Thursday, January 30, 2014

Evil of the Daleks animation

In the players below you can find the test animation for the Doctor Who stories Evil of the Daleks and The Tenth Planet from Qurios, the production company behind the animated episodes on the DVD release for The Ice Warriors (read the Blogtor Who review HERE).

Please Note:  The Evil of the Daleks animation was purely for a test - and not for an upcoming DVD release of the missing story. The Tenth Planet DVD would eventually feature animation from another company - read the review HERE. Thanks to Chris Chapman for the heads up and to Chris Chatterton for uploading!

DVD REVIEW: The Web of Fear

Starring Patrick Troughton

Released Feb 24

I’ve certainly been looking forward to reviewing this title. Ever since we heard last year that almost all of this story had been found in its entirety (although part 3 is still missing) I have been chomping at the bit to see it although, unbeknownst to me, it has been available on iTunes for a while - I think I lose timey-wimey points for missing that.

This adventure was certainly worth the wait and the effort that went into finding and restoring any footage for release has not been in vain. Patrick Troughton is on top form as The Doctor, although a cheeky holiday during the rehearsal and filming of Part 2 means that we are left with Jamie (Fraser Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) to provide a point of reference for 24 minutes, which they do wonderfully.

What strikes me the most about this story is the quality of it. It is a loving jab at earlier Doctor Who episodes that the sets and costumes weren’t as robust as they could have been. But there is definitely no wobbling here and even the Yeti’s could be creepy at moments. Additionally, in watching this story, I was enchanted by just how theatrical the acting is, simply wonderful.

We also get to meet Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart for the first time, although he is only a mere Colonel at this point. Watching his first strides in this role shows just how well constructed Nicholas Courtney built the character to make him the Doctor Who legend he is today.

My one tinge of disappointment with the DVD is that all you are getting is the adventure. I would have like to have seen – given the excited around the discovery – some sort of additional features looking at the discovery of the episodes and the work done by those who seek out and restore these missing episodes.

But priced around £13.99 (price taken from an online retailer at the time of writing this review) for this brilliant story, I don’t think you can really go wrong.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide

Review by Philip Rowntree

PLEASE NOTE: The Web of Fear DVD does NOT include an animated episode. Episode 3 is reconstructed from telesnaps and the original soundtrack. The only extra is a trailer for The Enemy of the World.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Who's Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans

Last year Blogtor, with his chums at Talking Who, produced a documentary all about Doctor Who fans and now Who's Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans is available to buy on DVD or stream online (which you can do in the player above).

The film has a running time of 81 minutes and features Doctor Who legends like Louise Jameson (Leela), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Dan Starkey (Strax), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia Pond), Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint) and writers such as Andrew Smith (Full Circle), James Moran (The Fires of Pompeii), Eric Saward (Earthshock), Jane Espenson (Torchwood: Miracle Day) and script editor/author Gary Russell alongside many more fascinating names. Visit for the full list.

You can rent Who's Changing in the player above (for only £3.49) or you can buy the DVD online from:, and Amazon or in stores such as Forbidden Planet (London), The Who Shop (London), The Cinema Store (London), The Stamp Centre (The Strand, London) or Galaxy 4 in Sheffield.

You can also buy the DVD directly from us using the form below for only GBP £12.99 - including worldwide shipping!

The DVD is Region 0 (Region Free 0 - can be played by DVD players around the world) and features 82 minutes of extras including full interviews with Louise Jameson, Neve McIntosh, Sophie Aldred, Dan Starkey and Simon Fisher-Becker.

What the critics have been saying!

Peter Capaldi in The Musketeers

The BBC have released promotional pictures of Peter Capaldi, who readers may be familiar with in his work on Doctor Who, from the third (below) and fourth (below) episodes of the BBC One drama, The Musketeers - click on the images included here for bigger versions. Episodes 3 and 4, in which Capaldi plays Cardinal Richelieu, air Feb 2 and 9 at 9pm on BBC One. See more pics HERE and HERE.

Thanks to BBC Pictures

Doctor Who, The Complete Eighth Series DVD/bluray

BBC Worldwide have announced the DVD and bluray releases for Doctor Who - The Complete Eighth Series. No extra details have been revealed about the sets or their release date though it will be "later this year". Please note: this is NOT the finished artwork. Doctor Who - The Complete Eighth Series is available to pre-order on DVD and Bluray, click on the images below to buy.

Visit the Doctor Who Series 8 Guide

Thanks to BBC Worldwide


More filming pics HERE

With filming on Doctor Who Series 8 commencing, it's been a busy old time on the world of Doctor Who and there's some news and juicy nuggets that 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.

New filming pics
First promo pic of Peter Capaldi in costume
First filming pics with Capaldi

 The Moonbase DVD
The Companion Chronicles: Luna Romana
Antidote to Oblivion
The King of Sontar
Into The Nowhere

EXCLUSIVE: Artwork & notes from 11 Disc Collector's Soundtrack set [Part 10]
The Web of Fear DVD artwork and details
BBCW and Titan team up for all-new adventures for the 10th and 11th Doctors
EXCLUSIVE: Artwork & notes from 11 Disc Collector's Soundtrack set [Part 9] 
The Time of the Doctor DVD & Bluray with EXCLUSIVE tee offer
New Sonic Screwdriver range

Matt Smith NTA Thank You Video
Sylvester McCoy chats The Day of the Doctor
Peter Capaldi in The Mustketeers
Who's Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans trailer
More Peter Capaldi in The Musketeers

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Series 8 filming

Today location filming continues on Doctor Who Series 8 with both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman spotted on the streets of Cardiff. 

Director Ben Wheatley was on set suggesting this scene was from either Episode 1 or 2 of Series 8 - most probably the end of the first.

Check out a great gallery of pics from today's filming HERE and HERE.

EXCLUSIVE: Artwork & notes from 11 Disc Collector's Soundtrack set [Part 10]

As announced last year, Silva Screen are releasing an incredible limited edition Doctor Who soundtrack boxset featuring eleven discs of music spanning every era of The Doctor. This magnificent collection, due for release very soon, comes presented in its very own TARDIS boxset and is a must for any fan of Doctor Who music through the years. Also included in the set are notes from classic Who composer Mark Ayres and notes from various composers through the years.

In this EXCLUSIVE series for Blogtor Who, Silva Screen are releasing these fascinating notes ahead of the boxset's release. Today sees Part TEN which includes notes from composer Keff McCulloch and Mark Ayres (which are abridged and will continue through this series). Also included are the front and back covers for The Tenth Doctor disc included in the boxset (click on them for bigger versions. Many thanks to Silva Screen, visit their site HERE.

I loved my time working on the music for Doctor Who.

I met up with John Nathan-Turner in Brighton whilst my wife at the time was doing a Pantomime he was producing. He suggested I create a new version of the main theme as there was to be a new Doctor and, when he liked what I did, he suggested I put together the incidental music for Time and the Rani. That then developed into seven additional stories.

It came at a very busy time in my life as I was working as a recording engineer during the day and a Doctor Who composer through the night. Saying that, and whether you liked my music or not, I poured my heart and soul into the incidentals and though I was obviously influenced by the technology available and the music styles of that particular time, I still feel happy with the music I produced for the show. I have been accused of using “plinky-plonky sounds”, “too many drum machines” and turning Doctor Who into “a futuristic disco” but I only did what I felt was right for the feel of the episode and particular story I was working on.

If I had to name favourites, I would say they were Time and the Rani and Remembrance of the Daleks, though Delta and the Bannermen was probably the most fun to work on as it was all about re-creating the music of the 1950’s, more along the lines of the commercial state-of-mind I had at the time. That and the fact I appeared in the show itself after a fun few days filming on Barry Island in Wales.

I remember with great fondness my time meeting with the different directors at BBC Maida Vale Studios. My father was a Senior Studio Manager there for many years and many of the people working at Maida Vale remembered him well and told me illuminating stories of his time there. Working with the illustrious Dick Mills and Scott Talbott, the BBC dubbing engineer, was pure delight too!

I am thrilled to have become part of the Doctor Who ‘family’ and have always found Who fans the most knowledgeable on their subject. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their support and respect, regardless of their thoughts on my music, and the great humour with which they review my work! I would also like to thank the late John Nathan-Turner, the wonderful cast members, production crew and the other composers for their friendship. A special mention, too, to Michelle De Vries, my tape op at the time who stayed up all night and day with me, making coffee and helping with the task at hand!

Having left the music industry, becoming a web/graphic designer and moving to Australia in 2001, I am now semi-retired but back working as a musician doing clubs, weddings, aged care homes, parties and corporate events. Music has always been my life and my late father always told me I had been given a wonderful gift and that it was my duty to share it wherever and whenever possible. I am still so lucky to be able to do just that.

Abridged album notes from Mark Ayres [Part 10]
From the second year of the New Series, with a new Doctor in the TARDIS in the form of David Tennant, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales - teamed with orchestrator/conductor Ben Foster - joined the crew: the music is now almost entirely, genuinely and full-bloodedly orchestral. The theme music has also evolved in the past 8 years - from heavy use of Delia Derbyshire’s original tracks plus overlaid sampled orchestral elements, to now when the orchestral take-over is almost complete.


Thanks to Silva Screen

Peter Capaldi as The Doctor

The BBC have released the first promotional picture of Peter Capaldi in his costume as The Twelfth Doctor* - click on the image included here for a bigger version. Check out more pictures and news from Doctor Who Series 8 HERE.

Check out the first promo pic of Capaldi on set with Jenna Coleman HERE.

Thanks to BBC Pictures

* Or whatever you want to refer to him as.

Doctor Who Offers

Entertainment Earth
Our chums over at Entertainment Earth have got a great Doctor Who special offer on for just one day only. The Eleventh Doctor Mr Potato Head is available for only $17.20 - check it out HERE. You can also find some more fab Doctor Who items from Entertainment Earth HERE.

RIPT Apparel have also got another two great Doctor Who designs for sale - for 24 hours only! Titled Daydreaming Doctor and Starry 10, the tees are available worldwide for $10 - visit the site HERE! They're also available in kids sizes and as: a fleece hoody, a onesie, prints, coasters, headphones and laptop sleeves!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Web of Fear DVD details

Next month sees the release of the Patrick Troughton story, The Web of Fear, and BBC Worldwide have announced details about the DVD - check them out below. Pre-order now at BBC HERE. Click on the cover image for a bigger version.

Previously unseen in the UK for 45 years and re-mastered from newly discovered tapes located in Nigeria, the formerly missing Doctor Who classic - The Web of Fear - will soon be available to own on DVD. Starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, alongside Frazer Hines (Jamie) and Deborah Watling (Victoria) as companions, this iconic story sees the TARDIS narrowly avoid becoming engulfed in a mysterious cobweb-like substance in space before arriving in the London Underground railway system.

The Doctor soon discovers that something strange is afoot as the tunnels are being overrun by the web, an army or robotic yetis and The Great Intelligence. Before the original broadcast in 1967, this story was deemed so scary that the Doctor delivered the following message to television audiences:

The Web of Fear is also famed for introducing one of Doctor Who folklore’s most beloved characters; Nicholas Courtney as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart who later became the Brigadier. The Brigadier’s legacy lives on in contemporary Doctor Who, with Kate Stewart (his daughter) starring in the show’s 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor. Note: this release does NOT include an animated episode. The still missing Ep 3 is as was presented on the iTunes version last year - reconstructed from telesnaps with orginal soundtrack. There are no extras on this DVD other than a trailer for The Enemy of the World. 

BBC also have an EXCLUSIVE Slipcase Cover for the DVD and a rather neat EXCLUSIVE tee (pictured right) accompany this iconic release - check them out HERE.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide


The Companion Chronicles: Luna Romana
By Matt Fitton

Starring Lalla Ward

Out now

Surely very few TARDIS travellers have had to endure quite as much as Quadrigger Stoyn.  His first encounter with the Doctor and Susan left him stranded alone on the Moon whilst the second occasion saw the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe unwittingly casting him into the unknown, in agony and torment.

And, like a space-based episode of Casualty, one settles down to listen to Luna Romana with some trepidation for his eventual fate, knowing that it’s not going to end well for the poor chap.

This final panel in the Stoyn triptych is framed by Romana (v3, portrayed with just the right mix of hauteur and humour by Juliet Landau), as she takes charge of Gallifrey’s preparations for its “darkest hour”.  The battle TARDISes are being readied, with dark implications that the Time War is coming.  Reaching Stoyn’s quadrigger station, she reminisces about her encounters with him, during her travels with the fourth Doctor.

Her reverie plays out over four episodes, a complex intersection between the Doctor and Romana (v1) searching ancient Rome for the sixth segment of the Key to Time, and the Doctor and Romana (v2) on their randomised run from the Black Guardian, having landed on the Moon in the middle of a Roman-styled theme park.  I won’t attempt to explain the intricacies of the plot, but will confess to having listened to the adventure twice before finally piecing it all together. This is a tale which rewards a return.

Juliet Landau covers narration duties for Romanas 1 and 3, with Lalla Ward also in fine form as Romana 2.  Both ramp up the Boom factor when giving voice to the 4th Doctor, choosing not to impersonate Tom Baker (and, really, who could?), but rather to suggest his presence.  And thanks to writer Matt Fitton’s crackling dialogue tapping into the playful badinage between the Doctor and Romana circa seasons 16/17, the listener is easily drawn in.  There is a sense of poignancy delicately hanging over this tale though, following the sad loss of Mary Tamm.  Her portrayal is the subject of a fitting tribute towards the end of the story, leaving this reviewer with a slightly awkward, teary moment on the homeward commuter train.

As always, Big Finish provide an encompassing audio experience, within which the listener becomes immersed.  It’s an educational tale too, with much well-placed research spread throughout the ancient Rome portion of the story about Roman theatre, and the plays of Titus Maccius Plautus in particular.  The Doctor clearly has a fondness for the period (with this particular tale set just a couple of centuries before his entanglement with Ian, Vicki and Barbara in the intrigue of Emperor Nero’s court) and he and Plautus get on famously.  It’s left to Romana 1 to try to locate the missing segment, falling in with Stoyn in the process. It transpires that he’s become splintered thanks to events involving Romana 2, with his doppelgangers taking on the various roles in Plautus’ play.

At first listen, this “play within the play” section of the story felt perhaps a touch self-indulgent on the part of the writer, slowing the pace and diverting from events.  However the eventual reveal as to how and why Stoyn became employed as Plautus’ thespian troupe provides a reward for the listener’s persistence. There’s a lot of work for Terry Molloy in this audio, but he rises to the challenge, performing what literally becomes a multi-faceted role.

The Quadrigger’s hatred for the Doctor has developed into such fear and loathing for the chaotic and terrifying universe within which his fellow Time Lord has hurtled that he resolves to “clear up” after him in rather drastic fashion.  Our intrepid Time Lord duo eventually win the day and, indeed it doesn’t end well for Stoyn.

A satisfying end however, to an entertaining and pleasingly varied trilogy of adventures.  One final plea though - more Juliet Landau please…

Thanks to Big Finish

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Matt Smith NTA thank you video

The BBC have released a video from Matt Smith saying thanks for winning the National Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama earlier this evening - watch it in the player above. Also winning was Doctor Who, which received the Best Drama award and was accepted by Jenna Coleman.

50 hour Improvathon includes Who inspired episode

Intergalactic time-travelling stars of sci-fi from both sides of the Atlantic are turning out in force this weekend as part of The 7th Annual London 50-hour Improvathon in London, the only event of its kind in Europe. This year the 50-Hour Improvathon, at the Park Theatre from 7.00pm on Friday to 9.00pm on Sunday, has a futuristic setting aboard an intergalactic cruise ship. It’s The Love Boat - in space! A loving homage to all things sci-fi. Robots, aliens and every archetype of the genre - with a few surprises too.

Claudia Christian (Babylon 5’s Commander Susan Ivanova) won’t be there in person but has recorded hundreds of phrases as the voice of the ship's computer, that will be played at the touch of a button during the shows.

Appearing in person are cult favourites Mark Meer, one of Canada's top comedians and improvisers (who voices Commander Shepherd in the Mass Effect games among many others) and Dan Starkey (Strax the Sontaran in Doctor Who) who will take part in a special episode inspired by all things Who on Saturday January 25 between 9.00pm and 10.45pm.

With some of the top improvisational performers from around the world gathering together this year, The 7th Annual London 50-hour Improvathon is sure to be a truly memorable experience… You can drop in for just one episode or stay the entire intergalactic distance!

The 7th 50-Hour London Improvathon: 24 - 26 January
Performances: Every 2 hours from 7pm on Friday, Jan 24 to 9pm on Sunday, Jan 26

Complete 50 hour Pass – £55.00
One Episode (90 minutes) – Full Price: £10.00
Concession: £7.00
Each subsequent episode: £5.00
(Please note: £5.00 tickets can only be purchased in person during the 50 hour event)
Age Suitability: 14+

Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver Sale!

Entertainment Earth

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

McCoy on The Day of the Doctor

Earlier today Blogtor sat down with The Seventh Doctor himself, Sylvester McCoy, during the filming for a new short film, The Seventeenth Kind. I asked him how he felt about Tom Baker starring in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, McCoy told me:
"In a way, we were a bit miffed because we were making another film about us trying to break into the 50th anniversary (which was actually better than the 50th anniversary, which is really great). It was Peter Davison's brilliance. I didn't know he was so good at making films and very witty writing. Originally it was called The Five Doctors Reboot 'cos we thought Tom was in it but then eventually we kept phoning him and the he didn't answer back. Then, by chance, we found out he was in the film."
So you weren't happy at his appearance?
"Not particularly unhappy either. We weren't surprised. But, for our own selfish reasons, we thought it was going to be five of us trying to break into it. And then he broke in. [Laughs] Anyway, turned out good in the end."
The Seventeenth Kind is released later this year and also stars Tony Curran (Vincent and the Doctor), Brian Blessed (Trial of a Time Lord), Miriam Margolyes (voice of Leef Blathereen in The Sarah Jane Adventures) and Lucy Pinder.

Thanks to all the cast & crew of The Seventeenth Kind.

Colin Baker on The Day of the Doctor

BBCW and Titan team up for all-new adventures

Today BBC Worldwide have announced that they are teaming up with Titan Comics to produce all-new Doctor Who comic book adventures, check out the details below:
In the universe of Doctor Who regenerations bring not only a new Doctor but often a fresh look and feel to the series and BBC Worldwide is bringing that same approach to Doctor Who comics as it signs a new deal with Titan Comics. The deal will open up the world of Doctor Who and provide fans with new stand alone adventures featuring the Tenth Doctor, Eleventh Doctor and after the new series launch, the Twelfth Doctor. Creative and production teams will be announced in the coming weeks and the first comic books will be released in 2014.
Thanks to BBC Worldwide

Peter Capaldi in The Musketeers

The BBC have released promotional pictures of Peter Capaldi, who readers may be familiar with in his work on Doctor Who, in the BBC One drama, The Musketeers - click on the images included here for bigger versions. The second ep, in which Capaldi plays Cardinal Richelieu, airs Jan 26 at 9pm on BBC One. See more pics HERE.

Thanks to BBC Pictures

Monday, January 20, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Artwork & notes from 11 Disc Collector's Soundtrack set [Part 9]

As announced last year, Silva Screen are releasing an incredible limited edition Doctor Who soundtrack boxset featuring eleven discs of music spanning every era of The Doctor. This magnificent collection, due for release very soon, comes presented in its very own TARDIS boxset and is a must for any fan of Doctor Who music through the years. Also included in the set are notes from classic Who composer Mark Ayres and notes from various composers through the years.

In this EXCLUSIVE series for Blogtor Who, Silva Screen are releasing these fascinating notes ahead of the boxset's release. Today sees Part Nine which includes notes from composer Dominic Glynn and Mark Ayres (which are abridged and will continue through this series). Also included are the front and back covers for The Ninth Doctor disc included in the boxset (click on them for bigger versions. Many thanks to Silva Screen, visit their site HERE.

When John Nathan-Turner offered me the chance to write music for Doctor Who back in 1986, it was a double dream come true for me as a young composer. On the one hand I had the opportunity to work on a show I had loved since I was a small child. I grew up eagerly waiting for Saturday nights when Daleks and Cybermen would do battle with my Doctor - Patrick Troughton. I still have my childhood notebooks full of drawings and stories that I created around our heroic Time Lord. On the other hand, here was a chance to write music professionally, in a way that could be innovative and experimental. No other TV programme afforded the freedom to play around with electronic sound and synthesisers in the way that Doctor Who did.

The soundtrack of the show played such a vital part in creating the other-worldly atmospheres of the Doctor's journeys and I was given fantastic latitude to develop my own ideas for each episode. The nature of the show's format also meant that each story could be given an entirely different treatment, so I never felt that I was creatively stuck in a groove. Each episode was a new challenge, and every story provided the opportunity to create an entirely fresh soundscape.

Now, as we celebrate fifty years since the programme first hit our screens, it is a privilege for me to be able to present some of my music on this CD - perhaps to a whole new audience who weren't alive when the original series went out. For those viewers who only came to the programme since its revival in 2005, I hope this music gives a flavour of the legacy of the Doctor's past adventures, and a greater appreciation of the history of this amazing and unique television series.

Abridged album notes from Mark Ayres [Part 9]
Russell T Davies was a Doctor Who fan in childhood, one of a number of enthusiasts who in the 2000s rose to positions of considerable power within the television industry. He found himself tasked with reinventing the programme for an entirely new generation of fans, and asked long-term collaborator Murray Gold to take on the music. With budgets still tight, the first series (starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor) was scored almost entirely using synthesisers and took full advantage of developments in technology since the 1980s.

For my scores, for instance, I used a state-of-the-art Roland S-550 sampler, which contained an amazing 1.5Mb memory (two floppy disks’s worth) to house my orchestra of strings, woodwind and percussion. In the mid-1990s I had a Roland S-760 with 32Mb, but by 2005 we had libraries containing many gigabytes of fantastically workable sounds, allowing for some highly-convincing orchestral scoring - for this is the direction in which Murray Gold was guided to underscore the far more emotionally-charged story-lines of this new incarnation.

Nevertheless, the synthesisers were often enhanced with live elements - soprano voice and cor anglais, plus the full Crouch End Festival Chorus bringing gravitas to the Daleks. (This was quite a change from my day - I requested a soprano soloist for The Curse of Fenric but was firmly turned down on both budgetary and contractual grounds. My colleague Dominic Glynn waited until JN-T went on holiday before booking a guitarist for Survival and was admonished soundly on the producer’s return!). Later, Murray re-recorded the major themes from season one with the orchestra, and it is those re-recordings that are featured here, the rest of Disc 9 being made up with “bonus” tracks.

Thanks to Silva Screen

Sunday, January 19, 2014

DVD REVIEW: The Moonbase

Starring Patrick Troughton

1 Disc DVD - details HERE

UK - Jan 20
Aus & NZ - Jan 22
N. America - Feb 11

If you've seen The Tenth Planet (and if you haven't, why not?? - stop reading and go watch!) then you might some similarities between this Patrick Troughton Cybermen story and the classic finale for Billy H. And by "some", I mean loads.

The Moonbase came hot on the heels of the Cybermen's first outing, airing less than four months since their debut story ended. Quite a remarkable turnaround and a testament to their popularity. The story also comes hot on the heels of its predecessor, The Underwater Menace, as it follows on directly from the events of that tumultuous tale.

The Doctor and his chums, Ben, Polly and Jamie, find themselves unexpectedly on the Moon and quickly come into contact with titular base where they find a station controlling the weather on good old planet Earth. [UKIP satire alert: Yes, they're all married gays - Ed.] But something's not quite right as the staff of the outpost fall ill and then a race previously thought dead return to wreak havoc on Earth.

Although I personally prefer the look of the Cybermen from their previous outing, all cloth faces and fleshy hands, it was an astute move to update the shiny metal-assed invaders. A trope that would continue through the years (fact fans may note, I'm also a huge fan of the Earthshock Cybermen). They are presented wonderfully and in impressive numbers too. Director Morris Barry performs a sterling job in creating a wonderful atmosphere (which, as lame-jokers will tell you, is ironic as the moon has none) and frames the silver bad boys beautifully.

The sense of menace and, indeed, horror, is portrayed stoutly and none more so than in the infected crew of the weather station. Genuinely creepy and unnervingly displayed on the hands and faces of those touched by the Cybermen's dastardly plan.

Matching the tone of the menace, Patrick Troughton's performance is a sombre reflection of his normal twinkly and bouncy Second Doctor. The threat is made all the more tangible and veracious through his concern and austerity; most notable in the Time Lord's rightly famous "corners of the universe" speech. As remarked upon in the accompanying documentary, Troughton really reigns in his eccentricities here - and it pays off immensely.

There's also some lovely fun stuff in there, notably the gang jumping around in spacesuits in the first installment which is a joy to watch. Throw in a troupe of very fine performances all round and a scintillating soundtrack and you've got a classic that, thankfully, they kept in at a neat, and satisfying, four parts.

Planet 55, the people behind the animation, have done an absolutely tip top job here - producing the best animation I've seen on a Doctor Who DVD so far in the range. The likenesses are nothing short of sensational and there's a real sense of immediacy, particularly with the Cybes themselves. Poor Ralph getting zapped in Episode One is incredibly dynamic as is the scene where they foam up in Episode Three (and the attack on the moon's surface). Bizarrely, this leaves the real live action footage wanting. From the gorgeous sets to the mesmerising movement of all the characters, this is a triumph. And one wishes that many more missing tales could be completed in sich a beautiful and engaging fashion.

As the classic DVD range comes to an end (apparently), the extras here do feel slightly paltry in comparison to previous releases with just a "making of" and a commentary to deal with (though, it should be said, there are two animated episodes to contend with).

The behind-the-scenes feature, Lunar Landing, includes interviews with Anneke Wills (Polly), Frazer Hines (Jamie), Reg Whitehead (Cyberman) and production assistant Desmond McCarthy. Though informative and fun, it's a little uneventful in comparison to some other making-ofs (no fault of the documentary makers or contributors); perhaps not one you'll come back to much. Lunar Landing, however, does include some rather tasty visuals from Qurios. Warning for parents though, it does contain the words "condom", "crotch", "peed" and "bum". The dirty devils.

The commentary takes the welcome turn of using archival materials and specially recorded interviews for the animated episodes (One and Three). A lovely touch which fully fleshes out the story of The Moonbase and the Cybermen; including a series of interviews featuring writer Kit Pedler’s daughters, producer Innes Lloyd, and various actors who played Cybermen. On the remaining eps (Two and Four), you can find a lively commentary from Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines who are joined by Edward Phillips (who played a scientist in the story) and Special Sounds creator Brian Hodgson (moderated by Toby Hadoke). Despite some almost word-for-word repeated anecdotes also featured in the making-of, it's a delightful listen throughout - warm and genial.

Completing the set are: a quite beautiful Photo Gallery; a rather exciting "Coming Soon" for The Underwater Menace; Radio Times listings and the Subtitle Production Notes (from Martin Wiggins) which will raise a smile as well as inform (though only on Episodes Two and Four).

Though The Moonbase may seem like The Tenth Planet 2: This Time It's The Moon, this Patrick Troughton four-parter is still a must-see and, with two beautifully animated episodes, there's really no reason not to get your peepers on this classic slice of Cybermen action now.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide

 Check out more Doctor Who DVD reviews HERE

AUDIO REVIEW: Antidote To Oblivion

Antidote To Oblivion
by Philip Martin

Starring Colin Baker
Out now

Drawn by the distress call of a fellow Time Lord, the Sixth Doctor and Flip land in the now-disused underground of 24th Century London, or to be more precise, a future Britain now ruled over by sinister Concorpia. London is now an over-populated, ruined city where the locals are heavily drugged to avoid potential revolution. However, with mass unemployment and poverty being the norm and Concorpia struggling with a forever-expanding welfare budget they cannot afford, it's time to turn to the Universal Monetary Fund for help, forcing them to deal with a very familiar face from the past.

Phillip Martin, writer of Vengeance on Varos and Mindwarp, returns to Big Finish with his most infamous and iconic creation, Sil, in this dystopian tale designed to satirise current UK Coalition policies. Sil initiates an austerity drive that the writer here satirically imagines George Osborne and Ian Duncan Smith could only dream of – if they happened to have the immoral capitalist ethic of those from Thoros Beta, of course.

Martin paints some dark, if unoriginal ideas, attempting to use this tale to reflect on current political issues in the UK; however, with these ideas being handled in a very 'on-the-nose' manner and at times on case-by-case basis, you never quite feel that either the ideas behind the story, the themes presented or the morals played out ever quite mesh into a cohesively satisfying whole – each of the four parts have their own distinct tone and sub-plot, yet somehow they all fail to come together by the end.

As a result, the pace slows, particularly around Part Three, leaving the last installment with everything to fight for. Clearly designed to be a timely political satire, having set out this dark tone, Antidote To Oblivion ironically doesn't seem to want to go as far as it should, and seems to shy away from fully exploring the levels of evil that can exist in humanity.

For fans of Colin Baker's era, there are some surprising touches to enjoy – this becomes more of a emotional sequel to a certain TV story than you first realise; Nicholas Briggs gets the best out of his ensemble cast here, and the mood and music evokes the mid 1980s well, along with some fantastic use of sound design. Some great ideas, strong performances and nice touches to the show's past and knock-out performance by Nabil Shaban (very much stealing every single scene he's in) balance the lack of an overall story.

Oh, and there's the use of the very modern word “amazeballs” which is, against all the 1980s Colin Baker-era touches, just exactly that.

Thanks to Big Finish

COMPETITION: Win The Who's Who of Doctor Who!

To celebrate the release of The Who's Who of Doctor Who, a coffee table style book from Blogtor Who site creator Cameron K McEwan, we've got a competition to win FIVE copies of the book! The Who's Who of Doctor Who: A Whovian's Guide to Friends, Foes, Villains, Monsters, and Companions to the Good Doctor contains many fascinating and fun photographs but it also includes original artwork by brilliant Doctor Who illustrator Andrew Skilleter (visit his website HERE).

The Who's Who of Doctor Who is available around the world NOW, and available in all good book shops/stores! (I suppose it's available in some bad ones too! :P) You can also find it online at the normal book retail sites.

To win a copy of the book, just tell us who your favourite named but unseen character is from the history of Doctor Who!

PLEASE NOTE: The competition is open to residents in the UK and North America, and closed on Jan 20 at 10pm [GMT]. 5 winners will be picked at random from all submitted (and correct) entries.

"McEwan has managed to create a cohesive history of the Doctor Who Universe. And that is an achievement in itself." Weird Westerns

"The Who's Who of Doctor Who is a comprehensive, well-written and handsome guide to the world of Doctor Who. ... it's a book that's perfect for pretty much any fan." The Gallifrey Times

"clear, entertaining, and beautifully visual" Row Three

"must-have coffee table book" Sci Fri Drama Queen

"McEwan’s passion for Who shows in his light and entertaining prose, making this a book that’s very easy to pick up, flick through, become immersed in, and suddenly realise it’s half an hour later and you’re meant to be out of the house by now." Starburst

"The Who’s Who of Doctor Who is well researched and well written and is perfect for new DW fans as well as old fans that are a bit rusty on the classic series." The Writer's Journey

The Who's Who of Doctor Who: A Whovian's Guide to Friends, Foes, Villains, Monsters, and Companions to the Good Doctor is out now!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

World Premiere of new Murray Gold piece

This weekend at the Barbican in London sees the world premiere of a new piece of music written by Doctor Who composer, Murray Gold. Titled when my brother fell into the river… the twenty minute piece will be performed on Saturday, Jan 18 - book tickets HERE. Murray exclusively told Blogtor:
 "It's a massive big emotional piece about losing my lovely brother but it's full of optimism and hope. With nearly 250 people on stage."
Fans of Murray Gold can hear his work in the upcoming BBC One drama series The Musketeers, starting this month, and later this year in Doctor Who Series 8.

AUDIO REVIEW: The King of Sontar

The King of Sontar
By John Dorney

Starring Tom Baker & Louise Jameson

Out Now

The Doctor and Leela are pulled into events on Dowcra base by the Time Lords, where they find a Sontaran War Criminal General Strang… He’s an elite Sontaran like no other… An entire battle fleet in one body! Strang is using the base to hatch a whole army of Sontaran clones made in his mould, and plans to use a unique space/time portal to conquer the universe, crushing Sontar in his wake…

This story grabs the listener from the very start by throwing them straight into the middle of battle on Dowcra. We witness the arrival of the third elite Sontaran Assassination Squad, determined to bring down the invincible General Strang. But Strang is no ordinary Sontaran.

The idea of a Sontaran War Criminal, who stands over seven-foot tall and is the amalgamation of entire legion of cloned warriors, is superb. With The Time Warrior being one of my earliest memories of Who, I was becoming a little dismayed by their portrayal in recent years. So, I have to thank John Dorney for pulling away from the comic asides or slightly pompous and ridiculous Sontarans of late. Instead, he helps re-establish them as the cruel, violent and informidable race they once were. I only hope this catches on!

Dan Starkey plays Strang. Naturally, he feels a world away from Strax, giving him a deeper harsher tone, which both echoes the past and gives him the grandeur he deserves. The other Sontarans in the piece match the vocal tone so well I initially thought Dan was playing numerous roles. So, credit to them for capturing the same demeanor and sense of the creatures.

I especially liked John Banks turn as Vinhol, a Sontaran who is paired with Leela, after she and The Doctor are separated early on in the story. The relationship that grows between them is lovely. Vinhol’s early indignation of his treatment and near death to being saved by Leela, is eventually forgotten. By the close of the story, you really do believe that there is a rather touching mutual respect between the two warriors from Sontar and the Sevateem.

On listening to these audios, I am still amazed by just how well Tom Baker and Louise Jameson expertly recreate their characters. You truly are transported back to that TARDIS team from 1977 and yet the depth, truth and growth of the characters beyond the screen is apparent and never more so than here.

Whilst the story certainly whips along at a pace, it remains brutally honest and truthful to the themes and characters we meet. From the death of the Trell at the top of the piece, to Strang’s merciless disposal of the humans who helped him, it builds to a violent and powerful conclusion.

Acting for the Time Lords, The Doctor is intent on stopping Strang and destroying the space-time portal created by Rotaro (which is an excellent return by the wonderful David Collings). His mission once again forces The Doctor to question the need for destruction, when he may be able to alter the hatching Sontaran’s genetics. But the familiar argument we saw in Genesis is played out and taken to a very different place. This allows for a really wonderful scene between The Doctor and Leela in the stories closing moments, which offers a very interesting and honest exploration of the options offered, and the two characters themselves.

Thanks to Big Finish

Review by Daren Thomas Curley