It’s not so grim up north?

A CHRISTMAS TREAT FROM THE BBC: DOCTOR WHO COMING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU

 

The BBC will deliver an early Christmas present to the North of England this December with free screenings of its most eagerly-awaited festive TV shows.

Doctor out for a stroll

Fans of Doctor Who will be able to see the annual Christmas special before anyone else. This year’s episode will feature Peter Capaldi as the Doctor for the last time.

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The Essential Doctor Who: Time Travel

Essential DW Time Travel front cover
The Doctor has always challenged the linear conception of time. Since his television voyage began in
1963, the TARDIS has travelled backwards, forwards and even sideways through the mysterious
Vortex.
The latest issue of The Essential Doctor Who traces the development of these time-bending narratives, describing the rules that were laid down – and subsequently revised – by the series’ writers and producers. (more…)

Big Finish Short Trips: The Ingenious Gentleman Adric of Alzarius

If you’ve never listened to any of Big Finish’s Short Trips range, let me advise you to do so. Yes, it’s a series of prose stories rather than full-cast theatrical recordings; but that makes for a very different style of story-telling that is perhaps more slowly paced, and more reflective of the characters’ mores and motivations than full-cast theatrics would allow, and as such well worth a punt or two.

If you’ve never heard a Short Trip written by Julian Richards, I’d advise you to get that changed asap too. His writing is subtle and engaging, and his characterisation pretty-much spot-on. Rarely a dull moment.

And if you’ve never listened to a Julian Richards story narrated by Mathew Waterhouse, Adric off of TV’s the Fifth Doctor Years, then… well, you can see where I’m going with this. Cos TL;DR… he really is very, very good.

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Julian Richards’s The Ingenious Gentleman Adric of Alzarius is the second Waterhouse-narrated Short Trip (the previous being the excellent A Full Life, released… has it really been that long? …over a year ago, now) and it proves wholeheartedly that the combination of Waterhouse and narrated prose is meant to be. (more…)

Big Finish Eighth Doctor: The Time War vol 1

At last! The heretofore Whoniversal asymptote that is the Time War has at proper last been reached by Classic Doctors. Yes, Big Finish’s latest Eighth Doctor box set is The Time War I, the first in a series of sets situated within the temporal reaches of the Time War (as opposed to just outside them, as with all Classic Doctor stories up to now).

And a very fine set it is too, with support from Jaqueline Pearce’s marvellous Cardinal Ollistra, two (possibly four) new companions, and scripts from the now ubiquitous manic typing fingers of Messrs Fitton and Dorney, whose metaphorical scriveny inflatable arm bands and day-glo swimming trunks are virtually never out of the BF writing pool.

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The set opens with John Dorney’s The Starship of Theseus, which sees the Doctor and companion Sheena (Olivia Vinall) arrive on the luxury space-liner Theseus, only to find shenanigans afoot. Why are passengers disappearing? What waits under the space bridge? And above all, who the hell is Emma? (more…)

Shoulda finished Shada? Well now they have!

BBC Worldwide to release completed 1970s Doctor Who story for the first time ever

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Tom Baker returns as the Fourth Doctor in a previously unbroadcast story, combining original live-action footage with hand-drawn animation. To be released on DVD, Bluray and digital download.

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Red Dwarf, Series 12, Episode 1: Cured

It seems rather amazing that a show I first watched nearly 30 years ago is still going.   More amazing still is that despite the age it’s still very much the show it was; despite some very shaky seasons it’s recovered its heart and soul.  It’s unlikely to ever hit the heights of the show at its prime but last season was a lot of fun and this first episode of S12 looks like more of the same.

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Cured feels a little like a homage to some past episodes. It’s not the most original of setups with a research base and an excuse of humanoid characters for the crew to engage with. But the idea is nicely played out and the historical cameos allow some nice set pieces.  Layered onto this light entertainment is a more nuanced subtext about the nature of evil; a bit deeper than most episodes involving the boys from the dwarf.

Possibly the best thing about the episode is a strong Cat episode; with Danny John Jules being allow to steal the show; many, many times.  Anyone who’s ever thought cats were evil will not be surprised by some of the twists in this episode but no matter what your feelings are about feline friends these will make you laugh.

 

 

BigFinish: The Third Doctor Box Set vol 3

With a third box set, and the second to comprise entirely full-cast adventures, the Third Doctor, bless his little bouf, is back with us again. As before, Tim Treloar presents his on-the-button interpretation of Jon Pertwee’s eponymous Third Doc, ably assisted by Katy Manning’s Jo Grant, in a duo of stories set late in Ms Grant’s run.

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First up is Nick Briggs’s The Conquest of Far, which is less a sequel to and more a direct continuation of TV’s Planet of the Daleks. The planet of Far is home to one of humanity’s greatest feats of spatial engineering – but it has been invaded by the Daleks, and is now a mere chess piece in a deadly intergalactic game. Can the Doctor save Far from complete oblivion?

Andrew Smith’s The Storm of the Horofax completes the set. A mysterious alien, apparently peaceful but with the ability to see the future, has made contact with the crew of Royal Navy destroyer. But who are the Horofax, and what are their true designs for the peoples of Earth?

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Big Finish: UNIT – Assembled

Summer is always a good time for a blockbuster – if the promise of warmth comes good then it is a great way to relax, and if rain should encroach then it provides entertainment as respite.

Now it’s time for Big Finish to join the party, with another bombastic entry for Kate Stewart and Osgood taking aim at the holidays in UNIT: Assembled. For the fourth boxset featuring the latest UNIT lineup, Big Finish goes all the way back the 70s (or was it the 80s?) and a Silurian menace threatening humankind.

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Good job they’ve got some old friends to call up – but the Silurians aren’t on their own either…

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Bafflegab: The Scarifyers – The Gnomes of Death

It is a beautiful but rare thing, the thud of a new Scarifyers audio on the metaphorical doormat – but we live in miraculous times, for such a thud has just been heard. Yes, for the first time since 2014’s The King of Winter, Messrs Crow and Dunning of MI13 are back in The Gnomes of Death. This time the pair are having to deal with the mysterious appearance of depeditated corpses (that’s having had their feet cut off), followed by Morris dancing, the odd Indian god or two and copious amounts of real ale. Just another weekend in 1930s Britain, then.

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Although the culprits are telegraphed a little before the story has even begun – not least by the title and cover illustration – as with all Scarifyers stories it’s really the rollercoaster of the narrative, rather than the abrupt halt of the denouement, that’s the joy of the thing. And a veritable rollercoaster it is, too: in the grand tradition of scripts from writers Simon Barnard and Paul Morris, it’s a mix of adventure and comedy that never compromises the one for the other, but simultaneously seems to go overboard in providing each. Achieving that balance is quite the feat, and I only wish I could do it myself. (I can. Please pay me. You know you want to.) (more…)

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