish to skip) Thomas Hector Schofield played by Philip Olivier was a nurse working in St. Garts Hospital London, he meets Ace and the Doctor during a Cyberman Incursion and joins the TARDIS, through many adventures Hex is the compassionate corner of the Ace, Doctor, Hex triangle, he meets his hero Florence Nightingale and just wants to help people. Turns out Hex and the Doctor are being manipulated, Hex is actually Waylan’s shield, a weapon created by Elder God Waylan in his battle against Fenric. Hex is killed but on a trip to Liverpool where Ace makes the Doctor apologise to Hex’s Nan for putting him in danger, they meet Thomas Hector Thomas, a local villain who is the image of Hex – also played by Philip Olivier – it turns out he IS Hex with his memories stripped out, he joins the TARDIS and Ace vows to get his memories back. Which brings us once again to Liverpool…

Hector wants to go home, but in Liverpool is a man, a charlatan to many, a messiah to others called Rufus Stone prophesying the end of the world. Everyone is having bad dreams foreseeing their death – Rufus Stone is telling everyone that the North of England is the chosen land, miracles happen at his command, signs and wonders to awe his followers but are they being duped, and is he?

It’s very apocalyptic, think RTD’s The Second Coming, real Old Testament end of the world stuff and it really is my sort of Who – I like the contemporary setting, the familiarity of the location, the real characters, grounding it in reality makes the threat all the more real to me. Jessica Martin is great as Vicar Janet Green and Amy Pemberton makes a welcome return as Sally Morgan who has been living with Hex’s Nan Hilda until Hilda died and now wants to rejoin her army unit.

A truly epic story tying up threads woven over ten years and like all the best TV shows that are losing a beloved and long term character, the actual plot ends about ten minutes before the episode does. What a lovely ending Hex is given – up there with Jo Grant, Sarah Jane and Rose Tyler, worth the price of the CD for this scene alone, and then we have the Doctor and Ace musing on their own mortality, because all the Doctor got in his dream was Puccini…

So there you have it, Hex’s story done and dusted, a story ten years in the making with laughs and many many tears along the way. Is the story perfect? No, but it’s quite close. Maybe a bit too long, maybe just a little confusing in the resolution but well worth the entry fee a wonderful epic emotional roller coaster ride and a fitting ending for one of the most human and long term companions.

I sign off on Signs and Wonders at an epic 9/10.


The end of the world is nigh. That’s what everybody is seeing in their nightmares. That’s why they are congregating in Liverpool for the party to end all parties, hosted by Rufus Stone, a celebrity turned doomsday prophet. He claims he’s the only one who can save them when the day of judgement comes. Because he’s on the side of the angels.

The Doctor, Ace and Hector arrive to find the city in the grip of apocalypse fever. There are lights in the sky, earthquakes and power cuts. The Doctor is determined to investigate, while Ace is more concerned about finding a way of restoring Hector’s lost memories.

Meanwhile, in the river Mersey, hideous, slug-like creatures are stirring…


Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Jessica Martin (Reverend Janet Green), Warren Brown (Rufus Stone/To’Koth), Jemma Churchill (Praska), Rory Keenan (Captain Gormley)


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20140417175540mask-of-tragedy_cover_largeI like the theatre, so does Mrs Wings. We are never happier than when we make one of our periodic visits to Stratford Upon Avon to see an RSC production.

The power of words is an incredible thing – “I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth” makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end the before the law passage from Kafka’s The Trial is just powerful, moving and thought provoking. Of course, Shakespeare is the master, sure, some of the plots don’t make sense, the characters are two dimensional, the comedy is broad – but the words, oh the words just thinking of them conjures up images of despair, laughter, Kings, queens, fools, lovers, comedy and tragedy.

Tragedy brings me nicely on to the latest in the main range from Big Finish – Mask of Tragedy.

Ancient Greece is the setting, cradle of civilisation, home of democracy and theatre and it is here that the Seventh Doctor brings Ace and Hector for a holiday. The Doctor meets up with playwright Aristophanes played by Samuel West whilst Ace spends time with the invading Spartan army and Hector becomes possessed by an alien mask and becomes the earthly embodiment of Dionysys.The framing device is very interesting. Ace takes the part of the chorus and she says that The Doctor and Hector play the Hero and the Villain, but it’s up to the audience to decide who plays who!

Something isn’t right in Ancient Greece! The dead are coming back to life and the city leader Cleon is being terrorised by a Fury – a giant flying beetle with knives for wings.

Sounds good, and I am sure there is a good story in there, it’s just something isn’t quite right with the tone. Is it a comedy or is it a tragedy?  Is it a tragedy with funny bits or a comedy with sad bits? And that’s the problem, it seems to be a story looking for a tone. Or maybe I am missing the point and the whole thing is a metaphor for how Ace and The Doctor’s attitude to life and death is completely at odds with Hector’s. Hector seems to sum it up at the end where he says to the Doctor “all you seem to have done is invented light entertainment” and that’s what it feels like, more season Twenty Four than Season Twenty Five or Twenty Six, perfect for the light-hearted early McCoy era, but not this version of sEVEN. There are some excellent performances, especially Philip Olivier as Hector, a real fish out of water, a novice at time travel given too much freedom to get it wrong – but, this is a rare occasion that a story didn’t quite gel for me.

Overall, it’s all Greek to me 5/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Athens, 421 BC. An ancient civilisation of philosophers and poets and the birthplace of theatre. The Doctor has decided to show Ace and Hector how it all began, with help from the great comedian Aristophanes.

But life in Athens is no laughing matter. There’s the ever-present threat of invasion from the Spartan horde. The plague that turns people into the walking dead. The slavery. The tyrannical rule of the paranoid, malicious Cleon and his network of informers. And the giant flying beetle with knives for wings that stalks the city streets at night.

What Athens needs is a hero. And who better to be a hero in ancient Greece than a man called Hector?


Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hector), Samuel West (Aristophanes), Alisdair Simpson (Cleon), Russell Bentley (Tyrgius/Slave Trader/Boy), Tim Treloar (Telephus, Cisyphus/Old Man), Emily Tucker (Adonia/Lysistrata)

Written By: James Goss
Directed By: Ken Bentley


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001_domain_of_the_voord_cover_largeMarco Polo. That got you interested didn’t it? Two words, but conjuring up a whole load of images, emotions, memories, hopes and dreams.

Marco Polo, as we all know, is the earliest of the fabled “missing episodes”. I first read the Target novelisation back in the late 1980′s and was drawn in to its world. I remember after reading it I hoped that it’s VHS release would follow soon. This fledgling fan had no idea that a lot of early Who was missing from the archives. Which brings my on to Big Finish.

Earlier this year the “Companion Chronicles” series came to an end, but from their ashes rises a new range – “The Early Adventures” – different from The Companion Chronicles in their structure, yet similar enough to be a spiritual successor.These are the stories of the black and white era Doctors told by his companions and the first of these is Domain of the Voord, set sometime after Keys of Marinus but before Dalek Invasion of Earth.

So why, dear reader, was I waxing lyrical about Marco Polo earlier on in this review? Was it a ploy to get you to read on, would I be so manipulative? To find out, read on (see what I did there?!)

The story is in many ways typical early Hartnell, but also not. It is narrated and acted by William Russell who played Ian Chesterton and Carole Ann Ford who played Susan along with a supporting cast playing the other roles. Unlike the Companion Chronicles, this is a four part story, it is part acted, part narrated in the third and first person.  The style does take a bit of getting used to and is quite distracting, but you do eventually get a feel for the story.

So the plot, as I said, quite typical Hartnell with the TARDIS arrives in a situation, the crew are separated from the TARDIS and accused of being spies. So far, so Hartnell.

They have arrived on the planet Hydra and typically for the Hartnell era, it’s a planet named after one of its features – it’s pretty much all water.  The Hydrans have been invaded by the Voord, the most typical “man in a rubber suit” monster you can get, last seen in The Keys of Marinus, only this time they are a real threat – they have won. The Hydrans are a rag tag bunch of survivors on a flotilla of ships trying to fight back, then the Voord attack, the Doctor and Barbara are missing presumed dead, the TARDIS is lost, Ian and Susan have to deal with the loss of their loved ones whilst becoming part of the resistance against the Voord.

So far, so Hartnell – in fact it’s so atypically of the era that the Doctor and Barbara don’t even appear in episodes two and three.  Listening to this I imagined it in black and white with model shots of ships and sci fi cities.

So why Marco Polo? Well, thank you for your patience.  It reminds me very much of Marco Polo because of its epic scale and the time the story is set over. Ian and Susan are two months at sea with the Hydrans and it feels like a physical and emotional ordeal. There is a very, very interesting scene where Susan talks to a Voord prisoner, a chilling piece that I would have liked to have heard more of, almost a Clarice and Hannibal Lecter moment, you could cut the tension with a knife as Nebrin the captured Voord commander sizes up and tries to manipulate Susan – a very powerful scene. Lots are made of the Voord in this story, and a very silly one off monster are given a whole mythology which I hope is delved into again.  How they recruit people to their cause is quite macabre, an almost David Cronenburg level of body horror is present.

A bit of an epic then? Yes in many ways, but it feels like it should have been shot on small sets in lime grove, and probably wouldn’t have been as epic on screen as it was on audio…

A bit like when Marco Polo was found and it wasn’t as good as the novel Winking face

Only joking……..or am I…..?

A great start to a new series, I look forward to hearing more 9/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara land on the planet Hydra, where Admiral Jonas Kaan leads a vast flotilla of ships trying to elude the vicious race that has invaded and occupied their world. But his ships are being picked off one by one, vessels and crews dragged underwater by an unseen foe.

The time travellers find themselves pitched into battle against the Voord, the ruthless enemy they last encountered on the planet Marinus. As they take the fight to the very heart of the territory now controlled by the Voord the stakes get higher. First they lose the TARDIS… then they lose that which they hold most dear. And that’s only the start of their troubles.

In the capital, Predora City, they will learn the truth of what it means to be a Voord. And that truth is horrifying.


William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Daisy Ashford (Amyra), Andrew Dickens (Jonas Kaan/Tarlak), Andrew Bone (Pan Vexel/Nebrin)

Written By: Andrew Smith
Directed By: Ken Bentley


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Following on from the success of their Afternoon with Andrew Cartmel event in May, Nick and Simon are back with another exciting event later this month!


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