Doctor Who Feeds

REPORT: ‘The Underwater Menace’ animation at the BFI Southbank

Blogtor Who - Mon, 10/23/2023 - 16:00
This past weekend BlogtorWho was lucky enough to be in attendance for the world premiere of the new animation of partially missing Doctor Who story ‘The Underwater Menace’.

When ‘The Abominable Snowmen‘ animation was released last year the prospect of further releases seemed unlikely. However, it is now the choice of story which has been perhaps the most unlikely. ‘The Underwater Menace‘ is not an obvious choice to receive the animation treatment. For a start, only half of the four episodes are missing from the BBC archive. As is the prevailing methodology, all four episodes have been animated in both colour and monochrome. This includes the surviving episodes 2 and 3. Saturday saw the world premiere of these animated colour episodes.

Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace at BFI Southbank – Dick Fiddy and Justin Johnson (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Hosting the event once again were Justin Johnson and Dick Fiddy kicking things off with the customary quiz. During a recent trip Johnson recorded an introduction with actress Anneke Wills, who played Polly in the original story and narrated the novelisation audiobook. This was certainly a story which stood out in her memory and one which holds fond memories. It was a lovely addition to the day and tied the event back to the original production via a member of the cast.

The Animated Underwater Menace

I have to admit to not being the biggest enthusiast for ‘The Underwater Menace‘. Whilst the audience laughed along with the adventure, I’ve never considered that it was written as a comedy. The performances are over the top yes but it is played as a drama. When the dialogue generated a laugh it hadn’t been written to that end. That said, watching the animation I did enjoy the story. Unfortunately, the little nuances of Patrick Troughton’s performance can’t be easily captured through animation. Thank goodness we have two episodes to enjoy those moments. Instead the animation focuses on telling the story and does a commendable job in doing so.

Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace at BFI Southbank – Dick Fiddy and Mark Ayres (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

As anyone who has seen the promotional imagery will have noticed there have been some design changes. The temple of Amdo looks far more impressive than it did in studio. The fish people actually look like fish people. Other edits have also been made with a decision not to show Zaroff drowning. No wonder it was cut by the Australian censors! Instead the animation creates an amusing encounter with Zaroff’s pet octopus. Purists may not like it but telling the story in a different medium necessitates certain changes. As a member of the audience it was more important that it worked as a piece of entertainment. Given the entirely positive reaction it would appear that ‘The Underwater Menace‘ is another successful animation.

Guests and Interviews

Following the first two episodes, audio magician Mark Ayres joined Dick Fiddy on stage to discuss the process of preparing the soundtrack in order to be paired with the animated visuals. Ayres explained how the bulk of the audio was provided from the off air recordings made by Graham Strong. It is astonishing to consider that the only UK broadcast of ‘The Underwater Menace‘ has been used for this release. Even the restored versions of the surviving episodes 2 and 3 use Graham Strong’s off air recording because it is of better quality than the sound on the film prints. There was also the addition of minor sound effects. It’s pure alchemy and huge credit to Mark Ayres for his incredible work!

Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace at BFI Southbank – Justin Johnson, Annemarie Walsh, Charles Norton and Paul Hembury (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Concluding the event Director Annemarie Walsh, special features collator Charles Norton and Producer Paul Hembury joined Justin Johnson on stage to discuss the animation. It was particularly interesting to hear Annemarie Walsh explain that rather than look specifically at existing footage the main resource point is the original camera script. Whilst of course audience members were keen to hear about this particular animation, the overwhelming desire was to learn if any future animations in the pipeline. Although obviously restricted in what he could say in public Paul Hembury did confirm that more animations were planned. This was met with great excitement but largely relief from the audience!

Sadly the next title could not be revealed but kudos to Justin Johnson for trying to find out!

Beyond the Premiere

After the screening event in NFT1 festivities continued in the BFI bar with the Quiz of Rassilon (the team we were in came 6th out of 14). Although it appeared not to be a sellout event, which has become customary for Doctor Who events at the BFI, there were also significant transport difficulties encountered by some due to the recent poor weather caused by Storm Babet. However, the positive reaction by those who were in attendance confirms a desire for more Doctor Who events at the BFI and animations in future. The future is looking positive for more animation releases in 2024.

BlogtorWho would like to thank all of those at the BFI for their hospitality.

Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace is available to preorder now from HMV, Amazon and other retailers. The title will be released on DVD, BluRay and on limited edition steelbook next month.

The post REPORT: ‘The Underwater Menace’ animation at the BFI Southbank appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

More Doctor Who Animations on the Way

Blogtor Who - Mon, 10/23/2023 - 14:00
At this week’s British Film Institute showing of Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace, news broke that there are more animations on the way

The premiere of the latest Doctor Who animation, The Underwater Menace took place last week. During the following Q&A the team were able to confirm that there are more animations of lost 1960s stories on the way. The assembled fans were told “there is more coming.” But hopes of plans to complete the entire missing back catalogue were tempered. “We do them one at a time,” it was explained, each new production being commissioned based on the sales of the previous one. The good news is that pre-orders of Underwater Menace appear to have been strong enough to justify the next commission. But with 12 remaining stories with one or more missing episodes not yet replaced by animation, there’s obviously some way to go yet.

BBC Studios aren’t ready to unveil the title of the next story, though, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that. Blogtor Who does understand, however, that the plan will again be to animate a complete story, even if some episodes are still surviving. That’s been the pattern for several releases now and seems set to continue.


Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace Steelbook (c) BBC Studios First comes next month’s release of Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace

Since its original announcement, there’s also been an update on The Underwater Menace. Its final release date is the 13th of November, and the cover art for the DVD, Blu-ray and Steelbook editions are out now too.

As previously reported, the four part story which sees the Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie battle the obsessed Professor Zaroff for the fate of Atlantis, features:

Disc One
  • The Underwater Menace – Colour Animation of all four episodes
  • The Underwater Menace – Black and White Animation of all four episodes
Disc Two
  • The Underwater Menace – with surviving Episodes 2 and 3, and reconstructed 1 and 4
  • A Fishy Tale – Making of Documentary
  • Australian Censor Clips
  • The Man from Miditz
  • Frazer Hines Introduction for Episode 2 from the original VHS release
  • BBC News Report (South Today)
  • BBC Radio Solent Piece (audio only)
  • Photo Gallery
  • Animation Gallery
  • PDF material including camera script


Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace Blu-ray (c) BBC Studios Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace

The Doctor and his friends find themselves in the lost city of Atlantis, where the crazed Professor Zaroff has convinced the people of Atlantis that he can raise their sunken city from beneath the sea. However, the Doctor discovers a terrible secret behind Zaroff’s plan – a secret that could destroy all life on Earth. As the countdown commences to the end of the world, can the Doctor defeat the underwater menace?

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REVIEW: Doctor Who: Once Upon a Time Lord

Blogtor Who - Mon, 10/23/2023 - 07:00
Dan Slott makes his Doctor Who debut in a pair of stories that showcase both his love of the show and his mastery of the comics medium

It might be said that a Time Lord, like a wizard. is never late. He arrives precisely when he means to. Well, perhaps not in the Doctor’s case. With them it’s more of a case of arriving exactly when they need to, whether they meant to or not. The same could be said of Doctor Who: Once Upon a Time Lord, originally slated by Titan Comics to appear last year. But it finally hits comic book shop shelves just as the anticipation, and promotion, of David Tennant’s return to Doctor Who builds to a white hot intensity. So late or not, Dan Slott’s celebration of the Tenth Doctor couldn’t be better timed.

Not that it’s been an easy wait. It was clear from the very first announcement way back when that Once Upon a Time Lord would see Titan Comics really pushing the boat out. Dan Slott is one of the real modern superstars of the comic book writing world. Meanwhile Adam Hughes must be one of the most celebrated cover artists of all time, here lending his skills to a typically jaw dropping beautiful image of the Doctor and Martha for the Direct Market edition. More than that, there’s the familiar pencils and brushes of the brilliant Christopher Jones, Matthew Dow Smith, and Mike Collins. All in all, this was always shaping up to be a must have Doctor Who book.


Firelight sees Martha Jones abducted by creatures hungry for new stories. Art by Christopher Jones and Matthew Dow Smith (c) Titan Comics Lead story Firelight throws “everything, including the kitchen sink” at creating a Doctor Who adventure to break even a Disney+ budget

Slott’s most famous among comic fans for his long run charting the adventures of Peter Parker in Marvel’s Spider-Man books. And here he brings all his skill and knowledge of the medium to bear on the Doctor’s world. But never fear, our hero doesn’t take to the rooftops of New York with a sock over his head, even if he keeps a certain cheeky wit in common with Queens’ finest. In fact, Slott has been a massive Doctor Who fan since his youth. As a result, both stories here combine a loving recreation of the show with a great understanding of this medium..

In lead story Firelight, in his own words Slott throws “everything, including the kitchen sink” at it. The result is a series of spectacles to stretch the budget of a James Cameron epic never mind teatime BBC One. For instance, Christopher Jones’ alternate cover depicts the Doctor riding a werewolf at the head of a stampede of aliens from across 60 years of Who. Many of you, like Blogtor, probably casually assumed that this was just a fun, exciting image. That it actually depicts a genuine moment from the story gives a sense of just how audacious and wild a (werewolf) ride this is.


The Doctor faces many foes in Firelight, including the Sycorax! Art by Christopher Jones and Matthew Dow Smith (c) Titan Comics Full of easy charm, Firelight also provides a deliciously clever ending

Martha Jones has been kidnapped by the Pyromeths, mythical aliens from the dawn of time who feed on stories. As long as her stories entertain them, she lives. She stops, and she dies. Fortunately she knows a man who’s inspiration enough to supply 1,001 tales, though three will do tonight. It’s these stories within a story that allows Firelight to be such riotous fun without stretching credulity too far. Though it’s equally fun as we cut back regularly to the Pyromeths doing their best impression of a certain sort of reader (“That’s not how stories work!”) as Martha does her best to placate them. It all leads up to a desperately clever and satisfying ending.

The striking art from Smith and Jones (honestly, you couldn’t make it up) is equally playful and witty. Tennant and Agyeman, alongside the various guest stars from the show’s history are captured to the last swaggering eyebrow while retaining every volt of comic book energy. There’s even space for a cheeky little cameo by Raiders of the Lost Ark actor Wolf Kahler. He pops up as, what else, a Nazi officer hunting for the ultimate weapon in an Egyptian tomb.


The Doctor braves ancient Osirian death traps in his quest for the most valuable thing in the universe. Art by Christopher Jones and Matthew Dow Smith (c) Titan Comics Back up story Rhyme or Reason plays with an equally clever idea perfect for the medium, rounding out a hardback volume perfect for Santa to leave under the Christmas tree

The storytelling motif continues in back-up strip Rhyme or Reason. This time our storyteller is the Doctor as he recounts one of his adventures with Rose to Martha. (She’s delighted, naturally.) But, if anything, this Ninth Doctor story sees Slott make even more wonderful use of the comics medium. It’s a tale whose central conceit feels both absolutely Whoish and like a proper big SF idea about the ever convenient universal translator. It’s also one that would be challenging to depict on TV to say the least. And it’s all the better for the presence of Mike Collins’ art. His Eccleston positively vibrates with a hyperactive energy that defies the printed page. Meanwhile, if Billie Piper has always seemed like a Jack Kirby heroine who somehow stepped into the real world, Collins effortlessly accomplishes the return journey.

Both stories, along with an all too brief interview with Slott himself, come bound in a beautiful hardcover. It’s a format that will instantly send European readers of a certain age straight back in time to the days of British annuals reprinting classic Batman issues. (Though, don’t worry, there’s no random snippet of ongoing subplots involved the ghost of Hugo Strange to leave you bemused.)

You can almost smell the paper-based nostalgia. And with two more volumes planned for 2024 and 2025, we may be at the start of a new tradition. One where both the BBC Books Official Annual, with its quizzes and features, and Titan’s latest hardback of exciting adventures sit side by side next to the stockings of fans young and old on Christmas morning.

If so, based on the quality of this first entry in the range, let’s hope it’s a tradition long continued.


Doctor Who: Once Upon a Time Lord. Cover by Christopher Jones (c) Titan Comics Doctor Who: Once Upon a Time Lord

Doctor Who: Once Upon a Time Lord is on sale 7 November, 2023 at bookstores, comic shops and digital.

Pre-order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Forbidden Planet in the UK.

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REVIEW: Gallifrey War Room: Manoeuvres

Blogtor Who - Sat, 10/21/2023 - 17:00
The Time Lords are more interested in fighting among themselves in four stories of plots and counter-plots

As large as it looms in the modern Doctor Who mythos, depicting the Time War itself has always been a task fraught with difficulties. Most properly it should be an obscene, unknowable, tangle of chaos and fear. Time War stories should really be the sort of fare that would leave David Lynch at the end credits, spluttering confused noises. Understandably there’s not much market for plots that make no sense at all. So instead Time War stories tend to be more stand up shooting war affairs, full of laser gun battles and strategic intrigues. Time Lords being Time Lords, of course, there’s a lot of intrigues and political maneuvering to go around. In fact, Gallifrey War Room: Manoeuvres seems ultimately named for Cardinals Ollistra and Rasmus’ machinations against each other rather than anything on the field of battle.

Meanwhile, Narvin’s Resistance is another cook in the Time War kitchen. As noble and heroic as their aims may be, trying to win the war without stooping to the extreme tactics of Rassilon and Ollistra, they still call to mind a third party voter, handing victory to the worst possible side rather than cast a vote for an imperfect one. Though there’s a lot of blame to go around in these four stories. The Daleks are largely sidelined, off conquering and enslaving the universe, while all three Time Lord factions engage in squabbles that seem increasingly petty.


Various factions become obsessed with the potential of new weapon Bolt, but their loss of perspective may be the point

The set is opened and closed by stories from Katharine Armitage. Both deal with the fate of the planet Orison, an old ally of Gallifrey’s which is protected from the war by a storm of Time Winds permanently encircling it. But those winds are caused by a fiery substance, Bolt, which flows freely through the world’s river network. In Collaborators Rasmus believes it can power the Time Lords’ next great superweapon and wants Leela and the General to help negotiate terms for exporting 50% of it off world. Ollistra and Velkin, naturally, have more ruthless ambitions. Meanwhile, the Resistance have arrived to stop anyone from getting their hands on it.

We circle back to Orison in Ambition’s Debt. By now the Daleks, too, enter the game with plans of their own for Bolt. While Ollistra’s traps within games within schemes within plans are about to either pay off magnificently or blow up in her face. In a way Artimage stands on a similar knife edge with her scripts. If Rasmus’ proposed weapon really was a game changer, the Time War’s version of the A Bomb, the extreme lengths and sacrifices seen here would make sense. As it is, Bolt will simply make Time Lord stasers go ‘PEW! PEW!’ instead of ‘pew! pew!’

But perhaps this is a deliberate commentary on Time Lord single-mindedness. Getting one up on each other becomes an end to itself. All perspective on the actual value of the objective being lost might well be the point of these stories. Even the Daleks’ grotesque plans for Bolt, once revealed, feel like they were pulled from a filing cabinet marked “Really Nasty Stuff to Pass the Time on a Boring Day,” rather than something to actually change the course of the war.


The addition of the General’s naive young niece Cresta adds another colour to the War Room’s palette

Sandwiched between the two are Remnants by Georgia Cook and Transference by Fio Trethewey. These middle episodes mainly concern themselves with introducing new cast member Cresta. Initially, a question mark hangs over the General’s decision to personally lead a contact mission to a far flung science whose check-in is overdue. But all becomes clear with the reveal that his niece Cresta is one of the research scientists there. In fact, she’s one of the sole survivors following an attack by a Beserker Dalek. A new threat that will quite happily exterminate her would be rescuers into the bargain.

Despite the build-up, it’s hard to pin down what supposedly makes it such an unique danger. It kills indiscriminately and is adept at using whatever it finds to hand to repair itself. Which does sound like your basic Dalek.Though the engaging and chirpy Cresta plays a crucial enough role in finally destroying it that she wins herself a place as the General’s aide in the War Room.

She’s a fun idea for a character, and beautifully played by Faith Omole. Notably, she’s a young woman whose main experience of the war so far has obviously been through rousing propaganda films. Though by the end of Manoeuvres, her eyes have begun to open the true horrors of war.


For all Ollistra’s talk of being the one ready to make ‘hard choices,’ it’s never been clearer that she goes out of her way to choose the cruelest path possible

That process begins with Transference. The Time Lords are navel gazing once again over control of some new technology that will give them the thinnest edge. This time it’s the invention of an old Academy friend of the General’s niece. But he’s shot and forced to regenerate just as he’s about to demonstrate it, the device stolen. Helico and his sister also happen to be Narvin’s cousins, prompting a dangerous return visit to the Capitol by the renegade Time Lord. This does seem like an unlikely collection of coincidences. But then again, Gallifrey seems to be coordinating an entire Time War with five people, one table, and no chairs. So perhaps it really is a small world after all.

Transference also sees Ollistra at her most cruel and sadistic. Though it’s a recurring them throughout Manoeuvres. For all her talk of ‘hard choices’ and being willing to do anything and everything to win the war, there’s no doubt that throughout this set she goes our of her way to cause as achieve her aims by the most painful way possible. Ultimately, it may even answer one of War Room’s most vexing questions. Why do they even keep Leela around when she takes every opportunity to betray her? True believers like Velkin may be terribly useful. But  there’s no pleasure in slowly crushing their spirit like with the unwilling Leela.


By the end of Manoeuvres it’s not a question of if the War Room will fall apart but when

It is fascinating, too, to see the once Janus thorn happy Leela evolve into the most Doctorish character amongst a cast of Time Lords. It’s her that attempts to be neither cruel nor cowardly, and to find another way when she can. But even she feels compromised, having to lie and cheat to maintain her place as an agent of the Resistance. Indeed, the entire War Room cast of characters feel pushed to breaking point in one way or another. The General’s very particular version of honour is beginning to fracture, and while as convinced of her own righteousness as ever, even Ollistra frets she might not be ‘real.’ While, as a supposed team, the War Room are pulled in so many different directions by their competing agendas it seems unsustainable.

It’s one of the most intriguing things about the range. Two volumes in, Gallifrey War Room feels less like a concept for an ongoing series, and more like a ticking time bomb, begging our predictions for how it will inevitably explode, and where the world of Gallifrey will go next.


Gallifrey War Room: Manoeuvres. Cover by Tom Newsom (c) Big Finish Gallifrey War Room: Manoeuvres

The War Room co-ordinates the fight against the Daleks, but there is a battle for control. Rival Cardinals Rasmus and Ollistra manipulate Leela, Veklin and the General, seeking Rassilon’s favour. And beyond Gallifrey, Narvin and the Resistance are making their own moves to stop the Time War…

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Even More Added to Doctor Who 60th TV Schedule!

Blogtor Who - Sat, 10/21/2023 - 13:00
Taking Doctor Who and Doctor Who@60: A Musical Celebration will air on BBC Four

The BBC have added two more events to November’s television schedule of Doctor Who events. As part of the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary celebrations David Tennant will be fronting a new documentary looking back at six decades of the show. Meanwhile, the recent 60th Anniversary concert (currently on BBC Sounds) will get an airing. Both programs arrive on BBC Four on the 1st of November, effectively kicking off the diamond jubilee in earnest.

Talking Doctor Who features Tennant guiding viewers through the story of the show from its earliest days. It’s accomplished with the aid of archive footage of interviews with the actors who’ve played the Doctor, including William Hartnell. The result provides a unique insight into just what it means to be the Doctor.

Doctor Who@60: A Musical Celebration follows immediately afterwards on BBC Four. The live concert recording features some of the best loved pieces of music for the show’s history. The Radiophonic Workshop provide a suite of music drawing from classic stories like City of Death. While many of Murray Gold’s iconic themes like Doomsday, I am the Doctor and The Shepherd Boy are performed live by the orchestra too. There’s also a medley of pieces from Segun Akinola’s time as the series’ composer. And as if that wasn’t enough, presenter Jo Whiley also interviews the Radiophonic team, Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall, Murray Gold and Segun Akinola on the important role of music in making Doctor Who.

Plus, tune in to see the debut of Fifteen and The Life of Sunday, the new TARDIS team’s character themes, and Murray Gold’s latest arrangement of the Doctor Who theme itself!


Over 800 episodes of Doctor Who will also be made available on iPlayer

In parallel to this, almost the entire back catalogue of Doctor Who will be appearing on iPlayer. It’s a move to make it more accessible to fans new and old than ever before. Sadly, one significant omission is the first story itself, An Unearthly Child, while there are significant gaps in the 1960s archive due to the once standard practice of wiping old tapes. But it still leaves fans with over 800 episodes from across six decades to explore.


Doctor Who Specials 2023,The Doctor (DAVID TENNANT), Donna Noble (CATHERINE TATE),BBC Studios 2023,Zoe McConnell Talking Doctor Who is on BBC Four at 7.30pm on the 1st of November, with Doctor Who@60: A Musical Celebration on BBC Four at 8.30pm the same night.


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Doctor Who Magazine 596 Meets the Meep!

Blogtor Who - Tue, 10/17/2023 - 07:00
Doctor Who Magazine 596 reveals The Star Beast! Meets the cast, the original comic creators, and the Meep herself!


Classic Doctor Who Magazine comic strip The Star Beast is being adapted to launch David Tennant back onto our screens next month as the Doctor. This issue DWM talks to those behind the new television episode… as well as the paper and ink original!


This month’s Star Beast highlights include:
  • Meet the Meep – Miriam Margolyes, who voices the Meep in the first 2023 Special The Star Beast, talks exclusively to DWM about her lunch with David Tennant, her affection for Tom Baker, and why she’s also the Fourth Doctor’s companion who never was.
  • Noble intentions – Karl Collins and Jacqueline King. Donna’s husband Shaun and her mother Sylvia on their imminent return to Doctor Who after 13 years.
  • Letter from the Showrunner – Russell T Davies on important dates for your diary!
  • The Beast Unleashed – go behind the scenes on the brand-new making-of show Doctor Who Unleashed.
  • Star Makers ­­­– comic book legends Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons – as well as two of their biggest fans, Russell T Davies and David Tennant – tell us why it’s The Star Beast’s time to shine.
  • Drawn Upon a Spin Off… – episodes of Doctor Who have inspired everything from comics and novels to audio dramas and video games. But what about those times when the inspiration has gone the other way?


Meanwhile, coverage of the new era also continues!
  • Liberation of the Daleks Part Thirteen – the adventures of the Fourteenth Doctor continue in the epic comic-strip adventure written by Alan Barnes and illustrated by Lee Sullivan.
  • Production Diary – script editor Scott Handcock files his latest report, direct from Doctor Who’s HQ.
  • Effective Management – Matt Nathan, VFX editor on the forthcoming special episodes and the next series of Doctor Who, reveals how he manages the magic we see on screen.
  • Gallifrey Guardian – all the latest official news.


Other highlights this issue feature stories from across six decades of Who history
  • Memory Worm – The Worm deletes your past – and it’s loose! DWM continues to test Doctor Who contributors for signs of contact with the creature. This issue: Jamie actor Frazer Hines.
  • “Nothing in the World Can Stop Me Now!” with an animated reconstruction of 1967’s The Underwater Menace on the way, DWM reassesses at Joseph Furst’s baroque performance as Professor Zaroff.
  • The Fact of Fiction unlocks the secrets of the Tenth Doctor and Donna’s first reunion episode, 2008’s Partners in Crime.
  • 60 Objects, 60 Years – the latest instalment of the series that tells the story of one object from every year of Doctor Who’s history.
  • Other Worlds – the essential guide to new stories in Doctor Who’s expanded universe.
  • Plus – reviews, reviews, prize-winning competitions, Time and Space Visualiser and more.


Doctor Who Magazine 596 introduces an old friend all over again! (c) Panini Doctor Who Magazine 596

DWM Issue 596 is on sale Thursday the 12th of October from the online Panini store, WH Smith and other retailers priced £7.99 (UK). Also available as a digital edition from Pocketmags priced £6.99. You can also save with a subscription, as well as receiving exclusive, text-free covers.


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Video of the Day – Lorraine, 2016

Blogtor Who - Tue, 10/17/2023 - 03:00

The post Video of the Day – Lorraine, 2016 appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Fifteen and the Life of Sunday! Doctor Who 60th Concert is Here!

Blogtor Who - Thu, 10/12/2023 - 21:30
New themes for the Doctor, Ruby, and the show itself in a two hour celebration of six decades of music!

In timey wimey fashion, it may be three days early, but nobody’s complaining. Last month’s Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Concert has now arrived on BBC Sounds and it’s every bit as magnificent as fans had reported. But the most anticipated highlights have to be the new character themes The Life of Sunday and Fifteen, along with musical genius Murray Gold’s latest take on the greatest theme in the galaxy. And it’s one of his best – rearranging the furniture while moving in some exciting new ideas, like a cascading piano. Meanwhile, Fifteen, with its snarling electric guitar and a beat that sounds like it’s on course to win the Grand National promises our new Doctor will have energy to spare. Finally The Life of Sunday is a wistful waltz suggesting Ruby’s another companion ready to escape the everyday world for a life of adventure.

The full playlist for the Doctor Who concert:
  • 0’40” – I am the Doctor
  • 7’00” – All the Strange, Strange Creatures
  • 12’15” – Classic Doctor Who Medley
  • 20’27” – Radiophonic Workshop Interview
  • 24’32” – Abigail’s Song (Silence is All You Know)
  • 30’25” – Steven Moffat Interview
  • 35’10” – This is Gallifrey
  • 38’37” – The Rings of Akhaten (The Long Song)
  • 45’08” – The Companions Suite (Rose, Martha, Donna, and Amy)
  • 52’18” – Emily Cook Interview
  • 56’21” – Doomsday
  • 1’02’22” – Vale Decem
  • 1’06’02 – A Good Man?
  • 1’14’35” – I am a Good Man
  • 1’17’20” – Chris Chibnall and Segun Akinola interview
  • 1’21’32” – Suite: The Woman Who Fell to Earth (music from across the Thirteenth Doctor era)
  • 1’32’38” – The Life of Sunday
  • 1’36’40” – Murray Gold interview
  • 1’41’13” – Fifteen
  • 1’57’33” – Doctor Who Theme 2023

Listen to it all on a loop for the next 29 days on BBC Sounds here.


Doctor Who Specials 2023,The Doctor (DAVID TENNANT), Donna Noble (CATHERINE TATE),BBC Studios 2023,Zoe McConnell Doctor Who returns next month with three 60th Anniversary specials on BBC One in the UK and Ireland, and Disney+ worldwide

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REVIEW: Doom’s Day: Dying Hours

Blogtor Who - Thu, 10/12/2023 - 19:00
Doom’s Day nears its climax as we finally get to meet the universe’s deadliest assassin for a mix of fun hijinks and moral quandaries

Doom’s Day, this year’s Doctor Who multimedia event has snaked through books, comics, audios and even video games all summer. Now, as the trees begin to bare their branches and the 60th Anniversary itself approaches, Doom’s Day too nears its end. Almost literally, as protagonist Doom – self proclaimed greatest assassin in the universe – enters the last few hours of her life. It’s ironic, then, that it’s in these Dying Hours that the whole epic finally feels like it’s spluttering to life. It’s finally Big Finish’s turn to grab the ball and run. And with Sooz Kempner leading these four full cast audios in character as Doom, we at last get a sense of who Doom is, right as we come to the end.

It retrospect, it might have worked better to bring Kempner and the Big Finish team in earlier. Instead the series jerked awkwardly to life with a rather stilted trailer (one, which judging from the interviews here was practically a cold reading.) That trailer set some unfortunate mood music long before the crossover found its groove. It was a wrong foot which material like comics and prose found it difficult to get off of ever since.


Impressively, despite her charisma and humour, the set doesn’t shy away from the fact that Doom’s a serial murderer

But now that we get to meet Doom in the vocal flesh, and in context, she’s actually a lot of fun. People already familiar with Kempner will know that she has winning charisma to burn. Along with the frequent moment of real wit here, it enables Doom’s Day’s riskiest gambit to mostly pay off. Doom really likes her job. She kills people, then she gets paid for it, and she’s fond of both bits. As with all the stories so far, Dying Days jumps through several hoop shaped bits of plot to ensure she doesn’t do anything too awful in the audience’s presence. But there’s never any bones made about what she does and how she does it. She has a certain pride in causing the minimum collateral damage, mainly because she thinks it’s unprofessional. But aside from that Doom doesn’t have much of a moral compass at all.

Of course, she’s far from the Whoniverse’s only witty bad girl painting her world in shades of moral grey and blood red. But a fun mix of pride and ordinariness distinguishes her. She approaches each new assassination with the chippy small talk of someone who’s come to fix the boiler, who really loves boilers: to intergalactic hitwomen what Peter Cook was to the Devil. And unlike others, she’s neither the Doctor’s oldest friend nor their love interest. As a result, when they finally meet, it’s all the wrong sorts of sparks which fly.


Doom’s Day: Dawn of an Everlasting Peace. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish Dawn of an Everlasting Peace marks Who’s diamond anniversary with a lively homage to Terry Nation and David Whitaker

Jac Rayner sets the appropriate tone but depositing Doom in the only corner of the Doctor Who world wilder and stranger than she is: the 41st century of The Daleks’ Master Plan. Dawn of an Everlasting Peace reunites us with Zephon. That’s Zephon of the planet Zephon, in the galaxy of Zephon, where the Zephons call everything and everyone Zephon. He and the other Delgates from the 1965 epic are back with yet another plan to conquer the universe. Though it’s hard enough to keep who’s who straight in the surviving episodes so be prepared to quickly give up on audio.

There’s no mistaking Richard Reed’s Karlton, though. Deputy to the treacherous Mavic Chen in the original, he’s following his old boss’s example to sell out the human race in turn for personal power. under the guise of the signing of an intergalactic peace accord. Reed captures every dry, sardonic syllable of Maurice Browning’s original performance and is a real highlight of the whole set.

As part of Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary celebration, it makes perfect sense for Dawn to romp through the world of the 1960s Dalek books, populated by the likes of the Compuvac super-computer and supremely daft ‘blast buttons’ on Space Security Service uniforms. Doom herself makes an unlikely but effective Hartnell substitute. She’s immediately cut off from her method of time travel, and disguises herself as Zephon to infiltrate the secret lair. First picking up Lonnet (Susie Riddell) and her disabled charge Klorin (Trevor Littledale) as disposable pawns, Doom winds up trying to simultaneously make sure they survive while concluding her literally explosive bit of business. Whether she succeeds or not you’ll have to see. But either way, Lonnet and Klorin provide the emotional heart to the story, amid all the Terry Nation inspired shenanigans.


Doom’s Day: A Date with Destiny. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish Jackie Tyler has A Date with Destiny in Doom’s Day’s best single story yet

A Date with Destiny provides what might be the high point of the whole Doom’s Day experience. Doom is at her most unapologetically deadly here, laughing nostalgically about good times killing dozens of innocent people. She even audibly bristling at the very idea it makes her a bad person. One of the fundamental paradoxes of Doom’s Day is its requirement for fans to get invested in the fate of a serial murderer. But Date brings this to the fore, genuinely questioning if Doom deserves to survive. And it’s all the better for the questioning being done by Jackie Tyler, a woman who can always be relied upon to call a spade a bloody shovel.

Robert Valentine’s script obviously knows it can rely on Camille Coduri to hit the mark perfectly. On television it was always her Jackie that took world ending crises and Rose’s melodrama and dragged them down to real emotions. Somehow though it was always between providing huge laughs as the show’s resident comic relief. This provides another perfect example, as she sees through all the nonsense of Doom’s spacey wacey, timey wimey adventures to the reality of her murderous nature. But all those deeper thoughts are woven into a zany chase across London. It’s a dash for survival full of over the top action, silliness, and lots of those iconic Jackie Tyler screams.

Just how Jackie Tyler survives a night with the universe’s greatest, and second greatest, assassins is fantastically clever and entertaining

Doom is on the Powell Estate hoping Jackie can lead her to the Doctor. Rival assassin Destiny is there to eliminate Jackie in revenge for the Doctor and Rose foiling her clients’ latest evil plan. An added wrinkle is that Destiny is heading up a new breakaway agency. ‘Titania’ plans to use this job as a showcase to make their mark and steal one of the Order of Oberon’s biggest clients. It leads to much hilarity as the two Meanest Girls in the galaxy throw barbed witticisms at each other as poisoned as any dagger, all with Jackie stuck in the middle. It also provides by far the cleverest and satisfying dodge of Doom actually killing someone we care about yet.


Doom’s Day: The Howling Wolves of Xan-Phear. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish The Howling Wolves of Xan-Phear does its best to squeeze the Silence into the Doom’s Day format, but both lose their core appeal in the process

We bounce straight into Dying Days’ weakest story with The Howling Wolves of Xan-Phear. One of Big Finish’s strengths since first getting a licence for 21st century Who has been an astonishing ability to find new ways to use the modern era’s most iconic monsters while preserving their original appeal. It’s a trick this story doesn’t manage with the Silence. One of the fundamental restrictions on their powers – that their suggestion kicks in once you look away is simply, well, forgotten. Instead, they’re much more standard hypnotic villains issuing their orders to their thralls who mindlessly obey in a kind of haze. Their usual, almost gnomic, form of speech is gone too, replaced by a kind of arch, hand-on-hips, supervillain monologueing.

As a villain they’re also a misfit for the format of Doom’s Day. A key part of the formula is that Doom has exactly one hour to accomplish her mission, no more. These episodes are all one hour long, too, and unfold more or less in real time. But Xan-Phear’s plot depends on Doom and her new allies having repeated incidents of missing time as the Silence try to prevent the assassin from completing her mission. As a result it’s a story that literally doesn’t add up.

The rationale for the Silence’s latest scheme in their unending war against the Doctor is equally shaky. They’ve fermented a mutually genocidal war between the two species of Xan-Phear, including Doom’s new furry friends. But what they’re hoping to gain from it strains credulity, even in the context of Doctor Who’s science fantasy. Along with some of the most awkward moments in many years of characters describing exactly what each other are doing just for the benefit of the audience, it all adds up to a bewildering experience. Though not in the good way a Silence story should be.


Doom’s Day: The Crowd. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish The Crowd sees the Doctor and Doom trying to solve the same problem in very different ways in a story that asks questions about each one’s moral limits

Doom has an hour left to live. An hour left to find the Doctor. The good news is that she has, in the form of Paul McGann. The bad news is that he despises her and and everything she stands for.

Lizzie Hopley’s The Crowd picks up some of the threads from A Date with Destiny. Doom’s Day has largely kept Doom’s targets firmly in the category marked ‘Probably Had it Coming’ or else found some out to avoid her actually killing them. This time she has not one target but 20 – the members of a mysterious group known as the Crowd. They’ve been linked to disasters and mass deaths across history and now someone wants them stopped.

Story wise, this cleverly means Doom can kill a couple here and there without the story ending. It also means the Doctor and Charley, who’ve been trying to find their own solution, can get truly outraged at the assassin’s tactics. Forced to work together, it leave room for lots of righteous debate as Doom points out her plan is effective, easy to execute, and permanent, while the Doctor continues to brainstorm less lethal options.

But it’s not this that provides the story’s moral dilemma. There’s never any question the Doctor will entertain murder. Rather it’s the other question – he may not kill, but will he let someone die? Questions of whether some people deserve to die, and whether what they deserve should matter anyway, are not new to the Doctor. But having spent 23 hours in Doom’s company adds a power to the debate rarely matched before. Laudably, easy redemptions and answers are avoided. And even the Doctor is left not entirely satisfied with those messy answers he does come up with.


Dying Hours ultimately means we can consider Doom’s Day at least a qualified success

We leave Dying Hours with only five minutes, and one short story, left to Doom’s Day. So it’s not too early to say that if the epic has been only a qualified success but Big Finish’s entry, buoyed by Sooz Kempner’s performance, is its stand out entry.


Doom’s Day: Dying Hours. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish Doom’s Day: Dying Hours

Someone has sent literal Death after Doom. She can only outrun it for 24 hours. Unless she can find the Doctor…

Tick… Tock…

As Doom’s final hours come into sharp focus, she’ll need to do whatever’s necessary to complete her missions, find the Doctor, and escape what increasingly seems like the inevitable. But how best to find the person who can save Doom’s life? Will the Doctor’s friends be her salvation? Or perhaps the Doctor’s enemies will be the route to survival?

Doom is about to travel across thousands of years of time, and light years of space in search of her last, best hope. But even if she finds the Doctor, will a person who is all about saving lives help a person whose only job is to take them?

Doom’s day is almost over. Time is running out. This could be the end.


Doctor Who – Doom’s Day: Dying Hours is now available to own as a four-disc collector’s edition CD (+ download for just £29.99), or digital download only (for just £22.99), exclusively here.

The post REVIEW: Doom’s Day: Dying Hours appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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