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Doctor Who Magazine 595 Goes to Mel and Back!

Blogtor Who - Fri, 09/15/2023 - 13:00
Doctor Who Magazine 595 goes to Mel and back as they talk to Bonnie Langford about the return of Melanie Bush!

New editor Jason Quinn has taken the reigns at the greatest magazine in the galaxy! But Doctor Who Magazine continues its coverage this month of the upcoming Fifteenth Doctor era. This month the DWM team talk to Bonnie Langford about all things Mel. From her original run as the Doctor’s companion in the 1980s, and her work with Big Finish, to her cameo in last year’s Power of the Doctor and triumphant return in next year’s Series Fourteen, it’s all here. Plus, find out what she thinks of the differences between Mel and new companion Ruby!


More on the new era this issue
  • Bonnie Langford – DWM interviews the star about her upcoming return to Doctor Who as Melanie Bush
  • We Need to Talk About Mel Bush – all you need to know about the classic companion
  • Letter from the Showrunner – showrunner Russell T Davies shares further witty insights from the heart of Bad Wolf
  • Production Notes – more teasing diary entries from script editor Scott Handcock
  • Emily Cook – the tables are turned as the former DWM interviewer is interviewed about her role in bringing about the return of RTD, Tennant and Tate
  • Liberation of the Daleks Part 12 – the Fourteenth Doctor’s very first adventure, exclusive to DWM, reaches its penultimate chapter
  • Gallifrey Guardian – all the latest news about the new series and everything else Who related


Also this issue:
  • Dan Slott – the Eisner Award winning Spider-Man writer reveals his life long love of Doctor Who and finally getting the chance to enter the Whoniverse with new comic Once Upon a Time Lord
  • Magic the Gathering – a special preview of the new Doctor Who command decks from the world’s most popular strategy card game
  • The Fact of Fiction – The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 13-14
  • 60 Years 60 Objects – iconic items from 2008-2012
  • Plus – Previews, The DWM Review, prize-winning competitions, Time and Space Visualiser and more.



Doctor Who Magazine 595 (c) Panini Doctor Who Magazine 595

DWM Issue 595 is on sale Thursday the 14th of September from the online Panini store, WH Smith and other retailers priced £6.99 (UK). Also available as a digital edition from Pocketmags priced £9.99. You can also save with a subscription, as well as receiving exclusive, text-free covers.


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Big Finish: Once and Future – The Martian Invasion of Planetoid 50 Released Today.

Blogtor Who - Tue, 09/12/2023 - 08:30

Big Finish’s 60th anniversary blockbuster, Doctor Who: Once and Future, continues with today’s release of The Martian Invasion of Planetoid 50.  The latest of this multi-era series continues with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Missy(Michelle Gomez) leading an all-star cast that features the Paternoster Gang – Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey).

Written by Jonathan Barnes, the scriptwriter was thrilled to combine some classic sci-fi element in his latest story. “I always try to include a personal element in my stories so I was pleased to be able to write a sort of love letter to the work of HG Wells as well as the required ingredients.  It’s a commentary on fandom, too in some ways. The Doctor lands on a planet which seems to have been remodelled as an exact replica of the fictional London in Wells’s War of the Worlds… but who could be responsible for such devilry? Well, check out the front cover!”

“Hopefully, there are a few surprises along the way too…”

Doctor Who – Once and Future: The Martian Invasion of Planetoid 50 is available now to own as a single-disc collector’s edition CD (+ download for just £10.99), or digital download only (for just £8.99), exclusively from

The Once and Future series is released monthly, with the first seven parts materialising between May and October 2023, and a final coda in November 2024.

A special edition series bundle, which contains extended behind-the-scenes extras and music suites for each story, is also available to pre-order for just £62 (as a digital download only).  The Once and Future special edition CD bundle was limited to 3,000 pressings and sold out in record time, before a single story in the series was released.


  • Duration: 75 minutes.
    Released: 12 September 2023, exclusively from the Big Finish website.
    Director: Ken Bentley
    Writer: Jonathan Barnes
  • Script Editor: Matt Fitton
  • Producer: David Richardson
  • Executive Producers: Nicholas Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery

The First Doctor arrives in Victorian London amid a Martian invasion. But he discovers all is not what it seems when Missy appears…

Soon, the Doctor is propelled into a future incarnation – the Tenth – but he is not alone in battling Missy and her Martian invaders. The Paternoster Gang – Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax – are also here to assist. But can they offer the Doctor any help in solving his own degeneration mystery?

Doctor Who: Once and Future – The Martian Invasion of Planetoid 50

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Doctor Who’s Yasmin Finney to be Drag Race UK Judge

Blogtor Who - Sat, 09/09/2023 - 14:00
Before the TARDIS, Yasmin Finney steps on to “Planet Joy” with Drag Race UK Series Five

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK have announced that Doctor Who’s Yasmin Finney will be one of the new guest judges. Series Five of the competitive reality show, in which the best drag artists the UK has to offer go head to head for the Drag Race crown across ten weeks this Autumn. And Finney, whose Rose debuts in The Star Beast, is among the stellar line up of guest judges. Other guest judges this year will include Aisling Bea (Eve of the Daleks), Suranne Jones (The Doctor’s Wife) and Cush Jumbo (Torchwood: Children of Earth). They’ll all be appearing on the panel alongside regular judges RuPaul Charles, Michelle Visage, Alan Carr and Graham Norton.

Yasmin Finney said that filming the show “feels out of this world! I felt like I was on another planet during filming… Planet Joy!”


Yasmin Finney as Rose Noble, with Karl Collins as her father Shaun, and Jacqueline King, as her grandmother Sylvia. BBC Studios,Alistair Heap Meanwhile, we know more about who Finney’s Rose is, and if we can expect to see more of her

The Drag Race reveal adds to a busy couple of weeks, news-wise, for Finney. The BBC Studios team finally confirmed what so many fans had guessed that it felt like it had already been announced. Yasmin Finney is playing Rose Noble, the daughter of Donna Noble and her husband Shaun Temple, granddaughter of Sylvia Noble. And, of course, it means she’s the great-granddaughter of Bernard Cribbins’ Wilfred Mott. (Those undoubtedly heart warming moments between Wilf and Rose are high up on Blogtor Who’s anticipation list)

Meanwhile the Production Notes feature in this month’s Doctor Who Magazine casually dropped the news that Finney had wrapped filming as Rose only days before Series Fourteen itself finished up. Up until now, Doctor Who fans had only known for sure that Rose would be in the 60th Anniversary specials. Hopes that she would return alongside Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor were just that: hopes. But unless she was filming some very late in the day pick-up shots for the 60th, it seems nearly certain now that we will be seeing more of Yasmin Finney next year.


Doctor Who 60th Anniversary poster (c) BBC Studios Drag Race UK Series Five is expected to premiere on BBC Three later this month, while Doctor Who returns to BBC One in November with The Star Beast


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Torchwood: Dog Hop – Out This Month

Blogtor Who - Thu, 09/07/2023 - 16:00
Andy has a dog day afternoon in Torchwood: Dog Hop, coming soon from Big Finish

In an audio drama first, a lead role (pun intended) is taken by Phoebe, a real-life dog making her Big Finish debut in Dog Hop. Tom Price heads up the human cast in this forthcoming adventure in the Torchwood Monthly Range.

Tom Price ponders, “An adventure involving dogs! I mean what could possibly go wrong?  

“This is the moment where the lines between me and Andy are finally, completely abolished and I’m just Andy running around with dogs (which is what I do in my spare time). Lauren and Stewart have done an amazing job on this script. It is funny, it is snappy, it’s interesting. I’ve really enjoyed it.” 


Torchwood: Dog Hop. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish Productions Torchwood: Dog Hop

Andy Davidson has stumbled across the last proper pub on Cardiff Bay. Sticky carpets, cut-glass mirrors, eccentric regulars and absolutely no food. He gets chatting to the bar manager Nia, who has a strange tale to tell. A tale about bizarre experiments on the local dog population, about booze-hounds transplanted into real hounds.  

And the weirdest thing is, Andy might be starting to believe her. 

Please note: Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Torchwood: Dog Hop, written by Lauren Mooney & Stewart Pringle (The Grey Mare, The Lincolnshire Poacher) is now available to pre-order as a collector’s edition 1-disc CD (+ download for just £10.99) or as a digital download only (for just £8.99), exclusively here.

Big Finish listeners can also pre-order Dog Hop as part of a six-release Torchwood bundle purchase for just £60 (collector’s edition CD + download) or £50 (download only). A 12-release Torchwood bundle is also available for just £110 (collector’s edition CD + download) or £96 (download only).

Big Finish is currently operating a digital-first release schedule. The mail-out of collector’s edition CDs may be delayed due to factors beyond our control, but all purchases of this release unlock a digital copy that can be immediately downloaded or played on the Big Finish app from the release date.

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REVIEW: Doctor Who: Purity Unbound

Blogtor Who - Wed, 09/06/2023 - 17:00
The epic Purity arc ends with passion and fury, as the Doctor, Hebe and Mel fight to preserve humanity’s diversity and soul

Big Finish’s Purity trilogy comes to an end with Purity Unbound. It’s an appropriate name, echoing the Unbound range even as the three stories here bounce across three alternate universes. Because the increasingly unhinged villain Patricia ‘Purity’ McBride (never, let’s face it, particularly hinged in the first place) is proving her own worst enemy. Her tapestry of overstretched timelines is unraveling. And each attempt to create a ‘purer’ vision of the human race is more desperate than the last.

It’s risky to have an antagonist who is genuinely out of her depth, sowing the seeds of her failure as she goes. Especially when the Doctor mainly sighs from the sidelines about the pointlessness of the attempt. But it ultimately succeeds by giving the Doctor plenty to do regardless. His primary concern here is to ensure that his friends Hebe, Mel, and Elise emerge out the other side of the maelstrom in one piece.

Yes, after spending most of Purity Unleashed erased from existence, Ruth Madeley’s Hebe Harrison is back in the room. Hebe continues to be a testament to producer/writer Jac Rayner’s skill at crafting and developing compelling characters. In her introduction she was feisty to the point of being slightly obnoxious. But since then she’s quickly developed into one of Big Finish’s greatest original companions. All without redrawing any that original portrait, but instead by intelligently and sensitively colouring between the lines.


Girl in a Bubble sees Purity’s vision for the world made real at last, in a story that at last reunites us with Ruth Madeley’s magnificent Hebe

As revealed in last time’s cliffhanger, the resurrected Hebe’s not the woman she used to be. In Girl in a Bubble’s opening scenes of young Hebe’s childhood bedtimes, Rayner deftly and poetically set the scene for Purity’s newest, and so far most successful, attempt to reshape history. Reimagined as a skilled potter, she’s crafted a perfect world full of perfect people. But when she finds one misfired little clay girl she can’t bring herself to throw her away. So instead she places the little one in a bubble, safe from the dangers of the world that might break her.

We’re told this society is a web of improbabilities Purity holds together by sheer force of will. Even so, once we get out on to the streets it’s one that doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Perhaps Blogtor Who is just naive about how happily people would cosy up to a world built on eugenics and death camps so long as their bellies are full, or perhaps his Design Thinking training has made the idea of progress without diversity seem impossible.

But the real heart of the story here is Hebe’s realisation of what her supposed benfactor has done to her. How she’s stolen a life of adventure and experience from her. Madeley’s fierce performance powers Hebe’s raging against the loss as her fire and passion re-emerge from the passive, fretful version of herself. The returning Toby Hadoke provides admirable support as the alternate Ron. In a twist of dark humour his ‘real’ self’s ex-wife has assigned him to be Hebe’s carer. His talents underappreciated perhaps by nobody more than himself, Hadoke again shows how much truth and humanity he brings to characters.


Bonnie Lagnford (Mel) and Imogen Stubbs (Purity) (c) Big Finish Productions Mel, Hebe and Elise go monster hunting in The Corruptions, while the Doctor is trapped somewhere worse than Hell itself — the M23 Services

It’s Pease Pottage, but perhaps not the one you were expecting. In The Corruptions Mel, Hebe, and Elise are residents of the 1980s West Sussex village, a community populated by enough cosy eccentrics to rival Dibley. As is par for the course in this sort of scenario, though, their superficial contentment conceals nagging doubts. An unease that something isn’t quite right. And that’s before the horde of zombie Mels show up. Meanwhile, the Doctor finds himself trapped, Sapphire and Steel style, unable to leave Pease Pottage Services off the M23. Writer Mark Wright depicts the location with such seething disdain as Purgatory on Earth, you do wonder what hellish pit stop he must have spent there. The Doctor, at least, remembers who he is and sets out to break through and save his friends.

The Corruptions manages to provide a character based pause for breath between epic battles for all creation, while continuing to advance the arc. Purity shows up at regular intervals to monologue at the Doctor about her own invincibility. But even as she does so, the world she’s made frays at the edges. It also reminds us how brilliant, tough, and resourceful Hebe is as she and Mel investigate the phenomena besieging Pease Pottage. Meanwhile, Elise becomes a fully fledged member of this West Sussex Scooby Gang. One of the delights of Purity Unbound, in fact, is Cherylee Houston’s move towards centre stage as Elise.

Mel, too, is well served by a script that makes mischief with all the various discontinuities in her own history. It’s delightfully playful but, more than that, it’s a truly cunning inroad into the problem at hand. Absolutely charming stuff.


The Wrong Side of History trades one dystopia for another, as Purity’s dreams for the human race become ever more extreme in a worthy finale to the saga

The entire Purity saga comes to an end with The Wrong Side of History. It’s a story with such a perfect Doctor Who title that it’s slightly staggering writer Robert Valentine is the first to grab it for himself. But that’s not the only bit of genius on display here. The Doctor, Mel, Hebe and Elise find themselves in yet another new reality. This time dystopia comes in  THX 1138 flavour rather than Girl in the Bubble’s tang of Fahrenheit 451. Timid, weak-minded human beings cower below a sealed dome, terrified of, well, everything outside. But as they almost mindlessly go about their daily labour assignments, uncomplainingly submitting to euthanasia for the slightest infection, at least they have the required number of functional limbs, and a heterosexual orientation. And in Purity’s depraved mind, that’s all that matters.

Admittedly, a mid story plot twist may send you scrambling to Tardis Wiki for a quick reminder as elements from the very first set suddenly become vitally important. It’s a move which also slightly upstages Purity in her own finale. But despite the rather conventionally shouty gatecrashers, we never quite lose track of how we got here, or the real heart of the story.


Ruth Madeley, who plays Hebe, also returns to Doctor Who on TV in November as Shirley Anne Bingham. Photo: BBC Studios,Alistair Heap Purity Unbound successfully ties together the plots and themes of the Purity arc, with the final word going appropriately to Hebe herself

A lot rested on Valentine’s ability to satisfyingly sum up both the series’ plot and themes. It’s a task he accomplishes with some style. As if this nightmare world wasn’t enough to underline the horrible futility of her prejudices, Purity herself identifies the problem. Not enough purity. Not enough power. It’s a skillful essay on the fruitlessness of trying to meet hatred half way. To those given to McBride’s way of thinking and driven by disgust at the other, there will always be someone to other, no matter how homogeneous their surroundings.

The Doctor’s own viewpoint throughout the saga is also confronted. Throughout, he’s arguably been part of the problem. A stand-in for a certain sort of well meaning liberal, he’s spent a lot of time trying to appeal to McBride’s better nature, and trying to convince his friends that she’s just misguided. He even chides himself for not being more understanding and sympathetic to her bigotry at the start. He openly frets that it was his intolerance of her intolerance that made her double down. At times, listeners may have wondered what message we’re intended to take away, exactly.

So it’s appropriate that the final word on Purity’s legacy goes to Hebe herself. She shuts down the Doctor’s navel gazing with a quickness. Her passionate, intelligent speech on the true nature of radicalisation, as one of those whose life is literally on the line, is a high point of the set.. It brings the entire trilogy of box sets into balance and places them firmly on the right side of history.


Doctor Who: Purity Unbound. Cover by Claudia Gironi (c) Big Finish Productions Doctor Who: Purity Unbound

The Doctor, Mel and Hebe are reunited – but Purity’s temporal meddling has altered history as they know it. To make matters worse, whatever is left of the being once known as Patricia McBride is still intent on fulfilling her grand design for humanity…

Doctor Who – The Sixth Doctor Adventures: Purity Unbound is now available to own as a collector’s edition 3-disc CD box set (for just £19.99) or download only (for just £16.99), exclusively here


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Lethbridge-Stewart: United Nations by Jon Blum

Blogtor Who - Sun, 09/03/2023 - 23:00
Author Jon Blum returns to the Doctor Who universe as a new task force rises in Lethbridge-Stewart: United Nations

Candy Jar Books have announced the third title in its final series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels. Legendary Doctor Who novelist Jonathan Blum, makes his Lethbridge-Stewart debut with United Nations. During the 1990s he penned several Doctor Who novels with his partner, Kate Orman, for BBC Books. These included acclaimed favourites like Vampire Science and Seeing I. Outside of books, he also wrote the seminal Big Finish audio, The Fearmonger.

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “I’ve long wanted to work with Jon Blum, having been an admirer of his work since I first read Vampire Science in 1997. It took a while to work out, since Jon is a busy chap and we needed a window that would work for him. A such, his first Lethbridge-Stewart novel comes at the end of the range, and has taken something of a lengthy gestation period. For these last few novels, starting with Spheres of Influence and It Came from the Isle of Man, I made sure the authors worked closely together to build up an ongoing situation, worthy of such a big event as the creation of UNIT.”

Setting up UNIT is a large part of these final books. Frankham-Allen explains, “That was also the endgame of this series, to fill the gap between The Web of Fear and The Invasion, to show what happened in those four years between to not only Lethbridge-Stewart, but Earth at large. What series of events would warrant the set-up of such an international force…? We had it all planned, and things were going smoothly, and then we were hit with a bizarre reference to The War Machines (a story that happened long before The Web of Fear) in 2022 with Doctor Who: Flux…”


Anything unknown on Earth, or even beyond…

For his part, author Jonathan Blum says “Much of this book was spring-boarding off of where John Peel left his book. He set up an adventure with international scope, then resolved the crisis itself… Because John was doing the big alien adventure, I wanted to explore the other half of what would become UNIT’s remit; ‘anything unknown [on Earth], or even beyond.’ I wanted human-scale adversaries, people living with the unearthly or trying to exploit it.

“And I wanted to show how humans can produce the sort of global threats the UN is supposed to be uniting us to deal with. The business with the Odds was inspired by some middle-aged reflection on just how outrageously unlikely my life has been over the years. Lethbridge-Stewart keeps trying to have a normal life in the midst of barking madness, and I wanted to draw some parallels with these other people coping with improbable events. Dramatise that sense of a little bubble of normality, but on a global scale. And then blow it up.”

Blum also explained some of the rewriting required by a last minute curve ball from the Doctor Who mother ship. “We were most of the way through the story,” he explains, “when suddenly Flux established that UNIT was being set up years before Lethbridge-Stewart even came on board [despite countless previous references to his importance in the founding of UNIT]. But then if you look at what actually happens in Flux, it turns out there’s a very good reason why the original UNIT was strangled at birth, and needed our heroes to breathe life into it. And suddenly we see some things the Brigadier’s superiors did earlier in the book series in a rather different light…”

This book also sees the full return of Captain Kramer, who previously appeared in Times Squared…

Blum continues: “Thirty years ago now, I made my student film Time Rift, and Marsha Twitty played Adrienne Kramer, commander of UNIT USA. And her part kept getting bigger, because her performance really jumped off the screen. Marsha became a lifelong friend, and Kate and I wrote General Kramer into our Eighth Doctor novels. Then the Lethbridge-Stewart team asked if they could feature a younger Kramer in their series. But when Marsha passed away in 2019, I decided I wanted to write for her once more as a tribute.

“Somehow that snowballed into being the big founding-of-UNIT story! I talked with Marsha’s friends, her mother and her boyfriend, and really tried to dig into the truth of what it would be like for a young Black woman officer working at the UN in those days. She was a joy to write for – a take-charge woman who’s also really good at keeping things to herself, and having more up her sleeve than you think. And we see very different sides to her in these books. Even after all these years, she was still able to surprise me!”


Lethbridge-Stewart: United Nations. Cover by Richard Young and Will Brooks (c) Candy Jar Books Lethbridge-Stewart: United Nations

It was impossible that the public could ever have missed seeing the giant alien spaceship. But somehow, everyone did.

The US and USSR both want to know how the UK covered the incident up. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart would quite like to know who actually did cover it up. Old allies from both sides of the Iron Curtain are chasing the answer – but each with their own agenda. Everyone wants the power to make inconvenient secrets disappear.

The search leads Lethbridge-Stewart to the single most normal man on the Isle of Man, and what happens to the world around him when he dies. Lethbridge-Stewart faces death by coincidence, as probability gets turned upside-down.

And as the attacks get closer and closer to home, so does the political fallout. His career, his dream of uniting the worlds’ nations against alien threats, even his family could pay the ultimate price.


The Lethbridge-Stewart series finale will be Intelligence Taskforce by Jonathan Blum. An epilogue, The Lost Son will follow from Andy Frankham-Allen.

You can pre-order United Nations now directly from Candy Jar Books. If you have subscription, it covers United Nations.

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