Sunday, September 29, 2013

RTD, Gardner and Moffat at BAFTA Cymru



Earlier this evening the BAFTA Cymru award ceremony took place and it featured a strong Doctor Who element. In the player above you can see former showrunner Russell T Davies present former producer Julie Gardner with the Siân Phillips award and in the player below you can see current showrunner Steven Moffat present a Writing Award.




Have I Got News For You? trailer



The BBC have aired a trailer for the long-running "satirical" comedy show Have I Got News For You? - watch it in the player above. During it you can see the TARDIS and team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop dressed as The Fourth Doctor.

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary teaser



The BBC have aired a teaser for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor - watch it in the player above. The BBC have also announced that a specially filmed trailer has been produced and will be released soon. For more info, pics and clips from the seventy-five minute film, click HERE.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Blogtor Who Top 50 - No. 9

Here it is! Blogtor's personal countdown of his 50 favourite Doctor Who television stories, one a week till the big day in November 2013. Now, just to point out, this choice is purely my own. So don't expect reasoned debate or objectivity. Or even the need to please every fan out there. This is my list, and I stand by it. I will also add that I've seen every Doctor Who story released (at least twice), so I feel like I know what I'm talking about. Anyway, enough chittle of the chattle, let's begin...

UTOPIA
First broadcast 16/6/2007 starring David Tennant

YANA. Who can forget that moment?

For me, it's one of the greatest moments in Doctor Who history. A moment so astonishingly shocking, and so absurdly surprising that I was rendered completely without speech. Poor Blogtor simply gawked slack-jawed at the most audacious reveal the show has ever proffered; a revelation that could only have come from the pen (or probably computer) of Russell T Davies. And one that was just amazing for its shock factor, but also the deep, meaningful emotional resonance this twist contained.

I mean, the bloody Master was back!

Although we knew the "renegade" was returning, this was such an unexpected and brilliant move to have his identity unveiled out of the blue. I banged the floor in sheer amazement (with my hands, fact fans). The fob watch maneuver, as I've just christened it, had such a profound resonance for the entire series - not just the episode itself. Everything came together for that one spellbinding moment.

Derek Jacobi, who was utterly loveable and endearing as Professor Yana, turned on a sixpence, as it were, and became evil incarnate - his eyes transformed into malevolence personified whilst he spat out chillingly, "I am The Master!" One of Who's great one-off performances.

Likewise, David Tennant gets much to do here, just watch his impishness and mischievousness when he leaves Captain Jack running behind in Cardiff. Witness his almost unpleasant attitude towards him on Malcassairo. And then the chamber scene with Harkness, Tennant's sneer and suspicious eyes followed by his admission as to why he did what he did on the Game Station. All make for a very interesting Time Lord moment.

Utopia isn't all about that final third though. Jack's return was welcome and fun (and, as just mentioned, bringing out some unexpected truths from The Doctor) and it also meant the re-appearance of his buddy's hand (a great plot device that served the show very well) whilst Yana and his wonderful companion Chan'tho were a terrific couple - and the slow unraveling of the old scientist's past is a meaty mystery to savour.

There's also a great sadness and tragedy about the episode, triggered by the following finale. That journey, that final journey for the human race went nowhere. All those people perished, and The Doctor was unable to stop that happening. It was The Master's gain.

Russell T Davies' construction of the second half of Series Three was pure Doctor Who, yet it was so new and vibrant. One story fed into another whilst stories would have backward reverberations on previous adventures. For me, and for many others, it spawned "that Utopia" moment for Doctor Who - a moment oft imitated but one that almost stands alone in all twisty-wisty awe-inspiring goodness. It was clever. So very clever. But, best of all, it was damn entertaining. And joyously breathtaking in a very real and literal sense.

Friday, September 27, 2013

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 more unique Doctor Who products in partnership with BBC Worldwide to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. Available for pre-order now is The Seventh Doctor's Jumper and the The Seventh Doctor's Silk Scarf.

More Who goodies will be released later this year including The Fourth Doctor's Season 18 Scarf and a Dalek scarf.

Pre-order The Seventh Doctor's Jumper

Doctor Who props from Rubbertoe Replicas



Included in the player above is a short video looking at the work of Rubbertoe Replicas, an officially licensed company who produce some great Doctor Who props. You can find out more by visiting their website HERE.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Official Celebration Ticket Ballot Open


BBC Worldwide have announced that some more tickets to the official Doctor Who 50th Celebration, which sold out in less than one day, have been released and will be made available via a ballot system. The ballot can be entered online and via telephone now, and will remain open until 10am (BST) on Monday 30th September 2013. Details below:

How to apply for the ballot:
    •    Online ballot applications can be made HERE.
    •    Alternatively you can call the call centre: 0844 693 0780.
    •    Applicants with disability access requirements can enter the ballot via telephone or online. If you would like to discuss access requirements with a member of the team, please call the dedicated CrowdSurge helpline on 08434 594 939.
    •    For further information please visit the FAQ page at celebration.doctorwho.tv.
Ticket prices will remain at £45 for adults, £20 for children and £104 for a family ticket (two adults and two children, price excludes booking fee).

Ticket holders to this once-in-a-lifetime event at London’s ExCeL will have access to a whole range of activities including panels with key cast from 50 years of Doctor Who, special effects shows, stunt workshops, quizzes and games for fans young and old and more Doctor Who features than you can shake a sonic screwdriver at.

For more information on the Celebration and a Plan Your Day guide, visit celebration.doctorwho.tv.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Adventure In Space & Time at the BFI

The BFI have announced details of the screening of the genesis of Doctor Who drama, An Adventure in Space and Time. The ninety minute film, written by Mark Gatiss, will screen on November 12 at 8.20pm. As usual with their Doctor Who screenings, a Q&A with the cast and crew is also expected at the event. Tickets will be on sale to the public on Oct 12, whilst BFI  members can currently enter a ballot.

Visit the BFI page HERE for more details and go HERE for more information on An Adventure in Space and Time.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

News Round-Up

Despite no new episodes on telly, news comes in thick and fast in the world of Doctor Who - and some juicy nuggets may have passed you by. Collected here is a round-up of the very latest news. Don't forget you can follow Blogtor Who on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news on Doctor Who - follow HERE. Read the last news round~up HERE

50TH ANNIVERSARY
The Light at the End trailer
50th Anniversary Gold Coin
The Day of the Doctor DVD/Bluray artwork and details
The Doctors Revisited - The Ninth Doctor
PETITION: Light up the Empire State Building TARDIS blue on Nov 23

MERCHANDISE
Destiny of the Doctors - 10th & 11th Doctor releases
Doctor Who Magazine 465
2011 & 2012 Christmas Specials Soundtrack
BBC Worldwide unveil lots of new Who merch

REVIEWS
Terror of the Zygons DVD
Destiny of the Doctor - Night of the Whisper
1963 - Fanfare For The Common Men
The Dark Planet

MISC.
The Blogtor Who Top 50 - No. 10
Sydney Newman interview
Promotional pictures of The Doctors
Promo pics of David Tennant in The Escape Artist
Derek Jacobi interview

REVIEW: The Lost Stories : The Dark Planet

THE DARK PLANET
Starring William Russell and Maureen O'Brien

By Brian Hayles
Adapted by Matt Fitton

Out Now


The Dark Planet is the latest in the Big Finish audio range, The Lost Stories, where unused or "lost" scripts are unearthed and adapted for audio. This story features William Hartnell’s First Doctor and his companions Ian, Barbara and Vicky.

The TARDIS crewe arrive in the early days of the universe on a planet alongside a dying sun. The world appears to be uninhabited and is ripe for exploration, but the Doctor and his companions quickly find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict between two species, the people of Light and of Shadow.

This story marks the first in what is meant to be the last series of The Lost Stories; one often wants to beg the question, why wasn’t this story made in the first place? Was it too ambitious for the time? Was it unfinished? Was it just not good enough? and a further question: Why has this lost one been left to the last season?

In the case of The Dark Planet I imagine it was the former: a little over ambitious. It seems representative of the high concept stories we were sometimes treated to from the earlier more experimental episodes of Doctor Who, exemplified here with the literal representation of the forces of White and Black. Originally from the mind and pen of Brian Hayles, who gave us the Celestial Toymaker and all of the "classic" Ice Warrior stories, and adapted by current Big Finish go-to-guy Matt Fitton, we’re in good hands.

It also cleverly provides a wonderful way for the listener to really picture the black and white imagery of the classic series. As were the stories of its time then, it is a little over-long, but it also excellently represents the slower more paced out quality that some fans prefer.

William Russell is, as always, incredibly charming and it’s nice to see him given a different counterpart with Maureen O’Brien who expertly changes from her naturally older voice as narrator and her younger "Vicky" voice as the character. The Dark Planet is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who long for more of this era, it is a real treat.

BLOGTOR RATING 8/10
Thanks to Big Finish 


Monday, September 23, 2013

DVD REVIEW: Terror of the Zygons

 
TERROR OF THE ZYGONS
Starring Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter

2 Disc: details HERE

UK: Sep 30
Aus & NZ: Oct 2
N. America: Oct 8



STORY 
This was very much Tom's perfect season, and what an amazing way to kick it off. Terror of the Zygons is oft spake extremely highly of and it's no wonder - this four-parter from 1975 has everything you could possibly want. It's creepy as hell, shot beautifully, has one of the very best Doctor Who soundtracks (not to mention monsters) and it's got Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter gelling like never before (and never again, sadly).

As an adventure, it's a simple and traditional alien invasion yarn, but it's everything else that makes Terror such a top notch tale. For starters, the cast are sensational. As mentioned, Baker is exquisite playing his Time Lord in a rather grumpy alien fashion at times (his reaction to the Brigadier and UNIT, for example) and his outburst at human need for oil is apposite. But there's delightfully fun moments too with comments like, "sounds like the Brigadier," when explosions begin and his classic, "Social call?" when chatting with Broton.

Likewise Elisabeth "Hellooo, Fox Inn" Sladen and Ian Marter are gifted with much variety but it's the latter who really gets to show off his skills as the actor plays the rather horrific Zygon version of Harry. And what a scene that is in Episode Two, the barn scene. The lighting and direction are sublime, coming together to produce a real moment of horror that is still genuinely chilling. Director Douglas Camfield, like so many involved with this production, is on top form and is helped hugely by the location work and the substantial use of film (as opposed to video).

The filmic look adds to the alien atmosphere of the piece (despite its earthbound setting), which is bolstered by the extraordinary soundtrack from Geoffrey Burgon. Unlike any other Who score, the use of acoustic and sparse instrumentation marks it from any other  (well, apart from The Seeds of Doom, which he also composed - DVD review HERE). It's a thoughtful and fascinating listen and, thankfully, is available as an Isolated Score to drink in, in all its odd, ethereal goodness elsewhere on the DVD.

Of course, any look at Terror of the Zygons would not be complete without mention of the incredible model work, set design and the titular monsters themselves - all beautiful works of art. Again, it's Camfield's use of each of these that accentuates their qualities, with particular reference to the spectacularly lit Zygon's lair and the slow reveal of their appearance. There's few Doctor Who aliens that were perfect on their first outing, but these guys most definitely are; the Zygons, and their surroundings, are so intensely foreign and alien - it's incredible we've had to wait so long for their return.

A traditional, old-fashioned story with killer performances, all round, and a look and a feel, not to mention a sound, quite unlike what had come before (or, indeed, since), Terror of the Zygons is a stone-cold must watch for any Who fan.

EXTRAS
And, as it's the last of Tom Baker's stories to get a DVD release (and the last "complete" Doctor Who story, for the time being anyway), Zygons gets a suitably fabulous makeover. There's two discs here and they are both packed with Who~goodness. Heading the set, if you like, is the remarkable deleted scene from the adventure. It's only about a minute or so but seeing "new" footage of Baker, Sladen and Marter is like hearing a new song from The Beatles - an unearthed gem.

It's a damn fine scene too with Harry and Sarah as brilliant as ever, as an invisible TARDIS lands in Scotland. Without a doubt, this is one of the most extraordinary and exciting extras ever to be included on a Doctor Who DVD - my heartfelt congrats to the team for uncovering it, and so tenderly put it back together for the world to enjoy (you can see the raw footage they had to deal with elsewhere on the disc, in a secret squirrel hiding place). The scene is included as part of the "Director's Cut" version of the story. Worth the DVD price alone? Darn straight.

Thankfully, though, there's more! Another treat included here is an on-set report from television show, South Today. Tom Baker is interviewed and, in a where-was-branding-when-he-said-that moment of candour, admits that due to "keeping in shape" for Doctor Who he can't go on his "bachelor benders" any more. Blimey. Guess someone wasn't thinking of the children there.

We're treated with the "usual" making-of documentary, Scotch Mist in Sussex, which sees valuable contributions from Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Banks Stewart. Though there's no comments from the likes of Tom Baker and co., there is some excellent archival footage of John Woodnut (Duke of Forgill/Zygon) who chats warmly about the experience and some colourful remarks from John Levene (as well as using the phrase "when ego is that big" when referring to Tom). Likewise, the commentary is somewhat dry with no actors or actresses to liven up proceedings but it's great to hear Hinchliffe and Stewart enthusing and reminiscing.

Director Douglas Camfield is honoured in Remembering Douglas Camfield, a wonderful tribute to his career lead by his son, Joggs. He had a fascinating televisual life and worked on a number of very high profile projects and, most of all, seems to have genuinely touched the lives of all those he worked with. Watch out for other various Who legends such as Graeme Harper (director of The Caves of Androazni, Utopia, et al), Peter Purves (companion Steven Taylor) and Hinchcliffe as well as memories from Celia Imrie (The Bells of Saint John) and a surprise appearance from Terry "The Gov'nor" Wogan...

The UNIT Family series comes to end with Part Three as the gang discuss the end of their time on the show, with some interesting remarks regarding Tom Baker and the changeover from The Third and Fourth Doctor eras. Doctor Who Stories pops up again with two delightful installments; one featuring Baker, the other Elisabeth Sladen. Both interviewees give much to chew over and enjoy as they remember their time on the show (with the latter even chatting about K9 & Company). Sladen also takes front seat in the rather amusing episode of Merry-Go-Round entitled The Fuel Fishers - Lis takes a trip (somewhat nervous-looking, it has to be said) to an oil rig back in 1977 and explains how it all works. You maybe won't watch it again, but it's so lovely to see Lis having a bit of presenting fun.

Rounding off this hugely impressive array of extras are: the Radio Times listings (with some gorgeous Terror of the Zygons artwork); a couple of Easter Eggs (I won't spoil them for you, but they are well worth checking out); informative but very playful Production Subtitles; a juicy trailer for The Moonbase DVD; and the aforementioned, and very welcome, addition of "Isolated Score" - allowing the viewer to watch the four episodes purely with the gorgeous soundtrack.

Terror of the Zygons doesn't need selling, it's simply astonishing. And simply astonishing sums up the collection of extras to complement its feature. If you've never seen the story, do NOT delay - buy now. And if you are a fan of it already (of course you are), then you'll want to drink it in in all its remastered, extended and extra-laden DVD glory. The perfect way to end the Tom Baker DVD releases.

BLOGTOR RATING 10/10
Thanks to BBC Worldwide


Check out more Doctor Who DVD reviews HERE.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Light At The End audio drama

Big Finish have released a new trailer for their upcoming audio drama featuring five actors who have played The Doctor, The Light At The End - listen to it in the player below. The two-hour drama stars Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Louise Jameson (Leela), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Sophie Aldred (Ace), India Fisher (Charley Pollard), Geoffrey Beevers (The Master) and special guest stars.


The Light At The End is available as a two CD set, download, or as part of a limited edition five-disc set and a limited edition four record vinyl set from November.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Blogtor Who Top 50 - No. 10

Here it is! Blogtor's personal countdown of his 50 favourite Doctor Who television stories, one a week till the big day in November 2013. Now, just to point out, this choice is purely my own. So don't expect reasoned debate or objectivity. Or even the need to please every fan out there. This is my list, and I stand by it. I will also add that I've seen every Doctor Who story released (at least twice), so I feel like I know what I'm talking about. Anyway, enough chittle of the chattle, let's begin...

THE GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE 
First broadcast 6/5/2006 starring David Tennant

I remember back in, ooooo let me think, 2006 when it was announced that Steven "SteeMo" Moffat would be back to write another Doctor Who story, I was more than happy to see my fellow Scot back, though I did wonder if he'd be able to live up to his wonderful Ninth Doctor story, The Empty Child (at No. 38 in the countdown, chart fans). Thankfully, my wonderings underestimated the man's talent.

Looking back, The Girl in the Fireplace remains as strong as ever with its emotional resonance, joie de vivre and brilliant science-fiction storytelling showing off Moffat at his absolute prime (AND it's got time travel!).

David Tennant was in his stride by this point as The Tenth Doctor (after the fantastic double-header of Tooth & Claw and School Reunion), and gets to free himself of his TARDIS chums (Rose and Mickey) and teams up with companion-for-a-story, Madame de Pompadour (so beautifully played by Sophia Myles). Of course, there's also the other companion, Arthur the "horse", but let's stick with the human cast for the time being.

The chemistry between Tennant and Myles was tangible, and their electricity drove the drama of the story tenfold, as we truly believed the connection between the two. There was so much at stake, not just for her (potentially about to die) but also for him, Reinette was clearly a special woman - letting her into his own mind was testimony to that. She intrigued him, visibly more so than most female characters (with the possible of exception of River Song and Joan Redfern - though he was human at the time). A great pity that the French beauty couldn't have traveled with the Time Lord for some time as she had all the hall marks of a top notch TARDIS traveler.

And just look what was about to kill her, the creepy Clockwork Droids - another great Moffat invention. Like swans or prostitutes with gonorrhea, beautiful but deadly. The facelessness and impassive quality accentuate their menace but it's the very fact that it's their programming which makes them "killers"; it's their destiny. And the sadness of their plight, despite the atrocities they committed, comes through - mirrored in the same destined journey for Reinette, and her journey with The Doctor. Acute writing from SteeMo.

There's also some neat and typically wonderfully humorous lines from the Scottish writer: referring to the "time window" as a "magic door" (and so superbly delivered by Billie Piper); Moffat's banana obsession (again, a top turn from Tennant as Drinky Doctor); and the repeated "Got some cowboys in here". All marvelously light, juxtaposing with the dilemma at hand and the subtle horror of what actually happened on board the SS Madame de Pompadour.

Which brings me to one of the most affecting moments in Doctor Who's history, the reveal of the spaceship. If the death of Madame de Pompadour wasn't enough (and it was bloody rough on the old emotions for Blogtor), the whole story's heart is ripped apart with the solution to the mystery of the Clockwork Droids and their stalking of a woman in 18th century France; they were simply following misguided/broken programming. The whole situation was a simple mistake, with no one to blame. It was a solution The Doctor would never discover. 

The Girl in the Fireplace is a perfect one-off story that demonstrates the very best facets of Doctor Who; it's a story that can be shown to "newbies" as an introduction and one us "oldies" can fully appreciate in all its romantically sci-fi, mirror-smashing style. I had to agree when I read Steven Moffat slightly lamenting that this tale would have made a great movie. It would have. A heart-breaking yet rambunctious film, that could only have come from the adventures of Gallifrey's finest.


Regardless of perfect movie or not, we got a forty-five minute televisual slice of sheer heaven that ranks as the very best of Doctor Who. Thank you Steven.

Archive Sydney Newman interview

CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) have made available an interview with Doctor Who legend Sydney Newman in their digital archives. The interview, from 1966, features Newman in his office at BBC Television Centre chatting about various topics, including Doctor Who amongst other things. Prepare your ears, however, dear reader, when the Canadian reveals that Who is a "silly programme". Watch the interview in the player below.

Will Brooks' 50 Year Diary Vol. 1: 1963 - 1969

In celebration of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, Will Brooks sits down to watch every episode of the programme made between 1963 - 2013 at the strict pace of one per day.

Having watched each episode, Will records his thoughts in a daily blog for Doctor Who Online, and scores the episode out of ten, on a scale ranging from ‘Perfect, the absolute pinnacle’ to ‘Why am I doing this again?’

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary: 1963 - 1969 collects together more than 260 entries of the popular blog, covering the complete eras of the First and Second Doctors (William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton), and also includes exclusive entries for the two 1960s Dalek feature films starring Peter Cushing, and a foreword by Doctor Who writer Gareth Roberts, the Unicorn and the Wasp writer says:

"[Will’s] observations are fresh and often startling - his is a unique perspective on Doctor Who. I thought I knew all this stuff back-to-front but Will's jumping-bean prose snaps me out of my jadedness and I see it with new eyes.”

The paperback version of Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary 1963 - 1969 is now available for pre-order from www.pageturnerpublishing.co.uk for £14.99, and will be released on November 4th 3013. 

The Kindle edition of the book is out now, and can be purchased from Amazon UK and US.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Doctors - promo pics

The BBC have released promotional pictures of The Doctor, from the past! Check out the images below and click on them for bigger, Doctorier versions.







Thanks to BBC Pictures.