The Time Warrior

Doctor WhoA battle-scarred Sontaran spaceship crashes in medieval England near the castle of Irongron, a plundering pirate who intends to overrun the nearby castle belonging to Sir Edward of Wessex. Linx, the Sontaran warrior, strikes an agreement with Irongron – Linx can repair his ship in Irongron’s castle, in exchange for giving him advanced weapons which are centuries ahead of the times. But Linx finds it impossible to conduct his repairs with nothing more advanced than Irongron’s forge, so he used what’s left of his ship’s technology to abduct scientists and materials from the 20th century. U.N.I.T. is called in to investigate, and the Brigadier isolates all of the remaining scientists who are likely to vanish in one securely guarded premise. But when another scientist disappears under the Doctor’s nose, he follows the trail to Irongron’s castle, where he finds himself up against the much more powerful and warlike Linx.

written by Robert Holmes
directed by Alan Bromly
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Kevin Lindsay (Linx), David Daker (Irongron), John J. Carney (Bloodaxe), Sheila Fay (Meg), Donald Pelmear (Professor Rubeish), June Brown (Lady Eleanor), Alan Rowe (Edward of Wessex), Gordon Pitt (Eric), Jeremy Bulloch (Hal), Steve Brunswick (Sentry), Jacqueline Stanbury (Mary)

Broadcast from December 15, 1973 through January 5, 1974

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Sontaran Experiment

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Harry and Sarah beam down to Earth from the space station to check the transmat receiver that will allow the repopulation of the planet. But they quickly find that they are not alone. A team of human colonists who left Earth long ago have come back to investigate a call that apparently came from there, but unfortunately for them, that call was a forgery transmitted by Sontaran soldier Styre, who is conducting experiments on the human being’s resistance to Sontaran military might as a prelude to an invasion of Earth’s solar system.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Bob Baker & Dave Martin
directed by Rodney Bennett
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Kevin Lindsay (Styre/Marshal), Peter Walshe (Erak), Terry Walsh (Zake), Glyn Jones (Krans), Peter Rutherford (Roth), Donald Douglas (Vural), Brian Ellis (Prisoner)

Broadcast from February 22 through March 1, 1975

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Invasion Of Time

Doctor WhoThe Doctor returns, unbidden, to Gallifrey, claiming the Presidency of the High Council. Leela knows something is wrong, as she has witnessed his meetings with a shadowy group of aliens prior to returning to his homeworld. The Time Lords are aghast at the Doctor’s breach of their power structure, to say nothing of him bringing an alien among them. But when the aliens Leela saw earlier materialize in Gallifrey’s Capitol, all hell breaks loose – the Doctor orders many Time Lords, including his old mentor Borusa, expelled to the harsh surface of Gallifrey beyond the city domes. Leela is also thrown out, though she finds herself quite at home with the primitive nomadic tribes of homeless non-Time Lords known as the Shobogans. Leela rallies both Shobogans and exiled Time Lords to mount a resistance against the Doctor and his shady Vardan allies, but when the invasion is put down, everyone discovers that it was a ruse to allow a far more powerful enemy to slip into the heart of Gallifrey.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Anthony Read and Graham Williams
directed by Gerald Blake
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Milton Johns (Kelner), John Arnatt (Borusa), Stan McGowan (Vardan Leader), Chris Tranchell (Andred), Dennis Edwards (Gomer), Tom Kelly (Vardan), Reginald Jessup (Savar), Charles Morgan (Gold Usher), Hilary Ryan (Rodan), Max Faulkner (Nesbin), Christopher Christou (Chancellery Guard), Michael Harley (Bodyguard), Ray Callaghan (Ablif), Gai Smith (Presta), Michael Mundell (Jasko), Eric Danot (Guard), Derek Deadman (Stor), Stuart Fell (Sontaran)

Broadcast from February 4 through March 11, 1978

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Two Doctors

Doctor WhoThe second Doctor and Jamie are sent on a mission by the Time Lords to ask a team of scientists, as diplomatically as possible, to bring their time travel experiments to an end. The Doctor is unable to convince the head scientist, Dastari, to heed the Time Lords’ warnings; Dastari is far too busy admiring his own work, including his genetic “improvement” of Chessene, a savage Androgum. But Chessene’s augmentations have simply given her the ability to apply her violent primitive impulses on a grander scale – such as a collusion with the Sontarans to use the new time travel device as a weapon of conquest. The Doctor is captured by the Sontarans and taken to their secret base of operations on Earth – and his sixth incarnation will have to find him to avoid the corruption of his entire timeline.

Order the DVDwritten by Robert Holmes
directed by Peter Moffatt
music by Peter Howell

Guest Cast: Patrick Troughton (The Second Doctor), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), John Stratton (Shockeye), Jacqueline Pearce (Chessene), Laurence Payne (Dastari), James Saxon (Oscar), Carmen Gomez (Anita), Clinton Greyn (Stike), Tim Raynham (Varl), Aimee Delamain (Dona Arana), Nicholas Farcett (Technician), Laurence Payne (Computer voice), Fernando Monast (Scientist)

Broadcast from February 16 through March 2, 1985

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans

Shakedown: Return Of The Sontarans

This is a fan-made production whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.

The solar racing yacht Tiger Moth, a sleek (but vulnerable) spacecraft, is readying for its berth in a solar sailing competition. But en route to the starting point, the Tiger Moth is attacked by a Sontaran War Wheel and forced to accept a boarding party. The Tiger Moth’s captain, Lisa Deranne, is already unhappy with the delay, but matters become worse when Sontaran shock troops storm her ship, taking her crew and herself prisoner (except for chief engineer Robar, who is working safely below decks during the attack). The Sontaran commander, Steg, is on a mission to find a Rutan spy who escaped from the Sontarans and stowed away aboard a ship from the space station which was also the Tiger Moth’s last port of call. Steg will stop at nothing to find and destroy the Rutan, whose intelligence could turn the tide in the age-old Rutan-Sontaran war. One by one, beginning with Robar, Lisa Deranne’s crew is killed off, and it becomes evident that the Rutan is indeed aboard the Tiger Moth. But which party would make a more deadly ally – the shapeshifting Rutan, or the merciless Sontarans?

written by Terrance Dicks
directed by Kevin Davies
music by Mark Ayres

Cast: Jan Chappell (Captain Lisa Deranne), Brian Croucher (Kurt), Michael Wisher (Robar), Carole Ann Ford (Zorelle), Sophie Aldred (Mari), Rory O’Donnell (Nikos), Toby Aspin (Commander Steg), Tom Finnis (Lieutenant Vorn), Jonathan Saville (First Sontaran Trooper), Keith Dunne (Sontaran Trooper), Derek Handley (Sontaran Trooper), Julian Jones (Sontaran Trooper), Stephen Mansfield (Sontaran Trooper)

Review: Easily my favorite Doctor Who fan video spinoff ever, Shakedown truly captures the elements that made its inspiration great: the budget doesn’t matter. The actors and the dialogue (from a suspenseful and, quite frankly, very funny Terrance Dicks script) will carry the show. Shakedown demonstrates that atmosphere is not a quantifiable commodity that can only be purchased with a seven-digit budget – atmosphere is instead generated by the story and the performances. That said, the production values aren’t too shabby. Some very nice, Red Dwarf-ish model work shows off the delicate, lovely Tiger Moth, and whoever did the lighting deserves a medal, as it often disguises the telltale modern-day signs of the location (the redressed bowels of an actual ocean-faring ship). And finally, Mark Ayres gives the whole show a tremendous boost with what may be his second-best score to date (next only to The Innocent Sleep). Continue reading

Mindgame

MIndgame

This is a fan-made production whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.

A Sontaran, a Draconian, and a female human pilot are kidnapped from their respective sectors of the galaxy and are subjected to the mental and psychological manipulations of another alien creature who is attempting to determine which race’s territory to invade next. However, the three prisoners manage to turn the tables on their captor, trapping him momentarily. But doing what any researcher would do with a tainted experiment, the alien escapes, setting his vessel for self-destruct. Now the Sontaran, the Draconian and the human must work well enough together under the threat of death to find their own escape route.

written by Terrance Dicks
directed by Keith Barnfather
music by Bug Music Productions

Cast: Sophie Aldred (Human), Miles Richardson (Draconian), Toby Aspin (Sontaran), Bryan Robson (The Alien)

Notes: The dialogue for Sophie Aldred’s human character is written not unlike Ace’s dialogue, with one major hint (“Wicked!”) at the very end of the episode; if one interprets this to mean that the character is Ace, it’s possible that this could be the first on-screen portrayal of Ace from the New Adventures era (namely, between leaving the TARDIS in the novel “Love And War” and rejoining later in “Deceit”). However, the sequel production Mindgame Trilogy may invalidate this interpretation, indicating that this is not Ace.

Review: It’s very easy to have high expectations of this Reeltime independent video from 1998. The script, after all, was written by Terrance Dicks, Doctor Who’s script editor for much of the late sixties and early seventies. The alien makeups were some of the more credible and well-crafted work I’ve yet seen in what is, essentially, a fan production. And the cast featured Sophie “Ace” Aldred and Miles Richardson (who has made the odd appearance on such shows as Highlander). How could they go wrong? Continue reading

Mindgame Trilogy

Mindgame

This is afan-made production whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.

Recently escaped from an experiment in which they were almost manipulated into killing one another, a human officer, a Sontaran warrior and an eloquent Draconian have now gone their separate ways – though not necessarily to happy endings. The human finds herself alone and adrift in a solo spacecraft with no food or water left, and a dwindling supply of oxygen. The Sontaran is transported back into the heart of the battle he once craved, where he finds that his newfound ability to think freely isn’t an asset. And the Draconian is imprisoned, now confined to a cell that he can’t reason his way out of.

Battlefield written by Terrance Dicks
Prisoner 451 written by Miles Richardson
Scout Ship written by Roger Stevens
directed by Keith Barnfather
music by Nicholas Briggs

Cast: Sophie Aldred (Space Pilot 692 7896), Miles Richardson (Commander Of Brigade Merq), John Wadmore (Field Major Sarg)

Notes: Where Mindgame strongly hinted that the human soldier played by Sophie Aldred was Ace (possibly from the New Adventures novels), Mindgame Trilogy complicates that interpretation with the death of Aldred’s character.

Review: An interesting and somewhat surprising 1999 follow-up to the rather well-produced (if chlich├Ęd) fan-made video project Mindgame, Mindgame Trilogy suffers a great deal in comparison because it alternates between being a total bummer (as Sophie Aldred’s doomed space pilot slowly rationalizes her way toward suicide) and rather annoyingly dull (the Draconian’s dilemma, something which could have been much more interesting). Continue reading

Do You Have A Licence To Save This Planet?

Do You Have A Licence To Save This Planet?

This is a fan-made production whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.

Story: A crisis looms in time and/or space, and Rassilon tries to summon the greatest Time Lord in history. But he’s busy, so the universe will have to settle for a “chrono-duke” known as the Foot Doctor, who travels through space and/or time in a vehicle that looks like a washing machine. (Understandably, he gets a lot of dirty socks thrown at him.) He arrives on Earth, which is teeming with an invasion force of Cyberons. And an invasion force of Sontarans. And an invasion force of Autons. And probably worse. But the Foot Doctor has an ace up his sleeve – no, not that ace.

written by Paul Ebbs & Gareth Preston
directed by Bill Baggs
music by Mike Neilson and Steve Johnson

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Foot Doctor), Mark Donovan (The Salesman), Nigel Fairs (Geoff / The Licensor), Jo Castleton (Gloria), Nigel Peever (Rassilon), Gareth Preston (Delivery Man / Cyberon), Rupert Booth (Sontaran / Auton), Philip T. Robinson (Auton / Cyberon), Paul Griggs (Auton / Cyberon), Paul Ebbs (Cyberon voice), Steve Johnson (Cyberon voice)

Notes: Despite poking much fun at the unlicensed equivalents of the Doctor and the Cybermen, many of the Doctor Who baddies who appear here are licensed, and their creators are credited: the Sontarans and Autons (both created by Robert Holmes), and the Krynoid (created by Robert Banks Stewart).

Review: It’s funny watching Do You Have A Licence To Save This Planet? in retrospect. The whole message of this half-hour send-up of the Doctor Who format – such as it was in the 1980s – and its many easily-pounced-upon foibles is simple: Doctor Who fans don’t need the BBC anymore. Arguably, they don’t even need to license anything from the BBC anymore to make fan films.

Oh, how times have changed. Continue reading

The Sontaran Stratagem

Doctor WhoA call from Martha brings the TARDIS back to Earth, just in time for Donna and the Doctor to witness a UNIT raid on the Atmos factory. Standard-issue in more than half the automobiles in the world, Atmos cancels out all harmful pollution emissions from any car – and the Doctor recognizes it as something far ahead of current human technology. But as everyone knows, Atmos is the invention of former teen prodigy Luke Rattigan, who now heads his own academy for developing young genius. A visit to Rattigan’s academy reveals that he is in league with a Sontaran invasion force, a discovery from which the Doctor barely escapes alive. He decides to dissect an Atmos device for himself, only to accidentally trigger a weapon within it that emits toxic gas. Using a clone of Martha to keep UNIT’s attention away from the real danger, the Sontarans activate all of the gas emitters in all of the Atmos-equipped cars worldwide…

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Helen Raynor
directed by Douglas MacKinnon
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Freema Agyeman (Dr. Martha Jones), Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott), Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble), Ryan Simpson (Luke Rattigan), Rupert Holliday Evans (Colonel Mace), Christopher Ryan (General Staal), Dan Starkey (Commander Skorr), Eleanor Matsuura (Jo Nakashima), Clive Standen (Private Harris), Wesley Theobald (Private Gray), Christian Cooke (Ross Jenkins), Rad Kaim (Worker), Elizabeth Ryder (Atmos voice)

Notes: The Sontarans last appeared with The Two Doctors (namely Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton) in 1985, though fanmade productions such as Mindgame and Shakedown revisited them after the cancellation of classic Doctor Who. This is the first episode to give, in dialogue, the revised name for UNIT – the Unified Intelligence Taskforce – which was changed from the original name, United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, for completely non-fictional legal reasons. Despite the change, dialogue elsewhere in the episode still says that UNIT gets its funding from the United Nations. Speaking of UNIT, a bit of fun is poked at the long-standing debate over whether the third Doctor‘s stint with UNIT took place in the 1970s or 1980s – and the issue certainly isn’t resolved. The Sontarans are apparently aware of the Time War, but for whatever reason were “not allowed to take part in it.” The reference to the human female’s “weak thorax” is a riff on the 1975 story The Sontaran Experiment, in which Field Major Styre noted differences in the thorax between the human genders.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Poison Sky

Doctor WhoA worldwide crisis is declared as Atmos-equipped cars across the globe poison the atmosphere with toxic gases. Meanwhile, the Sontarans’ clone of Martha continues to undermine UNIT’s preparations for all-out war against the invaders, but she’s also been noticed by the Doctor, who uses her to find the real Martha and discover why the Sontarans – usually a race that craves all-out war – are sneaking around with tactics such as poisoning the atmosphere. But the TARDIS is not at his disposal: the Sontarans have teleported it to their ship, with Donna inside. As he uncovers the plan to terraform Earth into a world suitable for breeding more cloned Sontaran warriors, the Doctor has a life-or-death choice to make – and he has to offer one to the Sontarans as well.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Helen Raynor
directed by Douglas MacKinnon
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Freema Agyeman (Dr. Martha Jones), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott), Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble), Ryan Simpson (Luke Rattigan), Rupert Holliday Evans (Colonel Mace), Christopher Ryan (General Staal), Dan Starkey (Commander Skorr), Clive Standen (Private Harris), Wesley Theobald (Private Gray), Christian Cooke (Ross Jenkins), Meryl Fernandes (Female Student), Leeshon Alexander (Male Student), Bridget Hodgson (Captain Price), Kirsty Wark (herself), Lachelle Carl (US Newsreader)

Notes: The Brigadier gets his first mention in the new series, even though he isn’t seen; apparently there’s only one Brigadier serving in UNIT, since Colonel Mace seems to instantly know who the Doctor is talking about.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Last Sontaran – Part 1

The Sarah Jane AdventuresMaria has momentous news that she’s afraid to share with Sarah, but it doesn’t concern an alien invasion: Maria’s dad has gotten a job that could send him – and her – to America. But before she has a chance to dwell on the news, there’s a UFO sighting to investigate at a radio telescope. When Sarah and her friends go to investigate, they find the daughter of the lead researcher, dazed and disoriented, and unsure of where her father is, having last seen him the night before in the nearby woods during the sighting of unknown lights in the sky. Clyde and Luke take a look in the woods, against Sarah’s wishes, and find something very solid, very large and very invisible. Sarah uses her sonic lipstick to uncloak it, discovering a Sontaran space pod – and its occupant, Commander Kaagh, the sole survivor of the Sontaran attempt to take over Earth with the ATMOS device. Kaagh plans to get revenge for the failed attack by using the radio telescope to order every satellite in the sky to deorbit and crash into populated areas of the Earth, and he’s not about to let Sarah and her “half-forms” stop him.

Season 2 Regular Cast: Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Yasmin Paige (Maria Jackson), Tommy Knight (Luke), Daniel Anthony (Clyde), Anjli Mohindra (Rani Chandra)

Get the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Phil Ford
directed by Joss Agnew
music by Sam Watts / title music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Joseph Millson (Alan Jackson), Juliet Cowan (Chrissie Jackson), Alexander Armstrong (Mr. Smith), Ronan Vibert (Professor Nicholas Skinner), Clare Thomas (Lucy Skinner), Anthony O’Donnell (Kaagh)

The Last SontaranNotes: The failed Sontaran invasion via ATMOS was seen in the Doctor Who episodes The Sontaran Stratagem and The Poison Sky; Kaagh’s “flashbacks” are new scenes interspersed with scenes from those episodes, neither of which featured him. Sarah has known the Sontarans for as long as she’s known the Doctor: her first trip in the TARDIS put her in the clutches of Sontaran warrior Linx in 1974’s The Time Warrior (also notable for being the Sontarans’ first appearance in Doctor Who), while her disgust at the thought of Clyde being subjected to Kaagh’s experiments no doubt comes from her own horrifying experiences as a Sontaran’s guinea pig in 1975’s The Sontaran Experiment. Kaagh’s helmet “slices” open into retracting segments, something that no Sontaran’s helmet has ever been seen to do before (not even in their recent Doctor Who appearance); it’s possible that Kaagh’s suit of armor is a special survival suit with that capability, despite looking identical to any other suit of Sontaran armor.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Last Sontaran – Part 2

The Sarah Jane AdventuresWith Sarah stunned by Kaagh, and the radio telescope under the Sontaran’s control, Clyde has no choice but to run for his life or become the subject for Kaagh’s experiments. He bumps into Luke and Maria, who help him escape the Sontaran and begin hatching a plan to regain control of the radio telescope to foil Kaagh’s plan. But Maria knows that they’ll need more help, and calls her father to tell him how to activate Mr. Smith in Sarah’s attic. Maria’s dad learns how to disable a Sontaran…but when he finds that his ex-wife has trailed him into Sarah’s house, he has to find a way to explain the fact that their daughter is doing battle with aliens trying to take over the Earth. If he can’t help Maria and the others to free Sarah and defeat Kaagh, he may not live long enough to report to his new job.

Get the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Phil Ford
directed by Joss Agnew
music by Sam Watts / title music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Joseph Millson (Alan Jackson), Juliet Cowan (Chrissie Jackson), Alexander Armstrong (Mr. Smith), Ronan Vibert (Professor Nicholas Skinner), Clare Thomas (Lucy Skinner), Anthony O’Donnell (Kaagh)

Yasmin Paige and Elisabeth SladenNotes: The Last Sontaran marks Yasmin Paige’s final appearance as a regular in The Sarah Jane Adventures, due to her school schedule. Mr. Smith sports a new appearance in this episode, possibly resulting from his reboot in The Lost Boy, though this wasn’t apparent from his appearance in the Doctor Who episodes The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End, which takes place between the first and second seasons of The Sarah Jane Adventures. Mr. Smith also appears to have a new sound effect straight from the vaults of the now-defunct BBC Radiophonic Workshop: the sound of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy being activated!

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Enemy Of The Bane – Part 1

The Sarah Jane AdventuresLuke has a vivid nightmare involving the return of Mrs. Wormwood, the alien who genetically engineered him as an archetype for a new evolutionary stage of the Bane species. Sarah dismisses it as a normal childhood nightmare, but then more disturbing news arrives: Rani’s mother has vanished from her flower shop. Sarah finds a clue at the shop that leads her to a meeting with Mrs. Wormwood in person. Outcast from the Bane, she’s searching for an alien artifact called the Tunguska Scroll, which is one of many alien artifacts contained in UNIT’s Black Archive. She claims that this item will help her stop the Bane’s advance across the galaxy – it will save Earth and many other worlds, and will help her get her revenge. Sarah reluctantly agrees to help, and goes to see Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, retired from UNIT (but still subject to being pressed into duty as an advisor or “special envoy”). Rather than alerting UNIT to the Bane’s approach – which would draw unwelcome attention to Luke’s alien nature – he helps to sneak Sarah into the Black Archive to “borrow” the Tunguska Scroll. But while Sarah is doing that, Mrs. Wormwood’s true agenda – and her real allies – are revealed.

Get the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Phil Ford
directed by Graeme Harper
music by Sam Watts / title music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Mina Anwar (Gita Chandra), Ace Bhatti (Haresh Chandra), Alexander Armstrong (Mr. Smith), Samantha Bond (Mrs. Wormwood), Nicholas Courtney (Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart), Anthony O’Donnell (Kaagh), Simon Chadwick (Major Cal Kilburne)

Notes: Aside from the generally-discounted-from-canon Dimensions In Time and an appearance in the 1995 fan-produced video Downtime – which also starred Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah – this marks Nicholas Courtney’s first on-screen appearance as (now retired) Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart since the opening story of classic Doctor Who’s final season, Battlefield (1989). His first appearance in the role was 40 years before this episode’s premiere in The Web Of Fear (1968)). Even after the end of the original television series, Courtney reprised the role of the Brigadier in productions like Downtime, BBC Radio’s two Jon Pertwee plays, and Big Finish audio stories such as The Spectre Of Lanyon Moor, Minuet In Hell, and even a UNIT-centered audio miniseries. Lethbridge Stewart’s visit to Peru – mentioned in the Doctor Who episode The Poison Sky – is something for which he’s only just now being debriefed by UNIT. Kaagh, last seen in The Last Sontaran, returns here, as well as Mrs. Wormwood, who was seen in the Sarah Jane Adventures pilot, Invasion Of The Bane.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Enemy Of The Bane – Part 2

The Sarah Jane AdventuresSarah, Luke, Rani, Clyde and the Brigadier – with Mrs. Wormwood in tow – hide from UNIT at the flower shop. But, as Sarah suspects, it’s all a double-cross: Mrs. Wormwood has allied with Kaagh the Sontaran, and their plans for the Tunguska Scroll have nothing to do with saving Earth. Luke agrees to go with Mrs. Wormwood to keep Sarah and the others alive, but while he is her hostage, he learns that the Scroll will summon a cybernetic organism called Horath, furthering Mrs. Wormwood’s plans for conquest and revenge. When Mrs. Wormwood tries to tempt Luke with the Scroll, he takes it and makes a run for it until Kaagh stops him. At Sarah’s home, Major Cal Kilburne of UNIT is waiting to reclaim the Scroll as well, but the Brigadier discovers that Klburne’s mission isn’t exactly part of UNIT’s charter. Still held hostage by Kaagh and Mrs. Wormwood, Luke is taken to an ancient burial site that hides a dimensional portal leading to Horath – and he has no choice but to open it for them.

Get the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Phil Ford
directed by Graeme Harper
music by Sam Watts / title music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Mina Anwar (Gita Chandra), Ace Bhatti (Haresh Chandra), Alexander Armstrong (Mr. Smith), Samantha Bond (Mrs. Wormwood), Nicholas Courtney (Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart), Anthony O’Donnell (Kaagh), Simon Chadwick (Major Cal Kilburne)

Notes: The White Barrow site at the episode’s climax is real, though there isn’t actually a Stonehenge-style stone circle there. The end credits of both parts of Enemy Of The Bane give credit to writers Robert Holmes (creator of the Sontarans) and Henry Lincoln & Mervyn Haisman (creators of the Brigadier).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The End Of Time – Part 2

Doctor WhoThe Master has twisted the Immortality Gate into his own weapon, projecting himself as a template onto every human on Earth: every human on Earth is now the Master. The two aliens working undercover in Naismith’s operation are unaffected, and Wilfred is unaffected as well, stuck in the Master’s isolation booth. But the only other human not possessed by the Master is Donna Noble, whose adventures with the Doctor are flooding back into her mind. Wilfred urges her to run, but soon the amount of information crowding her human brain causes her to collapse. The Master interrogates the Doctor, demanding to know the whereabouts of the TARDIS, but this grueling interrogation is soon interrupted by the two aliens, who teleport themselves, the Doctor and Wilfred to their ship in orbit.

An alien artifact arrives on Earth, a piece of the extinct world of Gallifrey, and only then does the Master realize what the drumbeat in his head is: the rhythm of a Time Lord’s hearts. The Master uses this piece of Gallifrey to establish a link, and the entire planet of Gallifrey materializes close enough to Earth that tidal forces begin tearing the smaller planet apart. The Time Lords, desperate to escape their imminent doom in the Time War, have broken free by sending their distress signal – the drumbeat – back in time. They created the Master and made him a madman, all to compel him to provide an escape route for Gallifrey. The Lord President and members of the High Council of the Time Lords arrive on Earth, where the Master demands their obedience and just as quickly discovers that the Lord President is ready to eliminate him: the Master has served his purpose where the Time Lords are concerned. The Doctor cuts Gallifrey’s link to Earth as the Master and the Time Lord President do battle; the planet of the Time Lords disappears again, taking the Master with it.

But it is only after the crisis is averted that the Doctor realizes that the prophecy of his own death has nothing to do with the Time Lords or the Master.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Russell T. Davies
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Murray Gold

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), John Simm (The Master), Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott), Timothy Dalton (Lord President), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Freema Agyeman (Martha Smith-Jones), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Jessica Hynes (Verity Newman), June Whitfield (Minnie Hooper), Claire Bloom (The Woman), Thomas Knight (Luke Smith), Russell Tovey (Midshipman Frame), David Harewood (Joshua Naismith), Tracy Ifeachor (Abigail Naismith), Lawry Lewin (Rossiter), Sinead Keenan (Addams), Joe Dixon (The Chancellor), Julie LeGrand (The Partisan), Brid Brennan (The Visionary), Karl Collins (Shaun Temple), Krystal Archer (Nerys), Lachele Carl (Trinity Wells), Paul Kasey (Ood Sigma), Ruari Mears (Elder Ood), Silas Carson (voice of Ood Sigma), Nicholas Briggs (voice of Judoon), Dan Starkey (Sontaran), Matt Smith (The Doctor)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Pandorica Opens

Doctor WhoA series of events ripples through time and space upon the completion of Vincent Van Gogh‘s latest painting depicting the fiery destruction of the TARDIS. Many of the Doctor’s friends and allies encounter the painting through time, from Winston Churchill to Liz 10 to, finally, River Song. River draws the Doctor to Earth at the time of the Roman Empire to show him the painting, which she believes is a warning Van Gogh received in a vision. Within the painting itself is a time and a location, leading the Doctor, Amy and River to Stonehenge.

The Doctor finds a chamber beneath Stonehenge, containing a large, cubical object of alien origin: the Pandorica, something which River has mentioned before but the Doctor believed was a myth. But before the Doctor can investigate or open the Pandorica, dozens of alien ships descend into the sky over Stonehenge: many of the Doctor’s enemies have come to call. While he bluffs his would-be captors into leaving, River attempts to move the TARDIS closer to the Pandorica, but the timeship begins behaving erratically and is flung violently through the time vortex. It begins to seem as though the Doctor is destined not to be at the controls of the TARDIS when it suffers the fate forseen by Van Gogh.

The Doctor’s enemies return to Stonehenge, and only then does the Doctor realize the horrifying truth: the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and many more have set aside their differences to conspire against their greatest enemy. With their combined forces against him, the Doctor may be doomed, and the universe along with him.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Toby Haynes
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Alex Kingston (River Song), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Tony Curran (Vincent), Bill Paterson (Bracewell), Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill), Sophie Okonedo (Liz Ten), Marcus O’Donovan (Claudio), Clive Wood (Commander), Christopher Ryan (Commander Stark), Ruari Mears (Cyber Leader), Paul Kasey (Judoon), Howard Lee (Doctor Gachet), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek), Simon Fisher Becker (Dorium), Joe Jacobs (Guard), Chrissie Cotterill (Madame Vernet), David Fynn (Marcellus), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek / Cyberman / Judoon voices)

The Pandorica OpensNotes: This marks the first time Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans have all shared the screen in anything other than a flashback (if one wishes to count flashbacks, however, the first time would have been during the flashbacks experienced by the fourth Doctor at the end of part 4 of Logopolis). Classic Doctor Who aliens name-checked but not seen include Drahvins (Galaxy Four), Zygons (Terror Of The Zygons), and curiously, the Chelonians, a reptilian warrior race introduced in the New Adventures novels published in the 1990s (specifically, in “The Highest Science”). This marks the first time that an element specific to the New Adventures has been acknowledged by the new TV series. The Slitheen are also mentioned, but are not seen.

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Heroes Of Sontar

Doctor Who: Heroes Of SontarThe TARDIS arrives at the planet Samur, a strategic location in Rutan space which was once the site of fierce fighting between the Rutans and Sontarans. The planet is now coated in a colorful form of mold, with no other signs of life, at least until a Sontaran ship crashes. Only a few of its warrior crew is left alive, but they’ve lost their sealed order. When the Sontarans round up the TARDIS travelers and learn that one of them is the Doctor, they assume that their orders are somehow related to the capture and execution of the Time Lord and his companions. There are only things that save the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa, and Turlough: this platoon of Sontarans is more inept than most, and Samur may not be as uninhabited as it looks.

Order this CDwritten by Alan Barnes
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Jamie Robertson

Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), John Banks (Fleet Marshal Stabb / Trooper Jorr / Witch Guard), Duncan Wisbey (Field-Major Thurr / Adjutant / Orbital Command), Alex Lowe (Sergeant Mezz / Trooper Nold), Andrew Fettes (Corporal Clun), Derek Carlyle (Trooper Vend)

Notes: This is the first Big Finish audio story to feature the Sontarans (an enemy Peter Davison’s Doctor never met on television), though they had appeared in a few stand-alone stories (Silent Warrior, Old Soldiers, Conduct Unbecoming) in Audio Adventures In Time & Space series produced by BBV, a company whose audio releases came to an end a few years after Big Finish picked up the Doctor Who license. Nyssa mentions her husband and children (hinted at in part four of Circular Time), but keeps them a secret from the Doctor because of the events of that story, which remains in the Doctor’s future. TV Sontarans Linx (The Time Warrior) and Styre (The Sontaran Experiment) are also mentioned, as is the Sontarans’ defeat at Gallifrey (The Invasion Of Time). Sontarans were shown to be vulnerable to coronic acid in The Two Doctors.

Timeline: for the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough: between Enlightenment and The King’s Demons; for Nyssa: 50 years after Terminus. This story takes place after The Cradle Of The Snake and before Kiss Of Death.

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A Good Man Goes To War

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Rory hunt tirelessly through time and space to find the real Amy Pond: the Amy who has been aboard the TARDIS since the trip to America has been a Ganger all along. Enlisting the help of unlikely allies – a Sontaran pressed into service as a combat nurse, a Silurian at large in Victorian London, even a fleet of Cybermen – the Doctor gathers an army to help him rescue his kidnapped companion. Held captive by the mysterious Korovian, Amy has already given birth to a daughter, Melody. Fully expecting the Doctor’s arrival, Madame Kovarian has assembled an army of her own, with the deadly headless monks to strike fear into anyone who doubts their duties. Just when the Doctor thinks he’s rescued Amy and her baby without any bloodshed, Kovarian springs her trap: the baby that the Doctor has rescued is a Ganger as well, and Kovarian has Amy’s real baby: a human child with TARDIS-altered DNA that can be traced back to Gallifrey itself, a child Kovarian intends to raise as the perfect weapon to fight the Doctor. Little do the time travelers know that they’ve already met Melody Pond, all grown up.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Peter Hoar
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Alex Kingston (River Song), Frances Barber (Madame Kovarian), Charlie Baker (Fat One), Dan Johnston (Thin One), Christina Chong (Lorna Bucket), Joshua Hayes (Lucas), Damian Kell (Dominicus), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Richard Trinder (Captain Harcourt), Annabel Cleare (Eleanor), Henry Wood (Arthur), Dan Starkey (Commander Strax), Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar), Danny Sapani (Colonel Manton), Hugh Bonneville (Henry Avery), Oscar Lloyd (Toby Avery), Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Cybermen)

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The Five Companions

Doctor WhoThe Doctor’s companions find themselves united and in deep trouble. Steven and Ian barely have the time to reintroduce themselves before they are pursued through a mazelike structure by a Dalek, while Polly and Sara Kingdom get to know each other while being pursued by dinosaurs. Nyssa, imprisoned in a cell, has only Daleks for company. The Doctor’s friends and allies join forces, certain that their time-traveling old friend is involved. When the Doctor finally makes an appearance, having just escaped from a platoon of Sontarans, his friends who knew his first and second faces are startled by his youthful appearance, and explanations ard in order. The Doctor has just escaped from the Death Zone on his home planet, Gallifrey, and believes that this place and its combatants – former companions and enemies alike – were also intended to be taken there, but were misplaced by whoever controls the Time Scoop. Now the Doctor must find a way to help his friends escape… without also releasing his enemies.

Order this CDwritten by Eddie Robson
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Richard Fox & Lauren Yason

Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Peter Purves (Steven Taylor), Jean Marsh (Sara Kingdom), Anneke Wills (Polly), Dan Starkey (Sontarans), Nicholas Briggs (Daleks)

Notes: The Five Companions was the subscriber-only exclusive released in 2011 alongside the audio story Army Of Death. Dan Starkey has played numerous Sontarans since they began appearing in the current Doctor Who TV series, as well as playing the part of the imp Randall Moon in Russell T. Davies’ series Wizards vs. Aliens, but most Who fans know him best as the Doctor’s Sontaran ally, Strax.

Timeline: from the Doctor’s perspective, this entire adventure happens during The Five Doctors, between the Doctor’s escape from the Cybermen and his appearance in the transmat in the Time Lords’ capitol.

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The Snowmen

Doctor WhoForlorn and bitter after the unexpected departure of Amy and Rory, the Doctor has retreated into hiding in Victorian London – actually, a cloud hovering above it – refusing to lift a finger to alter the destiny of the world. The human race is on its own, at least until a barmaid named Clara draws the Doctor’s attention to snowmen that seem to appear out of nowhere, during one of the Time Lord’s infrequent visits to London. Despite encountering Strax the Sontaran and the Silurian Madame Vastra, Clara unflinchingly asks for the Doctor’s help when she learns that the snowmen are made of snow that responds to the deepest fears of those around them. The Doctor follows Clara to her second job – as a governess taking care of the children at a mansion in the heart of London – and finds that something else lurks beneath a frozen pond on the estate. The mysterious Dr. Simeon is determined to claim it for himself, and he seems to command the slowly growing army of snowmen. But who is Simeon working for – and is all of the mystery finally enough to draw the Doctor out of his melancholy?

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Tom Ward (Captain Latimer), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Simeon), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dan Starkey (Strax), Joseph Darcey-Alden (Digby), Ellie Darcey-Alden (Francesca), Liz White (Alice), Jim Conway (Uncle Josh), Cameron Strefford (Walter), Annabelle Dowler (Walter’s Mother), Ben Addis (Bob Chilcott), Sophie Miller-Sheen (Clara’s Friend), Daniel Hyde (Lead Workman), Ian McKellen (voice of the Great Intelligence), Juliet Cadzow (voice of the Ice Governess)

Doctor WhoNotes: The second Doctor encountered the Great Intelligence in Tibet, 1935, and again in the London Underground in the late 1960s. By showing the Intelligence a lunchbox with a map of the Underground, the eleventh Doctor could well be ensuring that the disembodied being well attempt its fateful takeover of the London subway system (an incursion which leads to the Doctor’s first meeting with Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, later promoted to Brigadier). The Intelligence’s usual minions, robotic Yeti, do not appear in this episode. A 1995 fan film, Downtime (referenced once already this season), depicts a third attempt by the Great Intelligence to gain a foothold on Earth via the Yeti. Clara first appeared in the season premiere, Asylum Of The Daleks. Doctor WhoGuest star Richard E. Grant was the ninth Doctor in an animated alternate universe in 2003’s Scream Of The Shalka (a web-based story that, while produced by the BBC’s interactive wing, has generally been relegated to the “unofficial” column), but is much better known for Withnail & I, in which he co-starred with Paul McGann. This episode debuts a new TARDIS interior (the second major rethink of the vehicle’s console room in Matt Smith’s era) and a new title sequence, only the third time in the show’s history that a new title sequence has premiered in the middle of a season (the other two occasions were the late-in-the-season transition from the fifth to sixth Doctor, and Patrick Troughton inheriting the William Hartnell titles for several episodes). The Doctor now says he is over a thousand years old, which lines up with the unofficial pre-publicity line that hundreds of years of isolation may have elapsed for him since The Angels Take Manhattan.

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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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The Name Of The Doctor

Doctor WhoThen: The Doctor, in his first incarnation, prepares to steal a TARDIS and escape Gallifrey with his grandddaughter, Susan. In the TARDIS repair docks of Gallifrey, he is greeted not by security, but by a young woman whose face and name he will not know until his eleventh incarnation. She advises him to steal a different TARDIS than the one he was planning to take.

Now: The Doctor’s friends hold a cross between a teleconference and a seance, discussing an item of immediate concern: a man who claims to know the Doctor’s true name, his greatest secret. But the gathering itself is a trap: one by one, Jenny, Strax, and Madame Vastra are abducted and taken to Trenzalore, a planet where the Doctor has been predicted to fall. Clara relays this to the Doctor, and after a moment of hesitation, he leads the charge to free his allies. On Trenzalore, he is greeted by the unlikely sight of a giant TARDIS – his TARDIS, abandoned since his future death, its exterior dimensions catching up with its interior dimensions. As soon as the Doctor and Clara enter this future iteration of the TARDIS, it’s quite obvious that it’s a trap. At the heart of the TARDIS, the former console room, the Great Intelligence lurks with a small army of whisper men. The Intelligence wants to undo the Doctor’s history once and for all, by stepping into the Time Lord’s already-paradoxical time stream and thwarting every victory in the Doctor’s history. Against the Doctor’s wishes and his express warning about the danger involved, Clara leaps into the Doctor’s time stream in her own bid to defeat the Great Intelligence at every turn. In doing this, she is splintered into many incarnations of her own, meeting all of the Doctor’s faces and assisting all of them at some point in their adventures: this is why the Doctor has met more than one Clara, and why she has always seemed to go out of her way – even sacrificing her life – to save him. The Doctor jumps into his own time stream to retrieve her once the damage to his history is reversed, finding her alone with someone she doesn’t recognize as one of the Doctor’s many faces.

But the Doctor recognizes this face. It is the face which does not call itself the Doctor. It is the face of the man who fought the final battle of the Last Great Time War.

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Alex Kingston (River Song), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Simeon), Neve McIntosh (Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Dan Starkey (Strax), Eve de Leon Allen (Angie), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie), Nasi Voutsas (Andro), David Avery (Fabian), Michael Jenn (Clarence), Rab Affleck (Archie), Samuel Irvine (Messenger Boy), Sophie Downham (young Clara), Paul Kasey (Whisper Man), John Hurt (The Doctor), William Hartnell (The Doctor)

Notes: Via colorized B&W footage from the original series Doctor Who(and stand-ins), William Hartnell has a speaking part in an episode of Doctor Who for the first time since the prologue of 1983’s The Five Doctors. The Five Doctors is also the source of film clips of Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee. Tom Baker appears in a clip from 1977’s The Invasion Of Time, while Peter Davison appears in footage from 1983’s Arc Of Infinity. A brief clip of Sylvester McCoy from Dragonfire (1987) is also seen; Colin Baker, Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston are represented by stand-ins wearing their costumes rather than by film or video clips.

Doctor WhoThe Great Intelligence mentions some of the Doctor’s “other names”, including “the Oncoming Storm” (the Daleks’ name for the Doctor, first revealed in the novelization of 1988’s Remembrance Of The Daleks in its original Dalek translation, Ka Faraq Gatri) and the Valeyard from The Trial Of A Time Lord, an enigmatic “future aspect” of the Doctor which was, in his only appearance in 1986, said to fall somewhere “between the Doctor’s 12th and final regeneration”.

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Starlight Robbery

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Klein and Will discover that Schalk’s Persuasion Machine design – and possibly even Schalk himself – are up for grabs in an auction of rare weapons of mass destruction. Such a sale of salacious merchandise has already drawn the attention of such unsavory suitors as the Sontarans and other assorted warmongers. Hosting the auction is the equally unsavory Garundel, unaware that his own underling, Ms. Ziv, is planning a double-cross of her own. The Doctor adopts a curiously hands-off approach to this TARDIS trip, assigning Klein and Will to stage a heist of their own to steal the Persuasion machine and Schalk himself. But things quickly go wrong, leaving the Doctor with little choice but to take a more direct hand in events, and risking the lives of his companions.

Order this CDwritten by Matt Fitton
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Tracey Childs (Elizabeth Klein), Christian Edwards (Will Arrowsmith), Stuart Milligan (Garundel), Dan Starkey (Marshal Stenn / Major Vlaar / Sergeant Gredd / Asallis), Jo Woodcock (Ziv), Lizzie Roper (Krakenmother Benarra)

Notes: Actor Dan Starkey is the voice of the Sontarans for both Big Finish and the BBC, having played the eleventh Doctor’s well-meaning-but-still-Sontaran ally Strax in television Doctor Who, and having appeared as other Sontarans since the creatures’ return to modern Who in The Sontaran Stratagem (2008). Starkey also plays the magical imp Randal Moon in Russell T. Davies’ CBBC series Wizards Vs. Aliens. Stuart Milligan, who appeared in previous Big Finish audio stories The Reaping and Lurkers At Sunlight’s Edge, also appeared in televised Doctor Who as President Richard Nixon in The Impossible Astronaut and Day Of The Moon; he first played Garundel in 2012’s audio story Black And White.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Time Of The Doctor

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is confronted with a mystery: a powerful signal is emanating from a backwater planet, defying any attempt to translate or decipher it, and luring ships from nearly every spacefaring race to that world. Having salvaged the severed head of a Cyberman to harness its processing power, the Doctor attaches a piece of Gallifreyan communications technology to the head, presumably capable of translating any language, much like the TARDIS herself, and “Handles” promptly identifies the planet from which the signal is transmitting as Gallifrey, though it bears no resemblance to the Doctor’s home planet. The Doctor and Clara are invited to board the first ship to have arrived here, the Papal Mainframe of the Church. The head of the Church, Tasha Lem, reveals the true name of the mystery planet: Trenzalore. The Papal Mainframe is protecting Trenzalore with a force field, but all hell will break loose the moment that the other ships realize that not only has someone been granted access to the planet, but that someone happens to be the Doctor. Upon first setting foot on Trenzalore, the Doctor and Clara find that others lie in wait, including Weeping Angels. They narrowly escape, and this time the Doctor insists on visiting Trenzalore on his terms, using the TARDIS instead of Tasha Lem’s teleport. The signal emanates from a large crack in the wall of a church tower on Trenzalore, shaped like the crack that the Doctor witnessed numerous times during his early travels with Amy and Rory. The signal is in the Gallifreyan language, repeating one question over and over: “Doctor who?” – the question that the Doctor has been warned must never be answered. Soon, the occupants of the many ships orbiting Trenzalore lose their patience, and try to invade the planet, only to find that the Doctor has given up his travels in space and time to defend it. Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Weeping Angels and others attempt to land on Trenzalore, and are either driven back into space or destroyed.

Involuntarily returned to Earth by the TARDIS, Clara tries to resume her day-to-day life, only to be visited by Tasha Lem, piloting the Doctor’s timeship. She wants Clara to return to Trenzalore. Hundreds of years after he last saw her, the Doctor is dying of old age, able to regenerate no more. Tasha Lem wants Clara to visit him because the Doctor shouldn’t have to die alone.

But yet another force in the universe seems to believe that the Doctor shouldn’t have to die at all.

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Jamie Payne
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Orla Brady (Tasha Lem), James Buller (Dad), Elizabeth Rider (Linda), Sheila Reid (Gran), Doctor WhoMark Anthony Brighton (Colonel Albero), Rob Jarvis (Abramal), Tessa Peake-Jones (Marta), Jack Hollington (Barnable), Sonita Henry (Colonel Meme), Kayvan Novak (voice of Handles), Tom Gibbons (Young Man), Ken Bones (Voice), Aidan Cook (Cyberman), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek/Cyberman voices), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 1), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 2), Ross Mullan (Silent), Dan Starkey (Sontaran), Karen Madison (Weeping Angel), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Peter Capaldi (The Doctor)

Notes: Daleks, Cybermen (including a unique Cyberman made of wood, echoing the King and Queen from The Doctor, The Widow, And The Wardrobe), Sontarans and Angels are seen to attempt landing on Trenzalore; others, such as the Terileptils (seen in only one story, 1982’s The Visitation), are mentioned by name only. Silurian Ark ships (Dinosaurs On A Spaceship) are also seen besieging Trenzalore. The device the Doctor attaches to “Handles” is indeed a communications device given to the Master by the High Council of Gallifrey before venturing into the Death Zone with orders to rescue the Doctor (The Five Doctors, 1983); the significance Doctor Whoof this reference lies in what happened before the Master was given that device in The Five Doctors: he was offered “a complete new life cycle” of regenerations, something which one may infer has been granted to the Doctor by the end of this story. The Punch & Judy-style puppet show performed on Trenzalore recounts the Doctor’s misadventures with the one-eyed Monoids in The Ark (1965).

The Silence, seen throughout the eleventh Doctor’s era, are part of the Church, and stand with the Doctor to defend Trenzalore; the Silents that pestered the Doctor in seasons past (The Impossible Astronaut, Day Of The Moon, The Wedding Of River Song) were part of a rogue task group led by Madame Kovarian to prevent the Doctor from ever reaching this point; obviously that group was not successful, even when they took great pains to kidnap infant Melody Pond to program her to assassinate the Doctor. The cracks, first glimpsed in The Eleventh Hour (and, in that story, attributed to Prisoner Zero), are apparently the Time Lords attempting to signal their location to the Doctor so he can retrieve Gallifrey and return it to its proper place in reality.

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The King Of Sontar

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor and Leela to the site of an unlikely sight: Sontarans fighting another Sontaran. But the target of this operation is no ordinary Sontaran. A Sontaran platoon has been sent to kill – and has failed to kill – a seven-foot-tall Sontaran renegade called Strang. Thanks to a mishap with one of the clone warriors’ cloning vats, Strang has received the concentrated DNA of multiple Sontarans, making him almost unstoppable, and he has his eyes set on wiping out Sontar and its race of “inferior” Sontarans. The Doctor believes that the Time Lords have once again deposited him at a critical moment in history to do their dirty work: to stop Strang from making the Sontarans a far more dangerous race. And just as happened on Skaro, the Doctor has grave misgivings about carrying out this assignment… but others feel differently about the matter.

Order this CDwritten by John Dorney
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Jamie Robertson

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Dan Starkey (Strang / Hutchins), David Collings (Rosato), John Banks (Vilhol / Mercenary), David Seddon (Irving / Garn / Tashan / Mercenary 2), Jenny Funnell (Reaver)

Notes: Technically, this is Leela’s first encounter with the Sontarans, pre-dating The Invasion Of Time.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

Deep Breath

Doctor WhoA live dinosaur in the Thames proves to be quite a spectacle, one that calls for the expertise of Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. No stranger to prehistoric reptiles, Madame Vastra has just the trick for pacifying the dinosaur, but when the dinosaur coughs up a blue and apparently wooden box, Vastra and her entourage instantly know that more trouble will follow. Clara stumbles out of the TARDIS in the company of an older man wearing the Doctor’s clothes: the Doctor’s new face.

As the Doctor recovers from his recent regeneration, Clara questions whether she can continue her travels with him. Madame Vastra scolds Clara for basing her initial impressions of the Doctor’s new incarnation on physical appearance, but before the conversation can continue, the dinosaur in the Thames stirs before spontaneously combusting. The Doctor, having already awoken and gone to the scene, is angered at the creature’s death, and wonders if there have been other recent deaths by spontaneous combustion. Surprised by the question, Vastra admits that there have been. The Doctor, still behaving in an erratic manner, leaves on his own to start investigating.

A newspaper advertisement draws both Clara and the Doctor to a restaurant, each thinking that the other placed the ad, but once they arrive, they are trapped by the restaurant’s mechanical waiters. They are taken to meet the being behind the string of deaths by spontaneous combustion, a mechanical creature harvesting organs and other body parts to keep itself functional in hopes of continuing a mission that was interrupted when it was stranded on Earth. The Doctor has regained enough of his senses the challenge the robot to avoid killing… but in trying to prevent the robot from taking another life, must he take one himself?

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Ben Wheatley
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Dan Starkey (Strax), Nigel Betts (Mr. Anderson), Paul Hickey (Inspector Gregson), Tony Way (Alfie), Maggie Service (Elsie), Sean Ashburn (Restaurant Droid), Peter Ferdinando (Half-Face), Michelle Gomez (Keeper of the Nethersphere), Matt Smith (The Doctor)

Doctor WhoNotes: The Doctor, in his tenth incarnation, encountered similar self-repairing robots aboard the S.S. Madame du Pompadour in The Girl In The Fireplace (2006), also written by Steven Moffat. This is the first post-regeneration story in the history of Doctor Who that features a new scene shot with the previous Doctor.

Maggie Service provided the voice of the ship’s computer in the BBC SF comedy Hyperdrive. Peter Fernandino was the Black Knight in Snow White And The Huntsman, and has also been seen in 300: The Rise Of An Empire and Hyena.

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