Big Finish - Short Stories UpdateBookmark and Share

Saturday, 14 January 2017 - Reported by Marcus
A Heart on Both Sides (Credit: Big Finish)All Hands on Deck (Credit: Big Finish)Big Finish have announced two new Short Stories exploring some small but important chapters in the Eighth Doctor's involvement with the Time War...

With the universe fracturing around him in the crossfire of the Time War, the Eighth Doctor has turned his back on his people, choosing to help those suffering from their actions. But what happens when events of the Time War touch upon those he's known and cared for? Two new Doctor Who Short Trips in the Autumn of 2017 explore what it means for former companions when Time War influences reach their lives...

Producer Ian Atkins comments
I'm hugely looking forward to this year's The Eighth Doctor - The Time War boxed set, and that made me think about celebrating the release with a special pair of Short Trips in the months before. While the stories aren't connected to the boxed set directly, they do mark a special couple of tales, so we've got some striking, distinctive designs from Tom Saunders for them, and we're able to announce them nice and early.
In September comes Rob Nisbet's A Heart on Both Sides, read by Sarah Sutton:
After her medical work on Terminus, Nyssa is now the controller of a hospital ship, the Traken. As the universe burns in the crossfire of the Time War, she and her assistant travel to a planet close to Gallifrey where they are needed more than ever. A long time ago, Nyssa knew a Time Lord and understood his people. But it seems they can change...
Ian Atkins comments:
Rob wrote a gorgeous story called The Patient for a fanzine I saw in the 1980s, with Nyssa at work in a post-Terminus hospital. With my Time War goggles on, it struck me that could be a very rich area to play with, and I've loved Sarah's work for the range already so I knew she'd rise to the occasion (and she did). Rob's delivered a wonderful take on the madness and confusion that arises when you get caught up in a war that's not your own.
The second story follows in October: All Hands on Deck by Eddie Robson, read by Carole Ann Ford:
Everyone, Susan Campbell cared about has gone. Most of them died in the second Dalek invasion, and her grandfather never visits. She's living in what used to be Coal Hill School, helping Earth rebuild again.

Then, one night, she's called away to help with an emergency. A piece of appropriated Dalek technology is malfunctioning, and everyone's afraid of what it might do...

This is just the first in a sequence of predicaments facing Susan - and the connection between them will shape the rest of her life.
Atkins added
When we had Sheridan Smith return to the Eighth Doctor era in The Curse of the Fugue, It had made me think about the Doctor meeting his granddaughter Susan again anyway, so the ideas just seemed to come together when I was thinking about the Time War. I was a huge fan of Eddie Robson's Eight Doctor writing, and I was over the moon when he agreed to revisit the era. He knows the characters so, so well and with strong character pieces like the Short Trips, that's exactly what you want. Listening to Carole Ann in studio is always a joy. She works so hard at it, with a great attention to detail.
Also confirmed are three other releases: August's The British Invasion by Ian Potter read by Wendy Padbury, November's The Ingenious Gentleman Adric of Alzarius by Julian Richards read by Matthew Waterhouse, and the first 2018 release - The Authentic Experience read by Nicola Bryant, written by Dan Starkey. prices.

Full details of all Big Finish Doctor Who releases can be found in the Doctor Who Guide.




Moments in Time: He's Back, And It's About TimeBookmark and Share

Friday, 27 May 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Paul McGann as the Doctor in the TV Movie (Credit: BBC)It was twenty years ago today that that viewers in the United Kingdom were to finally get their chance to see what American viewers had already experienced some thirteen days previously: the inauguration of a new Time Lord in the form of Paul McGann.

The regular series might have been allowed to drift into obscurity in its twilight years, but this was certainly not the case for the Television Movie, which received a generous dose of publicity on television and in the media itself, plus a primetime television slot following the popular soap serial Eastenders on BBC1 on a Bank Holiday Monday - though 8:30pm was perhaps a little late for a younger audience, even during a school holiday.

Though the majority of the British public were unaware or didn't care that the United States had already aired the special, thirteen days felt an awfully long time for fans in the United Kingdom to wait to see the latest adventure for the Doctor. This was compounded by a further 'predicament': BBC Worldwide scheduled its release on VHS on a date that turned out to be before its broadcast on television, and even with a week's additional delay it was still available to watch a few days beforehand. Should we wait patiently until after it's been on air before we watch the video, or indulge in the new Doctor's adventure as soon as possible?!! As members of the Doctor Who News team reflect in their memories below, the decision was definitely not unanimous!


One of the longest-serving members of the Doctor Who News team, Marcus Hilton recalls:
Boy it had been a long time coming. By the spring of 1996 we had been starved for new television Doctor Who for over six years. Oh there had been rumours of its return. Many rumours. After all, according to the BBC, it was merely resting, looking for a new format that would take it through the nineties. But most of us didn't really believe we would see it again. We thought the show lost. A memory only shared by a dwindling band of fans whose fond memories of a much-ridiculed show persisted.

We had the books of course. The Virgin New Adventures. And we had the Video releases, old fondly remembered stories viewable for the first time since transmission. We even had a couple of new Radio adventures to entertain us. But new Television Who? A pipe dream surely.

Doctor Who Magazine had fed us the latest, but by 1996 there had been so many false starts, so many spirits raised then dashed, could it really be happening.

It was happening of course. The Spring Bank Holiday was the target date, but for those of us with a WHSmith nearby D Day was sooner. The video was released about a week before the UK transmission, and we rushed out to get it. "Why buy it?" a colleague asked, "it's on TV next Monday." "Err, better quality," I mumbled, unwilling to be outed as a fan. But truth was I had to have it, I couldn't wait a few days. It was new Doctor Who. Unheard of. The Holy Grail.

Time has clouded my initial reactions. I know I enjoyed it. I loved Paul McGann's performance and enjoyed the story. I found it was a great improvement on the previous few seasons, which hadn't been entirely to my taste. But I think I knew it probably wasn't going to get us a new series.

It was a brave experiment, but one ultimately doomed to failure. Doctor Who wasn't American. It's ethos was so British it was never going to work as an American production. We enjoyed it, but knew the dream was over. The chance of resurrection had failed. There would be no new series. In ten years time our favourite show would be a dim memory, an antiquated curiosity remembered with affection by a few, but unheard of children of the new Century.

How wrong we were.

One of the youngest members of the team, BBC radio producer and occasional DWM contributor Paul Hayes takes us back to childhood expectations:
The TV Movie was the first time that a significant number of Doctor Who fans in the UK experienced their first viewing of a story at different times, in different ways; a fractured and fragmented experience, as compared to everyone always seeing when it went out on BBC One.

Many, no doubt, will have chosen to wait for the Bank Holiday Monday broadcast on the 27th of May. I was not one of those. I was 12 years old, and utterly impatient to watch brand new Doctor Who as soon as possible. It had been seven long years since the series was last on the air as a new programme; an eternity when you’re that age, especially when you’re looking back through the far-flung mists of time to when you were just five years old.

Yes, there had been a fairly generous number of repeats on the BBC, and these stories were ‘new’ to me, just as the videos I could buy with saved-up paper round money in Volume One or WH Smith’s in Worthing were. But, however much I enjoyed experiencing a Doctor Who story for the first time, I knew that they were not really new.

Not like the TV Movie was.

It’s an interesting contrast with what happened nine years later, with Rose. Then, I very deliberately chose not to watch the leaked version online. I wanted to experience the return of Doctor Who ‘properly’, when it was broadcast on television, to be part of that collective viewing experience. At the age of 12, I wasn’t nearly so fussy. Perhaps if I had been online at the time, and could have joined in with the excited chatter, I might have waited to be a part of it all on the night. Or perhaps it just felt different because the TV Movie’s video release before the broadcast date had been an official process, part of BBC Worldwide’s efforts to squeeze as much money from the venture as possible. The online leak in 2005 obviously wasn’t part of anybody’s plan and, to me, just felt a bit grubby.

There was an online Doctor Who world in 1996, but I was a long way from it, and thus had no idea that the video release of the TV Movie had been delayed. All of my Doctor Who news came from the monthly arrival of Doctor Who Magazine – or perhaps, occasionally, from Ceefax or Teletext if something particularly noteworthy was happening – and so I dutifully got mum to drive me down to Worthing on the original release date, Wednesday the 15th.

The man in Volume One was apologetic, but explained that the video had been delayed by a week. The disappointment was crushing, but the man did his best – he gave me a free poster, a promotion for the TV Movie with McGann’s eyes highlighted by that flash of light. I have a vague memory that we also tried in Smith’s, but it was clear it was no good. I had waited what felt like a lifetime for new Doctor Who, and I was now going to have to wait a little longer.

The following Wednesday, the 22nd, was a wet and miserable day, as I remember. As soon as I got home from school, I phoned Volume One to ask if they had the video in stock, and they confirmed that they did. It was there! It was in! New Doctor Who, so very close now!

Mum learned to drive comparatively late, and had only passed her test about eighteen months beforehand. She didn’t like driving in the rain, and as I excitedly got off the phone and explained that we could now go and get the video, she asked if we really had to go and get it today?

Yes. Absolutely. We did.

Mum, bless her, probably knew that it was a forlorn hope to try and persuade me to wait, and dutifully drove me down town so I could go and buy the precious thing.

Do you remember how oddly smooth the plastic covering of the video case was, compared to the more matt feeling of the ordinary Who releases? How shiny the logo? Just how blue the whole thing was?

It’s always hard for me to try and rationally analyse the TV Movie, just because of how exciting it felt at the time to have Doctor Who back. I think even at the age of 12 I was hopeful rather than confident that there would be more to follow after this, but I do remember enjoying it, as mum and I sat and watched it together as soon as we’d returned home.

Of course it isn’t perfect, but there are so many moments in it to enjoy, and the whole thing is wonderfully produced and performed, even if it’s not the best-scripted Doctor Who story ever to grace the series. Oddly, my one overriding memory of what happened when mum and I finished watching it is me rewinding to re-watch the end credits, because I wanted to double-check the fact that they’d missed out a credit for Ron Grainer, which seemed a shame.

“For the music?” mum asked. I was surprised she either knew or guessed that, and I’m still not sure how she did.

I did watch it again the following Monday, of course. I suspect I’d probably watched it again at least once before then, now I had the video and could do so whenever the TV in the lounge was otherwise unoccupied! I remember being pleased on the broadcast that they had a dedication to Jon Pertwee, but somehow, having already seen it, it did have something of an “after the Lord Mayor’s show” feel.

But an exciting time, nonetheless. Not quite as exciting as what was to come nearly a decade later, mind...

Unlike Paul, a slightly older but none-the-wiser Chuck Foster was one who did await the television premiere of the new Doctor, and how familiar it all felt:
1983. November. There's a new feature length episode of Doctor Who to enjoy on television very shortly. But then two events occur for the first time in history for UK fandom: the story could be experienced ahead of broadcast through the medium of print, as Target publish The Five Doctors novelisation a day before its premiere on BBC One; and it had already been seen by another country before its UK audience - yes, the bloody American fans (or Whovians as they were known) had got to see our beloved show first, and on the actual anniversary too!

Jump into the TARDIS thirteen years ...

1996. May. There's a new feature length episode of Doctor Who to enjoy on television very shortly. But then three events occur for UK fandom: the story could be experienced ahead of broadcast through the medium of print, as BBC Books publish the novel of the film on the 16th May; it has already been seen by another two countries before its UK audience (including those Whovians again!); but this time around UK fans also had the opportunity to watch Paul McGann in action ahead of broadcast courtesy of the BBC releasing it on VHS a week beforehand!

My little jest makes it sound like we in the UK must have been full of righteous indignation at the affrontary of these pre-emptions, but thinking back on those days I don't actually recall it being like that at all. I do remember being a little irritated to find out The Five Doctors had been shown in America first some years after the event, but the fifteen year old sitting there in front of the television on a Friday night had little knowledge of fans outside my group of school friends (I only entered the 'wider world' of fandom through DWAS and DWM the following year), and one of my friends reading the novelisation beforehand and subsequently being disappointed at what was on screen is about as controversial as it got! Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Doctors and companions hopping round the Death Zone during Children in Need (and the future me glad that I recorded it, my first Doctor Who on tape!)

The TV Movie: VHS and Novel releases
Could you resist the temptation to watch/read these before broadcast?
Things had changed a lot by the time I was twenty-seven, of course; I was a firm subscriber of DWM and reader of all manner of fanzines, and thanks to the rise of the Internet I was now helping out with DWAS online and deeply involved with the firmly established online fan community, running websites and mailing lists. This newfound widespread accessibility into the - literal - world of Doctor Who, however, was to present its own set of challenges as I certainly didn't want the TV Movie to be "spoilt" before I got to see it!

It might sound odd to hear that someone active on the news team and an avid follower of filming doesn't like spoilers, but that's me! Post 14th May I had to keep away from my usual online haunts to avoid reading something I'd rather not know. I avoided the novel and the VHS releases like the plague, but boy those thirteen days were hard work, especially with other friends who had succumbed to the allure of early access. But somehow I managed to muddle through (though I confess I did watch for screen clips to record for the video collection, so not totally untainted!).

And then it arrived. Monday 27th May. And I really can't remember what I was doing throughout the whole day any more, the day being overwhelmed by the evening's forthcoming spectacle. I had probably spent the day out with my then girlfriend on a bright sunny Bank Holiday (we did have them, once), but I know I was home, alone, all set up and ready to watch by the late afternoon, potential disturbances such as the telephone and door bell duly dealt with. Unlike 1983 the video was reserved well in advance for this (two, actually, as my parents' was also set up as backup!) I recall a brightly lit front room which needed the curtained firmly drawn to enable optimum viewing at 8:29pm. As JNT would say, the memory cheated somewhat too as I distinctly recall watching Batteries Not Included beforehand, but the BBC Genome project shows that film was actually on three weeks previously! Anyway, regardless of how good the actual night's That's Showbiz, Watchdog Healthcheck and Eastenders might have been in the run-up before the 'event', they have all been lost in the mists of time ... whereas the Doctor's narration over the Master's "execution" and lead into John Debney's strident version of the theme still remain indelibly etched within my mind...

There was an older, more 'regal' seventh Doctor, who then becomes the younger, boistrous eighth incarnation. It's Paul McGann! There was the Master, once again stealing others' lives to hang onto his own survival, corrupting the 'innocent' along the way. A brand new TARDIS interior! Shoes! I know I wanted to enjoy it, I really did. But then there was half human on my mother's side. The Eye of Harmony in the TARDIS? Dressing for the occasion. And of course, that kiss. With hindsight it is far easier to appreciate what it was attempting to achieve with regard to introducing a potential series, but back then I just wanted the Doctor Who I knew back, and this wasn't it, it was too much like other American-produced drama series - and not even American sci-fi (The X Files was well established by then). With the recent loss of the 'current' Doctor Jon Pertwee (and it was nice to see that acknowledged), I think I probably also wanted something to lighten that sadness and unfortunately the TV Movie didn't quite manage it.

Though of course I did watch it again straight afterwards just to make sure I hadn't imagined it had come back!

It is a bit weird to look back, now. I know I was disappointed with it back then, but I don't look back at the period itself in disappointment. We had Virgin, Reeltime and BBV to keep the idea of the show alive in the 1990s, with the mantle later taken up by BBC Books, Big Finish and BBC Online until Russell T Davies arrived to take us into a new age of Who prosperity. But in the middle we had that brief moment when new Who was in production once more, reminding us that the show could (and eventually would) come back.

(I could say we also had Dimensions in Time and The Curse of Fatal Death to enjoy too, but perhaps not!).

Former contributor John Bowman casts his mind back:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

In January 1996, the exciting news had broken that Paul McGann was to play the Doctor in an ambitious attempt to revive the show. At last, the long years of waiting and willing were over, and now here we were just four months later with the new episode about to air in the UK. Fingers were crossed, hopes were high and there was an increasing sense of elation.

It had already been shown earlier in the month in Canada and the USA, of course, but between those transmissions and its broadcast here, fate meted out a cruel blow and brought us crashing down when suddenly, exactly a week before its UK transmission, Jon Pertwee died. Such sadness, such a sense of loss – and, awfully and unbelievably, we’d now consecutively lost each of the first three Doctors just as we were in the process of welcoming a new one.

But as 8.30pm on that Bank Holiday Monday approached and as I pressed record and play on my VHS recorder then settled back to watch (with phone unplugged and doorbell disconnected – just to be on the safe side), excitement was still high. “He’s back. And it’s about time,” the BBC continuity announcer said dramatically. ”Yes, and it’s about bloody time, too,” (or words to that effect) chorused countless fans in return, I’m sure.

I desperately wanted this to be good and for it to succeed. So much was riding on it. After such shoddy treatment by previous incumbents at senior level at the BBC, our beloved programme was being given a new chance of life. And initial impressions were certainly good. It was different – it had to be, of course – but it still retained the vital core elements. McGann was superb, the result of the bigger budget was equally a joy to behold and the script delivered some real gems – while the Doctor and Grace kissing was pretty much only to be expected, uncomfortable viewing though it may have made for some.

But hang on... Just as I was really getting into it... What was all this nonsense about the Doctor being half-human? How did the Eye of Harmony manage to end up being transplanted from Gallifrey into the TARDIS? And putting things right by going back in time to just before they happened? Oh dear me no. What a cop-out. So much for the Blinovitch Limitation Effect!

As it finished, I was left with the uneasy feeling that what had started out with great promise had somehow not quite hit the mark. Perhaps my own expectations had been too high, but in my heart of hearts I just didn’t enjoy it in total as much as I’d hoped I would.

Nevertheless, it was a vibrant, valiant effort that had shown much promise and had much to commend it. It certainly deserved to continue to series, especially given the strong British ratings. It’s just a shame that ultimately those healthy numbers would be ignored in favour of the lacklustre US viewing figures and we would be plunged back into more wilderness years – possibly forever. Fortunately, braver souls with sparkling vision and a genuine belief in the show would eventually take up positions at executive level at the Beeb. And although the Eighth Doctor was only back on our screens for one night (until his next Night), the spirit of the TV movie would certainly live on when the series was properly revived, with Russell T Davies’ continuation owing so much to it in terms of style and presentation.

And at least they paid tribute to Pertwee at the end...

Regardless of how many fans did succumb to the temptation of VHS, come the evening of 27th May 9.08 million viewers tuned in to see the new Doctor - some 36% of the viewing audience!


Radio Times (25-31 May 1996) (Credit: Radio Times)
Radio Times (25-31 May 1996) - Doctor Who article (Credit: Radio Times)

The Radio Times covering 27th May 1996.
See the Radio Times website for full details of their coverage.
Extract from the Sun, 28th May 1996:
I preferred Dr Who when the props looked as if they had been made on Blue Peter and the actors sounded as if they were making it up as they went along. But this big budget adventure did have some snazzy special effects which gave it a glossy appeal. ... No doubt fanatical Dr Who followers will hate the new version for some nerdy, nit-picking reason or other. But, to me, Paul McGann seemed every bit as twittish as the seven previous doctors. A happy return for a TV hero.

Extract from the Guardian, Stuart Jeffries, 28th May 1996:
With Paul McGann at the helm of the Tardis, this isn't so much Doctor Who as Doctor Phworr! - the sexiest Time Lord in light years. But that seems one of the many mistakes that beset the conception and execution of the feature length Doctor Who (BBC1!) ... That's the chief problem with Doctor Who - it is stranded somwhere in the mid-Atlantic and about as interesting as Rockall. Director Geoffrey Sax has had to attempt the impossible - to make the Doctor's eighth incarnation engaging for those non-American viewers who've grown up during his 33 years of life on Earth, and for Americans who've joined the story two-thirds of the way through. ... The film, despite the big budget and accomplished special effects, couldn't scare or much divert a little child; the only people it is going to frighten are the suits who lavishly bankrolled this doomed project. Exterminate! Exterminate!

Extract from the Telegraph, Stephen Pile, 1st June 1996:
And so, finally, to that very odd one-off Americanised feature length instalment of Dr Who (BBC1, Mon). It looked as if he had landed the Tardis in an American daytime series. In fairness, it was well done, and gripping stuff, but the car chases and the morgue scenes and the master's spirit turning into green X-Files type plasma were a tour of genre cliches that made this programme no different to any other. Only the excellence of Paul McGann in the title role made it recognisable. His air of Victorian eccentricity was 100 per cent authentic and shows that, under other happier, more indigenous circumstances, he would be a worthy addition to the roll call of honour.

Extract from the News of the World, Charlie Catchpole, 2nd June 1996:
Why Doctor Who crashed spectacularly to earth was because next to nothing was spent on the script. All the old show's tongue-in-cheek, child-like charm was squeezed out by biff-bang action and tyre-squealing chases. Is there a bigger sci-fi cliche than Good battling Evil while a clock ticks away towards Doomsday? "This can't be how it ends!" gasped McGann, as the world faced oblivion. It wasn't, of course. But I wish it was.

You can find a variety of reviews from the period via the Cuttings Archive.



In spite of the media serving up its usual array of reviews ranging from the lovely to the ludicrous, The TV Movie was generally felt by the BBC to be a success in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, as a co-production it also needed the approval of the powers-that-be in the United States, but after its perceived performance on television there Doctor Who's fate had already been sealed... Whilst it was clear that audiences in the United Kingdom could be wowed by all-new adventures of the Gallifreyan time-traveller, it would some nine years before the BBC would be in the position to provide its viewers with such a chance to be so again...

Without McGann's single soirée as the Doctor re-invigorating public imagination, the series may never have come back, so it was perhaps fitting that in 2013 a now firmly established and much loved show around the world would re-embrace the Eighth Doctor, who - some seventeen years after his 'birth' - had the honour to set the 50th anniversary celebrations in motion as he returned to face his 'death' in The Night of the Doctor!



It was to be a couple of months later before the TV Movie made its way across to the other side of the world. But would it have the same impact as in the United States and United Kingdom?

Our Australian reporter Adam Kirk recalls:
Alas I recall the TV Movie as coming and going very quickly without much notice in Australia. (A very marked contrast to 2005!) By the time it broadcast in early July I think we already knew there would be no further series and so it was already a bit of a damp squib for local fans by the time it had arrived. I remember watching it by myself on VHS tape a couple of days after its ABC TV broadcast on a very cold Canberra evening. I was in my final year of university or ‘uni’ (as we Aussies call it) and I remember being taken aback at how very American and very different it seemed from the show of my childhood. I think the few remaining local fans damned it with faint praise too which probably did it no favours either! Unlike today, Doctor Who remained a little unfashionable at the time so I probably didn’t tell many of my mates that they should watch either! Shame on me! Mea culpa Doctor No. 8!

Still looking at it again recently, I think McGann & Ashbrook are great and I was struck by how much the action, romance and higher production values were a sign of things to come. Happy 20th birthday TV Movie! You helped keep the flame burning for fandom in the dark days of the mid 1990s! Forgive me for being too resistant to your charms as a pretentious twenty something!
Occassional Doctor Who News correspondent Tim Hunter also reflected:
Gosh, I can't quite remember. I do know I bought it on VHS before it was broadcast, and was excited about seeing it. I watched it with my wife at the time, but I remember feeling quite detached from any hype. Doctor Who was still very daggy, and not many people in Australia even knew about the TVM! It felt like it came and went with a whimper, to be honest. And my only real interaction with it was through DWM and the Virgin NA and PA novels, especially given the Internet was really only just kicking in. I was working at the Melbourne International Film Festival at the time, and we were connected to the Internet; I remember looking up some very early Doctor Who webpages and forums, but they didn't inspire me much. Opinion from other Who enthusiast friends was damning with faint praise with a sneer towards the co-production. I did think that McGann was great!

It would be another three months before New Zealand had its television debut. However, an impatient fandom had long since caught up with the new adventure, as Paul Scoones summarised:
The TV Movie first screened in New Zealand on 30 October 1996. I first saw it as an off-air VHS copy from either the US or Canadian broadcast. I watched it on the evening of Friday 24 May, the day before it was shown at a pre-arranged New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club video day in Auckland.





Moments in Time: Time Waits For No Man - Except OneBookmark and Share

Saturday, 14 May 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The TV Movie (Credit: BBC)It was twenty years ago today that, after some six plus years off screen, a new, feature length episode of Doctor Who was to make its US premiere. It introduced us to a new Doctor in Paul McGann, a new Master in Eric Roberts, a new TARDIS interior, and a whole new look and feel that the regular series had never been able to achieve.

It was also a new experience for Doctor Who to receive a simultaneous nationwide broadcast through the FOX network, something it hadn't previously been able to achieve in the country over the course of its 20+ years availablity through some commercial and many PBS-affiliated channels. With such exposure and publicity what could possibly go wrong?

In hindsight, looking at the US television "battlefield" of the time, it is perhaps easy to see why the fresh-faced "backdoor" pilot never made it into a full series: its 'mere' 8.3 million viewers only ranked it a 9% share/70th position against strong opposition on rival channels, and was considered a failure by the powers that be.

However, back then it was a also time of optimism and celebration for Doctor Who fans, and in this special Moments In Time members of the Doctor Who News team past and present reflect their feelings on the build-up to the "FOX Original Movie" on Tuesday May 14th at 8:00pm ...

Shaun Lyon, the founder of the Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles (now in its 28th year) - and editor of what is now Doctor Who News back when it was part of Outpost Gallifrey (the website he ran between 1996 and 2009) - reminisces on a time two decades past:
How quickly time flies... doesn't seem possible that it's been 20 years since the TV Movie / The Enemy Within / the return to TV / call it what you will. For a 15 year period bookended only by the fantastic efforts of Virgin Publishing, BBC Books and Big Finish Productions, it was really the apex of a very long uphill battle, and although it didn't end up moving beyond one film, it certainly changed the course of Doctor Who forever.

The TV Movie was the first real effort - before Davies, before Moffat, before Eccleston and Tennant and Smith and Capaldi - to modernize and broaden Doctor Who's appeal to the wider audience on both sides of the Atlantic. To this day, it's claimed to have been a failure... abject nonsense, its ratings in both the UK and US were respectable. Definitely a product of its time, its journey shortened out of the gate by the vagaries of American TV politics and changing viewer attitudes. But it was the event that gave us Paul McGann and Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso and Philip Segal - people whose involvement with the Doctor Who franchise have continued to this day, part of the family as much as Tom Baker or Sylvester McCoy.

As thrilling as it was to be a fan at the time, and for our fan group here in LA to assist with the premiere at the Directors Guild of America (our convention's TARDIS was on display there, and it's the same TARDIS that was featured in the TV Guide Magazine article the week of the debut), I was honored to contribute in a very small way to the production; as noted in Segal and Gary Russell's excellent book Regeneration, I caught a minor goof ("a Time Lord has 12 lives" was changed to "13" at my suggestion, based on the fact that Peter Davison called himself the fourth regeneration in "The Five Doctors") during a pre-screening in Segal's office. Imagine how that felt to me to see it happen on the big screen during the DGA premiere. I'll cherish that moment forever.

And who would have thought it would continue to have an impact all these years later? You only need look at the ongoing popular Big Finish series with Paul McGann at the helm that run to this day... and of course, that amazing, out-of-the-blue Night of the Doctor special with McGann's long awaited regeneration scene into John Hurt (nobody could ever have seen that coming!) Still a bit of a controversy to this day over the whole 'half-human' thing, but definitely remaining popular just as long because of the charm McGann displayed in one 90 minute film..

If the transition from "classic" to "new" Doctor Who could be described as a migration from one continent to another, The TV Movie is the stepping stone on the journey... the Bering land-bridge of Doctor Who, leading a wandering series into its new horizons forever. We're so lucky it happened the way it did, and it'll still bear fruit for many years in the future.

Steven Warren Hill, who took over the legacy of Outpost Gallifrey's forum with Gallifrey Base in 2009, reflects:
My friend Dennis hosted a viewing at his place for all of us longtime Doctor Who fans. I remember setting at least two VCRs at home to record the movie, and bringing a third VCR with me so I could be in control of at least one of the recordings. There were probably about ten of us there, and we all went quiet as the movie started. I don't know about the others, but I had tears in my eyes after the intensity of the operating room scene. Sure, we'd seen the Doctor "die" before but this time it was scarily real and quite affecting. When I got home that night, I had to watch again from the start to the end of that scene before I could go to bed.

Recently I devoted a lot of time writing the portion of the forthcoming book Red White and Who: The Story of Doctor Who in America that talks about the movie. I believe we've gone into greater detail than ever before in analyzing why it failed to get decent ratings in the United States. It was interesting researching the topic, and dredging up memories of things like long-forgotten promotional spots (on both television and radio). In hindsight, its place in the grand scheme of everything Doctor Who couldn't be more perfect - many of us desperately wanted a new series to come out of it, but if that had happened, how long could it possibly last? It turns out that the one-off was exactly what we needed, even if we didn't think so at the time. If it had gone to series then, we might not have a series now.

Longtime fan and sometime Doctor Who News contributor Josiah Rowe remembers:
You have to remember that in those days Doctor Who was largely unknown in the US. If people had even heard of it, they knew it as "that weird British thing on PBS". But in spring of 1996, things were suddenly different. There was a story in the Washington Post! There was an article in TV Guide! (No cover, of course; that wouldn’t happen until 2012.) It’s nothing compared with the ubiquity of Doctor Who today, but at the time it seemed revolutionary.

I set my VCR to record from 8:00 to 10:00 PM on the local FOX station, and watched eagerly. I grinned at every continuity reference, from the Daleks (who did not sound as high-pitched on American broadcast as they did in the UK and on the eventual DVD release) to the Doctor’s toolbox (lovingly recreated from the 1983 Doctor Who Technical Manual). I looked askance at the half-human business, but had no problem with the kissing — unlike many fans at the time!

The TV movie is now seen as a false start for bringing Doctor Who back to TV, but for all its flaws it’s gorgeously shot and brought us the marvelously exuberant Eighth Doctor. And it showed that Doctor Who could be more than a quaint little shot-on-video series, beloved by a few but ignored by most.

Jarrod Cooper, organiser of the Hurricane Who conventions that take place in Orlando, Florida, recalls:
The Wilderness Years were a sad and lonely time for a Doctor Who fan in a small town in South Alabama. The local comic shop only received one copy of Doctor Who Magazine and the local used book shop had to special order the Virgin New Adventures and Target books, for why would they actually stock those? But that was it. The local PBS affiliate had ceased airing the show shortly after the end of the Classic Series' run. It was a dark time indeed. But then, there were rumblings in DWM that there was a movie coming. Possibly a series.

I still remember the moment that the TV Movie excitement hit me full force. It was the moment that I saw the first insert in TV Guide for the movie. It was simple, no more than a quarter of a page basically teasing that there would be more information in the following issue. But it was there, in the main TV listings magazine. I don't know why, but for some reason seeing that in print in TV Guide made it real. Doctor Who was returning.

On that May night, I sat with my VCR ready and an open mind. The pre-credits rolled and there was everything that I had been missing. The TARDIS. A new Doctor. The Master. The Sonic Screwdriver. Who cared if I was missing Roseanne?? So what if the Master can now be held at bay by a fire extinguisher and the Eye of Harmony is now a weird room in the TARDIS? For two hours I sat transfixed.

Little did we know what seeds were being planted that night. I was blissfully unaware of the years of novel and audio adventures that were in store for me alongside this Doctor. All I knew was for that one night, we had a light in the dark. Our show was back, and it was about time.

Benjamin Francis Elliott, the previous 'incarnation' of This Week in Doctor Who, explains his own regenerative experience:
I knew the movie was coming because I'd seen a copy of DWM (and I never came across DWM back then). Plus, it was in the TV Guide. I was looking forward to it. My family was (they all liked Tom Baker and Peter Davison). Then - May 14 - catastrophe ...

My parents found a college scholarship that I'd be a shoo-in for - due May 15th, and insisted I fill it out before I could see the movie. Did I mention the form required you to type it up on a typewriter? So, the movie begins, and the whole family (except me) is watching live. I finished the form and got to join in - right after the regeneration. Odd way to start the film. we got it on VHS, so I saw the McCoy section the next day. It was the last Doctor Who (and maybe the last piece of TV) I saw before going onto the internet for the first time. The last time before I encountered fandom. The Internet has strengths and weaknesses. I certainly didn't get spoiled on plot points without it.


TV Guide: 11th May 1996 (Credit: TV Guide, with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock)
TV Guide: 11th May 1996 (Credit: TV Guide, with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock)
TV Guide article on the TV Movie. 11th May 1996.
Reproduced with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock
Extract from the Washington Post, 14th May 1996:

He has two hearts and 13 lives, he flits around the galaxy in a flying phone booth and he's half-human on his mother's side. Who is he? Exactly. He is Who -- Doctor Who, hero of a BBC fantasy series that first materialized in 1963, ran for 20 years and was imported by many public TV stations here.

Doctor Who is a man whose time has come and keeps coming; now the Fox network is trying to revive him for a new series, starting with a two-hour movie pilot, "Doctor Who," tonight at 8 on Channel 5. As opposed to the old BBC show, a basically tacky-looking thing shot in a TV studio, the new movie, filmed mostly in British Columbia, is splashy and spectacular, with a certain Jules Verney quality to it.

It's certainly got more wit and zip than most of the things that go thunk in the night on Fox.

...

The plot may sound ridiculously complicated, but it all pretty much boils down to the perpetual war between good and evil. Matthew Jacobs's script has lots of bright, fetching touches, and director Geoffrey Sax keeps things whirling so speedily that disbelief is easily suspended. Some of the special effects and editing tricks are true dazzlers.

Daffy though it be, "Doctor Who" dabbles in matters of time, space and mortality in ways that aren't completely superficial. The Doctor's goal, he says, is "to hold back death," and if Who doesn't do it, who will?


What is often forgotten in the mists of time, however, is that the television movie was produced in Vancouver, Canada, and even had its world premiere broadcast by CITV on Sunday 12th May. Mike Doran, a Canadian fan with a keen interest in the history of Doctor Who in the country, relates:
The return of Doctor Who in 1996 was so different than in 2003-05. Paul McGann was already on location in Vancouver before his casting and the production was officially announced. A co-produced American series/movie had been in development for years but it was finally happening and it was being made in Canada. What's more we'd only have to wait for four months until it aired. Even then here were location reports and pictures being posted on-line as production took place. I later found out that the house of a friend in Kits Beach was scouted to be the home of Dr. Grace Holloway. Right around the corner from Hadden Park where the Doctor and Grace would kiss.

TVM tapes - 20 years on! (Credit: Mike Doran)
TVM tapes - 20 years on!
By April there were promos running on Fox affiliate from Buffalo, New York. Lots of promos! I found myself watching and taping more Fox shows that I could have ever imagined just to get glimpses of what was to come. Toronto was not going to be lucky enough to get an early airing like Edmonton did on May 12th but word came down that a TV station in Hamilton, Ontario was going to simulcast the movie on May 14th. The day before broadcast I scoured a newsstand that specialized in out of town newspapers looking for any coverage and TV listings magazines with Doctor Who on the cover.

When the day came a group of us gathered at the house of a friend to watch the movie together. The funny part was that the host wasn't even a Doctor Who fan and he didn't live somewhere convenient to get to, he just had the biggest and nicest TV of anybody we knew. I brought a VCR with me so I could meticulously edit out the ads as we watched. At home a second VCR rolled for a back-up copy with ads intact. When it was over the consensus in the room was that McGann was great, the movie itself average. We wanted to see more but as the months passed it was clear that we wouldn't. By the time 2003 rolled around I'd come around to being happy about that.


Just under a fortnight later, Doctor Who was to make a return to its ancestral home - but how would fans there find the fresh interpretation of a very British legacy ...

Coming Soon: He's Back, And It's About Time




New Eighth Doctor ComicBookmark and Share

Monday, 14 March 2016 - Reported by Marcus
This week sees Titan release a new comic featuring The Eighth Doctor.

DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5

Writer: George Mann
Artist: Emma Vieceli
Cover A: Rachael Stott, Cover B: Photo, Cover C: Carolyn Edwards

It's the final stop on the Eighth Doctor's enigmatic to-do list: a Bakri Resurrection Barge, where the super-rich are 'remade' into luxurious artificial bodies after corporeal death. But the resurrectees are dying... their bodies rebelling against their implanted minds! And what is the shocking truth Josie has been hiding from the Doctor?

DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #5 (Credit: Titan)




Sneak Peek - Eighth Doctor Comic #3Bookmark and Share

Monday, 11 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
This week sees Titan release issue three of the Eighth Doctor comic.

DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #3

Writer: George Mann
Artist: Emma Vieceli
Colorist: Hi-FI
Letterer: Comicraft
Cover A: Rachael Stott & Hi-FI / Cover B: Photo Cover by Will Brooks

Edinburgh, 1850. The Doctor and Josie Day visit a mysterious magic show, one which is replacing audience members with 'Silvered' duplicates, mirror dimension reflections who jealously watch their real-world counterparts! With the deadly doppelgangers causing chaos, can the Doctor and Josie escape the magician's grasp and avoid being Silvered themselves?

DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #3 (Credit: Titan)




New Comics ReleasedBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 9 December 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Wednesday 9 December sees the latest comic adventures released for the Eighth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.

DOCTOR WHO: EIGHTH DOCTOR #2
WRITER: GEORGE MANN
ARTIST: EMMA VIECELI
COVER A: RACHAEL STOTT & IVAN NUNES


The Eighth Doctor and Josie Day start a universe-wide investigation! First stop – Lumin's World, home to a raging war between the near-extinct Calexi and the crystalline Spherions! When Josie is wounded in the crossfire, it's up to the Doctor to strike a peace – and find a cure – before she dies!

DOCTOR WHO: EIGHTH DOCTOR #2 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: EIGHTH DOCTOR #2 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: EIGHTH DOCTOR #2 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: EIGHTH DOCTOR #2 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: EIGHTH DOCTOR #2 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: EIGHTH DOCTOR #2 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: EIGHTH DOCTOR #2 (Credit: Titan)
DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.3
WRITERS: SI SPURRIER AND ROB WILLIAMS
ARTIST: SIMON FRASER
COVER: ALEX RONALD
COVER A: JOSH CASSARA & LUIS GUERRERO

The Doctor and Alice have met persistent foes before – but never anything like THE THEN & THE NOW, the group of supremely strange cosmic bounty hunters sent to bring them to justice! It's getting so they can't even solve an intergalactic war crime without having to flee for their lives!

DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.3 (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.3 (Credit: Titan)
DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
WRITER: George Mann & Cavan Scott
ARTIST: Mariano Laclaustra
COVER A: Alex Ronald

It's the 2015 Doctor Who Holiday Special! When a mysterious Christmas card materializes on the TARDIS console, Clara and the Doctor are pulled into an interdimensional adventure of astoundingly festive proportions! Packed with impossible sights and nigh-insurmountable stakes, this special issue also contains puzzles and games woven into the story!

DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Credit: Titan)DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Credit: Titan)
Also released this week is the first issue of The Troop written by actor and director Noel Clarke




New Eighth and Eleventh Doctor ComicsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 5 November 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Two new comics are released this week, featuring the Eighth and the Eleventh Doctor's.
DOCTOR WHO: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR #1

I'M THE DOCTOR, AND I'D VERY MUCH LIKE TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING IN MY HOUSE..."

Get ready for an all-new season of comics adventures featuring the Eighth Doctor, as played by Paul McGann in the Doctor Who movie, fan-favorite minisode Night of the Doctor... and over fourteen years (and counting!) of astounding Big Finish audio spectaculars!

Five amazing, interconnected new stories take the Doctor on a rollercoaster of threat and misadventure, as he investigates the mysteries surrounding his new companion Josie. Victorian magic shows, murderous trees, lost books, crystalline life-forms, barges in space crammed with the undead... and the grand journey all begins in a sleepy Welsh town... besieged by living paintings!

Buckle up for a wild ride that embraces all the Gothic Romance and interstellar terror of the Doctor's eighth incarnation!

Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)
Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)
DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.2

DISCOVER THE TRUTH -- ON THE RUN!

The breathless chase through time and space continues, with the Doctor and Alice on the run over a crime committed by one of his previous incarnations! This issue - things get complicated, quick, as a chainsword-wielding freelancer boards the TARDIS. Is he friend, foe, or something even worse?! With only minutes left before the implant in Alice's head gives their location away to the transtemporal bounty hunters on their tail, the Doctor won't have time to weigh his options - and the consequences will be heavy!

DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.2DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.2DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.2DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.2DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.2DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.2DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.2




Titan Comics Announce Eighth Doctor Mini-SeriesBookmark and Share

Monday, 13 July 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Titan Comics have announced that they will publish a brand-new miniseries featuring The Eighth Doctor, as played by Paul McGann.

The series will hit comic stores ​October 28​ and will be penned by writer George Mann (New York Times-bestselling Doctor Who novel Engines of War!) with art by Emma Vieceli (Breaks, Alex Rider: Scorpia, Dead Boy Detectives, Vampire Academy, Manga Shakespeare)​.​

Issue #1 comes with four covers to collect: a special art cover by Alice X. Zhang; ​a ​photo cover; art cover by Warren Pleece and a ​b​lank ​s​ketch variant.

"I'M THE DOCTOR, AND I'D VERY MUCH LIKE TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING IN MY HOUSE..."

Get ready for an all-new season of comics adventures featuring the Eighth Doctor, as played by Paul McGann in the Doctor Who movie, fan-favorite minisode Night of the Doctor... and over fourteen years (and counting!) of astounding Big Finish audio spectaculars!

Five amazing, interconnected new stories take the Doctor on a rollercoaster of threat and misadventure, as he investigates the mysteries surrounding his new companion Josie. Victorian magic shows, murderous trees, lost books, crystalline life-forms, barges in space crammed with the undead... and the grand journey all begins in a sleepy Welsh town... besieged by living paintings!

Buckle up for a wild ride that embraces all the Gothic Romance and interstellar terror of the Doctor's eighth incarnation!
Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan/Alice X Zhang)Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan/Warren Pleece)




Big Finish: Doom CoalitionBookmark and Share

Saturday, 28 March 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Doom Coalition 1  (Credit: Big Finish)Big Finish have announced a new Eighth Doctor Series, Doom Coalition will be released in the Autumn.

Starring Paul McGann as the Doctor and Nicola Walker as his companion Liv Chenka, the series will see the TARDIS recalled to Gallifrey by the Time Lords, where they will be battling a new foe known only as The Eleven.

Doom Coalition is an epic saga that will span four box sets (a total of sixteen episodes) forming one breathtaking inter-connecting saga that will push the Doctor’s bravery and resourcefulness to its limits.

Producer David Richardson explained
The overall story of Doom Coalition was devised by myself and Ken Bentley over the course of many walks to the studio. Our framework has been fleshed out by a fantastic team of writers, and realised by a brilliant cast – and I can’t wait for the roller-coaster to begin in November
The series will be directed by Ken Bentley
Doom Coalition is unlike anything we’ve attempted before. It’s on a scale that we hope will satisfy loyal listeners. It’s also a new, completely stand-alone adventure, making it a great place to start if you’re listening to Doctor Who on audio for the very first time.
The first box set will see a new addition to the TARDIS team when gifted philologist Helen Sinclair steps aboard in the second episode. Helen is played by Hattie Morahan, whose many leading credits include Bodies, Eternal Law, The Bletchley Circle and the upcoming film Mr Holmes.

Richardson explained the premise behind the character
Helen is from 1963. She was, in part, inspired by Doctor Who’s first producer Verity Lambert – she’s a driven, career-minded woman in a male-dominated profession. And she’s a head-strong and capable companion in the mould of Barbara Wright, Sarah Jane Smith and Tegan Jovanka.

Hattie had been on our radar for some time and we’d been waiting for the right role to come along. When we were recording Dark Eyes 4 Hattie’s name came up during conversation and Paul got very enthusiastic, telling us how much he’d like to work with her. The pieces just fell into place. It was the most effortless casting ever.
Doom Coalition’s first episode also introduces a brand new villain – albeit one that the Doctor has been batting throughout his lives. The Eleven is a Time Lord who retains each one of his personalities every time he regenerates; now in his Eleventh incarnation, he is an insane sociopath. Captured by the Seventh Doctor and placed in confinement on Gallifrey, the Eleven has been contained for many years. But now he has escaped.

The Eleven is played by Mark Bonnar, who was recently seen in Channel 4’s Catastrophe, and won critical acclaim in The Line of Duty. His other leading credits include Shetland, Psychoville and Paradox.

The first volume’s cast also includes Robert Bathurst (Downton Abbey, Toast of London, Blandings), Caroline Langrishe (Dominick Hide, Lovejoy, Judge John Deed), Ramon Tikaram (Stella, Jupiter Ascending, Game of Thrones), David Yelland (Chariots of Fire, Poirot), John Woodvine (Doctor Who: The Armageddon Factor), Harry Myers (Bernice Summerfield), Esther Hall (Queer as Folk, Spooks, Rome) and Matthew Cottle (Game On, Citizen Khan).

Doom Coalition 1 is released in October 2015. The remaining three volumes will follow at six month intervals through 2016 and into 2017




Classic DVD release schedule for Germany announcedBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 - Reported by Pascal Salzmann
Siebter Doktor: Volume 1 (Credit: Pandastorm)German DVD distributor Pandastorm Pictures announced today the upcoming plans for DVD releases of the classic series in a newsletter sent out to fans. As previously reported the first volume of seventh Doctor stories includes the complete Season 24 on four discs, all the bonus features of the UK DVD's and will be released on 28th November 2015.

Additionally, Pandastorm Pictures is going to release the following sets:

  • Siebter Doktor Volume 2 (Season 25, 5 discs, release date: 27th February 2015)
  • Siebter Doktor Volume 3 (Season 26, 7 discs, release date: 24th April 2015)
  •  Die Fünf Doktoren (The Five Doctors, 2 discs, release date: tba)
  • Sechster Doktor Volume 1 (The Twin Dilemma & Season 22, 7 discs, release date: tba)
  • Sechster Doktor Volume 2 (Season 23, 4 discs, release date: tba)
  • Doctor Who - The Movie (2 discs, release date: tba)

According to the newsletter there are currently rights issues that need to be resolved before the TV Movie can be released.

There are no German dubs to any other episodes available, so further releases are unlikely. However, the distributor has told fans that it would consider dubbing more classic episodes if the DVD's are going to sell extremely well.

Der Siebte Doktor Volume 1 can be pre-ordered from Amazon Germany.






Week of Specials on Radio Four ExtraBookmark and Share

Saturday, 16 November 2013 - Reported by Marcus
Today BBC Radio Four Extra begins a week of celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who with a reading of the very first Doctor Who novelisation.

Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks was first published in 1964, adapted by the series' script editor David Whitaker from the first Dalek story written by Terry Nation. The story was republished by Target Books in 1973, kicking off the range which would introduce a generation of fans born in the sixties and seventies to the eras of the first and second Doctors.

The story, intended to work as a standalone, is told from the viewpoint of Ian Chesterton and has a very different meeting between the Doctor and his future companions than that of the television series.

The Audiogo recording is read by William Russell, who played Ian in the TV series. The broadcast begins at 1800 GMT on Saturday with the first two episodes. The full adaptation is broadcast between 0000 GMT and 0430 GMT on Sunday.

The broadcast kicks off a week of Doctor Who programming on the station. Radio Four Extra can be heard worldwide via the BBC Website.
  • Sunday - Protect and Survive - 1800 GMT & 0000 GMT
  • In this drama the Seventh Doctor (played by Sylvester McCoy) and his young companions Hex and Ace are plunged into the late '80s, where history has gone terrifyingly wrong, with the world trembling on the brink of a final terrible war.
  • Monday - Fanfare for the Common Men - 1800 GMT & 0000 GMT
  • A four-part drama featuring the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison). The Doctor's young companion Nyssa is unfamiliar with the Earth's musical heritage, but in a trip back to the '60s the Beatles are nowhere to be seen and their role has been taken by the Common Men.
  • Tuesday - A Thousand Tiny Wings - 1800 GMT & 0000 GMT
  • A full-cast audio drama in which the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) arrives in a remote homestead during the period of Kenyan independence in December 1963 and is reunited with an old acquaintance – an ex-Nazi called Klein.
  • Wednesday - Farewell Great Macedon - 1800 GMT & 0000 GMT
  • Based on an unproduced television script and brought to life through a combination of performance and narration. The original team of the First Doctor and companions Ian, Barbara and Susan step out from the TARDIS into the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and meet Alexander the Great.
  • Thursday - Human Resources - 1800 GMT & 0000 GMT
  • A full-cast drama featuring the Eighth Doctor (played by Paul McGann). The two-part story explains the on-going mystery of Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith), paired off with the Doctor in a witness protection programme.
  • Friday - The Dalek Invasion of Earth - 1800 GMT & 0000 GMT
  • A reading by William Russell (Ian Chesterton in the original TV serial on which the story is based). This is one of the classic Doctor Who stories featuring the First Doctor and set in an occupied Britain.
  • Saturday - Doctor Who special – Who Made Who - 0900 GMT & 1600 GMT
  • Tracy-Ann Oberman is the guide on a journey back to a time before Time Lords. Interviewees include Doctor Who writers Charlie Higson and Al Hennen and William Hartnell's grand-daughter Jessica Carney. Featured programmes include The Reunion, which gathers the original 1963 cast, and Whatever Happened to . . . Susan Foreman? which tries to solve the mystery of the Doctor's original travelling companion, his grand-daughter.
  • Sunday - Lucie Miller - 0000 GMT
  • An Eighth Doctor adventure starring Paul McGann, Sheridan Smith and Graeme Garden.
  • Monday - To the Death - 0000 GMT
  • The Time Lord calls on friends, family and the Monk to help overthrow the Dalek occupation of Earth. This Eighth Doctor adventure stars Paul McGann, Sheridan Smith and Graeme Garden.




BFI: Eighth Doctor panel videoBookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 October 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
A video of the main guest panel for the BFI's Eighth Doctor celebratory event was uploaded for viewing this morning.

Held on Saturday 5th October as part of the organisation's Doctor Who At 50 season, it saw Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook, and Geoffrey Sax in discussion with season co-curator Justin Johnson, following a big-screen showing of McGann's sole TV outing as the Doctor (up to now).


Earlier, Andrew Cartmel, Nicholas Briggs, Gary Russell, and Jason Haigh-Ellery formed a panel to talk about the years between the McGann movie of 1996 and the show's return in 2005.




Big Finish: The Light at the End cast updateBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
A pack shot has now been released for the forthcoming 50th Anniversary audio adventure The Light at the End from Big Finish. Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann unite as the Doctor(s), accompanied by Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and India Fisher as their companions. Geoffrey Beevers plays The Master, and there are also cameo appearances by Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, Maureen O’Brien, Peter Purves, Jean Marsh, Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Katy Manning, Mark Strickson and Janet Fielding.

The Light at The End (pack shot) (Credit: Big Finish)

The five disc box set, which includes deluxe packaging and a lavish booklet, comprises:
  • Discs 1 and 2 – The Light at the End
  • Disc 3 – The Making of the Light at the End, featuring interviews with the actors and production crew
  • Disc 4 – This is Big Finish, a look at the current Doctor Who audio output of the company, with interviews with the actors and producers.
  • Disc 5 – The Companion Chronicles: The Revenants – William Russell performs as Ian Chesterton in a First Doctor story originally released as a download with Doctor Who Magazine.

Producer David Richardson said:
The edits are in, the designs are done and this story has now gone off to reproduction. We’re hugely proud of it – an epic story in which all our Doctors get to shine… and spend some very interesting times in each others’ company! Nick Briggs has done himself proud with the script, and Jamie Robertson’s sound design and music are phenomenal. Get ready for a very special audio celebration of 50 years of Doctor Who...

The Light at the End is available for pre-order.





BFI: Seventh And Ninth Doctor Panels Plus Eighth Doctor GuestsBookmark and Share

Monday, 9 September 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
Videos of the guest panels from the two most recent celebratory screenings by the BFI were released today.

The BFI is running a Doctor Who At 50 season throughout this year, curated by Justin Johnson and Dick Fiddy, and a six-minute excerpt from the question-and-answer session at the Seventh Doctor event, held on Saturday 27th July and which saw a big-screen showing of Remembrance of the Daleks, features Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, and Ben Aaronovitch in conversation with Johnson.


Meanwhile, the Ninth Doctor event - held on Saturday 24th August with Bad Wolf and The Parting of The Ways being screened - spawned a longer video, with Joe Ahearne, Phil Collinson, and Bruno Langley on the panel.


The next event, which will mark the Tenth Doctor's era, is to take place at the BFI on Sunday 29th September when the episodes The Stolen Earth and Journey's End will be shown and - as previously reported - David Tennant will be among the special guests. As with all the other events in the BFI season it has sold out, but returns are possible - keep checking here - as are stand-bys on the day.

Less than a week after that - and again as previously reported - Paul McGann will be the headline guest on Saturday 5th October at the sold-out event in honour of his time as the Eighth Doctor, with a screening of the TV Movie taking place. The full guest line-up, announced today, will be Daphne Ashbrook, Geoffrey Sax, Andrew Cartmel, Gary Russell, Nicholas Briggs, and Jason Haigh-Ellery. Cartmel, Briggs, Russell, and Haigh-Ellery will be forming a panel to talk about the years between the McGann movie and the show's return, while McGann, Ashbrook, and Sax will be the panel guests following the screening.

Yesterday, Ashbrook revealed on her website that she would be taking part, commenting:
I can't wait to see Paul McGann, Gary Russell, Jason Haigh Ellory [sic] and Andrew Cartmel. And Geoffrey Sax, whom I haven't seen since we shot the movie in 1996!
The event will be followed by a signing at the BFI Shop of advance copies of the BBC's 50th-anniversary book Doctor Who - The Vault, due out on Thursday 24th October, with author Marcus Hearn. Check here for returns for the Eighth Doctor event or try for stand-bys on the day.