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Sirens Of Time

Doctor Who: The Sirens Of TimeThe seventh Doctor is drawn to a jungle world, where he rescues a hapless bystander and discovers an elderly couple nearby. The couple have a unique relationship based on a mutual loathing that seems like it could become murderous at any moment – and they both have very dark secrets to hide. The fifth Doctor, meanwhile, finds himself locked out of the TARDIS, which has materialized aboard a doomed British ship in the North Atlantic. The ship is torpedoed by a German U-boat, and the TARDIS is lost at sea. The Doctor, along with an Irish woman from the British vessel, drifts along with the debris until taken aboard the German sub as a spy. Elsewhere, on the starliner Edifice, the sixth Doctor’s TARDIS arrives, coinciding with an experiment being performed on a time-sensitive creature known as the Temperon. But shortly after the experiment fails, the entire crew – with the exception of its android helmsman and a waitress who appears to have survived through pure luck – is killed, and the Doctor must find out why. Each incarnation of the Doctor is unaware that he is facing the same threat, but in different places and times. And each Doctor has a piece of the puzzle that could save their besieged home planet of Gallifrey.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Nicholas Briggs

Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Colin Baker (The Doctor), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Andrew Fettes (Commander Raldeth / Schmidt), Anthony Keetch (Coordinator Vansell), Michael Wade (The President), Sarah Mowat (Elenya / Helen / Ellie / Knight Commander Lyena), Maggie Stables (Ruthley), Colin McIntyre (Sancroff), John Wadmore (Commandant / Lt. Zentner / Pilot Azimendah / Subcommander Solanec), Mark Gatiss (Captain Schwieger / Edifice Captain / Knight 2), Nicholas Briggs (The Temperon), Nicholas Pegg (Delegate)

Timeline: part one takes place in an unspecified time frame while the seventh Doctor is traveling alone; part two takes place while Tegan and Turlough are traveling with the Doctor, but since he makes no reference to being Lord President of Gallifrey, this may place it between Terminus and The Five Doctors. Part three takes place between Trial Of A Time Lord and Time And The Rani, since the sixth Doctor is traveling alone.

LogBook entry and review by Earl Green Read More


Doctor Who: PhantasmagoriaThe Doctor and Turlough arrive in London, 1702, amidst a rash of disappearances, murders, and robberies. Well-to-do men have been vanishing without a trace, and the only connection anyone can draw between the victims is that they were last seen playing cards with the sinister and enigmatic Sir Nicholas Valentine at the Diabola Club. Turlough himself witnesses one of the horrifying disappearances and finds himself separated from the Doctor, and joins the intrepid Jasper Jeake as he tries to uncover the whereabouts of his friends. The Doctor befriends self-proclaimed occultist Dr. Samuel Holywell, who claims to have made contact with the dead – but the Doctor believes the explanation is simultaneously simpler and more complex than that. And largely unnoticed by the time travelers is the sudden transformation of a well-known robber into a murderer. At least two of these players are not from Earth – and even if the Doctor can discover who they are, the game is almost up.

Order this CDwritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Alistair Lock

Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Mark Strickson (Turlough), David Walliams (Quincy Flowers), Jonathan Rigby (Edmund Carteret), Mark Gatiss (Jasper Jeake), Jez Fielder (Poltrot/Major Billy Lovemore), David Ryall (Sir Nicholas Valentine), Steven Wickham (Dr. Samuel Holywell), Julia Dalkin (Hannah Fry)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Web of Caves

Doctor WhoThe Doctor faces an enemy with plans for world domination …well…actually he hasn’t quite worked out the plan yet…but when he does…watch out…

Order the DVDwritten by Mark Gatiss & David Walliams
director unknown

Cast: Mark Gatiss (The Doctor), David Walliams (Alien), Paul Putner (Alien), Tom Baker (Announcer)

LogBook entry & review by Philip R. Frey Read More

The Mutant Phase

Doctor Who: The Mutant PhaseThe Doctor and Nyssa are thrust into a deadly situation involving the Thals and the Daleks. An unknown contaminant has invaded the Daleks’ biology, a contaminant which is spreading like wildfire through the interconnected consciousness/data network of the metallic terrors. The Daleks are now asking their arch nemesis for help – but they’re still not beyond their usual brand of treachery, and the Doctor discovers that helping the Daleks could unravel his own history, creating a temporal paradox… assuming that the paradox hasn’t already trapped him.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Nicholas Briggs

Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Christopher Blake (Ptolem), Jared Morgan (Ganatus), Mark Gatiss (Roboman), Andrew Ryan (Albert), Sara Wakefield (Delores), Mark Gatiss (Karl)

Timeline: between Winter For The Adept and Primeval

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Stones Of Venice

Doctor Who: The Stones Of VeniceThe Doctor barely gets Charley out of yet another near-death scrape, and realizes that they both need a vacation. The Doctor decides to take his companion to the lovely city of Venice…but naturally, overshoots the time frame a little bit and winds up taking her to Venice in the 23rd century, on the day before the fabled city sinks under the water once and for all. But Charley is stunned to see that no evacuation is being carried out – quite the contrary, in fact. Mad Duke Orsino is planning one last revel, and the more inebriated, the better as far as he’s concerned. Other Venetians aren’t taking their last day on Earth quite so calmly. Orsino’s court curator, Churchwell, is all but in a panic about the fate of the Duke’s valuable art collection. Pietro, a member of an amphibious race of gondoliers, has his eye on Charley in hopes of using her in a plot to help his people take over the city. The High Priest of an order that worships the Duke’s late wife means to see an ancient prophecy fulfilled, no matter the cost in human lives. And in his madness, the Duke deputizes someone to the throne, someone who may destroy everyone even before the city crumbles at daybreak. This time, the Doctor and Charley won’t be able to escape by dawn.

Order this CD written by Paul Magrs
directed by Gary Russell
music by Russell Stone

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley), Michael Sheard (Count Orsino), Nick Scovell (Churchwell), Barnaby Edwards (Pietro), Elaine Ives-Cameron (Ms. Lavish), Mark Gatiss (Vincenzo)

Timeline: after Sword Of Orion and before Minuet In Hell

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Invaders From Mars

Invaders From MarsThe Doctor and Charley arrive in Manhattan just before Halloween, 1938. One of the first things Charley encounters upon her first visit to New York City is the body of a recently murdered private detective. When a woman arrives at the gumshoe’s office to hire him, the Doctor impersonates him and agrees to take on the case of her missing uncle (to Charley’s alarm). But things aren’t as they seem – Charley is kidnapped by mobsters, and even the Doctor’s new client isn’t who she seems. As Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater Players prepare to broadcast their infamous panic-inducing radio adaptation of “The War Of The Worlds”, a very real alien invasion is taking place – and the Doctor hopes to use one to fight the other.

Order this CDwritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Mark Gatiss
music by Alistair Lock

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley), Ian Hallard (Mouse), Mark Benton (Ellis), Jonathan Rigby (John Houseman), David Benson (Orson Welles), Paul Putner (Bix Biro), Simon Pegg (Don Chaney), Jessica Stevenson (Glory Bee), John Arthur (Cosmo Devine)

Timeline: after Minuet In Hell and before The Chimes Of Midnight

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Excelis Decays

Doctor WhoAfter refurbishing his TARDIS, the Doctor allows the time machine to decide its own next stop. It takes him to Artaris, once again in the city of Excelis. But things have changed since the superstitious age the Doctor visited in his previous incarnation: a totalitarian government has taken over, the populace is divided between the elite Inner Party, their Outer Party underlings and a helpless proletariat, history now paints Reeve Maupassant and Lord Grayvorn as heroes, and someone is abducting lower-class citizens and stealing their life energy to power a new race of mindless, brutish cannon-fodder soldiers called meat puppets. This government is locked in a bitter stalemate of a war with another power, and the Inner Party seems content to keep it that way. At the heart of the corrupt Inner Party lies Lord Sutton, a calculating, amoral being who has been waiting for the Doctor for centuries. But the Doctor knows Sutton as Grayvorn – and makes drastic plans to free Artaris from the immortal warlord’s grasp. But will freeing the planet’s people from oppression also mean killing them?

Order this CDwritten by Craig Hinton
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Anthony Stewart Head (Lord Vaughn Sutton), Ian Collier (Commissar Sallis), Yee Jee Tso (Major Brant), Stuart Piper (Mattias), Alistair Lock (Reeve Cless), Mark Gatiss (Deputy Warden Baris), Penelope McDonald (Jancis), Patricia Leventon (The Mother Superior)

Timeline: after Forty-Five (the Doctor has just remodeled the TARDIS) but before the TV movie

LogBook entry and TheatEar entry by Earl Green

Review: A more traditional Doctor Who than we’ve previously gotten from the Excelis trilogy, Excelis Decays has a dark, fatalistic air about it. And it’s hard to believe from the seamlessly edited recording, but Anthony Stewart Head and Sylvester McCoy never occupied the same studio at the same time – and yet this story gives us the best verbal sparring yet between Head’s character and any of the Doctors. Adding a distinguished air to the proceedings is Ian Collier, last seen/heard as the voice of Omega in 1983’s Arc Of Infinity, as an embittered warrior who realizes that the whole motivation for keeping the war going is crumbling around him.

Yee Jee Tso, who acted briefly alongside McCoy in the 1996 TV movie, returns here and does a nice job with a role that requires him to be cocksure and elegant. It’d be easy to be shown up here by Head, with whom he shares most of his scenes, but Yee Jee Tso holds his own – well, at least until his character is gently dropped out of the narrative.

If nothing else, Excelis Decays proves that perhaps, of all the remaining Doctors, Sylvester McCoy is the one most able to keep a story afloat on his own. He’s traveling companionless in this adventure, but his tendency to talk to himself in fits and starts keeps things flowing and lets us in on his thoughts without resorting to a lot of painfully obvious “Oh, look, that huge green slimy monster is about to eat us!” signposting.

In the end, Excelis proves to be a worthy experiment – changing Doctors, but retaining a fairly constant (if evolving) setting and villain for the Doctor to fight. An interesting concept, well-scripted by some writers with their own unique takes on the series.

Sympathy For The Devil

Doctor Who Unbound: Sympathy For The DevilOn the eve of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China in 1997, the TARDIS materializes near a traditional English pub. The Doctor, reeling from his ordeal at the hands of the Time Lords after his trial for interfering in the course of history, wanders into the pub to find that it’s run by the retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart – embittered after years of having to run UNIT’s fight against the unknown without any help. Just as the two become uneasily reacquainted, they hear a low-flying jet smash into something nearby, and yet they never see it. When they arrive at the hillside into which something has crashed, the Doctor and the Brigadier realize it’s a Chinese spy plane using some sort of stealth technology that renders it invisible, not just to radar but to the human eye. UNIT quickly arrives, under the command of the brash Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood – an old adversary of the Brigadier’s – and takes over a nearby monastery, monks and all, to use as a temporary command post. The Doctor slowly grows to realize that something more than espionage is going on here – but by the time he realizes who’s behind it, it will already be too late…and this time even the Brigadier doesn’t trust him enough to lend a hand.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Clements
directed by Gary Russell
music by Andy Hardwick
main theme by Ron Grainer / arranged by Lee Mansfield

Cast: David Warner (The Doctor), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), David Tennant (Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood), Sam Kisgart (Ke Le), Liz Sutherland (Ling), Trevor Littledale (The Abbot), Mark Wright (Marcus), Peter Griffiths (Captain Zerdin), Stuart Piper (Adam)

Timeline: after The War Games and in place of Spearhead From Space?

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Project: Who?

Project: Who?On the eve of the launch of the new series of Doctor Who in 2005, Anthony Stewart Head (of Buffy fame) narrates a series of behind-the-scenes interviews conducted with the cast, crew and creative staff behind the new show during filming.

Order this CDReview: A fascinating look behind the scenes of the new Doctor Who, Project: Who? takes the listener from the BBC boardrooms when the idea of a revival first became a serious possibility, to the weeks leading up to the premiere. Among those interviewed are actors Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, Elisabeth Sladen, Nicholas Briggs and John Barrowman, writers Paul Cornell, Rob Shearman, Mark Gatiss and Terrance Dicks, producers Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner, Phil Collinson, director Joe Ahearne, BBC1 Controller Lorraine Heggessy, designers Bryan Hitch and Edward Thomason, and Doctor Who Magazine editor Clayton Hickman. Davies, Collinson, Gardner, Ahearne and Billie Piper are the predominant interview voices heard here; Christopher Eccleston is heard from less frequently, and when he does appear, he talks about the exhausting pace of making the show, and the fact that it leaves time for little else – the writing seems to have been quite clearly on display on the nearest wall the whole time with regards to his departure.

Each of the writers talks about his respective story, while original series veterans Terrance Dicks and Elisabeth sladen (who played Sarah Jane Smith in the 1970s, and is returning to the role in the 2006 season’s School Reunion). The writers, along with less visible players such as Bryan Hitch, are very interesting to hear from; each of them conveys a sense of near-giddiness as they talk about the moment they each came to be associated with the new show. Davies is heard from more than anyone, but hearing his thought processes are absolutely vital to understanding some of the directions of the new show, such as the persistence of Earth-based stories and CGI being front and center in many episodes. Davies is both a fan and a sharp-eyed critic of the original series, and pulls no punches in giving his opinions of the failings, both from a storytelling standpoint and a production value standpoint, of the classic show’s waning years. Chances are, if you’re wondering what the makers of the new show are thinking, your question is answered here.

The additional material included on disc 2 is lovely stuff if you’re approaching the new Doctor Who with the avid interest of a fan, but one can see why it was left off of the original broadcast version. The decision to go back to the original music is covered – maybe not something the general public will be interested in, but fans will be keenly interested in. Russell T. Davies talks about his distrust of pre-premiere press buzz, on why he’s only planning on staying for the first three or four seasons, and on why he isn’t able to open the door to spec script submissions the way that, say, Big Finish Productions can. This last bit is particularly interesting, because Davies is clearly pained that he can’t use the series to help develop and nurture new writers, but the sheer number of fans who would send in even half-baked stories, combined with the lawsuit-happy world in which we live, makes open script submissions a minefield for the BBC.

Very entertaining listening, and well assembled. Even if your interest in Doctor Who old or new is cursory, it’s interesting to see how this version of the show came about, and just how much pressure there was on everyone to make it work.

LogBook review by Earl Green

The Unquiet Dead

Doctor WhoHaving demonstrated the TARDIS’ ability to fast-forward through the pages of future history, the Doctor takes Rose into the past – Cardiff, Wales, on Christmas Eve, 1869 to be precise. Before the time travelers can immerse themselves in this time period, however, they encounter something very much out of place – a sign of alien interference in Earth’s history. A recital of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens himself is brought to a halt by a walking corpse who exhales some kind of gaseous being into the theater. While the Doctor tries to make contact with the gas creature, Rose follows a local undertaker who retrieves the corpse – and winds up being kidnapped in the process. The Doctor and Charles Dickens give chase, eventually finding the undertaker’s place of business and discovering that he is doing his best to contain the alien threat with the help of a psychic girl. The Doctor suggests establishing a more firm contact with these beings, but doing so could unravel Earth’s timeline.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Alan David (Gabriel Sneed), Huw Rhys (Redpath), Jennifer Hill (Mrs. Peace), Eve Myles (Gwyneth), Simon Callow (Charles Dickens), Wayne Cater (Stage Manager), Meic Povey (Driver), Zoe Thorne (The Gelth)

Notes: Writer Mark Gatiss was one of the driving forces behind the popular comedy series The League Of Gentlemen, but also wrote several Doctor Who novels, starting with the New Adventures book “Nightshade” in 1992. As an actor, Gatiss has also gotten in on the Time Lord’s travels (sort of) – he took the part of an old enemy with a new disguise in the Doctor Who Unbound audio play Sympathy For The Devil in 2003, acting under the anagrammatical pseudonym of “Sam Kisgart”. With his League of Gentlement cohorts, Gatiss also provided “additional Vogon voices” for the feature film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

Reviews by Philip R. Frey & Earl Green
LogBook entry by Earl Green Read More

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The GalaxyA seemingly typical Thursday throws Englishman Arthur Dent for a loop as he witnesses the destruction, in rapid succession, of his house and then the entire world. That he witnesses the latter event instead of being caught up in it is solely thanks to the intervention of his quirky friend Ford Prefect, who turns out to be an alien in disguise, researching Earth for a publication known as the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. After escaping Earth’s demise, Ford and a dazed Arthur wind up aboard the stolen starship Heart Of Gold, whose captain, Zaphod Beeblebrox, is out of both of his minds. But Arthur is also reunited with Tricia McMillan, the only other surviving human being, and reminds her that she once turned down his advances in favor of an incognito Zaphod at a party on Earth. Soon, the Heart Of Gold is being pursued not only by a Vogon fleet trying to recover both the ship and Zaphod, but also by Humma Kavula, the candidate who Zaphod beat out for the presidency of the galaxy. Tricia is captured by the Vogons on a planet to which Kavula diverts the Heart Of Gold, and Arthur sets out to rescue her, even if he can’t necessarily win her heart in the attempt.

screenplay by Douglas Adams and Karey Kirkpatrick
based on the book by Douglas Adams
directed by Garth Jennings
music by Joby Talbot

Cast: Martin Freeman (Arthur Dent), Sam Rockwell (Zaphod Beeblebrox), Mos Def (Ford Prefect), Zooey Deschanel (Trillian), Stephen Fry (The Voice of the Book), Warwick Davis (Marvin), Alan Rickman (Voice of Marvin), John Malkovich (Humma Kavula), Bill Nighy (Slartibartfast), Helen Mirren (Deep Thought), Richard Griffiths (Jeltz), Thomas Lennon (Eddie the Computer), Bill Bailey (The Whale), Anna Chancellor (Questular Rontok), Su Eliott (Pub Customer), Dominique Jackson (Fook), Simon Jones (Ghostly Image), Mark Longhurst (Bulldozer Driver), Kelly Macdonald (Reporter), Ian McNeice (Kwaltz), Steve Pemberton (Mr. Prosser / additional Vogon Voice), Mark Gatiss (additional Vogon Voice), Reece Shearsmith (additional Vogon Voice), Jack Stanley (Lunkwill), Mak Wilson (Vogon Interpreter), Albie Woodington (Barman), Jerome Blake (Vogon Soldier), Dan Ellis (Vogon Soldier), Tim Perrin (Vogon Soldier), Tucker Stevens (Vogon Soldier), Ben Uttley (Vogon Soldier), Patrick Walker (Vogon Soldier), Mason Ball (Creature Performer), Sarah Bennett (Creature Performer), Danny Blackner (Creature Performer), Hayley Burroughs (Creature Performer), Cecily Faye (Creature Performer), Ian Kay (Creature Performer), Nigel Plaskitt (Creature Performer), Lynne Robertson Bruce (Creature Performer)

Hitchhikers' Guide To The GalaxyNotes: The original Marvin suit from the 1981 BBC TV series makes a quite visible appearance in the office queue on Vogsphere. Similarly, Simon Jones, the TV series’ Arthur Dent, appears as the cheerfully threatening (and honest-to-Zarquon anaglyphic) “answering machine” spokesbeing who threatens to destroy anyone approaching Magrathea.

Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith were credited in the movie as “The League of Gentlemen,” also the name of their well-loved UK comedy series (and, at the time of Hitchhiker’s release, upcoming movie); composer Joby Talbot was the resident musician on The League of Gentlemen. Gatiss has also written Doctor Who novels as well as the third episode of the new version of that series. Coincidentally, Bill “Slartibartfast” Nighy was the runner-up for the role of the Doctor, narrowly losing out to Christopher Eccleston.

Stephen Fry continued his Hitchhiker’s Guide association by lending his voice to the final episodes of the BBC radio series relaunched in 2004.

Richard Griffiths was the voice of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz in this movie, but in the recent relaunch of the radio series he was the voice of Slartibartfast, filling in for the late Richard Vernon.

Hitchhikers' Guide To The GalaxyThe face of Douglas Adams can be seen prominently in two scenes; his face is one of the custom worlds under construction in the Magrathean planet-building yards, and his face is also the last thing into which the Infinite Improbability Drive morphs the Heart of Gold before the end credits. Adams’ family, including his wife, are among the panicked London crowds glimpsed briefly before the world ends.

Jerome Blake seems to spend a lot of time filling out aliens’ skins; he has also had roles in all three of the Star Wars prequels, as well as The Fifth Element.

Review: I’ve avoided other people’s reviews for this movie as much as possible to see this one with my eyes and my mind wide open, so I don’t really know if anyone out there is actually in the process of actively disliking The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. For my part, I loved it – between this and what I’ve seen of the new Doctor Who, I feel like British science fiction is entering a renaissance (though I’m waiting to see if The Tripods ever escape Hollywood development hell before I award the triple crown on that front). But the Guide made it through relatively unscathed – even with some Hollywoodification, the movie is tremendously enjoyable and surprisingly true to its source material, in tone if not necessarily in word-for-word faithfulness. Read More

The Idiot’s Lantern

Doctor WhoIntending to go see Elvis perform live in the 1950s, the Doctor and Rose wind up in London instead, on the eve of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Among the last-minute preparations, though, the time travelers witness an event that suggests that there’s more going on than a celebration. Black cars are pulling up to homes, and men spill out to abduct someone and leave again. The Doctor and Rose, after being urged by one family to turn their backs and say nothing, instead invade that family’s home under the guise of government inspectors to find out what’s happening. The truth that emerges is horrifying: something in this part of London is robbing people not just of their consciousness, but their faces. As the Doctor discovers where the police are taking the victims, Rose visits an electrical store selling TVs at a ridiculously low price and finds out that an alien intelligence called the Wire is behind the strange occurrences – but she becomes the Wire’s next victim moments later.

Download this episodewritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Maureen Lipman (The Wire), Ron Cook (Magpie), Jamie Foreman (Eddie Connolly), Debra Gillett (Rita Connolly), Rory Jennings (Tommy Connolly), Margaret John (Grandma Connolly), Sam Cox (Detective Inspector Bishop), Ieuan Rhys (Crabtree), Jean Challis (Aunty Betty), Christopher Driscoll (Security Guard), Marie Lewis (Mrs. Gallagher)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Lazarus Experiment

Doctor WhoMartha is crestfallen when the Doctor brings her home, announcing that this is where their travels together end. When she sees her sister in a TV press conference, however, Martha is intrigued. When he hears Professor Richard Lazarus announce the unveiling of an invention that will “change what it means to be human,” the Doctor decides to investigate. He and Martha go to the public demonstration of Lazarus’ new invention, which – after a near-overload is averted by the Doctor before it can destroy the entire building – apparently regresses the elderly inventor to his youth. But the Doctor, examining Lazarus’ DNA, discovers that the transformation is only just beginning, and when the first corpse is found, the Doctor believes that Lazarus is mutating into something that feeds on living flesh. He sets out to put Lazarus’ evolutionary experiment to an end, but can’t do so without putting Martha in mortal danger. And that’s when Martha’s mother – who has apparently received confidential information about the Doctor directly from the office of Harold Saxon, a candidate for Prime Minister – decides that Martha’s TARDIS travels must end.

Download this episodewritten by Stephen Greenhorn
directed by Richard Clark
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Tish Jones), Reggie Yates (Leo Jones), Adjoa Andoh (Francine Jones), Mark Gatiss (Lazarus), Thelma Barlow (Lady Thaw), Lucy O’Connell (Olive Lady), Bertie Carvel (Mysterious Man)

Notes: Actor Mark Gatiss has written several Doctor Who stories (including The Unquiet Dead and The Idiot’s Lantern) for television, Big Finish’s audio adventures, and numerous novels, and has lent his voice to such characters as the Master in Big Finish audios as well. The Doctor seems to have some experience as an organist, as he demonstrates both here and in 1985’s Attack Of The Cybermen. Harold Saxon doesn’t appear here, but is mentioned in The Runaway Bride and Smith & Jones; “Vote Saxon” signs were seen in the backgrounds of those episodes, and even in the Torchwood episode Captain Jack Harkness. On its original UK broadcast, The Lazarus Experiment concluded with an extended trailer showing scene from much of the remainder of the season, since there was no “next week’s episode” – the series took a one-week break to be pre-empted by the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Victory Of The Daleks

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is summoned to wartime London during the Blitz. None other than Winston Churchill himself has called the Doctor for help, but with the TARDIS’ unreliability, it’s taken the Doctor a month to answer that call – and in the meantime, Churchill has turned elsewhere for help in the war effort. Professor Bracewell has designed mobile war machines of immense power, capable of picking off German bombing formations before a single bomb can be dropped. Bracewell and Churchill call them “Ironsides,” but the Doctor knows them all too well as the last remaining Daleks – and he’s puzzled that Amy can’t remember ever having seen a Dalek, even after Earth was invaded by them. But these Daleks insist that they are soldiers, here to protect Britain from the Germans. In order to get them to reveal their true plan, the Doctor will have to do something very dangerous indeed: provoke the Daleks into showing their true, deadly colors.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Andrew Gunn
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Ian McNeice (Churchill), Bill Paterson (Bracewell), Nina de Cosimo (Blanche), Tim Wallers (Childers), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 1), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 2), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek voice), Susanah Fielding (Lilian), James Albrecht (Todd), Colin Prockter (Air Raid Warden)

Victory Of The DaleksNotes: This isn’t the first time that the Daleks have pretended to be servants of the human race; they launched a very similar scheme in the future on Vulcan, a human colony planet, in the first Patrick Troughton story, Power Of The Daleks; incidentally, their aim there was also to power up the production line on a new race of Daleks. Churchill says that the Doctor has changed his face “again,” which implies that he’s met at least two of the Doctor’s previous incarnations, though we don’t know which ones. This marks the first new series reference to the Doctor’s TARDIS being a Type 40 model (a statistic dating back to the original series, first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin during Tom Baker’s reign), as well as the first new series reference to the Daleks’ time corridor technology (Resurrection Of The Daleks).

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Night Terrors

Doctor WhoThe Doctor receives an unlikely message – “save me from the monsters” – via his psychic paper, and follows it back to an apartment on present-day Earth, certain that it comes from someone very young. The source of the signal turns out to be a seemingly ordinary Earth boy named George, whose family situation, while loving, isn’t quite ideal. The Doctor convinces George’s father to let him find out what’s causing George’s monster nightmares, but this only reveals that George’s imagined monsters may be very real and very dangerous. Amy and Rory are sucked into the child’s nightmares, where they find other victims who have already fallen victim to the Dolls that stalk the darkest corners of George’s psyche. In the end, it’s not the Doctor, but George’s father, who holds the key to freeing everyone from this nightmare world.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Richard Clark
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Daniel Mays (Alex), Jamie Oram (George), Emma Cunniffe (Claire), Andy Tiernan (Purcell), Leila Night TerrorsHoffman (Mrs. Rossiter), Sophie Cosson (Julie)

Notes: The Doctor’s mention of “Snow White and the Seven Keys To Doomsday” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the 1974 stage play Doctor Who and the Seven Keys To Doomsday, which starred Trevor Martin as an alternative post-Pertwee Doctor fighting the Daleks; the play was written by ’70s Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks, and was more recently revived in audio form by Big Finish Productions.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The God Complex

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Amy and Rory to a chintzy hotel, but their destination suddenly seems less relaxing when three people – two humans and one alien – burst into the hotel lounge with warnings about the hotel. No one who goes into a room alone comes out the same – those who survive chant “Praise him” and eventually meet a horrible fate. A monster stalks the halls, seeking its next victim and their worship. The surviving hotel guests warn that to go into a room alone invites one’s worst fears to appear all at once, but what nightmares await time travelers who have survived the worst horrors the universe has to offer… and who demands their praise?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Toby Whithouse
directed by Nick Hurran
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Sarah Quintrell (Lucy Hayward), Amara Karan (Rita), Dimitri Leonidas (Howie Spragg), Daniel Pirrie (Joe Buchanan), David Walliams (Gibbis), Dafydd Emyh (P.E. Teacher), Spencer Wilding (The Creature), Rashid Karapiet (Rita’s Father), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia Pond), Roger Ennals (Gorilla)

Doctor WhoNotes: David Walliams is either making his first or second Doctor Who appearance, depending on how you look at it; he starred alongside writer/actor Mark Gatiss in The Web Of Caves, a spoof of Hartnell-era Who that Walliams co-wrote with Gatiss for BBC2’s Doctor Who Night in 1999. That same year, he and Gatiss also appeared in Gatiss’ first Doctor Who script for Big Finish Productions, Phantasmagoria (the second story produced in Big Finish’s long series of audio plays based on the Doctor’s previous incarnations). With comedy partner Matt Lucas, Walliams is best known as one of the creators and stars of Little Britain.

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Cold War

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS arrives aboard a Soviet nuclear submarine secretly operating near the North Pole in 1983, though the sub and her crew already have problems of their own. This doesn’t stop them from blaming the new arrivals for all of these problems, however. The real problem quickly becomes apparent to the Doctor: the Soviets retrieved a large chunk of ice with something humanoid inside, and thawed it out. The humanoid is an Ice Warrior with a bad reputation: the Martian warlord Skaldak. The Doctor’s attempts to appeal to Skaldak’s feudal sense of honor are useless, since Skaldak perceives the humans’ every act as an attack upon him. Skaldak unexpectedly leaves his armor, slithering around the innards of the sub in his native Martian form, eliminating the sub’s crew one by one. When the Ice Warrior learns that the sub is armed with nuclear weapons, he sees an opportunity to avenge his indignities upon the entire human race… unless the Doctor can stop him.

Order the DVDwritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Douglas MacKinnon
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Liam Cunningham (Captain Zhukov), David Warner (Professor Grisenko), Tobias Menzies (Lieutenant Stepashin), Josh O’Connor (Piotr), James Norton (Onegin), Doctor WhoCharlie Anson (Belevich), Spencer Wilding (Skaldak), Nicholas Briggs (voice of Skaldak)

Notes: This is the first Ice Warrior story on television since 1974’s Monster Of Peladon, during Jon Pertwee’s last season as the third Doctor, though at least two other TV outings were planned with the Ice Warriors, Mission To Magnus (intended for the 1986 season with the sixth Doctor) and Thin Ice (a story outlined for the 1990 seventh Doctor season that never was, which also involved relations with the Soviet Union); both unfilmed television stories were later adapted for audio by Big Finish for the Lost Stories range. Big Finish has also pitted the fifth and eighth Doctors against the Ice Warriors in audio adventures. This is the first flesh-and-blood appearance in Doctor Who for actor David Warner, who has provided voices for animated episodes (Dreamland) and numerous audio adventures, even playing an alternate-timeline version of the Doctor himself in Big Finish’s Doctor Who Unbound series.

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The Crimson Horror

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is summoned to the Victorian era once again by Madame Vastra and her colleagues. People are signing up to become model residents of a walled-off, gated community promising traditional values… and then, once accepted, they are never heard from again. The Doctor and Clara pose as another perfect couple hoping to become residents of Sweetville, and their application is quickly accepted. Once inside the gates, though, the time travelers learn that residency in Sweetville carries a horrifying cost, one which puts them out of the picture. Now the fate of humanity, and the Doctor, rests with the Doctor’s unlikely trio of allies.

Order the DVDwritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Dame Diana Rigg (Mrs. Gillyflower), Rachael Stirling (Ada), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dan Starkey (Strax), Eve de Leon Allen (Angie), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie), Brendan Patricks (Edmund / Mr. Thursday), Graham Turner (Amos), Doctor WhoOlivia Vinall (Effie), Michelle Tate (Abigail), Jack Oliver Hudson (Urchin Boy)

Notes: Dame Diana Rigg is one of the most recognizable faces of British TV, having co-starred as Mrs. Peel in The Avengers with Patrick Macnee for several seasons. (Her predecessor as Steed’s sidekick, Honor Blackman, had a guest starring role in parts 9-12, a.k.a. Terror Of The Vervoids, in 1986’s The Trial Of A Time Lord.) The BAFTA, Tony, and Emmy-winning actress has also appeared in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and more recently in Game Of Thrones. Actress Rachael Stirling is Rigg’s daughter and a well-regarded actress in her own right, having appeared in Minder, Tipping The Velvet, Hotel Babylon, and Snow White & The Doctor WhoHuntsman.

The Doctor mentions traveling with an air stewardess who wanted to return to Heathrow; this is a rare reference to Tegan Jovanka, the Australian companion of the fourth and fifth Doctors. Though the character has been revived by actress Janet Fielding for the Big Finish audio adventures, this is the first mention of Tegan in the new series. (She was also mentioned in the laundry list of former TARDIS travelers and their respective outcomes in part two of the Sarah Jane Adventures story The Death Of The Doctor (2010).

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An Adventure In Space And Time

An Adventure In Space And TimeIn 1963, newly arrived BBC Head of Drama Sydney Newman shakes the stolid BBC establishment with his rebellious attitudes and his desire to make the British broadcaster’s output less posh and more popular. With a 25-minute gap in the Saturday evening schedule to fill, Newman assembles a team to begin working on a new television series called Doctor Who, concerning an eccentric time traveler whose incredibly time-space machine, the TARDIS, is disguised as a 1950s police box. Wanting to appoint a producer to run this show, Newman looks for someone with “piss and vinegar” and settles on Verity Lambert, who had previously worked as his production assistant. But in her new position as the first female producer in the BBC, Verity makes waves… and a few enemies. She bucks conventional wisdom in hiring esteemed character actor William Hartnell to play the part of the Doctor, the show’s wizened and yet ageless time traveler. For his own part, Hartnell has been looking for a role to get him out of a rut of being typecast as tough authority figures and military characters. Verity also finds a willing collaborator in rookie director Waris Hussein, and after months of preparation and planning, Doctor Who is finally in a studio (one of the smallest and least sophisticated at the BBC’s disposal, naturally), though the show is fighting for its life up to the moment of broadcast and beyond.

Order this series on DVDwritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Terry McDonough
music by Edmund Butt

Cast: David Bradley (William Hartnell), Ross Gurney-Randall (Reg), Roger May (Len), Sam Hoare (Douglas Camfield), Doctor WhoCharlie Kemp (Arthur), Brian Cox (Sydney Newman), William Russell (Harry – Security Guard), Jeff Rawle (Mervyn Pinfield), Andrew Woodall (Rex Tucker), Jessica Raine (Verity Lambert), Jemma Powell (Jacqueline Hill), Lesley Manville (Heather Hartnell), Cara Jenkins (Judith Carney), Sacha Dhawan (Waris Hussein), Toby Hadoke (Cyril), Sarah Winter (Delia Derbyshire), Jamie Glover (William Russell), Claudia Grant (Carole Ann Ford), David Annen (Peter Brachacki), Mark Eden (Donald Baverstock), Ian Hallard (Richard Martin), Nicholas Briggs (Peter Hawkins), Carole Ann Ford (Joyce), Reece Pockney (Alan), Reece Shearsmith (Patrick Troughton), Anneke Wills (Farewell party attendee), Jean Marsh (Farewell party attendee), Anna-Lisa Drew (Maureen O’Brien), Sophie Holt (Jackie Lane)

Notes: Numerous actors appear in this movie who have appeared in actual episodes of Doctor Who before, not least of which are surviving members of the original 1963 cast William Russell and Carole Ann Ford, who played Ian and Susan respectively. David Doctor WhoBradley appeared in the 2012 episode Dinosaurs In A Spaceship as the episode’s villain, while Jessica Raine guest starred in 2013’s Hide. Hartnell-era companions Jean Marsh and Anneke Wills – both of whom reprise their 1960s roles for Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas – appear as partygoers at Verity Lambert’s farewell party. Big Finish Doctor Who producer Nicholas Briggs, the voice of the Daleks in modern Doctor Who, appears (in a wig) as 1960s Dalek voice originator Peter Hawkins.

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