Friday, January 28, 2011

Hugh Bonneville to star in Doctor Who

BAFTA nominated actor Hugh Bonneville is set to star in an upcoming episode of Doctor Who later this year. The actor, most recently praised for his role in ITV1's Downton Abbey, is to play a "pirate captain" and has already tweeted from the TARDIS set, whilst also confirming that a beard is in use.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Easter 2011 - M&S Dalek "Easter" Eggs

UK retailer Marks & Spencer continue their relationship with Doctor Who products this Easter with two Dalek packaged milk chocolate eggs. The packs come in Red and Blue variety and also feature some "cool" stickers. Click on the pics for bigger, chocolatier versions.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BBC Books new releases

BBC Books have announced details and title information for three Doctor Who novels to be released on 28 April 2011, priced at £6.99 each. Read the blurbs below and click on the covers for bigger versions.
The Dead of Winter
by James Goss
"The Dead are not alone. There is something in the mist and it talks to them."

In Dr Bloom’s clinic at a remote spot on the Italian coast, at the end of the 18th century, nothing is ever quite what it seems. Maria is a lonely little girl with no one to play with. She writes letters to her mother from the isolated resort where she is staying. She tells of the pale English aristocrats and the mysterious Russian nobles and their attentive servants.

She tells of intrigue and secrets, and she tells of strange faceless figures that rise from the sea. She writes about the enigmatic Mrs Pond who arrives with her husband and her physician, and who will change everything. What she doesn’t tell her mother is the truth that everyone knows and no one says – that the only people who come here do so to die.

Hunter’s Moon
by Paul Finch

"There's no end to the horror in this place -
it's like Hell, and there are devils round every corner."

Welcome to Leisure Platform 9 – a place where gamblers and villains rub shoulders with socialites and celebrities. Don’t cheat at the games tables, and be careful who you beat. The prize for winning the wrong game is to take part in another, as Rory is about to discover – and the next game could be the death of him.

When Rory is kidnapped by the brutal crime lord Xorg Krauzzen, the Doctor and Amy must go undercover to infiltrate the deadly contest being played out in the ruins of Gorgoror. But how long before Krauzzen realises the Doctor isn’t a vicious mercenary and discovers what Amy is up to? It’s only a matter of time. And time is the one thing Rory and the other fugitives on Gorgoror don’t have.

They are the hunted in a game that can only end in death, and time for everyone is running out…

The Way Through the Woods
by Una McCormack
"The motorway bends around the woods. So did the old road. So did the Roman road. As long as people have lived here, they've gone out of their way to avoid the woods..."

England, today. Between the housing estate and the motorway lies an ancient wood. The motorway bends to avoid it. Last week, teenager Laura Brown went missing. Tonight, Vicky Caine will miss her bus and take a shortcut through the wood. And she will disappear too. England, 1917. Between the village and the main road lies an ancient wood. The old Roman road bends to avoid it. Tonight Emily Bostock and a man called Rory Williams will go to the woods.

Investigating events in the present day and back in 1917, the Doctor and Amy are desperate to find out what’s happened to Rory. He was supposed to look after Emily – and now they’ve both vanished. Something is waiting in the woods. Something that’s been there for thousands of years. Something that is now waking up...

Three more novels will follow in June 2011: Borrowed Time by Naomi Alderman, Paradox Lost by George Mann and Touched by an Angel by Jonathan Morris. The first non-fiction title of the year The Dalek Handbook by Steve Tribe and James Goss will be published in May 2011 at £9.99.

Thanks to BBC Books

Doctor Who at the NTAs

Click on the pic for bigger version

Tonight sees the annual National Television Awards ceremony in the UK and Doctor Who is up for Best Drama whilst Matt Smith is up for Best Actor. Showrunner Steven Moffat's "other" show Sherlock is also nominated in the same categories. Check back later tonight for footage from the event which includes a specially filmed scene featuring presenter Dermot O'Leary with Matt Smith.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mara Tales - DVD artwork & details

Coming up in March from 2|entertain is a box set of classic Peter Davison stories on DVD. Mara Tales features Kinda and Snakedance - and includes the following extras:
Commentary - Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Matthew Waterhouse and Nerys Hughes.

Dream Time – cast and crew look back at the making of the story. With actors Janet Fielding, Nerys Hughes, Simon Rouse and Adrian Mills, director Peter Grimwade, writer Christopher Bailey, script editors Christopher H. Bidmead, Eric Saward and Antony Root, designer Malcolm Thornton, new series writer Robert Shearman.

Peter Grimwade: Directing with Attitude – a look at the Doctor Who career of writer and director Peter Grimwade. With Peter Grimwade, actors Janet Fielding and Nerys Hughes, writer Christopher Bailey, script editor Eric Saward, production assistant Margot Hayhoe, designer Malcolm Thornton, production secretary Jane Judge, script consultant Ian Levine, and Target Books editor Nigel Robinson. Presented by Mark Strickson.

Deleted and Extended Scenes – a fascinating collection of deleted sequences taken from timecoded domestic videotape copies of the story’s early edits.

Optional CGI Effects Sequence – option to view episode four with the original giant puppet snake replaced by a CGI snake.

CGI Effects Comparison – a side by side comparison of the original puppet and new CGI snake shots.

Trails & Continuity – BBC trails and continuity announcements from the story’s original transmission.

Photo Gallery - production, design and publicity photos from the story.

Isolated Music – option to watch the story with the isolated music score.

Commentary - Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton.

Snake Charmer – cast and crew look back at the making of the story. With actors Peter Davison and Janet Fielding, director Fiona Cumming, writer Christopher Bailey, script editor Eric Saward, designer Jan Spoczynski, and new series writer Robert Shearman.

Deleted Scenes – scenes from the original ending of episode four, courtesy of a timecoded recording kept by producer John Nathan-Turner.

In Studio – a rare glimpse inside the studio during recording of effects sequences for the story, including the infamous ‘farting Mara’!

Saturday Superstore – Peter Davison guests on the Saturday morning children’s show, where he plays cricket with Mike Read and John Craven and takes questions from callers.

Photo Gallery - production, design and publicity photos from the story.

Isolated Music – option to watch the story with the isolated music score.

Coming Soon - a trailer for a forthcoming DVD release.

Radio Times Listings in Adobe PDF format.

MARA TALES is released
March 7, RRP £30.63
Thanks to 2|entertain

John Simm in "Mad Dogs"

Next month, John Simm (The Master) is starring in a new serial drama from Sky1. The four part series Mad Dogs tells the story of five men getting reacquainted in Majorca and also stars Marc Warren (Elton Pope in Love & Monsters), Phillip Glenister (Life On Mars), Max Beesley (on the Blogtor wishlist for Series 6/7) and Ben Chaplin (Game On). Read a review of the first episode HERE over at Cult Box.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Karen Gillan photo shoot

The BBC have issued some rather snazzy promotional pictures of Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) from last year's Radio Times photoshoot - click on them for bigger, Pondier versions.

Thanks to BBC Pictures

Doctor Who - Character Building range

BBC Worldwide have announced a major new deal with Character Options' new Construction division which will see Doctor Who enter the construction toy market for the first time. The Character Building range will include 3D micro-figures, brought to life with sculpted facial features whilst play sets will be uniquely tailored to Doctor Who. Fans will be able to build their own Doctor Who world with all their favourite characters including the Doctor and Amy Pond with their famous foes the Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels.

Click on the pics for bigger versions

The entire range will be displayed at the Character Options stand at the London Toy Fair with the first products set for release in Spring 2011.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide

Radio Times covers party 2011

Last night saw the annual Radio Times covers party and in attendance were David Tennant, Karen Gillan and Steven Moffat. See them interviewed in the player above. See a gallery of pictures from the event HERE.

Alex Kingston in "Marchlands"

Coming soon from ITV (no, stick with it) is a new five part drama starring Alex Kingston (River Song), Anne Reid (The Curse of Fenric, Smith & Jones) and written by Stephen Greenhorn (The Lazarus Experiment, The Doctor's Daughter). Click on the pics included here for bigger versions and read a brief synopsis below:
Marchlands is the gripping story of three different families living in the same house in the 1960’s, 1980’s and present day. The families are linked by the spirit of a young girl – the 1960’s family’s daughter who died in mysterious circumstances.

The show also features Dean Andrews (Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes) and Denis Lawson (Star Wars Episodes IV-VI). Blogtor has reviewed the first episode - read it HERE.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Readers' Poll 2010

The results are in for the very first Blogtor Who Readers' Poll. Hundreds of you voted by email, here and on Twitter for your favourite stories of 2010 and they are included below - many thanks to everyone who took part. Your help is very much appreciated.

The above image comes from Springfield Punx


14. The Boy Who Saved The Proms - 0.33%
13. The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood - 0.49%
12. Vampires of Venice - 0.66%
11. Victory of the Daleks - 0.74%

10. Death of The Doctor
Wow, not even a Doctor Who story (although it is really), enough of you voted for this (0.82% of the vote) to get it into the Top Ten (beating off some "proper" Who episodes...) Read the Blogtor review of The Sarah Jane Adventures two~parter HERE.

9. The Beast Below
This early Series 5 story didn't make it into Blogtor's own Top 10 but plenty of you have much lurve for The Moff's political Space Whale Royal mystery (2.1%). Read the review of this ep HERE.

8. The Lodger
Living at number eight (finished higher in the Blogtor Top 10), the would~be return of Meglos wasn't to be, though it did rake up 3.1% in the vote. Visit the Blogtor mini~site for this episode HERE.

7. Amy's Choice
The next three stories were very close in the vote with not much between them. Gaining 6.8% this story also sat at number seven on the Blogtor run~down of 2010.

6. A Christmas Carol
Despite being a fairly new episode, the Crimbolicious Spesh enthralled a number of you (6.9%). Read the Blogtor review of the DVD HERE.

5. The End of Time Part 2
Just edging in, having aired on Jan 1, 2010, Davey T's dying moments didn't please you guys as much as it did Blogtor (it finished at the top). It gained 7.4% of the vote and you can read the review HERE.

4. The Time of Angels/Flesh & Stone
The return of the Weeping Angels tightened the trousers of many, though not everyone it should be said, gaining 9.2% in the countdown.

The above image comes from Springfield Punx

3. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
This year's Fez~tastic finale gathered 16.1% of the vote. Visit the Blogtor mini~site tribute to the two~parter HERE.

2. The Eleventh Hour
Moff's third story in the Top 5 displayed that he really hit the ground running with his first series in charge. The haired Scotsman's opener won 22.4% of the vote, just missing out on the top spot by one percent. Read the Blogtor review of this ep HERE.

1. Vincent & The Doctor
Who would've thunk it? Richard Curtis comes along and pleases everyone with his first stab at Doctor Who. The "funnyman" gathered 22.5% for his beautiful look at Van Gogh. Visit the Blogtor mini~site tribute to this episode HERE.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Series 6/7 News

The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, out today, has some news on the upcoming series of Doctor Who, beginning "around April". As previously known, Series 6 (or 11.2) starts with a Steven Moffat two~parter set in 1960s USA. Episode Three is written by Steve Thompson (Sherlock: The Blind Banker) whilst Episode Four has been penned by Neil Gaiman and stars Suranne Jones (pictured below), a character that "might just turn out to be an old acquaintance with a new face." Eps Five and Six (currently titled The Rebel Flesh and Gangers) have been written by Mathew Graham (Fear Her).

The first part of next year's adventures will end with a Steven Moffat story and begin again after the Summer with Episode Eight, again written by the showrunner. Episode Nine, which was previously four in the running order, is a Mark Gatiss story starring Daniel Mays.

Doctor Who Magazine, now bigger than ever with 84 pages, also features interviews with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan along with news on all the Classic DVD releases in 2011. And much more!

Doctor Who Magazine 430 is available now

Production also started on Torchwood: Miracle Day this week - you can keep up to date with news from the official production team on Twitter HERE.

Blogtor Who mentioned in latest DWM!

The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine has an article on "40 People every Doctor Who fan should follow on Twitter" and was kind enough to mention the Blogtor Who Twitter feed. As a fan it is incredibly flattering, not to mention exciting, to see those words in the magazine. Visit the official Twitter feed of Doctor Who Magazine HERE and follow Blogtor HERE.

DWM 430 is available from all good newsagents now

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Readers Poll 2010

The above image comes from Springfield Punx

Now we've all had time to digest and cogitate the entire output of Doctor Who in 2010, see the Blogtor Top 10 HERE, now it's your turn to vote in The Reader's Poll 2010. You can submit your Top Three (in order of preference) to either the Twitter feed, leave a comment below or email HERE.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Shameless" - Doctor Who scenes

The latest episode of UK Channel 4 television show Shameless (Series 8, Episode 2), featured two Doctor Who themed scenes. See them in the player below. The series has other connections with Who: composer Murray Gold contributes original music to both shows and actor Dean Lennox Kelly (who was a regular in Shameless) appeared as the titular playwright in The Shakespeare Code.

The clip contains "fruity" language.

Custom-made Doctor Who "Fluxx" card game

Reader William Cuthbertson has sent Blogtor some images of a custom-made Doctor Who version of the popular card game Fluxx - click on the pics for bigger versions. The pack was designed and produced by artist Ashley Jones (of Oxford, Ohio). Blogtor will keep you up to date with any further developments...

Special thanks to William Cuthbertson

Monday, January 10, 2011

REVIEW: "A Christmas Carol" DVD

Christmas Carol DVD
Release Date: Jan 24


DVD £13.27/Bluray £16.33

Duration: 60 mins (approx.)

Doctor Who Confidential
Dr Who at the 2010 Proms

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the words in this review have been suggested by humans on Twitter. See if you can spot which ones.

The Christmas "special" has been an odd affair over the years (yup, that phrase can now legitimately be used as this is the sixth of its kind) and A Christmas Carol was purty much that. Odd. Like the day itself - and I am mindful that to some readers it is simply just December 25 - there are a lot of expectations and a lot of "different" kinds of people to satiate and satisfy. With no one really coming away with the best experience of their lives but happy nonetheless.

Only The End of Time Part 1 (review HERE) so far can claim to be a proper "story" whereas the other specials are, for want of a better word, fluff. Enjoyable and extremely well~made fluff, yes. But still fluff. This year's tale (a re~bumbling on the Dickens story, in case the title or the numerous times it was mentioned pre~broadcast didn't indicate) continued the rather jokey way in which writer and trouser~wearing Scotsman Steven Moffat plays with time.

Now, I'm just going to come out and say it now. I don't like time~travel being used so flippantly and so cheaply. For me, this year's finale was rendered almost comedy~sketch~laughable by the way in which The Doctor jumped back and forth (needlessly it has to be said) trying to save the day. He does again here. Jumping forward in time to find out the code to open a door which will allow you to alter time and save 4,000 or so people when you could have just as easily have stopped the ship leaving int he first place (which amounts to the same thing as what he's doing anyway) does leave me a bit subdued. Let's not even mention Blinovitch Limitation Effect or The Reapers...

Anyway, a small point. But a salient one. We could argue about "timey~wimey" events until the phrase has lost all meaning, so let's not bother. The notion of dilemma (the 4,000 people about to die) was also removed through The Doctor's, for want of a better phrase, fannying around marrying actresses in the 1950s. If he doesn't care, why should we? And we don't really. It's the relationships on the ground that prove to be so fascinating or, as our Hungarian friends would say, lenyűgöző.

Although we have acting heavyweight Michael "So he's in the Harry Potter films but that doesn't make him a bad person, OK?" Gambon performing an old, but lurvable bastid stoutly, he's supported by a remarkable cast. In the boys corner are Matt Smith lookalike Danny Horn and young Arthur Darvill impersonator Laurence Belcher (pictured above) both playing the younger version of Gambon's character, Kazran "The Anagram" Sardick. The latter in particular is worthy of a mention as he really steals the show, quite a feat given he gets quite a bit to work with.

Different story for the ladies with lurvely "actress" Katherine "The Skirt" Jenkins leading the way with her character Abigail. The chanteuse makes for an immensely engaging female lead and her first foray into acting should be commended as she plays the bland role with sympathy and a great deal of allure. Indeed, if someone has said Jenkins was a jobbing actress, no eyebrows would have been raised, such is the quality of her performance.

Matt Smith, of course, is on top form as The Doctor and Moffat plays to Smith's superb comic timing and delivery; using material that wouldn't have looked out of place in The Moff's charming sitcom Coupling (specifically the "girl" stuff between The Doctor and young Kazran). It's not difficult to see why so many have warmed to Mazza so quickly. When the viewer witnesses his joy opening the "tomb" containing Abigail whilst wearing a Fez or Tom Baker~style scarf (a touch which, I confess, brought a tear to my eye), we feel it too, so enthusing is his performance.

The production is glorious and sumptuous in equal measure; the sets are gorgeous and certainly some of the finest seen in the show. Can't say the same for the bland and lens~flared spaceship, however, but you can't have everything. Murray Gold's score is suitably seasonal, ranging from the heart~warming choral work, through the action pieces with Clive the Shark (oh yeah, there's a shark in the story - I forgot to mention that) to the chilling Abigail's Song sung by Jenkins; truly beautiful.

Does the beauty of A Christmas Carol outweigh the story though? For me, no. But it fulfils the Christmas Special criteria neatly and entertains enough, though an hour was stretching it somewhat - the forty~five minute slot would have been more appropriate for such a light narrative. It's not an episode I'll be coming back to anytime soon. Top marks, though, for the "happy ending" which actually wasn't - just how long was Abigail to live? Or did Kazran, knowing his future (twice over), *coughs*, spend his life trying to find a cure for her? (It is a Steven Moffat tale after all!)

Unusually for a "vanilla" or single episode release there are a surprising amount of VAMs. Well, there's only two but they're both an hour long so that amounts to double the feature. You get the Christmas edition of Doctor Who Confidential in all its glory featuring the cast and crew in some delightful locations (particularly the use of the TARDIS interior) as well as the turning on of the Cardiff Christmas Lights. Completing the collection is Doctor Who at the 2010 Proms. Again, marvelous to watch this with Murray Gold's trouser~tightening tunes and the delightful appearances from Mazza, Kazza and Azza (pictured above).

Despite my own slight disappointment of the episode itself, the extras certainly make A Christmas Carol a worthwhile purchase - three hours on one disc for about a tenner ain't bad at all. And, for those who care about such things, the "Next Time" trailer makes a return to the Doctor Who DVD with that groin~grabbingly good Series 6 teaser - worth the price alone.