Posted in Books, Classic Series, Lists, Merchandise, News, Ongoing Series

12 Essential Doctor Who Books Coming This Autumn/Fall

Whographica: An Infographic Guide to Space and Time

51fbtaqhsblRelease Date: September 22, 2016

More colourful than Tom Baker’s scarf, and more clever than Osgood, Whographica explores the rich and peculiar history of Doctor Who through infographics, charts, maps – and more! Follow the tangled threads of the Doctor’s family tree. Discover the secrets of Dalek evolution. Learn what the Doctor so desperately wants to know himself: where and when to find his home planet.

Captivating, intriguing, beautiful and strange, Whographica will show you so much more than the average eye is allowed to see. Because, if you look hard, there are more wonders in this universe than you could have ever dreamed of.

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Volume 1 – Gaze of the Medusa

51g9jhvaiwlRelease Date: October 5, 2016

This incarnation is generally regarded as the most recognisable of the Doctors and one of the most popular, especially in the United States. The Fourth Doctor Vol 1 centres on one of the most beloved Doctor’s among fans, which was played by Tom Baker between 1974 and 1981. Adding to the impressive range of Titan Comics Doctor Who graphic novels, The Fourth Doctor promises thrills and surprises for Whovians everywhere!

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Doctor Who: The Official Annual 2017

91arscxlgvlRelease Date: October 6, 2016

Join the Doctor for brand-new adventures on board the TARDIS in this year’s Doctor Who Annual. With secrets from the latest series, fact files on the latest terrifying monsters, exciting comic strips, stories, puzzles and activities, it’s the perfect read for any fan of the brilliant BBC show Doctor Who.

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales (Slipcase Edition)

81zqf2o-2zlAuthor: Justin Richards
Release Date: October 6, 2016

With 16 hardback books each containing a fairy tale set in the world of Doctor Who, this slipcase edition of Time Lord Fairy Tales includes a brand new story for 2016: The Emperor Dalek’s New Clothes. Time Lord Fairy Tales contains legendary stories of monsters, mysteries, villains and heroes from across the Whoniverse. A beautifully illustrated collection of dark and dangerous Whovian fairy tales, this slipcase is the perfect gift for any true Doctor Who fan.

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Doctor Who: A History of Humankind: The Doctor’s Official Guide

91hezwk-d9lRelease Date: October 6, 2016

Over billions of years of time travel, the Doctor has run into his fair share of important people – and he’s formed opinions on most of them too. Now the Twelfth Doctor has got hold of a history textbook from Coal Hill School, and he’s decided to improve it with notes of his own.

From Nefertiti to Robin Hood, this essential Doctor’s guide gives us his unique take on Earth’s most famous historical figures. Through annotations, scribblings and his trademark snarky humour, the Doctor has plenty to say about the pudding-brained humans he’s met on his travels. It’s history . . . but perhaps not quite as you know it!

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Doctor Who: Twelve Doctors of Christmas

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Authors: Jacqueline Rayner, Colin Brake, Richard Dungworth, Mike Tucker, Scott Handcock
Release Date: October 6, 2016

Inside this festive book of Doctor Who stories, you’ll find timey-wimey mysteries, travels in the TARDIS, monster-chasing excitement and plenty of Christmas magic.

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Is There Life Outside the Box?: An Actor Despairs

913zyaid8hlAuthor: Peter Davison
Release Date: October 6, 2016

His fans have spoken, but despite their requests, Peter Davison has gone ahead and written his autobiography anyway. It wasn’t the book they tried to stop it was more like the book they didn’t want him to start. An aspiring singer-songwriter, once dubbed Woking’s answer to Bob Dylan (by his mum, who once heard a Bob Dylan song), Peter actually penned a hit for Dave Clarke (still awaiting royalties) but soon swapped a life on the pub circuit to tread the boards.

From colonial roots – his dad was Guyanese and his mother was born in India – the family settled in Surrey where Peter’s academic achievements were unspectacular, he even managed to fail CSE woodwork, eliciting a lament from his astonished teacher ( All you have to do is recognise wood! ).

Despite this, Peter has secured his place in science fiction history, becoming the Fifth Doctor, despite nearly turning down the role. The Time Lord connection continued with the marriage of his daughter Georgia to Doctor number ten, David Tennant.

The artist formerly known as Peter Malcolm Gordon Moffett has starred in a number of television series including Love for Lydia, A Very Peculiar Practice, At Home with the Braithwaites and The Last Detective and became a national treasure for having his arm up a cow in his role as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small. He was also in a Michael Winner movie…

He made his first stage appearance with an amateur dramatic company, but The Byfleet Players loss is now the West End’s gain as he now has a number of musicals to his name, including Legally Blonde, Chicago and Spamalot. Most recently he starred in the box office record breaking Gypsy where he rubbed shoulders backstage with Dames Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, all asking him for directions to Imelda Staunton’s dressing room.

One thing is for sure: of all the British screen and stage actors of the last fifty years, Peter Davison is certainly one of them and, within these pages, intrepid readers will at last have the dubious honour of sharing in his life and times as he despairs over whether there truly ever can be life outside the box.

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Doctor Who: The American Adventures

81xfthrdnklAuthor: Various
Release Date: October 25, 2016

Travel through time and space with the Twelfth Doctor in these six brand new adventures, set in a host of locations across the US and eras from throughout US history.

An invisible spacecraft turns up at the Battle of New Orleans, an alien presence is detected at the 1944 D-Day landings, and ghosts take over New York’s subway tunnels as they’re being dug in the early 1900s… Filled with mystery, excitement and the Doctor’s trademark wit, these timeywimey stories will delight any Doctor Who fan.

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Doctor Who: The Whoniverse

51klhekzvllAuthor: George Mann & Justin Richards
Release Date: October 27, 2016

The Whoniverse is a never-before-seen history of the Human Race – from the formation of Earth round the Racnoss eggs, and the creation of life by the destruction of the last Jagaroth spaceship, through to the eventual expansion of the sun and end of the world and beyond – to New Earth, and Utopia…

Along the way, The Whoniverse also explores the untold histories of other planets and other lifeforms as they have interacted with humanity. We examine the Daleks and Cybermen, the Time Lords and the Sontarans, the Ice Warriors, Silurians, Weeping Angels, and many many more… We visit Gallifrey and Skaro, Mondas and Telos, Mars and Sontar, to explore how their histories have coincided with the Time Lords, and with our own.

With full-colour illustrations, maps, charts and photography throughout, The Whoniverse is a dramatic retelling of the uprisings, wars and battles that formed Doctor Who‘s universe, and an astonishing compendium of the races that live within it. It is the definitive, essential companion to this universe, and any other.

odd0sgdv_normalAvailable to preorder via Amazon.


Class: The Stone House, Joyride & What She Does Next Will Astound You

Authors: A.K. Benedict, Guy Adams, James Goss
Release Date: October 27, 2016

Three thrilling tie-in novels for Class, the new BBC Three series created and written by bestselling author Patrick Ness.

odd0sgdv_normalThe Stone House: Aavailable to preorder via Amazon.


odd0sgdv_normalJoyride: Available to preorder via Amazon.


odd0sgdv_normalWhat She Does Next Will Astound You: Available to preorder via Amazon.

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Posted in 2nd Doctor, Classic Series, Lists, News

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Power of the Daleks

As we continue to countdown toward the release of the newly animated Power of the Daleks this November, we present ten things you might not have known about the serial… although Doctor Who fans know everything, so you might know them… not that that should stop you from reading.. because you might not know… but you might. That’s all we’re saying. So read on dear readers!

The Power of the Daleks was released in July 1993
The Power of the Daleks was released in July 1993

1: For a long time, The Power of the Daleks was one of the few television stories not to be novelised by Target books due to Terry Nation retaining rights to the early Dalek serials. The story was eventually novelised in 1993 by John Peel and was number #154 in the Target library. Although published under the Target banner by Virgin publishing, the novel uses the longer format of the New and Missing Adventures. A script book of this serial was also released by Titan Books in 1993.

2: The War of the Daleks, also by John Peel, a 1997 Eighth Doctor Adventure from BBC Books, reveals that the Dalek pod was sent to Vulcan by the Eighth Doctor, ejecting it from a Thal ship.

3: It’s something of a fan legend that Doctor Who featured the planet Vulcan before Star Trek used the world as the home of the great Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock. But is it true? yes and no. While Star Trek debuted on September 8, 1966 (Power of the Daleks first airing November 5, 1966), David Whitaker first listed Vulcan as a planet in his 1964 spin-off The Dalek Book.

4: According to the BBC trailer for the serial, the story takes place in the year 2020, a fact that Lance Parkin and Lar’s Pearson’s excellent (and hefty) AHistory: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe agrees with. While the date is never given on-screen, press material, the Doctor Who 10th Anniversary Special, the second edition of The Making of Doctor Who and first edition of The Programme Guide all give the date as 2020, suggesting this is what was in the mind of the production team. The fact we’re rapidly approaching that date in both reality and on-screen, with no sign of the levels of technology required, adds all manner of problems… but the “easy out” of time travel changing universal events could be applied (Possibly the events of Genesis of the Daleks?). Other suggested dates include 2049 (The TARDIS Logs), 2249 (A History of the Daleks) and 2120 (Timelink).

5: While everyone know’s the Doctor’s regeneration is referred to initially as “renewal” in The Power of the Daleks, it wouldn’t be until Planet of Spiders in 1974 that the term “regeneration” was first used to describe the process. Uniquely, the Doctor describes the process as “part of the TARDIS” during the events of the story.

Doctor Who Reconstructed: The Power of the Daleks was released in June 2005
Doctor Who Reconstructed: The Power of the Daleks was released in June 2005

6: In 2005 the BBC released an official reconstruction of the story in an MP3-CD format. Titled Doctor Who Reconstructed: The Power of the Daleks, the serial was the first and only release in the potential series, despite plans being made to release The Highlanders. The item now sells for much more than it’s cover price on auction websites.

“This unique project matches the soundtrack recording of a classic “Doctor Who” television story with a visual slideshow of ‘telesnaps’ showing images from the lost film recording. Of the 100+ episodes of “Doctor Who”, which are absent from the television archives, only two elements survive: off-air sound recordings and ‘telesnaps’. For each 25 minute episode of “Doctor Who”, approximately 70 off-screen photographs exist. Since 1998, BBC Audio has successfully published the soundtracks of these missing stories, with addition linking narration.This new MP3-CD series now marries the sound with the telesnaps, to present a slideshow of images from the episodes and going some way to ‘reconstructing’ the original film episodes. MP3-CDs can be played on any compatible player. To view the visual elements, a PC or Mac home computer is required. In “The Power of the Daleks”, the Doctor has regenerated for the first time, leaving his two companions suspicious of him being an imposter. But when the TARDIS materialises on the planet Vulcan, they must fight for their lives together – against the Daleks…”

7: The serial, penned by David Whitaker (with uncredited final work by Dennis Spooner), had the working titles of Servants of Masters and The Destiny of Doctor Who, a title that would almost be used again in the future with 2013’s Destiny of the Doctor audio range. Indeed, we maybe could have been looking at a somewhat different show if other working titles had made the final cut, who wouldn’t be intrigued by The Ghost Hunters or Years of Doom (Day of the Daleks), feel the impending horror of The Golden Pentagram (Meglos) or be about to suppress a childish laugh at Catflap (Survival). Titter ye not.

8: The Power of the Daleks was the first time that anyone other than Terry Nation had written a Dalek story on television. David Whitaker would go on to write Evil of the Daleks, also in Season 4, and Terry Nation would return to his most famous creation with Season 10’s Planet of the Daleks starring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor.

Power of the Daleks will be released digitally through the BBC Store on November 5
Power of the Daleks will be released digitally through the BBC Store on November 5

9: While the story isn’t one of Terry Nation’s, Power has several things in common with Nation’s earlier first Dalek serial, primarily the use of static electricity to power the pepperpots. The Daleks required static electricity to function, yet gained independence via the use of saucers on their back in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, achieving complete independence without the saucers by The Chase. The Dalek’s need for static electricity might suggest that the story takes place not long after the Daleks first leave Skaro.

10: Keeping the theme of similarities with The Daleks, the musical score for the serial by Tristram Cary is lifted straight from that first Dalek serial, with another portion taken from The Daleks’ Master Plan.

Power of the Daleks will be released digitally at 5:50pm on November 5 via the BBC store, with a DVD release following on November 21, preorders are available now via the Amazon link below.

Posted in 1st Doctor, Audio, Classic Series, Lists, Merchandise, News

Ranking Our Top Ten First Doctor Adventures From Big Finish

With the third series of Big Finish’s acclaimed Early Adventures range ready to launch later this month, we decided to celebrate some new/old adventures from the Big Finish team and take a look back, from amongst many excellent options, at our favourite audio adventures of William Hartnell’s First Doctor.

10: The Founding Fathers by Simon Guerrier

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

As big fans and proponents of the Doctor Who historical, any audios of that nature will automatically make the list and always evoke the era well as the Doctor and his companions get themselves into another problem in Earth’s history. Meeting Benjamin Franklin, the tale comes from the pen of Simon Guerrier, who has become something of a First Doctor specialist for Big Finish. Told at a leisurely pace, The Founding Fathers tells an intelligent and likeable tale, more in the vain of The Aztecs and other more “serious” historicals than say, The Romans. With some excellent material provided for Franklin and superb characterisation with the Doctor, The Founding Fathers is a worthy first entry on our list.

Note: Founding Fathers artwork is an unofficial piece by Si Hodges


9: The Library of Alexandria by Simon Guerrier

thelibraryofalexandriacover_image_largeThe port of Alexandria, 5th Century AD. The Doctor, Ian, Susan and Barbara have taken a break from their travels, and are enjoying a few weeks in the sunshine – and the chance to appreciate the magnificent Library of Alexandria. Ian also takes the chance to enjoy friendship with the philosopher Hypatia – but things here will not last forever. The time travellers know that the library will soon be lost to history. What they are about to discover is the terrifying reason why…

Keeping the historical and Simon Guerrier theme running, The Library of Alexandria takes the existing First Doctor historical and turns it on its head by adding sci-fi elements, the true to life era much preferring the “pure” historical. Despite historical sic-fi being a staple of Doctor Who in the modern era, it feels fresh here and the production is boosted by an excellent performances from William Russell, the elder statesman of Doctor Who. With a strong and intelligent script, as is now somewhat to be expected from Guerrier, The Library of Alexandria effectively mixes the educational historical with a big budget sci-fi spectacular feel.


8: The Rocket Men by John Dorney

dwcc602_therocketmen_1417_cover_large-1The TARDIS has landed on Platform Five, a floating city in the sky of the planet Jobis, and for a time the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki get the chance to enjoy this idyllic place. And then the Rocket Men arrive, led by the sadistic Ashman. When the only other option to certain death is suicide, Ian Chesterton takes the gamble of his life…

If one Big Finish adventure could be said to have an authentic feel outside of the Lost Stories range, The Rocket Men by John Dorney might be it. Wonderfully evocative of the era in both Doctor Who and science fiction in general, The Rocket Men boasts a strong script with a A+ in characterisation, particularly with our regulars, who are as close to our television heroes as we see in the range. Lisa Bowerman gives a masterclass in direction and any audio is always boosted by her work as one of Big Finish’s prize assets. Full of personal and literary romance, William Russell once again takes the audio to new heights as reading, direction and script come together magnificently to form a very strong entry in our top ten list.


7: The Guardian of the Solar System by Simon Guerrier

dwcc0501_theguardianofthesolarsystem_1417_cover_largeSpace Security Agent Sara Kingdom is dead, her ashes strewn on the planet Kembel. But, in an old house in Ely, Sara Kingdom lives on… Now joined in the house by her confidante Robert, Sara recalls her travels in the TARDIS with the Doctor – and a particular adventure when the ship appeared to land inside a giant clock, where old men are caught in its workings… And behind this nightmare is an old enemy: Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System. Then and now, Sara’s past is catching up with her. The cogs have come full circle…

The third of four entries for Simon Guerrier on the list and the author once again show’s his mastery over the era with the final part of the Sara Kingdom trilogy which concludes events heard in Home Truths and The Drowned World, also by Guerrier. Jean Marsh once again gives a stellar performance as Sara, almost fifty years removed from her single story in the role, Jean being ably supported by Niall McGregor. With superb drama throughout, delivered once more from the direction of Lisa Bowerman, Guardians provides twists and turns aplenty. While The Guardian of the Solar System isn’t the strongest play in the trilogy, it acts a fine final segment, tying threads together successfully and concluding on a high note.


6: Home Truths by Simon Guerrier

dwcc0305_hometruths_1417_cover_largeThere’s a house across the waters at Ely where an old woman tells a strange story. About a kind of night constable called Sara Kingdom. And her friends, the Doctor and Steven. About a journey they made to a young couple’s home, and the nightmarish things that were found there. About the follies of youth and selfishness. And the terrible things even the most well-meaning of us can inflict on each other. Hear the old woman’s story. Then decide her fate.

We said in 2014:

“Sara Kingdom is something of a blank canvas for Big Finish, having only appeared in two episodes on-screen nearly 50 years ago and rarely featured in spin-off media since, the opportunity is there to craft a whole life story around the Space Security Service agent. Jean Marsh amazingly slips back into the role with ease, showing her immense talents as an actress, served well by what we might term First Doctor specialist Simon Guerrier. A unique and frightening idea, Home Truths is an atmospheric masterpiece that leaves the listener eager for more at it’s conclusion.”


5: The Time Museum by James Goss

the_time_museum_audio“This is The Chesterton Exhibition. A series of breathtakingly faithful tableaux, painstakingly detailed to the nth degree. Dedicated to the life of that most extraordinary time traveller, Ian Chesterton!”

Ian finds himself in a shrine to his own past, and on the run with a man named Pendolin. From Coal Hill School to Jobis Station, from Totter’s Yard to the Crusades, Ian’s history is unfolding. And a confrontation with a deadly enemy with a voracious appetite awaits…

We Said in 2014:

“The 50th anniversary came early in 2012 as we took a trip down (Ian’s) memory lane in a fantastically nostalgic walk through the early years of the show. Any fan of the Hartnell era or William Russell’s Ian Chesterton will adore The Time Museum, this being very much Ian’s play. William Russell is a truly magnificent reader of anything put in front of him and here he is in his element, given a brilliant script harking back to the golden era of the show, revisiting the popular topic of Ian’s relationship with Barbera. A misty eyed and affectionate tribute to one of the truly great eras in Doctor Who, essential for all fans of the show in the 1960s.”


4: Domain of the Voord by Andrew Smith

001_domain_of_the_voord_cover_largeThe Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara land on the planet Hydra, where Admiral Jonas Kaan leads a vast flotilla of ships trying to elude the vicious race that has invaded and occupied their world. But his ships are being picked off one by one, vessels and crews dragged underwater by an unseen foe. The time travellers find themselves pitched into battle against the Voord, the ruthless enemy they last encountered on the planet Marinus. As they take the fight to the very heart of the territory now controlled by the Voord the stakes get higher. First they lose the TARDIS… then they lose that which they hold most dear. And that’s only the start of their troubles. In the capital, Predora City, they will learn the truth of what it means to be a Voord. And that truth is horrifying.

We said in 2014:

“Andrew Smith has seemingly effortlessly recreated the world of 1960s Doctor Who, yet left his own mark as he delves into the backstory of Terry Nation’s lesser creation, imbuing them with a fascistic streak and delving into the races hierarchy and assimilation of other beings into an expansionist empire. Smith, alongside director Ken Bentley, has crafted a dark and meaningful play that is full of atmosphere and nods to the past. Domain of the Voord however is more than a nostalgia piece, looking backward yet finding new ground and avenues to explore on familiar territory. Should The Early Adventures continue in this vein, we are in for a treat indeed. Domain of the Voord is one of the Big Finish highlights of the year.”


3: The Masters of Luxor by Anthony Coburn, adapted by Nigel Robinson

dwls0307_themastersofluxor_1417_cover_largeThe TARDIS is drawn to a mysterious signal emanating from a seemingly dead world. Trapped within a crystalline structure, the Doctor and his friends inadvertently wake a vast army of robots that have lain dormant for many, many years. Waiting… for the Masters of Luxor. The Perfect One wants to become more than just a mockery of a man, and will stop at nothing to achieve it. But will the cost prove too great? The travellers are about to uncover a horrifying tragedy. A tragedy that threatens to engulf them all.

Possibly the most well-known “lost story” of Doctor Who‘s entire run, Anthony Coburn’s The Masters of Luxor couldn’t be more different from the author’s only televised story, An Unearthly Child. While the tale does have some inherent weaknesses, perhaps being overlong and unnecessarily padded in places, the script is highly intelligent and thought-provoking, the complex story certainly on a par with Terry Nation’s The Daleks which ultimately replaced it in the first season. A divisive script, with many fans finding it boring compared to Nation’s serial, love for The Masters of Luxor perhaps depends on individual taste. With evocative sound design however and sparkling performances from William Russell and Carole Ann Ford, to us, The Masters of Luxor is something of an underrated gem.


2: Farewell, Great Macedon by Moris Farhi, adapted by Nigel Robinson

The TARDIS materialises in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, in the year 323 BC. The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan meet Alexander the Great – but their excitement is tempered by the realization that these are the final days of Alexander’s life. As the travellers become embroiled in the tragic events, the inevitability of history unfolds around them. But can they – and should they – change it?

If there was one “lost story” that deserved to put into production, it was surely Farewell, Great Macedon, a story that could proudly have stood alongside Marco Polo during the series’ first season. A sweeping historical epic, like Marco Polo, the story takes place across months of the TARDIS traveller’s time and spans a vast distance, taking in historic locales with a painted vivid imagery. The source material, of course, puts our regulars in such authentic situations that it’s almost easy to forget you’re not listening to a genuine first season story and the performances of William Russell and Carole Ann Ford are more than equal to the task set. Comprising part of the First Doctor Box Set alongside the equally wonderful Fragile Yellow Arc of FragranceFarewell, Great Macedon is the best unproduced script from Doctor Who‘s long history and equally one of the best entries in Big Finish’s Doctor Who canon.


1: The Flames of Cadiz by Marc Platt

flames_of_cadiz_coverThe TARDIS materializes in Spain in the late sixteenth century. The country is at war with England – and the travellers find themselves on the wrong side of the battle lines. When Ian and his new friend Esteban are captured by the Inquisition, the Doctor, Susan and Barbara plan to rescue them. But these are dark days in human history. And heretics face certain death…

We said in 2014:

“The early historicals have often been heralded by fans as some of the true (and many lost) classics of the original series. Big Finish have provided many a resumption, The Glorious Revolution being a prime example, but none have truly evoked the era better than The Flames of Cadiz, our number one choice as the best Big Finish Companion Chronicle.

We’ve already commented on the undiminished quality of William Russell with Big Finish (or his Target readings). That he created the role of Ian over 50 years ago now is astounding considering how effortless his performances are in the role even today, yet in Flames of Cadiz he seems to absolutely relish the wonderfully evocative script by Marc Platt, ably joined by Carole Ann-Ford as Susan to authentically recreate an era in which Flames could easily have been broadcast.

This is vintage Hartnell.

Preferring to show history for what it is – brutal and violent, this is a far cry however from The Romans or other lighter historical, here the threat is all too real, bringing home some realities for a TARDIS crew who are enjoying the wonderful spirit of adventure a little too much. In lesser hands the brutality of the Spanish Inquisition could have been played for Pythonesque laughs, not so here as Platt shows that humanity rarely learns from its past, providing us with a strong message on intolerance. There are strong shades of The Massacre here alongside The Aztecs and even Marco Polo, perfectly recreating its desired era.

Marc Platts finest contribution to Big Finish since Spare Parts.”

All the above titles are available now from BigFinish.com, click on each individual title for more information. The Flames of Cadiz can also be purchased via the Amazon link below.

Posted in Classic Series, Doctor Who Magazine, Lists, Merchandise, News, Ongoing Series

DWM 500: Ranking Our Ten Favourite Doctor Who Magazine Comic Strips

Since Doctor Who Magazine‘s debut some 500 issues ago, one feature has stood since day one. Through writers and artists, editors and the cancellation of the series, the DWM comic strip has blazed a trail of memorable and unique characters, legendary moments and some truly great writing and art.

From Dave Gibbons and Pat Mills to Steve Parkhouse and Alan Barnes, there are dozens of talented individuals who’ve applied themselves to the medium, creating some of the finest comic strips under the Doctor Who banner.

And we have to pick ten.

A difficult task, leaving out the near contenders such as the excellent Wormwood, a personal favourite in The Curse of the Scarab and iconic early contenders such as The Fangs of Time and Dragons Claw… but we finally broke it down to our top ten… +1.

[su_label]Nearest Runner-Up: The Stockbridge Horror[/su_label]

Stockbrigehorror

Written by Steve Parkhouse with art also by Parkhouse alongside Mick Austin, The Stockbridge Horror ran for six issues (70 and 75) of Doctor Who Magazine (then Monthly). It’s somewhat fitting we start our list with the quintessential DWM strip location, one the magazine returns to for the very special 500th issue strip The Stockbridge Showdown.

Back in 1982 however, in the third part of the Fifth Doctor Stockbridge Trilogy, the Doctor’s holiday in Stockbridge is interrupted yet again when he learns that an imprint of a London police box has been found in millennia-old limestone at the local quarry.  He soon confirms that the imprint has come from his TARDIS, but before he can investigate further he is attacked by an elemental being, a force formed of fire and fear….

Available as part of Doctor Who Graphic Novel #3 – The Tides of Time (Complete Fifth Doctor Comic Strips).


[su_label]10: Junkyard Demon[/su_label]

junkyarddemon

With art by Mike McMahon and Adolfo Buylla, this Steve Parkhouse written strip appeared over two issues of DWM in 1981 and featured the Fourth Doctor. While maybe not the deepest in terms of story, 2000AD‘s Mike McMahon brings the strip to life in unique style with some excellent design, Steve Parkhouse is in his finest whimsical mood meanwhile to create a winning combination. The strip was deemed worthy of a sequel in the 1996 Doctor Who Yearbook, this time penned by Alan Barnes.

Interstellar scrap dealers have a lucrative business reprogramming dormant Cybermen into domestic servants, until one prematurely awakens and steals the Doctor’s TARDIS…

Available as part of Doctor Who Graphic Novel #2 – Dragon’s Claw (Complete Fourth Doctor Comic Strips Vol. 1)


[su_label]9: Voyager[/su_label]

Voyager (3)

Frobisher is in it, what more do you need to know? Seriously, Doctor Who fans can be divided into many camps, but the only two that matter are those that love Frobisher and those that hate Frobisher. And we love Frobisher! Voyager, which ran for four issues in 1986 featured the Sixth Doctor and introduced the character of Astrolabes, beginning the Voyager arc that concluded in Once Upon a Time Lord. The story was reprinted in graphic novel format in 1989 which made it one of the first ever Doctor Who graphic novels and reading the full saga is recommended.

The Doctor and Frobisher find themselves in Antarctica, but things take a turn for the worse when they meet Astrolabusand the mysterious Voyager.

Available as part of Doctor Who – Voyager (Complete Sixth Doctor Comic Strips Vol. 1)


[su_label]8: Endgame[/su_label]

End Game (1)

Something of a personal choice, but that’s what these lists are all about right? …though we feel sure some purists will be enraged at Endgame coming in ahead of Voyager! But the excitement at all new Eighth Doctor adventures following the TV Movie in 1996 make this a strip of fond memories.

The first ever Eighth Doctor strip in DWM, Endgame returned once again to Stockbridge, nicely tying the all new Doctor into DWM comic lore and introducing Izzy Sinclair in a story that spanned four parts across DWM issues 244 to 247. It was a strong debut for the McGann incarnation, a spiritual sister strip to the Tides of Time and Endgame kicked off a trend of some of the best stories within the format since the mid-1980s.

Returning to Stockbridge, the Doctor is reunited with an old friend, gains a new companion and comes into conflict with an old enemy… the returning Celestial Toymaker!

Available as part of Doctor Who – End Game (Complete Eighth Doctor Comic Strips Vol. 1)


[su_label]7: Stars Fell on Stockbridge[/su_label]

Fifth15

“The night that stars fell on Stockbridge”

We like the Stockbridge tales, ok?! 🙂 (and we’re certainly not done yet)

Introducing the recurring character of Maxwell Edison, who appears again this month, Stars Fell on Stockbridge was the last DWM comic drawn by the great Dave Gibbons, the magazine’s main artist since the first issue of Doctor Who Weekly. The “middle part” of the Fifth Doctor Stockbridge tales, the story appeared across issues 68 and 69 of DWM in 1982. Much of the story would be dramatised in the Big Finish audio Castle of Fear as part of a flashback, making all kinds of continuity problems for another day and another article!

Maxwell Edison, a normal man from the village of Stockbridge finds himself entering the TARDIS and The Doctor’s adventures. There’s no time for questions when Maxwell suddenly finds himself on an alien spaceship and facing the battle of his life to save his village from destruction.

Available as part of Doctor Who Graphic Novel #3 – The Tides of Time (Complete Fifth Doctor Comic Strips).


[su_label]6: Fire and Brimstone[/su_label]

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Featuring the return of the Daleks to the DWM comic strip, appearing alongside the Eighth Doctor for the first time (the final part preceding BBC Books War of the Daleks by two months), Fire and Brimstone was the highlight of 1997 in the DWM strips. Spread across 5 parts, the Alan Barnes penned story saw the return of the Threshold and featured some of Martin Geraghty’s finest work for the series.

The Doctor and Izzy materialise on Icarus Falling, a small satellite orbiting Crivello’s sun, and witnessed an attack on it by Daleks. While attempting to stop the Daleks’ plans, it is revealed that another of the Doctor’s deadliest enemies, the megacorp known as the Threshold, was hired to destroy the Daleks, and already had a plan in motion. The plan fails…

Available as part of Doctor Who – End Game (Complete Eighth Doctor Comic Strips Vol. 1)


[su_label]5: The Iron Legion[/su_label]

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The original! The Iron Legion is an icon amongst Doctor Who comic strips as not only the first strip to be published in Doctor Who Weekly but one of the best to boot. The placing of our top five was incredibly close, but the Pat Mills, John Wagner and Dave Gibbons classic comes in at five.

Appearing across the first eight issues of what is now DWM, The Iron Legion was rejected as a television script but has gone on to legendary status, being reprinted no less than seven times.

A robot legionnaire attacks a small English town of the 1970s. Tracing them to their origin, the Doctor arrives on another Earth in which the Roman Empire conquered the galaxy with their Iron Legion of robots commanded by General Ironicus, a servant of what he calls the gods.

Available as part of Doctor Who Graphic Novel #1 – The Iron Legion (Complete Fourth Doctor Comic Steips vol. 1)


[su_label]4: Doctor Who and The Star Beast[/su_label]

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Meep, meep!

Beep the Meep is one of the great villains of the DWM strips, returning for three more adventures and even a Big Finish audio. But never better than here, a second helping in a row from the classic Mills/Wagner/Gibbons team in an adventure that is 2000AD meets Douglas Adams. Introducing the first black companion way ahead of it’s TV time, The Star Beast of course excellently drawn, well scripted and intelligently plotted. But what else would you expect from the finest team the DWM strips ever boasted?

Pursued by Wrarth Warriors, Beep the Meep crashes his craft in Blackcastle, where he is found and hidden by school children Sharon and Fudge. The Doctor follows the flames of the neutron drive star cruiser and investigates, unaware that he is leading the Wrarth Warriors directly to the Meep. The Warriors attack K9, making him useless. After he has sent the Meep with Sharon for safety, the Doctor learns from the Wrarth officers, Sergeant Zogroth and Constable Zreeg, that Beep is being hunted by the Wrarth (biological constructs of the five strongest races in the galaxy) for unspeakable crimes.

Available as part of Doctor Who Graphic Novel #1 – The Iron Legion (Complete Fourth Doctor Comic Steips vol. 1)


[su_label]3: Ground Zero[/su_label]

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What… a… panel.

One of the most genuinely shocking comic strips in the history of DWM, the comics made a surprising break with the continuity of the then current New Adventures by killing television companion Ace, sending off the Seventh Doctor’s era as the magazine prepared for the debut of the Eighth. Then Doctor Who Magazine Editor Gary Gillatt explained this choice in DWM 240, proclaimING that the books had already diverged from the comics continuity in Deceit and Blood Heat amongst others.

[su_quote cite=”Gary Gillat, DWM 242″]The bottom line is that Marvel’s Doctor Who comic strip has been going strong since 1979. With seventeen years of our own continuity to draw upon we see no need (or feel any obligation) to try and shoehorn another publishing company’s characters and concepts into our own.[/su_quote]

The Threshold have kidnapped three of the Doctor’s former companions, along with his current one, using them for their employer’s benefit: the Lobri — a creation of the human unconsciousness, feeding on fear. They intend to destroy the unconscious link between humans. The Doctor must stop them, but at what cost?


[su_label]2: The Glorious Dead[/su_label]

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An absolute epic spread across ten parts in 2000, the scale of The Glorious Dead was unprecedented. Spread across an omniverses with the highest possible stakes, the strip fittingly saw to return of The Master after his return the previous year in The Fallen.

The Doctor, Izzy and Kroton are taken to Paradost to find that Sato Katsura and the Master have joined forces. The Doctor and Kroton must fight the Master and Sato for the Glory, where the protector of the Glory has full powers over space and time…

Available as part of Doctor Who – The Glorious Dead (Complete Eighth Doctor Comic Strips Vol. 2)


[su_label]1: The Tides of Time[/su_label]

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With The Iron Legion and Endgame already making this list, it seems “firsts” are popular here in the DWW cave and there is no better than the first Fifth Doctor strip published by DWM – The Tides of Time.

Debuting the fictional village of Stockbridge (though not known by that name here), the strip ran for seven issues in 1982 and was written by Steve Parkhouse, with the art being by Dave Gibbons. Mixing the unique surreal imaginativeness of Parkhouse at his best with the peerless artwork of Gibbons, The Tides of Time is an ambitious and imaginative classic, spawning many sequels and imitations both in the pages of DWM and beyond, but none better than here with the original.

The Universe is falling apart. A demon from another universe has left a hole in time and space. The Doctor teams up with Sir Justin to prevent the demon from destroying the entire universe. But first, they must battle creatures of nightmares to find the lost matrix….

Available as part of Doctor Who Graphic Novel #3 – The Tides of Time (Complete Fifth Doctor Comic Strips).

 

Posted in Classic Series, Doctor Who Magazine, Lists, Merchandise, News, Ongoing Series

DWM 500 Issues: Our Ten Favourite Covers

With the venerable Doctor Who Magazine celebrating 500 issues this month, we take a special look back at our favourite ten covers from the past 36 years… and a bit more!

It was a difficult choice, with the wonderful recent “Genesis of the Daleks” Issue #499 running close, alongside the excellent Sylvester McCoy photography of Issue #486. But in the end, we somehow, someway.. found our ten favourite covers. Enjoy, and don’t forget to let us know your own favourite covers.

The other contenders: Issue #264, Issue #384, Issue #406, the twin minimalist Issues #477 and #482, plus we discounted Issue #190 as a reprint of the 10th Anniversary Special, despite our love of it!

[su_label]Nearest Runner-Up: Issue #256[/su_label]

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The 1970’s glory of issue #256 couldn’t be more groovy if it tried! Cover dated 24 September 1997, the issue featured the second part of Richard Molesworth’s Out of the Vaults, looking at the state of the BBC’s archives. Andrew Pixley took a closer look at Planet of Giants in the monthly archive and the one-off comic strip was By Hook or By Crook, written by Scott Gray.


[su_label]10: Issue #280[/su_label]

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The original you might say, hmn? The First Doctor is the focus for this striking cover from 1999 while features included Blimey, that’s a bit like Doctor Who, that is… where six DWM experts tune into a bunch of cults and look for Doctor Who by any other name. The Crusade got the tele snap treatment and The Road to Hell – Part Three was our monthly strip.


[su_label]9: Issue #393[/su_label]

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Peter Davison’s return to Doctor Who in Time Crash is the focus here, with added Fifth Doctor goodness on the front as DWM gave away Big Finish’s Cuddlesome. Other features included The Deaths of Doctor Who – DWM’s look at the depiction of death in Doctor Who and Script Doctors by Gareth Roberts.


[su_label]8: Issue #320[/su_label]

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Taking on the image of Lord Kitchener, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is calling DWM readers to service! Features in this issue include How To Make Fans (And Influence People!) by Tat Wood and The DWM Awards 2001Uroboros – Part Two was the monthly comic strip and The Green Death featured as part of Andrew Pixley’s Archive series.


[su_label]7: Issue #428[/su_label]

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DWM riffs on the likes of Inside Soap with this special soap themed issue from December 2010. Features included The Greatest Soap In The Galaxy by Phil Collinson, interviews with joint Doctor Who and soap stars such as Frazer Hines and June Brown. Our regular comic strip was The Golden Ones Part 4 by Jonathan Morris.


[su_label]6: Issue #483[/su_label]

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Another retro style cover, invoking memories of classic horror of decades past as Mummy on the Orient Express takes centre stage. The Instruments of War Part Three by Mike Collins was our regular monthly comic strip and there was a special prose story from Andy Frankham-Allen – The Ambush!


[su_label]5: Issue #487[/su_label]

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It was a close run thing between this issue and the visually quite similar “every Dalek ever” issue… but the iconography of the Daleks on Earth outside Big Ben win out! The issue featured Earth: Past, Present & Future – the history of the Earth is charted in detail… The Golden Age of Videotape and a long lost interview with John Nathan-Turner.


[su_label]4: Issue #436[/su_label]

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Poignant and dignified, DWM pays suitably classy tribute to the late, great, Nicholas Courtney. The majority of the issue is given over to paying tribute to the Brigadier actor and is one of the longest editions of the magazine. Featuring interviews with Doctor Who alumni the breath of his career, a career retrospective and much more, Issue 436 was a fitting tribute to one of the show’s most beloved figures.


[su_label]3: Issue #443[/su_label]

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Featuring two different covers from the Hinchcliffe era, Terror of the Zygons and The Seeds of Doom, each cover also advertised one of two recent discoveries of lost episodes episodes from the classic series- episode 3 of Galaxy 4 and two episodes of The Underwater Menace. The regular monthly comic strip was The Chains Of Olympus (Part 2).


[su_label]2: Issue #465[/su_label]

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What’s not to love about this image? The five surviving Classic Series Doctor’s in a photoshoot that is unlikely to ever be repeated. The cover in many ways captures much of the celebration of the show’s 50th anniversary year, focusing on the classic-era Doctors and the actors who portrayed them uniting to take part in the audio special The Light at the EndWelcome to Tickle Town part one by Scott Gray was the comic strip and The Sea Devils featured in The Fact of Fiction.


[su_label]1: Issue #1[/su_label]

What else could it be but the often replicated and iconic first issue of Doctor Who Weekly?

With a over date of 17 October 1979 and with free transfers, the Dez Skinn edited first issue boasted the first part of The Iron Legion, articles on the story of Doctor Who and The Day of the Daleks, plus the very first Crazy Caption Competition!

Truly the stuff of legend.

[su_note note_color=”#46a6dd” text_color=”#ffffff”]Issue 500 of Doctor Who Magazine is on sale now.[/su_note]

Posted in Classic Series, Lists, News

Our 15 Favourite Pieces of 1960s Dalek Merchandise

The mid-1960’s was a merchandising dream for producers across the country and an even better one for Doctor Who and Dalek loving children. With the popularity of the show rocketing, thanks in no small part to the Daleks, by 1965 you could lay your hands on everything from Dalek board games to novelisations and annuals.

Merchandisers quickly realised the marketing potential for Terry Nation’s tin pepper pots and here we present 15 of our favourite, wonderfully 1960s, pieces of Dalekmania. With so much on offer at the height of the craze, we had to be cruel and cut the likes of the Dr Who’s Anti-Dalek Neutron Exterminator, Selcol’s Nursery Toy Dalek and decided the TV-21 Dalek Chronicles would feature in a future article all of their own.

So here’s our choice of the best 15 pieces of Dalek merchandise from the height of Dalekmania… you can keep your Lego Dimensions and Doctor Who Monopoly, we wish we’d been a kid back then!


15: Dalek Shooting Game (Louis Marx)

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Produced in 1965, the set featured a pop gun with cork ammunition to fire at tin Daleks which would slide into place after the player scored a hit.


14: Daleks Stand-Up Jigsaw (Thomas Hope & Sankey Hudson)

The Doctor, Daleks and the TARDIS pieces were separate jigsaw pieces that were placed on small wooden stands to create the stand-up effect.


13: The Dalek Pocketbook and Space Travellers Guide (Panther Books)

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Written in two parts, the first focusing on the Daleks and the second on astronomy, The Dalek Pocketbook was one of the first Doctor Who books made available, being published in 1965 and given some authority by it being written by Dalek creator Terry Nation himself.

“How does a Dalek obtain motive energy when it leaves its own planet? Can a Dalek swim? This is the book — the only book with all the answers, compiled and presented by Terry Nation, the man who discovered and translated the fantastic Dalek Chronicles.

Here, by arrangement with BBC tv, is a Dalek encyclopaedia and dictionary. The only Dalek reference book which includes anti-Dalek precautions and a completely authentic space-travellers’ guide.”

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12: Doctor Who and the Dalek’s Sweet Cigarettes (Cadet)

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We remember sweet cigarettes from our own childhood (now branded as candy sticks), but in 1964 Cadet jumped on the Dalek bandwagon with these specially themed sweets. With artwork inspired by the Dalek Book, the candy contained one of 50 collectors cards which together made two separate stories featuring the Doctor and the Daleks. You can view some of the set below.


11: Cutta-mastic Doctor Who and the Daleks (Bell)

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Produced in 1965, the Doctor Who Cutta-mastic contained a heated wire tool alongside templates and several sheets of polystyrene which could be cut into Dalek shapes and painted.


10: Dalek Bagatelle (Louis Marx)

Produced in three versions in 1965, both oblong and small/large circular, bonus points could be scored for landing a ball in the Skaro pocket!


9: Astro Ray Dalek Gun (Bell)

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Another item with only a tentative link to the show itself, the Astro Ray Gun is however wonderfully 1960s! Released in 1965, the gun was a battery operated torch and dart gun.


8: The Dalek Oracle (Bell)

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Another piece from 1965, The Dalek Oracle was a variation of the Magic Robot game. The board is divided into two circles, with questions around the board. A small Dalek toy is placed at the centre of the first circle and turned so it points to a  question. Moving the Dalek to the second circle and placing it on a mirror, the Dalek magically spins to point to the correct answer which surrounds the circle.


7: Dalek Rolykins (Louis Marx)

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One of the most popular Doctor Who toys of the 1960s, Dalek Rolykins were around an inch tall with  detachable guns and eyestalk. Coming in three colours – black, silver and red, the Rolykins were unique for their distinctive ball bearing in the base feature, enabling the toys to glide across or down surfaces such as tables. Over one million units were sold by October of 1965.


6: Dalek Dressing Up Costume (Scorpion Automotives)

The ultra rare Scorpion Automotives Dalek Playsuit, 1964

One of the rarest Doctor Who items from the 1960s, the Dalek Dressing Up Costume was slated to be one of the must haves for fans at Christmas 1964. However, Scorpion Automotives’s Northampton factory was damaged by fire prior to launch and both the stock and all components for creating the suits were destroyed. The suit is now considered one of the holy grails of Doctor Who collecting.

The Berwick Dalek playsuit, 1965
The Berwick Dalek playsuit, 1965

In 1965, Berwick released a similar playsuit and Even Peter Capaldi had one!


5: Dodge the Daleks Game (Codeg)

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Noted as the first Doctor Who board game published, Dodge the Daleks is a simple roll and move game, players advancing their pawns and obeying instructions given on the board along the way. The track on the board winds in and out until one player reaches the Secret City and thus wins the game. However, if you encounter a Dalek along the way, you are knocked out of the game!


4: Clockwork Dalek (Codeg)

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The Cowan de Groot Ltd (Codeg) Mechanical Dalek featured a wind up key and clockwork action and came in either blue or black domes and studs.

“This realistic clockwork model moves along, gradually turning itself through 360 degrees. At the same time, the dome containing the seeing eye scans the horizon.”

Product Enterprise produced a replica Codeg Clockwork Dalek at the turn of the century; the eyestalk on the remakes is white and comes with all new box art.


3: The Dalek Book (Souvenir Press)

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Notable as being the first spin-off Doctor Who fiction, the 1965 Dalek Book (published 1964) featured six Doctorless comic strips in an annual-style publication alongside information on the Daleks, a Dalek dictionary and a photo-story about Susan meeting the Daleks, complete with images from Season One’s The Daleks.

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Telling the story of the Daleks’ attempts to invade the Solar System, the book fits well with later alternative Dalek lore established in the TV Century 21 Dalek Chronicles strips. The book was given added credibility, much like The Dalek Pocketbook, by being written by Terry Nation, this time alongside David Whitaker. The art was by Richard Jennings, John Wood and A.B. Cornwall.


2: Doctor Who in An Exciting Adventure With the Daleks (Armada)

 

This is DOCTOR WHO’s first exciting adventure – with the DALEKS! Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright travel with the mysterious DOCTOR WHO and his grand-daughter, Susan, to the planet of Skaro in the space-time machine, Tardis. There they strive to save the peace-loving Thals from the evil intentions of the hideous DALEKS. Can they succeed? And what is more important, will they ever again see their native Earth?

The first ever Doctor Who novelisation, An Exciting Adventure With the Daleks by David Whitaker, breaks continuity with the TV series by introducing both Ian and Barbera in a completely new and unique fashion, serving as a literary introduction to the series rather than a straight adaptation. The book, originally published in 1964, would be republished in 1972 by Target at the beginnings of their own famous range. The illustrations were by Arnold Schwartzman.

A full review of the book by Paul Driscoll can be read Here.


1: Marx Dalek (Louis Marx)

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The Louis Marx Dalek is one of the iconic pieces of merchandise from Doctor Who‘s long history, maybe the definitive toy associated with the show.

The original release stood a comparatively small 4.5 inches tall yet had friction drive and came in either black or silver. Marx would go on to release a bigger 6.5 inch battery-operated Dalek, also in black or silver, the edition most widely known. This edition, complete with a flashing light on the dome, would move around and turn should it bump into a solid object, known as bump and go. A further later version had a siren alongside the flashing lights.

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The battery operated versions of the Louis Marx Dalek were even used as stand-in Daleks for 1967’s The Evil of the Daleks. Which we say makes them canon!

Posted in Lists, News, Ongoing Series

We Rank the Doctor Who Christmas Specials From Worst to Best

It’s nearly that time again! The presents have been opened, Grandad has complained at the noise from Top of the Pops, everybody’s had too much chocolate and we’ve all pretended to listen to the Queen… it’s Doctor Who Christmas special time!

Neatly squeezed in before Strictly Come Dancing and the annual blood-letting on Albert Square, Doctor Who is usually the most Christmassy effort from the Beeb on Christmas Day itself. Taking the place of the old Only Fools and Horses Christmas Specials, Doctor Who has become something of a holiday tradition.

But what’s been the show’s best Christmas adventure? Personally, we’re all for The Feast of Steven, but we’ll restrict this list to the “official” Christmas specials from 2005 to present.

And a very merry Christmas to all of you at home!

10: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

A Christmas Carol was an unquantified success (more of that one later) but Steven Moffat’s second attempt at rehashing a tried and tested story fell somewhat short.

Possibly the peak of the Moff’s homages to the magic of fairytales, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe pales in comparison to the magic of Narnia and with a somewhat threadbare plot, the ents tree creatures being somewhat unmemorable and an ending that just takes Christmas schmaltz too far, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe takes last place in our festive top 10.

Bah humbug!


9: The Next Doctor

Like all the lower placed entires on this list, there’s little wrong with the episode in question. As part of a regular series, The Next Doctor would have been a solid 45 minutes… but maybe we expect something a little more memorable for the Christmas special.

While the initial conceit of Jackson Lake was intriguing on first broadcast, it loses something with repeat watching and the Cyber-King may have been a little too much of a spectacular even for RTD. Dickensian London is always welcome at Christmas however and there’s still much to enjoy in the episode.

Lets just not mention the Cybershades.


8: The Time of the Doctor

Anticipation was high for The Time of the Doctor, coming off the back of the 50th anniversary and the concluding part of “the Doctor’ trilogy, but in many respects the final episode of the Smith era wasn’t the send-off he deserved.

Smith himself was a revelation, putting in one of his finest performances in the role and there is something poetic about the Doctor spending his final days defending a single town against all the horrors of the universe, fixing children’s broken toys.

Yet the episode becomes bogged down with it’s own weight, erratically paced and with too many cameos, The Time of the Doctor ended up being largely confusing and at times even uninteresting, what casual viewers thought we can only imagine. Moffat’s strength is in emotional investment and delivery and despite it’s flaws however, Time certainly delivers a punch or two, particularly in it’s closing moments and Matt Smith’s final speech.


7: The End of Time: Part One

The End of Time doesn’t feel like a Christmas special at all, rather the big season finale we were accustomed to. With very little Christmas spirit, The End of Time instead can only be judged in storyline and acting terms.. and what acting it is.

Tennant saves possibly his best for last but with much of the meat (not a reference to the ravenous Master) of the story not taking place until the second part at New Year, The End of Time: Part One doesn’t really stand up on it’s own.

The Master’s plan of turning everyone into himself is a little “out there” even for him… luckily however it has Bernard Cribbins in it. And that counts for a couple of places in anybody’s ranking!


6: The Runaway Bride

After the success of the previous years Christmas Invasion, you can forgive Russell T. Davies for rehashing elements of the previous years story, but twice isn’t the charm and the likes of the robot Santas and Christmas tree don’t pay off as well the second time around.

Catherine Tate has an instant rapport with Tennant however, yet her debut isn’t her best, mellowing into the character so beloved by fans throughout Series 4, but the contrast with both Rose and Martha was a welcome one.


5: The Christmas Invasion

Controversy! Many fans still regard the first Christmas special as the epitome of the Doctor Who Christmas special. The episode certainly paved the way for every special that followed, acting as a brilliant debut for David Tennant, settling the nerves of those nervous of things to come following the departure of Christopher Eccleston.

The conceit of having the Doctor incapacitated for large parts of the action is a masterstroke, building anticipation for the entrance of the Doctor into the fray throughout the episode. And when he does… Tennant makes you forget anyone else had been the Doctor before him, stealing the show and simply being everything you wanted in the leading man.


4: Voyage of the Damned

Voyage of the Damned better than The Christmas Invasion? why yes.

We’re unashamedly fans of The Poseidon Adventure here at DWW, there never seemed to be a holiday it wasn’t on ITV back in the day, but Voyage of the Damned is far more than a cheap pastiche in space. With camp absurdity and drama in equal measure, Voyage of the Damned looked and sounded magnificent, completely encapsulating the Tennant era.

Despite all the positives, the villain Max Capricorn is something of a letdown and the sooner the Doctor’s “angel ascent” is forgotten the better.

All-in-all however, a throughly enjoyable Christmas romp, with action, danger, comedy and a dose of the RTD spectacular, all with that heartbreaking ending.


3: The Snowmen

The Snowmen is unusual in that it stood mid-season and didn’t have the benefit of being “free” from containing arcs, meaning that the fallout from the departures of Amy and Rory had to be felt within the episode. The result was a more somber and dark episode than many other years.

Jenna Coleman had immediate chemistry with Matt Smith’s Doctor, maybe thanks in part to having already worked together during Asylum of the Daleks, and the Paternoster Gang are on fine form, Strax in particular adding Christmas cheer amongst the gloom.

Richard E. Grant made for an effective villain, yet was possibly underused, an accusation that could be levelled at each of the Great Intelligence’s appearances in the ongoing series. For all it’s glories, the ending is poorly done and brings down the episode as a result.


2: Last Christmas

We said in our original review:

Compared to the run-around, family entertainment epics of Russell T Davies’ first Christmas specials, Last Christmas requires a great deal of concentration to fully appreciate its richness and complexity… But as the drama unfolds, those willing to invest in the episode will no doubt have discovered that once again Steven Moffat has come up trumps with another unique and mad concept.

As always in the tradition of Christmas Specials there are many visual gags right from the opening Christmas card shot of a Christmas Tree in front of a window pane complete with snow outside, the flying reindeer and Santa’s bigger on the inside sleigh are highlights of some effective CGI. Camera work, direction and music combine throughout to disoriente the viewer and remind us that what we are watching is a dream, from the moving walls in Clara’s house to the blurring of the alien faces.

Series Eight provided the Doctor Who canon with so many excellent speeches, but in this action packed, dreamy-weamy, drama it was the one liners that triumphed over longer speeches, with almost all of them reserved for the Doctor. From “Fantasy and reality… they are both ridiculous” to “”some things we should never be ok with” his economical words are frequently pointing to deep truths. Why others around him see him as a magician is not immediately obvious from this story and it is likely more a lead up to the next episode, but he certainly has a magical way with words.

And yet it is Danny Pink, the one character who wasn’t living the dream, who provides the words for the episode’s title. Last Christmas. Not quite strong enough to excise Wham’s song from my mind when hearing those two words side by side, but certainly a strong episode. There is unlikely to be anything better to grace our screens this Christmas.


1: A Christmas Carol

“What’s so special about Christmas?”

With everything else on this list, there was always a box left unticked. Maybe it wasn’t Christmassy enough, maybe the story wasn’t all that, maybe it was overhyped and a letdown, or maybe it even had everything.. but not quite enough magic… not so here. A Christmas Carol ticks all the boxes for what you want in the Christmas special.. and then some.

The Who take on Dicken’s classic doesn’t simply rehash the book and add sci-fi trimmings, it fleshes out a magical mythological morality tale (try saying that after a Christmas sherry!). Moffat’s “time-wimey” plotting is used to excellent effect with the perfect balance between drama and humour and  not too much schmaltz.

Matt Smith is at his young/old best here, both wise and zany and the great Michael Gambon gives the performance you’d expect from an actor of his calibre. Catherine Jenkins’ singing doesn’t feel shoehorned into the episode and the whole special is a triumph on every front.

Posted in Lists, Merchandise, News, Ongoing Series

Our Top 10 Last Minute Doctor Who Christmas Gifts

Every year after watching the Christmas episode of Doctor Who we wonder what would the Doctor have on his Christmas list? what do you get the guy that has everything?

The nights are getting colder, the Christmas lights are shining and River is dressed like Mrs. Claus. So whether you are buying for a child, partner, friend or family member we have the top ten presents of 2015 for any Doctor Who fan.

P.S: Don’t forget your Doctor Who gift wrap, Christmas cards, stocking and Christmas jumper!

Please click the title for purchase information.

“Dalek in Love” Banksy style Doctor Who T-Shirt

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Though this t-shirt says “mans” in the description you can get numerous colours from black and white to purple and blue so it can easily be unisex and just under ten pounds this is a really nice simple but awesome Christmas present


Doctor Who Lego Ideas Set

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Who is this Doctor? The Doctor is a centuries-old alien, a Time Lord who travels in time and space in his spaceship, the TARDIS (a blue police box), frequently with companions.

With the rumours of an appearance from the Doctor in the new Lego Movie, and his appearance in the new Lego Dimensions game, what better way to celebrate than by buying the new official Lego set! It might say age 10 and over on the box but everyone knows Lego has no age limit. Lego + Doctor Who = Fantastic!


Legends of Ashildr

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Ashildr, a young Viking girl, died helping the Doctor and Clara to save the village she loved. And for her heroism, the Doctor used alien technology to bring her back to life. Ashildr is now immortal – The Woman Who Lived. Since that day, Ashildr has kept journals to chronicle her extraordinary life. The Legends of Ashildr is a glimpse of some of those stories: the terrors she has faced, the battles she has won, and the treasures she has found. These are tales of a woman who lived longer than she should ever have lived – and lost more than she can even remember. An original novel featuring the Twelfth Doctor as played by Peter Capaldi, and Ashildr as played by Maisie Williams.

Four brand new tales for Maisie Williams’ Ashildr, one of the central characters of Series 9. For those unable to wait for Series 10 or hoping to get some background to Me, this is the book for you. With four stories in all, the book is a quick read but top value at just £9.99.


Doctor Who Colouring Book

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Planets, galaxies, villains, heroes, the Doctor, the TARDIS and the time vortex – all intricately illustrated in this timey-wimey colouring book packed with original Doctor Who art. With 45 stunning images to colour plus classic and timeless quotes from the beloved TV show, this out-of-this-world colouring book is perfect for any creative Doctor Who fan.

We have all seen the adult colouring books, but what’s better than sitting down to ink in some weird design? Hmmm…. We know! Colouring in Doctor Who scenes including a warped out TARDIS and Weeping Angels! Remember guys, keep in the lines!


Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales

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A stunning illustrated collection of fifteen dark and ancient fairy tales from the world of Doctor Who. These captivating stories include mysterious myths and legends about heroes and monsters of all kinds, from every corner of the universe. Originally told to young Time Lords at bedtime, these twisted tales are an enchanting read for Doctor Who fans of all ages. Written by Justin Richards and illustrated by David Wardle.

Once a upon a time on a planet far far away… Yeah that’s right! Lived a man called The Doctor, who doesn’t love a good old fairy tale? And what is every fairy tale missing we hear you ask? That’s right, a TARDIS!


Doctor Who Personalised Certificate

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Superb quality, Laser printed just for you using the finest quality paper and complete with a genuine Hologram – it really is the perfect gift for any Dr Who fan! Your Time Lord Certificate comes to you personalised with any name – This is an ideal and unique gift! Your personalised gift includes authentic PRYDONIAN ACADEMY script bordering your certificate and it is signed by Borusa and Dr Who’s favourite tutor Azmael of the PRYDONIAN ACADEMY Council and is complete with a genuine HOLOGRAM. The Perfect Present for any Dr Who fan – Order yours today!

Have you or a loved one ever dreamed about flying in a TARDIS and going to see all the wonders of time and space? Well we can’t offer that as a gift, but if a TARDIS ever lands on your doorstep with this certificate you now have every right to go and take the driving seat!


Doctor Who Inspired ‘Exterminate Pac-Man’ Sci-Fi Mug

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Inspired By Doctor Who. Shaw Tshirts use 3D sublimation technology to give your mug a high quality wrap-around print. Premium white 10oz ceramic mug.

Wait a minute, all the doctor had to do was go to the 70s, get Pac Man and take him to destroy all the Daleks… Well, that’s easier than sending his home planet to the end of the universe and destroying everything he holds dear. This mug is for anyone who loves gaming and Doctor Who


Doctor Who Large Neon Table Light

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Doctor Who blue neon light. 100% officially licensed merchandise. Suitable for ages 14+. Measures approx. 20cm x 44cm

Is it a night light? Is it a desk lamp? Or is it just anything you want it to be? This neon DW shaped lamp is for any Doctor Who fan who needs a bit of light in their life. The Doctor is always there when this light is shining.


Doctor Who Monopoly Game

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This brand new Monopoly game takes the players through the final days of the Eleventh Doctor and the first days of the Twelfth. With all the characters from the 50th Anniversary feature length special, and the winter Regeneration, as well as the first few episodes of Season 8, this is an exciting and thrilling ride into the Whoniverse. Also featuring 6 brand new playing tokens, it’s a great companion for Season 8.

Who doesn’t love a good bold board game at Christmas? And you can’t get any better than Monopoly! Oh wait you can now… With Doctor Who Monopoly! As a family we always fight over the top hat, car and iron (not really, who in their right mind wants to be the iron?) but if you get this we would be arguing a lot more! This is a must for a big family Christmas!


The War Doctor 1: Only the Monstrous

1.1 The Innocent

As the Daleks mass their time fleet for a final assault on Gallifrey, something ancient is waiting for them at Omega One. And a sacrifice must be made.

1.2 The Thousand Worlds

With the high-ranking Time Lord Seratrix behind enemy lines, the War Doctor finds himself assigned to a rescue mission. But any room for manoeuvre is severely restricted by an area of space known as the Null Zone.

1.3 The Heart of the Battle

Trapped in a citadel swarming with Daleks, the Time Lord rescue force must find a way to overcome insurmountable odds. With the Daleks apparently planning to rule the Null Zone, perhaps their thirst for universal conquest and victory has been quenched…

“Only the Monstrous [is] something more of a character piece than the bombastic Hollywood action spectacle we might have expected, combining the best elements of Big Finish’s Gallifrey range with new series scope and grandeur. With stand-out performances from Sir John Hurt and Jacqueline Pearce, Only the Monstrous builds both on the mythos of the Time War and that of the War Doctor, which Big Finish make their own here. With strong nods to Time Lord political shenanigans and strong action sequences, Only the Monstrous is quite firmly the opening salvo of a much longer story, yet it bodes well for the rest of this series and the ongoing legend of the War Doctor.” Full Review.

Who, Who, Who, a very merry Christmas to you all!

Posted in Comics, Lists, Merchandise, News, Ongoing Series

Our Ten Favourite Doctor Who Titan Comics Covers

Since winning the Doctor Who license, Titan have created a new golden age of Doctor Who in comic form, with stunning artwork and excellent writing. Here, we pick our own favourite ten covers, spanning across Titan’s many ranges. Which is your favourite?

The 12th Doctor: Year 2 #1
Jake Incentive Variant

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The Golden Years of the Doctor and Clara begin, as the Twelfth Doctor comics leap into Series 9!

Writer Robbie Morrison is back with a year-long extravaganza that kicks off with an excellent jumping-on point for new readers – while Rachael Stott (Star Trek) joins us as new regular series artist!

Available to preorder now from Forbidden Planet.


The 10th Doctor: Year Two #1
Jake Incentive Variant

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‘THE SINGER NOT THE SONG’, Part 1

A fresh new start to an all-new Year Two, as the Tenth Doctor ongoing series takes to the stars! Looking for rest and relaxation, the Tenth Doctor and companion Gabriella Gonzalez take a trip to Earth Station Presley, a mining platform around an enormous gas giant – and home to one of the most spectacular sensory experiences in the universe! The gas giant is a perfect example of human colonists living in harmony with indigenous life – in this case, the Shan’tee: conceptual beings perceived by humans as hauntingly beautiful music! But the Doctor and Gabby are walking straight into a war. Something has corrupted the song of the Shan’tee – a mysterious signal of unknown origin – and now the human colonists are trapped in a fight for their lives! Can the Doctor, Gabby, and a synesthetic scientist uncover the truth and bring the war to an end without further bloodshed or will the song consume them all? And why does Gabby feel like the alien foes she’s been facing are starting to rhyme…? Is there something less random and more sinister at work? Alternating art team Elena Casagrande and Eleonora Carlini continue their stratospheric rise, while writer Nick Abadzis plots an epic arc for the ages! Don’t miss the all-new chapter in the lives of the Tenth Doctor, Gabby and Cindy!

Available now from Forbidden Planet.


The 12th Doctor #16
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It’s the 2015 Doctor Who Holiday Special!

When a mysterious Christmas card materializes on the TARDIS console, Clara and the Doctor are pulled into an interdimensional adventure of astoundingly festive proportions! Packed with impossible sights and nigh-insurmountable stakes, this special issue also contains puzzles and games woven into the story!

Available now from Forbidden Planet.


The 10th Doctor #6
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When Gabby and the Doctor arrive by accident in No Man’s Land in July, 1916, they’re met by Corporal Jamie Colqhoun, a soldier who knows from bitter experience that there are worse things than the Jerries out in the rat-strewn trenches.

Things that drift through the smoke of a thousand cannon shells, and move only when you look away. Shadows that flit over artillery-blasted field hospitals and throw their terrifying wings over the living. Statues that steal your life in an instant. The Weeping Angels. But in a conflict where the life of young men is cheap and thousands die every day, are the Angels actually offering salvation? Trapped in the midst of a flock of starving Angels, the Doctor faces his most challenging and terrifying moral dilemma yet!

Available now from Forbidden Planet.


The 11th doctor #3
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The eleventh Doctor returns in an all-new ongoing series, with a time-twisting leap into the unknown! Geronimo!

Alice Obiefune has just lost her mother when the Doctor explodes into her life. But what does a grieving young woman have to do with the career of a 70s musician, an amnesiac alien time traveler, and a terrifying cosmic threat? In the wake of the second Big Bang, discover what the Doctor gets up to when Amy and Rory aren’t around!

Plus, every issue includes a ‘Titans’ strip and a brand-new humor strip.

Available now from Forbidden Planet.


The 10th Doctor: Year Two #6
Question 6 Variant

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The Doctor and Gabby are still caught between two factions as modern humanity is born. Neanderthals and Cro Magnons clash, and their actions will shape the direction taken by humankind in the millennia to come!

Plus: Cindy discovers an alarming secret back in NYC… and in deep space, Anubis grows impatient!

Available to preorder now from Forbidden Planet.


The 11th Doctor #13
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Two Emperors, and two halves of the Roman Empire, clash inside a freshly-exploded crater in 312 CE, just as the Doctor, Alice, and Jones attempt to solve the mystery of the horror that rode down to Earth aboard the titanic meteor that caused it! Plus, a surprise villain that threatens them all, one so secret there’s no way we’re mentioning them here!

Available now from Forbidden Planet.


The 9th Doctor #2
Alice X.Zhang

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Don’t miss the second thrilling installment of ‘Weapons of Past Destruction,’ an all-new miniseries adventure featuring the ninth Doctor, portrayed by Christopher Eccleston, along with fan-favorite companions Rose and Jack!

Available now from Forbidden Planet.


The 8th Doctor #2
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The Eighth Doctor and Josie Day start a universe-wide investigation!

First stop – Lumin’s World, home to a raging war between the near-extinct Calexi and the crystalline Spherions! When Josie is wounded in the crossfire, it’s up to the Doctor to strike a peace – and find a cure – before she dies!

Available now from Forbidden Planet.


The 4th Doctor #1
Alice X.Zhang

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Victorian England. A mysterious woman commands a hidden army in a house of the blind. Scryclops stalk the streets. and something alien and terrible screams from prehistory – with a hunger that cannot be satisfied!

The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith return for an all-new adventure: GAZE OF THE MEDUSA!

Available to pre-order from Forbidden Planet.

Posted in Audio, Big Finish, Classic Series, Lists, Merchandise, News

Ranking Our Ten Favourite Big Finish Fifth Doctor Adventures

Big Finish will this month celebrate release number 200 in their main series range, an astonishing landmark and testament to the hard work of all those involved over the years. The release, The Secret History, will conclude the so-called Locum Doctor’s trilogy and features the Fifth Doctor Peter Davison. So in celebration, we take a look back ourselves at some of the highlights of the Fifth Doctor at Big Finish, with those universally heralded.. and some equally surprising choices ahead.

Apologies in advance for leaving out Circular Time, it’s a lot of fans and regarded by many as a classic, but just like the show itself, there’s always such varied opinion and it makes no placing here, as doesn’t the also well regarded The Emerald Tiger, The Eternal Summer or even Prisoner of Fate. That such great titles were left out, including those to follow, show the great depth to the Big Finish back catalogue.

Some personal favourites that came close include Red Dawn (well we liked it!), The Eye of the Scorpion, Loups-Garoux, 1001 Nights, Phantasmagoria and how the excellent Butcher of Brisbane got left out…

Brave heart readers!


10: Heroes of Sontar by Alan Barnes

heroesofsontar-forweb.jpg_cover_largePlanet Samur was once a peaceful haven. Pilgrims journeyed across the seven galaxies to meditate in the courtyards of the vast Citadel that spanned its equator. It was Samur’s misfortune, however, to find itself situated on the furthermost frontier in the eternal war between the amoeboid Rutan Host and the belligerent, troll-like Sontarans… Twenty years after detonating a bacteriological weapon over Samur, rendering it uninhabitable, the Sontarans are back: a select platoon of seven has landed here on a secret mission, carrying sealed orders given to them by Fleet Marshal Stabb. The TARDIS has landed here, too, bringing the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa into the second great Battle of Samur. Fighting not only the Sontarans, but mystical mercenaries… and a deadly, decades-old curse.

We make no apology for it being on the list over some of the great titles listed above – we loved it! It’s one of those marmite titles that will either be loved or hated depending on how the listener reacts to the humour on display and essentially if you find it funny or not and “get” the many Dad’s Army references. Heroes of Sontar ends as being quite moving as an exploration of the Sontaran psyche as it deals with issues of fear, pride, honour and the futility of war.

Purchase via Amazon


9: The Bride of Peladon by Barnaby Edwards

Dw104_the_bride_of_peladon_-_web_-_bigPeladon will bathe in oceans of blood! A mysterious voice, a missing girl and a murdered queen. The Royal House of Peladon is once more plunged into intrigue, terror and death. The Doctor, Peri and Erimem must find their way through a treacherous labyrinth of lies if they are to distinguish friend from foe before it is too late. For deep beneath the Citadel of Peladon, something infinitely ancient and immeasurably powerful is stirring…

We love ourselves a bit of Peladon here at DWW as anyone who read our Favourite Companion Chronicles piece about this time last year will know. Paying faithful tribute to what was seen on TV while giving us a whole new take on this much explored planet and it’s culture, the gothic Bride of Peladon builds upon the mythology and sees the sad departure of Erimem, one of the more successful of the Big Finish companions.. she has her own book range know you know!

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8: Omega by Nev Fountain

Omega_(Doctor_Who)A strange telepathic message prompts the Doctor to travel to the ‘Sector of Forgotten Souls’, a place where, thousands of years ago, Omega’s ship vanished whilst detonating a star. He’s not the only one journeying towards it. ‘Jolly Chronolidays’ prides itself on giving its tourists an experience of galactic history that is far better than mere time travel. Its motto is ‘We don’t go into history, we prefer to bring history to you’. When Omega’s ship suddenly materialises in front of their shuttle, and one of their employees goes insane and tries to destroy his hands… suddenly it’s not just a motto anymore. And Omega – and his madness – is closer than they think.

2003 was an excellent year for Big Finish (until Zagreus at least), with all three villain plays (Omega, Davros and Master) being particular highlights. Even as the weaker of the three, Omega was a highly entertaining and intelligent script that brought out both the best in Peter Davison and the character of Omega, giving him depth beyond his raging megalomania, Ian collier returning to the role from Arc of Infinity… and the cliffhanger to Episode 3 is a corker! Plus, Treguard from Knightmare is in it so bow dow before it’s greatness!

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7: Cobwebs by Jonathan Morris

“You know what cobwebs mean. Spiders…”

20141119150532dwmr136_cobwebs_1417_cover_largeIn search of a cure for a sickness that’s so far claimed six billion lives, scientist Nyssa arrives at an abandoned gene-tech facility on the toxic planet Helheim. ‘Hellhole’, more like. Nyssa’s not alone. The TARDIS has also been drawn to the Helheim base – and in its cobweb-coated corridors, she soon runs into the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough, her travelling companions of half a century past. But who, or what, has engineered this strange reunion? The Black Guardian, perhaps? The answer’s here, in the dark. With the Cractids. In the cobwebs

Maybe a controversial choice over Jonathan Morris’ other noted Fifth Doctor audio The Eternal Summer, Cobwebs was a great reunion for the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough and we’ve always been big fans of predestination paradoxes, so this one had added interest. A strong script, Tegan (of course) stealing the show, sees all three companions duly cared for, which was often not the case in the famous crowded TARDIS on TV. A great piece of 80’s Who nostalgia.

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6: The Church and the Crown by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright

dwmr038_thechurchandthecrown_1417_cover_largeA nation divided. A Queen’s life at risk. A net of conspiracy closing in… Sometimes being a time travelling adventurer just isn’t easy… For a start there’s a temperamental TARDIS that lands a few thousand years off course in 17th Century Paris. But why shouldn’t the Doctor, Peri and their travelling guest Erimem take a look around the city on the morning of King Louis’s annual State Ball? As Peri becomes embroiled in a plot to kill Queen Anne and smash the unity of the Church and the Crown, the Doctor finds himself duelling Musketeers on the streets. With Peri missing, Erimem catching King Louis’ eye and a Musketeer’s sword at your throat, could things get any worse? Probably…

Being a fan of the Doctor Who historical and French history besides, this one was always going to make this list. Not taking itself too seriously (how could it), the Church and the Crown is a veritable romp that screams fun. With Nicola Bryant shining, she stands out amongst a strong cast that make the most of the quality and humorous material they’re given to work with. Fine performances all round, excellently plotted, it’s a rollercoaster of a swashbuckler here at number 6!

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5: Fanfare for the Common Men by Eddie Robson

dwmr178_1963fanfareforthecommonmen_1417_cover_largeIf you remember the Sixties, they say, then you can’t have been there. The Doctor remembers the Sixties. That’s why he’s taking Nyssa on a trip back to November 1963. Back to where it all began. Back to the birth of the biggest band in the history of British music. Back to see those cheeky lads from Liverpool… Mark, James and Korky. The Common Men. The boys who made the Sixties swing with songs like Oh, Won’t You Please Love Me?, Just Count To Three and Who Is That Man. The Doctor remembers the Sixties. And there’s something very wrong with the Sixties, if the Beatles no longer exist…

Eddie Robson’s tale of Commonmania deals with themes on the power of celebrity and was one of the standout highlights of the anniversary year. Fanfare for the Common Men is a quite genius riff on the Beatle’s legend that Paul McCartney was killed in the 1960s, being replaced by “Faul” and as a consequence is full of knowing nods to the Beatles history. But there’s something here for everyone with a cracklingly entertaining script, fantastic songs and a wonderful inflection of the 1960s as an era.  An essential purchase.

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4: Son of the Dragon by Steve Lyons

dwmr099_sonofthedragon_1417_cover_largeI am Prince Vlad III – son of Vlad the Great, and sovereign and ruler of Ungro-Walachia and the duchies of Amlas and Fagaras. But since my father’s murder, I have had another name. I am Dracula.

Son of the Dragon features Vlad Dracula played by James Purefoy, he of Joe Carroll fame via Fox’s The Following… does anything else need to be said? Purefoy’s performance is a joy and the script is full of dark gothic imagery, brutality and gives the regular cast such weighty material that they can’t fail to live up to the occasion as each bares differing struggles in this most harsh of historic climates. Magnificent.

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3: Iterations of I by Jonathan Morris and John Dorney

Iterations_of_I_D2The house on Fleming’s Island had been left to rot. Ever since a strange and unexplained death soon after it was built, and plagued with troubling rumours about what lurked there, it remained empty and ignored for decades until the Cult moved in. As twenty people filled its many rooms, the eerie building seemed to be getting a new lease of life. But now it is empty again. The cult found something in its corridors… and then vanished. Trapped on the island one dark night, the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric look into the building’s mysteries, its stories of madness and death. Their only chance is to understand what terrible thing has been disturbed here… before it consumes them utterly.

Adric.. what do you do about a boy like Adric? well, have two excellent adventures it seems. The Fifth Doctor Boxed Set was a revelation, with both Psychodrome and Iterations of I being quite brilliant in their own right, and as a package may even have topped this list.

We said in August 2014:

Iterations of I is the second story. It takes place on an Irish island in the 1980s; a time Tegan is broadly interested in getting back to. There they find a series of deaths that all appear to be linked to some mathematical computer program that results in the user standing there saying, “I…I…I…I…” So, yeah, that’s a bit creepy.

This story did a great job of incorporating 1980s technology, and better yet, it gave Adric a chance to really use his mathematics skills to make something of a difference. Say what you like about the kid, but his status as a math genius was something that was always at least somewhat interesting, and wasn’t ever used as much as it should have been during the TV series. Again, as with the first story, it was somewhat of an anti-climax when we discovered what was going on, but the story itself was fine, and not nearly as cutesy with the references as the first one. Also, again, good acting from all the supporting cast.”

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2: The Kingmaker by Nev Fountain

The_Kingmaker_coverDr Who encounters one of the most notorious characters from the past, as he journeys through time to solve the great Historical Mysteries… Not surprisingly the Doctor becomes mixed up with Richard the third himself, as he tries to unravel the perplexing problem of who exactly killed the Princes in the Tower. Peri and Erimem also encounter a suspicious time traveller. Someone from the Doctor’s own past. Someone who shouldn’t really be there at all. So who did murder the Princes in the Tower? Perhaps it’s best not to ask a question like that. You might not like the answer…

The funniest Doctor Who has ever been, The Kingmaker is a laugh-out-loud triumph and were it not for our first placed entry, would have run away with this list, the play being not only a Big Finish great but one of the truly great pieces of Doctor Who in the entirety of the canon. Juggling genuine drama, great characterisation and the ever present humour, Fountain gifts the cast a sparkling script, with all the regulars shining, particularly Peter Davison. The highlight however has to be the brilliant Stephen Beckett as a Mancunian Richard III, who we were so convinced was Christopher Eccleston we had to double check! (If Big Finish ever get to do the Ninth Doctor…) Sublime.

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1: Spare Parts by Marc Platt

Spare_PartsOn a dark frozen planet where no planet should be, in a doomed city with a sky of stone, the last denizens of Earth’s long-lost twin will pay any price to survive, even if the laser scalpels cost them their love and hate and humanity. And in the mat-infested streets, around tea-time, the Doctor and Nyssa unearth a black market in second-hand body parts and run the gauntlet of augmented police and their augmented horses. And just between the tramstop and the picturehouse, their worst suspicions are confirmed: the Cybermen have only just begun, and the Doctor will be, just as he always has been, their saviour…

What’s left to say about Spare Parts? Marc Platt’s tale is by far and away the best Fifth Doctor audio from Big Finish and potentially their greatest single release of all time. It is a play that leaves the listener genuinely affected, living long in the memory and very much the Cybermen’s Genesis of the Daleks, dare we say it may even be better?

We Said in 2014:

“Although Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis are the true pioneers of the idea of the Cybermen, Marc Platt comes into the mix by taking the tragic story of a people driven to the edge of despair, and give the story a human quality that is missing from other origin stories in Doctor Who, and also getting the full fear that Pedler had about dehumanising medicinal procedures with the not quite fully converted Cybermen on horseback (See the DWM picture for the full horror that brings). Platt also takes the human elements of the family struggle (with the Hartleys) and lets Nyssa fully grieve of the loss of not only Adric (though personally I jumped for joy when he died) , but also of the lose of Traken and her father with the scene of her and Yvonne decorating the tree. This little subplot give Nyssa a new level in her character that was never fully seen on screen. The Doctor is also given more depth with his own feelings on the Cybermen, knowing that he cannot directly stop the creation of them, but can convince the remaining population to avert their destiny, little knowing that in reality he himself is the main cause of that destiny being the template of all future Mondasian Cybermen. It is this twist that makes Spare Parts far more emotional in its feel over other audio’s, and in some ways other stories on TV.

Now I will get this out of the way, Spare Parts is my favourite Big Finish audio, it was the first that really got me into the Big Finish line. If anyone was to ask you of a starting audio, or you were thinking of an audio to jump on to start off with, then this is the one to go for. It gets a 10 out of 10 from me.”

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So there you have it, our ten favourite Fifth Doctor releases from Big Finish. As ever it’s all personal opinion so why not let us know your own favourites via Facebook, Twitter and the comments section.