Friday, July 30, 2010

Amy's History Hunt - preview

The official site has updated with details on the new online game, Amy's History Hunt. See a trailer for it in the player below.

ETA: The game is now available to play HERE.

Series 5, Volume 4 DVD cover art & details

2|entertain have issued details about the next volume of Series 5 on DVD. Volume 4 includes the episodes Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang along with another installment of The Monster Files. Also included is an exclusive Top Trumps card. Both the DVD and Blu~Ray versions are released September 6, priced £15.99/19.99.

Thanks to 2|entertain

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Links page update

The LINKS page here at Blogtor Who has been updated with some more fab sites - click HERE to visit it (there's a link over to the right as well). If you have a site that you would like to add just leave a comment, email (link to the right) or get in touch through Twitter.

REVIEW: Sherlock, Episode 2, "The Blind Banker" [SPOILER~FREE]

Following on from last week's marvelous series~opener, comes the second episode of Sherlock, titled The Blind Banker. In case you're raising an eyebrow and wondering why Blogtor Who is choosing to feature the show - this re~imagining has been devised by current Doctor Who show~runner Steven Moffat and all~round Who ledge, Mark Gatiss. So, lower that eyebrow (no, lower than that) and settle back for this spoiler~free of the best drama the BEEB has produced in quite some time.

As a side~note, and something for the Doctor Who fans out there (I think there's a couple), The Blind Banker features the lurvely Gemma Chan (The Waters of Mars); it's directed by Euros Lyn (who helmed so many amazing moments so brilliantly since 2005); and there are numerous, very familiar location settings used. To be honest, that got a bit distracting but that'll teach me for being such a stupendous nerdoid. Anyway, this is merely a side~note to the delicious activities of Holmes and Watson.

And boy, are they delicious! Stylistically, it follows on from what we witnessed in last week's story - on screen text, numerous dissolves, wipes and transitions with loads of mobile and laptop action. Importantly, the relationship between the two male leads continues with its hilarity (for the audience) and irritation (for Watson). Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes is terrifically mean/selfish but its Martin Freeman's more human Watson that gathers the limelight here.

Still coming to terms with his 'civilian' lifestyle we see John trying to cope with Chip & Pin machines, getting a job and dealing with the thorny issue of heterosexuality. Yup, Watson gets a chick - played by the ever~so~lurvely (but not seen enough on telly) Zoe Telford. The couple manage to embark on a date but, in almost sitcom style fashion (and I don't mean that in any way negatively), it turns out slightly different than both had hoped... As one would expect Holmes is deducting right, left and centre as the complex plot unfolds.

I'll be honest, I'm not one for detective stories so it's great credit to writer Stephen Thompson who rather neatly made me forget that I was in fact watching a crime show. The excellent production values continue with predictably pleasing direction from Euros Lyn, convincing location shooting and a cracking score. Sherlock proves, as it did last week, that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have produced a vision that is utterly compelling for all of its ninety minutes - a rare feat for television, or film for that matter.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Doctor Who at the Proms - promotional pictures

Last night saw the first performance of Doctor Who at the Proms 2010 - you can listen to it HERE and HERE for the next seven days. Another performance is due to take place tomorrow, click on the pics for bigger versions.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NEWSNIGHT: Steven Moffat interview

Last night, Steven Moffat was a guest on the BBC Two show, Newsnight. During the interview he discuses the similarities and differences between Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes. See it in the player below.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Series 5 - BBC Three repeats

As of Friday July 30, UK television channel BBC Three will repeating Series 5 starting with The Eleventh Hour at 7pm. "Cut down" versions of Doctor Who Confidential will follow.

The Complete Fifth Series DVD box set details

2|entertain have issued artwork and details for the Series 5 DVD box set. Click on the pictures for bigger versions and read about it below:
Doctor Who Complete Series 5, will be available in stunning lenticular packaging, as well as a numbered limited edition Boxset making it the perfect gift for Christmas. The DVD also features some fantastic extras including exclusively filmed scenes giving you an insight to what has happened in the TARDIS between episodes, as well as a Matt Smith video diary, and Doctor Who Confidentials for each episode and the Monster Diaries from each volume.

Doctor Who Complete Series 5
is released Nov 8, priced £69.99 (DVD) & £79.99 (BR)

Thanks to 2|entertain

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Look at Matt Smith in "Christopher & His Kind"

The BBC have issued a show~reel for upcoming shows on BBC Two which features a look at a drama starring Matt Smith, Christopher & His Kind. It also stars Toby Jones (Amy's Choice) and Lindsay Duncan (The Waters of Mars). Read more details and see footage below.

The hedonistic cabaret scene of Berlin in the Thirties is in full swing when wide-eyed young writer Christopher Isherwood arrives in the city, unable to speak a word of German. To Isherwood's reserved English sensibility, the city's thriving gay subculture is thrilling and intoxicating, but he soon finds himself heartbroken after the failure of a hopeless love affair, and so sets out on a process of self-discovery.

Written by acclaimed playwright Kevin Elyot, this one-off drama chronicling the formative years of Christopher Isherwood, stars Lindsay Duncan, Imogen Poots, Toby Jones and Douglas Booth, with Matt Smith in the title role.

Christopher And His Kind tells the story of how Isherwood escapes repressive English society and his suffocating relationship with his mother Kathleen (Lindsay Duncan) for the decadent and politically unstable world of pre-war Berlin.

Thanks to BBC Pictures

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

REVIEW: Series 5, Vol. 3 DVD

Release Date: Aug 9

RRP: £15.99

Duration: 135 mins (approx.)

Stories included:
Amy's Choice
The Hungry Earth
Cold Blood

The Monster Files

Things get off to a great start with the third volume of Series 5 (though aren't we all just waiting for the box set in November?) with Amy's Choice, a story which introduced the most excellent Dream Lord played so exquisitely by Toby Jones. It's a terrific yarn and its freshness is thanks to the Who newbie, Simon Nye who takes a sci~fi/fanatsy staple and creates a most engaging tale. Top marks to the production team for making the TARDIS looked like its never looked like before. The denouement may come a little too abruptly but that chilling reminder of the Doc's dark side and his deepest admissions make this a corker.

"Corker", however, is not a word I'd use to describe either The Hungry Earth or Cold Blood. Although many "fans", and I use the word quite wrongly, seemed to take umbrage at the redesign of the Silurians the problems I have with their two~part return are not caused by their rather spiffy new appearance. Before I get to my issues, I will state that I like the Silurians update. Frankly the three eye thing they had going on in the Seventies didn't particularly convince me (though the story was top~notch). But back to 2010. Or, rather, 2020.

This series got off to such a good start but I feel that midway a certain familiarity had already begun to sink in. What am I referring to? Well, The Hungry Earth marked another story with church scenes in it (the previous Vampires of Venice for example, and there were similar environs in The Beast Below and The Time of Angels). And then Cold Blood saw more underground scenes (witness the aforementioned Weeping Angels story). If I may return to Amy's Choice, we get more dilapidated buildings and yet another monster baring teeth; The Eleventh Hour, Beast and Vampires all featured that trope (not to mention the Weeping Angels, again).

Not only that, but we get characters who, frankly, didn't interest me at all - the family and Nasreen Chaudhry fail to emotionally connect. Most galling of all was Rory's death - didn't we just see that in Amy's Choice? No shock, or even sadness, at all. As he was brought back to life in the previous story, his demise is obviously not final so any drama that was meant to have been garnished from his death here is non~existent. The story itself is adequate, the two parts giving it a chance to breathe, as it were, and the underground visuals are purty bloody great but, barring the recovery of a piece of the TARDIS, it's unmemorable.

Included here is the ten minute installment of The Monster Files taking a look at the Silurians. It's a bit too brief and doesn't really focus on one aspect of the creatures. Steven Moffat & Co. are on call and The Moff talks a little about his lurve for the Target novelisation of the original story, Dr. Who & the Cave Monsters (catchy title!) and we even get the sight of a Silurian picking his nose. Sadly, however, we don't get to find out why the Myrka didn't make a comeback...


Thanks to 2|entertain

Monday, July 12, 2010

REVIEW: The Cybermen DVD box set

Release Date: Aug 9

RRP: £29.99

Duration: 175 mins (approx.)

Stories included:
Revenge of the Cybermen
Silver Nemesis


It would seem that, according to 2|entertain, more is better when it comes to releasing the, how should I put it, more unpopular 'classic' stories. Rather than hitting us with clunkers singularly month after month, they've batched them together to lessen the pain. Though, one could argue, it actually doubles the pain as it does here with Revenge of the Cybermen and Silver Nemesis - two tales that I hoped I wouldn't have to watch again. And yet, here we are....


First up is the Tom Baker four~parter from 1974 and you would think that a story which boasts the lines "Who's the homicidal maniac?" and "Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!" paraded out by Tommy B would be a lot of fun. Sadly not (though the Cybermat does induce some larfs). The return of the Cybermen should have been a much more interesting affair but Revenge is let down by the sheer dullness of the story.

The actors don't help either, specifically those inhabiting the costumes of the Vogans and the Cybermen themselves. Too big, too stagey and, as Philip "The Guv'nor" Hinchcliffe would describe it, too "Shakespearian shouty". And there's too many opposing sides, too many deceptions and not enough clarity to make it work. Which is a pity, because the production team neatly finish of the mini~Ark (ho~ho) started a number of stories earlier on the Nerva Beacon. Using the same set again was an inspired move and connects the series very well (a trick which is common now but not so much then).

Other positives include the relationships between The Doctor, Harry and Sarah who are all never less than brilliant. The plague special effect is well realised though one has to question the decision to render the Cyber helmets as guns, not convincing (and why the Cyber leader has his hand on his hips all the time is beyond me). Thankfully the Cybes would return in the 80s with more of a bang and more of a threat so best to forget this one and remember the good times.

Ruefully, the good times aren't to be found in the accompanying Cybermen tale, Silver Nemesis, it's worse. Although it doesn't have the familiar stink of Eighties production values (being filmed entirely on location certainly helps), it does suffer from poor effects, jarring acting and a story that still has McCoy perplexed (well that's what he said on the commentary anyway).

Again the Cybermen come off as useless and, ironically, a bit wooden. Most of the time they skulk about in the background while the leader proclaims how "excellent" everything is. Particularly galling is the scene where The Doctor and Ace manage to outwit the chunky robots by literally walking between and around them, evading capture. Their menace is less than impressive.

I could go on. But I shan't. Enough has been written on Silver Nemesis to let passers~by know that this is to be avoided. Though, if you like your stories to feature three sets of opposing villains and a plot that's lifted from Remembrance of the Daleks (Ace evens says so much at the end) but subtly shifted so that any sense is rendered null, then perhaps this is for you. It does feature the sight of the Seventh Doctor wearing a fez, so that should account for something.


Usually the commentaries prove to embiggen even the lamest of stories but I regret to report that this is not the case for the Revenge of the Cybermen commentary. Featuring Elisabeth Sladen, David Collings and Phillip Hinchcliffe, it's a largely dry affair though I did chuckle when Collings (so brilliant in Robots of Death and Mawdryn Undead, but no so much in Revenge) refers to The Doctor's weapon of choice as the "singing screwdriver." Also interesting to hear is Hinchcliffe talking about how highly he regards the way in which RTD brought back the Cybermen in the new series.

Thankfully the commentary for Silver Nemesis proves to be a much more enjoyable affair. Sophie Aldred is on top form, sparking with a slightly mellow Sylvester McCoy. Andrew Cartmel (script editor) and Chris Clough (director) also provide much insight and humour (the area used for filming on Nemesis is now the car park of the David Beckham Academy at the Dome fact fans), without being too precious about the story, even referring to it as "a bit iffy." An immensely enjoyable listen.

The VAM for Revenge of the Cybermen prove to be the best of the bunch with three mini~docs. First up is a rather pedestrian look at the production of the story entitled The Tin Man and the Witch, in which we get presented with a most ridiculous ghost story from director Michael E. Briant. Utter tosh, but Philip Hinchcliffe is on call to calm down matters with hard facts admitting they "didn't get it [Revenge] quite right". He's blunt and frank in equal measures when it comes to the score, writing and acting. Most refreshing but this feature suffers from character. Or characters as none of the main cast comment in any way on the story leaving it to all the behind~the~scenes boffins to yarn on. And on.

Much more entertaining is the contemporary Location Report where we find Tommy B and Co. in the caves of Wookey Hole. He's on top form describing himself as a "quiet living bachelor who likes a bit of fun" and even asking the interviewer "Would you like a jelly baby?" Short but tremendous fun and one you'll come back to time and again.

The highlight of the two disc set by far is Cheques, Lies and Videotape, a look at the lengths some fans went to in the Eighties to get their hands on videos of Doctor Who adventures. This could have been a very 'specialist' affair but the fillmmakers should be heartily congratulated on their choice of subjects - each one with their own unique tale to tell, filled with lurve, nostalgia and, best of all, bags of personality. For example, their joy at remembering when The Five Faces of Dr. Who was advertised (a series of repeats of past~Doctor adventures before the Davison era started) was sublime and reminded me of the joy I felt whilst watching those past stories for the first time (having only read the Target books for reference).

Cheques is an affectionate yet humurous piece that many fans perhaps won't fully appreciate as it's possibly "too easy" to watch Who these days. A lot of money was spent in obtaining the copies (and it was a lot!) but these fans would not have had it any other way and I salute them! Also worthy of a mention is the comparison of deteriorated copies that fans would have had to watched. Man, and you think YouTube can be a bit poor quality at times!

Silver Nemesis doesn't have quite so much to accompany it with only one feature, Industrial Action, the usual Making Of doc. It's far better than the accompanying disc's equivalent with all the actors chipping in, giving it a great sense of fun (even jazzboy Courtney Pine gets to chat!). There's also some amusing insight to the stories origins with the author of the story admitting he had no idea what he was going to do before he went to pitch it to JN~T (it does show). Kevin Clarke also states that The Doctor is God - so that answers that question then. And I thought he was meant to be Jesus...?

Those familiar with the extended version of Nemesis that popped up on VHS in the Nineties will be glad to see the numerous deleted and extended scenes viewable here on their own (not as an extended version though). It's good to see so many off~cuts kept and in such good condition. There's also a Trails and Continuity section which features a rather neat season trail with a specially filmed intro and outro from McCoy and Aldred.

As always there's the essential production text but I'll highlight the PDF extras that include a Radio Times feature from the 25th anniversary. Combined, all these extras surely do make up for two rather dismal stories but if reference materials aren't your thang, then The Cybermen box set won't be worth shelling out your hard earned bucks for. So here's to the release of the 3D versions in 2026, which will be the next time I watch these particular outings for The Doctor.


Thanks to 2|entertain