Monday, October 20, 2014

Children In Need 2014

The BBC have confirmed that this year's annual charity telethon, Children In Need, will continue its long association with Doctor Who. From the official press release earlier today:
"Also helping out Pudsey on the big night will be Doctor Who."
Pudsey is the charity's mascot bear. This year's Children In Need will take place on Nov 14 on BBC One from 7pm. It is not yet known if this will be a specially-filmed scene with Peter Capaldi or a clip from the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special.

BBC Radiophonic Workshop at the BFI

The BFI have launched their new season of programming, Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder - featuring some of the best science-fiction films and works at events across the UK. For full details, click HERE. In December, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop will be taking part in two events, check them out below. Tickets on sale soon.

Sonic Cinema Presents: Radiophonic Workshop Live
Taking Days of Fear and Wonder as their theme, Radiophonic Workshop have created a unique set that highlights their seminal work in TV and radio and their influence on electronic music in the UK. Drawing on the principles of musique concréte, found sounds, early electronics, handmade synths and tape loops, the Workshop created the otherworldly soundtrack to many iconic shows, including Horizon, Quatermass, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy... and Delia Derbyshire’s realisation of the iconic Doctor Who theme. Join us for a special evening of analogue history and frequencies from the future. 
Sat 6 Dec - 18:00

The Boy From Space + Panel discussion and Q&A with BBC Radiophonic Workshop
To celebrate our BFI DVD release of the remastered and rarely seen The Boy from Space we present a specially edited 70min version of the series. Made by the BBC education department, The Boy From Space tells the story of two children who try to conceal an alien, and has since become legendary as one of the finest children’s series ever made. The eerie nature of the show was greatly assisted by the music and audio effects supplied by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with key Workshop figures Paddy Kingsland, Dr Dick Mills and Roger Limb, who provided the original music for this and many more TV series. We’ll also screen clips of other rarely seen series that the BFI is releasing such as The Changes and Out of The Unknown, and our special guests will demonstrate their working methods and how they contributed to these unique productions. Sat 6 Dec - 13:00

Thanks to BFI

In The Forest Of The Night TV trailer

The BBC have released a television trailer for the next Doctor Who episode, In The Forest Of The Night - watch it in the player above. For more clips, pics and info from the story, click HERE.

AUDIO REVIEWS: Mask of Tragedy / Signs and Wonders

Mask of Tragedy
by James Goss
Starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred

Out Now

Mask of Tragedy sees The Seventh Doctor continue his travels with Ace and Hector – the companion formerly known as Hex Schofield, now with no memory of his past life, and an increasingly troubled relationship with adventuring in the TARDIS as a result. Hector's ongoing character arc weaves neatly into the story here; indeed, it quite deftly exploits some of the possibilities inherent in taking a regular character and stripping them of their memories. Ace and the Doctor at times struggle to remember that Hector is not the same man they met back in St Gart’s Hospital, and by the adventure’s end, it’s clear that these tensions have not been lost on Hector.

It allows us a story where travelling into Earth's history is new to one of our companions again, and - inevitably - they toy with the Cardinal Rule of Historicals. In the immortal words of dearest Hartnell, "You can't rewrite history, not one line!" But where's the fun if nobody at least makes a misguided and well-meaning attempt? And whose historical meddling will, in the end, do the most damage?

However, this is, as we've come to expect from our heroes' jaunts into the past, not a straightforward tale of Spartans and make-believe gods; rather, the catalyst for our heroes adventure is the intrusion of Space Things into history. But writer James Goss takes a novel approach: that is to say, here we see an ancient Athens where several of the Athenians we meet are not only not surprised by the presence of an alien visitor, but downright blasé. It turns out that Athens is no stranger to all manner of tourism.

Of course, any story where one of the pivotal guests is the ancient Greek comic playwright Aristophanes (joyously portrayed by Samuel West) is destined to be sprinkled with a significant measure of comedy, and this story strikes a good balance between lighthearted fun and some genuinely dark moments. That scheming and manipulative tendency so often associated with Sylvester McCoy’s run as The Doctor is most definitely at play here, but in ways that make for a satisfyingly amusing outcome. This, plus our alien visitor and Ace’s stint in the Spartan Women’s Army make for a wonderfully fun adventure steeped in all the things I’ve come to love about historicals, as well as making the gravity of the story’s darker moments all the more meaningful.

If you like a good measure of history thrown in with your Space Things, and a good bit of fun alongside your serious business, this makes for good listening indeed. 


Signs and Wonders 
by Matt Fitton

Starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred

Out Now

After a visit to antiquity in the previous story, Signs and Wonders brings our heroes – The Seventh Doctor, Ace, and Hector – back to good old Liverpool in the not-too-distant future. It comes as little surprise, of course, that something suspicious is afoot, as the team arrive to find a distinctly apocalyptic atmosphere in the city, and that a decidedly the-end-is-nigh celebrity party animal Rufus Stone has something to do with it. As this story is very much the culmination of Hex’s story, however, it is also fitting that we discover that there are some Elder Gods at work here as well.

Philip Olivier really gets a chance to shine here: as Hector, confused and directionless, feeling – perhaps quite rightly – that the memory of his former persona is so prominent and so dear in the minds of his companions that he will never escape it for as long as he is among them. When, however, his memories are restored to him thanks to the efforts of his friends, his decision to leave TARDIS life behind stands.

The story is blessed with a wonderful guest cast, including Amy Pemberton’s welcome reprisal of the role of Sally Morgan, and Jessica Martin (whom listeners may remember as Mags in The Greatest Show In The Galaxy) as the Reverend Janet Green, a vicar who turns out to have motives rather more ulterior than just visiting interesting old churches after all.

As a fairly necessarily continuity-heavy tale, I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting point if you’re new to the audio world of Seven, Ace, and Hex. There is a lot that’s led up to the events of Signs And Wonders, but it culminates in a beautiful coda to Hex’s arc. I’ve really liked Hex and I’ll miss him if he doesn’t make a return, but I’m glad that the character has been blessed with a happy ending. That makes me happy too.

(Plus, writer Matt Fitton has thrown in some especially meaty letter Rs for McCoy to rrrrroll into, which is always fun!)


Thanks to Big Finish

Saturday, October 18, 2014

In The Forest of the Night - Next Time trailer

The BBC have released the Next Time trailer for Doctor Who Series 8, Episode 10, In The Forest of the Night - watch it in the player above. For more clips, pics and info from the story, click HERE.

Doctor Who Extra - Flatline

In the player above you can go behind-the-scenes on Flatline in the latest episode of Doctor Who Extra. For more info, pics and clips from the story, click HERE.

Flatline audio commentary

This commentary includes EXCLUSIVE comments from director Douglas Mackinnon!

Included for your listening pleasure is the Blogtor Who audio commentary for Doctor Who Series 8, Episode 9, Flatline. Recorded by Cameron K McEwan and Alex Romeo, the commentary can be enjoyed whilst watching the story - though, that's not essential. You can download the audio commentary directly HERE, subscribe on iTunes HERE or use the player below. And it's FREE!

Flatline - What Did YOU Think?

The ninth episode of Doctor Who Series 8, Flatline, has aired, but what did you think? Please leave your comments in the section below and, obviously, if you haven't seen it best not to read. Check out the What Did You Think? for Mummy on the Orient Express HERE.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Flatline clip and introduction

In the player above you can watch a new clip from this week's Doctor Who episode, Flatline. Below you can find an introduction from current showrunner Steven Moffat, Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi. The story airs at 8.25pm, Oct 18 on BBC One - for more info, pics and clips from the story, click HERE.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

EPISODE REVIEW: Flatline [spoiler-free]

by Jamie Mathieson

Starring Peter Capaldi & Jenna Coleman

Airs Oct 18

Review by Cameron K McEwan

You wait three years for a Doctor Who story with a train in it and then two come along at once. Last week saw the opulence of the Orient Express while this week's gives us Bristol's gritty old out-of-service 2M65. And both from new writer Jamie Mathieson.

The Doctor and Clara find themselves split up once more due to the interference, and possible invasion, of an alien race who exist in a different dimension. These 2D entities are hurting those they come into contact with, "flattening" them in the process. With the Time Lord stuck in the TARDIS, it's up to Clara to become The Doctor...

Having a Doctor Who episode set in Bristol may not seem like the most exotic or exciting of events but Flatline is one of the most unusual and otherly stories in a very long time.

This is down to the creation of writer Mathieson - monsters for another realm whose communication with our world is baffling and incomprehensible (well, I did say it was set in Bristol). Their intrusion into/onto Earth is unsettlingly portrayed, with the various deaths expertly realised by director Douglas Mackinnon (who performed such sterling work earlier this year on Listen and Time Heist).

The creepy factor in the adventure is high throughout and gathers pace as the beings begin to learn more about the human race and accommodate their form accordingly; going from classic horror in the home (with a neat nod to Terror of the Autons) to horror on your streets motifs. Indeed, the viewers also learn a lot about ourselves as a society when opinions are spouted on the "lesser" characters in the piece by others. Even in the face of certain doom, humanity still finds a way to act atrociously unpleasant (see also Midnight and Turn Left).

Despite the rather grim and scare-laden tone of Flatline, there is a great deal of humour - including a number of highly amusing sight gags. Why? Well, as you may have seen in the official promo pics and clips, the TARDIS has had a makeover and been shrunkified. The Doctor's joy in the opening scenes upon discovering this is a real delight. "I don't think we're bigger are we?" he beams curiously, adding gleefully, "The TARDIS never does this. This is HUGE!"

From there on, we're given more memorable and mirthsome moments based on the resizing (none of which I shall spoil) creating some genuinely unforgettable sights. It's pretty bonkers in parts, and I mean that in the most positive of fashions. The bravery and vision of Jamie Mathieson and Douglas Mackinnon is to be congratulated heartily.

Guest cast member Joivan Wade does a great job as the graffiti artist who befriends Clara, Rigsy. "People were thinking that no one was listening and no one cared," he muses when it comes to missing locals, commenting that the police weren't interested in the disappearances. Christopher Fairbank, who plays community payback leader Fenton, is terrific - snarling bitterly and nastily throughout. However, I will add, he's underused given his stature and talent as an actor.

Coleman impresses with her role as "The Doctor", though her lies are beginning to unravel whilst Capaldi really shines as the Time Lord; going from joyfully bewildered to genuinely confused ("Why can't I understand this?" he questions) to saviour. If there is one point in Doctor Who Series 8 that sees Peter Capaldi as THE Doctor, it's here. A truly spine-tingling, fan-pleasing moment that will have monsters all over the universe treading in fear.

Flatline is one of the most unusual - visually and tonally - episodes in the history of Who. There's laughs and scares as well as the odd slice of social commentary thrown in for good measure. And the relationship between Clara and everyone's favourite Gallifreyan takes an intriguing step after her stint as The Doctor. A fascinating and hugely entertaining episode.

Flatline airs Oct 18 at 8.25pm on BBC One

Thanks to the BBC