DOCTOR WHO: THIRD DOCTOR #5 (Final Issue)
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Christopher Jones
COVER A: Andy Walker COVER B: Will Brooks COVER C: Brian Miller & Hi-Fi COVER D: Carolyn Edwards COVER E: Marc Ellerby
Out 1 March 2017
DOCTOR WHO: NINTH DOCTOR #10
Writer: Cavan Scott
Artist: Adriana Melo
COVER A: Cris Bolson & Marco Lesko COVER B: Will Brooks COVER C: Marc Ellerby
DOCTOR WHO: ELEVENTH DOCTOR #3.3
Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artist: Simon Fraser
Colourist: Gary Caldwell
COVER A: Claudia Iannciello COVER B: Will Brooks - PHOTO COVER C: Marc Ellerby
Sydney Newman: Innovator, designer, director, and producer. In April it will be 100 years since Doctor Who's creator was born, but where exactly did the idea come from? How much of it came from him before Bunny Webber's famous memo which established the idea did the rounds?
In 2013, the BBC aired An Adventure In Time and Space; a dramatic reconstruction of the early days of Doctor Who, and Sydney was played by the excellent Brian Cox. It was a great portrayal of the man, and other founding members such as Verity Lambert, Waris Hussein, and Mervyn Pinfield, and was well received in Doctor Who's 50th year.
But in the very beginning it was touch-and-go for the real show, and Sydney's role was as an over-seer and advisor to Verity and her team in 1963.
Looking back after all of this time, and understanding Sydney wasn't entirely happy with how the series started off until it became a success, its easy to forget his role. Him creating such a phenomenon was no surprise, although people would have thought it unlikely of a children's show. He had already changed drama in Britain, and people's perception of culture with theArmchair Theatre series he produced as head of drama at ABC, before he moved into the same role at the BBC in 1962. The series showed for the first time people on the fringes of society such as unmarried mothers, drug-addicts, and the homeless, and regional accents were used. Plays like No Trams To Lime Street, and Cathy Come Home showed the face of changing Britain as it looked towards the future which didn't look very bright.
And the future is what Doctor Who was all about, although its original premise was to educate and teach children about history and science. One week an adventure would be set in the past, and the next it would be in the future, and that is where the ratings were at.
Sydney had always love science-fiction, but the basic idea for Doctor Who had been with him for at least ten years before it made it onto the screen.
His biography The Man Who Thought Outside The Box: The Life And Times Of Doctor Who Creator Sydney Newman, reveals lots of information about the worlds best-loved science-fiction show, and the man who created it. It is a must for all Doctor Who fans.
It is available to preorder now from email@example.com for £11.99 and will be released on April 22nd 2017.
[Source: Ryan Danes]
Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions
Written By: Cavan Scott & Mark Wright
RRP: £10.99 (CD) / £8.99 (Download)
Release Date: February 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bartle for Doctor Who Online
"The TARDIS has landed in a war zone. The Doctor, Romana and K9 find themselves traipsing through an inhospitable battlefield. Strange lights flicker in the sky, and stranger creatures lurk in the darkness.
When rescued from an attack by a Sontaran tank, the time-travellers discover they’re facing a far more dangerous foe than the battle-hungry clones. This terrifying fight has been going on longer than anyone can remember… and shows no signs of stopping.
With the TARDIS missing and their luck running thin, the Doctor and his friends’ only hope of survival is to uncover the truth about what is happening on this planet. If they can discover the secret of the eternal battle they might just survive… but it might just mean the end of them all."
One of the aspects I have disliked intensely about the series since its return is its treatment of classic villains. The Cybermen have effectively become that “pathetic bunch of tin soldiers” that the Fourth Doctor chastised them about being so long, long ago. I was not particularly enamoured on the re-design of the Silurians or their overall return, either. Even the Daleks had a wobble in Victory Of The Daleks but the least said about that the better.
I have a sense of trepidation about the Ice Warriors returning in the new series too as I felt the one monster threat in Cold Blood served them well but once they are an army? Who knows!
And then there are the Sontarans. One of my favourite villains from the classic series reduced to comedy foils time after time again. I didn’t mind Strax the first time around but the law of diminishing returns meant that the comedy wore thin and it just made me yearn for that particular race to return to their strangely honourable and war mongering selves of old.
So in all honesty going into this one my hopes weren’t high. Could these be the Sontarans that waged a brutal war with the Rutans or will they reflect the more comedic variety of recent times?
Well the honest answer is neither really, here they are something a little different. Writers Mark Wright and Cavan Scott have been very clever in this story. In the midst of a very bleak environment, combatting an endless and futile war, they manage to humanise the Sontarans without weakening them from the original approach to this race in the seventies.
Big Finish always manage to revisit a classic foe and put a different spin on them. The narrative tactic they adopt is to split up our TARDIS team, on this occasion the Fourth Doctor, Romana II and K-9, and pair them with two different Sontaran warriors who both are unusually open in reflecting on their respective roles in the ongoing battles.
Which brings us to Dan Starkey. Dan of course is famous for playing the aforementioned Strax, the Paternoster Gang member who provides nearly all the light relief in the stories he has featured in. Here, with the exception of some vocal work by John Banks, Dan provides nearly all the Sontaran voices and in some scenes is actually talking to himself! Quite the feat!
Between them they manage to inject an impressive sense of pathos as we uncover what the Sontaran sense of honour truly means to them and it doesn’t necessarily translate to dying in battle as recent serials would have us believe. This race does not fear their ultimate end, but neither are they actively seeking it out.
And what of the regulars? Well you would never expect nor receive less than a top notch performance from Lalla Ward and John Leeson and their on screen chemistry is easily replicated once again here. Tom Baker's’ love for doing these audios again shines through and he seems to be having enormous fun throughout, without going overboard. He gets the tone just right and is a shining beacon in what is, at times, a very bleak tale.
I am a big fan of what Jamie Robertson has done with the score of this one. I adore the music of Season 18, and here he recaptures some of those synth infused moments perfectly. Interestingly The Beast of Kravenos was also set supposedly in Season 18 but the same approach to the music would have felt distinctly out of place in the Victorian setting. Here it is applied with careful consideration to enhance the right moments.
Tales with a zombie theme have been done to death (ridiculously obvious gag) but here they are given an interesting spin. But although key to the story, as is the futility of war, these are merely the backdrop for the characterisation and interaction between the Sontarans, the humans (who are perhaps underserved within the relatively short running time) and the TARDIS team.
So essentially a character piece on a long established race, but one which has managed to make it so that, arguably the most one-dimensional of all the Doctor Who adversaries, can now be appreciated through new ears.
+ ORDER this CD via Amazon.co.uk!
By JON ARNOLD
Intended as the first in a series of online animated dramas, ‘Scream of the Shalka’ (2003) was the first attempt to redefine Doctor Who for the 21st century. Produced by BBCi and written by Doctor Who novelist (and later scriptwriter on the revived series) Paul Cornell, it maintains a traditional feel while rethinking the roles of Doctor, companion and villain.
Richard E Grant’s Doctor is characterised as aristocratic and aloof, drawing on models from the past such as Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor, Sherlock Holmes and even Dracula. The story, in which the Doctor must accept military assistance to foil an alien invasion beginning in an isolated English village, adheres to a venerable formula. Nevertheless, ‘Scream of the Shalka’ anticipates its successor in perceptive ways – featuring a Doctor who is ‘an emotional island’ numbed by recent trauma, a companion who must choose between a predictable life with her boyfriend and the joys and dangers of travel with the Doctor, and a Master humiliated by the Doctor’s duty of care.
A victim of timing as much as of its own flaws, ‘Scream of the Shalka’ remains a fascinating glimpse into an alternative vision for Doctor Who. This Black Archive volume publishes for the first time the detailed episode breakdown for Simon Clark’s ‘Blood of the Robots’, originally commissioned to follow Scream of the Shalka as the second in BBCi’s Doctor Who webcast series. Jon Arnold has edited fanzines including Shooty Dog Thing: 2th and Claw, and is a major contributor to Hating to Love: Re-evaluating the 52 Worst Doctor Who Stories of All Time. He wrote The Black Archive #1: Rose.
SCREAM OF THE SHALKA will be published on 1 March 2017.
By DYLAN REES
Obverse Books is proud to announce the publication of the first in depth study of the so called Wilderness Years – the period between 1989 and 2005 when Doctor Who was in hiatus.
With no new official Doctor Who, it fell to the fans to safeguard the legacy of the show – fans who, in many cases, would go onto work on the new iteration after its relaunch by Russell T Davies. By licensing individual characters and monsters and hiring actors – including all the surviving Doctors and many of his companions – who had appeared on the show, the likes of Bill Baggs, Alan Stevens, Nick Briggs, Mark Gatiss and Keith Barnfather created something more than ersatz Doctor Who – they created a whole industry which kept the Who flame alive when it might otherwise have died completely.
With forty new interviews with key members of the teams behind such companies as BBV, Magic Bullet and Reeltime, author Dylan Rees investigates and analyses every Who-linked unofficial release from War Time all the way to The Minister of Chance, and speaks to all of the major creative talent involved in each project. Asked what drew him to this all but forgotten era, Rees said, “The book is really the story of fan ingenuity and creativity, and the careers that were forged or failed through these productions.”
Dylan Rees has a background in film and television production, and has written for a variety of music publications as well as articles for various Doctor Who magazines. Downtime is his first book. DOWNTIME was published on 7 February 2017.
By FINN CLARK
Imagine a Story fifty years in the telling.
That’s a long time to maintain consistency. Storylines clash, continuity dies and contradictions flourish as one decade bleeds into the next, and one editor replaces another, each with their own idea of how the Story should be told. Add to that a veritable flood of formats – big screen, television, novels, audios, comics, short stories, cartoons – and what seemed at first to be merely difficult rapidly becomes all but unmanageable.
Now imagine if one man were to attempt to consider it all. One man reading the short stories and the novels, watching the movies and the box sets, listening to radio plays and compact discs…taking it all in so that you don’t have to…
Join Finn Clark on an epic journey through the Whoniverse, as he reviews every single Doctor Who story in every single format. From ‘An Unearthly Child’ and TV Comic throwaways to Capaldi and IDW, with sidesteps into influences and spin-offs, he’ll tell you, the reader, what he thinks of it all, good and bad… In this volume Clark examines the Peter Davison era, plus the Sarah Jane Adventures – with a quick check on the Egyptian Pharaoh Erimem – truly the ultimate review guide to Doctor Who!
TIMES MOSAIC 5 was published on 12 February 2017.