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Atlantis Episode Two

Atlantis, it’s been pointed out to me, is the only telefantasy show made this year by the BBC, barring two episodes of Doctor Who. It’s lavish, slick, quick and shiny, but, unlike it’s Time Lord cousin, seems to have fallen into an ever so predictable trap almost from the get go.

Actually, it’s two traps. The first one is one that a lot of fantasy shows, from the X Files to Star Trek to Smallville have fallen into, and it’s the formula of the week mode. Last week, Minotaur, this week, Medusa. At the same time, Pythagorus is kind but geeky, Hercules is selfish but kind really and Jason his hot damn heroic whilst still yearning for the truth and making doe eyes at women.

Why he’s not doubting his sanity or screaming at the sky after being washed from modern day real life into this Greek Myth of a world is beyond me, although the line “I feel strangely at home here” is meant to cut it. It doesn’t.

Episode one had a big job to do, and did it relatively well, but it’s episode two that needs to be the hammer. For instance, if we look at said cousin, Doctor Who, it’s superb set up was followed by, well, the Daleks. Nuff said.

Atlantis, however, follows on with a lot of Merlin-a-like sitting around camp fires whilst the Myth of the Week tries hard to be a wee bitty different from what you think. Jason yearns, Pythagorus exasps, Hercules why-I-oughtas.

The shame is I found myself getting bored half way through, and that can’t be a good thing for a new tv show. It’s on later than Doctor Who and Merlin because apparently, according to rent-a-witch Sarah Parish it’s “darker”.

Well, it’s not. It’s a pretender. Unless it breaks this mould and does something – fast – it’s not going to see the longevity of it’s fellow Saturday nighters the far superior Merlin and Robin Hood never mind it’s collosus cousin Doctor Who.

Perhaps the money spent on this lavish Homerian tale might have been best spent on celebrating the series that made it possible.

Doctor Who Figurine Collection

An exciting range of Doctor Who figurines is now available to collect from Eaglemoss, a partwork that in the past has included such fantastic collections as the Batman chess set and at present is running a rather natty Star Trek’s ships collection.

The Doctor Who one begins, predictably, with Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, specifically a pretty detailed model of him during the adventure The Pandorica Opens. It’s a fine, intricate model with some nice little details, including a flapping jacket and braces straps. 

 

Issue two, which we’ve not been able to see up close as yet, along with issue three, are available now, and feature what looks like a pretty well finished Davros and a Cyber Controller.

Future issues too look intriguing, with some great Dalek packs to colelct and some old school monsters, including Omega from The Three Doctors.

If you subscribe, too, you can get a cracking Emperor Dalek from A Parting of the Ways and a nifty stand, along with a binder for the magazine, itself a glossy and well informed piece with everything you wanted to know about that issues offering.

We’ll bring you more on these as we get them, but, for us, they’re looking an exciting and welcome addition to the merchandise available this year.

Find out more HERE

Obverse Charity Book

 

Obverse Books are delighted to announce the publication of an e-collection (with all proceeds going to charity) of short stories in memory of our friend, Doctor Who, Iris Wildthyme and Faction Paradox author, Matt Kimpton, who died of Cystic Fibrosis last year.



A summary of the genesis of the book, and the slightly unusual idea behind it, can be found at



http://cavanscott.com/storyteller-a-found-book-and-a-very-special-collection/



but all you really need to know is that it’s 13 stories, with no theme, genre or link.  Just good storytelling in memory of a great storyteller.



The book itself can be bought here: http://obversebooks.co.uk/product/storyteller-a-found-book/ (initially as an ebook, with a Lulu paperback to follow)



Only £1.99, too!

Atlantis – Pilot Episode

Atlantis Review

by Eddie McGuigan

 

 

Much is resting on the shoulders of the BBC’s new flagship family show. After years of success with Doctor Who, Merlin and Robin Hood, Atlantis is the latest fantasy family fare to bless a Saturday teatime. Is it as good?

A rewriting more of Ancient Greek Myths rather than Atlantis proper, it concerns a modern day fellow called Jason (of Argonauts fame) who, whilst trying to find his lost father, finds himself washed up on the shores of an ancient Greek town, a town which turns out to be Atlantis. Before you can say “eek I’m being chased by a two headed dragon!” he’s befriended by Pythagorus and an overweight, over drinking, gambling Hercules, someone’s who’s past deeds are all but forgotten.

Taking the place of a chosen Pythagorus, who soon joins him again, Jason leads his friends into the labyrinth of the Minotaur, where destiny awaits.

It’s a difficult programme to dislike, it has to be said. All the actors, especially the three leads, are engaging and easy to watch. Mark Addy is a likeable if incredulous Hercules, but one feels he may become the Hong Kong Phooey to Jack Donnelly’s square jawed Jason. Completing the threesome, Robert Emms, who has a pretty impressive CV, makes a personable Pythagorus.

Created by the people who brought us Merlin and Misfits, this has a pretty decent fantasy pedigree and director Justin Molotnikov gives episode one, The Earth Bull, a pretty cracking pace and look.

Ably supported by Alexander Siddig as King Minos and Sarah Parish as Pasiphaë as well as Juliet Stevenston’s Oracle, there’s nothing to really criticise here. It does exactly what it says on the tin.

Whether the portent for Greek Myth of the Week is the case (next we have Medusa!) I don’t know, and it will be interesting to see where the series actually goes. I get the feeling it could be very forumulaic – Jason saves the day from that weeks Myth whilst Hercules gets the credit – but I hope not. I mean, we know Jason has an epic voyage, sometime in his future, and we know that Atlantis has a watery fate, so this series needs to be imbued with some sort of character sympathy very soon. The cast certainly has the chops to do so, although whether Jack Donnelly can match his peers in more than action sequences remains to be seen.

It’s slick, flawlessly produced and everything you imagine it will be. Whether it’s more Homer than Hesiod though, remains to be seen. 

 

Daleks, Onesies and Kirsty Alsopp

BBC Worldwide have revealed their 2013 festive wares to the world, and a fair old mix of the marvellous and mesmerising there was, too.

Of most interest to readers of this article, no doubt, will be the vast range of Doctor Who memorabilia coming up. Cashing in on the undoubted raised public Whowareness (did you see what I did there?) created by both the 50th anniversary and impending regeneration, they have a shedload of Gallifrey’s finest ready for the Christmas shopping frenzy.

From serviettes, notepads and laptop sleeves in a variety of Ice Warrior and Cybermen designs, through new family pastimes such as the DVD-based Who trivia board game, to the much feted Lakeland range of Doctor Who baking aids… there is a wide and almost mystifying range of gift possibilities based on the franchise. One does end up wondering: exactly who needs a three-foot high stuffed cuddly Dalek or an Oystercard holder endorsed by the High Council of Gallifrey?

However, let me take you through some of the things that did catch my eye.

First and foremost, the Wand Company have produced a second gesture-based learning remote control, this time based on the design of David Tennant’s sonic. Literally, it seems: apparently, David owns the only remaining prop of the object, and kindly leant it to tWC for laser scanning and all sorts, as part of the development process.

Like the Matt Smith sonic remote control released last year, this isn’t cheap: it retails at around £69. However, it is absolutely a thing of loveliness, and being made from, for example, precision-lathed aluminium, it feels so much better in the hand than, for example, the toy sonics that are available. It’s also rather fun to use, with the would-be channel changer having to mimic a range of Tennant’s sonic-thrusting lunges and swipes to switch the TV on or get it off bloody TOWIE.

Next up, one of my favourite things: a range of designer Doctor Who Onesies. Yes, you too can lounge around in yuppie pyjamas come Christmas Day – perhaps a Tardis Onsie (there’s also a Tardis bath robe available for Whofficionados who are not quite up for getting dressed yet but nonetheless have managed to maintain a degree of dignity), or maybe the Fourth Doctor’s Costume Onesie, complete with scarf design adorining the lapels. The world is your oyster – or (this being Skaro) clam.

Framed series seven posters and commemorative pictures of each Doctor are also available, as is a rather interesting map of Hedgewicke’s World from the Gaiman-penned episode Nightmare in Silver. Detailed and full of interesting locations – some of which appeared in the episode itself – this map makes the place look like a rather appealing theme park in and of itself. But most interesting is the copyright notice in the bottom left corner. Could something be on its way…?

Beyond Who, Worldwide have a number of other tie-in gift possibilities on offer. For example, their first foray into mainstream film production – the Walking with Dinosaurs 3D movie, in cinemas this Christmas – has a wide variety of merchandise, from jigsaws and games to rubber dinosaur feet. Likewise, there are games from the worlds of Mr Tumble and Charlie & Lola, and a rather nice range of cookery books and utensils from Kirsty Allsopp, of all people.

All in all, there’s a fair range of items going to be available from BBC Worldwide this Christmas. Some of it’s fun, some of it’s not for me to be honest – and some of it’s just a bit bloody weird. But a lot of it looks rather good, and depending on your budget, you could do worse than check these out.

 

Hidden in the open?

The Radio Times has joined in our speculation about clues hidden in the 50th Special movie poster (released last night).  Like us they’ve noticed the rather odd looking Red Sonic Screwdriver.

Day of the Doctor Poster

Have a look here for their full analysis!

Little Who of Terror!

“Little Who of Terror” is a short movie musical that spoofs and crossovers Doctor Who and Little Shop of Horrors. It’s being created by David Nagel who  created the charity fan film “Pudsai”, which raised money for Children in Need. This new film is to do the same.  The film is being founded by croudsourcing so you can not only help raise money for charity but also  help make the film happen.


 

This is a crowdfund project and 20% of all the donations raised will be paid straight to the Children in Need charity.

For more information please visit: www.indiegogo.com/projects/little-who-of-terror The film will feature a few Doctor Who props that may be of interest to you all.

If you can’t contribute in anyway, no matter, please share this as much as possible.

www.littlewhoofterror.co.uk www.facebook.com/littlewhoofterror

Thanks,

David Nagel!

Script Doctor

SCRIPT DOCTOR REPRINT

Miwk Publishing Ltd are announcing a reprint of Andrew Cartmel’s script editor memoir originally published in 2005, due to be released in November 2013 and available to order now.

In 1987 Doctor Who was a series in the middle of an on-going crisis. Producer John Nathan-Turner had been ‘persuaded to stay’ even though his programme had only a year earlier been cancelled by ‘the powers that be’. Yet again those on-high stepped in to interfere with the show and asked him to recast the Doctor. But JN-T had other problems too, during season 23 his script editor Eric Saward had quit very publicly.

This vacancy was filled by Andrew Cartmel. Within very few months he had to find writers for the new season, write out the current companion, introduce a new companion and establish a new Doctor as well as planning ahead to the following season that would mark Doctor Who’s 25th anniversary.

For three years Andrew Cartmel, with the support of JN-T, pushed Doctor Who into a new direction. The show was moved to a weekday slot again up against ITV stalwart Coronation Street but still put up a good fight in its last three years. His writers Ian Briggs, Ben Aaronovitch, Stephen Wyatt, Malcolm Kohl, Rona Munro, Marc Platt, Kevin Clarke and Graeme Curry, had never written for Doctor Who before. This new broom sadly came too late and the show was cancelled again in 1989. But Cartmel’s legacy and his ‘Master-Plan’ would live on.

What he started was picked up and taken into the nineties by a new generation of writers who would eventually bring Doctor Who back to our screens in 2005.

‘Script Doctor’ is a memoir of those times, from his first day in the office to his first day on set right up to hastily penning the final few lines of the last story broadcast in the original run. Helping to cast the new seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, and create a new companion in Ace, played by Sophie Aldred, ‘Script Doctor’ is an intimate tale which sees a team of dedicated, creative new wave at the BBC, battling the old-guard and attempting to push the envelope.

The reprint is unique insight into an era of Doctor Who which, while dividing fandom at the time, has seen a reappraisal in recent years following the release of the stories on DVD and the subsequent scrutiny of the era in the accompanying special features.

Day of the Doctor – And Other Stories

Doctor Who 50th anniversary schedule
 
announced by BBC



The BBC has announced a raft of programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who.



A 75-minute special called The Day Of The Doctor will star the soon-to-leave Matt Smith and David Tennant.



Smith said: “Hope you all enjoy. There’s lots more coming your way.”



Other highlights include a BBC Two lecture by Professor Brian Cox on the science behind the hit show and the drama An Adventure In Space and Time, written by Mark Gatiss.



The one-off programme stars David Bradley, of the Harry Potter films, as William Hartnell – who was the first Doctor in 1963.



Restored episodes

BBC Four will introduce new audiences to Hartnell, with a re-run of the first ever story. The four episodes are being shown in a restored format, not previously broadcast in the UK.



BBC Two’s flagship arts programme The Culture Show is to present Me, You and Doctor Who, with lifelong fan Matthew Sweet exploring the cultural significance of the BBC’s longest running TV drama.



A 90-minute documentary on BBC Radio 2 will ask “Who Is The Doctor?” – using newly-recorded interviews and exclusive archive material to find an answer – while BBC Three will be home to several commissions.



For those less familiar with the show, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide will provide a handy primer.



Danny Cohen, Director BBC Television said: “It’s an astonishing achievement for a drama to reach its 50th anniversary.



“I’d like to thank every person – on both sides of the camera – who has been involved with its creative journey over so many years.”



Smith has already started filming his final scenes as the Doctor, which are due to air in this year’s Christmas episode. His replacement, Scots actor Peter Capaldi, was announced in August.



Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer on Doctor Who said: “50 years has turned Doctor Who from a television show into a cultural landmark. Personally I can’t wait to see what it becomes after a hundred.”

Who On Earth Is Tom Baker – Kindle Edition

 

The fabulous, iconic Doctor and thoroughly decent bloke Tom Baker’s brilliantly funny autobiography Who On Earth Is Tom Baker is now available on Kindle

I dare you not to read it in Tom’s voice.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE

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