Saturday, August 31, 2013

Doctor and Dalek twin packs!

Online retailers Entertainment Earth now have Wave 1 of the Doctor and Dalek action figure sets - buy them HERE. The packs consist of:

The Second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton and the Silver and Blue Dalek he faced in Evil of the Daleks.

The Sixth Doctor played by Colin Baker and the White and Gold Dalek he encountered in Revelation of the Daleks.

• The Tenth Doctor played by David Tennant and the formidable Bronze Dalek that attempted to exterminate the universe in The Stolen Earth.

The 5-inch figure sets are incredibly detailed and expected to be hotly sought after by fans. Each set is only available for a limited time, and will be replaced by another three sets from this unique series, details of which will be announced soon. In the UK, these packs were available from Toys R Us - details HERE.

Churchill to return to Who? [UPDATE]

Speaking at a Doctor Who event at The Ritz Cinema & Theatre in Lincoln earlier today, actor Ian McNeice revealed that the character of Winston Churchill would make another appearance in Doctor Who. Their Twitter feed stated:

It is not currently known what episode McNeice was referring to, or which Doctor (or Doctors) he would be facing. Churchill was last seen in the Series 6 finale, The Wedding of River Song.

UPDATE: The initial tweet has been deleted, seems they might have misinterpreted his words.

Thanks to energyUK

REVIEW: Doctor Who Series Seven soundtrack


Doctor Who Series Seven soundtrack
By Murray Gold

2 Disc Set

It's a bit different to be reviewing this soundtrack album. For a start, I'm already familiar with the music on it, from having heard it when Series Seven was broadcast, and then re-watched several times since. Also, it's the seventh series that Murray Gold has written for Doctor Who, and one of his strengths as a composer is the way he uses returning themes for characters. So here we have some new takes on old themes for characters and aliens, but also a chance for something altogether new with the introduction of Clara as a new companion.

I think that the genius move of deciding to have orchestral scores for the show since it came back in 2005 has really helped shaped the feel of Doctor Who in the modern age, and recalls classic Hollywood scores where themes and melodies will be used through different pieces of music, instantly putting you in mind of characters, aliens and places. With conductor Ben Foster and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Gold has achieved scores that are bold and ambitious, moving, exciting, creepy, tense and thrilling.

With the show, each week provides a new opportunity to go somewhere completely different, a new place, a different time, a different feel, and the music always matches this. It must make writing the music for Doctor Who a joy as well as a challenge, to be able to have such a broad scope of what you can do, and where you can go, and how you can achieve it. Full orchestral score, or electronic sounds more reminiscent of the classic years of Who soundtrack, over the course of this CD, we get a taste of it all.

Asylum of the Daleks gives a chance for some dark and brooding strings, and eerie electronic industrial effects. Also a chance to hear a new theme for Clara for the first time in Oswin Oswald. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was the classic Hollywood adventure romp, and the music fits the bill with the full orchestra getting a workout, with loads of percussion getting a roll out whilst A Town Called Mercy brings a modern feel to the classic Spaghetti Western sound, lots of Ennio Morricone chops here, with a liberal helping of jaws harp, banjo, twangy guitar and low choral vocals.

The Power of Three brings us up to date with a contemporary feel, sounding somewhat electronic in feel, and a little off kilter and ill at ease whereas The Angels Take Manhattan is another chance for old school full-on orchestra, and a bit of a period piece. Its fairly heavily represented here, not surprisingly as its the big goodbye for Amy and Rory. Lots of eerie strings, low broody brass, and percussive vibes/xylophone here. Nice harp action too.

The Bells of Saint John opens with an orchestral build, then gives Clara's theme its first proper outing, beautiful light piano and flute combine for a really touching piece, light and airy strings joining as it progresses. The rest of this episode sees more contemporary efforts, with Bah Bah Biker coming over a bit Steve Harley, then Up The Shard bringing the full adventure orchestra back. It has a great flurry in it. Gold does a good flurry. Love a flurry.

The Rings of Akhaten wasn't my favourite episode, but the music stands up, and its the most vocal of this season's offerings. Opening with The Leaf (another take on Clara's theme) it goes through quite an eastern feel, and has the praise-like God of Akhaten through the Omen-esque Never Wake and back to the Hymnal feel of The Long Song.

Cold War and Skaldak are very much the atmospheric offerings. There isn't much happening, long quiet notes and ethereal strings and electronic percussion. I Am A Ghost from Hide continues in that vein. A Machine That Makes Machines (from Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS) is a trebly uneasy electronic rhythm that melds into cold strings and building woodwind and brass.

Gatiss' Victorian Gothic of The Crimson Horror, is treated with building flaring brass and sweeping strings that whip up into a frenzy, followed by Sweetville's harpsichord led creep-out which continues through Thomas Thomas. Holst-ering up back to the future with Nightmare in Silver opens with spacey orchestral pieces in Hedgewick's World and Tiberian Spiral Galaxy, before Upgrade In Progress and Dream Of Cyberia and Cyber Army, update Gold's Cyberman themes. Nice to hear the melodies first heard back in The Age of Steel back.

The Name Of The Doctor has re-worked themes of the Eleventh in To Save The Doctor and A Secret He Will Take To His Grave. Clara's theme re-appears in A Letter To Clara and in the final piece Remember Me. Trenzalore has an eerie string led quiet unease to it, as does I Am Information which builds with flaring brass into a crescendo. Remember Me, which starts with echoes of Clara's theme, ends with a very Doctor's theme flourish. That Cliffhanger eh?! Watched it again last week, still can't get my head round it. Roll on 23rd November!

And that was Series Seven. [Though they seem to have missed out two Christmas Specials - Ed.] It's funny to look back now on the first couple of series soundtracks. Amazing musically, but when you listen to them, it sounds like a good  recording of an orchestra playing live. I think they really hit their stride by Series Three, and you can tell that recording budgets may have increased, as the sound of the soundtrack really pulls together. It sounds like a proper orchestral score, the mix is right, the production perfect. They have continued to do what they do best. It's been great to see the Doctor Who Proms happening, a real nod to the great work that Murray Gold has achieved with these, and how good Ben Foster and the Orchestra are.

Composer Murray Gold
So, yeah, if you like Doctor Who, this is a shoe-in, just like all the other collections of new Who soundtracks. Deserving of a place in your collection. Play it in your car and confuse people as you drive past.

(And Murray, in the unlikely event that you're reading this, feel free to use Camera Obscura in a future soundtrack. We won't mind. The BBC don't even have to ask, it'll just be a nice surprise, cheers.)

BLOGTOR RATING 9/10
Thanks to Silva Screen

Review by Gavin Dunbar
(Camera Obscura band member, in case that needed pointing out :P)

Read Blogtor's interview with composer Murray Gold HERE.

Friday, August 30, 2013

BBC Three Doctor Who 50th Anniversary show

Comedian Tom Craine has revealed that BBC Three are currently putting together a special show celebrating the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary. It is believed that it will be a "50 Greatest" type list show (common on the channel) featuring comments and thoughts from diverse humans from all over the media quagmire. Speaking on his website earlier today, Craine said:

"Delighted that I’ll be appearing as a guest on a forthcoming BBC3 show celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who. Wouldn’t put it past me to have a few stern words to say about the Daleks."

You can visit his site HERE.

Cartoon Network's MAD Spoofs Doctor Who and Whose Line is it Anyway?

Cartoon Network's comedy show MAD is to bring together David Tennant and Matt Smith in a mash-up with long-running improvisational show, Whose Line is it Anyway? You can watch a clip in the player below featuring The Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who's Line Is It Anyway? which also features a Dalek as the host! MAD airs this Monday at 8:30/7:30c on Cartoon Network.

PREVIEW: Tenth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote

Hand supplied by Andrew Green

Recently, Blogtor got the chance to check out the The Tenth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote courtesy of The Wand Company and Firebox, available for pre~order now HERE. Last year saw the hugely popular Eleventh Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote (review HERE) from the same people and they've followed it up with an even better bit of tech. Blogtor got to sit and chat with Richard Blakesley, Chris Barnardo and Andrew Green from The Wand Company to find out more about their latest product.

Powered by a rechargeable battery (that you charge with a standard USB), this is a 1:1 replica of the very sonic that David Tennant used back in the Noughties. In fact, Tennant kindly lent The Wand Company his own sonic screwdriver from which the measurements were made along with a 3D scan (shortly before the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special was filmed, fact fans!); "We were amazed we got it!" the guys commented.

As with the previous sonic universal remote, it's gesture-based, comes with different operational modes (including "practise" for the less techno-literate out there) and an array of sonic screwdriver sounds. Along with the numerous sounds from the Tenth Doctor era, the sonic also boasts a fantastic collection of classic Doctor Who noises, including some from Fury From The Deep, The Dominators, The Sea Devils and more!


Doctor Who sound effects editor Paul Jefferies teamed up with The Wand Company and gave them access to the archives after every mention of the sonic was tracked down in episode scripts and sourced. It's this attention to detail that greatly impressed me, it seems the guys really care about giving something to the fans that will really resonate. Director Chris Barnardo told me, "It's no bullshit to say we really care about the experience of the person buying this will have. All the way through the production process we've thought about the experience; the look and the feel, the way it's packaged and presented. We want a product that's just right."

The sounds can be turned on and off, for whatever mood you see fit. Despite its primary function as a universal remote control, The Wand Company also see the immense use their sonics have as a cosplaying tool, due to the detail and accuracy of the product. For example, the crackleglaze was photographed many times, so it will be the exact same pattern as David's very own sonic - though the handmade nature of the original sonics used in the show mean that there could be slight differences between the various screwdrivers seen on screen.

This time around, the sonic screwdriver comes with a die cast magnetic base (featuring a Gallifreyan deisgn) which means that, when not in use, it can be rested upright on display for all to see. The sonic does make for a very attractive bit of kit to have in your room, so it's a nice touch to have this feature (rather than packing it away or getting lost down the back of the sofa).

The packaging for this version of the sonic is also different to the last, this one coming in a hard case with rubber lining - like a military piece of tech - along with another beautifully designed manual (and very different in character to the Eleventh Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote manual). And there's even secret morse code messages tucked away containing well-known David Tennant Tenth Doctor phrases!

Visit The Wand Company for more info HERE

Coming up soon on Blogtor Who will be a full interview with the guys at The Wand Company and a review of The Tenth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control itself. But, as a taster for the future, I did ask if more sonic screwdrivers were in the pipeline, from previous Doctors. The guys said they were constantly being inundated with requests for "older sonics" - so who knows!

Thanks to The Wand Company and Firebox

Lords of Time conventions in Australia


Culture Shock Events have announced details of two great Doctor Who conventions taking place later this year in Australia. Various former companions and friends of The Doctor will be joining The Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann - check out the details below!

Featuring Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill) and Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar). 

Paul McGann will be joined by Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling, Richard Franklin,
Mark Strickson, Daphne Ashbrook, Nicola Bryant and Wendy Padbury.

Catherine Tate in Big School


The BBC have released more promotional pictures from the new sitcom Big School starring Catherine Tate - click on the images for bigger versions. Also included in the photos are David Walliams (The God Complex), Steve Speirs (Aliens of London/World War III) and Philip Glenister (Life On Mars, and brother of Robert Glenister, The Caves of Androzani).


Thanks to BBC Pictures

Thursday, August 29, 2013

COMPETITION! Win a £75 Amazon voucher!

Ao.com (formerly Appliances Online) have teamed up with Blogtor to give away a £75 Amazon voucher for one lucky reader. The competition is open to North America and the UK and all you have to do is answer the question below (correctly). £75 will get you the new Doctor Who Series 7 boxset and a lot more besides!

In which story does a former companion
send The Doctor a package from the Amazon?
The competition closes on 00:01, Sept 9 [BST] and is open to the US, Canada and the UK.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chris Chapman interview

Recently Blogtor caught up with Doctor Who DVD documentary maker, Chris Chapman - you can read the full interview on Den of Geek HERE. During our chat we discuss the process of animating The Ice Warriors (the Blogtor Who review HERE), filming with Matt Smith and his upcoming documentary on the final William Hartnell story, The Tenth Planet which "pulls no punches".

Official 50th Anniversary Figurine Collection

Publishers Eaglemoss have announced a new fortnightly magazine series celebrating the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary complete with figurines. The series starts today, full details below:

Looking back at this iconic programme by concentrating on many of the characters from the various incarnations of the show, the official Doctor Who figurine collection features classic characters from fifty years of Doctor Who, including the series’ greatest monsters, all the Doctors and the most important Daleks and Cybermen from every era!

Each figurine of this unique collection is cast in metallic resin for incredible detail before being hand-painted and individually numbered. Each figurine recreates a specific moment from the TV series and is in perfect 1:21 scale.

Every figurine comes with an official collector’s magazine that explains how the character evolved. Plus get the inside story behind classic moments, explore fifty years of the series’ history, and discover the answers to some impossible questions.

This is the definitive Doctor Who figurine collection!

    •    Issue No.1 (on sale 28 August at the introductory price of £2.99) comes with a figurine of the Eleventh Doctor from the episode The Pandorica Opens.

    •    Issue No.2 (on sale 12 September at the regular price of £6.99) will feature Davros from Journey’s End.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

McGann & Tennant to attend BFI screenings

The BFI have revealed that two former (and possibly future depending on when you're reading this) actors to play The Doctor will attend respective screenings of their work at the BFI later this year. As previously announced, The Stolen Earth and Journey's End will screen on Sept 29 at 2pm and David Tennant will be in attendance at the Q&A panel after the episodes. The following weekend sees a big screen performance of the 1996 TV Movie on Oct 5 (at the special time of 10am) and will see an appearance from Paul McGann.

Joining McGann will be Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs (Big Finish Productions), Gary Russell (writer), Andrew Cartmel (Seventh Doctor script editor and writer), Geoffrey Sax (director), Daphne Ashbrook (Dr Grace Holloway). The event will be followed by a signing at the BFI Shop of advance copies of the new BBC 50th anniversary book: Doctor Who - The Vault with author Marcus Hearn.

Both events are currently sold out, but it's always worth checking with the website and even turning up on the day for returns (it does happen!).

Robbie Williams was nearly Doctor Who

Popular human male "singer" Robbie Williams nearly played The Doctor back in 2003. A documentary on the DVD for the online Doctor Who story Scream of the Shalka (full details HERE) reveals that the Take That performer was interested in the role, and the production team were just as interested in having him play the Time Lord.

Speaking on making-of documentary Carry On Screaming, producer Muirinn Lane Kelly said: "We got word that Robbie Williams was interested in playing The Doctor. We all sat around wondering, 'Is this a good idea? Is this a crazy idea?' Although, when it all shook down it turned out he wasn't available and it wasn't that possible."

Shalka writer Paul Cornell added, "Because we were reaching for the mainstream I actually thought he's one of the most famous people in Britain. It would actually get us an enormous kick of attention"

Producer James Goss stated, "Think about it, if you really wanted to bring Doctor Who to a whole new audience, it would have been the most popular, talked-about thing the BBC website ever did."

Older readers may remember that Richard E Grant would eventually play the role of The Doctor in the story.  Scream of the Shalka is released on Sept 16 in the UK and Sep 17 in North America. Pre-order it HERE.

Lovarzi Releases Official Doctor Who 50th Range

After the success of their Fourth Doctor Scarf, Lovarzi, the UK’s leading online scarf retailer, is releasing five more unique Doctor Who products in partnership with BBC Worldwide to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. 

The range is essential for fans of the Seventh Doctor - Sylvester McCoy - but there’s something new for everyone, including a specially-designed Dalek Scarf. The Seventh Doctor's Jumper and the incredibly-detailed Silk Scarf are ideal for cosplayers, and the 100% cotton Hanky finishes off the look perfectly. 

While the majority of Doctors stay in one outfit during their time onscreen, Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor swapped his brightly-coloured Scarf in his final set of stories. Lovarzi’s Season 18 Fourth Doctor Scarf in Burgundy is made from Acrylic Chenille. It was first seen in The Leisure Hive (1980) and was designed by June Hudson under instructions from producer, John Nathan-Turner. The scarf was utilised extensively until the Fourth Doctor’s swansong serial, Logopolis

The scarf was even used in publicity shots for the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors (with the Fourth Doctor represented by a waxwork destined for Madame Tussauds!) before retiring to Blackpool’s Doctor Who exhibit, which operated from 1974 to1985, and 2004 to 2009. 

Tom Baker actually wore scarves of various lengths, depending on what each scene entailed one even measuring three times his own height but Lovarzi’s is 13ft/ 3.96m in length, including tassels, and 10” (28cm) wide. 

Finally, the reversible Dalek scarf is an entirely unique design, initially available in two inter-woven colour combinations: Blue and Light Grey; Grey and Charcoal. The scarf is made in Italy from finest quality wool and modal, resulting in a very fine finish. 

The Seventh Doctor Jumper, Silk Scarf and Hanky, Season 18 Fourth Doctor Scarf in Burgundy and exclusive Dalek Scarf will all be available for pre-order from Lovarzi.co.uk, Forbidden Planet, BBCShop.com and the Doctor Who Experience from September 2013.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Who's Changing - Doctor Who documentary


Over the past few months, Blogtor has teamed up with Talking Who to produce a documentary all about Doctor Who fans and how fandom has changed pre-2005 to post-2005. In the player above you'll find a video all about the feature-length film called Who's Changing: An Adventure In Time With Fans.

But we need your help in getting this documentary out there! If you could donate to the fundraising campaign page we would be eternally grateful, AND you'd get some special perks too! For full details, please visit the IndieGoGo fundraising page HERE.

The documentary includes interviews with: Louise Jameson (Leela), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dan Starkey (Strax), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia Pond), Spencer Wilding (creature actor in various Eleventh Doctor episodes) and writers James Moran (The Fires of Pompeii), Eric Saward (Earthshock, amongst others), Andrew Smith (Full Circle), Gary Russell (author and script editor for Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures) and many, many more!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Steven Moffat interview

Current showrunner Steven Moffat was talking with Frank Skinner and Fred MacAulay earlier this evening at the AdLib Comedy event in Edinburgh. During the session both Doctor Who and Sherlock were discussed and there was also a Q&A with the audience. Highlights below!

What are the chances of Peter Jackson directing an episode?
"He's serious about it. We talked at The Hobbit premiere - he just wants a Dalek. So we'll give him a Dalek and he'll direct an episode. I think he'd like to us to go to New Zealand. I think it's entirely possible."

Rumour that JK Rowling is writing a short story for the 50th Anniversary.
"I can't confirm that..., right now."

A return for the Doctor's daughter, Jenny?
"The door is open, it's entirely possible."

Similarly, a return for Romana?
"I have actually given no thought at all to Romana. The Time Lords are dead in my mind. They died."

Will Peter Capaldi's Doctor have a Scottish accent?
"I'd be very surprised if he didn't"

On the importance of Rose Tyler.
"When the show came back, I think it really was Billie Piper who brought it back. Those first two years, that was Billie Piper's show. It became David Tennant's show in the third year but it was all about Billie, and Billie as Rose. And Russell [T Davies, former showrunner] was clever in writing that character and casting that character so perfectly. Seriously, in the first two years, that was Billie Piper's show."

Regarding the casting of an older actor being cast as the next Doctor (Peter Capaldi, in case you'd forgotten), Frank Skinner suggested: "I hope it will stop Steven's temptation to make it all flirty between The Doctor and the companion," to which Steven Moffat replied sarcastically, "Yeah, 'cos older blokes - they just don't ever flirt with girls, do they?" Skinner also suggested that Dorium Maldovar would be a brilliant companion. "You really do want to reduce the flirting! I love the character. We would bring him back if we had a good story for him. But he's just a head in a box, which could make it slightly limiting. [Laughs]"

On the Sherlock Series 2 finale...
"He cunningly avoided the pavement - that really is the only way to avoid dying. There's only a limited number of ways he can do this. He's got to interrupt his fall before he hits the pavement." Moffat also revealed that the first episode of the next series is set in November.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Doctor Who Magazine 464

PETER CAPALDI HAS A SPECIAL EXCLUSIVE MESSAGE FOR THE READERS OF DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE!

Click for a bigger version
Doctor Who Magazine 464 goes behind the scenes of Doctor Who Live, the special show which finally revealed the identity of the Twelfth Doctor. The mag features interviews with the people who made it happen, including show runner STEVEN MOFFAT, presenter ZOË BALL and producer RUSSELL MINTON… and there's also has an exclusive letter from PETER CAPALDI himself!

Steven Moffat tells DWM, “He’s always looked like Doctor Who, how has this taken us so long?! Because the moment you say his name, you go ‘Of course!’ Because he’s got the hair, and he’s got the look, he’s brilliant, he’s known to be a fan, of course it’s bloody him!”

ALSO THIS ISSUE: 

WAITING IN THE WINGS…
STEVEN MOFFAT writes exclusively for DWM about how Peter Capaldi came to be chosen as the Twelfth Doctor.

NO HIDING…
The author of the recent episodes The Rings of Akhaten and Hide, and the creator of the acclaimed drama series Luther, NEIL CROSS talks exclusively to DWM about how he came to fulfil his dream of writing for Doctor Who

OUT OF THE WILDERNESS…
In the second part of The Way Back, we continue to examine the rebirth of Doctor Who in the 21st and take a look at the other Ninth Doctor whose life was cut short after just one animated adventure, Scream of the Shalka – with contributions from RUSSELL T DAVIES, JULIE GARDNER, JANE TRANTER and many more …

PLUS! All the latest official news, TV and merchandise reviews, previews, competitions, a prize-winning crossword and much, much more!

Meet the new Doctor in Doctor Who Magazine 464
On sale Thursday 22 August, priced £4.75

Thanks to Doctor Who Magazine

Twelfth Doctor action figure


Action figure producers Biff Bang Pow have been chatting about their license to produce a Twelfth Doctor action figure. As soon as the announcement was made of the new actor to play the Time Lord, a sculpt was made of Peter Capaldi's head (see above pic). The company are now awaiting further information - such as hair colour (will he be ginger perhaps?), facial hair (evil goatee perhaps?) and full costume - before approval from the BBC. The company estimate the figure will be available in May 2014.

Read their full news post about the figure HERE.
Entertainment Earth

Monday, August 19, 2013

REVIEW: Who Are You Supposed To Be?

Who Are You Supposed To Be?
Starring Jen Lusk and Cameron K McEwan

Written by Keith Gow

Directed by Emrys Mathews

Runs until Aug 26 at C-Aquila, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, everyday at 3.40pm. Buy tickets HERE


The challenge for any live show is in being able to grab the audience’s attention, lead them into the world within which the performance is set, and keep them there for the duration. Taking my seat in the small, darkened Aquila Venue 21 on a sunny Friday afternoon, to the strains of Roberta Tovey’s chirpy Who’s Who over the sound system (“…he’s quite at home on a big spaceship, or sitting on top of a horse…”), I suspected I was in for entertainment of the quirky kind. I wasn’t disappointed; rewarded with an hour’s amusement packed with enough geeky delights to please a fanboy (or fangirl)’s soul - but with a charming story at its heart.

Cameron K McEwan & Jennifer Lusk
The minimalist stage setting placed a heavy burden on the shoulders of Jennifer Lusk and Cameron K McEwan to draw the audience into their world, set in a sci-fi and fantasy convention (Nerd-vana) and aside from a slightly subdued start by Lusk, they shouldered it well. Their success in doing so was built on the foundations of a quality script, but with the sparky performances of McEwan and Lusk driving forward the narrative momentum. Their quick-fire exchanges maintained a naturalistic feel throughout the piece, as the duo meet and re-encounter each other throughout the course of the convention, their relationship building as they wait out the longueurs between discussion panels, autograph queues and best-dressed conventioneer sessions.

The play provides rich pickings for genre fans in the audience, with sci-fi and fantasy allusions scattered throughout the dialogue like little Easter eggs, and there’s a particular thrill in spotting some of the more obscure references. In particular, there’s a delightful sequence riffing cleverly on Fifth Doctor story titles, as Ash (Lusk) and Gene (McEwan) get nearer to the front of an autograph queue in the hope of obtaining a signature from the Fifth Doctor himself Peter (“the Guvnor”) Davison. The humour of this sequence is however affectingly contrasted by Ash’s vulnerability, as she reveals the extent to which she is constrained by her panic attacks, unable to continue to the front of the queue to meet her hero.

Both Gene and Ash are gradually revealed in the course of the play, by narrative and through the performances of McEwan and Lusk, to be more nuanced and believable than their initial appearances as classic superfans might suggest. Gene’s history involving his failed relationship with his ex-girlfriend (amusingly signalled by the running gag of cleverly used incidental music) gradually unfolds to expose his emotional frailties, hinting at the deeper damage dealt to his confidence.

With each carrying their own emotional baggage, the relationship between Gene and Ash borders on abrasive at times, giving a real crackle and fizz to their banter, energetically performed by Lusk and McEwan. The duo challenge their respective views and prejudices, on gender-stereotypes and the notion of the convention setting as a “safe space”. With Ash’s determination to be seen as The Doctor rather than a companion, the vexing question of whether and when there will ever be a female Doctor Who is given a good airing.

The play is divided into four “episodes” by cliffhangers in true-Who style, a narrative trick that works effectively in allowing for the passage of time over the long weekend of the convention setting, and in practical terms allows for quick re-setting of the stage. This episodic approach lends itself particularly well to a believable progression in Ash and Gene’s developing interest in each other. It’s to the credit of all involved that the temptation to neatly wrap the story up with a pat and straightforward happy ending was avoided, instead opting for a more believable denouement…but with a particularly entertaining costume change, which this reviewer will resist the temptation to spoil!

The flyer for Who Are You Supposed To Be? advertises the play as being a love letter to what is it to be a fan, celebrating the notion of pretending to be somebody else just for the hell of it. This sweetly told and engagingly performed play more than matches up to what’s promised. A show that’s well worth seeking out. 

BLOGTOR RATING 8/10


Who Are You Supposed To Be? runs until Aug 26 at C-Aquila, Edinburgh, everyday at 3.40pm. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Song For Fifty at the Proms


Earlier this evening, BBC Four screened Proms on Four: 20th Century Classics which featured "New Music at the Proms". Included in this show was an excerpt from Song For Fifty - a song celebrating fifty years of Doctor Who from composer Murray Gold. Watch it in the player above. The Doctor Who Proms concert will air on BBC One on Aug 26 at 4pm.

The Doctors Revisited - The Eighth Doctor



BBC America continue their series The Doctors Revisited with a look at The Eighth Doctor on August 31 at 8/7c. It will be followed by an airing of the Paul McGann "TV movie" which also gets a screening in the UK at the BFI in London - details HERE.


DVD REVIEW: The Ice Warriors


THE ICE WARRIORS
Starring Patrick Troughton

2 Disc DVD - Details HERE

UK: Aug 26
 
Australia: Aug 28
North America: Sept 17

Review by Emrys Matthews



STORY
The Ice Warriors is Patrick Troughton’s tenth story as the Doctor and unlike so many of its fellows has only two episodes missing, which have been lovingly animated for this DVD release. It was last released back in 1998 on VHS and this marks the story’s first time on DVD, leaving only one complete story and three incomplete stories still to come [at the time of writing - Ed.].

The story is set in Earth’s future, during a new ice age. The TARDIS crew land beside Brittanicus base where a group of humans are attempting to halt the advance of a glacier. A huge armored reptilian being is discovered beneath the ice. Once thawed, the creature is revealed to be Varga, captain of a Martian spacecraft that landed on Earth centuries ago and is still buried in the ice. Varga frees his companions, who were also frozen and go about attempting to free their ship and leave Earth.

Rather unusually these Martian creatures aren’t bent on world domination, but simply want to return to their home of Mars. Writer Brian Hayles breaks the mould of so many other base-under-siege stories, by giving his “monsters” a legitimate and unselfish task. But in order for the warriors to return home they must disable and cannibalise the Earth base's reactor which would leave the humans without heat or power and allow the massive ice glaciers held at bay to break across the Earth.

The only real fault with this story lies in its length, there are lots of good ideas in the mix, however they are stretched so thinly over the six episode structure it is hard for the tension to really build. As a four-parter this would be a tight, and exciting story, but as a six-parter it’s a little lackluster.

There's a strong moral argument weaved throughout the story, voicing the misgivings of our constant and ever-growing reliance on technology which is perhaps even more relevant now than it was back in 1967.

I have to admit, though, The Ice Warriors is overlong and at times wanders the wrong side of dull, but there are some truly wonderful moments and, of course, the introduction to the massive Martian Ice Warriors.

ANIMATION
One of the biggest boasts of this DVD are the two newly animated previously missing episodes 2 and 3. The animation is good but a little too reminiscent of Captain Pugwash in the jittery movement of the characters. However the faces and specifically the eyes of the assembled characters have very good attention to detail. It is wonderful to be able to see these lost episodes in moving action and effectively return another complete story to the collection.

EXTRAS
The DVD also boasts some excellent special features. The Audio Commentary includes cast and crew for the existing episodes One, Four Five and Six with Frazer Hines (James), Deborah Watling (Victoria), Sonny Caldinez (Turoc), Jeremy Davies (Designer) and Pat Heigham (Grams Operator). The assembled group seem to remember the story fondly and Frazer keeps the face-wincing puns coming thick and fast.

For the missing episodes Two and Three the commentary takes the unusual form of archive recordings, readings and interviews with Brian Hayles (writer), Derek Martinus (Director), Martin Baugh (Costume Designer), Bernard Bresslaw (Varga), Peter Barkworth (Clent), Wendy Gifford (Miss Garrett) and Sylvia James (make-up supervisor). This is a wonderful addition that adds a real insight into the people who worked on this story who were unavailable for the commentary or who are sadly no longer with us. There is also an alternate commentary track for episode Three with Patrick Troughton’s son and biographer, Michael. The whole thing is moderated by Toby Hadoke. 

Cold Fusion is another wonderful making of documentary compiled by Who doco numero Uno Chris Chapman. It’s a particularly informative documentary and fills in lots of gaps in the background of this story and in the creation of the Ice Warriors themselves. The foremost question of the discrepancy in the size of the Ice Warrior helmets was due to a last minute redesign due to a lack of mobility and also of comfort for the actors in the suits. The doco also reveals that Bernard Bresslaw who played Varga was the one who originated the Martian’s hissing voices, for which they are famed. 

From Beneath The Ice is a short documentary of the making of the two animated episodes. It details the lengths to which the animators and other team members went to to produce the animation as accurately as possible. The animators intentionally limited themselves in terms of how each shot would appear to the boundaries of the possibilities of the late 1960s. The documentary casts some light on the tireless efforts that went in to bringing the Ice Warriors back using telesnaps, the original shooting script and some guess work too. In the end Chapman states that he feels like “you forget you’re watching animation. You’re not distracted and genuinely feel like you’ve watched the story.” His remarks are certainly accurate and the hard work of everyone at Qurios will be greatly appreciated by Who fans everywhere.

Also included is the original VHS "links" from the video released in 1998, covering the missing episodes and featuring Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. This is a good way to view the less exciting Episode Three, but the animated version of episode two is not to be missed.

The Blue Peter: Design-A-Monster segment and competition acts as a fascinating doorway into 60s children television and we get to see some of the odd choices of winners that fortunately never made it into a fully-fledged episode. Doctor Who Stories - Frazer Hines concludes the interview with the actor which contains an hilarious section where Hines remembers the almost forgotten Who-themed acid rock song Who is Doctor Who? released by Frazer and written by Barry Mason and Les Reed.

The wonderful people at Qurios have also created a short animated reconstruction of the Original Trailer for The Ice Warriors which included some extra footage shot of Clent and Penley. It makes a really nice prologue to the story - I heartily recommend watching this first. The DVD also boasts the usual, and always excellent, Production Notes, the Photo Gallery, Radio Times Listings and a Coming Soon trailer for the web animated adventure Scream of the Shalka.

All in all this is a very strong and well rounded release. It includes everything that you would expect or could hope for and is produced to a high standard.

BLOGTOR RATING 8/10
Thanks to BBC Worldwide

Review by Emrys Matthews

Friday, August 16, 2013

Doctor Who Revisited Specials to air on UKTV

The first four Doctor Who revisited specials from BBC America will air this Sunday, August 18 from 4:30pm on UKTV in Australia and New Zealand. These programmes provide an introduction to each of the previous incarnations of the Doctor and are designed to work alongside a specially curated selection of stories. These specials feature:

· interviews with key cast and crew,
· classic clips,
· a montage of the Doctors’ key moments, iconic lines and monsters and contributions from Steven Moffat, John Barrowman, David Tennant, Caroline Skinner and Neil Gaiman, among others.

The first four Doctor Who revisited specials, featuring William Hartnell through to Tom Baker, air this Sunday, August 18 from 4:30pm on UKTV.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Moffat and Gaiman at the Edinburgh Festival

Comedian and Doctor Who fan Frank Skinner will be discussing the importance of improvisation and spontaneity in Steven Moffat's work as well as all things Peter Capaldi, 50th Anniversary and future Who too in an appearance by the current showrunner at AdLib at this year's Edinburgh Festival.

The event promises to be a fascinating insight into his creative process and also a chance for fans to take part in a live Q&A as part of the show. This is Steven Moffat's only Edinburgh festival appearance this year so it's a real must-see. Moffat will be appearing on Wednesday August 21 at 22.30 - buy tickets HERE.

AdLib presents unique EdFest-exclusive live shows where some of the nation’s most creative minds engage in surprising conversation with some of the sharpest comedians in showbiz!
Wed Aug 21 - Steven Moffat
Sat Aug 24 - Neil Gaiman


PLEASE NOTE: it's NOT an improv comedy show

Don't forget that Blogtor is also at the Edinburgh Festival this year, starring in a comedy all about Doctor Who and its fans. Read more about Who Are You Supposed To Be? HERE. It runs until Aug 26, everyday at 3.40 at C-Venues C-Aquila. Buy Tickets HERE.

Tee offers


Our buddies over at RIPT Apparel have got another two great Doctor Who designs for sale - for 24 hours only! Titled Angels Strike Back and Return of the Doctor the tees are available worldwide for $10 - visit the site HERE! They're also available in kids sizes, a fleece hoody, a onesie and in prints, coasters and iPhone cases!


AND Our chums over at TeeFury have got another also have another TWO great Doctor Who t~shirts for sale - for 24 hours only! The tees are available worldwide for $11 - visit the site HERE.