Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Christmas Carol - promo pics

The BBC have issued details and pics regarding this year's seasonal special, A Christmas Carol. Click on the pics for bigger versions and read the synopsis below:

Amy and Rory are trapped on a crashing space liner, and the only way The Doctor can rescue them is to save the soul of a lonely old miser, in a festive edition of the time-travelling adventure, written by Steven Moffat. But is Kazran Sardick, the richest man in Sardicktown, beyond redemption? And what is lurking in the fogs of Christmas Eve?

Amy Pond is played by Karen Gillan, Rory Williams by Arthur Darvill, The Doctor by Matt Smith and Kazran Sardick by Michael Gambon.

Thanks to BBC Pictures

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

The "Children In Need" TARDIS tea~party!

The BBC's yearly charity television show Children In Need continued its long association with Doctor Who by screening a trailer for this year's seasonal special, A Christmas Carol, and also hosting a tea party for two special boys in the TARDIS along with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. See it in the player below.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" - Doctor Who special

US talk show The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson devoted last night's installment to Doctor Who, including an interview with Matt Smith. See the clips in the various players included here. A special "thank you" goes to Craig Ferguson for putting together such an entertaining spectacle and putting shame to every talk show in the UK.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dalek on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson"

In anticipation of Matt Smith's appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight, a Dalek was used in one of the comedian's monologues. See it in the player above.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

REVIEW: SJA, "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith"

Due to the fact that Part 2 of this story is basically one huge spoiler, I've split this review into two. It would be impossible, really, to mention anything about the denouement without ruining the plot and various twists (though I'm still leaving a few surprises out). The spoiler section will be clearly marked, don't worry. Anyway, onto the finale of the best series yet of The Sarah Jane Adventures...

After another delightfully economical and action-packed pre~titles sequence, where an asteroid containing some nasty alien germs has fallen to earth, we quickly meet the Sarah Jane doppleganger, Ruby White. Clyde's statement, "She's exactly like you," is not far off the mark as Ruby also has a fancy car (though I still prefer SJ's mode of transport), impressive tech (a mini Mac style Mr Smith), similar looks and hair~do to match. And, without wanting to sound a little bit inappropriate, she ain't bad on the eye either; like an "action" version of Nigella Lawson.

At first, it's a disharmonious relationship between SJ & Co. and Ruby with the latter acting like a right old snooty cow, scowling at neighbours and barking at the kids. But, once she manages to save the gang's lives, order is restored and it's a great big lurve~in; with Ruby seeming like the ideal candidate to replace Sarah Jane. But why am I talking about replacing the show's lead?

"Must be getting old."

These are the words spoken by Sarah Jane as she realises that something is amiss with her mental health. The first physical signs of the process are somewhat unpleasantly realised as we witness Sarah Jane's hands shaking; a painfully real~life moment. She even manages to put the lives of Rani and Clyde at risk (and also letting him, rather shockingly, wield a gun); and so decides to step down, after Mr Smith informs SJ that she is "very ill, indeed", and offers her "job" to newcomer Ruby White.

Sarah Jane laments to herself, "No~one's irreplaceable," to which we are then presented with a montage of Rani and Clyde spending time with Ruby; SJ on the periphery of the action. As a side~note, this could be interpreted as a comment on the future of the show itself and how it will pan out. The "kids", if I may use such a redundantly disgusting word, have already been "replaced" and displaced, is it now the turn of Elisabeth Sladen? If not now, then perhaps, the future? Could The Sarah Jane Adventures continue without the titular Sarah Jane? As I say, a side~note.

Back to the story. Writers Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman manage to pack in a great deal in the time allowed. From the amusing Mr Smith line, "Well you're certainly the most agreeable artificial intelligence I've met since I've been on this planet," (upon "meeting" Ruby's bit of tech) to the mention of the "Ealing Triangle" (which sounds like a titty bar I visited back in 'Nam) to the tension of the mystery unfolding and sadness of Sarah Jane's health. By the end of Part One you'll certainly be agog with a number of emotions.



It's in Part Two where the mystery and interest dissolve and are replaced with good old~fashioned action, suiting of a finale. Special mention must go to Julie Graham (who I normally have no time for - her "performances" in Bonekickers or Survivors, for example) playing Kitesh, the "soul stealer". The actress deftly jumps into the role of bad gurl alien with some aplomb, resplendent with a Creature From The Pit style appendage. She's even got a ship to herself! It may seem low~key, and have a whiff of the Sontaran globe, but it performs its duties as a prison ship admirably.

Cleverly, and slightly reminiscent of this year's Vault of Secrets, the ending, for her, leaves a return possible. Let's hope so as Graham is an impressive foe, full of character and bite. Speaking of returns, Luke, as you may have seen in the promotional pictures, is back to save the day. It's odd but he does now seem out of place in The Sarah Jane Adventures with Clyde and Rani filling their roles perfectly. And, to be blunt, Tommy Knight is likable but can't match the rest of the cast in the acting stakes and isn't nearly as engaging.


Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith is full of wonderful twists and turns that will keep you guessing for some time just what is going to happen and just who is going to survive (or return). Thanks to a cracking script, direction that wouldn't look out of place on the big screen and heart~warming performances, the finale of Series 4 will leave you more satisfied than any other series finale and glad that another series is on the way.

And, as a final note, congratulations to everyone involved in The Sarah Jane Adventures for producing on the most consistent series on British television; even more so than its parent show, Doctor Who. This year has seen an incredibly high quality collection of stories, both in execution and delivery, that were never anything other than brilliant. Now, when are the BBC gonna put it out on a decent day and hour???

Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith airs
5.15pm, Mon 15 & Tues 16 on CBBC
4.30pm, Wed 17 & Thurs 18 Nov on BBC One


Thanks to the BBC

Thursday, November 11, 2010

REVIEW: Evacuation Earth

I'll be honest, I'm not what you would call a "gamer". I don't play video games much, I don't own a PS3 or an XBox and don't play online - the whole gaming thing is kinda lost on me. (Having said that, I do own a Wii. Probably explains a lot.) I like to dip in and out of games, nothing that takes up too much of my time. Or terribly realistic. So it's with this in mind that you should contextualise my review.

Evacuation Earth, the new Doctor Who game for the Nintendo DS, is an old~skool point and click style adventure game, similar to the Professor Layton games (so I'm informed, I've never actually played or even seen that series). It's a new story where the Doctor and Amy find themselves on Earth, in the future, and the population is being evacuated.

Writer Oli Smith manages to capture much of the humour of the relationship between the time-travelers with familiar pop culture references, including The Who and Bonnie Tyler (well, I say "pop culture"...). And ten gold stars for a most gigglesome use of the phrase "girl cooties"! Matt Smith and Karen Gillan are on top form providing the voices, evoking the fun of their onscreen antics from Series 5. The graphics are slightly simplistic but I guess that's the style, and it suits the relaxed, story~based nature of the game.

At first Evacuation Earth may seem like it's aimed at the very young but the puzzles one encounters get increasingly, and quite quickly, tough. And infuriatingly addictive. (Though, totally un~Who related, it has to be said.) It probably won't satiate "proper" gamers who like non~stop action, an over~bearing soundtrack, hyper~realism, etc... (to me, the tropes of the modern game) but it will please those who like to take things a bit easier. Those of us who like to play the odd puzzle whilst The Doctor and Amy crack jokes either side.

Definitely a must for the younger fans for Christmas, Evacuation Earth will also keep the older player involved for some time wiling away the winter hours half puzzled, half amused.

Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth
is available for the Nintendo DS now


Evacuation Earth - Preview

Included in the player above is a preview of the new Doctor Who Nintendo DS game, Evacuation Earth (Please excuse the quality of the image, tried filming it but it didn't work so well). The clip is the opening scene with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan providing the voices of The Doctor and Amy. Review HERE.

This is a collage of images from the game - not actual video footage

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Ultimate Regeneration" - RTD era book

Doctor Who blog www.kasterborous.com releases its first book, a collection of reviews and articles focussed on the Russell T Davies era of the popular BBC TV series. Written and edited by Christian Cawley, the book features contributions from a number of first time writers and tells the real-time critical story of the RTD era of Doctor Who.

Featuring essays, articles, reviews and interviews, the full story is put into context with a running commentary on the main events in Doctor Who news and fandom. Including 60 reviews from Rose to The End of Time, Part Two, over 30 articles including character, actor and writer profiles and bursting with typical Kasterborous verve, Ultimate Regeneration tells the full story of the 2005-2010 era of Doctor Who, covering 2 Doctors, 5 companions and one visionary showrunner.

Sarah Jane Adventures - "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith" promo pics

The BBC have issued promotional pictures for The Sarah Jane Adventures series four finale, Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith. The pictures feature Ruby (played by Julie Graham) and the Dark Hoard. Click on the images for bigger versions and go HERE for more SPOILERY pics from the story.

Sarah Jane faces her saddest day, as she realises that no one can defend the Earth forever, as the alien-busting adventure series concludes. She's saved the world so many times but must now hand over the task to safer hands. Clyde and Rani are distraught, and the forces of darkness gather as the inevitable day approaches.

Sarah Jane has gone – but a new regime begins at Bannerman Road! Clyde and Rani must face the fact that nothing lasts for ever – but can they still unite as a team, to face a new and deadly threat from Outer Space? Or is the old gang finished for good?

This two-part adventure is repeated on BBC One at 4.30pm on Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 November.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Matt & Karen on "Daybreak"

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were guests on the ITV breakfast show, Daybreak. See their interview, which discusses kissing and the popularity of their action figures, in the player above.

Matt & Karen - Fearne Cotton interview

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were guests of Fearne Cotton on her BBC Radio 1 show earlier today - hear it in the players below. In it they discuss the Christmas Special on a new "special" recorded for BBC Radio 1.

Part 1 Part 2

Sunday, November 7, 2010

REVIEW: SJA, "Lost In Time"

It's not often you hear Primark (a "popular" shopping chain in the UK, for overseas readers) getting a mention in a science-fiction show but The Sarah Jane Adventures ventures where other shows fear to tread. This week's outing, Lost In Time, also manages to split the gang up and stick them in different time zones - such a simple and pleasing concept that one wonders why it isn't done more.

I'm not the only person enjoying the temporal jumping; on finding himself in 1942, Clyde (who now amusingly refers to himself as "Clydey" when performing a monologue) says, "Time travel is awesome. I gotta do it more often." But why all the timey~wimey goodness? Well, due to an incredibly economic pre~opening titles sequence, we meet The Shopkeeper - a Mr Benn~esque enigma who zapps the gang to various destinations in time to collect pieces of a substance known as "chronostein" (not sure of spelling).

If the story seems familiar then you're not wrong, it is slightly similar to The Key To Time from Doctor Who, as these pieces are powerful enough to change history with their chronon energy (Who fans young and old will prick up their ears at that mention). The eras that the SJ & Co. find themselves in reveal classic British fetishisms with past - a haunted house, the Royal Family and fighting Germans.

For me the most enjoyable segment is finding Clyde(y) battling Nazis in 1942. His self~assuredness and asides are hilarious, Daniel Anthony can really carry stories by himself in the most entertaining of ways.

It's a typical boy's action hero affair, recalling Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, as he and his new chum Georgey Boy take on a bunch of bad guys. Although his perception of the Nazi directive is slightly simplictic (I don't think it was purely based on looks Clydey), the fact that writer Ruper Laight chooses to address notions of the "foreigner" and "negro" is to be applauded. Further plaudits go to Clyde's resourceful use of a mobile phone and his rallying, impassioned speech against his German oppressors. Fine, fine work.

Rani has time~slud (erm, past tense of time~slid?) back to the 1500s meeting real life but short~lived Queen, Lady Jane Grey. There's a solemnity to these moments as the story involves reality; history tells us that her time as Queen won't be long, much like her life (and Rani gets double points for knowing this). Likewise, Sarah Jane finds herself in an equally morbid setting - a "haunted" house in the 1800s where it turns out that future echoes are the cause of much pain.

And an appearance by X Factor "star" (I use the word incorrectly), Lucie Jones. Couldn't they have got a proper actress? Though she does play the ever~so~slutty and negligent babysitter to a tea. The Welsh wannabe (though what she wants to be is up for debate) is out~performed by an absolutely top~notch cast, particularly ghosthunter Emily who accompanies Sarah Jane on her search. A fine candidate for future cast member.

Also worthy of a mention is the aforementioned Shopkeeper, a wonderfully eccentric Tom Baker type who uses phrases like "tapestry of time", opens time windows with a gregarious move of the hands and calls his parrot, "The Captain". One dearly hopes that he pops up again in future episodes, a welcome addition for The Sarah Jane Adventures to say the least.

Matching the exceptional cast are the equally attractive production values. The direction (specifically in Sarah Jane's time with canted camera angles evoking the supernatural notions on display) and lighting (at its best during the scenes with Rani and the Queen) are a class act - gold stars to all!

Lost In Time is another remarkable story from this series, with a finale feel to match. Doctor Who fans, and I think a few watch SJA, will delight in the evocation of The Curse of Fenric and Ghost Light (though, in truth, this tale is better than both) and the wonderfully paced storytelling taking place; giving space for all the characters to breath.

The emotional end is perfectly pitched where we find the past cannot be changed, and nor should it be; it is to be remembered. This week, of all weeks, seems most fitting to celebrate lives lived and mourn lives lost.


Thanks to the BBC

Murray Gold interview

Our chums over at Radio Free Skaro have issued an interview with Doctor Who composer Murray Gold on their latest podcast - get it HERE. Read the Blogtor review of the Series 5 soundtrack HERE.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Matt Smith & Karen Gillan DVD signing

On Monday 8th November, fans will get a chance to meet Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in person when they sign copies of Doctor Who The Complete Series Five DVD Box set at HMV’s flagship store on Oxford Street in London’s West End.

Matt and Karen will be at the store from 1pm to meet fans and sign copies of the DVD box set which is released the same day priced at £69.99 for DVD and £79.99 for Blu ray. Fans can pick up free wristbands at HMV which allow entry to the signing. 300 wristbands will be available only from HMV London from 9.00am on Monday 8th November onwards. One wristband per customer maximum, in person only, while stocks last, subject to availability, at participating store only.

This event takes place at HMV London, Oxford Street, Mon 8th Nov from 1pm - 3pm

Thanks to 2|entertain

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Follow Blogtor on Twitter

You can keep up to date with all the posts from BLOGTOR on the social networking site, Twitter - go HERE and follow! There's often links and news that don't get posted here. Please note, there will only be Doctor Who~related tweets.

Christopher Eccleston in "Accused"

Christopher Eccleston stars in Accused, the first in a series of six new, powerful dramas written by Jimmy McGovern. Each story is about an ordinary person who ends up in the dock. The first episode, featuring the former Time Lord, airs 9pm, Monday 15th Nov on BBC One. Read more about Eccleston's role HERE.

This episode also stars actress Pooky Quesnel who makes an appearance in this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special. A future episode of Accused will feature actor Peter Capaldi (The Fires of Pompeii and Torchwood: Children of Earth).

Thanks to BBC Pictures

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

January 2011 DVD line~up

2|entertain have announced details of their Doctor Who DVD releases in January of next year. The first month of 2011 sees DVD releases for: Jan 10 - Meglos; Jan 24 - Series 5 Christmas Special 2010 (Including Digital Copy), DVD & Blu-ray; and Jan 31 - The Mutants.

Thanks to 2|entertain

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

REVIEW: Series 5 soundtrack by Murray Gold

Series Five: 2 Discs

Music by Murray Gold

Release Date: Nov 8

Tracklisting: Visit HERE
Please indulge me and let me share a memory. When I was about four years old I received my first "album" (it was actually a tape but let's not quibble). I still vividly remember my grandfather, a great lover of classical music, handing me a gift that I still have to this day - the soundtrack to Star Wars. The joy and disbelief I felt at being able to actually own the music from the greatest film ever made (remember, I was four) was immeasurable.

Listening to the tape back was like reliving the adventures of Skywalker & Co. all over again, for free! A private viewing in my own bedroom at any time (also remember that the home video market was yet to take off). I got a similar rush sitting down to the opening sounds of Murray Gold's finest score, that of The Eleventh Hour - the debut for Matt Smith. You could pretty much watch that episode with only the score and get as much, if not more, enjoyment (it's a pity that the DVD producers didn't think of putting an isolated score option on the new box set *coughs*).

In fact, an album of purely the music from the Series 5 opener wouldn't have been objectionable, such is its quality. Gold manages to get it all in here, from the majestic and heroic sounds of Down To Earth (as The Doctor flies over London) and, perhaps the greatest tune the composer has delivered, I Am The Doctor (itself filled with varying emotions and cinematic melodies) to the delightful comedic touches of Fish Custard to the incredibly touching, and tear~inducing, tracks such as Little Amy and The Mad Man With a Box.

One of the most enduring, not to mention chilling, images from the recent series was that of Amelia Pond sitting on her little case, waiting for The Doctor in the middle of the night. Murray pitches this moment perfectly in the descending minor key, hinting at the heartache but also at the sinister notion of a child, alone in the dark. More scary than any Cyberman or Dalek. The closing moments of The Eleventh Hour again demonstrate Gold's jump from pulling at the heart to making it race with excitement (with a touch of "Oooo" added for good measure) in Amy In The TARDIS. And he manages to stick a bit of rock organ in there too!

The series finale receives a similar treatment with much of the second disc being taken up with the sounds of The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang. The majority of the cues reflect the action~based nature of the two~parter, utilising the themes presented previously in new ways. And, like The Eleventh Hour, it's the more thoughtful pieces that shine through, like the shimmering Life And Death Of Amy Pond (as The Doctor is dragged into the Pandorica), the pulsating Sad Man With A Box and eerily backwards A River Of Tears.

Again, this release could have simply been just the soundtrack to the opening and closing episode and still have been an essential purchase. But, I'm very happy to say, there's more. Kicking off the "rest" of the album, as it were, are some cracking moments from The Beast Below, specifically the gorgeous Amy's Theme and the stirring strings of A Lonely Decision. Following on from this are the triumphant brassy sounds from Victory of the Daleks, with Muzza G providing the intergalactic pepperpots with terror and grandeur in equal measure.

Then, the music from The Time of Angels. In the middle of so much melody and harmony comes this fascinatingly discordant collection of nervy, horror~like sounds to accompany the Weeping Angels. It couldn't be more different in texture and tone to everything else; immensely rewarding for the listener to hear Gold let loose in another key, so to speak. The horror motif arises again, albeit in a wholly different style, in This is the Dream from Amy's Choice. It evokes John Williams' Jaws with its deep strings and haunting harp whilst also slightly riffing on TV's Lost through boney xylophones and drooping trombones.

Likewise, the Silurians get an audio treatment that is far superior to their actual story, filmic in the extreme. The four~note refrain is wonderfully realised through synths sounds to begin with recalling their outings in the early Seventies, but then becomes a rousing call from the brass, sending pure shivers down the spine. A marvelous signature that deserves another outing, so let's hope they can do it justice next time on screen.

Having the two discs, like The Specials soundtrack, allows for a much more engaging listening experience than previous Series releases. (Perhaps they'll go back and redo them, purty please?) The set, as you may have gleamed, is bookended with the outstanding work, giving a wonderful fluidity to the album. That's not to say that what comes between the opening and closing moments is redundant, far from it. But the work in these two stories overpowers almost everything else, towering over the collection with their colossal range, melody and emotion.

One final point, the ending. There's no resolution or rousing finale here, it's abrupt in the most excitingly pleasing of fashions. The listener is presented with a work in progress as The Doctor's theme continues, his adventures ongoing; which I dearly hope means that composer Murray Gold is himself not finished and will be sticking around for the future. He's certainly displayed here that there's no one else more qualified to take on time, space and a mad man with a box.

I still feel that joy I did back in '77 (or possibly '78) when I would sit listening to Star Wars, and now there are children all over the world that can share that first soundtrack experience like I did. And I can think of no better entrance into a greater world than the soundtrack to Doctor Who.


Thanks to Silva Screen