Eddie McGuigan

The Woman Who Lived, review by Eddie McGuigan

The Woman Who Lived

Review by Eddie McGuigan

So, half way, almost, through this season. Half way out of the dark.

It’s fair to say that this has been the most successful run of episodes in many a year. Sure, there’s the odd droopy drawers moaning about this than and the next thing, but on the whole, it’s been pretty positively received. Part Two of the season promises to be a little more experimental – especially episodes 9 and 11 – but more of that at another time.

If I can criticise s9 at all at the moment it’s for its lack of great enemies – the Fisher King and the Mire are intriguing creations, but not nearly fleshed out enough, meaning they come across, unfortunately, as the Monster Of The Week. With the exception of Davros and Missy there’ve been no stand outs. Yet.

Unfortunately, The Woman Who Lived is pretty much following on in the same vein. It’s a cross between a character piece and a historical romp with a fair bit of jolly old banter, which, despite his protestations, the Doctor does well. Capaldi continues his evolution to be Doctor Prime as he wanders around with a Curio Detector. He seems surprised that it detects curios.

Catherine Tregenna takes a darker tone than Moffat and Mathieson last week in the fate of Ashildr and Maisie Williams manages quite admirably to get a lot of age into her young eyes. She’s not the villain of the piece, but that in itself is pretty much a catch all, over designed Any Monster.

The joy in this episode is in the dialogue and the drive and very much in the chemistry between Capaldi and Williams – this episode is very much Clara lite – and how the two old souls interact. The Doctor’s reticence to take Ashildr with him is beautifully played in Capaldi’s eyes, as is her desperation to leave such a backwards planet. The Doctor’s footprint is not as light as he would like it to be, it seems.

Rufus Hound, himself a huge fan, turns up as part of the deus ex machina finale which you’ll all see a million miles away, and is all a little convenient, but he’s fun in the role of Sam Swift the Quick and again gives more gravitas to the performance than you’d think.

The setting – 17 century England – and the Highwayman conceit – is pretty much irrelevant to the piece, it could be set anywhere, and could have any kind of monster in place of the Tharil-a-like we have, but it’s all pretty inoffensive and does what it does well enough.

There are ramifications in the actions of this story, and it’s all a bit serious and worthy and you just know it’s going to creep up again – and it should, or it’ll be a loose thread of Jenny proportions.  It’s a better episode than The Girl Who Died as it’s way less bitty and way more linear, and the performances are way more serious – director Bazalgette calmly and understatedly ushers the tale along – but it’s unlikely to win any awards, despite the hype. The echoes of this episode will ring more loudly than the episode itself probably deserves thanks to Maisie Williams and Ashildr but that’s fine – it’s a new thread, and, whilst it sort of echoes Captain Jack (Williams is way less sympathetic than Barrowman in Utopia) it won’t bother anyone enough to complain.

The Girl Who Died, Review by Eddie McGuigan

The Girl Who Died

review by Eddie McGuigan

eddie mcguigan

Doctor Who, we know, has to be everything to everyone. It has to be a space adventure, it has to be historical drama, it has to be a romance, a horror story and it has to reflect its past with a nostalgic glow.

Of course, there are people out there, feral, skitter people who live on The Internet, who will tell you that Doctor Who better not be a bloody romance/horror story/soap opera. They’ll tell you it hasn’t been the same since Dicks/Saward/RTD left and they’ll tell you, without a doubt, that You Are Wrong. Then they’ll throw a teddy at you and stomp out.

The Girl Who Died is going to scatter these Internet Dwellers like skittles on a Friday night in France. It’s going to make others punch the air in excitement and it’s going to make others scratch their head a bit and go “Really? OK then…” (more…)

The Underwater Menace, by Eddie McGuigan

Doctor Who, Underwater Menace

release date news, by Eddie McGuigan

Eddie mcguigan underwater menace

The wait is finally over…

Featuring the imitable Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor and packed with wealth of un-missable extras, Doctor Who: The Underwater Menacewill be available on DVD from 26th October, priced at £20.42.

 

The Underwater Menace is the fifth serial of the fourth season, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 14 January 1967 to 4 February 1967. The story introduces Jamie McCrimmon’s (Frazer Hines) on his first journey with the Doctor as a travelling companion. This special release will contain the two re-mastered existing episodes, with the two missing episodes represented with restored audio and surviving stills, as well as over an hour of extras.

(more…)

Before The Flood, review by Eddie McGuigan

 

Before The Flood

review by Eddie McGuigan

eddie mcguigan

The Doctor, O’Donnell and Bennett go back in time…

Under the Lake has to be one of the most formulaic Doctor Who adventures in a long time – and more power to it for being that way. It’s a traditional story with a traditional Doctor/Companion dynamic and throws a punch directly into the face of the viewer for being so. It is, without a doubt, superb.

As a second part of the same adventure, Before The Flood couldn’t begin more differently and, indeed, continue to push against the traditionalness of Part One. It begins with a direct to camera monologue by the Doctor – some might say this is for the fan who doesn’t understand or like temporal shenanigans or paradoxes – but it allows Capaldi to showboat and talk directly to us about the story ahead – indeed, the scene itself has no plot drivers at all – but it is nonetheless a clever conceit which leads straight into a theme tune played, it seems, by the Doctor himself.

After those titles, we are we are treated – and treated is the word – to another type of Whovian trope – the mysterious village, so ably portrayed in The Android Invasion, for instance – as the Doctor and his friends search out the truth behind the Ghosts in the Drum and their reason to exist – a search which will bring the Doctor face to face with the Fisher King and his own mortality.

eddie mcguigan

Ghost Doctor… but what’ he saying?

Whilst still giving us the action adventure of Under The Lake with echoes of Alien³, and the creepiness of not just a haunted house but a terrifyingly ghostly Doctor, we also get the backstory to the spaceship and the Trivoli undertaker, which enhances the story with rich layers of plot.

So the story is split in two parts – inside the Drum and before the flood – and each intertwine with themselves as the stasis chamber discovered in Under The Lake slowly begins to open.

It’s fair to say that whilst the Drum sequences allow Clara more space to take charge, she’s not entirely separated from the Doctor thanks to some timey wimey skyping, whose presence is felt in both the past and the presence as Capaldi continues to dominate this story with aplomb. The base under siege story is continued whilst the mystery behind it unfolds in a time travelling paradox cleverly realised by Whithouse’s intelligent use of the device. It’s a little bit Sapphire and Steel and a little bit Bill And Ted. To say more would ruin the surprises.

Guest star wise, Paul Kaye channels David Walliams as the now alive Trivoli undertaker and does a great if fleeting job. Sophie Stone as Cass is impressive too, and the fact that she is deaf isn’t ignored either. It’s great that her deafness isn’t seen as a disability at all, but used to great effect in this episode in a creepy scene which will have everyone on the edge of their seats. Morven Christie continues to audition for the role of companion with a great turn as the likeable, somewhat cooky O’Donnell for the most part, with Arsher Ali’s Bennett being the other stand out, scared but unafraid to call out the Doctor when required. Peter Serafinowicz is creepy as the confident Fisher King as well, and, as its body, Neil Fingleton is terrifying.

Again though it’s Capaldi’s Doctor who dominates this episode in everything that he does – as his ghost in the present or the rebel Time Lord in the past. He controls every scene he’s in as he scampers through the adventure – ably scored it has to be said by Murray Gold, who’s now less melodic than before but has begun to channel the operatic of Hans Zimmer – and is capable of showing a traditional Doctor but one still capable of seeing the bigger picture, and making alien decisions for the greater good, again an echo of Mummy on the Orient Express.

I can’t fault this episode – although I do think its more divisive than Under The Lake and perhaps less traditional – but I loved it, and would have Doctor Who like this two parter all the time. Again, there were no arcs, no old enemies, nothing to link it along, but with fan pleasing nods and plenty of comedy to counteract the drama and horror, this is exactly what Who should be.

Bravo, Toby, bravo.

eddie mcguigan

just before the flood…

 

Doctor Who Series 9 Review: Under the Lake, by Eddie McGuigan

 

UNDER THE LAKE

Review by Eddie McGuigan

eddie mcguigan

The Doctor is fascinated by something..

In the olden days, when the Universe was half its present size, Doctor Who used to start like this:

It was autumn, getting dark, maybe a little windy and cold outside. Curtains were drawn, tea had, everyone on the couch. The haunting melody would drag that old blue box down a swirling tunnel and open up to some plucky guest stars with some pretty distinct characteristics in a claustrophobic base set slightly in the future. There’d be a leader, brusque but true, a scientist, a creepy and slightly untrustworthy specialist, and a few immediately likeable characters who you could envisage as companions to the Doctor. Just as we’re getting to know them, something will happen – a likeable character will be killed, a monster will appear…

…and elsewhere in the base, tucked away in a cupboard or utility area there’ll be a strange, wheezing, groaning sound and an old blue Police Box will materialise out of thin air. It’ll sit for a second, as if gathering its thoughts, then an eccentric man will spring from the creaking door, sniffing the air, followed by a pretty, plucky companion, eyes wide with excitement at the start of a new adventure. Before long, the man – known only as the Doctor – will be embroiled in the situation, with his companion a loyal sidekick, and he’ll take control of the group meeting various levels of resistance, from suspicion, aggression to immediate new friendships.

eddie mcguigan

The Doctor takes control

eddie mcguiagn

…but what’s he up to?

This is how Doctor Who used to start. It didn’t start with grumpy some-time companions working elsewhere, or with a domestic drama. It didn’t start with a convoluted backstory or a timey wimey arc. It started, it ran. And it ran.

Luckily, writer Toby Whithouse remembers those autumn nights, and how important those first few minutes were, and, to my absolute pleasure, he has recreated that perfectly here with Under The Lake. It is without a doubt the most traditional Doctor Who episode in quite some time, echoing tropes and conceits last seen in Mummy on the Orient Express, with much the same result. You get, in 42 minutes, true, undiluted, distilled and pure Doctor Who.

eddie mcguigan

Haunted corridors

Whithouse also knows Doctor Who should be scary. Weeping Angels scary. The Flood scary. Osirian Mummy scary. Weng-Chiang scary. So he makes the “Ghosts” scary too – he even manages to make the Tivoli scary, with the help of guest star Paul Kaye.

The Base Under Siege trope in Who has been around since Davis and Lloyd went “aaahhhh” in the 1960s, and it never fails. Under the Lake has echoes of The Ark In Space and Revenge of the Cybermen. It has shadows of The Seeds of Death and Waters of Mars. It also apes other sci-horror stalwarts like Buffy The Vampire Slayer – the Ghosts are very reminiscent of Hush’s “The Gentlemen” with their slip/slidey approach, terrifying look and incessant whispering.

Director Daniel O’Hara knows the score too. An impressive set is moodily lit and cleverly shot. There’s only so many ways to shoot the same corridor, but this director has nice camera angles and long shots coupled with some claustrophobic close ups and the filters give an underwater, cramped feel to the base. Before long we all know the geography of the place, and fear what’s behind each corner.

Guest star wise Morven Christie is the stand out, and her character O’Donnell would make a fabulous companion. A former UNIT operative, she knows the Doctor very well, and he takes to her pretty quickly, it seems. The rest of the cast, especially Paul Kaye who has little to do than look menacing, are comfortable and very adequate in their roles, and the ensemble – a much larger troupe than in the previous two episodes – is very believable as the weary gang stuck under the water.

This episode, though belongs to Peter Capaldi who bounces off of Jenna Coleman’s much more likeable Clara like a Tom off a Lis. This is without a doubt the most comfortable Peter has been in the role. A couple of years ago, I spoke to Tom Baker about the role of the Doctor, and he told me this: “You don’t act the Doctor, really… that’s doomed to failure. You’re with him too long to try and pretend. You have to let him inhabit you, and before long he’s more you than you know. I was the Doctor before I was given the scarf, and I will always be him”. In Series 8 it seemed perhaps Peter was “acting” the Doctor, but, like all the actors, his second season is a lot more relaxed. His scenes here are testament to this, as he takes command of the room, eyes up potential allies and enemies and insults and charms in equal measures. He is, more than ever, the Doctor. His “card” routine with Clara is fantastic.

I can’t fault this episode. It’s a step up from the previous two, which were fab, and a return to proper, old school, scary Doctor Who, something it’s 8.25 start time reflects. It really is time to hide behind the sofa again with a proper, genuine and unique Doctor.

eddie mcguigan

Run you clever boy…

 

Missy 5.5″ – Up Close, by Eddie McGuigan

Thanks to my pals at Character Online, here’s my very own Missy collectors’ figure up close and personal. Remember to pre order yours as these are collectors, limited edition pieces. Available in November.
eddie mcguigan20150925_11265020150925_15090020150925_15050520150925_15013520150925_14575820150925_145813eddie mcguigan 20150925_150320

 See HERE for details.

 

 

Missy 5.5″ Figure Announced by CO, by Eddie McGuigan

Character Options has today unveiled details of a brand new Limited Edition Doctor Who 5.5” scale action figure. Images of the Missy figure, first in a new range of scale Doctor Who Collector Series toys were revealed by Alasdair Dewar, Product

Development Director, today via video on the Character Options’ website.

Missy, played by Michelle Gomez, is a villainous Time Lady who recently revealed herself as the Doctor’s arch enemy, the Master! Missy has been firmly established as a new fan favourite character, and as a collector’s figure, she is truly a must have.

The Missy Figure will be available in two variants; a purple outfitted version with hat from the series finale episodes; and alternatively in her ‘Heaven’ outfit, hatless with black jacket and manic grin. The Missy figures each have 18 points of articulation and are highly detailed and decorated. Each figure head can also be swapped so that both heads can be incorporated with either outfit, and they both come with accessories. The bespoke UK Collector Series packs are perfect for display and for the first time are re-sealable, so that the figures can be enjoyed in or out of packaging without losing their collectability.

Only 4,000 units of each of the two figures are available in exclusive UK packaging at www.character-online.co.uk for a price of £19.99 each (excluding P&P). Delivery will be made to customers by early November.

Al Dewar states: “Character Options has been designing, manufacturing and marketing Doctor Who toys since 2005, so as true fans of the brand we wanted to tell collectors the latest news in the most direct, if informal way, which is why I made the announcement in person on the website. Missy is the first of a potential new line of highly sought after 5.5-inch action figures so we expect interest to be high and we are all very excited to share this with fans and collectors alike.

“Working with Michelle Gomez was great fun and she was the best subject we ever 3D scanned, patiently holding her facial expressions including her trademark Missy “sneer” for long periods of time. We know that many collectors have been eagerly waiting to see if Missy would at some point be included within our figure range, and at last, here she is.”

eddie mcguigan

Funko Pop Toys: Doctor Who, by Eddie McGuigan

 

Doctor Who Funko Pop Toys

reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

There is one word that springs to mind when looking at the Doctor Who Pop toy range from Funko – supplied by Underground Toys – and that is “cute”! They are just totally adorable.

Of course some Doctors lend themselves to adorability more than others. The Matt Smith 11th Doctor figure is true to his early incarnation and is complete without eyebrows, a little nod and in joke to both Who fans and Matt himself who makes an issue of his lack of eye framing!

David Tennant’s 10th Doctor is resplendent in his long brown jacket – his “hero” jacket he likes to call it – and again lends itself to the “cute” description as David is, in many fangirls eyes, totally that!

The Peter Capaldi 12th Doctor version is equally as cute, with his huge brown eyes and little nose, but is very much still the Doctor we all know, with his attack eyebrows proudly in place and his outfit faithfully recreated, along with the obligatory sonic screwdriver and swoop of the jacket, showing his famous red lining.

eddie mcguigan

There was a time when the Pop version of Doctor Who characters would not have been welcome by collectors of Who merchandise because of their fabulous cuteness. Old, curmudgeonly Whovians would have poo-pooed their huge eyes, cartoon heads and adorability, but, luckily, things have changed. Everyone I showed these figures to say “Awwww, my goodness! How cute!” and immediately tried to beg one from me. As a range, they are very collectable, and, seeing as how the Doctor Who range is just one of many, I can see people wanting to collect the cute Avengers, cute Walking Dead zombies (really, they’re so huggable!) and cute Star Trek crews.

Durability is another plus feature of these toys, and because of this they could be knocked about by rowdy kids as well as sat neatly on a collector’s shelf. Kids can have multi-Doctor stories with 12 meeting 4, or extra-franchise crossovers – Hulk vs The Weeping Angels anyone?

I’d recommend these figures to any Doctor Who fan – at first glance of course they’re not the very serious 5” collectors range, but they have a collectability of their own, and I have a feeling my own small sample will grow and grow… I NEED a Rick Grimes now, I really do!!!

 

Doctor Who: The Complete History #1 by Eddie McGuigan

 

Doctor Who: The Complete History

review by Eddie McGuigan

A new partwork is on the market for the Doctor Who fans who really need to know the nitty gritty of the series. Unlike some new merchandise, this series of publications revels in the history of the whole series, and looks at the minutae of how the programme itself was made.

eddie mcguigan hero-books tumblr_nuep06WVtC1qd82nyo5_1280 2

When I was young there was a hallowed book called The Making of Doctor Who by Terrance Dicks. It was the Bible for Who fans, and Doctor Who: The Complete History is this and then some. Drawing inspiration from Doctor Who Magazine’s many detailed examinations of individual adventures this series goes into each story indepth. Not so much an Encyclopedia Britannica as an Encyclopedia Whotannica. It’s a catch all, go to, all encompassing know-all guide to the series from An Unearthly Child to Series 9 and beyond.

Eventually this will be in chronological order and sit on a shelf in your house with a nice jigsawed spine detail, but volume one – at a bargain price of £1.99 – concentrates, probably tactically, on one of the more popular modern day Doctors – David Tennant – and features his arch enemies, again, no doubt tactically, the Daleks.

In this issue we get five adventures – Gridlock, The Daleks Take Manhatten, Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment and 42. It might be argued that quality wise these stories are not the more popular, but that doesn’t stop contributor and editor John Ainsworth giving them the deference each story is going to get in this range.

For each tale we get an Introduction, the story, preproduction notes, the production, post production, publicity, broadcast, merchandise, cast and credits and a profile. Along with this we have sumptuous pictures and photos and some very, very impressive artwork, along with the occasional piece of conceptual art, and little vignettes, for instance box outs about “connections to Bad Wolf” and other pieces of trivia information.

From a boy who was brought up on The Making of Doctor Who and who devoured any reference material he possibly could on the series, this is an incredible piece of work – both in individual volumes and what no doubt will be an incredible complete series. Of course, there is always a chance future stories will change the canon of previous ones, but this series cleverly allows for that, and embraces the whole series – even the front cover design utilises Jon Pertwee’s logo and the old Target design along with the hexagonal livery known for the new series.

One thing that is being fed back to me by fans is the price – most issues are going to cost £9.99 a shot, meaning this is a pretty expensive piece of merchandise, but I’d urge that to have everything in one place like this, at easy reach, is something that I for one would not be without and the cost in itself is relative to the work that’s put in each volume. It’s a monumental job completed with love, care and affection. These sturdy issues are very much value for money.

Issue one is available now at a cut price of £1.99 and is very much worth looking at!

 

Series 9, Episode 1 – The Magician’s Apprentice

Doctor Who is a huge monster.
Doctor out for a stroll
It’s a behemoth of a beast with layers and layers of extraordinary continuity and history. It is an antique and a shiny new gadget all at once. The Magician’s Apprentice (BBC1 19th September at 7.45pm) manages to be all these things in the first fifteen  minutes. A planet hopping, continuity fest, Easter egg filled whirlwind that goes from this planet to that station to this planet, all of which we’ve visited before and all of which we’ll recall with a thrill of fanboy squee. You’ll recognise the style from such episodes as The Wedding of River Song with the planet hopping info dump/mystery building scenario as someone trails the Galaxy looking for the Doctor.

(more…)

Page 1 of 41234
Outpost Skaro © 2014 Frontier Theme