Posted in 4th Doctor, Audio, Classic Series, Merchandise, News, Reviews

Review: Baker’s End – The King of Cats by Paul Magrs

Peevish actors are descending mournfully upon the remote English village of Happenstance for the funeral of TV legend Tom Baker. His one-time co-star Suzy Goshawk is sucked into a parochial vortex of intrigue involving the quailsome local vicar, Tom’s acidulous housekeeper Mrs Frimbly and various other fruminous scrumblebums. None of them can agree upon how Tom met his disastrous end and Suzy is starting to suspect that something murksome and swervish is going on. The snow comes down and Suzy finds herself trapped at Baker’s End for Christmas, with all the village’s creepy pensioners enslaved by a strange, dancing dragon… and a Sinister Presence lurking on the sidelines. Why are old ladies twerking their bottoms outside the post office-cum-mini-mart? Why is the vicar creeping about in the bushes in the dead of night? And why, just when all looks hopeless, does a strange, scobberlotching creature sproing into view? Who exactly is The King of Cats in his furry costume and his battered golden crown? Also, there are elderly mumblecrusts who shoot lasers out of their knockers.

beYou may think that you’ve heard almost everything that audio has to offer, that the life and times of Tom Baker are whimsically madcap.. but you’ve seemingly got a grasp on the triumvirate of the man, the myth and the legend… but you clearly haven’t had the pleasure of Baker’s End, the latest collaboration between Baker and writer Paul Magrs. Heavy on the meta and the surreal, the first episode of Baker’s End, The King of Cats is exactly what you’d expect if Tom were let loose on the world – part Alice in Wonderland, part Roald Dahl, part evidence in an insanity accusation.

Suzy Goshawk, a one-time co-star of Tom (played by the ever wonderful Katy Manning) is on the way to Happenstance, a quaint English village, for the sad occasion of the passing of Tom Baker. While nobody seems to know how exactly Tom met his end, it seems he’d been acting strangely of late, believing fans had been replaced by doppelgängers. Failing to find answers, Suzy is soon cut-off from the outside world by a snowstorm and forced to spend Christmas at the late Tom Baker’s former residence. Soon things take a surreal and sinister turn with Suzy confronted by twerking old ladies, tarot readings, sinister buskers, an odd man in a cat costume and much much more besides.

There was a danger given the subject-matter, the death of Tom Baker, the script could have become morbid, somber or even descend into bad taste, yet Paul Magrs has crafted both a symbolically moving and funny script while remaining at his most surreal, playing homage to the dark and macabre visions of Tom Baker. Gripping, yet proceeding at a gentle pace, we can’t help wishing the play had been longer, particularly with a somewhat hasty finish. Yet there are enough questions raised to whet the appetite for the second instalment and you can’t help but wonder what the minds of Baker and Magrs can possibly come up with next.

Making his grand entrance into proceedings at the halfway point, this is Tom firmly in his element, relishing the rich material offered by Paul Magrs and clearly having a whale of a time throughout, dominating (yet never overshadowing) proceedings as only Tom can do. Yet this is not a solo offering and Katy Manning is more than her co-stars equal here, playing off Baker wonderfully, her straight role acting as the perfect juxtaposition to Tom’s insanity. Susan Jameson (Mrs Wibbsey in the Nest Cottage Trilogy) meanwhile returns to familiar ground as Tom’s sinister housekeeper Mrs Frimbly. Given Tom’s delightful performance, this is very much peak Tom Baker, yet we’re never quite sure how much is “acting” and how much is Tom being Tom. It’s both amazing and incredibly worrying to believe this sort of thing might just happen to him every day.

Whimsical, macabre and delightfully bonkers, Baker’s End will not be for everyone. Full of enough Doctor Who references to please fans however, those who’d enjoy a collision between Magr’s Nest Cottage plays and Tom novel The Boy Who Kicked Pigs will find much to adore here.  A recommended release from Bafflegab Productions and a highly encouraging start to the series with the second episode, Gobbleknoll Hall, released this November.

Advertisements
Posted in 7th Doctor, Audio, Classic Series, Merchandise, News

Big Finish Release Maker of Demons Starring Sylvester McCoy

Big Finish have released the latest in their main ongoing range, Maker of Demons starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor alongside Bonnie Langford as Mel and Sophie Aldred as Ace.

dwmr216_makerofdemons_1417_cover_large

Decades ago, the mysterious time-travelling Doctor and his cheerful companion Mel became the toast of the planet Prosper, when they brokered a peace between the native Mogera and humans from the colony ship The Duke of Milan. But when the TARDIS at last returns to Prosper, the Doctor, Mel and their associate Ace find only a warzone. The burrowing Mogera have become brutal monsters, dominated by their terrifying leader Caliban – and it’s all the Doctor’s fault!

Written by Matthew J Elliott, Maker of Demons also stars Lucy Briggs-Owen, Rachel Atkins, Ewan Goddard and Aaron Neil.

Maker of Demons will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until October 31st 2016, and on general sale after this date. The title is available now at BigFinish.com and available to preorder via the Amazon link below.

Posted in Classic Series, DVD, Blu-Ray & iTunes, Merchandise, News

Realtime’s Mindgame and Mindgame Trilogy to Get DVD Release This November

Koch Media, the company behind the rerelease of 1995’s Downtime, are to bring both instalment’s of Realtime’s Mindgame saga to DVD for the first time

Produced during the great hiatus, Mindgame (1997) and Mindgame Trilogy (1999) both star Ace actress Sophie Aldred and will be remastered on DVD under the combined title of Mindgame Saga. Featuring new “Making of” bonus features as well as a new retrospective documentary, the title will be released on November 14 of this year.

14316723_1272969392722796_2081998182778525623_n

Mindgame by Terrance Dicks

For all fans of classic Doctor Who. First and only time these two classic Doctor Who monsters have appeared on screen together! The Sontarans and Draconians return in this drama starring Sophie Aldred. A Sontaran, a Draconian and a human are trapped in a cell together by a mysterious alien and must fight each other to survive.

Mindgame Trilogy by Terrance Dicks, Miles Richardson and Roger Stevens

Battlefield by Terrance Dicks.

Field-Major Sarg is in trouble. Trapped, wounded and alone on a battle-scarred planet, he is forced to accept he may die. But at least it will be a glorious death – or so he hopes…

Prisoner 451 by Miles Richardson

To be or not to be, that is the question! On trial for subversion, he faces the ultimate penalty. If only she knew the trouble she’d caused…

Scout Ship by Roger Stevens

A dying ship drifting in space. A pilot faced with certain death. Time may be relative… but it still runs out!

Mindgame Saga is available to preorder now via the Amazon link below, the DVD will be released on November 14 and features a 20 minute retrospective, Photogallery & a PDF of the original script – including lost scenes.

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

81ihfzxatxl

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.

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 1st Doctor, 2nd Doctor, Classic Series, News, Opinion

DWW Readers Sound Off on Remaking Missing Doctor Who Classics

Following the immensely positive reaction to BBC Four’s remaking of the lost 1957 Hancock’s Half Hour episode The New Neighbour, which stars Kevin McNally as the Lad Himself, we asked our followers whether they’d ever consider accepting similar remakes of the missing episodes from Doctor Who‘s history.

Stone me!
Stone me!

The reaction was generally positive from fans, with many saying the approach is something they’d be keen to see.

Many readers were keen to see David Bradley, star of 2013’s An Adventure in Space and Time, return to the fold as the First Doctor in particular.

Other’s however weren’t so positive, preferring animation or extra money for the Ongoing Series.

For our own take, we’d love to see remakes of the lost classics but would hope they would remain faithful to the original episodes in terms of both script and set design, should they ever happen. The recent success of the Star Trek franchise, where iconic characters such as William Shatner’s Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock have been recast has shown appetite is there, but for us they maybe shy too far away from the original source material, the BBC’s recent Lost Sitcoms being far closer to what we’d like to see.

But if it came to having a choice between animation or remakes, it’d be a much more difficult choice to make… why not let us know your thoughts on social media or via the comments?

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

Whatever Happened to The Power of the Daleks?

Fifty Years since its initial broadcast, The Power of the Daleks will finally be seen again, in newly animated form, when the BBC release all six episodes this coming November.

But what happened to the original film recordings?

The master tapes of the complete serial were erased at Villiers House in 1974 (even though they weren’t “officially” junked), while the additional 35mm film negative of Episode 6 was junked by the BBC Brentford film library some time prior to 1970. Due to an error on the library film card, there has been long speculation that the Brentford record indicates that Power of the Daleks 6 was not “officially” junked and the film can remains missing, indicating the episode made its way onto the black market. This is not the case however and the error is a mere double entry, the film being junked that year.

Due to restrictions on sales of Dalek episodes placed by the Terry Nation estate between late 1966 and December of 1967 (Nation refusing permission to sell the Dalek stories while he was trying to sell his spin-off Dalek series in the United States), the likes of The Power of the Daleks saw relatively few international sales compared to stories around them. BBC Enterprise had two 16mm copies of the serial for foreign sales, the first of which was sent to Australia for July 1967 broadcast. The films were all returned to the BBC and junked on June 4, 1975. The second foreign-held copy has long been the source of much speculation, having been sent first to New Zealand for broadcast in August of 1969 and then sent on to Singapore in January of 1972 for broadcast in May of that year. The fate of the prints is unknown and Singapore says that it currently holds no material. The serials sent as part of the batch to RTS were The SavagesThe SmugglersThe Tenth Planet and The Power of the Daleks.

daleks-1
The newly animated Power of the Daleks is released this November.

Various clips from the landmark story still exist, taken from other programming, alongside 8mm footage filmed off-air by an Australian fan, which includes the first moments of the Second Doctor in the TARDIS.

Due to its key status as the first story to feature Patrick Troughton, its status as a classic of the era and of course it being a Dalek story, Power has long been one of the “holy grails” of missing episode hunting. The story has been subject to rumours and hoaxes ever since the 1980s, even though the Singapore prints are realistically the only hope of recovering the serial in its entirety, beyond the possibility of episodes marked for junking being purloined in London.

One of the earliest and most persistent rumours was that the serial was shown in its complete form in 1986 in Ghana, as reported in Doctor Who Bulletin #105 in September of 1992, when contacted over the matter the station claimed that the archive had burned down in 1989 (which was relayed in DWB #107). However, Ghana never bought the serial and there is no record of the Ghanian archives ever suffering such a fate.

In December of 1990 it was reported that a private collector was in possession of a poor quality copy of Episode 2 and episode hunter Bruce Campbell was in negotiation for the return of the episode. The return of the episode hinged, perhaps unbelievably today, on the collector receiving a copy of an extended Laserdisc edition of Aliens, a product only available at the time in the United States. Despite obtaining the Laserdisc, the Power episode never surfaced and the incident can only be put down as a hoax on the part of the collector.

Rumours later spread that a consortium of dealers bought a 35mm film print of Episode 1 for the princely sum of £15,500. No record exists of the episode in question having ever been on 35mm film, the BBC having recorded little of the show on the format and by 1994 further rumours spread of an oil-rig worker being in possession of Episode 2 of the serial, for which he’d paid £5000. A hoax in 2001 meanwhile said that Episode 3 had been located and sent to the BFI and the notorious Darren Gregory claimed at various points to be in possession of all or part of the serial.

All episodes of the serial are believed to have been destroyed
All episodes of the serial are believed to have been destroyed

The serial was the subject to a notorious earlier hoax in the 1990s when a collector in Australia attempted to defraud others out of material by using stills from surviving clips of the episode, the clips in question having featured in a 1974 edition of the education series Perspectives entitled C For Computer. The “Dalek production one” clip was later returned to the BBC.

The 2013 return of The Web of Fear and Enemy of the World brought a new level of speculation as all manner of rumours and hoaxes combined into the so-called “omnirumour” of which Power of the Daleks was often stated to have been recovered. That a recovered Power had a special screening for select individuals at the BBC was regularly speculated alongside insistence that the story would be the final release of the Doctor Who DVD range in 2016, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Patrick Troughton taking the role. Which we guess might somehow have actually come true! Of course these rumours were equally encased within tales of 97 episodes being recovered and regular DVD releases of material.

Yet others told tales of The Power of the Daleks being found “independently” of the main search alongside The Daleks Masterplan and yet in January of 2014 there seemed to be something more concrete as information surfaced that both Power and Evil had possibly been broadcast in Taiwan.

While rumours continue to persist to this day, the new animation from the BBC perhaps shows that the Beeb find little confidence in ever recovering the episodes and hold no information to the contrary. The excellent new production is the best that we could possibly hope for and the first chance most fans will get to see them in a broadcast medium. Here’s hoping for many more to come!

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 8th Doctor, Audio, Big Finish, Classic Series, Merchandise, News

Limited Edition Chimes of Midnight Vinyl Released This Month

Big Finish have announced that their special limited vinyl edition of The Chimes of Midnight is to be released this month, being brought September 15.

cn9rhpqxyaaol7m-jpg-large

The new set contains the original episodes across six sides, with a bonus fourth disc containing a brand new documentary talking to many who were involved in the production.

“Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring…

But something must be stirring. Something hidden in the shadows. Something which kills the servants of an old Edwardian mansion in the most brutal and macabre manner possible. Exactly on the chiming of the hour, every hour, as the grandfather clock ticks on towards midnight.

Trapped and afraid, the Doctor and Charley are forced to play detective to murders with no motive, where even the victims don’t stay dead. Time is running out.

And time itself might well be the killer…”

[toggles behavior=”accordion”]
[toggle title=”Cast”]Paul McGann (The Doctor)
India Fisher (Charley Pollard)
Louise Rolfe (Edith)
Lennox Greaves (Mr Shaughnessy)
Sue Wallace (Mrs Baddeley)
Robert Curbishley (Frederick)
Juliet Warner (Mary)[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Crew”]Written By: Robert Shearman
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards
Sound Design: Andy Hardwick @ ERS
Music: Russell Stone
Cover Art: Tom Webster[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Details”]Number of Discs: 4
Duration: 120′ approx
Physical Retail ISBN: 978-1-78575-333-6
Production Code: BFPDWCD8GLP
Recorded Dates: 17 and 18 January 2001
Recorded At: Bristol
Product Format: 4-disc LP (vinyl)[/toggle]
[/toggles]

Strictly limited to 500 copies, The Chimes of Midnight be be released on September 15 and is available to preorder now from BigFinish.com for £79. The digital version is also still available priced £2.99, while the physical CD can be purchased via the amazon link below.

Posted in 3rd Doctor, Classic Series, Comics, Merchandise, News

The Third Doctor #1 Coming Soon from Titan Comics, Paul Cornell Writes

Paul Cornell, whose work on Doctor Who includes many classic novels and the episodes Father’s Day and Human Nature, returns to the Doctor Who universe as Titan Comics add the Third Doctor to their ever expanding list of ranges, Christopher Jones providing artwork for The Heralds of Destruction.

Synopsis

When something enormous crashes into Bedfordshire, the Doctor, Jo Grant, and the forces of UNIT under Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart mobilise immediately – and find themselves in the middle of a pitched battle against a terrifying invader… But the shocking face that awaits their return to base may tip the whole world off its axis!

Cover

Sample

DrWho

The Third Doctor #1 will be released on September 14 and can be ordered via Forbidden Plant.

https://forbiddenplanet.com/static/js/affiliates.js

new FP.Widget({
query: “3rd doctor #1 Titan”,
affiliate: “DWA”,
size: 10,
width: 750,
height: 500,
sort: “popularity”,
layout: “box”,
newwindow: false
});

A collected edition of The Third Doctor range from Titan can be preordered via the Amazon link below.