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Forbidden Planet Expands Doctor Who Fifteenth Doctor Range

Blogtor Who - Mon, 05/20/2024 - 22:00
Forbidden Planet have added exclusive items from the season’s first three episodes to their Fifteenth Doctor range

Forbidden Planet’s exclusive range of Doctor Who merchandise continues with new items devoted to the first three episodes of the 2024 season. The designs feature two different images of the Bogeyman from Space Babies, two featuring The Devil’s Chord’s Maestro, and two based on the Villengard Ambulance from Boom.

You can get these designs on t-shirts, mugs, coasters, pin-badges, art prints and key rings.

The full list of items is:
  • The Bogeyman photo t-shirt (unisex, women, and child fits)
  • The Bogeyman photo art print
  • The Bogeyman illustration t-shirt (unisex, women, and child fits)
  • The Bogeyman illustration pin badge
  • Introducing Maestro t-shirt (unisex, women, and child fits)
  • Introducing Maestro art print
  • Maestro illustration t-shirt (unisex, women, and child fits)
  • Maestro illustration pin badge
  • Maestro illustration mug
  • Maestro illustration coaster
  • Maestro illustration keychain
  • Villengard Logo t-shirt (unisex fit)
  • Villengard Ambulance pin badge

You can shop the full collection at the Forbidden Planet Doctor Who Season One page now.

New pieces of merchandise will be added to the Forbidden Planet Doctor Who collection as the series continues. In the meantime, fans attending MCM Comic Con in London this weekend can seize the opportunity to get even more merchandise. Items on sale at the convention will include exclusive designs on t-shirts, coasters, art prints, pin badges, key-rings and postcards. Any stock remaining at the end of the convention will be put on the Forbidden Planet site next week while stocks last.

 

MCM exclusive merchandise from Forbidden Planet include
  • The Fifteenth Doctor t-shirt (unisex)
  • The Fifteenth Doctor coaster
  • “Honey I’m Here for Fun” t-shirt (unisex)
  • “Honey I’m Here for Fun” art print
  • “Honey I’m Here for Fun” coaster
  • The TARDIS t-shirt (unisex)
  • The TARDIS pin badge
  • “Hi There, I’m the Doctor” pin badge
  • Sonic Screwdriver pin badge
  • Sonic Screwdriver key-ring
There’s also a set of postcards on sale, containing eight postcards with the following designs:
  • The Fifteenth Doctor
  • “Honey I’m Here for Fun”
  • “Hi There, I’m the Doctor”
  • The TARDIS
  • The Doctor, Ruby and TARDIS silhouette
  • “Who Are You?” (Ruby)
  • The Goblin King
  • “Rock it Janice!”

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Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1: Black and White Variant!

Blogtor Who - Mon, 05/20/2024 - 19:00
Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1 will be available in a special variant sketch cover by Artgem

 

Titan Comics have added yet another cover to their lineup for the launch of their new Doctor Who comic. Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1 now come in nine different covers. The latest is by main Cover A artist Stanley ‘Artgem’ Lau. This time, though, it features his original rough sketch of what become Cover A, and is presented ‘clean’ without the logo and indica.

Ruby Sunday has had her first visit to Earth’s past in The Devil’s Chord. She’s been in space in Space Babies. And she’s stepped foot on an alien world, and looked up upon unfamiliar stars in Boom. But now she meets one of her new friend’s oldest, most classic, foes for the first time. The Cybermen are back! But what are the emotional cyborgs scheming this time? And how will our hero and his latest companion defeat them once again!?

The ongoing series debuts next month from the new team of writer Dan Watters (Batman: Urban Legends), artist Kelsey Ramsay (Good Deeds), and colourist Valentia Bianconi (Dogs of London). All covers for the first issue are available to pre-order from Forbidden Planet and Previews now. Issue 1 arrives on the 26th of June.

The full list of covers are:

  • Cover A is by Stanley ‘Artgem’ Lau (Action Comics, Supergirl, Heat Seeker)
  • Cover B is a photo cover featuring the Cybermen
  • Cover C is by Joshua Swaby (Ms Marvel, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra)
  • Cover D is by Christopher Jones (Young Justice, Detective Comics)
  • Cover E is by Alex Moore (Red Sonja, Cat Fight, Killer Queens)
  • Cover F uses the same Artgem art as Cover A but with foil print
  • Cover G features a large diamond logo on a black background
  • Cover H is a blank cover suitable for getting artists to sketch on at conventions
  • Cover I uses the initial pencil and ink sketch for Artgem’s Cover A

 

Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1. Cover A by Stanley ‘Artgerm’ Lau (c) Titan Comics Doctor Who: The Fifteenth Doctor #1

Join the Fifteenth Doctor in a new comic book adventure! The Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday have followed a mysterious signal to a shopping mall in the last days of Earth. It’s sure to be a trap, but to find the source, The Doctor must face his greatest fears…

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SPOILER REVIEW: Doctor Who: Boom Shines with Depth and Emotion

Blogtor Who - Sat, 05/18/2024 - 18:38

Steven Moffat has once again delivered another classic Doctor Who episode. Doctor Who: Boom is brilliant.   It is the best episode the programme has produced in the past several years and will rank high in any list of Doctor Who episodes. It is dark, emotional and “woke”, taking on everything from capitalism, arms manufacturers, and artificial intelligence algorithms to blind faith.   This is Moffat’s hero without a gun but with an extra heart.

“It’s hard to talk about the importance of an imaginary hero. But heroes ARE important: Heroes tell us something about ourselves. History tells us who we used to be, documentaries tell us who we are now; but heroes tell us who we WANT to be. And a lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero, they didn’t give him a gun–they gave him a screwdriver to fix things. They didn’t give him a tank or a warship or an x-wing fighter–they gave him a box from which you can call for help. And they didn’t give him a superpower or pointy ears or a heat-ray–they gave him an extra HEART. They gave him two hearts! And that’s an extraordinary thing. There will never come a time when we don’t need a hero like the Doctor.”

Steven Moffat

Doctor Who – Boom, John (JOE ANDERSON) Carson (MAJID MEHDIZADEH-VALOUJERDY), BBC Studios/Bad Wolf, James Pardon

Boom has a simple plot. The Doctor and Ruby arrive at a war-torn planet. While racing towards a cry for help, the Doctor gets captured on a landmine. With Ruby’s help, he talks himself out of a no-win situation, ends the battle and saves countless lives. Most of the episode is set on one stage, in a battle-damaged quarry. It is an episode that needs little of the huge Disney budget but instead garners its magic from the story, the characters, and the talent of the actors.

The episode sees the return of the Anglican Marines from the Eleventh Doctor’s era. Two Marines wearing white priest collars are wandering through a minefield on Kasterion 3, attempting to get back to base. John Francis Vatar, the elder of the two, is temporarily blinded and being led by his younger companion, Carson.

Vatar is unique; he is a caring single father with a daughter back at the base. Even amidst this failed mission and his injuries, he calls his daughter Splice to perform the mundane of family rituals, the bedtime routine. Within minutes, the mission home goes wrong, and both men are dead.

Carson falls onto a landmine, and the Marines’ own AI Medic euthanises Vatar due to his injuries. The four-week recovery time for his eyes is not a cost-effective use of resources, and he is promptly compressed into a tube casket. The TARDIS is parked on the planet, and Vatar’s death cries bring the Doctor running into the battleground to help. But instead of being able to save Vatar, he finds himself in peril as he is trapped on an unexploded landmine.   And so, the story begins.

The Doctor

This is Ncuti Gatwa’s best outing as the Doctor. It usually takes a few episodes before the actor who has been handed the keys to the TARDIS makes his own, and in Boom, he has found his stride. Everything Gatwa does in the episode works. He has a perfect delivery of his lines, a beautiful play of emotions as he snaps in frustration, anger and fear for his life. The familiar beats of the Doctor’s rant against war and weaponry exist with a refreshing modern delivery.

“I’m a much bigger bang than you bargained for. I’m a lot more explosive than I look, and, honey, I know how I look. Put a quantum chain reaction through me, and I will shatter this silly little battlefield of yours into dust. All of it, in a heartbeat, into dust..”

 The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa), Doctor Who: Boom

Doctor Who Boom,The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) ,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon

Gatwa’s voice drips with disdain as the Doctor lambasts another Anglican Marine, Mundy Flynn (Vasada Sethu), about her blind faith. The Marines’ lack of questioning has resulted in them being sent to an uninhabited planet, battling the weapons they purchased. Their death count is determined by the Villengard Corporation’s algorithm, designed to maximise their customers’ spending on weaponry according to their budget.   (Aside – If Villengard sounds familiar, recall an exchange between Captain Jack (John Barrowman & the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) about a newly created banana grove.) Similarities parallel today’s military conflicts, where the military corporations have shifted from the Cold War arms race to supplying conflict worldwide.

Ruby Sunday

Ruby Sunday spends a significant portion of the episode dead or dying on the quarry floor; however, during the time she is vertical, she has a huge impact.   There is always a comparison to previous companions, but Millie Gibson has created a unique character. As a young 19-year-old human, she possesses an extraordinary amount of self-confidence, unlike some previous companions; she does not need the Doctor and again demonstrates this as she refuses to back away from the landmine peril.

The Doctor: “Okay, throw it to me.”

Ruby: “No.”

The Doctor: “Throw it to my right hand. I need to use it to counterbalance. I’m going to catch it at the exact moment that I put my left foot down on the ground.”

Ruby: “I understand, but it’s too unstable. Let me give it to you”

The Doctor: “No”

Ruby: “You will have a much better chance if I just put it in your hand.”

The Doctor: “If it goes wrong, you will be caught up in the blast.”

Ruby: “Then let’s get it right then.”

The Doctor: “Ruby, I forbid this.”

Ruby: “Yeah Good luck with that.”

Doctor Who: Boom

Doctor Who – Boom,Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON),,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon

This current episode adds more questions than answers to Ruby’s story. The snowflakes return, and she cries only to pause in mid-air when she dies.   The AI ambulance dates her age as over 3000 years old. However, that conflicts with the previous TARDIS view, as her age is 19. Which is right? Does her time travel influence the Villengard AI’s results?

Other Mysteries – Mundy Flynn & Susan Twist

Another mystery is Mundy Flynn, portrayed by Varada Sethu. According to the BBC press releases, Varada will be a future companion of the Doctor. Her name, Mundy, even suggests this. But is this character Mundy or another character similar to the Clara, Impossible Girl thread? We will need to wait and find out.

And, of course, Susan Twist has returned for another role in another episode.   This time as the AI Ambulance. However, unlike last weeks’  “The Devil Chord”, the Doctor and Ruby fail to recognise her. More questions and more mystery.

Easter Egg Path

As with the previous episodes, Boom has several Easter eggs, just a few of which are discussed here.   However, as showrunner, Russell T Davies and others are setting the audience down the path of discovery, we will be creating an ongoing list in a series of posts.

A Parent’s Love

In the end, the efforts of the Doctor, Ruby, and Mundy fail to stop the Villengard mine from continuing to its foregone conclusion: the destruction of half the planet, killing all the living beings on the planet, including the Doctor. The failsafe in the design leaves no way out, so it is up to the AI-created facsimile of a young girl’s father to save the day.

“ Dad to Dad. You never let them down. Ever. To the end. Right.”

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa), Doctor Who: Boom

In a poignant conclusion, the AI facsimile of John Francis Vatar defeats the Villengard mainframe, disabling the mine and surrendering to save his daughter, Splice, in response to the Doctor’s speech. This reflects Vatar’s enduring love for his daughter even past death, which is particularly resonant considering the Doctor’s own tragic past. How the Doctor’s speech will play out going forward in the season will be interesting, especially given the canon that the Doctor is responsible for the death of his own children.

Conclusion

“Doctor Who: Boom” is a standout episode, rich in narrative and emotional depth. It’s a testament to the show’s enduring appeal and relevance. Be sure to catch our Second Sight review of “Doctor Who: Boom” on Wednesday, and don’t miss the next episode.

 

 

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The Doctor Who Prom is BACK!

Blogtor Who - Fri, 05/17/2024 - 20:30
The Doctor Who Prom returns this year and tickets are on sale!

The Proms, the series of concerts held at the Royal Albert Hall every year since 1895 are a national institution in the United Kingdom. The music of Doctor Who has had the honour of being the subject of Proms before. But now the Doctor Who Prom is back for the first time since 2013! The concert will run twice on Monday the 26th of August. A matinee at 2.30 in the afternoon will be followed by an evening repeat at 7pm. Tickets went on sale today, with limited seating still available at the time of writing. It’s one of the most unique and, it’s generally agreed, glorious celebrations of the show. The Doctor Who Prom is a must for any fan able to attend.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the same talented musicians who provide the soundtrack to the television show, will be performing live. The exact playlist for the 2024 Doctor Who Prom is still secret for now. But the three previous events give us a good idea of what to expect. It will undoubtedly treat those attending to classic favourites like I Am the Doctor, Doomsday, The Shepherd Boy, and more. Plus, of course, we can expect more recent Doctor Who bangers like Fifteen to thrill the crowds too. Blogtor Who would also guess that this year there will almost certainly be a twist at the end…

 

The National Orchestra of Wales perform I Am the Doctor at the 2013 proms (c) BBC The Doctor Who Prom will feature the show’s stars on stage

Beyond the music, the Doctor Who Prom will feature appearances from stars of the TV series. In earlier years, Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor) and Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) have acted as hosts for the show. There have also been special appearances by Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), and Peter Davison (Peter Davison). We don’t know the presenter of the 2024 prom yet, but Ncuti Gatwa himself is one contender. It would also mean he could do double duty by belting out a verse of The Goblin Song too!

The Doctor Who Prom also traditionally features a new Doctor Who mini-adventure. The Music of the Spheres mixed prerecorded footage of David Tennant with a Graske on stage. The Boy Who Saved the Proms sent Matt Smith’s Doctor into the audience to recruit a young helper to save the universe. And the 50th Anniversary Prom started with a prerecorded sequence starring the Doctor and Clara. The pair struggled to reach the Albert Hall before triumphantly appearing on stage for the crowd. It also featured Strax the Sontaran offering a field report about the Proms to High Command. We can expect more such fun at the next Prom, but we’ll have to wait and see what form it takes.

 

Matt Smith at the 2010 Proms Come face to face with iconic monsters as they invade the Royal Albert Hall this August

As if all that wasn’t enough, the events are also well known for appearances by the various monsters of Doctor Who. Whether on the stage, on a central platform in the middle of the arena, or even invading the audience itself, the Daleks, Cybermen and other iconic baddies are usually joined by a collection of more recent fiends. With the likes of the Doctor Who Experience no longer open, this will be fans’ first chance to get up close and personal with the Monster class of 2024.

If you hurry you can still get the last few tickets for the Doctor Who Proms 2024 below. Blogtor Who has already secured our tickets so we’ll see you there!

Afternoon show (2.30pm)

Evening show (7pm)

But if don’t wind up heading to the Royal Albert Hall on the day, you can listen to it all live on BBC Radio Three. A recording of the concert is also likely to show up as an extra on a DVD and Blu-ray soon, as have all previous Doctor Who Proms.

 

 

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Boom! Doctor Who War Stories

Blogtor Who - Fri, 05/17/2024 - 16:00
They say demons run when a good man goes to war, and here are some of the finest examples from six decades of Doctor Who going to war

War, yeah? What is it good for? Well, strangely enough for a show about someone who just wants to have fun, it’s been good for some brilliant Doctor Who stories down the years. This week Steven Moffat returns to deliver Boom. It’s a story featuring the Doctor and Ruby trapped in the middle of a war they want no part of. Ncuti Gatwa’s incarnation may be the most happy go lucky the Time Lord has been in years. But with Ruby’s life in the balance can the former Doctor of War resist the rising anger within?

But before that, there’s time to look back at some of Boom’s predecessors as classic Doctor Who war stories. Ones that by and large agree with Edwin Starr’s classic anthem: war’s good for absolutely nothing at all.

 

The Doctor contemplates whether war crimes can ever be morally justified in Genesis of the Daleks – (c) BBC Genesis of the Daleks

For many 1975’s Genesis of the Daleks is the ultimate Dalek story. But it’s also arguably the show’s best war story too. Writer, and creator of the Daleks, Terry Nation often took inspiration from vintage WWII films in his scripts. But pushed by script editor Robert Holmes, with Genesis Nation provided something both darker and more profound. Skaro’s thousand year war of attrition is a conflict with no real winners. The dual Kaled and Thal war efforts have drained planetary resources so much troops are reduced to bows and arrows. All around them is a blasted, toxic, wasteland as far as the eye can see, populated by the ‘genetically wounded.’

Though not quite carried through into the casting, the script describes even the generals directing the war as little more than children, fighting on a world where few grow old.

It’s no wonder, then, that Boom features its own nod to Genesis of the Daleks. Near the start of the earlier story, the Doctor (Tom Baker) stands on a landmine. The mine will detonate if he steps off it. The result is several tense minutes as his companion Harry (Ian Marter) works to make the mine safe. All the while refusing to abandon his friend. And just under 50 years later, Steven Moffat returns to same anxiety inducing premise with Boom.

 

The War Games brings Zoe (Wendy Padbury), The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), and Jamie (Frazer Hines) to what seems to be the trenches of WWI (c) BBC The War Games

A few years earlier, Doctor Who had provided an SF twist on the futility of war that rivaled Genesis for bleakness. The War Games was Patrick Troughton’s final story as the Doctor. It formed a suitably epic ten episode swansong where the Doctor finally runs into a problem too huge for him. The TARDIS seemingly materialises in No Man’s Land during World War I. The Doctor immediately wants nothing but to whisk his friends Jamie and Zoe away somewhere safer. But they’re soon cut off from the time machine by advancing artillery. As they try and find safety, they’re swept up in a battlefield even vaster than they expected.

Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke’s script is full of biting commentary about the Great War, and war in general. It may an alien influence response for the various soldiers the Doctor encounters only having vague memories of how they came to the battlefield, or what cause they’re fighting for. The same aliens may also manipulate the Doctor, Zoe, and Jamie’s trial as spies to deliver the ‘correct’ verdict. But it reflects the reality for many combatants in the war. Men fighting and dying for unclear geopolitical reasons as part of an unfair system gamed against them.

Even the alien War Lords’ plan: to build an ‘ultimate army’ by forcing various soldiers abducted through history to fight to the death, is insane. But it’s the particular type of insanity over which wars are often fought.

 

The Curse of Fenric brings the Doctor and Ace to WWII where an experimental bioweapon is part of an ancient plan (c) BBC The Curse of Fenric

Doctor Who’s final season before it went off air for 15 years (TV Movie notwithstanding) ironically included some of its best stories in years. Among them was the World War II set The Curse of Fenric. The script actually stays off the battlefields of Europe themselves, instead confining itself to a British naval base that’s about to be infiltrated by Soviet commandos… and vampires.

Despite that, the nature of war is at the heart of the drama. Even though Russia and the UK are allies in the fight against Hitler, both are already taking steps to prepare for the next war. The conflict to control a bioweapon developed by the British is only the surface of the threat. Everyone is being manipulated by the ancient evil called Fenric, and the global power plays simply part of Fenric’s scheme to unleash the weapon on the whole world. The story’s most powerful image hammers the message home even further. The solution to a chess problem set by the Doctor is simply for the two pawns to refuse to fight.

 

The Doctor faces the most terrible decision of his life to end the Time War in The Day of the Doctor (c) BBC Studios The Day of the Doctor

No story on this list places the science fiction elements as front and centre as The Day of the Doctor. But the 50th Anniversary special, as well as a stunning celebration of the show’s golden anniversary, provides our first true look at the Time War. The last great Time War had cast a shadow over Doctor Who ever since its return in 2005. In Rose, the Ninth Doctor declared “I fought in the War! I couldn’t save those planets! I couldn’t save any of them!”

The very question of how vast a war must be, with what could compel the Doctor to fight in one, was thrilling. Over the next several years we got some answers about the Time War. But the actual fighting of it was something unseen and perhaps even impossible to depict on screen.

In some ways, The Day of the Doctor reducing the final day of the Time War to Daleks and Time Lords shooting at each other was a disappointment. But that’s only a small, if spectacular, component is a story about the cost one pays for fighting. It’s a familiar theme for Doctor Who, but one never brought more into focus by having the Doctor himself the man filled with regret.

Meanwhile, the parallel storyline of the Human/Zygon war brewing in the present day reinforces the point. Its direct sequel The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion deserves an honourable mention too. As the Doctor works to protect the peace treaty he helped forge on a “very important day” he delivers not just one of most blistering speeches in Doctor Who ever, but one of the most powerful anti-war speeches in science fiction television.

 

A young couple make a stand for love and peace in a time of violence in Demons of the Punjab (c) BBC Demons of the Punjab

The 2018 story Demons of the Punjab is the only entry on this list to not technically take place during a war. All the same, its historical setting, the Partition of India, saw up to 800,000 people in the Punjab region die. And war is never far from the characters’ thoughts. The demons of the title, the Thijarians were once fierce warriors, now turned watchers of the lost and unremembered following the destruction of their own world.

The central emotional conflict, meanwhile, is between WWII veteran Prem and his little brother Manish. Prem knows full well the realities of war, while Manish is obsessed by ideas of glory and nationalism. So much so it blinds to younger man to what’s truly important in life. It leads, with tragic inevitability, to one causing the murder of the other, as the former solider appeals for peace, and the alien former assassins look on in remembrance.

Demons of the Punjab was first broadcast on the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice that brought the First World War to an end. Save for a brief flashback, we may have seen little actual war in the episode. But its principal message of a WWII veteran standing up to ultra nationalism to say that this is not what they’d fought and died for, could not have been more timely.

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON),BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon Boom

This brings us back to 2024 and Boom. We know that it places the Doctor in perhaps the tightest spot of his entire career. Can he defuse an entire war with the power of his voice alone? We’ll have to wait until the early hours of Friday morning to know if, and how, he succeeds, and to understand what Steven Moffat has to say on the complexities and compromises of war this time. But we’ll see you in the peace time on the other side for Blogtor Who’s review.

 

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) & The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA)
,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon Doctor Who continues tonight at midnight BST with Boom on iPlayer in the UK, and on Disney+ everywhere else except Ireland

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Doctor Who Second Sight Review: Space Babies

Blogtor Who - Thu, 05/16/2024 - 22:00
The series premiere unites Disney money with the spirit of late 1970s Doctor Who to launch an adorably chaotic new duo

 

Space babies. Space babies. Space babies. Space babies. We’ve certainly come a long way since the Twelfth Doctor declared “people never … put the word ‘space’ before
something just because it’s all hi-tech and futurey.” Now nothing gives the Doctor, in the form of Ncuti Gatwa, greater joy then babies in space. Space babies. But who can blame him? It’s a pretty joyous phrase to say. And a pretty joyous episode to watch.

This ‘second sight’ review reconsiders the episode a week, and four re-watches, on. But let’s recap for those who haven’t seen it at all yet. (Blogtor is only judging you a little). Space Babies takes the Doctor and Ruby to Babystation Beta above the planet Pacifico del Rio millennia in the future. A baby farm tasked with creating new citizens for the planet below has been abandoned by its crew. Now the last crop of Space Babies the station produced try their best to survive but time, air, and food are running out. And in the cellar levels below, the Bogeyman stirs in the dark…

 

The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA), gives Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) her first taste of space travel in Space Babies ,BBC Studios,James Pardon Babystation Beta is a space station with dwindling supplies and a creature in the pits below

Russell T Davies has said that his inspiration for last year’s Wild Blue Yonder was 1978’s Underworld. It was an attempt to answer a question worthy its new Disney+ sibling. What if… producer Graham Williams had the GDP of small country at his disposal instead of crushing runaway inflation? But that notion continues on to the new season as the premiere similarly channels the spirit of late 1970s Doctor Who. Back then Williams was acting on a mandate to make the show less scary following some media manufactured controversies. He responded by filling it with wilder, sillier, and funnier ideas than ever before, and setting it all in orbit of the pure gravitational force of Tom Baker’s charisma and massive smile.

In 2024, Davies’ motive might be somewhat different. He’s providing a safe harbour of fun and wit in an ever stormier world. But his solution takes its cue from Williams’, only with raw power of Ncuti Gatwa, and his smile no less magnetic than Baker’s, at its core. The Giggle and The Devil’s Chord feature Williamesque vast cosmic entities. But Space Babies’ DNA instead includes a strand of Creature from the Pit in a double helix with a strand of Nightmare of Eden. In orbit high above a planet the passengers of a stranded vessel are menaced by a savage roaring monster. But the huge, gloopy green creature in the basement may simply be misunderstood. And underneath all this banter and whimsy, there are some surprisingly earnest political points.

 

Jocelyn (GOLDA ROSHEUVEL) & Eric in Space Babies,BBC STUDIOS,James Pardon Russell T Davies’ gift for encapsulating huge ideas in simple, heartfelt, dialogue once more lifts Doctor Who

There’s a large strand of Davies’ own earlier work spliced in too. (It’s science fiction: it’s DNA can have three strands.) Doctor Who has always taken the opportunity of a new companion to present a crash course on the show’s premise for new viewers. But there’s a whole new audience coming on board via Disney+. So it’s natural Space Babies gives us the most comprehensive briefing since 2005.

This is Ruby’s first voyage into space, and we get a virtual play by play of The End of the World. It’s complete with space station windows looking out upon the stars, and jiggery pokery with phones for calls to mum. But it’s a form of recycling that’s hard to mind. Apart from the nostalgia it generates in anyone over, oh, 25 or so, it reminds us that people in Rose and Ruby’s position would all have the same fundamental worries and wonders.

This boot camp in the show’s lore also demonstrates part of what sets Davies apart as a Doctor Who writer. It shows his economical ability to pour worlds of feeling into just a few words. He embraces the Doctor’s current status quo since he last worked on the show. Previously, the whole business with the Timeless Child and losing his world in not one, but two global genocides (Lady Bracknell would not be amused) seemed to require a slide show presentation to explain. However, Davies condenses it down to a single sentence word sketch of poetic beauty. “The one who was adopted is the only one left.”

 

Captain Poppy of Babystation Beta in Space Babies ,BBC STUDIOS,James Pardon All the running down corridors and the whimsy serves a message of sincerity and heart

We else get some other distinctly Daviesesque touches. There’s a fart joke of such raw power that it makes the Slitheen seem positively sophisticated. The script also mines blown noses and full nappies for humour, and some may balk at it. Davies clearly thinks this is the best route to the hearts of new viewers and 19 years (a whole Ruby Sunday) on from burping wheelie bins, it’s hard to argue.

But Davies also never forgets what Doctor Who is for. He supplies Gatwa with plenty of what his 1970s predecessor Jon Pertwee called ‘moments of charm.’

Wondering when Captain Poppy was last hugged, and discovering the answer is “never,” he enfolds her in the most tender embrace. While his reassurance to the fretful Poppy that “nobody grows up wrong,” is as beautiful as it is simple, and powerful as it is true. The story wraps silliness and shenanigans around proper, big, science fiction ideas and a lot of heart.

Indeed, it’s easy to imagine Davies is making a little mischief here. When writing The Giggle he accurately predicted that a small, shrill, segment of the audience would have been complaining about Shirley’s use of a wheelchair in The Star Beast. Now, he makes the key moral of this story things you’d think would be universally agreed upon. Starving babies to death is bad, y’all. In doing so, he’s set the same crowd up to make themselves look even more ridiculous when they inevitably complain.

 

Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) and The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa prepare to face the Bogeyman,BBC STUDIOS AND BAD WOLF Photo by James Pardon Refurbishing the window dressing around the show merely serves to emphasize the core traits that define Doctor Who

The Twelfth and Fifteenth Doctor might disagree about slapping the word ‘space’ in front of everything (just imagine that 70th Anniversary special.) But when the Capaldi incarnation proclaimed that the Doctor what he does because “it’s right. Because it’s decent. Because above all, it’s kind,” he’s describing the Gatwa version to a tee.

Doctor Who has begun its latest reinvention. Its sets wouldn’t wobble if you paid them. And, oh, you could pay them. Graham Williams could probably have spent its budget for painting out green leotard wearing puppeteers making an entire six part serial. The Doctor himself throws hugs around like they’re going out of fashion.

But the more you refurbish the window dressing, the sharper the focus on the show’s soul, as the Doctor throws himself across an airlock to save the monster. Doctor Who and its central character are right. They’re decent. And above all, they’re kind. Doctor Who is still Doctor Who. A show Graham Williams would surely have been proud to still be an influence on, 45 years later.

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) & The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) on a battlefield in Boom ,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon Doctor Who continues on Friday at midnight BST with Boom on iPlayer in the UK, and on Disney+ everywhere else except Ireland

 

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REVIEW: Doctor Who: Echoes

Blogtor Who - Thu, 05/16/2024 - 19:00
Out now, Echoes reunites the Eighth Doctor, Liv and Helen for the first time since 2022’s Connections
Birdsong by Tim Foley

Opening the set, Birdsong is a much more low-key entry into the Eighth Doctor range. Set on an empty world where two scouts await the rest of their colony, The Doctor, Liv and Helen find themselves embroiled in a mystery. The supporting cast of Jane Asher as Myra, and Fiona Button as Bex, make for a phenomenal ensemble cast when pitted alongside our regulars. Whilst the story itself is simplistic, and with a minimal cast, don’t let this fool you. This story packs a great deal of punch and poignancy. as well as some rather creepy scenes! Tim Foley manages to subvert expectations, and keep you hooked in this engaging story.

 

(L-R) Hattie Morahan, Paul McGann, Nicola Walker (c) Big Finish Lost Hearts by Lauren Mooney and Stewart Pringle

Regular writers for the Doctor Who and Torchwood ranges, Lauren Mooney and Stewart Pringle have made quite a name for themselves in the Whoniverse. Lost Hearts is yet another example of why they are regarded so highly for their writing talents. The story has everything going for it. The Doctor, Liv and Helen arrive in 1903 in one of England’s ancient universities, and things are very wrong. Attempting to uncover the truth behind strange apparitions, and cloister bells that shouldn’t be ringing, The Doctor, Liv and Helen find themselves in an extraordinary place. There are an abundance of twists and turns throughout, some of which will leave you with an “Aha!” moment.

Eagle-eyed listeners may have spotted a very similar surname in the cast list, which leaves for some very interesting conversations to put it mildly! This story puts fan-favourite Liv into quite the predicament, and it makes for an excellent listen.

 

(L-R) Holly Jackson-Walters, Dan Starkey, Derek Griffiths, Maya Saroya (c) Big Finish Slow Beasts by Dan Rebellato

Newcomer to the Whoniverse, Dan Rebellato, certainly knows how to keep listeners engaged. In Slow Beasts, the Doctor takes Liv and Helen to see one of the Wonders of the Outer Galaxy. But in typical fashion, he soon unearths a dark secret. This story stars Derek Griffiths, who listeners may remember from classic children’s television series including Playschool. Slow Beasts acts as an allegory for humanity, highlighting how far we have come but also how much further we are yet to go. Ending the set is no easy feat, and Rebellato does it with ease. Whilst it may not be an explosive ending, it does serve as a great conclusion.

Whilst this set is very consistent, and of a high quality, it must be said that the ongoing arc’s which the Eighth Doctor range is known for, are sorely missed. Hopefully we will see a return to this in either October’s Time War: Uncharted 1, or December’s Deadly Strangers.

Doctor Who: Echoes (c) Sean Longmore Doctor Who: Echoes

As the Doctor, Liv and Helen explore the universe, they come across lost souls, troubled minds and long-kept secrets. From a lonely world with birdsong but no birds, to an English university whose undergraduates tell ghostly tales, and a distant galaxy where a utopian society lives in the shadow of enormous creatures, the TARDIS crew are haunted by echoes of past, present and future…

Doctor Who: Echoes is now available to own as a collector’s edition single-disc CD (+ download for just £22.99) or as a digital download only (for just £18.99), exclusively here. Big Finish listeners can save money long-term by ordering Echoes as part of a bundle, here.

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REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord – A Camp Masterclass

Blogtor Who - Wed, 05/15/2024 - 13:00
The Devil’s Chord is an adventure unlike any other, further opening the possibilities within Doctor Who, and leaving room for a potential future fully musical episode

Offering itself as a clear contrast to Space Babies, The Devil’s Chord serves as yet another slice of the Doctor Who pie to new viewers, showing just how versatile the show actually is. Despite the double whammy premiere lessening the run of the season from eight weeks to seven, this strategy is sure to grab the attention of new viewers by the contrast alone between the two episodes.

If one word had to be used to describe The Devil’s Chord, it would be: fun. This story really has the best elements of Doctor Who and uses them brilliantly. From a terrifying, yet camp, villain who you can’t help but root for, to the use of Murray Gold’s exceptional score, to the Beatles!

 

Jinkx Monsoon – Queen of All Queens and the ultimate Drag Race All Stars winner Jinkx Monsoon – The villain of the season?

The self-proclaimed “internationally tolerated drag queen superstar” has well and truly left a mark on Doctor Who. Hot off the heels after winning Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7, All Winners, Jinkx effortlessly cements herself as one of the greatest Doctor Who villains from the past few years. Maestro is yet another wonderful RTD villain, taking some of the best elements from the Toymaker and Missy with a dash of Monsoon! It’s not often that viewers are rooting for a villain, however in this case it’s difficult not to!

It’s tricky to believe that this role wasn’t created solely for Jinkx to play, the way she embodies Maestro with apparent ease. At any given moment, you really can’t expect what Maestro will do next. Will they burst into song? Will they kill you? Or perhaps both? Something that has been missing from Who for a while has been the fun factor, and Maestro certainly brought it. The pantheon of the Toymaker has been unleashed, just how much longer do we have to wait until the next member appears?

 

Susan Twist’s Appearances (so far) Susan Twist – Just Who is she?

Actor Susan Twist, most known for her role in British soap opera Brookside, has baffled viewers. Appearing in every episode of Season 1 so far, in blink-or-you’ll-miss-it cameos, as well as Wild Blue Yonder and The Church on Ruby Road. The internet is, as you’d expect, abundant with theories as to who this mysterious character could be. From Susan, to a sentient TARDIS, to Ruby’s mother, to Sutekh’s servant Scarman! It’s safe to say that this intriguing character has captured the imagination of viewers, leaving lots of room for speculation. It may not be for long however, as eagle-eyed viewers may have also spotted her in the trailer for this week’s Boom!

 

Doctor Who S1,11-05-2024,2,Paul McCartney (GEORGE CAPLE) The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa),BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,Photo by James Pardon The Beatles – They love their dogs?

Despite the marketing, the lack of the Beatles was quite surprising. Asides from a few key scenes throughout, this didn’t feel like it educated viewers on the Beatles. Granted, their scenes all had very different things going for them, with comedy being at the forefront. Unlike other episodes to feature real life figures, we don’t learn an awful much about the Beatles themselves.

Whilst the episode itself was fun, and Maestro was exceptional, it would have been nice to learn more about the Beatles. How did they form the group? What became of them? It would have been a great opportunity to educate viewers, particularly younger viewers, on the group themselves. It’s apparent that despite the marketing, this was never meant to be a historical in the same vein as Vincent and the Doctor.

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) & The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) in The Devil’s Chord ,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,Natalie Seery Conclusion

The Devil’s Chord has set the groundwork for a full on musical episode, which seems likely to occur within this era. Certainly going off of fan response to this episode, it seems even more possible. Let’s hope that if a full on musical episode does occur, the fabulous Jinkx Monsoon reprises her role as Maestro!

 

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) & The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA)
,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon Doctor Who continues next Friday at midnight BST with Boom on iPlayer in the UK, and on Disney+ everywhere else except Ireland

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Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition: 50 Years of the Fourth Doctor

Blogtor Who - Wed, 05/15/2024 - 08:00
Doctor Who Magazine marks five decades of Tom Baker’s iconic Time Lord with a new Special Edition – on sale now!

June marks the 50th anniversary of the Tom Baker’s first appearance of possibly the most iconic Time Lord of all. Doctor Who Magazine is celebrating with an 84-page Special Edition, packed with all-new features, interviews, infographics and also new fiction!

“Tom Baker made such an extraordinary impact that, to some people, he will always be the Doctor,” says editor Marcus Hearn.

In our latest Special Edition we’ve interviewed many of the actors who appeared alongside him, including Hilary Ryan, who’s never spoken about Doctor Who before. As well as casting new light on some of the series’ best-loved episodes, we’ve also added an exclusive adventure to the Fourth Doctor’s journey with a new short story by Christopher H Bidmead. There’s something here for everyone who loves the Fourth Doctor!”


Highlights of the new DWM Special Edition include:
  • Louise Jameson and Matthew Waterhouse – a joint interview with the actors who played Leela and Adric as they remember their TARDIS travels
  • Gareth Armstrong, Janet Ellis, Hilary Ryan and Guy Siner – interviews with guest stars from The Masque of Mandragora, The Horns of Nimon, The Invasion of Time and Genesis of the Daleks
  • June Hudson – the iconic costume designer recently seen in The Devil’s Chord is reunited with the famous burgundy coat she designed for Tom Baker’s Time Lord, courtesy of the collector who now owns it.
  • Dave Gibbons – the legendary comic artist looks back on the seminal artwork he created for the golden age of DWM comics.
  • The Fourth Doctor timeline – the Fourth Doctor’s television journey from 1974 to 1981, as well as details of his off-screen adventures from other media
  • The Fourth Doctor’s costumes (and pockets) – Light-hearted guides to both Tom Baker’s numerous costumes and everything that came out of his pockets
  • 20 moments that define the Fourth Doctor – including classic scenes from The Ark in Space, The Deadly Assassin, City of Death and more.
  • New Fiction – a new story by Christopher H Bidmead, who wrote the Tom Baker’s final television story, Logopolis.

 

DWM Special Edition: 50 Years of the Fourth Doctor (c) Panini Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition: 50 Years of the Fourth Doctor

DWM Special Edition: 50 Years of the Fourth Doctor is on sale now, available from the online Panini store, WH Smith and other retailers priced £9.99 (UK). Also available as a digital edition from Pocketmags (£8.99). You can also save with a subscription.

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Steven Moffat Returns for Doctor Who Christmas 2024 Special

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/14/2024 - 22:00
Steven Moffat returns to bring Joy to the World this Christmas

Steven Moffat has confirmed that he’s the writer of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special. He’s also revealed that the title of the new episode is Joy to the World. It will be Moffat’s 50th episode for the series, and 43rd story, making him one of the show’s most prolific writers.

The new episode brings Derry Girls’ and Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan into the Doctor’s world. We know little about the plot so far, but we can probably safely say the duo save Christmas together. The Bad Wolf team announced Coughlan’s casting as the character of ‘Joy’ just before filming last November. It certainly makes Joy to the World an appropriate title.

It’s the first time anyone but the current showrunner has tackled either a Christmas or New Year’s special. But with Steven Moffat having previously written seven Christmas specials during his own tenure, he’s clearly a safe pair of hands.

 

You can find out more about Steven Moffat’s return to Doctor Who in the new issue of TV Choice magazine

The news comes from a far ranging interview with former Doctor Who Magazine editor Tom Spilsbury in this week’s TV Choice. There, Moffat also himself downplays the significance of his return to the show in typical fashion.I said, ‘I don’t think it will be huge, that a bloke who wrote a ton of Doctor Who has now written even more of it.’” Yet clearly, many fans are eagerly anticipating this weekend’s battlefield drama Boom and this December’s Joy to the World.

You can read the full interview in TV Choice, where Moffat also reveals why he agreed to return to the show, the showrunner’s art of dodging questions, which of his monsters he’d like to see finally done “right,” and which of his previous Christmas specials he “didn’t love. I thought it was OK…“

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) & The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA)
,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon Doctor Who continues next Friday at midnight BST with Boom on iPlayer in the UK, and on Disney+ everywhere else except Ireland

 

 

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REVIEW: Torchwood: Disco

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/14/2024 - 20:00
The Gareth David-Lloyd penned Ianthology concludes in Disco – out now!

If you thought that the Big Finish Torchwood Monthly Range couldn’t get any better, think again. Disco is perhaps one of the simplest stories to enter the range plot wise, but it’s superbly effective. David-Lloyd plays a blinder here, in both his writing and performance. Big Finish sometimes falters by giving the listener too much exposition, whereas this particular story lets you realise what’s happening at your own pace. Director Lisa Bowerman notes this herself in the extras, which come as an added bonus with every Big Finish purchase.

Grief-stricken Ianto comes face-to-face with his father, exploring their relationship which has been hinted at for years. Getting to know his father throughout really adds another layer to Ianto. At this point, Ianto is a 14-story apartment building with the amount of layers he has! The way this story unfolds, really is a masterclass at grief, and parental troubles. Its simplistic nature adds tenfold to the emotions felt by the listener. In what has become the traditional Torchwood fashion, it ends on a line sure to leave you feeling an abundance of emotions.

 

The father-son chemistry between Gareth David-Lloyd and Rhys ap Trefor grounds a standout Torchwood story

Rhys ap Trefor, who portrays Ianto’s dad, Disco, is a superb guest star, leaving his mark on the Torchwood Monthly Range. The chemistry, banter and heartfelt scenes that he shares with David-Lloyd’s Ianto are as if they were actually father and son. The dynamic is instantly believable from the get-out, with Ianto slipping up on occasion leaving the listener panicking for him! It goes without saying that we would all love our favourite guest stars to return, but I have a feeling in this case it’s best left alone. This is without a doubt a standout Torchwood story in any medium, and it will definitely leave you with food for thought.

 

Torchwood: Disco. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish Torchwood: Disco

It’s 1987 and “Disco” Jones is still dancing. Life and soul, bab, life and soul. Wednesdays is darts at The Merry Miller, Thursdays – shove ha’penny at The Boilermakers, Fridays played by ear, and Saturdays it’s the Disco at Cinderella’s.

So who is Tom and why does he want to build a fence with him?

Torchwood: Disco is now available to own as a collector’s edition single-disc CD (+ download for just £10.99) or as a digital download only (for just £8.99), exclusively here. Big Finish listeners can save money long-term by ordering Tube Strike as part of a six-release Torchwood – Monthly Range bundle for just £60 (collector’s edition CD + download) or £50 (download only). A 12-release Torchwood bundle is also available for just £110 (collector’s edition CD + download) or £96 (download only).

 

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Doctor Who’s Christopher Eccleston Explores ‘The Guilty Innocent’

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/14/2024 - 10:00
Christopher Eccleston explores some of the most controversial verdicts in British history for Sky History in The Guilty Innocent

Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston returns to British television screens tonight with The Guilty Innocent. The Sky History documentary series marks the famous actor’s first presenting role, as he looks into two notoriously controversial convictions. This first series features two cases, those of George Davis and James Hanratty. These fascinating stories are brought to life in an exploration of how the justice system decided its verdict and what it says about our world today.

 

Each meticulously researched episode of The Guilty Innocent will see Christopher Eccleston lead an in-depth contemporary investigation into some of the world’s most controversial convictions. Using archive footage, talking head interviews with historical experts and reconstruction, each exciting close-ended episode will bring to life these fascinating stories and explore why and how the system got the wrong person and what it says about our world today.

On the case of George Davis, and the “George Davis is innocent, ok?’ motto that began to appear across England in protest, Eccleston says, “I was just a child so just seeing the graffiti. Usually, the graffiti I saw was about football allegiance or the name of a pop star. I remember thinking ‘George Davis’ was not a particularly exciting name. It’s not ‘Jimi Hendrix’, it’s not ‘Marvin Gaye’, it’s not ‘MUFC’, so what is that?

“Of course, my mother and father would have known but I had no idea it was the tip of this working-class grassroots movement of rebellion and challenge”

Although this is Eccleston’s first documentary, the subject echoes the role that first brought him to national attention. Let Him Have It starred the future Doctor Who as a young man with learning difficulties convicted and executed for the use of the ambiguous phrase “let him have it,” to a fellow criminal.

 

The Guilty Innocent with Christopher Eccleston starts at 9pm on the 14th of May on Sky History

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