Big Finish Productions is delighted to announce that it’s licence from BBC Worldwide to make original Doctor Who dramas on audio has been extended until 31st March 2020!

The continuing Big Finish adventures of the classic Doctors, companions and enemies will continue for the next five years.

Executive producer Jason-Haigh Ellery, said:

Last year saw Big Finish celebrate 15 years of producing new Doctor Who audio drama. sA fantastic milestone for our company. I am delighted to be able to announce that our license has now been extended to 31st March 2020. We are very much looking forward to producing at least another five years of adventures with the Doctor and his companions, as we help them fight Daleks, Cybermen and Voord across the Universe!

Executive producer Nicholas Briggs added:

Working with the Big Finish team on the BBC’s and our beloved Doctor Who is a true privilege. We’re so glad to be continuing the adventure well past the 15 year landmark.

Line producer David Richardson revealed:

We’re already underway, planning Doctor Who stories into 2017 and 2018. There will be more adventures from the Fifth, Six and Seventh Doctors in the monthly range, more stories for the Fourth Doctor and his companions in The Fourth Doctor Adventures, and a new era for the Eighth Doctor, Liv Chenka and their new friend Helen Sinclair in Doctor Who: Doom Coalition. Plus we will continue to explore the contrasting worlds of our different and very popular spin-off series.

Expect more news on Doctor Who: Doom Coalition – plus other ranges of Classic Doctor Who titles – throughout the weekend.

Thanks to Big Finish

Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment


bfptomcd024_requiem_for_the_rocket_men_cover_largeThird times a charm is a saying, not a saying I say a lot, but a saying nonetheless. It perplexes me – not sure why – but it does. Anyway, as always , I digress, but I do like a good digression usually get to the point in the end…

In work the other day I had to deliver a morning meeting, I started off asking did anyone remember Sesame Street – blank looks, then laughter, but it made them pay attention and it was relevant to the point I was making, which brings me nicely to how the phrase “third times a charm” is relevant to this month’s Fourth Doctor audio release.

Requiem for the Rocket Men, for those unfamiliar, is the third story featuring the Rocket Men. The first two were Hartnell era Companion Chronicles and were very well received, this story is the first time that they receive the “full cast” treatment.

The story begins with a monologue from Leela. Louise Jameson is surely one of the most talented actors we have had the privilege to appear on Doctor Who, and here she does not disappoint; she muses over the lessons she has learned from The Doctor and whether she has learned enough to go it alone. It’s spine-tingling stiff, real “hairs on the back of the arms standing up” acting, and it’s the highlight of the story for me. And so on to the story…

The Doctor is kidnapped by the Rocket Men – ah the Rocket Men, space pirates who wear rocket-propelled suits, have a huge crime empire ruled over by their monarch King Shandar, played by Mark Frost, it’s all very B-Movie in appearance, but in tone it isn’t. It’s played completely straight, which is a problem. The Rocket Men are stereotypical space pirates complete with comedy accents, but the tone of the story does not support this, it’s far more Hinchcliffe then Williams.

The Master shows up as well as an ally, unaware that the Rocket Men have captured the Doctor – Geoffrey Beevers is oilily charming but also grotesque as the emaciated Master, but really does not serve much of a purpose in the plot apart from being the device that leads to the next story. As much as this story revolves around the Rocket Men and two Time Lords, the main positive I have taken away from it is Lousie Jameson’s quite astounding character development with Leela. At the end of this story Leela has blossomed, is self-aware, confident, mature and experienced – her time with the Doctor refining her character, she has become more than a creature of instinct, she has developed reason and unlocked the power of her intelligence – Louise, if you are reading this, thank you this was one of your best performances as Leela.

The story is a very traditional one, hi-jinks, escapades, capture, escape, double-crosses and a cliffhanger ending – maybe a bit too traditional for me, and again there is the problem with tone. I really do think it would have worked better if it were played a bit more silly.

So, third time not a charm for me I am afraid, an average story but an astounding performance from Louise Jameson.

5/10 for the story and 11/10 for Louise.

Written by Ed Watkinson


The Asteroid – notorious hideaway of the piratical Rocket Men. Hewn out of rock, surrounded by force-fields and hidden in the depths of the Fairhead Cluster, their base is undetectable, unescapable and impregnable.

In need of allies, the Master has arranged to meet with Shandar, King of the Rocket Men. But the mercenaries have captured themselves a very special prisoner – his oldest enemy, the Doctor.

What cunning scheme is the Doctor planning? How does it connect with Shandar’s new robotic pet? And just what has happened to Leela? The Master will have to work the answers out if he wants to leave the asteroid… alive…


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Geoffrey Beevers (The Master), Mark Frost (Shandar), Olivia Poulet (Myrren), Damian Lynch (Marshall), Pat Ruins (Oskin)

Written By: John Dorney
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

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


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment




Ten years after the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) grabbed the arm of Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and told her to “Run!”, Doctor Who is still going strong, as one of the greatest TV success stories of the past decade. Doctor Who Magazine celebrates this milestone with a special commemorative issue that comes with four different covers, each one featuring one of the twenty-first century Doctors – Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi!

Inside the issue, we look back on the show’s success, with contributions from writers Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Robert Shearman, Paul Cornell, Toby Whithouse, Gareth Roberts, Chris Chibnall, Peter Harness and Jamie Mathieson, as well as from BBC Head of Drama Commissioning Ben Stephenson, who gives his view on the future of Doctor Who…


  • Russell T Davies, the writer of the landmark first episode, Rose, and many other episodes since, looks back on his first Doctor Who script, and shares brand new information about bringing the Doctor back to our screens.
  • DWM tracks down a guest star from each and every one of the ten Ninth Doctor adventures, including Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Yasmin Bannerman (Jabe the Tree), Alan David (Gabriel Sneed), Alan Ruscoe (the Slitheen and other creatures), Barnaby Edwards (the Dalek), Bruno Langley (Adam Mitchell), Shaun Dingwall (Pete Tyler), Florence Hoath (Nancy), Annette Badland (Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer Day Slitheen) and Jo Joyner (Lynda ‘with a Y’ Moss).
  • Doctor Who’s first director of the modern era, Keith Boak, is interviewed, looking back on the making of Rose, Aliens of London and World War Three.
  • Doctor Who’s first ever director, Waris Hussein, concludes his look back over the epic lost adventure from 1964, Marco Polo.
  • DWM pays tribute to 1980s director Fiona Cumming, who passed away earlier in the year.
  • The Doctor and Clara visit Antarctica in Part One of Blood and Ice, a brand-new comic strip written by Jacqueline Rayner and illustrated by Martin Geraghty.
  • Steven Moffat answer readers’ questions – and speculates about Osgood’s family connections!
  • Jacqueline Rayner reflects on what life would have been like if Doctor Who had never returned in Relative Dimensions.
  • The DWM Review assesses the very latest Doctor Who audio and book releases.
  • The Watcher reveals the connection between Doctor Who and Dr Carl Sagan, in the latest Wotcha!
  • The DWM Crossword, prize-winning competitions, official news and much more!




Doctor Who Magazine 485 is out on Thursday 2 April, priced £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

Posted in Doctor Who Magazine | Leave a comment


TARDIS ALERT! Check out the Twelfth Doctor in five TARDIS console rooms in the brand new adventure at the Doctor Who Experience, this Easter.

Posted in The Doctor Who Experience | Leave a comment


Essential Doctor Who 4 - The Master

The latest issue of Panini’s The Essential Doctor Who is devoted to the Doctor’s most dangerous opponent: the Master!

Over 116 pages of all-new material, the latest issue of The Essential Doctor Who examines every Master story – from Terror of the Autons to Death in Heaven – and profiles the actors who have brought the villainous Time Lord to life.

Writer and co-creator Terrance Dicks, Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates) and Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) discuss their special links to the character, and there is an exclusive new interview with Michelle Gomez, who reveals what it was like to take on one of the most famous roles in Doctor Who.

Elsewhere in this issue, Andrew Pixley applies his scrutiny to The Pandora Machine and Time Inc, early drafts of better known stories that cast the Master in a new light.

“The Master has been an essential part of Doctor Who for 45 years and is central to the current episodes,” says editor Marcus Hearn. “This issue compiles his/her complete story for the first time.”

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

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

Posted in Doctor Who Magazine | Leave a comment


Terrance DicksJoin Gareth Kavanagh for an afternoon of conversation with former 1970′s Doctor Who writer and  script editor Terrance Dicks at Manchester’s Fab Cafe on Sunday 19th April starting at 1.30pm.

Terrance will specifically be discussing the works of his friend and legendary Doctor Who and Avengers writer Malcolm Hulke to tie in with the release of Red Flag Walks’ new pamphlet, Doctor Who and the Communist.

There will also be a screening of one of Mac’s episodes, chosen on the day by the audience and there will be an opportunity for signings and the chance to buy Red Flag Walks’ brand new publication on the day.

Tickets cost just £4 and are available on the door or can be purchased in advance HERE. There will be no charge to have items signed – but please don’t bring your entire Target collection along!

Thanks to Gareth Kavanagh

Posted in Doctor Who Events | Leave a comment


bfmstdl03_time_tunnel_image_largeIt has to be said Katy Manning is fab, utterly wonderfully fab, whether playing, Jo Grant, Iris Wildthyme or just being herself, Katy is wonderful!  She is without a doubt the nicest Who celebrity I have had the pleasure of meeting, coming out from behind her table at Memorabilia in November 2011 to make a great big fuss of my then 5 year old son. If you don’t follow her on Twitter then why not? Her tweets will brighten your day!!

So why all this Katy love? Well, Katy narrates this months Short Trips release – Time Tunnel. Set during the Third Doctor’s era, sometime after the Daemons, Katy tells the story of an encounter UNIT had with a literal Time Tunnel, a real tunnel for a train that is having problems with time.  People who go in come out the other side dead – dying of malnutrition as time flows differently in the tunnel.

Katy captures the era perfectly, from her ditzy Jo to her stern Brig, to her pompous and exasperated Doctor, she really captures the essence of these characters. As this is a Short Trip, it is self contained within one half an hour story, but the story has a definite beginning and a middle, I am not sure if it really has an end. Now, this could be Big Finish being really clever and foreshadowing a future story, and I may be missing the point, but it doesn’t seem to end properly, only with a vague soliloquy about an alien rescue mission on its way. So, a wonderful performance by Katy, an intriguing build up but an ultimately unsatisfying story -I give this 6/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Reports are coming in to UNIT of trains emerging from a railway tunnel in Sussex, their passengers and drivers dead. The Doctor elects to drive a train through the tunnel himself, but when he emerges Jo sees to her horror that he is covered in ice. Something in the tunnel has driven him close to the point of death. What can it be?


Katy Manning (Narrator)

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

Written By: Nigel Fairs
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment


It really is sad to say goodbye to something good isn’t it? Take me for example, five years on I still mourn the end of the Russell T Davies era of TV Doctor Who.  It was as close to perfect as the series had been. It had everything, action, adventure, romance and gut wrenching, heartbreaking emotion. Four hours, four long hours I cried when Tennant regenerated. I was not just crying for him, I was crying for the end of an era, and with the dawning realisation that Doctor Who would never be quite this good again. And for me it wasn’t, Matt Smith left me completely cold, and despite Capaldi being utterly wonderful, the stories are not quite there, there is something lacking – perhaps the BBC could ask Big Finish for some tips in how to put heart and head back in to Doctor Who…

Which brings me in my now usual circumventuous way to Dark Eyes 4.  Ah Dark Eyes, born from the loss of the wonderful Lucie Miller leading us through the life of Molly O’Sullivan, reuniting us with Liv Chenka, adventures with The Daleks, the Eminence, the Master and more.  Dark Eyes is a lesson in how to build on what had come before, to take the triumphs of the Lucie Miller era and build on them, build deeper, darker, more emotional stories, to take the happy go lucky Eighth Doctor and set him on the path to choose “Warrior” at the end of his life on Karn.

So Dark Eyes Four – four stories linked which lead to the end of the saga, and what an ending, what an ending, oh my THAT ending, but I am getting ahead of myself.  The set starts with “A Life in the Day”, The Doctor and Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) are in 1920’s London, they befriend Kitty Donaldson – an old friend of Dark Eyes herself Molly O’Sullivan and her brother Martin. Martin is a war veteran who takes a liking to Liv and spends a perfect day with her, but all is not as it seems. The Doctor and Liv are being hunted by killer androids, all of London is in danger, and just when you think love has saved the day, unfortunately it hasn’t. This is Doctor Who does Groundhog day; its a really small scale story, linked to a much bigger scale event, its sweet and charming, and its quite amusing to see the belligerent matter of fact Liv wooed by the joyful Martin Donaldson, lovely to see her hard facade crack and see the person underneath the veneer – a great start to the set.

Second is “The Monster of Montmartre” – events in the first story lead The Doctor and Liv to Paris, but something is wrong.  A monster stalks the streets of Montmartre, there is a red Pagoda where the Windmill of the Moulin Rouge should be, things are not at all right, and then the Dalek Time Controller shows up….. this is where Dark Eyes 4 really gets going, the plot kicks in and picks up from the previous sets.  The Dalek Time Controller has an audacious plan and with the help of The Master, he is going to achieve it, leading to Part three “Master of the Daleks.”  Alexander Macqueen is back as the gleefully camp, delightfully cruel incarnation of The Master.  He has all the best lines, including my favourite “I’m his arch enemy!  Like an ordinary enemy but a touch more sardonic” – fabulous!

The Dalek Time controller has created a divergent timeline in which earth is New Skaro, the population have been subjugated as have the Sontarans who now act as a slave race for the Daleks. Never more has the phrase “my enemies enemy is my friend” been more apt.  This story has a lot of surprises which I will not spoil, but it sets up everything for the finale  “Eye of Darkness”, which I cannot really tell you anything about without ruining it, okay, it has The Doctor in it and it’s set in the Eye of Orion, it ties up all the loose ends regarding the Daleks and The Eminence, but that’s your lot. No more. Nothing to see here.

So a fitting end? Oh yes indeed – I think I am on record as saying that I enjoyed Dark Eyes 1, Loved Dark Eyes 2, though Dark Eyes 3 was okay, well, Dark Eyes 4 really has saved the best until last.  It’s a roller coaster of emotion, action and adventure, perfectly crafted, well honed and structured stories that make sense.  They hang together well and most of all DON’T CHEAT (take note TV series). The acting is top notch, I am really growing to like Liv Chenka, but the guest cast are uniformly superb – Rachel Stirling, Susannah Harker, Dan Starkey, Alexander Macqueen, Nick Briggs – the whole production oozes class, draws you in, plays with your expectations, build you up and knocks you down. I take my hat off to all involved. Truly a classic. 10/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


 4.1 A Life in the Day by John Dorney

The Doctor and Liv return to post-World War One London, where the Doctor meets Kitty Donaldson (Beth Chalmers), and Liv strikes a friendship with her brother Martin (Barnaby Kay). But what mysterious force is hunting them?

4.2 The Monster of Montmartre by Matt Fitton

The Doctor and Liv’s investigations bring them to Paris, where a monster stalks the streets.

4.3 Master of the Daleks by John Dorney

The Master and the Dalek Time Controller have forged an alliance. History hangs in the balance, and this time the Doctor can’t help…

4.4 Eye of Darkness by Matt Fitton

It’s the endgame. Truths will be revealed, and a hero will make the ultimate sacrifice.


Paul McGann (The Doctor), Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka), Alex Macqueen (The Master), Barnaby Kay (Martin Donaldson), Rachael Stirling (Adelaine Dutemps), Sorcha Cusack (Mary), Dan Starkey (The Sontarans), Susannah Harker (Anya), David Sibley (The Eminence), Beth Chalmers (Kitty Donaldson), Charlie Norfolk (The Woman), Derek Hutchinson (Usher), Alex Wyndham (Thug), Blake Ritson (Barman), Camilla Power (Receptionist/Mademoiselle), John Dorney (Android), with Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks)

Written By: John Dorney, Matt Fitton
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment



In an exclusive in-depth interview, Doctor Who’s head writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat, reflects on last year’s series and tells DWM how the Doctor might change in the next season…

“We’re not bringing him back exactly as we left him, at all,” says Steven. “I think that was already evident at Christmas. He’s left some of the burden of being a superhero of the universe behind. So I’m pushing him – I’m writing quite funny this year – I’m pushing him the other way…”


  • Paul McGann, the Eighth Doctor, gives his opinion on Peter Capaldi’s incarnation, and how it’s changed how he thinks about the Doctor. Plus, an exclusive preview of the new Doctor Who audio series, Dark Eyes 4, including contributions from Alex Macqueen (the Master).
  • Bonnie Langford, who played Mel – companion to the Sixth and Seventh Doctors – in the 1980s, recalls her turbulent time on the show.
  • Doctor Who’s very first director, Waris Hussein, continues his guide to the making of the classic 1964 adventure Marco Polo, with the help of unique documents unseen for more than 50 years.
  • Discover fascinating new facts about the 1972 Third Doctor adventure The Time Monster in The Fact of Fiction.
  • In a special feature, the Watcher solves the mystery of when the Doctor was first revealed not to be human.
  • There’s trouble in storage for Doctor and Clara in Space Invaders!, a brand-new comic strip written by Mark Wright and illustrated by Mike Collins.
  •  Steven Moffat answer readers’ questions – and speculates about the return of the CyberBrig!
  • The Time Team take a side-step to watch Peter Capaldi star in the dark Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood: Children of Earth.
  • Jacqueline Rayner reflects on fear and terror in Doctor Who in Relative Dimensions.
  • The DWM Review assesses the very latest Doctor Who audio and book releases.
  • The Watcher celebrates the man who played the First Doctor, William Hartnell, in the latest Wotcha!
  • The DWM Crossword, prize-winning competitions, official news and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 484 is out on Thursday 5 March, priced £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

Posted in Doctor Who Magazine | Leave a comment


BBC Books have announced that the upcoming novelisation of the Douglas Adams story City of Death will be released on 21st May 2015.

image.phpThe Doctor takes Romana for a holiday in Paris – a city which, like a fine wine, has a bouquet all its own. Especially if you visit during one of the vintage years. But the TARDIS takes them to 1979, a table-wine year, a year whose vintage is soured by cracks – not in their wine glasses but in the very fabric of time itself.

Soon the Time Lords are embroiled in an audacious alien scheme which encompasses home-made time machines, the theft of the Mona Lisa, the resurrection of the much-feared Jagaroth race, and the beginning (and quite possibly the end) of all life on Earth.

Aided by British private detective Duggan, whose speciality is thumping people, the Doctor and Romana must thwart the machinations of the suave, mysterious Count Scarlioni – all twelve of him – if the human race has any chance of survival.

But then, the Doctor’s holidays tend to turn out a bit like this.

Thanks to BBC Books

Posted in Doctor Who Books | Leave a comment


equillbrium_cover_largeI like Prog Rock, (amongst other things), and when I heard of this month’s title, I couldn’t help but think of Rush and their classic album “Hemispheres”.

The entire side one of this album is a track called Cygnus X1 Book 2 – Hemispheres, and it is about the battle of the heart and mind for dominance in the shape of the battle of the Gods Dionysys and Apollo.  Balance is brought in the end by Cygnus and the final lyric is “Sensibility armed with sense and liberty with the heart and mind united in a single perfect Sphere” – balance, perfection, Equilibrium, the fusion of heart and mind for the good of all, moderation in all things. This is the type of story that I expected from Equilibrium; the cover gave it a fairytale feeling, the back cover blurb was reminiscent of Game of Thrones.  It had Annette Badland playing the Queen – surely she had to be the villain……?

Expectations are a funny thing; I thought I had Equilibrium worked out from the cover and the synopsis – how wrong I was, and how glad I was that I was wrong, because Equilibrium really is a bit of a gem.  It’s a genuinely sad, melancholy tale of a society in almost permanent stasis, complete Equilibrium, and the awful ends that the denizens of the realm of Isenfel go to, quite willingly, to maintain this. If this were a musical, it would have the feel of Kate Bush’s ‘The Sensual World’, heartbreakingly sad, sweet and melancholy, wistful and wintry.

The story is the second part of a new trilogy set in E-Space for the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough, and follows directly on from last month’s release Mistfall. Our heroes are on the trail of the Interface Stabiliser which allows them to leave E-Space when they are drawn to Isenfell, a world of Ice, not unlike Winterfell in Game of Thrones (minus the gratuitous nudity and violence!) The TARDIS sinks beneath the ice and the team seek assistance from Queen Karlina – Annette Badland playing beautifully against type as a world weary Queen, fulfilling her duty and bound to her fate, and what an awful task it is being a leader in Isenfell.  This is where the tragedy of the realm comes in – the world needs to be held in balance, no more than 1952 people must inhabit it, this is the number that can be sustained, enforced by The Balancer.  Now there are four new visitors, four residents of Isenfell must die to make way for them; this is the way it has always been, parents dying to allow their children into the world, brothers sacrificing themselves for sisters – but the most disturbing thing is the peoples acceptance of this.  This is how things are have always been and how they always will be.  It’s a fatalistic world view, and genuinely tragic.

With such a large main cast, sometimes not all are given a chance to shine.  This story has Turlough as the companion in the spotlight as he forms a bond with Inger, played by Joanna Kirlkland, a cold, haughty, no nonsense warrior Princess who loves hunting – their relationship is awkward but very natural. Also Sarah Sutton is given a great chance to shine in episode four, where she gives one of “those” New Who style speeches about the Doctor being wonderful and his impact on everyone he touches.

The ending is doubly sad because the resolution was always in the grasp of the residents of Isenfell, it just needed the Doctor to make them realise it. It is refreshing to have a story with no actual “villain” in the traditional sense and to have such a deep characterful story in the more technical Fifth Doctor run. It’s melancholy, moving and magical – I give it an Ice Meltingly fab 10/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Still looking for a way out of E-Space, the TARDIS crashes to Isenfel – a realm of snow and ice. Snarling beasts stalk the frozen plains, a feisty princess leads the hunt, and a queen in an ice palace rules over her loyal subjects.

But this is no fairytale kingdom, and everyone in Isenfel knows the price of survival. While Nyssa and Tegan uncover deadly secrets hidden in the palace, Turlough flees for his life across the tundra.

And as for the Doctor… he only ever wants to change things for the better. But in a world such as Isenfel, such a hope may not even be possible.


Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Annette Badland (Queen Karlina), Nickolas Grace (Balancer Skaarsgard/Viktor Skaarsgard), Joanna Kirkland (Inger), John Albasiny (Jesper), Ella Kennion (Romy)

Written By: Matt Fitton
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment


The BBC have announced that Michelle Gomez will be returning as Missy in the two-part Doctor Who adventure that will open series nine, The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, written by Steven Moffat.

Steven Moffat said:

Everybody hide – Michelle Gomez as Missy was an instant hit last year, so she’s straight back to plague the Doctor and Clara in the series opener. But what brings her back into their lives is the last thing they’d expect.

Michelle Gomez said:

Things have been a little beige since I left Missy behind, so I’m delighted to be putting my lippie back on. I’m positively dying to see The Doctor again!

The story also sees the return of UNIT and Gemma Redgrave as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. The director is Hettie MacDonald who directed the Hugo Award-winning series 3 episode, Blink.

Posted in doctor who series 9 | Leave a comment


4.02-the-darkness-of-glass_cover_largeSome things just feel right. The nail is hit squarely on the head, things come together and that something becomes bigger than the sum of its parts. For a lot of Doctor Who fans this describes the Hinchcliffe era, on the surface of it hammy Hammer rip offs, but containing a lot of disparate elements that made it so much better than it appeared on paper. Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Louise Jameson, Philip Hinchcliffe, Robert Holmes, and that manna from heaven, something that cannot be controlled, a very annoyed and morally outraged Mary Whitehouse giving the show lots of free publicity. Yes, in the Hinchcliffe era things just seemed to click into place, classic followed classic: Ark In Space, Genesis of the Daleks, Pyramids of Mars, Seeds of Doom, The Deadly Assassin, Robots of Death, Talons of Weng Chiang.  Then Hinchcliffe was replaced by Graham Williams and the quality fell… STOP RIGHT THERE!! STOP IT NOW!!! I think I was possessed by that terrible controlling spirit “received fan opinion” for a moment, let me come to my senses…..

Several minutes later I have performed an exorcism and come to my senses and normal Ed service has been resumed. Of course, Williams was every bit as good (in my opinion better) than Hinchcliffe, and the gothic stories didn’t go away – Fang Rock, Fendahl, Stones of Blood – the scope was bigger, the palate more varied, and it didn’t always work, but when it did, boy did it strike gold.

So back to this months release, The Darkness of Glass, it’s a Gothic story, it’s a supernatural story, it’s very Hammer, actually, its not, it’s very Amicus.  Where Hammer were very a cosy familiar troop, good old Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee – the Sid James & Bernie Bresslaw of Horror (and I mean that as a term of affection) – Amicus were far more disturbing, unpredictable and downright creepy, and his is exactly what The Darkness of Glass is.

It references Fang Rock, and is quite similar in many ways. The Doctor and Leela are trapped by a rising tide in a castle where a memorial is being held for the master of the magic lantern show, Mannering Caversham.  Caversham died a hundred years prior to the setting of the story in 1807 by blowing his own brains out to exorcise a demon – a myth, but in every myth there is some truth. 100 years later in 1907 – a group of his devotees are gathered to honour Caversham, and then, one by one, they begin to die, picked off by a mysterious unseen adversary.  Someone in the castle knows more than they are letting on; someone is there for a reason other than honouring Caversham; someone is there to bring back and try to harness the power Caversham died trying to stop.

Boy is this atmospheric, the cast are on top form! Tom & Louise give it there all and every one of the supporting cast are pitch perfect, playing upper class devotees of the art of the magic lantern. Special recognition must go to Sinead Keenan, an Irish actress who has the most incredible received pronunciation accent when in character as Mary Summersby.

I was completely captivated by the story, totally drawn in to the world and on the edge of my seat as the tension is ramped up and up. Tom is more like the grumpy Tom from the Hinchcliffe era, but there are a few ‘Williamsisms’ creeping, but they are not as blatant as in say The Romance of Crime.  And what can I say about Louise Jameson, effortless and utterly convincing – the delivery of her lines are just so visual. My only complaint that maybe it is a bit too short and the denouement is very quick, but the build up is just excellent.

Overall a bit of a classic, best Fourth Doctor Adventure (not counting the Gareth Roberts ones) since The Auntie Matter. 9/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Cut off from the TARDIS, the Doctor and Leela find themselves stranded on a small island.  But they are not alone.  It is 1907, and members of the Caversham Society have gathered on the hundredth anniversary of the death of Mannering Caversham, the greatest Magic Lanternist who ever lived.

But Caversham was also a supernaturalist who claimed to have conjured up a demon from the depths of hell. As people start to die, the Doctor begins to wonder if Caversham’s story might have more than a grain of truth in it. Can the Doctor and Leela discover what really happened to Caversham a century ago?  And if they do, will they live to tell the tale..?


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Mark Lewis Jones (Professor Oliver Mortlake), Julian Wadham (Joseph Holman), Sinead Keenan (Mary Summersby), Rory Keenan (David Lacey)

Written By: Justin Richards
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment


short-trips-little-doctors_cover_largeIs it February already? It really is. I can’t believe that the year is going by so quickly;  so as February rolls round so does another round of Big Finish releases.

First of these is the latest in the Short Trips range; its a second Doctor story called “Little Doctors” and is read by Frazer Hines.

The Second Doctor was always the most chaotic and most whimsical, he revelled in the chaos he caused like an overgrown schoolboy, running around, interfering and generally having a bit of a laugh – but what is the flip side to this; what is the result in the second Doctor’s interference, his sense of fun and joy? Little Doctors examines this, it looks at the aftermath of the second Doctor interfering where his interference isn’t needed, in fact we see the second Doctor flipped on his head, the usual happy go lucky giddy kipper is viewed from a completely different angle as an irresponsible, childish force of destruction.

In Little Doctors, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive on the Earth Colony of Olympos – a bland and ordered place where everything is decided by the omnipotent guiding computer Zeus. The inhabitants of Olympus seem quite content living their mundane drab ordered lives, but the Doctor just can’t leave things be.

This is a very different story, very short at 32 minutes, but a telling look into the consequences of the second Doctor’s whimsy and anarchic attitude to the universe.  You see the second Doctor just can’t help himself interfering and trying to impose his world view on the colony.  He thinks that the residents need to be snapped out of their apathy and drab lifestyle, completely missing the point that they are actually quite happy living like this – the realisation that he has not done the right thing is very chilling and a fantastic scene.  Its a testament to Patrick Troughton that even nearly 50 years later that different facets of his Doctor’s character are being explored.

The story is read by Frazer Hines who does a cracking impersonation of Troughton.  He gives the situation warmth and depth with his reading and the humanity of his Jamie really does counterpoint in this story just how alien the Doctor can be, even the fun loving second Doctor.

Overall, a completely different take on the Second Doctor, and another worthy addition to the Short Trips range 8/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


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

Release #2 is a Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe story.

The TARDIS brings the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe to a sophisticated Earth colony. Olympos is a world of hi-tech cities, where the lives of the populace are controlled by an all-seeing, all-knowing super computer: Zeus. When the Doctor sees how the human inhabitants have been robbed of the more simple pleasures, he sets out to bring real life back to the colony. But his mental connection to Zeus has some unexpected consequences…


Frazer Hines (Narrator)

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

Written By: Philip Lawrence
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment


bfpgallcd18-_gallifreyie_cover_cover_largeI remember Hartnell saying the following phrase to Ian Chesterton, not sure what story it was in, it may be The Sensorites my memory gets a little fuzzy, but it was just so profound he said: “It all started out as a mild curiosity in the junkyard, and now it’s turned out to be quite a great spirit of adventure.” And boy how right he was, look at how from those humble beginnings at Lime Grove, tiny sets, tinier budgets but a vision and breadth of imagination that far outweighed any technical limitations. And as the show moved on, the legend grew, the brush strokes of creativity were on a pan universal scale.  We found out more about The Doctor and his people, Bob Holmes gave us The Deadly Assassin which was the template for all Gallifrey stories to follow and so the groundwork was laid for the Big Finish spin off series Gallifrey.

I must confess to not having heard any Gallifrey episodes before this one; six series missed and coming in on the seventh should have been a difficult jumping on point, but Gallifrey and its society are so familiar, it was like revisiting an old friend.

This is the Gallifrey of Robert Holmes, of President’s, Castellan’s, Coordinator’s, politics and intrigue. Romana is President- now in her third incarnation and played by Juliet Landau.  This Romana is both frosty and playful but with a more ruthless edged than her previous selves, and boy does she need to be.

This story is EPIC – spanning millenniums and universes and delving deep into Doctor Who and Gallifreyan mythology. It is told over four parts and I am sure it is no spoiler to say it deals with the return of Omega and the action is set on earth, Gallifrey and in Omega’s parallel reality.

An undercover cult “The Adherents of Ohm” are planning Omega’s return to this reality.  All the major players are involved, Romana, Ace, Narvin – and not everyone is who they seem. This is a very political story with plots and counter plots, and then there is Omega, played by Stephen Thorne – a bombastic blustering tyrant one moment, and a sad pathetic lost soul the next, so many layers to his character.

As I said, it’s epic, like The End of Time or Stolen Earth style epic, a real blockbuster and an ending that really does leave me wanting to hear more. It’s not perfect, it may be a bit too long and have too many peripheral characters, but at its heart it’s a rip roaring roller coaster ride leaving my wanting Gallifrey 8 to be released sooner rather than later. Overall 8/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Times change…

Romana is approaching her final term of office, and hopes to leave her world in a state of peace and harmony. Narvin is concerned about the implementation of a controversial Precog programme, one that seeks to predict the Time Lords’ future. Ace is an operative for the Celestial Intervention Agency, having learned the art of interference from one of the best…

And somewhere, across the stars, an ancient force is stirring: one of the Time Lords’ greatest heroes is returning to our universe. But he may also prove to be their greatest threat.

When the history of Earth is threatened, and an ancient conspiracy reaches the heart of Time Lord government, can even Romana’s closest allies truly be trusted?

Time will tell… but by then, it may already be too late.


Juliet Landau (Romana), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Seán Carlsen (Narvin), Stephen Thorne (Omega), Scott Arthur (Lukas), Gyles Brandreth (Rexx), Daniel Brocklebank (Tauras), Laura Doddington (Vale Endrogan), Rachel Atkins (Sol), Toby Longworth (Min), Andrew Pepper (Merkis)

Written By: Scott Handcock & David Llewellyn
Directed By: Scott Handcock


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment




Paul Wilmshurst, director of the recent Doctor Who episodes Kill the Moon, Mummy on the Orient Express and Last Christmas, explains the challenges of working on the series, in his first major interview….

“We were all very proud of the fact that the Mummy was so scary they wouldn’t put it in the series trailer,” Paul tells DWM. “It’s always about how far can you go? I think the old joke is true: how complicated can you make it to hold a child’s attention, and how simple can you make it for adults? Can you make it scary enough for the children to be satisfied, but not too scary for the adults to be worried?”


  • Doctor Who’s very first director, Waris Hussein, reveals how the classic 1964 adventure Marco Polo was made – with the help of unique documents unseen for 50 years!
  • Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat answer readers’ questions – including one from former showrunner Russell T Davies! – in his exclusive column.
  • Peter Purves, who played companion Steven Taylor in the 1960s, looks back at some of his most memorable adventures in the second part of an exclusive interview.
  • En garde! Discover fascinating new facts about the swashbuckling Fourth Doctor adventure The Androids of Tara in The Fact of Fiction.
  • DWM presents an exclusive prelude to the new series of books featuring Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, in the form of a complete short story by Andy Frankham-Allan: The Ambush.
  • Bernard Kay, the much-loved actor who appeared in four Doctor Who stories, is remembered by his friend Toby Hadoke.
  • The Doctor and Clara tackle both Sontarans and Rutans in the concluding part of The Instruments of War, a brand-new comic strip written and illustrated by Mike Collins.
  • The Time Team watch the Tenth Doctor take a bus to alien world, as they visit the Planet of the Dead.
  • Jacqueline Rayner demonstrates the fun to be had in spotting Doctor Who actors in other roles in Relative Dimensions.
  • The DWM Review assesses the very latest Doctor Who audio and book releases.
  • The Watcher examines the changing nature of history in Doctor Who, in the latest Wotcha!
  • The DWM Crossword, prize-winning competitions, official news and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 483 is out on Thursday 5 February, priced £4.99.

Thanks to Tom Spilsbury

Posted in Doctor Who Magazine | Leave a comment


William_HartnellAn excerpt from a long lost interview with actor William Hartnell has been recovered by the BBC.

In August 1965 Hartnell, who was at the height of his fame as The Doctor, was interviewed by Roy Plomley on the Home Service radio programme Desert Island Discs.

The programme was thought to be lost, erased by the BBC, but now a 16 minute section has been recovered and will be made available on the BBC iPlayer. The recording was available to listen to for a short time earlier today but was removed until an official announcement is made.

Posted in Doctor Who News | Leave a comment


the-exxilons_image_largeJanuary is the month of new starts and resolutions, and nowhere is this more true than with the Big Finish releases. We have heard the first of the Gareth Roberts Season 17 pastiches, the first in a new trilogy in e-Space for the Fifth Doctor and crew and the first in a new series of adventures for the Fourth Doctor, Leela and K9.

January this year also seems like the month for sequels, two in one month, Mistfall follows up from Full Circle and The Exxilons follows on from Death To The Daleks.

I was lukewarm to the idea, Death to the Daleks was hardly a classic a tale of space marines, indigenous people and Daleks. Yes, it had scope, it made you think about the worlds beyond the planet of the Exxilons, the bigger universal picture, the plague ravaging the Earth colonies, but it was hardly groundbreaking, so it was with trepidation I started to listen to the Exxilons.

If you have seen “I’m Alan Partridge” you will remember his disastrous pitch to head of BBC Tony Hayers where Alan pitches a cop show called Swallow, his rationale being that regional cop shows are popular, so let’s make more of them.

I can imagine Nick Briggs pitching the Exxilons  in the same way – “well, death to the Daleks had a primitive indigenous population and a technologically advanced team of aliens landing on their world and conflict between the two; it was quite popular, let’s do it again” as Nick is politely shown the door.  He goes all Columbo and says “just one more thing” and it’s this “one more thing” that makes The Exxilons so much more than the sum of its parts or better than it looked on paper. You see the “one more thing” is playing with the audiences expectations and going off in a direction not at all expected in the second part of the story. Whereas we begin with a standard sci-fi tech vs primitives, we end on an exploration of what makes a culture act the way it does; what drives, what motivates, what gives a species its identity even if this is ultimately self destructive.

It’s a very deep story dressed up as a bog standard mid era Tom Baker story.  The drama is ably carried by the main cast, Louise Jameson in particular gives Leela a depth she was sadly lacking on TV.  Jacqueline King (Donna’s Mum on TV) was unrecognisable as Calura and Hugh Ross is oilily evil as Gethel, he is a great study in fanaticism and single mindedness.

So, I was pleasantly surprised with this release, much better than it looked on the tin, a much deeper and better story than its source material and a solid start to a new season, even the music echoes the original – overall I give it 8/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Planet E9874 supports a developing civilisation known as the Tarl. The peaceful, technologically advanced Locoyuns are helping the Tarl develop rudimentary technology. What could be more innocent than that?

When the Doctor, Leela and K9 arrive, they find the delicate balance in the relationship between the two cultures reaching an unexpected crisis point. The spears are flying and the threat of all-out war is in the air.

The Doctor must use all his guile to tread a careful path with Tarl leader Ergu, while Leela and K9 discover an ancient power of unimaginable strength which threatens to tear the minds out of its victims.


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Daisy Dunlop (Trexa), Jacqueline King (Calura), Hugh Ross (Gethal), Tim Treloar (Ergu)

Written By: Nicholas Briggs
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment


dwmr195_mistfall_cover_largeI saw Muppets Most Wanted over Christmas, it wasn’t as good as the 2011 reboot, but in the opening song the Muppets refer to the fact that sequels are never as good as the original. It’s a rare occasion when they are – Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones, Terminator 2, Aliens, The Dark Knight, Superman 2 spring to mind, but usually we are in Ghostbusters 2 or Jaws 4 territory. Sequels should always be better than the originals, but very rarely are – what was fresh and innovative in the original is seen as tired and lazy in the sequel.  We want a sequel to be at once familiar, but retain the innovation that made the original so memorable. But what if the original isn’t particularly memorable to begin with?

This thought brings me on to this months main range release from Big Finish – Mistral, a sequel to the Season 18 story Full Circle. Season 18, oh season 18!  What can I say?  It was everything Season 17 wasn’t -  joyless, dry, ponderous, morose, and dull. Memorable, yes, but mainly because it was Tom Baker’s last season.

During season 18, Full Circle was commissioned by Script Editor Christopher H Bidmead, it was by new writer Andrew Smith, and is probably, with hindsight, the most memorable story of Season 18. It involved The Doctor and Romana arriving in E Space – a small universe outside ours, and trying to get back. They land on the planet Alzarius and meet Adric, they are also get involved in Mistral and the evolution of the Alizarin people from spiders to Marshmen to human like Alzarians.

Mistfall is a direct sequel and the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough are sent back into E Space, and again land on Alzarius during Mistfall. Its approximately 300 years after the events of Full Circle and the New Alzarian’s led by Decider Lana Merrion (played by Jemma Redgrave) are back on Alzarius collecting specimens of dormant Marshmen to study them and map their evolution,  but there is a saboteur who wants the expedition wiped out at all costs.

It’s a very 1980’s story, the recreation of season 20 is spot on, from the pacing of the story to the eerily accurate incidental music. If you close your eyes you could see the guest cast in beige jumpsuits with big 80’s hair and over made up eyes, its that evocative.  It’s also evocative of the era in that it’s a very dry story, not dusty dry, but quite stiff and worthy, a lot more Bidmead than Adams, but then again reminiscent of the era.  Also true to the era the TARDIS team are split up and for the majority of the story with The Doctor & Tegan taking part in one series of events, and Nyssa with Turlough in the others.  The stories dovetail at there denouement as they did on TV and things are wrapped up quite neatly with a nice cliffhanger for the next in the trilogy. The main cast slip back into their roles effortlessly, it’s almost second nature to them.  Jemma Redgrave is fab as Decider Merrion, she seems to be only just keeping things under control, one step away from a breakdown – leadership seems an effort to her, the villain of the piece is (no spoilers) a bit panto, but no more than the way the Master was portrayed in this era.

So is it better or worse than Full Circle? Well, neither really;  its like a direct continuation and seems like part of the same story, it is written by Andrew Smith, so if anyone knows Alzarius it’s him.

It’s a bit too Sci Fi for me; very worthy and a bit preachy, but if you are a fan of the Davison era, its a perfect pastiche of season 20.

When the Mist Clears on Mistral, I give it 7/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


Drawn off-course, the TARDIS passes through a CVE into a closed universe – a hugely improbable event with a tragically obvious cause. In order to escape inescapable E-Space, the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough are forced to venture in the wilds of planet Alzarius.

But they’re not the only unwanted visitors to this strange world. A Starliner has landed, captained by Decider Merrion – but why would Merrion risk rousing the Planet that Slept, and the monsters in its marshes?

Mistfall is coming. The Marshmen are coming. But while Nyssa and Turlough find themselves caught in the open, in the hands of fanatics who model themselves on the legendary Outlers, the Doctor and Tegan discover that the supposedly secure Starliner affords them no protection from monsters both within and without…


Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Jemma Redgrave (Decider Lana Merrion), Nigel Carrington (Pik Solus), Emily Woodward (Fem/Citizen Arana), Paul Panting (Drell/Marshleader), Matthew Carter (Yan Fara)

Written By: Andrew Smith
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment


the_english_way_of_death_cover_largeI do like a good pastiche (and also a nice pasty) and no one does a season 17 pastiche like Gareth Roberts; he is the Ginsters of Doctor Who in a manner of speaking.

To me, season 17 was the peak of the Tom Baker era. I love the sense of unrestrained silliness, the scope and ambition. I would take Tom’s goggling eyes when the TARDIS console explodes complete with comedy noises in Nimon over Pyramids of Mars any day – not to everyone’s taste I know but I rate madcap over morose on every count.

So, The English Way of Death, the recipe is something like this:

1.Take one part Adams, one part Williams
2.Add a dash of Tom and Lalla
3.Mix in a bit of 1930′s social comedy -  Mapp & Lucia or Jeeves & Wooster will do nicely
4.Liberally combine Zombie cliches
5.Filter through Gareth Roberts writing talents, novelise
6.Let it simmer for 20 years or so to gain legendary status
7.Pass on to Big Finish to adapt
8.Sit back, relax, enjoy.

As I said in my review of The Romance of Crime, Roberts really has hit in a winning formula, and The English Way of Death is no exception.

Set in the 1930′s, the Doctor just wants to return some overdue library books but he Romana and K9 get caught up in a plan to destroy the world. It’s an upper class world of colonels, bridge clubs, manners, appearances and “silly ass” upper class twits that we enter – straight from the worlds of P.G Wodehouse or E.F Benson and the Doctor fits in just fine.

It’s a complex plot, all to do with gaseous entity Zodaal, a sentient smell (no really) who wants a new permanent body. It can split its will and possess humans, hence the Zombies who in true to form cliche all want to eat brains!

Add to this people from the future who are using a time corridor to the 1930′s and joining the upper class; chief of these is Percy Closed – how he chose his name is a great joke, think Ford Prefect like in Adams Hitchhikers Guide. The cast are universally excellent, Tom steals it, he is zany, silly, funny but also the man everyone defers to. Terrance Hardiman is wonderfully arch as Stackhouse, the businessman possessed by Zodaal.

The whole thing is very visual, evocative of the time period in which it is set and reminiscent of the era in which Tom and Lalla were on screen. It’s  delightfully silly, very arch with really only one foot grounded in reality.  This is a cliched take on both 1930′s comedies of manners and Zombie movies but the tone makes it work. The cast seem to be having a whale of a time! In James Bond terms this is more Moonraker than Goldfinger, but me being me, I take the double taking pigeon any day.

Another triumph for Big Finish, maybe not quite as stratospheric as Romance of Crime, but a great romp and I rate it as 9/10.

Written by Ed Watkinson


The Doctor, Romana and K9 arrive in 1930s London to return some overdue library books. They plan to take a rest after their recent adventures, but Romana detects a distress signal from the future and the Doctor is attacked by a suffocating green mist.


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), John Leeson (K9), Terrence Hardiman (Stackhouse), Derek Carlyle (Orlick), Richard Braine (Percy Closed), Abigail McKern (Felicia), Annabel Mullion (Julia), Mark Bonnar (Porteus), Tim Bentinck (Colonel Radlett), Andrew Bone (Woodrow), Jane Slavin (Harriet)

Written By: Gareth Roberts, adapted by John Dorney
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs


Posted in Big Finish | Leave a comment