TARDIF – Publishing News

A book I’m very much looking forward to it released next week, and we’ll be reviewing it properly soon, but here’s a heads up.

Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith, is to our knowledge the first major study of religion and Doctor Who.

It is compiled by Andrew Crome, Lecturer in the History of Modern Christianity at the University of Manchester, and James McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language & Literature at Butler University, USA.

TARDIF explores the subject of religion and Doctor Who in its broadest possible context, examining portrayals of religion within the show, religious concepts which might be addressed through Doctor Who, and the use of the programme by religious believers. Chapters cover topics such as the religious coding of the Doctor, the relationship between time and theology on the show, whether Doctor Who fandom could ever be considered a legal religion and the show’s interaction with Buddhist concepts.

The essays are all written in an accessible but academically thorough style, aiming to appeal both to academic readers in the fields of religion, media studies and English, as well as to fans with an interest in religion or in analysing Doctor Who.

Published by DLT Books, this is a must read, in my opinion.

The Light at the End Released Early

The Light at the End Cover

Big Finish’s 50th anniversary story, The Light at the End, has seen a surprise release one month prior to the 50th anniversary (nicely allowing us all to enjoy it before we get excited for the TV special).  

Digital Downloads are available as of today (and this fan is very much looking forward to downloading it tonight), with the limited edition CDs being posted out today and the regular CDs and vinyl release following shortly afterwards.

See Bigfinish.com for more details, and then let us know if you enjoyed the story in the forums.

50th Anniversary – Aussie Style!

An article by forum contributor Professor Who…


The Fiftieth Anniversary of Doctor Who as an Australian Fan.

by Andrew Boland

Part One – the 1980s


Whilst the 50th anniversary fever is raging high in the United Kingdom and America, I think it’s only fair to remember our favourite TV programme also has a strong and passionate following in my home country, Australia.

It wasn’t so long after the first episode aired in the UK, that Australia was also enjoying stories such as ‘An Unearthly Child’, ‘Marco Polo’ and of course, ‘The Daleks’. In fact, we are second only to the UK in the number of episodes shown, being one of the select few countries to screen both ‘Power of the Daleks’ and ‘Evil of the Daleks’. The only episodes not to have been shown in Australia are the twelve from ‘The Daleks’ Masterplan’, and ‘Mission to the Unknown’. They were sent to Australia, but not shown. The only episode never to make its way to Australia in any shape or form is ‘The Feast of Steven’ (and that’s as far as I know!).

Australian fans are as devoted as any across the world. They buy all the products that they can, they’ve watched all the episodes, they’ve bought the replica sonic screwdrivers, followed DWM religiously, organised fan clubs and indeed made fanfiction videos (as has this author)! The fans keep the show alive, and they kept the show alive when the light was fading from the late 80s through to 2005. Whilst America and the UK get most of the exclusives, I believe firmly that Australian fans have played an important role too. Here’s a little window into my world as an Australian Doctor Who fan. It begins circa 1985.

I was introduced to Doctor Who in 1985, and for sure, this was a great time to be a Doctor Who fan in Australia. Fandom was as fanatical as ever at that point, and the ABC obliged by screening Doctor Who four nights a week at 6.30pm. Colin Baker’s first full season, cut into 25-minute episodes, was followed by something no fan had expected – two Patrick Troughton stories, ‘The Mind Robber’ and ‘The Krotons’, and if that wasn’t enough, that was followed by a full (bar episode one of ‘The Invasion of the Dinosaurs’) run of Jon Pertwee stories. After a few early Tom Baker stories were screened, there was a break.

Prime time Saturday night saw Colin Baker return in ‘Trial of a Time Lord’, strangely edited into 50 minute episodes! And then we had a series of Tom Baker stories from where the series left off on Saturday afternoon, originally as 50 minute episodes but then full omnibus versions. When we hit Peter Davison, they suddenly jumped from ‘The Visitation’ to ‘Warriors of the Deep’ with no warning or reason. After ‘Resurrection’ Doctor Who disappeared from our screens.

At this time, we were now in 1988, more fan clubs had opened up, especially in Melbourne. Along with ‘the Doctor Who Club of Australia’, we had ‘The Doctor Who Club of Victoria’ and a rival club ‘Gallifrey’ also appeared on the scene. Australia was home to Mark Strickson and Katy Manning at the time, so these were the most common guests to any conventions, although it was always difficult and rare to see the stars of Doctor Who at conventions in Australia. Jon Pertwee did make his way down under at one point, but sadly I somehow missed that.

It was around 1986-7 that I went to my first ever Doctor Who ‘meet’. A day called ‘Carnival of Monsters’ featuring two rooms screening stories from each of the first six Doctors. What a strange and unforgettable day it was! I went to the room where the black and white tales were being shown – 13 episodes in all, ‘The Daleks’ followed by ‘The Invasion’. The only black and white ‘Who’ I had seen were the Pertwee episodes not held in colour at the time. I will never forget this day – this is the point where I became a bonefide fan. I discovered I was not alone in my love of this series.

I remember thinking it was strange two episodes of ‘The Invasion’ weren’t shown. Perhaps they only had time to screen six of the eight episodes I thought. My brother and father were with me and my Dad was telling me it was time to go and I kept begging for ‘one more episode’, and each time he obliged. So strange, the picture was poor but everyone was transfixed. I remember a subsequent meeting a year or two later when ‘The Tenth Planet’ was shown, and it was almost impossible to make out what was happening on screen and the audio was inaudible! Yet we all sat transfixed to this small TV set and spent the three episodes desperately trying to make out what was happening. How times have changed – the DVD was just released this week with the missing episode animated!

At these meetings there was a special box too, a box of tapes with the soundtrack to almost every story. My best friend and I would borrow ten tapes plus at a time and even though the quality was bad we loved listening to the Hartnell’s and Troughton’s. Then, another friend told me they didn’t have all the episodes. That was a serious moment of shellshock to me, which became worse when I discovered the extent of the tragedy.

Target books were HUGE in Australia too, I’m sure even today go to any decent second hand store and you can find most of the range. I remember being transfixed by ‘The Macra Terror’ when it was released, and then when I discovered it was one of the missing stories I was utterly heartbroken. The Peter Haining books gave us a rough order of stories – Doctor Who: A Celebration, The Key to Time (I still love this book) and later, 25 Glorious years. I used to try and use ‘The Key to Time’ to work out which story would be next. As it skipped the odd story, it was not fool proof! Books by Peter Haining were much prized and beloved by the Australian ‘Who-community’ in the 80s.

1988 saw the McCoy series on ABCTV, and the 25th anniversary of the show. ‘Time and the Rani’ though had already been released by Target and all I could do was wonder how many Colin Baker stories were between ‘The Ultimate Foe’ and ‘Time and the Rani’. I was heartbroken to find the answer was ‘none’. In fact I liked Colin Baker from the start, he’s my second favourite Doctor behind the incomparable Patrick Troughton. It goes without saying I was even more heartbroken to be picked up from camp one day to hear the tragic news of the cosmic hobo’s death.

The new episodes though, were what we always waited so patiently for. In fact a wait of a year or more was not uncommon. Patience was the key thing as an Australian fan. Despite hearing the news reasonably quickly and the occasionally smuggled early copy on video tape, we always had a long wait to receive new episodes of Doctor Who on television.

It was late 1988 that the ABC screened season 24, a year after its broadcast in Britain. It was now in an afternoon slot, which meant the ABC now saw it solely as a children’s programme which was sad. Four nights a week though! AND as a special surprise, they continued on after ‘Dragonfire’ to give us ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, before another 12 month wait for the rest of Season 25. Well, it wasn’t the anniversary special, but faced with a choice between ‘Remembrance’ or ‘Silver Nemesis’, it was the right choice! Not only that, I think it was around this time they also screened ‘An Unearthly Child’. The first Hartnell on Australian TV for a long time.

By now I was firmly in ‘fandom’, collecting various and many magazines from different clubs and publishers. There was ‘Sonic Screwdriver’, ‘DWM’, ‘The Frame’, ‘DWB’ and more. A shop that still exists in Melbourne today, ‘Minotaur’, was THE place to buy magazines, books and the videos which were starting to appear too. The ABC gradually released the videos, but months after Minotaur did, because Minotaur imported them from the UK. I remember the first video I ever owned was ‘The Seeds of Death’, naturally. A FULL Troughton adventure? Brilliant, bloody brilliant. The next would be ‘Talons of Weng Chiang’, which I missed the ending to when it was on the ABC.

These, for me, were the best days to be a Doctor Who fan. The next two decades would bring change, a show gone but not forgotten, and an eventual relaunch. Australian fans would never waver from their support of the show they loved, and could eventually love again. But that’s for Part Two.

Tapatalk Comes to Skaro

The Skaro forums are probably enjoying some of their busiest times ever thanks to the recent episode discoveries and subsequent release.  With the upcoming anniversary special and regeneration at Christmas, we hope to see that continue, and as such are always open to ideas to make the site more useful for our users.

One suggestion that’s cropped up a few times has been introducing Tapatalk support to our forums, and I’m pleased to announce that as of tonight Skaro is indeed on Tapatalk.  Anyone accessing via a mobile device, should be seeing a familar message prompting you to add us to the Tapatalk app.

Its still under testing here in Skaro Towers at the moment, so you may find it goes in and out as we check settings and the like, however we’re excited to improve our support of mobile devices via Tapatalk, and hope you all find it useful.

Missing Episodes: the Onward Journey

So, you have the details now (see press release in other article here). Largely, it was as predicted:

  • Eleven episodes discovered (of which two were already in the archive, so nine really then)
  • Enemy of the World and Web of Fear (bar ep 3) available to release
  • Immediate availability via iTunes
  • EotW available on DVD in November, WoF early in 2014

What there isn’t:

  • Information about international release
  • Any way of getting it today other than by giving the late Mr Jobs some cash
  • Anything on other episodes or stories, including Marco
  • Indeed, anything on other series.

And frankly by keeping to the embargo I’m slightly too late to the party myself – the Northern Echo and certain others have already let loose the Dogs of Missing Episode Press Conference. But if I can’t introduce you to the glory of the news, at least let me tell you of the experience. The Event.

At a screening room in Soho the great and the good of the British press – and me – met to hear about the discovery that, pretty much, we already knew a fair bit about. A hoard of episodes discovered in a TV station in Jos, Nigeria that had arrived there via the Bicycle Route (as it is known): London to Hong Kong, Hong Kong on to other stations around the world and eventually Nigeria. Not the Jos station in Nigeria, though: how it got there is anyone’s guess, and partly why it was so difficult to find.

Discovered during a visit by Philip Morris of the TIEA, the tapes were immediately recognised for what they were. And eventually, only a few short decades (I jest, but only just) later, they’re now here and available to us.

The conference comprised a few short notes given by Mr Morris and members of BBC Worldwide’s communications team, the playing of episode one of Enemy of the World and episode two (ironically, the one without either the Doctor or the Brigadier in it) of Web of Fear, and then a panel.

The episodes were marvellous, as I said earlier. Dated, sure, but only in a good way. Exciting and thrilling certainly. And the quality, considering they’ve been sitting in 30 degree heat for forty years, blummin’ wonderful (and again as I said earler, arguably better than would have been had at the time of broadcast).

Performances were also strikingly good, especially from Patrick Troughton. The man was a brilliant clown, with a gift for lifting extra performance from already-good scripts. The comparison with Matt Smith, himself an incredible clown, is well made – and this is in no sense damned with faint praise. Physical performance demands just as much skill as character and nuance, and both actors excel in both. The comparison compliments both ways.

The panel was wonderful. And also not so wonderful. By which I mean, it comprised Fraser Hines, Deborah Watling and Mark Gattis: of which the first two were ideal given the context, and the last ideal given any context. However, the panel being largely a question and answer session, this felt somewhat limited: questions were interesting, but somewhat shallow: what was it like to work with Pat? Do you like the modern series? Did it take you back? Given the luminaries from the restoration industry there, it would have been nice to hear more detail on the work of bringing these stories back to us.

I need to immediately add that this takes nothing away from the panellists, especially Hines and Watling, who were charm personified. It is not to say that their anecdotes were not interesting – they were, very much so, and on a couple of occasions downright funny – just that it felt other insights also could have been pertinent. But to listen to them and meet them was genuinely a privilege.

But there were major plusses too – a prop or two, a tape in a tin. And let’s face it, the return of nine, yes nine, missing episodes. Not a bad present for the fiftieth.

And in a year or two, we’ll be able to hear the story proper. Until then, as I said earlier, we’ll need to curb the desire to speculate on missing stories – or the people who hunt for them – lest we disrupt ongoing negotiations.

And there’s one thing I take away from that: there’s more to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, please prepare for boarding…

Missing Episodes: we hope you enjoyed the flight…

Below, the press release from BBC Worldwide regarding the missing episodes released today. All the information you need is here – I’ll be back to discuss in a bit.




Friday 11 October

BBC Worldwide is delighted to announce that nine recordings from the 1960s featuring missing episodes of Doctor Who, the world’s longest running sci-fi drama, have been recovered in Nigeria, Africa.

11 Doctor Who episodes were discovered (nine of which were missing) by Phillip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archive, by the tracking records of overseas shipments made by the BBC containing tapes for transmission.  BBC Worldwide has re-mastered these episodes to restore them to the fantastic quality that audiences expect from Doctor Who.

The stories recovered are The Enemy of the World (1967) and The Web of Fear (1968), both starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor.

The Enemy of the Worldis the fourth six-part tale of Series 5 which first aired on the BBC in December 1967. Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 had been missing from the BBC archives.

Alongside Patrick Troughton who plays both the Time Lord and his antagonist (Ramon Salamander) are his companions Frazer Hines (Jamie) and Deborah Watling (Victoria).

Also recovered is the 1968 six-part story, The Web of Fear. Episodes 2 – 6 were feared lost forever but now episodes 2, 4, 5, and 6 have been recovered. Unfortunately, episode three is still missing but a restoration team has reconstructed this part of the story using a selection of the 37 images that were available from the episode along with the original audio which has been restored. 

Also starring Patrick Troughton alongside Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling, The Web of Fear introduces Nicholas Courtney for the first time as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (who later returns as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart).

All episodes will be available to download exclusively from iTunes on 11 October.  The Enemy of the World will also be available to pre-order exclusively on DVD from BBC Shop from 11 October for release on 22 November. The Web of Fear will be available on DVD from early 2014.

Phillip Morris says, “The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria. I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words ‘Doctor Who’. When I read the story code I realised I’d found something pretty special.”

Fiona Eastwood, Director of Consumer Products, BBC Worldwide comments: “We are thrilled with the recent discovery of The Web of Fearand The Enemy of the World and we’re very happy to be launching re-mastered versions of these treasured episodes to fans as we celebrate the 50th year of Doctor Who.”

On the 23rd November 2013, Doctor Who celebrates 50 years since the very first episode, An Unearthly Child, aired on BBC television. A number of episodes from the first series of Doctor Who were lost as a result of BBC Archive space-saving measures and there are still 27 Doctor Whostories that are missing or have incomplete episodes.

Halloween Excitement With Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh



Events Go Underground for First Ever ‘Close Fest’


For the first time ever, The Real Mary King’s Close, is to launch ‘Close Fest’, a week long programme of underground events that promise to be as unique as the attraction itself.


The festival that runs from 31st October until 9th November is to feature the best in local talent and will offer audiences the chance to experience one of Edinburgh’s best loved visitor attractions in a whole new light.


The Close Fest programme will include events ranging from murderous make-up, quirky comedy and spine tingling theatre to melancholy music and murder mystery, and marks the tenth anniversary since the warren of streets that make up The Real Mary King’s Close opened as a visitor attraction. 



Craig Miller, General Manager comments;  “We’ve worked hard to create a unique and exciting events programme that gives our loyal audiences a compelling reason to return to the Close and experience it in a completely fresh way. 


“We regularly have people hiring the site for private events so we knew that beyond being a visitor attraction, the atmosphere, acoustics, darkness and intimacy of the site brings something really unique and memorable to an event, with that in mind, our very first Close Fest was born. 


“Previous visitors might know us for our tours, but we invite them to come and experience our site through a whole new medium be it theatre, music or comedy.”


Full details are on the website with booking recommended by calling 0845 070 6244 or going online at www.realmarykingsclose.com/plan-your-visit/Events.aspx.  A short synopsis of events is listed below.


The Dark Truth Tour: Thursday 31 October10pm £17.50 

The Close Fest programme will launch on the spookiest night of the year with The Dark Truth Tour, back by popular demand following its Edinburgh Festival Fringe sell-out debut.  Not for the faint hearted, this interactive tour will give a tongue in cheek account of Edinburgh’s murky past as it delves deeper than ever before into plague and pestilence and murder most horrid.  


Murderous Make-Up: Friday 1 November8.15pm £8

Those looking to further embrace the Halloween weekend can book onto

Murderous Make-Upfor an hour long guided workshop allowing guests to create their own look from rupturing boils, bleeding blisters to ghoulish ghostly complexions. The workshop is a great pre-cursor to a spooky party or equally good as a stand-alone night out with the option to add on a tour of The Real Mary King’s Close.


Burke: Sunday 3 November7.30pm £12.50

Halloween weekend will culminate with Burke, The Play, a haunting psychological drama about Edinburgh’s notorious serial killer, William Burke.  Audiences will join William Burke in this underground setting, in his final hours before execution.   Full of twists and turns, this fascinating performance willchallenge the common perception about who the main protagonist was in the deadly partnership between William Burke and William Hare.

Crow Boy – Book reading by author Philip Caveney:  Monday 4 November6.30pm £5 

Younger audiences will have the chance to travel in time with Crow Boy author Philip Caveney as he reveals the book’s connection with The Real Mary King’s Close.  As well as an author Q&A, guests will be the first to hear an expert from Philip’s brand new sequel to Crow Boy, Seventeen Coffins, due to launch Spring 2014.


Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra! Wednesday 6 November7.30pm £5

Further into the week and fresh from a major award nomination for best cabaret show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Mr Twonkey, aka Paul Vickers, brings his acclaimed show to the Close for this last ever Edinburgh performance of the full show.  Bizarre, random, enchanting and nothing short of imaginative, a perfect mid week pick me up.


Shooting Stansfield Friday 8 November10.30pm £8

A great precursor to the weekend and for one night only, Edinburgh’s underground streets that once echoed with the calls of market traders will be filled with the warm and emotive sound of Edinburgh based indie-folk four piece, Shooting Stansfield.  Building on performances across Edinburgh and Glasgow, this gig presents an un-missable chance to see this highly applauded up and coming act in an intimate setting, catch them here before they really hit the big time. 


Murder Mystery Evening Saturday 9 November10.30pm £15 

Rounding off Close Fest is the attraction’s first ever Murder Mystery Evening which will transport guests back to 1943 as they join the Lord Provost for a VIP party in honour of one of Edinburgh’s greatest heroes. As the party is abruptly interrupted by the air raid siren, guests will find themselves ushered into the underground shelter soon to become the scene of a most hideous crime, leaving them to question who would do such a thing and why?

Missing Episodes: We’re coming in to land…

Well, that was quite monumentally exciting. A little piece of Who history, in multiple ways.

There is, I’m afraid, an embargo on any information till 00.01 BST tomorrow morning – so you’ll have to come back then for the actual facts. But there are, of course, some things I can say.

First off, in case there were any doubters, what we have back really has been worth the wait. Having seen… well, I’ll tell you what I actually did see later… some of what is available, I can tell you that the quality is surprisingly good – and possibly better than actually would have been had at the time of broadcast, for the majority of people viewing at home considering the quality of receiver available.

Secondly, the scripts hold up remarkably well. There is a naivity to them compared with modern TV drama – but to be honest, that is probably in the eye of the beholder more than anything else. Ways of writing, of making drama, change with the audience rather than in spite of it, which means our modern sensibilities suit the modern show more (Tony notwithstanding of course) – so it’s fair to say that the naivity I saw was more my problem than the show’s. However, despite that, the ride is a thrilling one.

Thirdly, the panel members were delightful, even allowing me to photo their feet. Their indulgence of that sort of fetish should not go uncommented.

But there is one important thing to say: it was confirmed to me that the rampant speculation and personal attacks that has been going on in some quarters of fandom has made the acquisition more difficult. (OS was not mentioned as an offender, I am pleased to say, even after I told them who I was; although it would be disingenuous to pretend we weren’t part of the speculation rollercoaster.) I asked how, and was told even discussing that would create difficulties. The story can be told, but not yet.

Some will undoubtedly say that this is prissy smugness and a desire to hold onto power from big fish in small ponds: on balance, I genuinely don’t believe that’s the case. I think we need to take that request at face value, back off a little, and enjoy and celbrate what we get. Cos it is bloody marvellous.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have landed. But for the moment, please remain seated until the captain has switched of the ‘fasten seatbelts’ sign…

Missing Episodes Recovered

Its the day many of us on Outpost Skaro have been waiting for, as the BBC have confirmed the rumours that have been circling for many, many months.   Missing episodes have indeed been recovered and returned to the BBC.

BBC to reveal a number of missing Doctor Who episodes

While the announcement itself is thin on details, a press conference is due to be held later this week where we’ll hopefully find out not only the exact extent of the find, but also how we’re going to be able to get our hands on these episodes.



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