Doctor Who Magazine 526

Doctor Who Magazine #526

TOM BAKER REVISITS HIS FIRST SERIES AS THE DOCTOR IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!

As part of DWM’s detailed preview of the forthcoming Season 12 Blu-ray set, Tom Baker reflects on the role that changed his life. “You know, Doctor Who is nothing to do with science fiction,” he says. “It’s nothing to do with anything. It’s a bit like religion really, in that all you have to do is believe it. And I can believe any old nonsense.”

Also in this issue…

ROGER MURRAY-LEACH
An extensive interview with the production designer who achieved the impossible on Season 12 of Doctor Who.

THE HOLMES MASTER PLAN
How Season 12 script editor Robert Holmes created a storytelling formula that continues to influence the modern series.

KEVIN LINDSAY
The life and career of the Australian actor who played Styre in Season 12’s The Sontaran Experiment.

BREWING UP
The untold story of how Doctor Who led a marketing campaign for tea bags in 1976.

GEORGIA TENNANT
The actress talks about how her life has changed since she made her Doctor Who debut – and met her future husband – in 2008.

JESSICA MARTIN
Jessica talks about illustrating her character Mags (from The Greatest Show in the Galaxy) for a new Seventh Doctor comic.

NEW FACES
The second part of a series looking at how new Doctors have been introduced to the public.

THE TIME TEAM
It’s hankies at the ready as the Time Team watch tearjerking episodes from 1982, 2006 and 2010.

THE CLOCKWISE WAR
Part Three of a new comic strip adventure written by Scott Gray and illustrated by John Ross.

PLUS…
The Blogs of Doom, previews, DVD and audio reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 526 is on sale from Thursday 31 May, price £5.99.

With thanks to those kind folks at DWM

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The PMF Grumpcast III – MOFFHACK

Despite the original episode 3 being stolen to order, Eric, Servo and Richard re-record and review the entire Moffat era in a distinctly low brow and shallow way. They’re even nice about bits of it… bits.

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Doctor Who Magazine 525

DWM 525A

From scenes which didn’t make the final cut to characters who were completely edited out… Issue 525 of Doctor Who Magazine brings you the best bits of Doctor Who you never got to see!

Doctor Who Magazine 525 also includes:

• An interview with Will Oswald, an editor on Doctor Who from 2007 to 2017

DWM chats to Michelle Ryan about the return of her character Lady Christina de Souza

• The Time Team returns – and they’ve regenerated!

Out of the TARDIS with Janet Fielding, who played 80s companion Tegan

• A look back at the ways new Doctors have been introduced to the public

• Jamie Lenman’s cosplay quest to recreate the Fourth Doctor’s scarf

• Part Two of The Clockwise War, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill

The Fact of Fiction delves into the 2009 Tenth Doctor story Planet of the Dead

• Previews, book and audio reviews, news, The Blogs of Doom, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!

Doctor Who Magazine is on sale from Thursday 3 May at WH Smith and all good newsagents, price £5.99. It’s also available digitally from pocketmags.com

With thanks to those kind folks at DWM

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DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE SPECIAL 49 – IN THE STUDIO

DWMSE #49

In 1963 Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson devised an ambitious concept that would stretch the BBC’s technical resources to the limit. In its earliest days Doctor Who was jeopardised by a fierce dispute over facilities. The programme survived, but never stopped demanding the very best from its studios and dedicated crews.

The latest Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition tells the story of the series’ sometimes difficult evolution from relatively primitive beginnings to the cutting edge of modern television production.

Packed full of all-new features and previously unseen images, this is the ultimate guide to the studio recording and filming of Doctor Who.

Highlights include:

Sections on all of Doctor Who’s major studios: Lime Grove, Ealing, Riverside, Television Centre, Unit Q2, Upper Boat and Roath Lock

  • How the original TARDIS control room was recreated for Twice Upon a Time
  • A tribute to senior camera supervisor Alec Wheal
  • Exclusive interviews with second-unit director James DeHaviland and vintage camera expert Dicky Howett
  • A guide to Doctor Who’s rehearsal rooms
  • The story behind the black-and- white remake of 2006 episode Tooth and Claw
  • Rare images from the Visual Effects Department’s model stages

Doctor Who: In the Studio is on sale now at WH Smith and all good newsagents, price £5.99. It’s also available digitally from pocketmags.com

With thanks to those kind folks at DWM

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Doctor Who Magazine 524

Doctor Who Mag 524

RUSSELL T DAVIES, STEVEN MOFFAT, PAUL CORNELL AND JENNY T COLGAN DISCUSS THEIR NEW TARGET BOOKS IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE

Steven Moffat tells DWM: “I asked [Russell] why he was doing a novelisation, and he said, ‘Because when we’re very old, this will matter more to us than the show.’ Well, fair enough. But also, The Day of the Doctor was such a monster of a show to do, and almost certainly the biggest success I’ll ever have – so I wasn’t letting someone else do the final lap!”

Also in this issue…

RUSSELL T DAVIES
The former showrunner returns to write this issue’s Production Notes column.

GALLIFREY ONE
Inside the Los Angeles convention that’s renowned as one of the greatest Doctor Who events in the world.

DOCTOR WHO INFINITY
An exclusive preview of the ambitious new game starring Michelle Gomez as Missy and Ingrid Oliver as Osgood.

OUT OF THE TARDIS
Impressionist and Doctor Who fan Jon Culshaw answers randomly selected questions from the TARDIS tin.

PETER MILES
The life and career of the actor who played Nyder in the classic 1975 story Genesis of the Daleks.

BBC RECORDS & TAPES
All the Doctor Who releases from the record company run by the BBC from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.

DOCTOR WHO LOGOS
The untold story behind the creation of Doctor Who’s 2010-17 logo.

KLAUS JOYNSON
The DJ and drummer is interviewed about his remarkable Doctor Who-themed album New Adventures in Time & Space.

COSPLAY
Christel Dee’s guide to cosplaying the Doctor’s distinctive orange spacesuit.

THE FACT OF FICTION
Exploring the hidden depths to the 2015 story Sleep No More.

THE CLOCKWISE WAR
Part one of a new comic strip adventure written by Scott Gray and illustrated by John Ross.

PLUS…
News, previews, book and audio reviews, competitions, The Blogs of Doom and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 524 is on sale now, price £5.99.

With thanks to those kind folks at DWM

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Doctor Who Magazine 523

Doctor Who Mag 523

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NEW EXECUTIVE PRODUCER MATT STREVENS IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE

Matt Strevens – who also produced An Adventure in Space and Time – is working alongside Chris Chibnall to bring the 2018 series of Doctor Who to our screens. “You get to ask for a new TARDIS and cast a new Doctor – the childhood me could never have imagined it.”

Also in this issue…

CHRIS CHIBNALL
Doctor Who’s showrunner discusses the new logo and remembers his years as a teenage
fan.

MICHELLE GOMEZ
Michelle reflects on her time playing Missy in this exclusive interview.

OUT OF THE TARDIS
Dan ‘Strax’ Starkey answers randomly selected questions from the TARDIS tin.

DAVID FISHER
A tribute to the late writer, whose stories include The Stones of BloodThe Leisure Hive and the original version of City of Death.

DOCTOR WHO LOGOS
New insights and previously unseen images from the designers who created one of Doctor Who’s best-known logos.

JACOB DUDMAN
An interview with the actor and YouTube star, acclaimed for his uncanny Doctor Who
impressions.

DALEKS IN MILWAUKEE
The inside story of a unique record-breaking attempt.

RICHARD DeDOMENICI
How and why did this performance artist recreate the 1973 story Frontier in Space in its
original location?

COSPLAY
Christel Dee’s guide to making your own Time Lord collar.

THE FACT OF FICTION
Exploring the 2011 story The Doctor’s Wife.

THE PHANTOM PIPER
The final instalment of this comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill, written by Scott Gray and illustrated by Martin Geraghty.

PLUS…
The Blogs of Doom, season survey results, previews, book and audio reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine issue 523 is on sale now, price £5.99.

With thanks to those kind folks at DWM

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The PMF Grumpcast II – Grumpcast of the World: Special Edition

After a failed interview with the super special guest, Eric, Richard and Servo play Parse the Parcel, take a look at The Enemy of the World Special Edition and have a few titters along the way.

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REVIEW – SERPENT IN THE SILVER MASK

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“So we’re stowaways?”

“I prefer the term surprise guests.”

 Ooh, I do like a good whodunnit. Mix in some SF, and the result can be great. But you have to be careful to play fair with the reader/listener. Your audience should have a chance to solve the mystery ahead of your sleuth – (their reaction when the culprit is revealed should be “Of course, how could I have missed that?” rather than “Huh?”) And of course this becomes even trickier when there is the possibility that some futuristic technology was used to carry off the perfect crime. Isaac Asimov managed to pull off classic SF whodunnits in “The Caves of Steel” and “The Naked Sun”, and Larry Niven has done so in numerous short stories. They succeeded because despite the futuristic setting, the solutions always relied on things the reader knew, not just the characters and their motives, but relevant facts about the operation of matter transmitters and the Three Laws of Robotics.

 Does “Serpent” manage the same standard? Well, not quite, but it does quite well.

 Like “The End of the World”, it’s set in an ideal situation for a murder mystery – a space station which no one can enter or leave, in which members of a rich family have gathered for the funeral of one of their little-loved members, and more importantly to find out who inherits his fortune. Almost as soon as the will has been read, his relatives start being murdered in rapid succession. It looks as though the goal is the inheritance, but is that answer too easy? After all, the obvious suspect will clearly be the last man (or woman) standing. Maybe the money is a distraction and the real objective is possession of a painting rescued from the Second World War by a time travelling archaeologist, which has mysteriously gone missing…

 I found this great fun, with the same TARDIS crew as ‘Ghost Walk” investigating while, of course, coming under suspicion themselves. The Doctor claims to be ideally placed to play detective because he’s “read every Agatha Christie from cover to cover” – I suspect he isn’t including the Mary Westmacotts or the adventures of  Mr Harley Quin (yes, I’m afraid I actually have read every Christie) – and this adventure is, indeed, rather reminiscent of her works, with a cast of somewhat stereotyped (but amusing) suspects, and the murders suitably cunning. And without giving anything away, the culprit (or culprits) do, in fact, use a plot device that appears in at least one Christie whodunnit.

 So, why the “not quite” above? I will try to tread carefully here, not wishing to spoil anything for anyone, and just say that the solution was rather too convoluted, and the important twist involved rather more technobabble than it should have done – both in my opinion, of course. So, if you want to work out how various things were done ahead of the big reveals, well, the answer to one of the minor puzzles is blindingly obvious (and I can only assume the investigating office had never been on a space station before, since he completely missed it), while the answer to the main crime will involve careful attention to details, and possibly a few leaps of the imagination.

 That said, this is in many ways a classic Dr Who scenario, and none the worse for it. The cast carry off their roles with their usual flair, the incidental music has an 80s Who vibe, the pacing is good, there is plenty of humour and a small dash of social comment. The setting didn’t grab my imagination to the same extent as the one in “Ghost Walk” but a space station, even one with every luxury on tap, inevitably tends to come across as a little sterile.

 8/10 – recommended, with a couple of minor caveats.

Written by Liz R

Synopsis

This title was released in March 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until April 30th 2018, and on general sale after this date.

You are cordially invited to Argentia, the galaxy’s most exclusive tax haven, to attend the funeral of mining magnate Carlo Mazzini. The memorial service will be followed by music, light refreshments, and murder!

Carlo’s heirs have come to say their final goodbyes (and find out how much they’ve inherited) but when a masked killer begins picking them off one by one, Argentia goes into lock-down, closed off behind its own temporal displacement field.

Can the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric apprehend the murderer before Argentia – and everyone on board – is forever cut off from the rest of the Universe?

Written By: David Llewellyn
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards

Cast

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), Samuel West (The Mazzini Family), Phil Cornwell (Superintendent Galgo / Zaleb 5), Sophie Winkleman (Sofia). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Guy Adams
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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The PMF Grumpcast

Eric and Servo take an often cheesed-off look at TUAT (however that’s pronounced), the politics of Moffat, the next Doctor, collecting the Target books and upcoming releases then take a deep dive into the dreaded Omnirumour… and all in under an hour.

Thanks to Ericthehalfabee and Servorobot

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REVIEW – GHOST WALK

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“This is how the world ends, Leanne – on a rainy day.”

There is something lurking in the catacombs beneath the city, something that may or may not be supernatural. Leanne runs a Ghost Walk. She takes tourists to visit the most haunted sites – the Hanging Yard, the Witch Pool, and the catacombs. Like any tour guide, she tries to make the experience as spooky as possible, but doesn’t herself believe a word of it – until she starts to hear a voice inside her head telling her that something sinister is going on, something which could lead to the above quote coming true.

The voice may or may not be a ghost – but listeners will immediately recognise it as the Fifth Doctor.
And so begins a clever, tense story that cuts back and forth between the present and the 18th century, that has lashings of atmosphere, pace and characterisation, especially from Fenella Woolgar as Leanne. And despite the fact that we think we know what ultimately becomes of Tegan, Nyssa and Adric, not to mention the Doctor himself, one of the sign of how good the writing is are the moments where I was genuinely wondering how they’d get out of this one.
The companions all get a piece of the action and come across well, but the highlights are Leanne and the Doctor. If you thought that Peter Davison was a bit too young for the role at the time, as he himself does, then it’s nice to see, or at least hear, the “grown up” version. Despite his apparently ghostly status, the Doctor isn’t a passive witness to events, getting in some timey-wimey shenanigans and a bit of bricklaying, amongst other things.

We have, of course, been over somewhat similar ground before. “The Daemons” came to mind in places (at one point I was wrongly convinced that a certain character would turn out to be the Master). However, that is almost inevitable given the programme’s long history, and “Ghost Walk” certainly has enough that makes it different, including the delightful idea of “Schrödinger’s Doctor” – about which I will say no more (or will I?)

Another tribute to the writing (perhaps a bit back-handed) is that certain things that might easily have jarred were carried off with sufficient aplomb to be overlooked, at least by this reviewer. Comparing psychic projection with email – “I’m the Doctor. I’m the link you shouldn’t click” made me LOL rather than cringe, and a few historical anachronisms that may have grated in the hands of a lesser writer just raised a smile (torches and pitchforks? Ducking stools being used on witches?) This was helped by the fact that they weren’t gratuitous, but vital to the story – as were all the tourists’ destinations mentioned above.

In fact the whole thing fits together very nicely, each part clicking into place like a Key to Time. Highly recommended.

Written by Liz R

Synopsis

This title was released in February 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until March 31st 2018, and on general sale after this date.

This is a city of ghosts and no-one knows them better than Leanne. Twice a night she leads tourists to visit the most haunted sites – the Hanging Yard, the Witch Pool, the Screaming House, and, of course, the Catacombs.

Leanne’s realised the ghosts of the city are real. Something’s lurking in the Catacombs – an ancient force that has been growing in the darkness for centuries. Sabaoth is returning and they must be stopped before they devour the world. Leanne knows this, because a ghost told her.

A ghost called The Doctor.

Written By: James Goss
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards

Cast

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), Fenella Woolgar (Leanne), Sacha Dhawan (Matthew), Stephen Greif (Sabaoth), Carolyn Seymour (Mrs Stubbs), Philip Childs (Giles), John Banks (Louie), Rebecca Tromans (Nancy)

Other roles played by the cast.

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Guy Adams
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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The Essential Doctor Who: Science and Technology

The Essential Doctor Who 13The Essential Doctor Who: Science and Technology

Ever since the TARDIS was first revealed in 1963, Doctor Who has presented a bewildering array of alien technology and gadgetry. Human scientific knowledge can do nothing to explain the mysteries of the astonishing devices and phenomena that the Doctor takes for granted.

This is the first publication devoted to the incredible ideas that the series has made its own.

Highlights include a comprehensive guide to the sonic screwdriver, the secrets of the Time Lords and the weaponry of the Doctor’s most dangerous enemies.

The Essential Doctor Who: Science and Technology is published on 22 February, priced £9.99. It’s available from WH Smith and as a digital version from pocketmags.com

With thanks to those kind folks at DWM

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DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #522

DWM 522

PETER CAPALDI, SUSAN CALMAN AND COSPLAY IN THE NEW ISSUE OF DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE!

Issue 522 also sheds new light on the Dalek craze of the 1960s, as agent Beryl Vertue and writer Brad Ashton remember the roles they played. “The Daleks were really the beginning of the BBC handling merchandise,” says Beryl. “None of us really knew what we were doing, so one might say we invented it.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS ISSUE…

BERYL VERTUE
In the 1960s Beryl Vertue was Terry Nation’s agent – now she’s Steven Moffat’s mother-in-law! Beryl discusses an association with Doctor Who that began before the first episode was even transmitted.

BRAD ASHTON
The comedy writer recalls his friendship with Dalek creator Terry Nation and the role he played in The Dalek Outer Space Book.

TERRY NATION’S DALEK EMPIRE
How did the Daleks become so popular in 1964? And why did they suddenly disappear three years later?

WALKING DALEKS
The BBC’s archive gives up its Dalek secrets – including details of the prototype toys that were never manufactured.

PETER CAPALDI
Previously unpublished quotes from the last four years reveal a new side to the man who played the Twelfth Doctor.

SUSAN CALMAN
Comedian, Strictly Come Dancing favourite and now Doctor Who writer – Susan Calman discusses her love for the Time Lord in this exclusive interview.

EMMA FREUD
The organiser of Comic Relief’s ‘Breakfast with the Doctors’ event explains how she managed to unite seven Time Lords, two companions and a showrunner.

COSPLAY
In the first part of a new regular feature, Christel Dee presents a guide to recreating Ace’s jacket.

PUBLIC IMAGE
A detailed survey of Doctor Who’s television ratings during the Peter Capaldi years.

NEW EARTH
This issue’s Fact of Fiction explores the 2006 story featuring the Tenth Doctor and Rose.

THE PHANTOM PIPER
Part Four of The Phantom Piper, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Bill.

PLUS…
The Blogs of Doom, previews, reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and your letters.

Doctor Who Magazine 522 is on sale from Thursday 8 February, price £5.99.

With thanks to those kind folks at DWM

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DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE SPECIAL 48 – THE 2018 YEARBOOK

DWMSE2018

At the end of 2017 a remarkable chapter in the history of Doctor Who draw to a close. Two incarnations of the Time Lord overcame an existential threat…  before the arrival of the Thirteenth Doctor heralded a bold new era for the programme.

The latest Special Edition of Doctor Who Magazine is a unique celebration of the Twelfth Doctor’s final adventures, from The Return of Doctor Mysterio through to Twice Upon a Time. Packed full of all-new features and previously unseen images, this is the essential guide to the year in Doctor Who.

Highlights include exclusive new interviews with:

  • Joe Browning, Jimmy Mann, Gary Pollard and Kate Walshe (Millennium FX)
  • Ysanne Churchman (the voice of Alpha Centauri in Empress of Mars)
  • Matthew Clark (graphic designer, 2017 series)
  • Rachel Denning (Erica in The Pyramid at the End of the World)
  • Mark Gatiss (Captain Lethbridge-Stewart in Twice Upon a Time)
  • Stephanie Hyam (Heather in The Pilot and The Doctor Falls)
  • Adele Lynch (Iraxxa in Empress of Mars)
  • Rove McManus (host of Australian show Whovians)
  • Rachel Talalay (director of three episodes in the 2017 series)
  • Alexandra Tynan (designer of the original Cybermen)

Editor Marcus Hearn says: “The latest Yearbook is out a little later than usual, because we wanted to complete our coverage of the Twelfth Doctor’s stories by including Twice Upon a Time. This issue covers more episodes than any previous Yearbooks, but there are many other fantastic articles in there too. We hope this is a great souvenir of an incredible era.”

The Doctor Who Magazine Yearbook 2018 is on sale now at WH Smith and all good newsagents, price £5.99.

With thanks to those kind folks at DWM

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REVIEW – THE DIARY OF RIVER SONG SERIES 03

“It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for” – ladies and gentlemen this is my last review for Planet Mondas, real life has finally caught up with me leaving me time poor, but before I hand the baton over to Martin & Liz I have one more review, one more chance to offer my overly wordy, far to flowery opinion. And this release I am reviewing is an absolute corker and deserves not only a musical interlude but a musical introduction:
That was rather good wasnt it and a fitting introduction to The Diary of River Song Series 03, in fact it deserves a GIF as well (no expense spared on my last review)
 
Because this release is rather special, I have been reviewing Big Finish since October 2013 and this is one of the very best I have had the honour to listen to it really has everything – its a part sequel to the series 06 story arc involving Kovarian’s attempt to assassinate The Doctor at Lake Silencio, its an almost traditional Doctor Who story with a mystery to solve in historical times, its a surreal almost Lynchian take on “timey-wimey” involving multiple courses at an  an exclusive restaurant and its a reminder that time must always stay on its course and that a fixed point is a fixed point. Intrigued? Well read on.
I make no secret that I adore River Song – I am as far from a Moffat cheerleader as you could possibly get but she is a wonderful character with so many layers – on the surface she seems confident, glamorous, flirtatious and tough but underneath there is the little girl stolen away from her parents and raised by a monster to become a killer – River is a complicated space/time event, she is also The Doctor’s wife (though not all of the Doctor’s incarnations know it) and this time she joins up with The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) and his companion Brooke (Joanna Horton), but more on her later….
Four stories later, one central mystery, one fixed point, several regeneration and load of club card points later the tale is told, the price is paid and River carries on. – the set is split into four interconnected stories:
3.1 The Lady in the Lake by Nev Fountain
So imagine that there is a place called Terminus Prime where you can choose the nature of your demise be it heroic, fantastical or just plain daft – shouldn’t get a lot of repeat custom should it? But unfortunately River has access to the galactic Club-card database and has realised that several people make several journeys there and that these several people all had something in common – Demos Run. It starts as a bit of a light farce, what with employees called Kevin dressed as Death from the Seventh Seal but having to keep their name badge on :-) and ends in abject heartbreak for River – this is the sort of drama that turns from one to another on the head of a pin, Neve Fountain is such a skilled writer one moment satirising the tedium of corporate protocol the next pulling the rug out from under you doing something which is far too spoilery to discuss. Alex Kingston hits the ground running as River, but also plaudits to Ian Cunningham as Kevin and Sophia Carr-Gomm as Lily.
3.2 A Requiem for the Doctor by Jac Rayner
How did Mozart die, was he murdered after he finished composing his requiem? The Doctor )peter Davison), River and Brooke (Joanna Horton) are in Vienna to try to find out – River is her usual flirty, intellectual, confident self around Five and he seems a bit bothered and bewildered by her familiarity all stiff upper lip and english whilst Brooke doesn’t seem to like her at all, in fact she is downright jealous of her relationship and seeming familiarity with HER Doctor – set to the backdrop of a mystery to find a killer and prevent it literally going viral is this game of one upmanship, of carefully calculated chess between River and Brooke with the Doctor seemingly oblivious but probably knowing what is going on all along. A triumph of plotting and pacing acted to perfection.
3.3 My Dinner with Andrew by John Dorney
Ok, forget everything that has gone before, forget “timey-wimey” this takes it to a whole new level – hold on to your chronometers because you aint seen nothing yet! The Bumptious Gastropod is an exclusive restaurant outside the normal rules of causality – and it is here that The Doctor dies, it is here that Madam Kovarian (Frances Barber) has established a new fixers point in time to ensure that it does happen. It is also here that several versions of River, The Fifth Doctor, a very bemused man called Andrew and a very knowledgable Maitre D’ make their marks on the story. Its upside down, its back to front, its almost farce like in its presentation and it is truly a wonderful piece of writing everything just sort of dovetails together quite nicely – it does require active listening but it is incredibly rewarding.
3.4 The Furies by Matt Fitton
And so the end with tales of Furies haunting the mind of Madam Kovarian (Frances Barber) and memories of the childhood she lost haunting River, with causality collapsing and new powers making their play in this brave new Universe can a crime committed be put right? Is the life of one innocent worth, well everything? Its deep dark and stirring stuff and left me with a feeling of unease at the resolution, its very River but certainly not very Doctor. Our two leading ladies Alex Kingston and Frances Barber verbally spar, chew the scenery, spit venom and bristle with rage – their scenes are just so visual and the reprise of the “tick tock goes the clock” motif from series six adds a sinister and melancholy edge to proceedings. Not how I would have wanted it to end, not how the Doctor would have wanted it to end but the only way it could end and bravo Matt Fitton for ending it that way.
And that is that (until the next series in August featuring Sir Tom Baker no less) and what an epic box set, but also what an intimate exploration of the darker recesses of River’s mind and her all consuming love for the being we know only as The Doctor, her love is all encompassing and sometimes The Doctor doesn’t even know who she is – thats River’s tragedy and what drives her onwards.
I cannot recommend this box set enough, even if you ever not that keen on River on TV give this a go and you will be pleasantly surprised by her depth of character.
I sign off on my last review by awarding 10/10 and also would like to end with a song which I find very River-esque. Thanks all.
Written by Ed Watkinson

Synopsis

This title was released in January 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until March 31st 2018, and on general sale after this date.

3.1 The Lady in the Lake by Nev Fountain

On Terminus Prime, clients choose their own means of demise. Something exciting, meaningful, or heroic to end it all.

But when River discovers that there are repeat customers, she knows something more is going on.

She begins to uncover a cult with worrying abilities. Its members can apparently cheat death, and that’s not all they have in common with River…

3.2 A Requiem for the Doctor by Jac Rayner

River has joined the Doctor and his friend Brooke on their travels, and they stop off in 18th century Vienna.

Brooke thinks history is dull. Until people start dying.

Mozart’s legacy is not just his music. River has more than one mystery to solve before a killer is let loose on the people of Vienna – and on the Doctor.

3.3 My Dinner with Andrew by John Dorney

Welcome, Mesdames et Messieurs, to The Bumptious Gastropod.

The most exclusive, most discreet dining experience outside the universe. For the restaurant exists beyond spacetime itself, and the usual rules of causality do not apply. Anything could happen.

It is here that the Doctor has a date. With River Song. And with death.

3.4 The Furies by Matt Fitton

Stories of the Furies abound across the cosmos: vengeful spirits hounding guilty souls to death. Madame Kovarian taught them to a child raised in fear, trained to kill, and placed inside a spacesuit.

Kovarian knows the universe’s greatest threat, the Doctor must be eliminated. An assassin was created for that purpose.

But if Melody Pond has failed, Kovarian will simply have to try again…

Written By: Nev Fountain, Jacqueline Rayner, John Dorney, Matt Fitton
Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast

Alex Kingston (River Song), Frances Barber (Madame Kovarian), Peter Davison(The Doctor), Ian Conningham (Kevin / Rindle), Julia Hills (Sharon / Rindle), David Seddon (Mr Quisling / Tarn 2), Leighton Pugh (Lake 2 / Dave / Tarn), Sophia Carr-Gomm (Lily), Joanna Horton (Brooke), Issy Van Randwyck (Giulia), Rosanna Miles (Antoinette / Maid / Constanze), Teddy Kempner (Viktor / Mozart / Stefan / Apothecary), Jonathan Coote (Maitre D’ / Chef / Assassin), Nina Toussaint-White (Brooke 2), Francesca Zoutewelle (H-One / H-Two / Mission Captain), Pippa Bennett-Warner (O / The Deterrent). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson
Script Editors Matt Fitton, John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

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REVIEW – KINGDOM OF LIES

This story is many things – its a farce, its a Shakespearian pastiche, its a satire on the Royal Family, its a comedy painted in broad strokes, its a story of hidden nuances and it is also rather entertaining. It has the feel of a mid era Hartnell historical so think The Romans or The Myth Makers and you are about the right level – Brian Rix farce on the one hand political intrigue and machinations on the other.

Landing on the Planet Cicero Prime The Doctor (Peter Davison), Tegan (Janet Fielding), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) discover a painted line on the floor in the woods of a seemingly Medieval world – with Adric and Tegan standing on one side and The Doctor and Tegan on the other they are captured and find out that the line is a literal dividing line in the Duchy that they have arrived in as the Duke Sebastian (Jonathan Firth) and Duchess Miranda (Charlotte Lucas) are having some pretty severe marital problems and have taken matters into their own hands to resolve the situation. Amicable reconciliation is not on the agenda, in fact The Duke (who has captured The Doctor and Nyssa on his side of the line) has hired an assassin known only as “The Scorpion” to permanently solve his marital problems, unfortunately for The Doctor and Nyssa (or Nyssa “The Destroyer” who kills for fun” as Nyssa calls herself in possible the deliberately least convincing portrayal of bravado I have witnessed :-) ) the Duke believes The Doctor to be The Scorpion and the next few episodes are spent with The Doctor trying to appear that he  is trying to carry out the killing without actually doing it….

Adric and Tegan fare no better, captured by the Duchess they convince her they are protectors from the Order of Alzarius here to thwart The Scorpion…
Its pure Shakespearian farce with both parties working against each other and hilarity ensuing. Until the final episode when the tone changes completely and the larks and misunderstandings of episodes one to three give way and the true seriousness of the situation is brought to the fore.

There is a lot to this story, it is very multi layered and once again demonstrated that the Doctor doesn’t have to use violence to succeed, quite the opposite The Doctor just has to be the cleverest person in the situation, which he is by a long way and is light years ahead of everyone else in the plot. Davison is on fine form and clearly having a ball with the quite comedic material he is presented with and genuinely owns the story ably assisted by his sidekick Nyssa who as I said before is the least convincing bloodthirsty killer you could ever imagine.

The story does stand up to repeated listens as the pace of all the shenanigans, crosses, double crosses and even triple crosses can make your head spin – the plotting is tight and there is not a line wasted.

Doctor Who can be heavy going and some of the best stories are the grim ones but its great to let the story tellers and actors kick back and have some fun once in a while and this story is just that, a great fun start to the year to brighten a grim January 8/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson

Synopsis

On the planet Cicero Prime, the kingdom of Cardenas is divided, with the whole population forced to swear allegiance to either the effete Duke or the fiery, hard-edged Duchess. This is a situation both parties have grown tired of. What use is half a kingdom when, thanks to a carefully engineered murder, you could have it all?

Surely, neither of them would be rash enough to summon the deadly off-world assassin The Scorpion to help with their problem? And surely, this terrifying figure wouldn’t arrive wearing a long cream coat and striped trousers…?

Written By: Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards

Cast

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), Jonathan Firth (Sebastian, Duke of Cardenas), Charlotte Lucas (Duchess Miranda), Harriet Thorpe (Amelia), Tim Bentinck (Lord Crozion), Richenda Carey (Lady Crozion), Piotr Hatherer (Tomek), Patsy Kensit(Mercenary), Harry Smith (Additional Voices). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Guy Adams
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

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REVIEW – THE FOURTH DOCTOR SERIES 07 VOLUME 01

A new year and a new way of dong things for the Fourth Doctor Adventures at Big Finish – perhaps inspired by the “box set” and “binge watching”  craze brought on by Netflix (guilty as charged all of Stranger Things 2 in a weekend, 4 series of Once Upon A Time in two months) Big Finish have decided to release season 7 of the Fourth Doctor in two singable boxsets rather than monthly releases. And it works better this way, gives you just enough of Tom and Louise Jameson to keep you satisfied but definitely leaves you wanting more. Taken as sole releases the stories may seem a little disjointed but listened to as a box set as designed the subtleties of the character development and continuity become apparent – there is no “arc” as such (apart from stories three and four making an old fashioned four parter) but there is a cohesiveness of purpose and there does seem a definite purpose to the stories.
So we are back in late season 14/early season 15 – the first two stories have a distinctive Hinchcliffian feel whereas the concluding two parter is a WIlliamsesque wonderland of ambition over production values that would never have worked on TV but on audio? well the pictures are always better on audio aren’t they?
The Sons of Kaldor by Andrew Smith
Who wants a sort of semi sequel to “The Robots of Death”? anyone? I can imagine a sea of hands raised in anticipation and I am happy to say Andrew Smith delivers.
Set on a deserted spaceship the Doctor and Leela encounter Voc robots and a sleeping commander who they decide to revive they are given an update on the situation – the ship was hunting the “Sons of Kaldor” an armed separatist movement that wants to overthrow the government of Kaldor and reinstate the founding families as rightful rulers. What we get is a tense political thriller with stakes raised higher and higher that is real seat edge stuff.
The Crowmarsh Experiment by David Llewellyn
This one couldn’t be any different from its predecessor, almost a “Doctor-lite” story that gives us a chance to appreciate what an incredible talent Louise Jameson is and how lucky we are to have her in the world of Doctor Who.
Leela and the Doctor are attacked soon after landing on an alien planet. Or are they. Leela awes in The Crowmarsh Institute on Earth in 1978, everyone is referring to her as Doctor Marshall – apparently she has been testing experimental dream therapy equipment and taking time to adjust to reality again. But what is reality? and why is she in the institute?
This is an outstanding story – our perceptions are played with, the nature of reality is explored and some pretty deep questions are posed about what we perceive to be real. I can just imagine this on TV at the tail end of the Hinchcliffe era getting Mrs Whitehouse up on her high horse about warping children minds – yes its that good.
The Mind Runners/The Demon Rises by John Dorney
Whereas the first two releases were small scale and could have easily been realised on TV in 1977 this one would have gone along the same road as The Krikkitmen and The Killer Cats of Ginseng – wonderful ideas, astounding concepts but utterly impossible to realise on a BBC budget. Luckily audio has an unlimited budget and stories of this scale can be given the production they deserve.
Trying to take Leela to New York the Doctor mistakenly arrives on the Planet Chaldera and they are soon involved in a mystery of why “Mind Runners” – citizens who detach their consciousness and attach it to others for a ride along are being killed off, the Planet Chaldera is dying and a rocket is being built as a means of escape but nothing really makes sense – what is the “Night Mind” a demonic force said to possess the planet? why are the cult of The Digitals and the enigmatic Mr Shift so invested in what is happening? and is anyone going to get out alive? This is a fast paced story and has Tom in full buffoon mode with an excellent supporting cast including Josette Simon as Officer Taraneh and Andy Secombe as Mr Shift, a slimy villain who can literally shift his form into anything he likes. All the characters, all the players even the setting are only window dressing for a greater and more diabolical plan that has been hatching for a very long time. This feels in almost equal parts Blade Runner directed by David Cronenburg run through a Douglas Adams filter – make of that what you will but it really is a cracking Doctor Who story.
So there we have it, an excellent start to 2018 for Tom Baker and Big Finish, just enough to satisfy with the hint of more to come and business not quite yet completed. A binge-worthy 9/10.
Written by Ed Watkinson

Synopsis

The Sons of Kaldor by Andrew Smith

Finding themselves in a seemingly deserted spaceship on an alien world, the Doctor and Leela stumble into some familiar foes – the Voc robots from the planet Kaldor – and… something else. Something outside. Trying to get in.

Reviving the robot’s Kaldoran commander from hibernation, the travellers discover that they’ve found themselves in the middle of a civil war. The ship was hunting the Sons of Kaldor, an armed resistance group working with alien mercenaries to initiate regime change on their homeworld.

But now the Sons of Kaldor may have found them. The Doctor and Leela will have to pick a side. Or die.

The Crowmarsh Experiment by David Llewellyn

When attacked on an alien world, Leela falls unconscious… only to wake in another time, another place.

She is in the Crowmarsh Institute on Earth, in London, in 1978, and everyone is calling her Doctor Marshall. They tell her the world she has known is but a fantasy, a delusion, and that this place is the one that is real.

Surrounded by familiar faces on unfamiliar people, Leela knows what is true and what is false. But how long can she believe when everyone around her says it’s a dream? What’s really happening here?

The Mind Runners by John Dorney

It used to be fun, Mind Running. Hopping into the heads of total strangers to see what they saw, feel what they felt. But one by one the Mind Runners are dying in a wave of suicides. And no-one on the planet Chaldera knows why.

The Doctor, Leela and K9 arrive in the city that covers all of this dying world as it prepares to evacuate its people, and they immediately find themselves involved in a mystery. Who or what is responsible for the wave of death? Is it the motorised cult known as the Digitals? The enigmatic Mr Shift?

Or did all the victims attempt to run the Night Mind, the demonic consciousness of legend that is so twisted and evil that it drives mad all who touch it?

The TARDIS crew are about to find out.

The Demon Rises by John Dorney

A killer has been uncovered, but the mystery is far from solved. The Doctor, Leela, K9 and their friends are on the run, pursued from all sides. All the clues point to one place – but getting there alive may prove impossible.

Something horrific is happening on Chaldera… and it has been happening for longer than anyone could possibly have realised. Now every life on the planet is at stake. Bar one.

The dark secret at the heart of this world is about to be revealed.

Written By: Andrew Smith, David Llewellyn, John Dorney
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Martha Cope (Commander Lind), Oliver Dimsdale (Rebben Tace), Toby Hadoke (V26), John Dorney (Brin / SV9 / V12 / Gary), Cathy Tyson (Jennifer), Damian Lynch (Colin Marshall), Julian Wadham (Dr Holman), Dan Starkey (Linus Strang), Josette Simon (Taraneh), Sarah Lark (Jacinta), Alex Wyndham (Raph), Robert Duncan (Krayl / Sternwood / Eldren), Andy Secombe (Cloten / Shift), Justin Avoth (Cain). Other parts played by members of the cast.

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

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REVIEW – THE FIRST DOCTOR ADVENTURES VOLUME 01

Is it 2018 already? wow 2017 just sped by didn’t it and one of the last releases of 2017 becomes my first review of 2018 the much anticipated releases of The First Doctor Adventures Volume 1. Now then, if you don’t know already Big Finish have done something  very brave with this set, rather than casting Carole Ann Ford As Susan & William Russel as Ian and doing this Companion Chronicles or Early Adventures style they have recast using the team from An Adventure In Space and Time so sit back, relax and enjoy David Bradley as The Doctor, Jamie Glover as Ian Chesterton, Jemma Powell as Barbara Wright & Claudia Grant as Susan. But does it work? Well the answer is a resounding YES, not because they are dead ringers for the originals but because they are NOT playing Hartnell playing The Doctor or Hill playing Barbara but they are playing the characters of The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan from the page, interpreted from the script not from the performances we have seen before – yes there are similarities but the roles are the Time and Space casts to own for themselves and boy do they do it well.
Of course I did find myself comparing with the original cast in the first few minutes but soon got used to the new voices playing old favourites much aided by having see Bradley play the First Doctor in the Christmas Special on TV a few days prior. But performances are only one of the ingredients that make a production successful there are also the scripts, the direction and the music – well you will pleased to read that they are all straight out of Season One the “Sci-Fi” is very 1960′s I can imagine the cast all in silver jumpsuits in 60’s style bubblegum futuristic cities and the historical is very historical in that it follows all the rules of the Hartnell era historical in which events conspire to separate our heroes it really is authentic 1960’s early Who and this first volume is made up of two stories:
1.1 The Destination Wars by Matt Fitton
Starting off with a Sci-Fi story The Doctor has seemingly brought Ian and Barbara to their own future, but we soon discover that they have arrived in the Space Year 2003 and not the actual year 2003 and the planet they have arrived on is called Destination and not Earth at all, but it does owe a lot to Earth History and its mysterious benefactor who is seen once every decade or so known only as “The Inventor” (James Dreyfus) is his rule as benign as it seems? And scratching the surface of this futuristic utopia there is something ugly and xenophobic about the seemingly enlightened futuristic population, a dark secret at the heart of their society. An old fashioned story with a very modern moral stance and lots of secrets from the Doctor and Susan’s past that come back to haunt them – as I previously stated the new regulars inhabit the roles fully never lapsing into impersonation or caricature but playing the character’s as written and James Dreyfus as The Inventor steals every scene he is in, the less you know about him the more surprising his role in the story is so DO NOT read the cast list as it contains major spoilers. Also authentic to the era this story ends on a cliffhanger to the next one.
1.2 The Great White Hurricane by Guy Adams
And ladies and gentlemen we have a bit of a classic on our hands. I much lament the loss of the “pure historical” from the series as it gives the writers the opportunity to tell stories as good as this one. Set in an historical event I had absolutely no prior knowledge of more details HERE – our heroes arrive in New York 1888 where unbeknownst to them the Great White Hurricane is about to strike – Ian is shot in the head, Susan is kidnapped by a gang member and the Doctor is given a night in the cells for his arrogance towards the local constabulary and then in the local hospital with a recovering Ian, Barbara sees the date on a newspaper and being a History teacher knows what is coming and what follows is a desperate attempt to get back to the TARDIS by all of our heroes following different paths as the winds get stronger and the snow moves in to lay siege to the city they must fight the elements and not let the gangs that rule the streets get the better of them. There is a very real sense of desperation, of the ordeal that our heroes are suffering caught up in events that they really have no control over, with no “villain” as such apart from the forces of fate and nature – the pacing is superb and the four episodes just fly by, its real seat edge stuff and following the early ethos of the show was educational too. Superb.
A very brave move by Big Finish that has paid dividends – authenticity from there scripts, professionalism in the new interpretation of the leads, pacy direction and excellent sound design, I cannot wait volume 2 to find out how things proceed. 9/10.
Written by Ed Watkinson

Synopsis

1.1 The Destination Wars by Matt Fitton

The TARDIS arrives in a gleaming utopia in the Space Year 2003. Has the Doctor truly brought Ian and Barbara home, to glimpse their future?

The world owes much to its legendary Inventor, and Susan finds herself face to face with the great benefactor. But soon, the time travellers are in a world at war and the Doctor must confront his past.

1.2 The Great White Hurricane by Guy Adams

Rival gangs turn streets into battlegrounds, and the Doctor and his friends are caught in the crossfire. They find themselves separated, and lost in the cold.

As the hunt for a fugitive turns ever more desperate, a blizzard descends. The snow keeps falling. And soon it will prove as deadly as any weapon…

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

Written By: Matt Fitton, Guy Adams
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

Cast

David Bradley (The Doctor), Claudia Grant (Susan), Jemma Powell (Barbara Wright), Jamie Glover (Ian Chesterton), James Dreyfus (The Master), Raymond Coulthard (Robac / Servers / Dalmari), Sian Reeves (Tanna), Deli Segal (Reena), Jackson Milner (Patrick), Cory English (Daniel), Carolina Valdes (Rosalita), Ronan Summers (O’Connell), Christopher Naylor (Policeman / Man with Ladder / Gang Member / Henry). Other parts played by members of the cast.

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REVIEW – O TANNENBAUM

The second story to pop into my inbox to review is O Tannenbaum  a William Hartnell offering from Big Finishes short story range and is a short story based on Trees with a little nod to Varga Plants and an oblique reference to Time Meddle and written by Big Finish stalwart, Anthony Keetch. O Tannenbaum is a german traditional Christmas song and also the same musically as the red flag or “Mon Beau Sapin” in French. It is very much a Christmas story and has that feel all the way through it when you listen to it. Therefore trees, especially pine trees, are very much a part of it. Central to it.
The story and narration effortlessly conjure up the images of the cottage, the forest, and drew upon a few themes in recent and past Doctor Who. It is so well done. Effortless. There genuinely is no needless exposition or dialogue to do this. It is done so well.As a Short story it is a one hander on the acting front and it is Peter Purves and it opens with a little girl in a cottage in the middle of nowhere missing her Dad who has gone into the forest while her Grandad is in bed upstairs, sadly on his last legs. Her record player plays O Tannenbaum but keeps needing to be re-wound. This, for some reason, is dropped as the story goes on. I did wonder if there was a significance of the wind up gramophone but there was not but as the story progresses you forget about it.

At the heart of this story is an environmental message. Protect nature and it will protect you, mess with it and it is coming for you big style. Are the trees malevolent, benevolent or just misunderstood. Sometimes challenging the wisdom of elders is good but sometimes it is folly.

However any issues with the cottage dwellers all seemed to be forgotten by Mother nature when the first Doctor threatened it with a smacked bottom in a sparkling piece of dialogue that had me laughing out loud while appreciating its utter magnificence too. It is exactly the sort of thing the first Doctor would have said and bravo Anthony Keetch for writing it. Having said that Sometimes the first Doctor drifted a little into parody but here, in the speech, it was spot on and brilliantly done.

Peter Purves does an great job and makes it seem so effortless. He really brings this very good story to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It does draw on many themes but it was a pleasure to listen to. HE is also ruddy good as the first Doctor capturing the essence of the late, brilliant, William Hartnell in the portrayal without ever becoming a parody or bad impression.

I really enjoyed this story. It was a great listen from start to end and I would happily listen to it again. It is not perfect but it is pretty good all the same and hits the right notes for the festive season. A very worthy 8/10 for me .

Written by Martin Kinsella

Synopsis

Doctor Who: Short Trips Monthly is a series of new short stories read by an original cast member.

Release #36 is a First Doctor and Steven story.

“Peter Purves does an great job and makes it seem so effortless. He really brings this very good story to life” Planet Mondas

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid…

The TARDIS has landed in a winter wonderland and the weather outside is frightful.

A world of dread and fear and it’s not just the frost that is cruel…

It’s Christmas Eve, but will the Doctor and Steven get to see another one?

And of all the trees in the wood, who really bears the crown?

Producer Ian Atkins
Script Editor Ian Atkins
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Written By: Anthony Keetch
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman

Cast

Peter Purves (Narrator)

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REVIEW – STATIC

I think this one deserves a musical interlude to set the scene – give this a listen as it really complements the atmosphere of Static:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulwVN4LkgaI

Go out on a high and leave them wanting more is a good philosophy to live by and by jingo do Big Finish agree if this release is anything to go by. Just when you think the quality of the Main Range cant get any better after the superb “The Behemoth” and the sublime “The Middle” they release “Static” and ladies and gentlemen we have an instant classic on our hands. There is something rather special about the team of Old Sixie (Colin Baker), Mrs Clarke (Miranda Raison) and Flip Jackson (Lisa Greenwood) they are one of those classic TARDIS teams like Tom & Sarah Jane or Troughton with Jamie & Victoria or McCoy with Ace and Bernice – they just work as a team and are a joy to listen to. But what of the story, well dear readers, read on and prepare for a tale of terror…..

For thats what Static is at its core, its a good old fashioned Horror story imbued with a feeling of creeping dread – it has all the tropes of the genre – a small group cut off from civilisation, a creepy old man, and a warning. And of course being a horror story the warnings are not heeded one little bit.

Doctor Who has a great Horror pedigree and this story puts me in mind of Image of the Fendahl, The Satan Pit and The Chimes of Midnight with a liberal addition of computer game horror Silent Hill, classic TV series The Omega Factor and a David Lynch inspired nightmare, its all about the atmosphere and it is the atmosphere that really drives the plot along and never feels derivative.

So about the plot – arriving at a caravan site in the middle of nowhere Andy Clover (Scott Chambers) and his partner Joanna (Pippa Nixon) are greeted by site owner Percy Till (David Graham), its a grim drab old place with a surrounding mist, and Percy has just one rule – no radios, no TV’s, no cassette recorders, the story is set in the early 1980’s so everything is pretty analogue :-) being a horror story and seeing that there is a football game on Andy ignores the rule and sets up the TV from his car battery. And then the static starts, and then the voices start, and then the phone rings and then the clocks stop and then….. well, that would be telling but the tension is ramped up and up I was actually holding my breath listening. And I haven’t even touched on The Doctor and his relationship with Percy Till because when he along with Mrs Clarke & Flip arrive Percy is expecting them and Mrs Clarke thinks the area is very familiar and that there was a top secret RAF base in the area, or there used to be during World War 2.

As Doctor Who stories they don’t come much more visceral and dangerous than this one, as an audio it is one of the most “visual” pieces of drama I have heard in a long time, I just imagined it filmed on early 1980’s faded film stock looking ever so slightly muted and washed out – it has that sort of feeling driven by the dialogue and the score. All of the cast are at the top of their game realising they have something rather special in this script by Jonathan Morris given the life it needed by director Jamie Anderson and the performance he elicits from the actors. Main Range Release of the year? oh I think so – 10/10 without a doubt and hooping for a sequel to tie up the many intriguing loose ends. Superb.

Written by Ed Watkinson

Synopsis

Deep in the heart of nowhere, near a place called Abbey Marston, there’s a caravan site. The perfect place to get away from it all. Close by, there’s a stone circle they used for human sacrifice in olden times. A little further afield, there’s an old RAF research station, where they did hushhush things in the War.

There’s only one rule: the use of radios, cassette recorders and portable televisions is strictly forbidden.

People come here to get away from it all, you see. No-one wants to hear the noise. No-one wants to hear the voices in the static…

No-one wants to hear the ghosts.

Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Jamie Anderson

Cast

Colin Baker (The Doctor), Lisa Greenwood (Flip Jackson), Miranda Raison (Mrs Constance Clarke), Scott Chambers (Andy Clover / Sergeant Webster), Pippa Nixon(Joanna Nash), Jo Woodcock (Susannah Nash), David Graham (Percy Till), Brian Protheroe (Captain Hardwick), Chris Dale (Soldiers / Static). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

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REVIEW – THE WRECK OF THE WORLD

I recently was able to review some of the Big Finish output for Planet Mondas, and it was an honour to do so. I have not reviewed anything before so please bear with me. I hope to give a fair view of the story and give you, in the next few paragraphs, a flavour of the story and the experience I had listening to it.
The first story I had to listen to was The Wreck of the World. Most of my Big Finish listening comes from Spotify so this has catapulted me forward many years and it was an enjoyable experience overall.The Wreck of the world is set during season 6 of Dr Who and the story starts innocuously enough, and it is very well narrated, with Zoe in space effecting repairs to the blue box with the flashing light. Suffice to say things never quite go to plan and we get flung into an adventure that is pretty faithful to season 6 and the era. The Tardis manages to crash into the wreck of the spaceship, the companions split, Zoe meets a creature who sounded like Zil from the Blakes 7 story “Trial” and from there the adventure unfolds. In true sixties spirit the companions are split and meet different creatures and beings with different motivations and the episode endings are clanging reveals you can just imagine the story, had it been broadcasting, end up with the scream of the end titles and the close up on the Doctor or the Companion.I don’t want to give too much away about the plot, as this is a review rather than a spoiler but there is more to the Wreck than would first appear, all is not well, and some themes of past adventures like Tomb of the Cybermen are on display.

One thing I have to say. The Cult of Corbos. Come on. Is that a rib at the so-called Cult of Corbyn. It amused me to think it was although this cult as far less benevolent. People whose politics vary may have a different view .

For the guest cast Richenda Carey is great as the Professor, a victim of her own academic vanity, and hats off to Adam Newington as twenty. He gives a great performance. Both of the regulars are pretty good. Especially Wendy Padbury whose narration is first class and it is very evocative as the start of the story, as I hinted at earlier. She also gives a great turn as Zoe and this really is a story more for Zoe than Jamie who, in sixties style, seemed absent for quite a bit of the story. Maybe because Frazer Hines was playing the Doctor as well. His Second Doctor varies from really good to okay depending on how the dialogue is being said and how it is being said.

I must also add why is it in this universe that large, scaly, lizard type monsters speak with a generic gruff, deep, butch voice. Some diversity in that respect would be interesting and there are some familiar themes on display. Academic vanity and the consequences of it (a similar theme to many MR James stories, only worth mentioning as it is a Christmas period release), self sacrifice and possession. Indeed I was put in mind of Ark in Space more than once with some of what was going on and I mean that in a good way.
For me possession is one of the most scary themes and is why I have always found the Cybermen a more frightening monster than the Daleks.

I found listening to the extras interesting. Put aside the usual “it was wonderful dahling” sort of stuff. Timothy Atack had some really interesting things to say about it, his experiences of the show growing up and how he pitched the story. It certainly captures the essence of season 6 well. The incidental music, while not obtrusive, really helps the story along as well.

Overall this story draws on several well known themes of the show, would fit perfectly into season 6 even with a small nod to T-Mat from Seeds of Death. I often think it is hard for writers going back that far in the canon of Doctor Who to come up with something authentic to the period. I think the writer captures is here. I think the cast do too and I enjoyed listening to it as well. It is a really solid story.

Written by Martin Kinsella

Synopsis

This title was released in December 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until January 31st 2018, and on general sale after this date.

Undergoing repairs in deep space, the TARDIS is caught in a collision with the huge, decaying wreck of a starship. Zoe, spacewalking, is separated from her companions in the crash, and the Doctor and Jamie wake to find the TARDIS fused to the side of the ship.

Venturing inside to rescue their friend, they discover that they are on board The World, the very first colony ship to leave Earth, lost mid-voyage under unknown circumstances.

And they are not alone. A terrible suspension chamber is filled with dead, withered human bodies, and a team of gun-toting astronauts are stalking the corridors. But a far greater threat lurks deep inside. The terrifying force responsible for the scuttling of the ship is active once more – and if it can’t be stopped, it won’t just be the end of this World. It’ll be the end of all of them.

Written By: Timothy X Atack
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman

Cast

Wendy Padbury (Zoe Heriot/Narrator), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon/The Doctor), Judith Roddy (Commander Lorne), Adam Newington (Twenty), Don McCorkindale (Porthintus), Richenda Carey (Professor Blavatsky). Other parts played by members of the cast.

 

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

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