Friday, March 30, 2012

NEWS ROUND~UP!


News in the world of Doctor Who is coming thick and fast (filming on Series 7 continues!), so here's a collection of the latest tidbits, just in case you missed some. Read the last round~up HERE.

THE OFFICIAL DOCTOR WHO CONVENTION
Matt Smith chats Jenna & Convention
REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention
Gallery of pictures
Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference



SERIES 7
Teaser Trailer!
Teaser trailer breakdown
News [Spoilers!]
Sneaky pictures fresh from set...
Jenna-Louise Coleman Radio Times Photo Shoot

REVIEWS
Shada audiobook
Nightmare Of Eden DVD
The Official Doctor Who Convention
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, S4 Ep22, Revenge


MERCHANDISE
Retro Action Figures
TARDIS teapot, cookie jar and more!
Doctor Who iPhone Skins


MISC
Catherine Tate in The Office [clip]
New Earth - What Did YOU Think?
Doctor Who movies on the way?
Mark Gatiss in Horrible Histories
Louise Jameson in Doctors
Doctor Who: How It All Began — An Evening with Waris Hussein

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Catherine Tate in The Office [clip]

video

Included in the player above is a clip from an upcoming episode of The Office featuring actress Catherine Tate (Donna Noble). The show returns to NBC on April 12.

RECENT POSTS
Doctor Who: How It All Began — An Evening with Waris Hussein
Louise Jameson in Doctors
Mark Gatiss in Horrible Histories
Doctor Who movies on the way?
Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference

Doctor Who: How It All Began — An Evening with Waris Hussein

The Paley Center in New York have announced details of an amazing event taking place next month, check out the details below:

Climb into your TARDIS and travel back in time with us to November 23, 1963, to hear all about the making of An Unearthly Child, the very first Doctor Who episode ever aired, from the man who brought it to life, director Waris Hussein, who will recall what it was like being part of the creation of television’s longest-running science fiction series. In addition to a discussion and Q&A, the evening will include the screening of the episode, with live commentary provided by Hussein. After the event, the director will participate in an autograph session with attendees.

The evening will be moderated by Dalek operator,  Barnaby Edwards.


RECENT POSTS
Doctor Who movies on the way?
REVIEW: Nightmare Of Eden DVD
Series 7 news [Spoilers!]
REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention
Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference

Louise Jameson in Doctors

The BBC have released promotional pictures of actress Louise Jameson, best known for her role as Leela in Doctor Who, from an upcoming episode in the daytime series, Doctors - click on the images here for bigger versions. The episode will air April 4 on BBC One.

Jameson recently reprised her role as the Fourth Doctor's companion in a series of Big Finish audio dramas - read Blogtor's review of The Lost Stories boxset HERE and The Renaissance Man HERE.

Thanks to BBC Pictures
RECENT POSTS
Doctor Who movies on the way?
REVIEW: Nightmare Of Eden DVD
Series 7 news [Spoilers!]
REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention
Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mark Gatiss in Horrible Histories

The BBC have released a promotional picture of Doctor Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss in the new series of Horrible Histories - click on the pic above for a bigger version. Also featured in the image are his League of Gentlemen colleagues Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton (who also starred in the Silence in the Library two~parter).

There is no airdate, as of yet, for the fourth series of the multi-award-winning show but the first episode airs in "Week 15" (April 7-13) on CBBC.
Thanks to BBC Pictures
RECENT POSTS
Doctor Who movies on the way?
REVIEW: Nightmare Of Eden DVD
Series 7 news [Spoilers!]
REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention
Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference


Doctor Who movies on the way?


During a masterclass at the National Film & Television School yesterday, Harry Potter director David Yates reiterated his involvement with the Doctor Who movie. Speaking to an invited audience he stated that the film would be made in "2015/6". Last November Yates first announced his intentions to bring the Time Lord to the big screen.

ETA:Doctor Who Brand Manager Edward Russell has been in touch to remind us that Steven Moffat's denial of the proposed film is "the absolute truth and final word on the matter."

RECENT POSTS
REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention
Series 7 news [Spoilers!]
REVIEW: Nightmare Of Eden DVD
Series 7 trailer breakdown
Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference

REVIEW: Nightmare Of Eden DVD

NIGHTMARE OF EDEN
Starring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward

1 Disc DVD
See HERE for extras
April 2 (UK)
May 8 (North America)

Review by Cameron K McEwan

STORY
Let me share with you dearest blog~a~tron my story of Nightmare of Eden (*cue everyone heading off to the Extras section*), as I have a long relationship with this 1979 classic. Yes, "classic". You read right. In the world of Doctor Who, and is revealed graphically in the extras, this Tom Baker four~parter has rather a sour name; "laughable" is usually the word it arouses. But not for me.

I'll explain. When I was "getting" back into Who (around 1992), I was collecting all the stories I could - usually taped off UK Gold (using various friends who had such a remarkable thing as "satellite" TV) and purchasing the odd one here and there. Heading this journey was my quest to find a story which utterly horrified me as a youngster and one that stuck in my mind as scaring me to my very core. (Can you see where this is going?)

There was a story, which I was pretty sure starred Tom Baker (who, I should point out, put the willies up me as much as any Dalek or Cyberman did), that included a painting, or screen, that came to life (and possibly a jungle - leading to mis~placed excitement when I came across Planet of Evil and Kinda). People would go into it and bad stuff would happen.... *shivers* And then whatever was in there, escaped... *double shivers*

Even worse, these things, these monsters, were disgustingly malevolent beings and THE MOST SCARIEST, MOST BONE~CHILLING THING EVER!

There was about a year or so of searching, and remember this was before the internet and any research would have involved tracking down magazines and books (no easy thing, even then). I was also searching alone. A solitary wanderer. With no fellow fans to call on for help (ah, those were the days). This would involve receiving new episodes and then watching in hope, only to discover that it wasn't the one I was looking for. The one. The story that had petrified me as a child. The story, that even as adult, made me quake in my very trousers. #quake

But, as you can guess, I finally found it.

Thanks to a chum who'd taped Doctor Who off a Sunday morning omnibus on UK Gold for me (well, his dad did anyway), the story that had alluded me for some time was back in my hands. Instantly, when I started the first part, I knew that the quarry had found its prey. The story, for those wondering why I am regaling everyone with this heartbreaking fan~tale, is Nightmare of Eden.

Watching it again back in the early Nineties was an eye~opener. Although I could recognise the facets that had terrified me so, some fifteen years previous, the comedy of the performances and production was most overwhelming. I had truly put my demons to bed. And slept with them. Twice.

Eden is, quite rightly, criticised for its poor visuals, heightened performances and disastrously laughable Mandrels (pictured for your pleasure here). For me, however, I love it. It's one the stories that I have watched over and over again, enjoying each watch even more. It does have some very unique elements for Doctor Who and it's pure science~fiction. The drug motif that runs throughout, and is never disguised, is handled in a most intriguing fashion; throwing up much for discussion.


I'll never tire of Nightmare of Eden and it should be noted that the story finished with more viewers than it started with (so they were doing something right). It's of its time, for sure, but it always reminds me that I was once scared. Once terrified, even. A feat that no television programme or film, for that matter, has managed. Now, of course, I sit and watch it laughing uproariously wasted and blitzed out of my mind on Vraxoin.*

EXTRAS
This is the first time, in a while, that the extras on a classic Doctor Who DVD have left me wanting somewhat. The main doc, The Nightmare of Television Centre, barely clocks in at fifteen minutes and features only three contributors. No testimony from any of the cast (and no archival footage) - a great pity as the actors are often the focus of much discussion when it comes to Eden.

Thusly, it's a rather dry affair focusing solely on the negative aspects and troubled production. Factually it delivers but, on an entertainment level, the docco is disappointing. Amusingly, however, the assertion that the mandrels "wouldn't scare my 18 month year grandson" is proved total balderdash by yours truly. They certainly scared me (see above).

As an accompaniment Going Solo, where writer Bob Baker talks about his first lone effort for the show, is again insightful though slightly dry. To moisten up, The Doctor’s Strange Love features comedian Josie Long, writers Joe Lidster and Simon Guerrier chatting about the more amusing facets of Nightmare of Eden. It's a loving poke in the ribs but it's clear they enjoyed the story. Bizarrely, this piece takes place on the attic set of The Sarah Jane Adventures, which makes for a delightful backdrop. It's also longer than the main documentary which makes for an odd weighting, as it were, in the extras department.

Lalla Ward pops up all haughty and iirresistible in an appearance on Ask Aspel (a chat show from the days when people thought that Michael Aspel was an acceptable choice for a television host). It's great to have archival footage like this and wonderful to see Lalla at the height of her popularity.

The audio commentary features said Time Lady, effects designer Colin Mapson, writer Bob Baker (on Parts 1 and 2), make-up designer Joan Stribling (Parts 2 and 4) and Peter Craze, who played Costa (Part 3) and is moderated by Toby Hadoke. To be honest, and this is no criticism towards Toby, I'm not really sure why the producers felt a moderator was needed; those involved are a lively bunch and need little prodding.

Though, I will say, Mr Hadoke does get points off for getting them to recite the now-obligatory rehearsal complaint (in ye olde ancient times, when everything was so much better *coughs*, actors rehearsed before filming and now they don't do that *boo hoo*). It's an argument I have heard mentioned on commentaries too many times to mention. And yet, here I am again mentioning it. We get it. Old people think the old days were the best. *slow hand clap* Newsflash: the acting in Nightmare of Eden, for example, doesn't look like it was rehearsed that much to me.

Anyway, *brushes anger off*, it's a great listen with an interesting discussion about fans and conventions (which is slightly patronising in parts). As a final point, the Production Notes are as brilliant as ever and full marks for getting a gag about Raxacoricofallapatorius in there.

The DVD is worth purchasing for the story alone. Whether you like Nightmare of Eden or not is another matter but it demands a viewing and it will leave some impression on your mind (positive and negative). Sadly, Tom Baker isn't present anywhere on the extras, which is a great shame, but I fully understand that costs and availability may have been deciding factors. It's not a perfect release but, like the story itself, has an odd charm and playful feel.
BLOGTOR RATING 8/10

Thanks to BBC Worldwide
RECENT POSTS
Series 7 Trailer!
Series 7 news [Spoilers!]
Series 7 trailer breakdown
REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention
Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference


REVIEW: Shada audiobook

Shada audio book
Read by Lalla Ward with John Leeson
£19.69 (Download)
£19.35 (10 CDs)
Available Now
Review by Cameron K McEwan

I shan't bore you with the much~repeated story about the production of the Series 17 finale, as you no doubt aware of the woeful tale, and its cancellation. If you don't know, seek the information out (or wait for a cracking documentary on the forthcoming Shada DVD) but the bottom line, if I may use such a vulgar phrase, is that this was a Douglas Adams story that started filming and then stopped. Never completed.

It's had a few productions in the past (a webcast and audio drama for example) but this particular release is the audiobook of the recent Gareth Roberts novelisation. The writer manages successfully not only to capture the mood of the series with The Fourth Doctor and The Second Romana but also apes Adams' style with digital watch~grabbing accuracy. But, I'll leave my praise for the writing for the book review.

Reading the novel is Romana herself (and ex~Mrs Tom Baker), Lalla Ward; and the one~time Time Lady performs the rather Herculean task (over 11 hours!), for the most part, satisfactorily. The actress does a good line in Adams~esque irony, bordering on contemptible sarcasm, and Ward is not unlike a female equivalent of voice of the book in The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy (Peter Jones, fact fans).

Sometimes, however, these deeply ironic tones can come off as sounding just a tad bored; the Honourable Lalla has always seemed rather aloof. She delves into the accents and "impersonations" with gusto though, oddly, her Tom Baker is a bit of a misfire. Her take is blusterous and without his scarved flair (odd as she did spend some considerable time with him).

Most disappointingly, Ward is not allowed the chance to voice K9 - step in John Leeson (the original tin dog). As he has proved over the years, Leeson always nails the pooch expertly.

The production is a magnificent affair with sound effects to assist the tale superbly, capturing the era perfectly and one wonders just how this would have played out if it had been a full cast recording (maybe for the future?). Music cues are also added and, whilst pleasing, don't try to mimic the sounds of the time (possibly a good thing).

Shada, as an audiobook, filters Douglas Adams' style and voice rather wonderfully, evoking the sounds of the Hitchhikers' Guide. Ward, whilst not perfect, does the job stoutly and will keep your ears glued to the, erm, headphones/speakers for quite some time.
BLOGTOR RATING 8/10

Thanks to AudioGo
RECENT POSTS
Series 7 Trailer!
Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference
Series 7 news [Spoilers!]
REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention
Series 7 trailer breakdown


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Podcast Special: Official Convention Press Conference



Included in the player above is a special podcast report from a press conference which took place at The Official Doctor Who Convention last weekend. Featured in the panel are Steven Moffat, Carol Skinner, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. You can also download the show directly HERE or on iTunes HERE.

RECENT POSTS
REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention
Series 7 news [Spoilers!]
Matt Smith chats Jenna & Convention
Series 7 trailer breakdown
New Earth - What Did YOU Think?

REVIEW: The Official Doctor Who Convention

You know the expression: "You can't spell Doctor Who without 'ooo'"? Well last weekend's Official Doctor Who Convention doubled the 'ooo's and added an 'ah'...

Courtesy of BBC Worldwide
The wonderful Millennium Centre in Cardiff was home to the cast and crew of the world's greatest television show along with thousands of its fans (also the world's greatest). And, as you may know, Blogtor was down for the experience! So enjoy my take on one of the best experiences of my life and certainly the best Doctor Who fun I've ever had.

The day was split into various events, talks and demonstrations so I'll broach each one individually. I should state, however, that I didn't do any autograph/picture type things (not really my thing) and I neglected the "video games" room featuring Doctor Who titles (again, not really my thing). First up...

Special Effects Studio
To kick~start my day, I had SFX Supervisor Danny Hargreaves (familiar to Confidential fans) blast stuff into my face in a hugely entertaining demonstration of practical effects (including pyrotechnics). Danny is an immensely engaging fellow and kept the packed~out auditorium amused and informed with his bangers, explodeys and tales from filming. His involvement catered for all ages and the show was without fault, though it did serve to remind what a huge loss Doctor Who Confidential is/was/will be.

Costumes and props displays
Courtesy of BBC Worldwide
As you might expect, this was a display of costumes and props. #obvious I visited this room a few times. There's such a rush when you're beside a Silent, the TARDIS or even a Slitheen (yes, even a Slitheen). Each time I was there the excitement was tangible and on hand were people who had worked on Doctor Who to chat and inform. I imagine that most who witnessed it wished it could have been even bigger, such is the pull and allure of actual props and costumes (or prostumes as I shall now refer to them as). I have to be honest, I did start to well up when I came across Donna Noble's outfit (Series 4 finale) and then Elisabeth Sladen's. A powerful reminder.

Prosthetics demonstrations
Courtesy of BBC Worldwide
This was a show, of sorts, that took place throughout the day with Millennium FX getting to grips with and revealing the secrets behind Scarecrows, Gangers et al. Like the Visual FX demo, this was a huge hit and each time I walked by or sat in, the crowd were enthralled. Again, audience participation was used to great effect and I'm positive that some kids will remember how they were transformed into a Doctor Who monster for a few moments. for the rest of their lives. A heart~warming experience.

Lost Episodes Talks
Courtesy of BBC Worldwide
This was slightly inaccurately named and, to be honest, rather poorly advertised; taking place in between the show times of the above demonstrations. The talk was more concerned with the restoration process and just how the guys at the Restoration Team (Steve Roberts and Peter Crocker) do the amazing job they do when they bring in old episodes to produce for the "classic" DVD range. It was a fascinating discussion and, at times, mind~blowing in the magic they manage to create (or recreate). Sadly, the event took place in the open resulting in the screen showing off all their talents rendered somewhat useless due to the light; an enclosed room would have been much more suitable. I should state that this is the only "complaint", such that it is, about the whole Convention and it should be said the guys were in great form.

Courtesy of BBC Worldwide
Meet the Stars
I don't think it's much a of stretch to say that this panel, taking place the main and exquisite theatre in the Millennium Centre, was the most anticipated and certainly most excitedly received (I'm not sure what the collective noun for Squee~ers is but this was it). Featuring Steven "Nice Try" Moffat, Matt Smith, Arthur Darvill, Karen Gillan and new (ish) executive producer Caroline Skinner this was a real treat and the gang worked very well together, regaling stories, dropping hints and gently ribbing one another.

Hosted with some style by Welsh newsreader Jason Mohammad (who has himself appeared in a number of Who episodes), it was a stylish affair and the floor was opened up to questions; of which there were many. It was an utter delight to see Matt swap Jammie Dodgers with a fan's Jelly Babies. Proving, once more, what a legend he is. 

Karen, too, provided some chuckles when a Silurian sneaked on stage and gave her a right old freak~out on stage. The poor girl did have the ignominy of having her giant "moon face" mocked by her co~workers (much to everyone's amusement). Full marks and a gold star go to SteeMo (pictured below) who managed to raise a smile with every answer to any question seeking a Pandorica~sized crack in his impenetrable spoiler~busting facade.
 
I'd like to also give plaudits to Caro, the "newcomer" to the gang, who could have quite easily been overwhelmed by her more famous colleagues but fitted in perfectly (especially with her TARDIS headgear) complementing them whilst adding a new voice. The group clearly work together well and enjoy their company, translating wonderfully to the stage. I could have quite happily spent all day listening to their warm and friendly antics.

Creators & Directors
Former script editor and author Gary Russell, another genial character from behind~the~scenes, hosted a Doctor Who Confidential style seminar with producer Marcus Wilson and the always charming, writer Tom MacRae (The Girl Who Waited). His most recent episode was discussed in~depth and appropriately so as much of it was filmed in the Millennium Centre. The examination of the filming and production process was insightful and delivered impeccably (bonus points for explaining how a particular scene in the aforementioned episode was filmed with no CG trickery, just good old~fashioned moving stuff about quickly chutzpah).

Doctor Who Uncut
The affable Barnaby Edwards (Dalek operator, fact fans) took to the stage for one of the day's final events featuring a gaggle of members of the production team (Caroline Skinner, Production Designer Michael Pickwoad, Casting Director Andy Pryor, Director of Photography Stephan Pehrsson and director Julian Simpson). It was a comprehensive panel, with Skinner really shining here, but was slightly overshadowed by the most welcome inclusion of a surprise for the Convention attendees - the Doctor Who Series 7 trailer.

It was a remarkable gift for fans to glimpse the scintillating scenes from a few episodes that have just finished filming. The gasps around the theatre told their own story - particularly the final shot of the Dalek eye stalk. Doctor Who as a collective experience was quite the thrill. Again, there was a superbly handled Q&A featuring some interesting questions from the floor whilst the panel clearly appreciated the interaction.

TARDIS Set~Tour
The inclusion of the set~tour was a stroke of genius (especially considering that a further bus journey had to be taken into consideration). Walking around the actual TARDIS was not unlike a dream; the experience was such an unbelievable one that I'm glad I have pictorial evidence to affirm my presence there. Being left alone, well almost, in the console room for a half hour or so is pretty much, I imagine, what most fans would love.

Even better was the fact that we could touch the buttons, pull the levers and stomp the foot pedals. The joy in the room was palpable and the buzz was electric as we all played Doctor for a few minutes. Certainly another moment that will love in the memories of those who attended.


Of course, if there was one journey I could have taken in Gallifrey's finest ship of choice, it would be to go back to the start of the day to enjoy the Doctor Who Convention all over again. Some of you have asked about highlights and I can honestly say that there was not one; everything was a highlight. Even just tooling around the Millennium Centre tightened the trousers of my very soul, witnessing the numerous signings, famous faces and dolled~up fans.

I sincerely hope the BBC don't regard this as a once in a lifetime event and ensure that many more fans can share in what surely was the most pleasurable Doctor Who experience you will get anywhere in the universe.

BLOGTOR RATING 10/10
RECENT POSTS
Series 7 news [Spoilers!]
Matt Smith chats Jenna & Convention
Series 7 trailer breakdown
New Earth - What Did YOU Think?
Series 7 Trailer!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Series 7 news [Spoilers!]

As you may know, some new information regarding Series 7 emerged over the weekend at the Official Doctor Who Convention - collected below are some nuggets about this year's episodes. WARNING! Some may consider these as "spoilers" (but, they're not really).
• The read~through for Episodes 1 and 5 took place on Friday. These will be directed by Nick Hurran (The Girl Who Waited, The God Complex) and are written by Steven Moffat.

• Episode 5, which sees the end of The Ponds and the return of the Weeping Angels, will be filmed in New York.

• Episode 1 features Daleks.

• Currently, the plan is to screen Series 7 continuously, ie. without a break and running over the Christmas period from 2012 into 2013.

• A 3D episode is not out of the question in the future, according to executive producer Caro Skinner.

• A new script editor has started on the show this week. (Forgot his name, sorry!)
RECENT POSTS
Series 7 trailer breakdown
New Earth - What Did YOU Think?
Series 7 Trailer!
Matt Smith chats Jenna & Convention
NEWS ROUND~UP!

Series 7 trailer breakdown

Included here are some screengrabs from the recently released Series 7 trailer, as premiered at the Doctor Who Convention last weekend. Click on the images below for bigger, juicier versions and watch the trailer itself HERE.







RECENT POSTS
Series 7 Trailer!
Matt Smith chats Jenna & Convention
NEWS ROUND~UP!
New Earth - What Did YOU Think?
Series 7 news